Posts Tagged ‘Live Performance’


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Seeing Gavin DeGraw recently perform at VH1’s Super Bowl Blitz reminded me of: A. his ability to rock out live, and B. what an awesome singer/songwriter he is.

Following sets by J. Cole, Janelle Monae, Fall Out Boy, TLC and the Goo Goo Dolls, DeGraw owned the stage in a manner all his own – no excess necessary/no smoke and mirrors.

The standout, and charmingly so, was recent hit Best I Ever Had. Not only is the track infectious with an upbeat toe-tapping rhythm (something not typical of DeGraw), it’s also full of real-life, relatable connections – something that makes his music tick.

Watch the official video below + live performance of the track following.


By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

[Photo Credit: Tyler Ewigleben]

Music helps us meditate. Whether we purge our stresses with a hum or a roar, artists will always be there to fill the cracks in our pining psyches.

Bobbie Morrone is brewing a solid serum as quick to cripple as massage. The Best I Can Be, his 2014 EP, is indie verse with a blues-y sip.

Short, tight, mellow, sharp, Bobbie’s sound cascades like a summer too far away. These three songs are a luxurious sample, a humble sign of future potential.

Though he may not make you scream as certain songs claim, let him kiss your earbuds. You’ll walk away enlightened, or at the very least relaxed.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I recently discovered gospel singer Tamela Mann. In a search for that life-changing song, her single Take Me To The King somehow found its way through my headphones; Mann’s rich pipes touching heart, soul and bone in this raw, heavy-hitting release.

(That’s the beauty of music, isn’t it? How it seems to find us when we need it the most.)

This woman is fabulous and her talent is undeniable.

Watch a live performance of the track below.

Hello, goosebumps!


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

If you’re looking for a jubilant jolt of girl power spirit, a double dosage of Yuna will do the trick. The Malaysian singer/songwriter recently premiered the music video for Rescue, and it’s nothing short of enchanting. The empowering track is taken from Nocturnal, her newly released Verve Records debut.

The Elliott Sellers-directed video was shot primarily at Big Sur, with select shots in downtown Los Angeles.

Official video + live performance of the track (via Conan) below.

Loving her authenticness!


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

MARIA CIEZAK: For those unfamiliar, can you give us a brief background? How did you meet the band?

ARIANA AND THE ROSE: Sure. I actually started as an actress, doing musical theater, commercials and film from the time I was a kid all the way through college. I wrote and played music on the side as a release. Throughout high school and the beginning of college, I wrote with people in New York, LA and Nashville, but it wasn’t until a year before I graduated from NYU that I decided I wanted to pursue music full-time. I put a band together as soon as I graduated, meeting guys through my managers and friends’ suggestions. I decided to call the band Ariana & the Rose since we perform all the music with live instruments and we’ve been together ever since.

MC: I love the new acoustic video for Heartbeat — the song is beautiful. The video is very raw and personal. What made you choose the dark color theme?

A: Thank you! Well, the song has this theme of a beautiful thing falling apart. I created that video with my friend and fashion designer, Daniel Silverstein. We wanted to make something that spoke to both of our styles. (I’m wearing a dress from his Fall 2013 collection in the video.) There’s something so classic about black and white and we felt that having the color of the video to be completely de-saturated would be a modern way of capturing that classic feel.

MC: What would you say you enjoy more: Recording? Writing? Or performing?

A: I really go back and forth with this. I always say that I enjoy whatever I happen to be doing at the moment the most. I’m currently in the studio writing, so right now I enjoy that more. But I’ll be on tour in a couple weeks and that will be my favorite part. I look at it as a good thing to be indecisive about.

MC: Do you write all of your own material?

A: Yep. I play piano and usually start most of my songs on an acoustic instrument. I do a lot of co-writing, typically me and another writer/producer. I find that writing alone can get a bit lonely sometimes. I’m a really social person and I like having another person to bounce ideas off of.

MC: If you had to place your music into a certain style or genre, could you?

A: I would choose synth pop, as a broad genre. More specifically: singer-songwriter with heavy electro and synth influences.

MC: I see you have been compared to many artists but I think your sound is very original. Do you find it flattering when placed with artists?

A: Thank you. I really try to create music I feel sounds just like me. Of course, it’s always flattering to be compared to other artists, especially ones that have been so successful. I’d like to think that when people compare you to other artists they love it’s because they love you too.

