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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Comeback vision relies on love and art, not life, for magic

When you're Jheri curl deep in the creative process toward Michael Jackson's comeback, it's difficult to fathom the show won't go on.

You believe it could happen as much as the dancers, the musicians and the 50-year-old man himself. You're invested in the steam of The Way You Make Me Feel, the message of Earth Song, the drive of Billie Jean, the "simmer," Michael's subconscious smiles as he remembers the electricity of a live audience...

Then, after two hours of thrill, reality rolls in with the credits: the optimistic young dancers have lost the job of their careers, the King of Pop is gone, and the show's director spent four months with 80 hours of footage of his late friend to give us a taste of this one-of-a-kind artist's final dreams.

I would have loved this movie had it been five minutes long. I'm an 17-year fan. Moviegoers who don't like live shows or Michael's music will be bored.

But if you've ever felt awed by the talent of this man, intrigued by his showmanship or moved by his jams, go.

The film's footage was recorded exclusively for Michael's personal library, we learn, and wasn't meant for our eyes. Knowing that makes the following moments feel oddly prolific, and frames the rest as a rare, honest portrait of the eccentric superstar.

But director Kenny Ortega's tasteful compilation does not exploit Michael's death a moment. Emotional bits feed on pure joy. Ortega's voice often booms from the control room, making sure his performer feels equipped to do his job. And for his difficult life, Michael is silly, gentle and humble, one moment demanding a certain rhythm to fulfill his vision, the next saying "it's all for love, L-O-V-E," and completely genuine.

Anyone wanting a freak show will not see one here. The film is driven by the music itself in its naked rehearsal form: a Jackson Five medley, Wanna Be Startin' Something, Human Nature, Thriller, and so on, merely touching on later, less successful works for the diehards.

The artist had been seeing this vision for years as he raised his children, watching the world spinning without him in the spotlight. Now Ortega, who saw it through Michael's eyes, passes the vision to his fans through digital renderings, costume and stage show discussion, and 3D clips filmed for the screen onstage.

The ease in forgetting the show won't happen means Ortega did his job.

Perfectionist Michael wouldn't have wanted the world to see him perform anything short of 100 percent. But his estate and his fans hope he'd understand. When he turns on the dance, even his creme-de-la-creme dancers go crazy. And as often as he conserves his vocal cords - begging the crew's understanding, please - MJ sends his voice soaring into the rafters as it used to, as so few popular voices do these days, hitting each note with love and anticipation of a new audience.

I do believe this is his comeback still.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guilty anticipation for a man's accidental finale

Don't tell my bosses, but I streamed the live press conference announcing Michael Jackson's "This Is It" concerts here at work.

What can I say? I was ecstatic to hear him after years of silence.

Though I remember frustration as the giddy singer repeated again and again:

This is it, the final curtain call.

My final show performances in London.

When I say 'this is it,' it really means this is it.

He left the stage saying little more than that, and I wondered whether he was back on drugs. Then, immediately, why he seemed so sure.

Turns out, it really is.

Today delivers the most anticipated bit of King of Pop nostalgia in recent history - the film cut from 80 hours of his final rehearsals, "This Is It."

Michael died three weeks short of the 50 sold-out concerts he was developing for London audiences. Sony scooped up the concert promoter's mostly high-definition rehearsal footage, filmed from March to June, for $60 million in August.

This fan bought her advance tickets the day they came out last month and snapped a picture of them with her iPhone moments later. In the four months prior she'd also taken pictures of her TV as it scrolled "Michael Jackson dead at 50" and received calls and texts of condolence from friends and family as they learned the news in real time.

That day, with that news, I felt a total numbness until my younger sister, Julia, who I call Jooge, rang and tearfully blurted, "You'll get never get to see him now!" She'd remembered my lifetime goal, set at age 10, to see Michael live in concert before I die. Only then did I finally shed tears over the loss of our childhood idol.

The Jackson Five were the first musical act Jooge and I discovered without our parents' influence, making them special. Like millions of others, we grew up on the stuff of Thriller, then graduated to Dangerous and HIStory with Michael's career. When all else fails, even today we recite lines from "The Jacksons: An American Dream" and laugh. We're sisters, yes, but our shared admiration of this art has united us beyond that, as friends with a common interest.

