Slipknot Will Tour Unmasked When This Happens

by Noiz 7. February 2015 09:28

Slipknot Will Tour Unmasked When This Happens

Slipknot will tour unmasked when… wait for it… wait for it… hell freezes over.

To put it another way, Slipknot will tour without their masks when they’re booked to perform the Super Bowl halftime show.

The octet will tour mask-less when American Idol has “Slipknot Week.”

Slipknot will tour sans disguises when The Smiths reunite.  Now that’s forever!

In a recent interview, Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor said:

“No.  I don't think you'll ever see a Slipknot 'unmasked' tour.  Everybody asks me that, and it's such a part of what we do, and it helps us really embrace the music that we make.  I couldn't see that happening.”

Bands say a lot of things that they later recant.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility that in the future, Slipknot will tour and will do so without their masks. 

Despite that possibility, I still don’t think we’ll ever see a bare-faced Skipknot on the concert stage. Their masks are such a big part of who they are as a band.

You’ll get to see that for yourself this summer when Slipknot launches a 27-date trek of North America.  “Summer’s Last Stand” begins July 24 at the Cruzan Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Their sojourn concludes Sept. 5 at the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, Texas.

Look for Slipknot concerts at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York; at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado; and at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Texas.

On Aug. 4, Slipknot visits Mansfield, Massachusetts for a gig at the Xfinity Center.

The band is touring to support their fifth studio album, .5: The Gray Chapter.  The opus dropped in October of 2014 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.

Joining Slipknot on the road will be Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine, and Motionless in White.

Masks are as much a part of Slipknot as reinventing her image is a part of Madonna.

Detractors view the masks as gimmicks, something that irks Taylor to no end…

“…And to everyone who thinks that [the masks are] just a gimmick, live in it and you tell me it's a gimmick, you sh**heads.”

I think the masks are a gimmick but I don’t think gimmicks are necessarily a bad thing.  Every popular artist that wishes to sell albums and concert tickets has a gimmick. 

Even not having a gimmick is a gimmick.

Most gimmicks are positive, interesting, or at the very least, innocuous. 

You want to know a bad gimmick? 

For their upcoming tour, U2 is booking a multiple of at least two shows in each city they visit.  Then they are programming each of those two concerts differently to try and entice fans to buy tickets to both nights.  Now that’s a gimmick and it’s far worse than any mask.

For the most part, gimmicks help sell the fantasy.  That’s right, besides live and recorded music, artists also sell fantasies. 

For some artists, the fantasy is just playing great music.  For others, it’s much more.  Beyoncé sells the fantasy of being a fierce diva.  Jimmy Buffett sells the fantasy of wasting away in Margaritaville.  Jason Aldean sells the fantasy of living the cowboy outlaw life.

Musicians may not transport us to worlds that are as far away as the ones in the movies, but they take us to different addresses nonetheless.

In Slipknot’s case, they take us to a fantasy world that’s scary but real; that’s gloomy but optimistic.  We are encouraged to bang our heads and dive off stages.  Slipknot shows us chaos.  We all need a little chaos in our lives every once in a while.

The masks play a huge part in Slipknot being Slipknot.  That’s why they can’t take them off.  They can grow and mature.  They can experiment with different sounds (which they do) but they can’t ditch the disguises.  That would be like Lady Gaga ditching the extravagant outfits or Kanye West ditching his huge ego.

The masks aren’t just meant to sell Slipknot tickets and garner page visits for music Web sites.  The masks hide the wearers’ identity while also revealing something about them.  That’s why they’re a legitimate gimmick.

If the musicians of Slipknot want to tour sans their usual masquerades that’s fine, but they better use a different name on the marquee.

A Slipknot tour without the masks wouldn’t be a Slipknot tour.

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Kevin Hart And Craig Ferguson Who Should You See Live

by Noiz 2. February 2015 16:31

Kevin Hart And Craig Ferguson Who Should You See Live

They are not only two of the biggest names in comedy; they are also two major celebrities.

This year, when they’re not making movies or televisions shows, Kevin Hart and Craig Ferguson will be on the stage making people laugh.

Independently of one another, Hart and Ferguson are both embarking on comedy treks in 2015.

Kevin Hart’s tour is called “What Now.”

Craig Ferguson has dubbed his outing the “Hot and Grumpy Tour.”

If you can only see one of these comedians this year who should it be?

The answer is Kevin Hart.

As things stand now, the two tours don’t intersect.  Hart’s next date isn’t until late March while the last gig on Ferguson’s docket is March 14.

While they have a few broad geographical areas in common the only city they are both scheduled to visit is Las Vegas.

Hart will play the big room at the Mandalay Bay on May 24.

Ferguson is booked at The Cosmopolitan on March 13.

Obviously, there’s nothing stopping you from seeing them both—in fact, you should see them both.  They are not only insanely hilarious but seeing them live will give you bragging rights.  Decades down the road, you can boast to your grandkids that you saw Kevin Hart and Craig Ferguson live and in their prime.

