Tag Archives: music


Usually the awardings show is a chance for those who turn up to walk away with a gong, but this year several acts and presenters took is targeted at the President-elect

Give credit to the American Music Awarding for being honest. The depict, which operated its 44 th edition on Sunday night, eschews best accolades, instead honoring favorite artists and songs; nominees are culled from sales , not artistic pretensions, and the wins are determined by online polling. Its objective? To be a blithe celebration of the root word of pop, dedicating awards to artists who show up.

But 2016 isnt a typical year, and Green Day the Bay Area punks turned alt-rock elder statesmen illuminated up the night with a protest of United States president-elect Donald Trump. During a speedy run-through of their rumbling single Bang Bang, from their recent album Revolution Radio, the band inserted a bit of Born To Die, a 1982 single by the Texas hardcore outfit MDC that was updated a few weeks ago; that songs original opening chant, No war , no KKK , no fascist USA, was amended so that it called out Trump.

References to the current political situation peppered the night: Supermodel Chrissy Teigen made a bleeped-out reference to the really interesting, fucked-up, fucking election while she introduced her husband John Legends performance of the anthem-in-waiting Love Me Now, mogul-slash-reality starring Mark Cuban and brassy-voiced Tony winner Idina Menzel cracked gags about not being invited to the inauguration, Sting accepted his Merit Award with a speech calling himself a musical migrant and co-host Jay Pharoah offered up a few wince-worthy Trump impersonations. But for the most proportion, the night remained reasonably on message, showcasing a clutch of the songs that have been predominating radio playlists and streaming-music charts for much of 2016 amidst awkward adoption speeches and cheesy laugh line delivered by Pharoah and co-host Gigi Hadid.

Bruno Mars kicked off the present with 24 K Magic, the lead single from his just-released album of the same name. That tribute to 80 s robo-funk might be in the model of his mega-collaboration with producer Mark Ronson, Uptown Funk, but its represent one of the few big singles this year to have something resembling a heartbeat and Marss infectious energy and performance chops served as a high bar for the rest of the show.

A couple of moments reached the openers energy. Princes sister, Tyka Nelson, devoted a fiery, teary speech accepting the Top Soundtrack award for Purple Rain, which got a sales jolt when the storied pop genius passed away in April. Selena Gomez accepted favorite pop/ rock female artist with an emotional speech talking about her return from the success-borne verge. Fifth Harmony powered through the girl-power anthem Thats My Girl amid post-apocalyptic rubble.

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( Todo Mundo/ Nonesuch)

For those of us accustomed to thinking of David Byrne as an articulator of American anxiety – his band Talking Heads filled the late 70 s and 80 s with jittery art disguised as pop – his latest album, American Utopia , necessitates some readjustment. Sungs like Every Day Is a Miracle skew largely towards the bright side- a matured and thoughtful reaction to the desperation felt by many in the wake of Trump’s presidency.

This being Byrne, one of pop’s most refreshing intellectuals, it’s not as simple as chipper serenity, however. Bullet, for one, is a superficially lovely song about a bullet finding its mark. Everybody’s Coming to My House( stimulated with longtime foil Brian Eno) is a funky workout in which Byrne finds that” we’re only tourists in this life “.

On Every Day Is a Miracle and Dog’s Mind, by contrast, the album reaches peak “quirk”, as Byrne seeks to explain that” the chicken guess in mysterious routes” and that puppies can’t drive. The message might be that, if we acknowledge that the context created by our perceptions is not the same as truth, and re-examine our distress, it might lessen. Yuval Noah Harari posits something not entirely dissimilar about human myths in Sapiens , but with fewer good tunes.

Listen to Everybody’s Coming to My House by David Byrne .

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A reissue of his mid-9 0s album Either/ Or has divided his adherents, but almost 15 years after his death the introverted songwriter is still fascinating new fans

The first time I ever heard an Elliott Smith anthem was in early high school, in Wes Andersons The Royal Tenenbaums, says musician Julien Baker, whose debut album Sprained Ankle pays subtle homage to Smith.[ His] Needle in the Hay is utilized over the climactic scene with Luke Wilson in the bathroom. That scene had a profound emotional impact on me, plainly because of the brutal visual part, but as much because of the cooling, dark simplicity of that song.