We immediately decided to see this movie together.

As I write this I wonder if she remembers seeing Michael's "Ghost" in the theatre in 1997. I do. I was 12, and our mom drove us quite a distance to find a theatre that was showing it. Mom even let us stay for the headliner, Stephen King's "Thinner," our first rated-R movie.

"Ghost" flopped like so many of Michael's later works, which I often say only fans can love. (I own a bootleg copy on DVD.) But "This Is It" has already heralded unprecedented worldwide sell-outs of premiere showings, stellar reviews, and excitement from even those who couldn't reach him later in life, his brothers.

Now the showing Jooge and I will attend is fewer than two hours away. Holding our tickets in my hand, feelings are busy and mixed. They oddly call the movie MICHAEL in place of its title...

The film we'll see, in bits and pieces, was the sculpture of a craftsman, showman and arguable visionary, whatever you think of the way he led his life. Even if he didn't have the final say in its content, his fingerprints are all over it. It's a tentative excitement, a guilty one, feeling charged for a movie about your favorite artist's final days.

And he'd so longed to reclaim success on the merits of his performance. And he'd so longed to delve into cinema as an extension of his art.

If my sister and I are caught crying in public tonight, it's only because Michael taught us to be unapologetic about our passions and true to ourselves. With a child's heart, it's his art we most honor tonight, followed by the impression he's left on our adulthood.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Find the showing nearest your home by calling (877) 488-4258 or visiting (Get a feel for the movie itself by visiting the above site, moving your mouse over Videos and viewing Cue That.)

John Nolan: Height

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

John Nolan has gotten the short end of the stick.

His former band Taking Back Sunday is living large after releasing three gold records (one of which he was a part of) and the band’s fourth album debuted at No. 7 on the billboard charts in June. It was their third straight album to debut in the top 10 on the billboard charts (the other two debuted at No. 3 and No. 2.) Earlier this summer they headlined The Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey, along side 50 Cent, in front of 30,000 people.

I love TBS and am very happy for their success, but it is clear that Nolan was the mastermind behind the group’s first and by far their best record, Tell All Your Friends. He penned most of the lyrics and provided about 30 percent of the vocals. The band hasn’t been and probably never will be the same since he left in 2003.

In 2004, Nolan formed Straylight Run with his sister Michelle Nolan, former TBS bassist Shaun Cooper and former Breaking Pangaea drummer Will Noon.

The band got off to a promising start just because of Nolan and Cooper’s affiliation with TBS but Straylight Run had a difficult time holding audiences with a style that was significantly different than TBS. It was much softer and more piano driven. After two albums, Straylight Run was dropped from their major label, Universal Records.

To add insult to injury, his own sister left the band.

On top of all this, Nolan’s former best friend, Jesse Lacey, the lead singer of Brand New, is living off his own band’s success as their new record, Daisy, just debuted at No. 6 on the billboard charts as their popularity continues to soar.

That leaves Nolan virtually by himself.

Nolan has kept busy on the Web throughout the past year, still releasing music digitally with his unsigned band. He also created a unique and satisfying fan collaboration contest where he allowed fans to send him instrumentals and he provided the vocals, all the songs from that project were released free on his Web site.

On Tuesday, he released his debut solo record, Height.

Height doesn’t sound much different from a Straylight Run record, although there are no female vocalists. Nolan’s wife however does contribute on the album as she plays piano on many of the songs.

Since leaving TBS, as I noted earlier, Nolan’s musical style has become more easy-listening, softer and often times upon first listen, his music comes off as boring.

When I first heard Straylight’s second record The Needles, The Space, I was so disappointed I put it on the back burner for months. I found it unfulfilling with no substance. Now I feel it is one of the more underrated records to be released in the past four or five years.

The feeling is similar after listening to Height for the first few times. It comes across as sort of dull as Nolan sings over acoustic guitars, soft piano laced tracks and some experimental instruments here and there.

