Thursday, June 21, 2012

Samsung Galaxy SIII Launch Party @ Skylight Studios, June 21, 2012

There was never any doubt in my mind that Samsung throws the best events. If there were ever a problem with throwing amazing events constantly, it’s that you (have to) raise the bar every time, to outdo your last party. The last Samsung event I went to was at Irving Plaza, it was a free Santigold show with a complete open bar and more food than anyone there could eat. Simply put, quite amazing. I knew this one would be insane, just based on Samsung’s past exploits, but also because it was the launch party of their amazing new phone, the Galaxy SIII. One would assume the event-throwing masters would go all out…they did.

Before I tell you how it was, I must say this about the launch party, it was an easy 5 out of 5 event. Simply put, they did everything right basically. Lets start at the beginning: check-in. You can tell a lot about the organization of an event just by checking in on the guest list. If it takes a while to find your name and there’s a whole ordeal just to get inside, you can pretty much rest assured that the event itself will be sort of on par with that. Last night, with the line formed, there were two people coming down the line (before 9pm, which was when the event started) checking people in. After they found your name, you got a wristband. After that, a security guard came down the line to check everyone’s ID, to make sure we were all legal drinking age. All of this was done BEFORE the doors opened. So by the time they did, which was right at 9pm, you just walked right in. Simple.

Upon entry, you see than the Samsung people decked out Skylight Studios so you knew you were there to party in the name of the SIII. They handed you a little pouch with these little squares in them. You use these squares to play games on the new SIII and win prizes. AWESOME! Once you were really inside, there was a little basketball hoop where you could take cool photos looking like you’re dunking on none other than Stephen Curry, who is a super nice guy by the way. Walt Clyde Frazier was there as well but he left soon after we arrived. Ah well. It happens.

DJ Craze was mixing up the party music, and everyone was heading to the respective SIII stations to try and win stuff. I won some light up glasses (which I surely was not leaving there without) and also a stuffed frog, which my friend named Pedro. It was one of those kinds of nights, because Samsung had a fully stocked bar and the bartenders were churning out drinks with the quickness. You could just order whatever you wanted, or, you could order from one of the Galaxy SIII phones that was attached to the bar. They had specialty cocktails that you could select, and then the bartender gets the order through a device they had, and makes it for you! It was like partying in a spaceship!
Sebastian Ingrosso was the first DJ to take the stage. Sebastian, who is one of the DJs of Swedish House Mafia, jumped into his usual mix of house and techno tracks, getting the crowd rocking as only SHM can. On the invite I got, Samsung said there would be a surprise guest performance. Earlier yesterday someone who is usually in the know ruined that surprise, and they told me that the surprise performer is Skrillex! After Sebastian heated things up, Skrillex hit the stage and burned it down. I was so close to the stage at that point that it was hard to see all the visuals going on behind the dubstep master, but there were some cool ones. Confetti falling, air blasts going off, and just all around pandemonium were on the bill for Skrillex’s set, which was much longer than I thought it would be and also far more diverse than I thought it would be. I was expecting him to play a heap of dubstep, and mostly his dubstep stuff, but that wasn’t really the case. He played a lot of dubstep (obviously), but not only his stuff, plus he played Drum & Bass and techno tracks as well. The dude can really mix it up. They had the AC on in the place but I was sweating from all the dancing, especially since Skrillex was on the tables for so long too.

After his set was done, DJ Craze got back on to finish off the night, but some people had already left by then. I don’t blame them; it was really late at that point (I think the event officially finished at 1am). As I made my way out, Samsung had one last awesome surprise up their sleeve: free glasses! They were giving out Samsung beer glasses that light up. YES! Parting gifts make parting way sweeter sorrow. Another 5 star event in the bag for Samsung, and another awesome phone on the market, that you should surely pick up.

Clint ZER0

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LVRS Rose Island perfomance @ Le Baron, February 21, 2012

So last night, the folks at new NYC hotspot Le Baron decided to host a very private and very secret performance from Brooklyn's own Theophilus London. This was my first time being inside the newly opened Chinatown club/lounge so I'm kind of feeling myself for getting to go inside in the first place. Here's how it all went down...

Theo London is on the rise, so basically you can either jump on board the success train of this talented artist or get out of the way. He’s “so hot right now,” and you can tell by the fact that he pretty much performed and DJed at every possible party and show for Fashion Week this past week; he turned Fashion Week into his own personal CMJ!

Always a master of the art of the Internet, he uses his Twitter as a way to get his friends and fans that are followers to check out his free and cool secret shows. Case in point, me getting to partake in his Bing commercial which was shot at Le Bain a month or so ago, that then aired during the Grammys. Or, for more recent occurrences, last night, at Le Baron.