That dark simplicity is a hallmark of Smiths work, particularly of his third studio album, Either/ Or, which came out 20 years ago this week and to mark the anniversary, Smiths record label Kill Rock Stars is releasing a remasteredversion of the album with added songs, Either/ Or: Expanded Edition.

For the rerelease, tracks like Angeles and Rose Parade were remastered for the album by Larry Crane, a recording technologist who also serves as the archivist of Smiths recordings, working with his family to catalogue the ballads and demos that he left behind. Elliott would not have exalted remnants of his own past the style we do now, said Crane, whose opinion was echoed by fans who complained about the reissue. But there are only a limited number of things left over and you want to pore through them and insure whats there and how ideas were formed. Cranes archive run has unearthed riches that are included on the anniversary edition, including alternative solutions version of Bottle up and Explode! and Smiths take on I Figured You Out, a anthem he later devoted to his friend Mary Lou Lord to perform.

When Either/ Or originally came out at a time when grunge was still big, Sugar Ray and Smashmouth were hitting the charts alongside the Spice Girls and the Notorious BIG, but Smith made a subtly devastating album employing nothing but fairly guitar chords, carefully crafted chamber-pop arrangements and intimate lyrics. The album has made a lasting impression on musicians and music fans across all genres even Frank Ocean mentioned Smiths influence in the liner notes to Blonde and his fanbase continues to grow.

While Smith died in 2003, his work has lived on in part thanks to Cranes mining of the archives, which disclosed new ways and unreleased demos, as well as a seemingly endless string of cover songs, tribute albums and concerts, a 2009 documentary, the 2015 cinema Heaven Adores You, and even the Silverlake bar that has preserved a chunk of the red-and-blue mural used as a backdrop for the cover-up of Smiths 2000 album, Figure 8.( Its fittingly called Bar Angeles ).

Smith has also been a longtime favorite to soundtrack television indicates and film, like Andersons Royal Tenenbaums and Jason Reitmans Up in the Air. Elliott Smiths voice was an instrument created for scoring film, says Reitman, who used Smiths Angel in the Snow in his cinema. He sings like a gently strummed guitar. His lyrics dont interrupt the on-screen dialogue, but instead they serve as underscore. They add weight and feeling without interrupting the on-screen conversation.

In addition to Reitmans work, Smiths music has been used to soundtrack scenes from TV proves as varied as teen curio The OC, time-traveling late-night cartoon Rick and Morty and Gossip Girl, as well as in movies like American Beauty, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and, perhaps most notably, Gus Van Sants Good Will Hunting. The utilize of Smiths song Miss Misery in that film propelled him into the national spotlight, figuratively and literally, when he performed the song on stage at the Oscars. He didnt win an Oscar, but he won legions of new fans with his understated performance at a show known for being over the top.

Sadie Dupuis. Photo: PR Company Handout

While he has clearly influenced music supervisors, its hard to underestimate the extent of Smiths influence on musicians themselves. Smiths music continues to affect people and shape musicians output. Im still astounded when I hear post-Elliott Smith things, like wow he truly influenced a lot of people, said Tony Lash, a high school friend and former bandmate of Smiths. What attains Elliotts music so interesting is its attention to detail in the lyrics, in the composition and in the production, says Sadie Dupuis, from Speedy Ortiz and Sad1 3. He had an uncanny they are able to pepper introspective emotional observations with visual, evocative props.

I can think of a million recording tricks that are my go-tos that I copped immediately from Elliott Smith albums organs mixed low into the track, drums that come in 20 seconds before the sung ends, double-tracking everything, I could go on and on, said Dupuis. His chord progressions and voicings sound simple enough on first listen, but try playing them yourself and its impossible; he had a altogether brilliant command of guitar and an incomparable style.