Lyrically, Nolan has been much better on Straylight’s two records as well as their underrated EP, Prepare to be Wrong.

At this point, I guess I’m questioning why the need to release a solo record, when it sounds virtually the same as the band you’ve been with for the past six years and I can’t help but think it would have been better with the help from Noon and Cooper.

Not to say Height is bad, or even a regrettable purchase, but I would have rather seen Nolan spend his time writing and recording with his bandmates rather than work on solo material.

Whether Nolan sees any success from this solo record is highly in question. Nolan’s biggest downfall is something he cannot control. He will never live up to the expectations that were set for him once he left TBS after releasing Tell All Your Friends, and frankly, neither will TBS. And although TBS’s fans always complain and moan about Nolan no longer being in the band, they somehow forget to support Nolan’s other projects.

I know his style is vastly different from what people first expected out of him, but no one can deny Nolan is a talented artist. If you are down for easy-listening, acoustic or piano driven music, Nolan may be right up your alley.

No studio versions of any of the songs from Height were available online, so here are two videos where Nolan performs two songs off the record live with his wife.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Royce da 5’9”: Street Hop

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

It’s been four and a half years since Royce da 5’9” has released an LP.

During that span he spent a year in prison following a DUI conviction, he’s rekindled his relationship with rapper Eminem sparking rumors of the Detroit emcee joining the hip-hop icon’s record label, released several successful mixtapes and became one-fourth of the genre’s newest critically acclaimed group, Slaughterhouse.

It’s been an up and down career for Royce, who half a decade ago, was basically left for dead after falling out with Eminem and Dr. Dre, but with the release of Street Hop, in stores Tuesday, the rapper’s career has never looked so promising.

It’s been five years since Royce released, what I believe to be a hip-hop classic Death is Certain, which is one of the darkest, most self-loathing and depressing albums I’ve ever heard, as every song deals with his battle with alcoholism, self doubt and how he went from an up and coming rapper associated with Eminem and Dr. Dre to falling completely out of favor with the two legends as well as the general public.

Independent’s Day, released in 2005, was shipped with no promotion and very little fanfare. The album was mostly produced by no-names and featured guest appearances from local underground hip hop artists who haven’t seen the light of day since.

After his release from prison in 2007, Royce started to make waves with the mixtape series, The Bar Exam.

His flow had changed significantly into a more faster, aggressive style, more similar to Eminem’s. His way to narrate a story through song was becoming stronger and his confidence level was rising with each and every song that was released online.

In 2008, he joined forces with three other rappers who were all but forgotten about, Joe Budden, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz to form Slaughterhouse. The four released their debut album in August, with Royce far and away outshining the other three rappers song after song. And that isn’t to take anything away from the other three. Royce was simply that good.

Now comes Street Hop, although being released independently, it features top notch producing and bigger name guest appearances such as Busta Rhymes, Bun B and the members of Slaughterhouse. The album is executive produced by DJ Premier, one of the greatest producers in hip hop history, which aren’t my words, but rather Source Magazine’s.

Premier actually only produces two of the tracks, including “Shake This,” which is one of the better tracks on the album where Royce explains his four and a half year absence, his battle with alcohol and losing his friendship with Eminem.

“Now picture me falling, all the way to the bottom
and I’m laying and calling, somebody come help me
find my strength to stop drinking this poison
Before I drown my gift, and yeah it’s probably unhealthy
Cause I went so hard and woke up sober
I lost my good friend and broke up soldiers
I’m going hard as a locomotive
Self-loathing, like I ain’t chosen
Chose to bless souls, get exposed
Just know that I ain’t folding,
No, I gotta shake this”

The song, which is by far the most personal track on the record, also deals with his one year stint in prison.

“September 18th, 2006
I roll up to court thinking ‘This should go quick’
...But I witness my world tumble down like bricks
Two words she slurred, and it sounded like this
‘One year’ travel through the room like moonlight
through the darkness, oh it’s heartless
How could I beat two felonies then
turn around and lose like like this?”

The album has 19 tracks and comes in around 70 minutes.

Just like Royce’s career, this album has its highs and its lows.

