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Top 10 rock festival performances of all time

- April 10th, 2013

INDIO, California — Music festivals can be a make or break proposition for an up-and-coming band, or a big attention grabber for those who are already filling big venues.

We all remember last year’s edition of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival when hip-hop heavyweights Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg made headlines around the world when they rapped with a hologram of late rapper Tupac Shakur (see below).

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There’s been a myriad of performances over the years that are still talked about by music fans.

With the desert sun ready to rise at Coachella this year, here’s our list of the most memorable festival concerts at various music events:

10. Oasis, Toronto Virgin Music Festival, 2009

After putting on a solid early showing, festival closers Oasis were the victim of a party crasher four songs in. A Pickering, Ont. man, who apparently hid underneath the girders of the stage for most of the day, came out and pushed guitarist Noel Gallagher into his own monitor, resulting in a separated shoulder. He soldiered on, however, playing a few more songs before having to bow out.

9. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, Coachella 2012

Tupac rose from the dead in hologram form and performs “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” It has now become fodder for the fest, with everyone wondering who the next deceased star will be to get the projection treatment.

8. Green Day, Woodstock 1994

The punk trio was already causing a bit of a stink with their debut “Dookie,” but it was a mud fight in Saugerties, N.Y., that made them a household name. With cheap hair dye jobs and a defiant attitude, the band playfully incites the folks in attendance with quips like “how are you doing you rich mother***ers?” and “I hope it rains so hard you all get stuck!” When an audience member chucks a chunk of grass at frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, he in turn sticks it in his mouth, and eventually throws it back into the crowd. Cue the mayhem and a long career.

7. The Who, Woodstock 1969

The Who didn’t exactly embrace the hippie counterculture movement at the time, however, they showed up to the now legendary festival and gave a dark, high-intensity performance that was in stark comparison to most of the acoustic-playing artists on the bill. And as an early indication of Pete Townshend’s no-guff demeanour, political activist Abbie Hoffman attempted to address the masses during their set, and he promptly booted him. “Get off my f***in stage!,” he said. Good ol’ Pete.

6. Radiohead, Glastonbury 1997

With their now classic 1997 album “OK Computer” just in stores, Thom Yorke and the gang break out the early hits and mix up tracks from the well-received disc. The crowd feeds off their energy, and the usually straight-faced frontman is all smiles, as if he knew that this was a key moment in the band’s career.

5. Janis Joplin, Monterey Pop Festival 1967

It will be forever known as her coming out party. Joplin, a relative unknown, appeared as a member of Big Brother and The Holding Company, blew everyone away with her intense set, topped by a snarly version of “Ball & Chain.” The set ends and the camera pans to Mamas & the Papas star Mama Cass mouthing, “wow, that’s really heavy.” The band were immediately signed to a contract after the show.

4. U2, Live Aid 1985

The eager Irish foursome were on the cusp of superstardom, and already had a arena-sized following after the release of 1984′s “Unforgettable Fire.” The powerful showing at Bob Geldof’s Ethiopian famine relief benefit put them over the top. Frontman Bono, during an extended version of “Bad,” pulled a woman out of the crowd and danced with her briefly. The incident caused a frenzy at the front of the stage, but connected with the millions watching. It also caused the band to skip the third scheduled song, “Pride (In the Name of Love),” because they went over their allotted time.

3. Stones, Altamont, 1969

This is memorable for all the wrong reasons. It was dubbed as the official end to the “Peace & Love” generation. In what was supposed to be the Stones version of Woodstock, the vibe of this free concert turned dark when, earlier on in the day-long rock festival, Jefferson Airplane’s lead singer Marty Balin was punched and knocked out by a member of the Hell’s Angels, who were inexplicably acting as security for the event (for a reported $500 worth of beer). As the Stones hit the stage, the tension increased, and during “Under My Thumb,” a scuffle broke out which resulted in the stabbing death of a 18-year-old man.



2. Jimi Hendrix, Monterey Pop Festival 1967

We all know him now as one of the most influential guitarists of all time. But in June of 1967, a clearly stoned axeman played to a large — and also very stoned — U.S. crowd for the first time. The reaction on the faces in attendance is priceless – some with their mouths wide open, and some just tripping at the set they’re taking in. It all culminates in Hendrix’s now-infamous guitar burning finale.



1. Queen, Live Aid 1985

There’s no better example of a frontman having the crowd in the palm of his hand than Freddie Mercury at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985. In what will go down as one of the greatest live performances in rock history, the English rockers breeze through a six-song greatest hits set in rapid fire succession. Mercury, acting as a choirmaster, leads the 72,000 in attendance in an unforgettable sing-along.