I picked up the LP Either/ Or and started listening to it and his other records, said Baker. I can definitely say that being exposed to that music was formative for me as a lyricist and musician. Theres something actually effortless about Elliott Smiths songwriting and how he conveys feelings in simplest terms. Theres so much dynamic in a few dissonant chords, so much poignant integrity in a handful of straightforward lines, and I have always been attracted to and influenced by the powerful bareness of those songs.

It feels like his legacy has grown, his reputation has grown, says Sean Cannon, who runs WFPKs radio show and podcast, The Guestlist. I believe a big part of that is because so many other musicians have sung his praises and said, hey if you like what I do, youre going to love this guy. Plus, its just that good.

To pay homage to Either/ Or, an album he deems a perfect statement, Cannon teamed up with Kill Rock Stars to render a six-part podcast mini-series called Say Yes: An Elliott Smith Podcast. The indicate features interviews with the artists and creators who loved Smith and his songs, including Jack Black, Ben Gibbard, Regina Spektor, Gus Van Sant and the Flaming Lips. Im simply a huge fan of Smith, said Cannon. Im genuinely drawn to specificity in songwriting. Its similar to the way that Morrisseys music is so universally loved is, ironically, because its so specific and so personal and I love that.

Cannon and many, many other people feel like Smiths music spoke to him immediately, like a secret that was for his ears merely. Because of the way he talks about things that are going on, and because of who he is, you feel like you know him through his music, said Cannon.

For his part, Lash, Smiths friend and former Heatmiser bandmate, doesnt think its possible to really know Smith through his music. I think people ascribe more autobiographical content than is really there. There was a lot more to him and his personality than what he put into his songs, said Lash, who supposes the biggest delusion about Smith is that he went through life gloomy and heartbroken. His awesome sense of humor doesnt come through in his music and it was a very important part of his personality, he said. Just taking his music would give people a fairly skewed, narrow sense of who he was.

Whether or not you can ever know an artist through his music isnt nearly as important as if the ballads speak to you if they can help you through a broken heart, or inspire you to call the person you like, or even to finish your workout at the gym. Music transcends the artists biography or even intent, which is part of the reason people dont mind mondegreens, because mishearing lyrics almost doesnt matter if you love a ballad. To crib from Smith himself, new fans may never know him now, but theyre going to love him anyhow.

Elliott Smiths remastered Either/ Or is out on Kill Rock Stars on 10 March

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Everyone has bad days, and everyonehas a style to cope with them.

Some people love to only get outdoors. They’ll go for a walk around the block, get some fresh air and remember that things might not be as deep as they once thought. Theyll are beginning to relax. They’ll recollect totake things in stride.

For others, vigorous workout is the best redres for the blues.Whether it’s after a stressful day at work or a bitter lovers’ quarrel, operating a few miles on the treadmill can usually meltaway the anger.

Personally, Ive never needed much in the way of coping. Music has traditionally been my best medicine. My iTunes library is divided into different genres for my moods. I have jazz to unroll; I have deep tech for a gym workout. I put on sad music when I’m feeling sad and require a pick-me-up.

Music has theunbelievable abilityto affect our moods. And anyone with a passion for music can confirm this.

Certain musicresonates to our very core. But there’s no universally “great”genre; music is such a personal love, anddifferent songs strike a chord for different people. And I’d argue that your savor in music indicates more than your predilections; it provides other people with a look into your soul.Our option oftunes — andbooks, movies and TV indicates — is part of what stimulates us who we are.

But of all the different genres, Id have to say thatsad music — which I mentioned above — may have the greatest impact( at least on me ).

The other day, I watched a friend of mine cry to Adele’s new song.I kid you not: The ballad inspired a physical reaction.After myinitial brief period of shock, I realise I could totally relate toher response( perhaps minus the waterworks ).

Butwhile sad music can definitely bring some peopletotears — as it did for my friend — other people feel its impact differently.

Sad music soothes and pacifies me.When this happens, I always recollect the age-old clich: “Misery loves company.”WhetherIm dealing withheartache or a brief existential crisis, it’s always been therapeutic to listen to Kurt Cobain sing the thoughts inside my head.