Upon first listen, I was disappointed as a whole with the album just because 1.) I had anticipated this album for more than four years, so anything short of a classic and I would have naturally been disappointed. 2.) Many tracks released online throughout the past two years showed so much promise and to not hear equal production is a bit frustrating. Most of his versus on the Slaughterhouse record are equal or better than many of the versus on Street Hop.

(*Note* To be fair, I’m almost always disappointed with every single album I hear on first listen. Takes time to grow on me.)

Tracks like “Solider,” “For your Girlfriend,” and “Hood Love” could have easily been omitted from this album and I doubt anyone would have complained.

However, there are plenty of standout tracks that allow Royce to showcase his new style, “toe-tag beats,” cite dozens of metaphors and tell stories.

On back to back tracks, “On the Run,” and “Murder,” Royce tells a story Tarantino style with “On the Run” telling the end of the story and on the following track “Murder,” you hear the beginning of it about a suspect literally on the run.

“Part of Me,” released online almost a year ago was then, and still may be now, one of the better hip hop songs I’ve heard in the past year, which tells the story of a man being roofied and well, I’ll say assaulted, by another woman during a one-night stand. (Think, Lorena Bobbitt)

It's creative and the brilliance of this song is, the chorus at the beginning of the song, while cited word for word at the beginning and at the end, has a totally different meaning at the conclusion of it.

“Last night we had a one night stand but when I woke up in the morning I missed you.
You see, all I’m saying is can I see you again because when you left you took a part of me with you.
A part of me with you.”

I haven't been this impressed with a narrative through a hip hop song since Nas' "Undying Love" and Ice Cube's "Ghetto Vet."

The album also showcases Royce's range from rapping in various styles over old-school beats to piano laced beats.

The release of Street Hop won’t immediately bring Royce back into the spotlight, but it will inch him closer. And if rumors turn out to be true and Royce does end up signing with Eminem’s Shady Records, the rapper will finally get the recognition and the fanfare that he has deserved for so long.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hand it to Letterman

Just when you thought the you-know-what was about to hit the fan for "Late Show" host David Letterman, all seems well in TV land.

How did this happen?

By poking fun at himself. It didn't hurt either that he posed on last week's "Entertaintment Weekly" cover without his pants.

It helps Letterman is a comedian, but taking matters into his own hands when news of the scandal became public was the best - and only way - to get back the good graces of his wife, family, friends and his viewing audience.

If you haven't heard, Letterman was reportedly the target of a blackmail attempt by a CBS producer who threatened to expose the talk show host's alleged affairs with women who worked on his show. The producer allegedly wanted $2 million from Letterman, who reported the threat to the New York district attorney.

It was a messy situation that would have gotten even messier had Letterman not responded. Shortly after, he went on air to confess his workplace affairs and offer an apology to his wife.

By staying ahead of the controversy, Letterman has deflected it. It might soon go away, although reports say "Late Show" production company, Worldwide Pants, might conduct an investigation into Letterman. It might not be over just yet for Letterman.

If it is the end, a sincere apology and picture without his pants seems to have done the trick. Who would have thought that?

- Mark Podolski

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Dead Man’s Bones: Monster Music

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

You thought I was kidding about this, didn't you?

Those who have just seen Ryan Gosling in the Notebook have terribly underestimated how dark the talented actor really is.

In Stay, his character plots his suicide. In The United States of Leland, he plays a troubled youth who kills his girlfriends brother. In The Believer, he plays a Jewish man who is a member of the KKK and in Murder by Numbers, he plays a bored high school student who kills a random person, just to see if he could get away with it. (None of these are spoilers by the way.)

Unfortunately, the Nick Cassavetes chick flick is what the criminally underrated actor is best known for despite being nominated for an Academy Award for best actor playing a drug addicted inner city middle school school teacher in Half Nelson.

Despite going AWOL from Hollywood (his last film was Lars and the Real Girl in 2007 and he foolishly dropped out of the upcoming Peter Jackson film, The Lovely Bones, and was replaced by Mark Wahlberg) Gosling and his friend Zack Shields formed Dead Man’s Bones, a strange yet interesting 50s influenced doo-wop band, inspired by ghosts and zombies.

