Wednesday, August 6, 2014

If You Are Going To The On The Run Tour At AT&T Park

Beyonce, Jay-Z
Photo Credit: Robin Harper / Life And Times

Expect quite a treat. I was lucky to be at the show for night one in San Francisco, and I am still mesmerized by what I saw.

Beyonce as a solo artist is powerful beyond words, so is Jay-Z, but together … well, together they are DYNAMITE on stage. One thing everyone noticed was that the rumors on their possible divorce could be palpable on how they delivered certain songs of the repertoire.

Bey got emotional when she performed “Why Don’t You Love Me,” oh and when she belted out JT’s part of “Holy Grail” – EMOTION GALORE! “It's amazing I'm in this maze with you; I just can't crack your code. One day you screaming you love me loud, the next day you're so cold. One day you're here, one day you're there, one day you care, you're so unfair…” Beyonce also delivered out of this world performances of "Ex-Factor" (by Lauren Hill), and when she performed “Resentment” everyone was glued to their seats, letting Queen Bey get sentimental.

Jay-Z was a bit less effusive, but when “Song Cry” came on, that’s when you knew he was letting it all out… “I can't see 'em comin down my eyes so I gotta make the song cry…” He even changed part of the lyrics to say “I can’t see ‘em coming down HER eyes so I gotta make the song cry…”

Photo Credit: Robin Harper / Life And Times
There were two key moments from the show, one was how throughout the time that they were on stage together you could sense the tension. But, the most heart-breaking moment was the encore-medley of “Forever Young” and “Halo." The giant screens on stage showed clips of their (private) wedding, as well as clips of Blue Ivy from where she was born to now that she is a toddler. Jay-Z embraced Bey as they were both singing, and looking at the screens. Their feelings were noticeable, Bey was teary-eyed, and Jay-Z looked slightly somber. 

Listen, I witnessed their 2010 Coachella performance of “Forever Young” and it was nothing like what I witnessed at the On The Run Tour. No lie, I started crying! You could tell what a beautiful family and marriage they used to have, and how it was crumbling right in front of our eyes – the rumor mill is most certainly true.

The music aspect and the production were incredibly impressive – both Beyonce and Jay-Z are quite the performers/business/money makers. As a friend said: “Beyonce gave Jay-Z class, and Jay-Z gave Beyonce the hustle and street cred that she needed.”


Monday, August 4, 2014

I’m Not The Only One – No, You Are Not Sam Smith

By now you all already know my downright obsession with Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour is quite possibly one of my favorite albums, say the BEST album of the year. The lyrics of every single song from the album are relatable, as we all have experienced unrequited love, being cheated, and heartbreaks.

The video for the song I’m Not The Only One is perfection! Not only are Dianna Agron and Chris Messina the subjects in the video (as husband and wife), but the story line behind the song is quite heart-breaking. Dianna as the devastated wife being cheated on by Messina, who seems careless as to how his actions are making the marriage crumble.

Sam Smith’s music truly speaks to every fiber of our hearts, this is a fantastic video! 

"You've been so unavailable, now sadly I know why. Your heart is unobtainable, even though Lord knows you have mine..."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Video That You Must Watch: Ojos Color Sol

Calle 13 can do no wrong, whether it is a song with a political message “Multi Viral," a collaboration with another band “No Hay Nadie Como Tu” (featuring Café Tacvba.) Or, giving us “the feels” with their powerful love songs like “La Vuelta Al Mundo.”

Well, they of course have done it again, with the simplistic yet enchanting video for “Ojos Color Sol.” And, with cameos from Gael Garcia Bernal & Maria Valverde, well, this is a bonafide smash hit!

I personally cannot wait to sing along to this song, and luckily for fans, Calle 13 will bring Gira Multiviral to San Francisco on October 10th – make sure to get your tickets, as this show will sell-out!

And now, go on and watch the video, because... a three minute long kiss that’s why.

"Abriste los ojos y el sol guardó su pincel, porque tu pintas el paisaje mejor que él..."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Yes Hilary Duff I Also Want To Be Chasing The Sun

I cannot even contain the excitement that Hilary Duff's new single brings to my life. It has been way, way too long since she released any catchy-essence-of-pop songs. While I consider myself to be a music lover, pop holds a special place in my muscle of blood.