Unfortunately, schedules, budgets, and life get in the way.  That means for many of us, we have to make a choice; we have to select one comic or other.

In picking between Hart and Ferguson, you have to go with Hart (that’s assuming one or the other gentleman isn’t already your favorite entertainer).  Hart is a bona fide movie star and the most successful stand-up comedian of his generation. 

If you HAVE to pick one, you have to pick Hart.

Kevin Hart is Eddie Murphy.  Craig Ferguson is David Lettermen.  Hart is Saturday Night Live.  Ferguson is Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Hart has appeared in dozens of films including Think Like a Man, Ride Along, Top Five, and Think Like a Man Too.  Hart’s two stand-up comedy concert films—Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain—are the genres fourth and eighth highest grossing releases of all-time.

Ferguson hosted The Late Late Show from 2005 to 2014.  While he was host, he led the program to its highest ratings (the franchise started in 1995 with Tom Snyder).  Ferguson starred in The Drew Carey Show and currently hosts the Celebrity Name Game.  He’s also written two successful books.

As far as their stand-up acts go, Hart has a more universal appeal.  He’s relatable, hip, and energetic.
Ferguson is likable too but eccentric, irreverent, and inventive. 

Hart is more of a traditional comic whereas Ferguson is more of a storyteller.  Still, Hart will tell a story and at times Ferguson can sound like a typical stand-up comedian. 

Despite Ferguson’s television background he does work blue.  Hart does too.

To further contrast the two comedians, Hart is very short—he’s five feet, two inches.  Ferguson is nearly a foot taller—he’s six feet, one and half inches.

If aliens landed on Earth and wanted to know what a stand-up comedian is like, you’ll take them to see a Kevin Hart show.  If you’re looking for an evening of laughs, but want something different, you’ll get Craig Ferguson tickets.

Besides being funny, the two men have another thing in common.  They are both extremely hard workers. 

Hart has four movies coming out in 2015 and 2016. 

Ferguson may have stepped away from “The Late Late Show” but he has signed a deal with Lionsgate Television to produce scripted and unscripted television series.  Although tabled for the time, Ferguson is looking to launch a nationally syndicated talk show.

With their busy schedules don’t expect Hart and Ferguson to come to your neck of the woods on a regularly basis.  Definitely seize the opportunity to see either one of these funny men live.  Both are in their prime and both have interests away from the stage.

In the future, Hart and Ferguson will be performing less, not more. 

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Rush Touring To Celebrate 40th Anniversary

by Noiz 30. January 2015 10:47

Rush Touring To Celebrate 40th Anniversary

On Jan. 22, Rush made a huge announcement.

The Canadian rock trio, responsible for such hits like “New World Man” and “Tom Sawyer,” is hitting the road to celebrate its 40th anniversary. 

Rush’s Anniversary Date
I think a band’s “anniversary date” is the day they release their first record.  With a few notable exceptions, who cares about an artist before they started releasing music?  In Rush’s case they released their first single in 1973 and their first album in 1974 (Rush formed in 1968).  So why are they celebrating the big 4-0 in 2015?  Well, Neil Peart joined Rush in July of 1974 and the first album with him on board, Fly by Night, dropped in 1975.  As you can see, a band’s anniversary date is not an exact science. 

The upcoming Rush tour will be the 21st of the band’s legendary career.

Their trek, which has been christened “R40 Live Tour,” will visit 34 cities in North America between May 8 and Aug. 1. 

The tour opens in Tulsa and ends in Los Angeles (at The Forum).  Major stops on their itinerary include Dallas, Texas on May 18; Atlanta, Georgia on May 26; Chicago, Illinois on June 12; and Boston, Massachusetts on June 23.

Rush tickets will be collected at Madison Square Garden on June 29.

Final Tour?
The band has not said this is their last tour, but they have said it will be their last big outing.  On their Web site, during a post announcing their upcoming jaunt, they wrote that this is likely to be “their last major tour of this magnitude.”

I like the way the band is handling what could be their last major trek.  They’re not saying it IS their final outing nor are they signing a legal document promising never to tour again (à la Motley Crüe).

They’re just being honest. 

They don’t know what the future has in store for them.  In the coming years, maybe they will play 20, 30, or 40 dates, or maybe they will book nothing but festivals and one-offs.

Of course, they never had to verbalize any intentions to quit.  Whenever a band hits the road to celebrate their 40th anniversary you pretty much assume that if it’s not their last tour it’s close to it.

Rush’s Set List Challenges
One of the challenges Rush will have for their upcoming tour is selecting a set list.   It’s always difficult for a 40-year-old band to pick the songs they’re going to play in concert but now Rush has the added dimension that this may be the last time they ever rock large arenas.

“We’ve already gone through a couple of different set list scenarios. We’ve been doing some editing, dropping some stuff.  We have an idea about how we want to approach it, in terms of the whole show from front to back.  We’re working on these production ideas.”  — Alex Lifeson

>>Should Rush only play their biggest hits?
>>Should Rush include their favorite deep cuts?
>>Should Rush cater their set list to hardcore fans or those of the casual variety?

