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Punk On The Rocks: The FEST 9 Set To Rock Gainsville, FL This Halloween

Still looking for Halloween weekend plans? Look no further than The FEST. Now in it’s ninth year, this weekend long punk rock bender is set to put the “rock” in “Gainsville, Rock City” this October 29th, 30th and 31st.

Past FESTs witnessed mosh pit pizza, trashed hotel rooms and surprise band reunions. Who will be on hand for this year’s madness? With 15 venues and over 280 bands, I think a better question might be “Who WON’T be there?” This year’s line-up has something for everyone, whether you prefer straight up punk, hardcore, folk-punk or even metal:

Cobra Skulls, Defiance, Ohio, Franz Nicolay, High On Fire, Joey Cape, Junius, Kylesa, Laura Stevenson and The Cans, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, Municipal Waste, O Pioneers!, Planes Mistaken For Stars, Sainte Catherines, Smoke Or Fire, Strike Anywhere, Teenage Bottlerocket, Suicide Machines, The Menzingers, Tim Barry, Touche Amore, We Are The Union, A Wilhelm Scream, Bomb the Music Industry—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

FEST veterans The Flatliners will also be returning to the fray this year. Check out the band performing “Run Like Hell” at FEST 8 in the video below!

As if all that weren’t enough, there will be a flea market filled with booth for record labels, design companies, non-profits and more, along with an art show featuring artists who’ve worked with Less Than Jake, This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb, Blondie, Fake Problems and Blacklist Royals.

Will you be at The FEST? Who are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments!

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Gordon Pinsent reads excerpts from Justin Bieber memoir

Get your LOLs right here, folks. First up, a memoir written by a 16-year-old. Ha! And, it’s entitled “First Step 2 Forever.”  The laughs don’t end there. Here’s a video of the esteemed actor Gordon Pinsent doing a dramatic reading of Justin Bieber’s riveting tome. Enjoy—we did.

Alicia Keys gives birth to Egypt

Not the country! That would be sooo 3150 BC. Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz (born Kasseem Dean) welcomed a baby boy this week named Egypt Dauode Dean. May he grow up to become a very successful pharaoh.

The Bad

Glastonbury Festival shelved for 2012 due to toilet shortage

We wouldn’t wish more port-a-potties on anyone, but this does give us pause. England’s Glastonbury Festival has been canceled for 2012 due to the Olympics taking place in London that same year … and the ensuing toilet shortage. Athletes are such loo-sers.

Kanye’s album cover art banned? He wishes.

Kanye West is a legend in his own mind. But he may also be a victim in his own mind as well. The rapper griped on his Twitter page that Wal-mart had censored the cover art for his upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Tweeted the rapper: “So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they [sic] cover but I can’t have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings.” Oh the injustice! Is it too much to ask for a man to be left in peace with his armless polka dot monster? IS SOCIETY SO INTOLERANT—what’s that? Wal-mart didn’t censor the cover? Oh. Uh, never mind. As you were.

The Ugly

Cantankerous singer pegs bottle at Mumford and Sons

Mark E. Smith of the band The Falls was getting ready for his set at a Dublin music festival when a terrible caterwauling struck his ears. Next door, the hugely successful English folk band, Mumford and Sons, was warming up. “I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers,” Smith explains. So, understandably, he threw a bottle at them to encourage them to silence their plaintive yawping. The bottle fell short of its target and Mumford and Sons went on to sell one trillion records.


Q&A With The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem is a band forging a combination of rock, punk, blues and folk while staying true to the standard “Jersey rock” sound. The band’s second full-length album The ’59 Sound, put them on the mainstream map, garnering comparisons to Bruce Springsteen. The Boss himself has joined The Gaslight Anthem onstage a few times which lead to the band earning support spots on some of Springsteen’s shows, including direct support at the 2009 Hard Rock Calling Festival. While they’ve enjoyed a good deal of success both on and off the stage, they’re still staying true to their humble roots. This year, they released American Slang, continuing to mark the band’s road towards defining their own style of Jersey rock. OurStage got in touch with lead guitarist Alex Rosamilia and he shared his perspectives on the groups success and approaches in the studio.
OS: Your sound is an eclectic mix of rock, blues and punk. Can you pin point one or two early influences that you think really caused this?