All day yesterday the musician posted about this secret show he was doing at Le Baron, and eventually decided to tell his followers that there was a password necessary to get in (I learned today that that password was “watts”). By the time we arrived however, we didn’t know what the password was. In hindsight, clearly I could have just looked at his Twitter to figure it out, but alas, hindsight is 20/20. We did have an invite though, which didn’t have an RSVP link (because of course the show had a guest list) but we figured out invite was enough. It wasn’t.

We weren’t on the list, and we also didn’t have the password. What were we to do? Well let’s just skip ahead to us getting inside. Sometimes, a little patience does help.

Le Baron’s d├ęcor is red, and black, and despite the name, it has an Asian theme; I guess it is in Chinatown after all. It’s 3 floors, with DJ booths on the first floor (where Theo was spinning when we arrived) and also in the basement, which has seats as well as a dance floor. The cocktail waitresses walk around in matching red kimonos, sticking with the theme of the place. The upstairs is table service, which was “reserved” last night for the event. We sat up there anyway.

At around 10pm, Theo took to the small stage with his band backing him and went into some tracks from his new album ‘Lover’s Holiday II: Rose Island’ and also off of his current LP ‘Timez are Weird These Days’. He went into “I Stand Alone,” “One Tree,” and also asked the ladies in the house, “Why Even Try,” which happens to be one of my favorite Theo tracks. I saw the dude Telli Gramz from Ninjasonik in Le Baron last night as well. I also think Reverend McFly was there, but they didn’t perform with Theo (I of course asked Tillie if he was going to), they were in the house just jamming, like myself.

Of course Theo dropped “Last Name London,” and then later played a really cool remix of it I’d never heard. He even found time to give Le Baron a taste of his new track that is getting some big time buzz, “Big Spender,” which features another NYC artist who is on the rise as well, A$AP Rocky. “Big Spender,” which I heard first at the Bing commercial shoot at Le Bain, has one of the sickest beat breakdowns and samples I’ve ever heard. That is, EVER. And in prime Theo London fashion, he rides the beat like a pro, even inviting some friends on stage to jam out with him last night. I of course obliged, because dancing around on stage to one of my favorite songs is something that I have no problem doing.

He ended the energy filled set with “Always Love You,” his dance ode to Whitney, who he almost didn’t perform last night, but a fan asked him to perform it (for reasons that should be obvious right now) and he jumped right back on stage and finished off his lineup the right way. After it was all said and done he jumped back onto the turntables to spin some more tunes for his fans that made it inside.

The night was awesome and I’m glad I got to see Theo perform as well as check out a brand new spot all in the same night. Even without this global warming thing making the temperature way hotter than in should be, it’s definitely going to be a hot summer for the guy whose last name is London, first name Theophilus.

Clint ZER0!/ClintWWCD

Monday, January 2, 2012

B. Notes Music Showcase @ The Social Butterfly, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year readers! Guess who's bizzack?! Now I know I "retired" this blog in August of last year, after the switch over the You guys must be thinking, what gives? Well here's the deal. It's been a great run out to the end of 2011 for me and the rest of the MFC crew, and this year will be no different. I'm still writing with them and if you go on the site in the blog section (like I'm sure you already have) you will see quite a few updates. However since I've been out more at more shows and I've gotten to meet more artists and others in the industry I've gotten more requests for write-ups and reviews, so because of this, I think it's time to bring back the Music and More blog. It's a great way to start up the new year I think.

With that said, I was granted the opportunity to check out the showcase (which I believe was his first) of a young talented artist out of Brooklyn by the name of B. Notes. It worked out well because it was actually the last show I saw for 2011 (a year where I'm pretty sure I saw 2-300 concerts), so I think it's only right it's the first write-up for 2012.

B. Notes (who's real name is Brignel) is a singer that I actually met in the barbershop I go to all the time off Church Ave. in Brooklyn, by the name of Step Ahead Barbershop. It's owned by my cousin so I don't mind giving him some love on the my site! We got to chatting and he told me he was a musician, and when he found out I was a music blogger, we exchanged info because he said he would like to have me check out his shows once he starts getting things in motion. Clearly I'm not afraid to check out a show, so I told him I'd be more than honored. This was quite a few months ago, maybe even around the summer time. I hadn't heard from him until a few weeks ago, when he called me to invite me out to his showcase he was organizing in Brooklyn. Talk about following up!

I arrived at the show around 7pm, which was slated for an 8pm start. It was funny because I got there and they were setting up sound and such, and there were really only a few people there at the time. Even as it reached 8pm there were still only a few more people there, so I thought, maybe they won't start on time? Clearly they didn't, but the invite I got said 8pm SHARP as the start time. Maybe I was the only one who got that email, because by 815pm the place was packed, pretty much standing room only! Well that works, right?