And the most recent news in scientific research? Sad music is good for our souls.

According to Anthony Domanico forCnet, sad music was in fact have a profound effect on a listener’s mood.According to a recent study by researchers at the Free University of Berlin, sad music can lift ourspirits and generally has a significant positive impacts on our emotional well-being.

One of the most interesting conclusions that this study induced was about nostalgia. The examine indicated that sad music can make us nostalgic for happier timesand places in our lives.

And in a post forPsychology Today, Krystine Batcho, Ph.D ., a professor at Le Moyne College, explains how exactly nostalgia can lift our moods 😛 TAGEND

By triggering reminiscence , nostalgia can remind us of who we once were, how we overcame challenges in the past, and who we are in terms of our relationships to others, she writes.

She then depicts a line between nostalgia andsocial connectedness.” Apparently, melancholy tunes help us feel less alone since they are dredge up memories of people and experiences from our pasts.( On another token, thinking of pastexperiences and old friendscould stimulate us more sad when discussing our relative loneliness today)

But what is it about sad anthems that seems to be such a describe? According to Batcho, it’s the lyrics.Apparently, the words in sad sungs connect artists and their audiences. Batcho writes 😛 TAGEND

By identifying with the lyrics of a sad sung, a listener can empathize with the vocalist and understand that others have shared experiences of rejection, loss, unrequited love, adversity, or other themes characteristic of sad songs.

Sad ballads help people self-soothe. Generally, hearing someone else’s voice when you’re down in the dumps is enough to lift your spirits even a little. But when no friends are around, a sad song can stand infor someone’s comforting words.

When we’re upset, we often get lost in our own supposes. Sad music helps us connect with something outside of our own spiraling negativity. We empathize with someone else’s both problems and forget our own for a moment.

Though misery might love company, never underestimate how much sadnes also loves a good sad ballad. Next day youre having a bad day, dont look to bring anyone else down — only pick the right song.

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US chairpeople exercise soundtrack features mix of funk, pop, stone and hip-hop, including anthems by Sting, Beyonc, Icona Pop, Forro in the Dark and Courtney Barnett

The US Democratic party have championed Barack Obamas hip and eclectic music savour since sharing the nominees iPod playlist during the 2008 campaign. Now, as the president gale down his final word, hes exposed his curatorial powers extend to a particularly 21 st century preoccupation: the well-crafted workout playlist.

For his guest editorship of Novembers Wired magazine, Obamas team released his exercise soundtrack on Tuesday: a mix of funk, pop, stone and hip-hop, with a few curveballs( and cheeseballs) thrown in.

The playlist shares a few commonalities with his 2016 summer soundtrack: theres a celebration of black artists, a few crowdpleasers( last years Good Vibrations is this years Lets Get It Started ), and even a couple of double-ups independent Australian artist Courtney Barnetts Elevator Operator features on both playlists, as does Nina Simones Sinnerman.

Jason M Peck (@ JasonMPeck1)

Obama’s decision to set the Black Eyed Peas next to Nina Simone is unforgivable. https :// BMtDXiBFKV

October 18, 2016

Jay Z gets another look-in, this time with Drake in 2009 s Off That. Its preceded by Get Me Bodied by Beyonc who featured twice on Michelle Obamas workout playlist, released in 2012.

Also featured is Emergency by Swedish electropop duo Icona Pop a more original selection than 2012 s I Love It, which remains unavoidable in gyms around the world; the Isley Friend funk-filled ode to free love, Live It Up; and, from somewhat out of left field, theres Perro Loco by Forro in the Dark a collective of Brazilian musicians who rework the rural forro music for the club scene of New York.

Obama who hosted his first ever music celebration, South by South Lawn( SXSL ), earlier this month proved himself a master of the mixtape where reference is released the White Houses summer playlists in August to broad acclaim. Speaking with Pitchfork at SXSL, the White Houses first chief digital officer Jason Goldman said the choices are all the presidents: I swear it is him who stimulates the playlists. He has personally selected all of those songs and writes them out by hand. He truly loves a diverse range of music.