AR: Personally, I would have to say that my earliest influences were bands like The Cure and The Smiths, and other bands of that sort.  When I first started playing guitar, I was obsessed with effects. Even now, my delay and reverb pedals are on constantly.

OS: The Gaslight Anthem has often been compared to Springsteen and he even jumped onstage with you guys a couple of times. What has the band taken away from working with “The Boss”?

AR: To be honest, I wouldn’t really consider it “working” with “the Boss.” Not to say that playing with Springsteen wasn’t one of the most amazing experiences of our lives; but when your onstage even when time slows down, it’s still only 3:09 of your life. I don’t know about you, but it is a bit hard to learn anything in 3:09…

OS: Having been to a bunch of GLA shows, it seems that the band always manages to create a “small-town” environment. How do you pull this off now that you’re headlining large venues?

AR: I think the motive’s still there. I don’t think that even though the places have gotten better that the emotion is any different.  We still treat the crowds the same.

OS: When you’re touring through all these amazing cities, where do you find yourselves after the shows?

AR: In all reality, after the show we’re usually traveling to the next one.  We’re not really a “party group”.  We leave all of that to “Donutz”.  Unfortunately, I can’t disclose his real name.

OS: The ’59 Sound was received with a lot of critical acclaim. Did this create pressure for you guys when writing/recording American Slang to create an equally successful follow-up?

AR: At first, but after a while we decided it was best if we made this record for us.  The same way we always did. After that, things started to run a bit smoother.

OS: The band has mentioned that American Slang deals with “personal things.” Is there any one song that speaks best to this concept?

AR: It’s really the whole album. There isn’t a part that I think is more than any other….

OS: It seems that the band’s sound has really evolved and finally solidified with this latest studio release. Is this where you think you’ll stay moving forward for future releases?

AR: We’ll always keep changing. There are very few bands who can write the same record twice.  It really helps a band, I think, to keep adapting.

GLA is currently in the thick of the fall tour.

10/21 -Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK

10/22 -Southampton Guildhall, Southampton, UK

10/23 -O2 Academy, Bristol, UK

10/24 -Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK

10/26 -E-Werk, Cologne, Germany

10/27 -Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany

10/28- KB, Malmo, Sweden

10/29 -Brewhouse, Goteborg, Sweden

10/31-Debaser Slussen, Stockholm, Sweden

11/2 -Tavastia, Helsinki, Finland

Want To Be Featured On MTV? Enter In The MTV Score SKINS Music Project Competition

The MTV “Score SKINS Music Competition” Competition kicks off today, October 21st, giving artists nationwide a chance to get their original music featured on the upcoming MTV teen drama SKINS. At the end of the month, the show’s music supervisors will select five artists from the music channel to be featured on an episode of SKINS, which will be broadcast to millions of viewers nationwide! The competition is open to submissions from artists in the rock, pop, urban, singer-songwriter, electronica, dance and instrumental genres until November 21st. Judging for the MTV “Score SKINS Music Project” Competition also begins today, so be sure to head to the channel today and decide which artists you think should make it to the top. For official rules and competition information click HERE.

Soul Searching: Sock on the Door Playlist

Welcome to our first Soul Searching special! Ever have one of those moments with that certain someone when you think to yourself, “I wish I had some jams to make this moment a bit more romantic,”? Well, OurStage has got you covered. We have some seriously talented artists ready to sing their hearts out and set the mood you need. Take a listen to the playlist below and let us know what you think. Got a better song to add to the list? Comment on the post below with a link to the song! To view the full playlist, click the musical note on the player.

The Theatrical Hip-Hop Revolution

Despite signs that the revolution is under way, cultural elitists scoff audibly at the mention of hip hop vis-à-vis theater, musical theater and opera. In fact, the revolution began long ago—some say with the Greeks and surely with Shakespeare—and long before New York Times critic Bruce Weber’s 2002 declaration that “the force of a culture ever more influenced by youth and diversity is beginning to turn the battleship of American mainstream theater.”