Do you have your own favourites? Add them in the comment section below!

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Radiohead will begin work on new album in September

- February 14th, 2013

Good news, Radiohead fans – the band is planning to record a new album. The bad news? They aren’t starting it until September.

Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood, in an interview with BBC Radio, said the band are on a brief hiatus before they start firing up the engines again.

radiohead

“We’re taking some time out whilst people are doing some other stuff, doing their own things, and the plan is to get back together again [at the] end of the summer,” Greenwood said.

The band’s last album was 2011′s “The King of Limbs.”

Frontman Thom Yorke is currently busy with his side project Atoms For Peace, which includes Radiohead’s long-term producer Nigel Godrich and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.

Their debut, “Amok,” is released in North America on February 26.

The most memorable Grammy performances

- February 7th, 2013

Rihanna. Frank Ocean. Taylor Swift. Alicia Keys. Jack White. These are just a few of stars that are set to potentially shine on stage for the 55th annual Grammy Awards Sunday night.

So what better way to prep for the biggest night in music than by running down some of the most notable performances ever on the big awards show.

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As you will see, not all of the infamous ones on this list were because the artist killed it. Some lip-synched. Some (soy) bombed. Some were jaw-droppers. And some just plain awesome.

Here’s ten that made the grade for differing reasons:

Madonna/Gorillaz/De La Soul, “Feel Good Inc.”/”Hung Up,” 1996

If anyone asks what the first ever hologram band was, you can tell them it was Gorillaz. The cartoon group teamed up with De La Soul (who aren’t even mentioned) and Madonna for a mish-mash of musical samplings which culminated in an unforgettable Grammy showing.

Radiohead, “15 Step,” 2009

Thom Yorke and co. pulled out all the stops by bringing along the USC Trojan Marching Band for the 2009 Grammy Awards. With all the people on stage, it could have been a disaster but turned out to be a match made in heaven.

Bob Dylan, “Love Sick,” 1998

Bob Dylan was in his glory after taking home the 1998 Grammy for Album of the Year for “Time Out of Mind,” but it was an attention seeker that will always be remembered during his performance. A shirtless man with the words “Soy Bomb” painted on his chest began gyrating around the stage in a bizarre dance, while an unfazed Dylan played on. The man, later known as Michael Portnoy, was escorted away by security after about a minute. It was later revealed that he was hired to dance behind Dylan during the performance, but changed the plan. So what does “Soy Bomb” mean? “Soy represents dense nutritional life,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “Bomb is, obviously, an explosive destructive force. So, soy bomb is what I think art should be: dense, transformational, explosive life.”

Alrighty then…

Marvin Gaye, “Sexual Healing,” 1983

It was the year and moment that soul legend Marvin Gaye’s comeback was complete. After being hitless for years, Gaye turned up the heat on this night, putting in a stellar performance of “Sexual Healing” (despite some feedback), and taking home two Grammys to boot. Sadly, a year later, he was shot and killed by his own father after an argument at the family home.

Milli Vanilli, “Girl You Know It’s True,” 1990

They’ll always have their night in the Grammy sun. They “sung” in front of millions and right after, took home the award for Best New Artist. You know the rest.

Trust me, watching the video is worth the effort once you see the priceless reaction on Ozzy Osbourne’s face after it’s over.

Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror,” 1988

Michael Jackson was known for his over-the-top performances, but on this night, it was a stripped down and moving rendition of his hit song had the audience on their feet.

Eminem/Elton John, “Stan,” 2001

This much-hyped (and gripping) duet had tongues wagging at the time. Slim Shady was being targeted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation due to his homophobic lyrics, and had actually protested outside the Grammy Awards in 2001 because of his participation. What’s the best way of thumbing your nose at the protests? Get Elton John to help you out.

Tina Turner/Beyonce, “Proud Mary,” 2008

Tina Turner and Beyonce teamed up for a blistering rendition of the Creedance Clearwater Revival song, blending two different generations of soulfulness. No Ike needed.

Pink, “Glitter in the Air,” (2010)

Pink gets her Cirque on by getting wrapped up in a sheet, getting soaked in water, and getting high in the sky.

Kanye West/Jamie Foxx, “Gold Digger,” 2006

The twosome get the usually conservative star-studded audience out of their seats for this high-energy version of a tune that usually gets the party hoppin’.

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