In 2015, Obama became the first sitting president to visit Jamaica in more than 30 years. Dropping in at the Bob Marley Museum, he told press hed been a big fan since high school. This might explain the gym playlist inclusion of Could You Be Loved which, much like Stingings If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, may be more befitting of a dawdle than a gym drill. But perhaps its one for the warm-down. The playlist does, however , not include Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper, who were recently invited to his Final State Dinner.

Have a listen to his pickings below.

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The ever-hilarious James Corden has taken aim at Kanye West’s raunchy Fade video forhis latest Late Late Show segment .

Now, if you haven’t considered the video( which built its debut at the MTV Music Awards ), it ensure actress and singer Teyana Taylor “working out”( a lot of thrusting and gyrating) at a gym.

In his actuallypretty spot-on parody, Corden usesthe footage from the video toplay on the fact that Teyana is supposedly in a public gym, and that the other patrons might not be thrilled about her instead exuberant workout…

You can check it out here 😛 TAGEND

If you’re confused about the sheep, then please be comforted given the fact that we are as well.

Next up, check out our charade of Harry Potter …

Image Credits: The Late Late Show

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The singer on her eyebrows, how she dislikes waiting and being late

I usually begin late. I am old enough to admit I have a warped notion of day. The problem is, I hate awaiting. I want everyone else to arrive before me so I dont have to wait.

I like to shade in my eyebrows. When I was younger I never gave my eyebrows a thought, but they have become an issue. I blame my mum, who has no eyebrows. You will know I care if I have pencilled in my eyebrows. If I havent, it is like me saying, I am not impressed with this company at all. It is the equivalent of wearing heels. If I am in heels I am either working or I care. These days I am like, I am not wearing heels. Why would I do that? I used to practically wear them to the gym but Ive only had a baby and I dont care.

I will go to the closet, stand there, with one eyebrow done, take a look, head back to the bathroom, do the other eyebrow; its like when you check the fridge again hoping something else to eat will pop up I wonder if I missed something spectacular that I actually want to wear. And then I will take an hour trying really hard not to wear jeans and I will fail and end up wearing jeans with heels and a jacket. By this time I am super-late so I add a great bag and feel as if Ive made an effort.

I go out all the time in New York when Im there, but living in LA means going out is more of a chore. It is not a night-time place and everywhere is so far. Here, I will work out in the morning and I will end up in workout clothes for the rest of the working day. Whereas in New York you wouldnt catch me dead in spandex and sneakers.

Kelis will perform at Y Not Festival on 29 July and Standon Calling on 31 July


The latest stage production of the 90 s romantic thriller offers up skillful interpretings of Whitney Houston anthems and a pleasingly playful tone

The audience was still chatting and making their route to their seats when the sunlights abruptly ran dark and gunshots echo across the Paper Mill Playhouse on Sunday night. It was startling for a second especially in an epoch where mass shootings are not uncommon but then forgotten as the play began with the aftermath of an averted attack.

The opening scene of The Bodyguard: The Musical, which began its US tour in Millburn, New Jersey, on 25 November, mimicked that of the 1992 movie its based upon almost exactly. But from there the stage version veered into its own music-forward, funny, fast-paced operation. Judson Mills( who acted on Walker, Texas Ranger and, more recently, Westworld) plays the title character, Frank Farmer, a seasoned protector who is reluctant to take on the duty of guarding one of the worlds most well-known pop stars.

In the movie version, Kevin Costners Frank channels Steve McQueen( whom Lawrence Kasdan allegedly wrote the role for in the 1970 s ), all quiet, cool confidence and mysterious weariness. Mills Frank Farmer is equally self-secure, but an extrovert who says things like crystal when someone asks if something is clear. Even when hes delivering lines immediately copied from the film, his easygoing frankness transforms them, garnering laughter from the audience and giving to the self-awareness of the play.

Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in a scene from the 1992 film The Bodyguard. Photograph: Reuters

The thing about The Bodyguard is, the movie was not great not in critical words. It was a rain-day romantic thriller fun to watch for sure, but good? No. The soundtrack, however, was indisputably good. It was a No 1 album for five months, it won a Grammy and its still the best-selling soundtrack of all time. The film was basically a vehicle for the music, but unwilling to admit to it whereas the play owns up to that and then some.

The live show never takes the plot too seriously, unlike the film, opting instead to present a festivity of Whitney Houstons music. With extra Houston anthems packed in, nearly every scene is framed around one of her hittings: dancers in 90 s-style workout gear practise a routine to How Will I Know, three drunk women in a bar do a hilarious karaoke rendition of Where Do Broken Hearts Go( and nail the brief tempo change) and then freak out when Rachel Marron the pop star role with which Houston stimulated her acting debut in the film steps up to sing one of her own songs, I Have Nothing( the play is set in current times which entails, naturally, this moment subsequently becomes a viral video ).

In the musical Marron is played by Deborah Cox, a Canadian musician whose 1998 ballad Nobodys Supposed to Be Here held the record for longest running at number one on the R& B charts until Mary J Blige outstripped it in 2006, and had now been moved on to Broadway, with roles in Aida and Jekyll& Hyde.

Cox seemed slightly unsure at first, perhaps aware of the enormity of playing a role that Houston came to define, but was stronger in the second act, especially when she performed One Moment in Time at a pivotal plot moment and shut out the display with The Big Song, a cover-up of Dolly Partons I Will Always Love You, a ballad that was unavoidable on pop radio and elsewhere in the US for a large stretch of the 90 s. Coxs voice shone simply and beautifully in the ballads a capella intro, standing alone on stage with merely a spotlight then later, after a quick garb change, in a sequin and feather dress on a rising platform. It was a near-perfect performance, save for a few cringe-making romantic visuals of Cox and Farmer on a large screen to buy time for the aforementioned costume change.

The cast of The Bodyguard on opening night. Photograph: Dave Kotinsky/ Getty Images

The demonstrates other notable stars were Jasmin Richardson, who plays Rachels sister Nicki Marron and sang Saving All My Love with a deep, emotional grandeur, and Douglas Baldeo, who plays Rachels son, Fletcher, and has the voice and dance moves of a young Michael Jackson.( Seriously, they should give this kid even more stage hour. Perhaps performing something off of My Love is Your Love ?)

After the final bow, the full casting sing I Wanna Dance With Someone and the already standing audience began to move and with a disco dance party we were delivered back out into the quiet suburban streets on a wintry night.

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Savages bring visceral performance and LCD Soundsystem complete their comeback on a day of guest appearances and anthemic covers

Guest appearances, rising cover-ups and gusty gales were the order of the day for Friday at Coachella where Kanye West and Seal made their way through the sandstorm to provide unlikely cameos.

Seal appeared on stage with LAs R& B curio Gallant to perform Seals reached Crazy, and he assisted Gallant with his way Weight in Gold. While that went down well in the Mojave tent, A$ AP Rockys set, which was delayed and virtually canceled because of the high winds and sand blowing around, watched Kanye make a puzzling cameo. At the end of an impressive set by A$ AP Rocky, in which he ran through recent hittings such as Pretty Flacko Jodye and L$ D with the help of a barbershop quartet, Kanye appeared to play The Life of Pablo track Father Stretch My Hands Pt 1. But his vocals were barely audible and the crowd was instead treated to what amounted to a bizarre mime show.

Earlier in the day on the main stage, Years& Years won over the crowd with their brand of dance-pop featuring defined closer King, while Foalss transformation from skittish indie outliers to full-blown stadium rockers seemed complete with a decide that probably belonged further up the bill.

The Last Shadow Puppet set in the Mojave stood out for the theatrics of Alex Turner, who wore a mustard suit and ran about the stage weaving in between the groups string section while flailing a tambourine in the air. In between switching from thanking the crowd for its generosity, then imploring them for more applause and informing them what key ballads were writes to, the pair indicated the songwriting craft that theyve sharpened on their new album Everything Youve Come to Expect. Charm, however, seems to be a quality that they still lack.