When The Seven, Harlem-born rap actor and playwright Will Power’s hip hop version of Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes premiered on the West Coast two years ago, one critic—a self-proclaimed “old, middle-class white guy”—argued that hip hop is too vernacular a style to have any connection to the theater. Another critic said it was audacious and inventive and called it “…part theatrical graffiti-tagging…that blows potent life into the ancient story.”

Successful examples of revered classic theatre influencing modern American theater are evident in Puccini’s La Bohème, which provided story line for Jonathan Larson’s 1994 Lower East Side rock opera, Rent; and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet setting the stage for West Side Story—which has been infused with more current Spanish vernacular by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Stephen Sondheim for its current revival. The potent Broadway success of Miranda’s 2008 musical, In the Heights, further heightened interest in musicals that either incorporate hip hop or utilize the genre as it’s vehicle for story-telling. Just recently Londoner’s met up with a West End phenom, hip hop dance troupe ZooNation’s Sondheim take, titled Into the HoodsAn Urban Fairy Tale with music by Gorillaz, Massive Attack, Basement Jaxx, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and Black Eyed Peas, among many others. Just two weeks ago an a cappella musical, In Transit, opened at 59 E59 Street Theatres. The only accompaniment is a beat box.

The revolution is everywhere. In the past decade left coast audiences entered the hip hop woods with pieces like Will Power’s The Seven, self (the remix), written and performed by Robert Farid Karimi with live soundscapes by DJ D Double; and, still playing before slack-jawed audiences at the staid Old Globe in San Diego, known mostly for Broadway transfers and the classics, is Kristoffer Diaz’ Lower East Side play, Welcome to Arroyo’s, which employs two onstage DJs, hip hop, graffiti and a whole lot of uncommon “language.” Thousands of San Diego kids will see Arroyo’s before it closes in November thanks to a three-year James Irvine Foundation grant that supports a three-year Globe residence project in Southeast San Diego. Last year’s production was Aaron Jafferis and Ian Williams’ hip hop/rock musical, Kingdom, which incorporated true stories of young men caught up in a cycle of violence.

Photo by Henry DiRocco. GQ as Nelson Cardenal and Wade Allain-Marcus as Trip Goldstein in "Welcome to Arroyo's" by Kristoffer Diaz, at The Old Globe San Diego.

Regional theaters, play- and musical-development festivals and producers nationwide are jostling for discovery and development of the Next Big Thing, and hip hop is right there, contending for dominance, even though grand opera lags behind. Perhaps a young composer will be inspired by MTV’s ground-breaking 2001 telecast of Carmen: A Hip Hopera, based on Bizet’s opera, set in Philly and LA, with Beyoncé Knowles and Mekhi Phifer.

Founded in 2000, the Hip-Hop Theater Festival is dedicated to igniting dialogue and social change throughout the performing arts. Not every show needs to include the four basic elements of hip hop—a DJ, graffiti-based visual art, break-dancing and an MC or rapper. The festival emphasizes the importance of language, story, vibe and relevance to today’s world. In a 2005 essay titled “Towards a Hip-Hop Aesthetic,” festival co-founder Danny Hoch asked, “What happens to hip hop’s aesthetics when they are mixed with the aesthetics of recognized art or when the venue moves from street to stage?”

Hoch’s fear is that hip hop art at not-for-profit venues will become highbrow and distant from its intended audience and that theaters will hoard the grant money without really serving the community. “What happens when hip hop moves into the opera house, and we still don’t own the opera house?” he further asks. Just as gentrification changes the hoods that birthed hip hop, it’s inevitable that the assimilation of hip hop into mainstream theater will change hip-hop. Nothing will stem the tide of revolution and cultural elitists might stop denigrating hip hop, which will become an accepted art form, sadly in a slightly different form.

By Charlene Baldridge

Charlene Baldridge is a theatre and music critic based in San Diego.  She boasts numerous national credits include Playbill, Stage Bill, American Theatre and Opera News. Charlene is a registered lyricist, and member of BMI.

Kings of Leon ‘Come Around Sundown’

Evolution can be a very languorous process. Except when it comes to Kings of Leon.