I had listened to a leaked version of "Chasing The Sun" and I was mighty disappointed, but then, Hilary Duff mended her ways, and the official video was released. This first single, while not on the same ranks as a song by Adele or Mariah Carey, is definitely a catchy summer anthem. Listen, I sit behind a desk for eight hours a day, and since I watched the video the first time; I caught myself singing along to: "It's like the clock is always racing, but my time is not for wasting, someone else can do the chasing… Cause I'm chasing the sun…" I most definitely appreciate the message!

Here's what I love about Hilary Duff, while she might have been away from the music business for over six years, she did not forget the sound that made teenage and college girls fell in love with her. Because, let's face it, you used to watch Lizzie McGuire, "So Yesterday" was the break-up anthem that you dedicated to your high school sweetheart, and you most certainly knew the lyrics to "Come Clean" because Laguna Beach was your guilty pleasure. I cannot be the only one, right? RIGHT? 

Well, I KNOW that I am not the only chick excited on having Ms. Duff back in the music land -- the single is out now on iTunes and amazon

Monday, July 28, 2014

Peep At The Newest Oakland Resident

The city of Oakland has become a ‘prime' destination for foodies, art lovers and nightlife aficionados. It is not surprising that it was ranked one of the top five places to visit – as noted by the New York Times. VOGUE also mentioned Oakland in one of its ‘culture' articles as a city to visit.

With so much buzz surrounding what is flourishing around the city, savvy peeps are taking note, and in the blink of an eye there are new business ventures opening up. The downtown & uptown neighborhoods have especially been attractive to business owners – there is an abundance of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and art galleries. With so many options, there truly is something for everyone's taste.

One of the newer businesses that graced Oakland is Pure, an apparel-rare-to-find-kicks store. The business is already causing a stir all throughout social media – with over a 1,000 ‘likes' on facebook, a growing following on both Instagram & Twitter, and glowing reviews; Pure is shaping to be a new favorite. A satisfied customer wrote on Facebook: "Dope people and customer service was immaculate."

Photo Courtesy Of: PURE

Pure is located in the heart of downtown, a few blocks away from the 19th Street BART station, right off 17th Street & Webster. The GRAND OPENING is happening this Friday August 1st – with such a busy location, the ‘First Fridays' festivities are the perfect opportunity to introduce the newest Oakland resident to Oaklanders and Pure's counterparts.

So, ‘sneaker heads' of the Bay REJOICE! This First Friday when you are out and about checking out the art shows, and walking around deciding where to eat and what to drink – stop by Pure and score yourselves some fly new kicks.

Check out Pure's facebook, Instagram & twitter.

Sponsored Post

Saturday, July 26, 2014

West Coast Night With The Neighbourhood

West Coast, Sweater Weather, Afraid
Photos Courtesy Of: Adrian Jusue
It never fails that the few occasions when I go to a show, as merely a fan, my writer instinct kicks in and I start itching to get home and write a review. And, that is exactly what happened after attending night one of The Neighbourhood's concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

The city of Oakland was lucky enough to be the last stop of El Blanco Tour (the United States part of it), and the band has had such success that the show sold out and they had to add a second night. The band brought along two fantastic opening bands, White Arrows and Bad Suns – both from LA, just like the guys from The Neighbourhood. 

Let's talk about Jesse Rutherford, and his unpredictable choice of outfit – basketball shorts, a band tee, and a leather jacket. While slightly odd, it worked, and two of the other guys follow suit with the ‘shorts' theme of the night.

The concert kicked off with "Female Robbery," Jesse's voice echoed throughout the Fox, and the young crowd of mostly female fans went wild! Shortly before "W.D.Y.W.F.M.?" Jesse addressed the crowd saying that this song was dedicated to all of the ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends – and the fans could not wait to sing along to the tunes of "Maybe you're right, maybe this is all that I can be, but what if it's you, and it wasn't me? What do you want from me? What do you want from me?"