Sufjan Stevenss set was part technicolor sensory overload and portion singer-songwriter masterclass, with dancers and neon decoration that brought a touch of the psychedelic to the desert. With tracks including I Want To Be Well and Impossible Soul, “its one” of the working day standout performances.

On the other side of the spectrum were Savages, who eschewed subtlety for a visceral and lapel-grabbing situate, with lead singer Jehnny Beth putting paid to the idea that the era of the frontperson is over. Walls of noise, feedback and weeping guitars the backing for Beth, who switched between performing in the crowd and rendering slam poetry on Shut Up. Pummelling and unapologetically bruising, the bands live offering is much more than style and overly serious posturing.

Jack U surely wasnt serious. While M83 soothed the crowd with their Imax electro pop, Jack Us set was loaded with more drops-off than a paratrooper regiment, as he remixed and re-jigged anything imaginable( the Imperial March, anyone ?), turning it all into one repetitive EDM showcase that was torturous or joyous, depending on your attitude toward endless wobbly basslines.

LCD Soundsystems headline defined assured them complete their comeback, picking up where they left off in 2011. Under a giant disco ball, they operated through Us v Them, Daft Punk Is Playing at My House, You Wanted a Hit, Tribulations and a brilliant version of Yeah, which descended into an acid home workout. The effectivenes of tracks such as Someone Great was definitely still there, but it was the bands cover-up of David Bowies Heroes and segue into Guns N Roses November Rain that defined their define.

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The Guardian participated in the British singers free five-hour class with top choreographers, after which local dancers were invited to perform at her concert

Tuesday, the greatest day of the quirky British artist FKA twigs 28 years, started in tears and ended in a sweaty dance class with nearly 400 people at the Lithuanian Hall of Baltimore.

Twigs, the critically acclaimed vocalist whose first studio album, LP1, came out in 2014, is currently touring the worlds summer music festivals. But as a former backup dancer who grew up without much money she went to private school on a scholarship but was the poor kid who couldnt afford her peers fancy trips she decided to bring her top choreographers and dancers together for a free five-hour dance workshop in Baltimore, announced on Twitter only 24 hours before it happened.

FKA twigs (@ FKAtwigs) July 18, 2016

free workshop intermediate& advanced level, all styles age 18+ greet. i’ll be inviting dancers to perform at my wharf 6 depict on wed

This is like the best day Ive ever had in my life, twigs told the Guardian afterwards. A crowd of fans, faces glistening from the intense workout and the fact that an international superstar chatted with them for an hour, all nodded in agreement.

Im not Mother Teresa … I hate the phrase dedicating back to the community because its patronizing, told sprigs, who worked as a youth worker teaching sing and arts in the UK after finishing school. Instead she saw it as an exchange of notions, letting talented local dancers to work with top choreographers and for her to check out new American talent.

Her camp will invite some of those dancers on stage at her Baltimore concert on Wednesday at Pier 6, where she will perform with rapper Travis Scott.

This is her first visit to Baltimore, but she says the city has already impacted her personally and politically. She knows what its like to be overlooked having grown up in the lesser known town Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, England.

I woke up this morning and I dont know why, but I felt so sad, branches said. Just cause of everything that is happening at the moment. I get actually affected, Im very sensitive when I go to a place, I feel like I can feel the energy.

Over the weekend 65 people were arrested in Baltimore at Black Lives Matter protests, reignited by the recent police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, black men whose killings were caught on camera. A riot also shut down the city last April, which ended in hundreds of apprehends, looting, fires and police traumata following the death of 25 -year-old Freddie Gray after he was detained in the back of a police van. The highest ranking police officer to participate in Grays death, Lt Brian Rice, was cleared of all charges on Monday and was the fourth officer to be acquitted of charges relating to Grays death.