The band’s fifth studio album hit stores Tuesday, coming off the heels of their smash Only By The Night, which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard charts in 2008 and catapulted the band to official rock star status. The singles “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” only further enhanced Caleb Followill’s, the band’s poster boy, reputation as a lothario, prone to wild flirtations with the shadier side of life.

But that was then. Darwin’s theory has taken hold and Come Around Sundown represents a new Kings of Leon.

Take “The End,” the track that (ironically) sets the record in motion. As frontman Followill explains, “It sort of comes in one piece at a time, that’s always a good way, it sort of layers itself, to start a record.”

That faintly apoplectic track creeps up quietly. Yet soon enough, the song becomes a choke hold that pushes listeners on to a musical tilt-a-whirl that while at times is vertiginous, never strays too far from the band’s real gimmick: the ability to take straight up chords, catchy, comfortable beats and familiar, radio-blasting rock, filter it through their Tennessee sieve—and quickly emerge with something totally unexpected.

It doesn’t always work. The thing is, what makes Come Around Sundown nearly impossible not to listen to, is that more often than not it does.

“The End” doesn’t end by throwing itself off into an abyss; rather it actually finishes with a smile on its face. It’s almost as if the track is setting up listeners for what’s to come, much of it faintly reminiscent of artists from the ‘70s (think Steve Perry or Don Henley), who knew how to make people love a song, connect them to a specific point in time in their lives.

That quality makes for some of the more transcendent tracks. “No Money,” “Beachside” and “Birthday,” all are songs that recall sultry summer days, an aimless cruise around town with a pack of friends in the car, windows open, radio blasting. And “Back Down South,” a nod to Nashville and the band’s Franklin, Tennessee home, is a southern spin on a Springsteen anthem if ever there was one.

But the Followills can’t seem to simply let go and let the day take them away.

“Mary,” a track Caleb recalls as “something I was writing while drunk in my house,” plays as such. The song is there, but the band can’t seem to exactly find it and consequently, restraint is lost. The electric guitar and the song take a battle of the bands turn and things get a little out of hand.

Still, it’s hard not to listen—and be forgiving.

Laying down the “Mary” track, which was written at the beginning of Only By The Night and the “Sex on Fire” single craze that followed, show the band is comfortable in its skin, more than ready to embrace its own historic rock ‘n’ roll evolution.

Kings of Leon

Come Around Sundown (RCA)

Track list:

1. The End

2. Radioactive

3. Pyro

4. Mary

5. The Face

6. The Immortals

7. Back Down South

8. Beach Side

9. No Money

10. Pony Up

11. Birthday

12. Mi Amigo

13. Pickup Truck

By Neal Webster Turnage

Neal Webster Turnage is a Los Angeles writer whose work appears frequently in many national and international consumer magazines.

Tune Up: Caring For Your Guitars

Many guitarists send their instruments in for repairs and setups, so we’re devoting this week’s Tune Up column to giving pointers on guitar care and offering suggestions for when to have them. . .wait for it. . .“tuned up”.

Storage and Environment

One of the biggest mistakes guitar owners make is where they store their guitars. If you’ve worked at a music store or spoken with any of the repair technicians, you know how many guitars (particularly solid wood acoustics), have come in with warped tops and separated bridges. This is an expensive fix (often several hundred dollars) because it requires the technician to completely remove the bridge, straighten out the warped top then reattach the bridge. So, in order to prevent this, make sure you store your guitar in its case whenever possible in a room within the ideal humidity range. While this range differs from instrument to instrument, most guitars should be fine within a level between 40 and 70%. Above or below this range can cause problems for the wood and result in warping.

If you live in a house or apartment where you don’t have any “ideal” room options as far as humidity management, there is an alternative. Many providers sell acoustic guitar humidifiers that you fill with water and place on the guitar (often right into the sound-hole opening). You can also use one designed for violins or cellos called a “Dampit”. When kept wet and inside the case with the guitar, the guitar is kept in a decently humid environment. Be sure to check the humidity charts often supplied with these accessories.