It has been reported that neither Gosling nor Shields knew how to play any instruments before creating the band.

Normally, anytime an actor tries to crossover into the music industry, it’s a recipe for disaster. See: Eddie Murphy.

In this case, it’s refreshing.

This isn’t an act. Gosling and Shields are dead serious about Dead Man’s Bones.

What’s even better is, Gosling isn’t using his image and popularity to promote his band. In fact, the band has been pretty low key as it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, which in this day and age is unheard of.

While the album doesn’t have a name on the actual CD cover, it's reads Monster Music on my CD player in my car. It was originally titled, Never Let a Lack of Talent Get You Down, which appears on the rear of the CD cover.

The album first two songs are forgettable as the introduction is a short intro with a spoken voice and the second track, “Dead Hearts,” is so long and quiet, it’s hard to make out anything Gosling is singing.

However the album picks up significantly with the next four tracks “In the Room Where You Sleep,” “Buried in Water,” “My Body’s a Zombie for You,” and “Pa Pa Power.”

The seventh track is “Young and Tragic,” which is completely sung by the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, who are the highlight of the album as they appear on almost every song.

The album finishes strong with “Paper Ships,” “Lose Your Soul,” “Werewolf Heart,” and “Dead Man’s Bones.”

The album’s last song should have been left off, as Gosling just talks, rather than sings, over “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave.”

Besides “Young and Tragic,” Shields lends his vocals on “Pa Pa Power,” which is the only thing that comes close to something that sounds like a song released within the past 40 years.

Almost all the songs are done on piano, organ, acoustic guitar and drums and Gosling’s vocals are deep, extremely soft and rather haunting. This music literally does sound like it should have came out in the 1950s.

The lyrics are consistent as most songs pertain to zombies, graves, love and death.

It's darker than any Notebook fan could imagine and I, for one, am intrigued by it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

AFI: Crash Love

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

The alternative/punk rock band AFI (A Fire Inside) formed 18 years ago.

I was 6-years-old and I don’t pretend to know anything about their earlier material.

I didn’t get into AFI until their sixth release which was in 2003, Sing the Sorrow, (which was ranked #77 greatest guitar album of all time in Guitar World magazine) and that was by a beautiful mistake.

See, when I was in high school — like an idiot — I would sometimes just buy random albums from bands I had never knew much about based on which record label the band was on, the stickers on the front of the CDs that would say something like “for fans of...” and in this instance, the price.

It was $6.99 at the best record store in town, Record Den (free plug...not that anyone reads these things anyway.)

Since then, I’ve been a pretty big fan. Usually when I get into a band so late in their career, I go back and listen to and normally purchase their older material, but I never did that with AFI because “Sing the Sorrow” was when they made their transition from a hardcore punk band into a mainstream alternative rock/punk band.

Don’t get me wrong, I listen to many underground indie/punk bands, but AFI’s older material never really interested me. Too fast, too punky for my liking.

Ok, so that was a long introduction to this review.

On Sept. 29, the band released their eighth studio album, Crash Love, which picks off right where Sing the Sorrow and their 2006 release Decemberunderground left off.

Admittedly, I haven’t gotten to listen to this album as much as I’d normally give a new release partially because the past two weeks I’ve purchased six albums, so I’m trying to spread the love between my six-disc changer in my car.

Upon a few listens though, lead singer Davey Havok’s unique voice and Jade Puget’s shredding guitar skills are the highlight of the album.

Crash Love lacks any truly haunting tracks that were were featured on Sing the Sorrow (“Miseria Cantare,” “This Time Imperfect (hidden track)” or “The Leaving Song”) or Decemberunderground (“Endlessly, She Said”), but it remains consistent in the pop department.

The album jumps into “Torch Song,” one of the better tracks on the album with a great guitar riff from Puget and sets the tone for the reamining 11 songs.

“I Am Trying Very Hard To Be Here,” an ode to Hollywood’s fakeness, delivers maybe the quirkiest lines on the album. ("No one’s from here, no one my dear, not even the trees. So change your name, just keep your face. We’re temporary anyway...Flash, flash, car crash, we’re no fixtures. Quick, now, quick, take our picture.”)