Those are questions the members of Rush will need to answer before embarking on their anniversary expedition. 

Rush By The Numbers
So, just how daunting of a task is it to select a set list for a 40th anniversary tour?  Let’s look at the numbers…

Rush has released 19 studio albums. 

Combined, those albums contain 165 tracks. 

Keep in mind that I’m counting works like "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres,” which contains six parts and takes up an entire side of an album, as one song.

They’ve released two singles that haven’t appeared on an album and in 2004 they released an 8-track EP of covers (Feedback).

If you add all that up you get 175 songs.  

A Rush concert generally contains around 20 to 25 songs.

That means at most, Rush will play one-seventh of their catalog.  For every one song Rush includes they have to exclude at least six.

Their 19 studio albums average 8.6 tracks.  The album with the fewest number of tracks is Hemispheres.  It only has four.  Vapor Trails and Snakes & Arrows are tied for the most.  They each have 13.

Vapor Trails is also the band’s longest playing album.  It has a running duration of one hour, seven minutes, and 15 seconds.

If Rush was to hold a concert in which they played their entire catalog it would last nearly 15 and half hours.

Taking the numbers a little further, 175 songs in a 40-year career means a new song every 83 days.  That doesn’t sound like much but look at it this way: 175 songs in 40 years means Rush recorded an average of just under four seconds of music every day.

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5 Ways Motley Crüe Can Escape Their No-Tour Clause

by Noiz 29. January 2015 14:00

5 Ways Motley Crüe Can Escape Their No-Tour Clause

I get it but I don’t get it.

Motley Crüe is currently in the midst of their final tour.  And by “final” I mean for all time, eternity, until the end of mankind.  Their farewell performance is set for Dec. 31 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.  Until then, they have several shows planned for North America. 

Come 2016 and beyond, Motley Crüe will tour no more forever.

To prove they really mean it, the members of Motley Crüe signed a “cessation of touring agreement.”  That’s a legal document stating that if the band does tour after 2015 they could be sued.  By whom and for how much remains to be seen.

Artists have announced finales before only to have toured again—The Who and Cher come to mind.  I understand Crüe’s desire not to be one of those acts.  I appreciate their quest for integrity. 

On the other hand, touring is so lucrative I can’t believe Crüe can realistically say they’re finished with selling concert tickets.  Even though the quartet has been rode hard and put away wet during their notorious career, they still have a few good touring years left. 

Will Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil be able to say “no” to a tour in 2017 or 2018 when a boatload of money is floated in front of them?

I say no.

If I’m right, the band will need a plan of action for when they break that legally binding document they signed (in front of a lawyer by the way) and hit the road. 

Below, I lay out five ways Motley Crüe can return to touring in 2016 (or beyond) and not have to worry about being sued.

1. Tour Using a Different Name
This is the most obvious and simplest way around their blood oath.  Instead of “Motley Crüe” on the marquee, rename the band “The Crew” or “Lee, Mars, Neil, and Sixx” or “Crue Motley” (I’m just spit balling here). 

To further sell the notion that it’s a different group, the new incarnation can pepper their playlist with covers. 

This will probably happen.  Conventional wisdom says Mick Mars, who might be approaching 64 (it depends on which birthday of his you use), will bow out the next time the band warms up the tour busses.  When that happens the remaining three members won’t want to perform under the name “Motley Crüe.”

2. Tour As A Solo Artist
One member can launch a solo tour and use another as an opening act or backing band member.  Then, lo and behold, at the end of every night they’ll be joined by the other two members for a quick set of Motley Crüe tunes.

This route seems unlikely as three of the four members of Crüe will have to swallow their egos.

The upside to this idea is it will be a lot easier to promote a Vince Neil tour or a Tommy Lee tour then it will be to promote an outing by the band under a new name.   

3. One-Offs
I haven’t read the document, but let’s assume it says “no touring” while not mentioning anything about performing a concert.  Therefore, Motley Crüe can get around their ironclad pledge by performing a series of one-off concerts and booking a number of festival appearances.

4. Motley Crüe The Revue
Instead of Motley Crüe taking the stage and performing a set as a rock band they could bring along a bunch of similar-minded musicians and perform as sort of a hairband revue. 

Something like what Ringo Star does with his All-Starr Band.  Ringo will sing a song or two and then have one of his All-Star band members perform a track.  For example, Motley Crüe rocks "Kickstart My Heart" then Sebastian Bach sings "18 and Life" (again, I’m just spit balling).

This format makes an eclectic and nostalgic night of music but it is a way for Crüe to perform their most popular hits for their fans without actually launching an official “Motley Crüe Tour.”

5. Screw The Document
It’s Motley “f-ing” Crüe.  They are bad boys.  Heck, they’ve literally killed people.  Breaking a signed document that says they’ll never tour again wouldn’t even come close to being the worse thing they’ve ever done.  They can launch a tour and when fans call them out they can just shrug their shoulders and say “That’s rock and roll.”

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