MC: What’s next for Ariana & The Rose?

A: My single Heartbeat came out on Nov 19th and my EP Head vs Heart will be released in early 2014. I’m also headed on a US tour with Heffron Drove (Nov 23-Dec 22). So lots of new material and live shows. It’s the perfect way to end the year.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


The one + only Beck has teamed up with cool eyeglass makers Warby Parker to create a line of hip frames.

To give a little background on the partnership, most recently Beck released Song Reader, a collection of 20 compositions available only as sheet music (and never before recorded). To celebrate this affinity, Warby Parker have released a pair of limited-edition frames, named Carmichael. Inspired by Beck’s genre-bending music and unimpeachable personal style, Carmichael is a tad eclectic, and completely charming.

The collection is sleek-chic and could easily be worn with a variety of styles. To see the entire collection, click HERE.

Glasses + Beck in action below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Major props to The Walking Dead for playing this killer track (#YayPuns) from Ben Howard — a UK-based artist that we promoted earlier this year. (See related link below.)

This song is flawless + Ben’s melancholy delivery certainly brings the post-apocalyptic chills.

Listen to the haunting Oats In The Water below.


[Related Post: Ben Howard]


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I’m speechless. When I first started BiggerThanBeyonce in 2009, my personal life was sh*t. (Pardon my French.) The plus side was that I had just moved to New York and had the chance to see and meet amazing underground artists.

Ian Axel was the first artist I ever interviewed for this little independent blog. At the time, no one knew who he was, but his music changed my life and I just knew he would go on to become a star.

That’s him on stage last week Christina Aguilera, performing a song that I’ve been listening to since I first discovered him five years ago.

It’s now in the Top 5 on Billboard.

To say that I’m blown away would be an understatement.

Axel recently spoke to Billboard on the collaboration: “‘Say Something’ was danced to on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ almost two months ago, and so many people responded to it. In that whole process, someone on our team played it for someone on Christina’s team, and we got a call that Christina wanted to record it, and then, literally a week later, we were in L.A. recording it with her.”

So happy to see powerful, genuine music getting the attention it deserves!

A Great Big World’s debut album, Is There Anybody Out There?, is set to drop on January 14th, 2014.

Watch the incredible live performance of Say Something below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Katy Perry recently premiered a track from her highly-anticipated Prism release, via live performance at the iTunes Festival in London, the incredibly beautiful By The Grace of God. Written about Perry’s suicidal lows after her split with Russell Brand, Perry clearly understands the landscape of heartbreak.

This is quite possibly the most honest song of her career.

Opening up to Billboard about the track, Perry stated: “That song is evident of how tough it really was at a certain point. I asked myself, ‘Do I want to endure? Should I continue living?'”

Perry’s new album, Prism, drops on October 22nd.

Listen to the stunning track below.

[Related Post: Katy Perry Returns w/ #ROAR Single]


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

P!nk and mom, Judy Moore, at the premiere of Thanks For Sharing

Thoroughly enjoyed the acting debut of Alecia Moore (P!nk) in Thanks For Sharing, an honest and heartwarming film centering around the lives of recovering sex addicts.

P!nk’s on-screen character felt endearing and authentic, and her open energy was undeniably present. It was nice to see such a beloved performer through a different set of lens.

The movie’s theme reminded me of a hidden gem — and one of my personal favorite P!nk records — the emotionally gritty Long Way To Happy. The track was never released as a single, but its potent honesty continues to help those in need.

Says P!nk:

“I know a lot of people that have been abused and/or molested and/or fucked over by someone close to them. And I’m no exception. And that’s that song.”

Long Way To Happy below + the trailer for Thanks For Sharing following.


By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This isn’t my usual jam. Still, my interest has been piqued like a mountaintop. (Forgive me for that one!) The Tomas Doncker Band is a fertile ground for funk, soul, jazz, and blues, fusing it all together with healthy spoonfuls of wicked guitar. Tomas got started playing with more groups than I could bother to mention. It wasn’t until 2008 that he got his own band together to release the Howlin Wolf EP.

Now they’re back and keen to collaborate! And collaborate they did: every song on Power of Trinity… A Slight Return features a new artist. Tomas describes the music he plays as global soul, which he considers “the sound of our collective conscience”.

Their 2013 EP is being released in support of a charity that supports young women in Ethiopia. Sound!