Intonation and Setups

For guitar owners, action, playability and intonation are common concerns. Many guitarists like low action (strings being pretty close to the neck) so that the instrument is easier to play. Others, however, prefer high action so they can play the guitar really hard without buzz (for more rock-oriented settings). While one can adjust the “bend” of the neck by twisting a hex nut at the end of the truss rod (often located at the base of the neck or where the head meets the neck), we recommend bringing the guitar into a repairman or music store to have them adjust the neck as part of a setup to eliminate the risk of damaging the guitar.

This brings us to the concept of setups and intonation. First of all, you may know that tuning a guitar’s strings will put the open notes in tune. But, if you fret higher up on the neck, you may notice that the string is out of tune. This is because the guitars overall intonation is off. This can be caused by a number of factors including the saddles on the bridge or grooves in the nut of the guitar. You can adjust this yourself, but it is difficult. Therefore, we recommend bringing your guitar to a service that does setups. Buy some new strings and know what type of action you want. Once given this information, the guitar tech will be able to return your guitar to you in great playing condition.

How often does a guitar need to be set up? This all depends on the amount of playing that is done and the manner in which is is done. A touring guitarist will probably need a setup on their guitar at least every few months (most guitar tech’s on tour know how to do quick truss rod adjustments and intonation checks). For the average guitarist, we’d recommend whenever you feel that one is needed. If the action isn’t to your liking, or you find a lot of intonation issues, then the guitar probably needs a setup.

At the end of the day, the most important thing about guitar care is longevity and playability. If there is cosmetic damage, don’t worry (unless you’re a collector). Keeping it in tune, intonated and safe are priorities. Storing guitars at the right humidity level and getting them set up appropriately will give you a guitar that lasts as long as you need it.

Want To Meet The Goo Goo Dolls? Judge In The SUBWAY FRESH ARTISTS Competition Now!

Want to meet GRAMMY Award-winning band the Goo Goo Dolls? Here’s your chance! The “SUBWAY FRESH ARTISTS™” National Finals Competition is giving artists across the nation a shot at opening for the Goo Goo Dolls on upcoming tour dates. By judging in the competition on OurStage, not only are you helping up-and-coming artists grab the spotlight, you’re earning a chance to win a meet and greet with the Goo Goo Dolls and 2 tickets to see the band perform live! But hurry, judging for the “SUBWAY FRESH ARTISTS™” National Finals Competition Channel ends on October 30th. For official rules and information head to the official competition page HERE.

Behind the Mic: Why Bands Need YOUR Help to Stay Healthy

Musicians without health insurance can run into huge problems on the road. When they get sick or injured, many of them simply can’t see a doctor because they can’t afford treatment.

FMC's survey, "Taking the Pulse"

According to a recent study by the Future of Music Coalition, 33 percent of the 1,451 musicians polled said that they did not have health insurance. Eighty-six percent of those people said that the reason they aren’t insured is because they can’t afford it.

Luckily, there are some organizations working to make health care accessible for musicians. The FMC created an online tutorial program called HINT (Health Insurance Navigation Tool) and also offers free consultations over the phone.

Rock for Health founder Kristina Grossman

Another group trying to gain awareness for this problem is Rock For Health, a non-profit organization created by Kristina Grossman, a former Warped Tour employee. Grossman found that when she got strep throat while on Warped Tour with Bayside, she had an incredibly difficult time getting proper medical attention. Grossman claims that doctors took one look at her tattoos and piercings and automatically assumed she was “non-compliant” (i.e., unable to afford a consultation). Grossman was eventually given attention, but only after having her mother, who is a practicing nurse, speak with the doctors.

Free health care for Every Avenue, courtesy of Rock for Health

The experience both infuriated and enlightened Grossman, who took a proactive approach to raising awareness for a problem affecting her friends and co-workers. Rock for Health was born in attempts to educate and advocate for musicians on health care issues. They are always accepting donations, which are used to fund benefit shows, health care fees and research on the effects of singing and touring on musicians’ vocal chords.

RFH also helps to raise money directly for artists’ health insurance by holding auctions for fan prizes. In this way, fans can help sponsor health care for their favorite artists, which have included Every Avenue, Set Your Goals and OurStage artist NeverShoutNever.

Donating to health care organizations such as Rock For Health will help keep your favorite artists healthy, happy and ready to rock. For more information on current health care plans, visit


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