The band strung up the instruments for a little early warm up for everyone, which was awesome. These guys, who I found out after the show were pretty makeshift (in that he formed them and they rehearsed once the day before!) but you couldn't tell. Honestly while I sat there and they jammed out for a while, I thought that they had played together for a while beforehand, because they had such a nice musical chemistry that you really only see with a group of guys who've been playing together for at least a good amount of time. B. Notes jumped on the microphone, and started things off with a cover of "Someone Like You," the smash hit from British songstress and 6-time Grammy nominee Adele. The song has been covered by what seems like a million people (just search for it on Youtube and you will see what I mean) but it was the first time I'd heard it sang by a male voice. The thing about B. Notes though, is that he can really hold a note. It's something I noticed from the moment he grabbed the microphone at the beginning of the show and did a little 2 line warm-up phrase before any of the performing happened. Needless to say, his version of "Someone Like You" was very unexpected, but also very good.

From there he jumped into a B. Notes original, by the name of "One Way To Find Out," which was definitely his most Dance like track for the night, of his originals. B. Notes original music is definitely a throwback to the glory days of R&B, lyrics wise that is. A lot of tracks are "for the ladies," if you catch my drift. Keeping with the tone of "One Way To Find Out," he went straight into his own rendition of "Motivation," the smash hit from Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child fame. "Tonight" as well as "Motivation" were done without the help of the band (the DJ had the music playing) but then he switched back to the band for the end of "Motivation," and went into another original, "Vowels." To give you a frame of reference, this track is about making your girl say the vowels A-E-I-O-U. Yes, definitely put the kids to bed!

After "Vowels," Brignel made way for his musical mentor, Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Gordon Chambers. Chambers is a true veteran in this business, winning multiple ASCAP awards and is has a handful of Dove Awards to his name as well. After teaching the band the notes for his first song, he decided to sing his own personal version of "If You Love Me," the hit he wrote for R&B group Brownstone, which got them (and Chambers) a Grammy Nomination. If you've never heard of Chambers don't feel bad, songwriters are often the unsung heroes of the music business, garnering lots of fame in their respective fields, as well as a bunch of awards and usually a bunch of money, without getting famous to the everyday music fan. It sounds like a pretty sweet deal if you ask me! His second song is another smash, originally written by pianist and singer-songwriter Leon Russell, but has since been covered by a ton of artists, most notably Ray Charles, a version that got him an Grammy award for Best R&B Performance in the early 1990s. Chambers decided to play the keys on this particular song, and like the first track he decided to bless the patrons with, this one was equally as good. Chambers is a student of the music but also a student of the business, you can tell from the way he introduced himself and even in the way he talked about Brignel and his work ethic. It was funny because he said that B. Notes is very good at "following up;" I sat in my seat and thought, "I'll say."

After a quick 2 song set Chambers handed the reins back to Brignel, who went straight into "Ordinary People" by multiple Grammy winner John Legend. Where as his version of "Motivation" really demonstrated his range, this song let you see the power in his voice. It's a song by a male singer, so my guess would be it's easier to make it your own song (or not, if you don't want to) as another male singer because of the range of the notes.  Having said that, his next track was "Purple Rain" by Prince, the MAN. I felt like this was a time he could have used to make this song his own as well, but I think that he was trying at the time to do both, sound like Prince and sound like himself. Pretty difficult song to pull off when trying to make up your mind in the middle of it; but he did an alright job with it. The versatility was on display for his 2nd set however, because his next track was another original, by the name of "Coca Cola Body." It was the only track he did that night that had no singing of his at all; he chose to rap on this track instead. Verdict = awesome. The band took this song off, as the DJ was on duty with music detail for this one. I love to see an artist who isn't afraid to delve in other genres, but I really only love it when it's done well, and it was done quite well on this track.

"Golden" by the singer-songwriter Jill Scott was the next track up, and he used this song to introduce his band and let them get their respective solo time before he closed the show. He closed the show with my favorite track of his for the night, simply named "You." It was on this track that you really heard the power and the range of Brignel's voice. He's a great performer, with a ton of stage presence that you really only see from people who've been on stage a bunch, which you can obviously tell B. Notes is no stranger to. There are a lot of people who can sing but not everyone can perform. B. Notes is a great performer who seems to be able to paint the line between the new aged R&B that we hear and the old school stuff R&B purists like myself group up to. Pretty much organizing this entire showcase singlehandedly and doing the promotions and such, you can already tell he has a great work ethic, but he seems to also know that this business is all about the people you meet and form relationships with, and he seems to be quite good at that as well. Gordon Chambers said before he left the stage that he was pretty certain he will be listening to B. Notes' music on the radio in 2012. With the talent, writing ability, and work ethic I've seen, I honestly don't see why not. You can email B. Notes directly for free music off his upcoming album here: For more info on Gordon Chambers, check out his site here: Happy New Year!

Clint ZER0!/ClintWWCD