As for the sound itself, I’m not sure what to say. Do I like it? Definitely. Beyond that I find it difficult to describe. There’s a rhythm here I’m not accustomed to, one that breaks barriers rather than putting them up. It’s pure fluid, and it’s rushing fast.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Sick cover alert!

Up-and-coming London-based girl group Neon Trees have taken on Miley’s skankfest of a single, We Can’t Stop, and totally rocked it.

It’s smooth, less bitter, and more sweet.

Check out the rendition below + the infamous original clip following.

Twerk! Twerk! Twerk!


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

When Brandon Boyd isn’t melting hearts and tearing up stages across the globe with a little band called Incubus, he makes time to expand in other outlets. Being an Incubus junkie since my youth, I get excited anytime I hear that his name is touching a project, but perhaps I am just bias. However, if you’re a fan of talent, you’ll listen.

His most recent solo project is called Sons of the Sea, which is in collaboration with one of the most well-respected producers in the industry, Brendan O’Brien. His latest video is called Come Together, which also features Brendan on the keys and guitar. It’s raw from the studio, really giving you an in-depth feel of the recording process.

Brandon recently took the time to talk with Fuse TV, in which he commented on the song: “I had a strong visual reference for how I wanted the song to sound — the scene in the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High where Phoebe Cates comes out of the pool in slow motion, water spraying everywhere, and she undoes her bikini top to show the world the glory.”

Basically, the song exuberates that sacred topic, sex, and he admits it openly.

Sons of the Sea’s new EP, Compass, is available now on iTunes. A full-length is expected to be out September 24th.

Come Together below.


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Every now and then, something in life comes along that grabs you by the neck and demands that you eat, sleep, and breathe it. In this scenario, for myself at least, it’s music. Artists and their craft always fascinate me, for it’s their own form of individualized expression. When I have a feeling or emotion that I want to share, it’s through writing. I also find a sort of release when listening to music that isn’t mine, even though I can always find a way to relate it to a situation in my life. This example shines through when attending a show. For an hour plus, I lose myself in an imaginative moment where I can pretend that every lyric is for me, and then when that last note is hit, reality strikes back in. Musicians perform and express their craft to put on a show and to entertain people who come out to see that show. Sometimes we forget that artists are real people, and when the lights go off on stage, they lead lives and strive to reach goals while perfecting their craft. However, in this instance, I am happy that one of my favorite bands, and certainly one of the most influential of my generation, are just as cool and as hardworking as they are portrayed to be.

I am currently 27 years of age, the same age as Brian Fallon when he wrote a little single called 59 Sound. I wonder what went on in his head upon writing this track, and if he anticipated that people would idolize his music. I don’t think anyone can ever be prepared for a situation like that, but I’ll tell you one thing, it’s my time at this moment to let him know how much it’s affected me.

Saturday night, July 27th , marked a special anniversary for me. It was my 10th Gaslight Anthem show. Yes, I said it. 10th. I still feel like it was just yesterday when I was hosting a radio show in college, roughly in 2007, and I got this demo recording of a track called I’da Called You Woody, Joe. I needed to know more about this band, and more about their story. I started playing them, and slowly and steadily people started calling in, just as curious as I was. I attended a small show of theirs, and I knew in my head they were going to be one of the biggest bands on the planet. Sure, you can say that I must think that often while working in the industry. Hell, I don’t blame you for thinking that, but truthfully, I rarely ever have that thought. Another band from Jersey hoping to make it big? Well, I say, why can’t they? Why can’t a real rock and roll band sell a million records in days like this? Well, the answer is there is no reason that they can’t, because they prove everyday that they can. I think about a few bands that make hits, get thrown into categories and so-called genres, all battling for the same listener, just hoping to get that 15 seconds where they can grab your attention before you turn the dial. The Gaslight Anthem, however, struck me with originality, emotion, and talent. As weird as it may sound, I tend to get nervous when attending shows, for I feel as if it’s almost taking a ballsy risk. When you hear music on a record, it doesn’t always prepare you for what you are going to go see live. I personally want to see something original, I want to see a band perform their own work, and get the respect they deserve for it. And with The Gaslight Anthem, this is a match for what I feel.

Flash forward to 2013, six years later, and I am once again playing their music on the radio. Only this time around, you know all of the words, you won’t stop requesting it, and you attend their sold-out shows.

This, my friends, is a success story that I wish I could paint onto a canvas, because it’s more than music to me; it’s art.