The band also performed "Honest" which served as one of the songs from the Spiderman 2 soundtrack. One of the highlights of the night was when the band performed "West Coast." Jesse once more addressed the crowd, and talked about how, out of all of the tour stops California has been the best with Oakland being the third California city from the tour – the rendition of the song was an acoustic version, which let the lyrics of the song shine through… "I was the one who wasn't coming from where they're coming from. I speak poetically, and never pride my ignorance, but this California shit is rigorous, They say it's happy here, happiness is figurative. I'm happy 'cause of me, doesn't matter where I'm living."

Towards the end of the concert, the band introduced the first single off their new soon-to-be-released-album Black And White – the name of the single is "Dangerous."

The concert could not come to an end without the band's rendition of "Sweater Weather" and the encore being "Afraid." Because, let's face it, what's better than a sold out crowd singing along to "Keep on dreaming, don't stop breathing, fight those demons, sell your soul, not your whole self. If they see you when you're sleeping, make them leave it, and I can't even see if it's all there anymore so…You're too mean, I don't like you, fuck you anyway, you make me wanna scream at the top of my lungs. It hurts, but I won't fight you, you suck anyway, you make me wanna die…"

Seriously, if you don't know about The Neighbourhood, this review is the perfect opportunity for you to get to know them – while the concert was short, it was definitely sweet!

Friday, July 25, 2014

I Love You. The Love Collection

"I was the one who wasn't coming from where they're coming from. I speak poetically, and never pride my ignorance, but this California shit is rigorous. They say it's happy here, happiness is figurative; I'm happy 'cause of me, doesn't matter where I'm living..."

"What a mistake, saying the way; I felt I'd say my main influence is myself. And cause I started young, I learned a ton. I didn't run, la da da da da da. I was scared as fuck and out of touch, and I was still testing my luck, oh..."

Because If Yonce And HOVA Are Over…

Yonce, HOVA, Drunk In Love, Partition, Forever Young
Photo Credit: Rob Hoffman / Life And Times

Then there is really no hope left for us single mere mortals.

The universal consensus amongst most of my single friends is that we look to "successful" relationships or marriages as a typical guide as to what we want in our own personal lives. Yes, sometimes those come our way via famous people (possibly a terrible example), while others come via other friends or family members.

A friend and I will be going to the On The Run Tour in two weeks, and we could not be more excited – sadly a gray cloud dumped on us a few days ago as rumors surfaced on how Jay-Z is "allegedly" cheating on Queen Bey with designer Rachel Roy (reason behind Solange going cray-cray on him at the Met Gala), and how he is also "supposedly" keeping singer Mya as his side chick. 

"They are just rumors Azu," says my friend. But, as with all high-profile couples, there is always some truth to the rumor mill.

I have always been fascinated with Beyonce and Jay-Z, not only as artists (their music have influenced the younger generation of up-and-coming artists), but their private life has also been fascinating as well. From the moment they started dating, their romance has been on the limelight, and they somehow managed to be coy about it, and that in itself has brought a mystery as to how, when, why, where their romantic and financial empire was built.

I mean, how can Jay-Z cheat on Beyonce? This is a legitimate question people! Aside from physical beauty, she is a savvy business woman, a devoted mother, family oriented, and quite the talented singer as we all know. As another friend told me, there could be a million possibilities as to why he is "cheating." Obviously, if true, we the ordinary folks will never really know.

And so, that begs the question – if someone as beautiful, smart and talented as Beyonce gets cheated on, what hope is there for us single "girl next door" women of the world? A few weeks ago I was telling my friend how over the moon I was to be going to the show, to see them both live, to literally breathe Yonce's air. In an alternate universe, I honestly believed that her and her amazing love story could bring some good "dating juju" (if you would) to my ill-fated and often pathetic dating life. 

I remember when I saw them both at Coachella in 2010, their rendition of "Forever Young" was short of pure magic. You could see their love magically transpire through their harmonious voices, the love was felt in the way he looked at her, and she looked at him. For the duration of that performance, I got a glimpse of what a real and legit love looked like. I was there, front row, being crushed by the masses who wanted to make it to the front of the stage and experience what I was feeling.

If they do split after the tour is over, then what? Sure, there is a lot of money at stake. They both have managed to build a joint empire of unimaginable proportions. But, aside from the financial aspect, there is a baby girl who will have to grow up with her parents being divorced (as someone coming from divorced parents, IT SUCKS!) 