Monique Watson( far right) with others from Culture Shock DC, a hip-hop dance not-for-profit group, waiting to get into the pop-up dance class. Photo: Amber Jamieson for the Guardian

I was walking around last night in Baltimore, it felt like something, a kind of vibration; I couldnt work up what it was, told branches, raising her hand and shaking it, like an earthquake tremor.

I havent genuinely been sleeping, Ive been on tour, Ive been sleeping like four hours. And then last night I slept 10 hours. And this morning I was just weeping. And then as soon as I walked in here, I was like, Oh, everything is fine, she said.

The Guardian spoke to about a dozen dancers, who all mentioned how rare it was for dancers and music fans in Baltimore to get this kind of free, high-profile possibility and how poorly the city often referred to as Bodymore, Murderland, with local tourist hats declaring Theres more than murder here! requires more positivity.

Nobody comes to Baltimore. It[ twigs workshop] shows that people do attaches importance to us and they do appreciate Baltimore, said Mia Yarborough, an 18 -year-old student and cafe worker.

FKA branches leading the dance workshop. Photo: Jamie-James Medina

Baltimore resident Chris Andrews, 22, constructed it through to the top 30 dancers on season 12 of So You Suppose You Can Dance and runs full day as a dance educator and dancer in the city. I was here when the riots were happening, I did clean-up in the mornings. Insuring this is huge, its so good, Andrews said.

So much has been going on in this Maryland region and all over the country, I personally felt like I required this workshop to stoke the flames within me for my elation and imagination, told Triston Smith, 23, a poet from nearby Prince Georges County, who drove more than an hour to come to the workshop.

A line formed at 3pm, with people waiting outside in weather that exceeded 90 degrees. By the time the workshop started at 5.30, dancers were having friendly popping and voguing battles.

The crowd was a mix of professional and semi-professional dancers, as well as others just looking for something to do on a Tuesday afternoon. For many, the chance to perform on stage with twigs was the big describe, but twigs stated at the outset this was not an audition but instead a safe space for people of all skill levels to dance and express themselves.

In the beginning, its a little bit banshee and theres no space and its a little bit hot and the fans arent running, but then I realise none of that matters because were all here looking after one another spirits, twigs said.

That didnt stop Jade Sky, a 21 -year-old dance teacher and musician from Toronto, from jumping on a bus and traversing the border as soon as she heard about sprigs workshop.

Shes my favorite, the only person I would do it for, said Sky, who was aroused to insure sprigs perform on Wednesday. Hopefully Ill be dancing, but either way Ill be there, she told the Guardian before the workshop. An early standout, Sky was asked to come back tomorrow and perform on stage. She even seems, on the left wearing a striped top, in a photo branches posted on Instagram.

Baltimore dance workshop .

A photo posted by FKA twigs (@ fkatwigs) on Jul 19, 2016 at 8: 46 pm PDT

The choreography gradually get more difficult, with this reporter be permitted to embarrassingly shuffle through the first two dance sequences including much jumping, body rolls, squatting and crawling across the ground but admitted defeat in the last sequence, taught by Ramon Baynes, who hasworked with Beyonc, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears.

After muddling our way through the choreography, dancers would then perform in groups, with several from each group chosen for the final round, amid everyone cheering one another on and freestyle dancing.

Unsurprisingly, this reporter was not selected for the final rounds or to dance in twigs indicate but about 13 or 14 dancers were invited to perform Wednesday and will rehearse with choreographers before the concert.

I wish more artists would do stuff like this. A plenty of people cant afford to pay for the training, told Monique Watson, 21, a dancer and student from the University of Maryland who told class like this are common in Los Angeles or New York but not in Baltimore.

Twigs is usually regarded as mysterious and eccentric, thanks to a combination of her sartorial edge, other-worldly music and dancing. But as she continues to gain mainstream reputation shes appearing on the August cover of Elle magazine she hopes to make this one-off workshop a more regular event.

Im so happy that it turned out exactly how I wanted it to be. Imagine if no one came, thatd be so awful; I was like, I want to do a dance workshop! and everyones like Nah, its cool, twigs giggled.

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