Upon walking into Irving Plaza on Saturday night, I could hear the excitement, most of which consisted of fans wish-listing songs they hoped the band would play. Now, I have a confession to make: I am very protective of bands that I like, and truly believe in. If someone says something disrespectful, or even that I don’t agree with, I find myself having a hard time keeping my mouth shut. Again, I have to remember that these musicians are also human, and the idea I have formed of them in my mind may be completely tainted. Who they are on stage is not necessarily who they are in real life. Take actors, writers, and even people who work in major corporations for example. They always act different outside of work. However, with regards to Gaslight, I have the credentials to back up my thoughts. I had the opportunity to interview The Gaslight Anthem twice, once with the whole group, and once with Brian solo. Not to sit here and blow smoke up your asses, but they are just as genuine as they appear. They are a band that will never forget where they came from. They embrace their NJ roots and truly care about their craft as if anyone would care about their job. I found talking to Brian easy, like I could talk to him about music for days, because it’s not just a gimmick that he has to portray as a musician, it’s his passion. It’s truly who he is, and I honestly couldn’t see him doing anything else, just from the total 60 minutes I have spent with him in my life. I found it almost mesmerizing how much he cares about his projects, and how much thought process goes into each song. He once told me that bands would be a lot better off if they could admit that not every song they write is good. That statement alone made me respect him (and the band) even more than I already had.

As the lights went on Saturday, and they began singing Handwritten, I felt proud to be in that room, and grateful to be a part of the story that they always tell. As the iPhones came out and the pictures began to be taken, I really hoped inside my messed up brain that people would put their phones down and just pay attention — pay attention to what this man and his band have to say — because for that hour and fifteen minutes of time, they are yours. You could capture any digital picture, but just always know, that’s their craft, and it should be appreciated and respected for what it is. Even for a veteran concertgoer like myself, who has seen them a significant amount of times, it’s always a new show. Gaslight has established a dedicated following that has them stuffing every venue they play in. Aficionados, critics, and inquiring ears keep coming out because the band’s rigid, zealous rock and roll and raucous live shows make them the fieriest ticket in any town they play in. I write reviews on this band because I want to spill my heart out with how I’m feeling, just like they do in their work. Take this as more of a page in my diary instead of a person from the media boasting and critiquing music. Forgive me while I say some shit that may be offensive, but when you go to their shows, go because you want to experience the band, their work, and their art, not because you heard they may sound like this other band or because some celebrity may randomly pop up on stage. Yeah, those are fighting words, but these five fine individuals are worth a few knockouts.

In regards to their future work, I love the fact knowing that whatever they release will be different. I love watching artists grow and witnessing changes in their work. As we get older and wiser, different things influence our writing. I would never be a fan of a band whose records all sounded alike, and that whole “selling out” theory, to me, just goes in one ear and out other. I must admit, writing a live review of The Gaslight Anthem is somewhat complicated. They play incredibly hard each and every time, so yes, it can be hard to stay impartial. However, they will always give you an insane amount of positive content to rant on about. The band always finds the time to thank the crowd for coming out, but in reality, we should all be thanking them — not only for putting on a great show and pumping out amazing records, but for breathing new air into the lungs of a somewhat stale rock and roll era.

Until next time, boys. I’ll see you on the flip side.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

“Someone said to me yesterday that this album is like taking a knife and stabbing myself in public. And it’s true — I’m letting everyone watch while I rip my guts out. There was not an ounce of me left to put on this record. It was the most fearless I’ve ever been, in anything that I’ve ever done.

“After people have written my life for me for the last four and a half years — and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not, it’s what sells the most magazines that week — this was the first time I could dig into my emotions and write from this perspective, and not have to apologize for being human. A lot of people don’t see me as that, and haven’t for a long time.”

-LeAnn Rimes
On new album Spitfire

This is the most honest record I’ve heard in years. LeAnn Rimes has taken the pain of tabloid fodder and created an album that solidifies her place as one of the greatest female performers in country music. Her voice is crystal clear and her nails are sharp. Not many women could have handled the sexist double standard in this situation the way that she has. She is no longer a child prodigy but a female pioneer, tearing down the celebrity walls and revealing a vulnerable human being underneath.

Two of my favorite tracks from Spitfire below: Who We Are (tear-felt live performance) + the incredible Where I Stood following.

Painfully gorgeous!

[Related Post: Rimes Releases Stunning Ballad To Ex-Husband]