And, for us single ladies who semi looked up to their fantasy-perfect relationship – our idea of love will be forever crushed. If them being successful, and so in love couldn't keep their marriage together. Then, the common folks are doomed! Relationships and marriages take time, understanding, communication and trust. The lack of one, two or all of the mentioned most definitely break a twosome.

One thing I know, in order to protect my already disastrous dating karma, the day of the concert I will be carrying my invisible oxygen tank which will be the perfect accessory to the HOT outfit I already plan on wearing - lord only knows that I don't need the bad "dating juju." In the words of the great poet Jay-Z… all I need in this life of sin is me, my friends and my hot outfit. 

Photo Credit: Yosra El-Essawy / Life And Times

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Electropop Night With Belanova

All Photos Courtesy Of: Claudia Guzman
It has been four long years since Belanova toured in the Bay Area. And, this past weekend, they more than made up for the time lost by having three shows, two in San Francisco and one in Oakland. Belanova performed at a gay club in San Francisco this past Saturday night, and they were the headliners of the latin stage at Pride festival on Sunday.

But, their three day stop did not end in San Francisco – on Monday, the band had an unbelievable show at Oakland’s The New Parish. Fans gathered at the venue, anxious to finally see the return of Belanova to the stage.

Lead singer Denisse Guerrero looked flawless when she got on stage – dawning a crop top, high waisted shorts, and a retro bandana inspired hairstyle. The fans went wild! There was a cluster of people who had been standing in the front of the stage for about two hours, while others chose to take a view in the upstairs part of the venue.

The curiosity was increasing, what song would start off the show? And, the opening song did not disappoint, as Belanova decided to go with "Rosa Pastel" – and, if you are a true Belanova fan, well, you most certainly know the lyrics by heart.

Denisse engaged with the audience, she talked about how certain songs of the repertoire for that night’s show were of significance for the band, and put them on the music map. One of those songs was “Me Pregunto” from their 2006 album Dulce Beat.

The concert at The New Parish was an absolute success, and it did not matter that it was a Monday night. The setlist also had a vast variety from Belanova’s discography. Some of the songs included: “Mariposas," “Cada Que," “Tus Ojos," “Aun Asi Te Vas," “Baila Mi Corazon'" and  “Por Ti.”

Credits: Jaffe Events

Friday, June 13, 2014

So, It’s Official! I’m In Love With Sam Smith!

Yes, I know most of you have known about Sam Smith from that contagious collaboration with Disclosure on the track “Latch.” And, while I love that song, and “La La La” which he collaborated on with Naughty Boy – the song that got to the chords of my soul was “Stay With Me.”

You see; if you are anything like me, certain songs or lyrics, represent your current state of mind, or that of your heart. Perhaps it’s been broken, let down, or recovering from unrequited love. Whatever the case may be, Smith’s debut album In The Lonely Hour will speak to your muscle of blood. 

And, while the album does not debut in the US until June 17th, our friends over at NPR scored a streaming version for us to enjoy, and, TRUST me when I tell you this – you will want to buy the album IMMEDIATELY!

I have been playing the album all day (seriously!), and as I type away, each track reveals to be so relatable! such great melodies, such heart-felt lyrics.

Ahhh! The track “Not In That Way” talks of that unrequited love – how many of us have fallen for someone who simply didn’t want us? Or have changed their minds about wanting to be with us. Well, Sam Smith knows your struggle! “And I hate to say I want you when you make it so clear you don't want me…” Or, how about the track “I’ve Told You Now” ….. “But why the hell, why do you think I come 'round here on my free will? wasting all my precious time…” 

Amazing albums are hard to come by nowadays – artists rely so heavily on the “technical” aspect of an album, that they often forget that what is important is the content. Thankfully, Sam Smith came to the rescue! In The Lonely Hour is a gem from beginning to end! At 22, Sam is wise beyond his years!

He will be hitting the road, and his show at the FoxTheater in Oakland is officially SOLD-OUT! (let’s hope a second date opens up.) He is the HOTTEST ticket around since Lorde made her debut.

I leave you with the video for the song “Stay With Me.” In The Lonely Hour comes out on June 17th, available on iTunes & Amazon

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