“Okay, I Feel Better Now” is probably the closest song that resembles material from Sing for Sorrow and “Medicate,” the albums first single, is far from great but offers a great breakdown with a decent Puget solo near the finale. Wasn't too big on this song at first, but it really grew on me.

“It Was Mine,” the album’s closer tries to be that haunting track that I mentioned before from previous albums, but misses the eeriness and emotion from the ones stated above that were featured on Sing the Sorrow and Decemberunderground.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brand New; Live 10/01/09

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

Fresh off debuting in the top 10 on the billboard charts a day before the concert, Brand New took the stage to play songs off their new album Daisy (landed at #6 on the billboard charts, the band’s highest offering by far) for the first time ever as Cleveland was the first stop of their tour.

And what a night it was.

The tour, which also featured openers Manchester Orchestra, should have been dubbed “the least talkative tour” of 2009 as neither frontman for either band had much, if anything to say to the audience at any point during the concert. None of the other band members for either band uttered a word to anyone.

That didn’t stop either band from putting on top notch performances.

While the show was at Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City, it was considerably warmer than the Blink 182 show which was just a night before.

Manchester Orchestra, an indie rock band, took the stage at 7:45 p.m. I knew very little about them going into the show. I had checked out their MySpace page a few times and wasn’t blown away but felt they had potential to be a decent band to see live. Plus, they are good friends of Brand New and I had to trust their judgment.

Manchester played for about 40 minutes and it was time well spent. I’ve since purchased their newest album “Mean Everything to Nothing.”

But by 9 p.m., the place was turned upside down as Brand New took the stage, surprisingly jumping right into their old material as they opened with “You Won’t Know” and “Degausser” off 2006s The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me.

They didn’t play any material off the new album until the sixth song, “Vices.”

Looking uninterested and uninspired as usual, frontman Jesse Lacey wore a hooded sweatshirt and a winter hat mostly just looking at the ground and saying less than 40 words to the audience.

Despite his demeanor, the guy is as passionate about his music as any other frontman.

It’s probably a good thing he didn’t talk much as when he did it was just awkward trying to hold a conversation regarding the Cleveland Indians double header the day prior (“everyone looked so miserable at the game,” he said) and discussing the river (“You have a beautiful river, what is that, the Cleveland River?”)

A few things that bothered me, and this is nitpicking, is the set list was rather short at just 85 minutes. Not sure if that was due to the weather or just the fact it was the first night of the tour. I’m sure as the tour goes on, they’ll add a few more songs.

Also, as expected they completely ignored almost all material from their 2001 debut “Your Favorite Weapon,” by only playing one song off the album (thankfully the best one) “The No Seatbelt Song.”

They also didn’t play fan favorites, “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” (arguably their biggest hit) and their biggest sing along song, “Soco Amaretto Lime.”

All in all, it was one of the better shows I have seen in the past few years and Brand New, both lyrically and instrumentally, are way ahead of their peers.

You Won’t Know
Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t
Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades
The No Seatbelt Song
In A Jar
You Stole
Sowing Season (Yeah)
Jesus Christ
Jaws Theme Swimming
At The Bottom
Welcome to Bangkok
Play Crack The Sky (Lacey by himself)

"The No Seatbelt Song" Live in Cleveland

"At the Bottom" Live in Cleveland

"Play Crack The Sky" Live in Cleveland

Blink 182: Live 9/30/09

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

For all intensive purposes, the Blink 182 concert on Sept. 30 was a nightmare.

For starters, the original date - Sept. 2 with openers Weezer, Taking Back Sunday and Chester French - was postponed only to be rescheduled for Sept. 30 with openers Fall Out Boy and The All American Rejects.

With a start time of 6:30 p.m., my friends and I took off for Blossom Music Center at 4:30 p.m....only to finally arrive at 8:30 p.m., just minutes before Blink 182 took the stage.

This actually worked out to our advantage as we found out on the way there, The All American Rejects were forced to cancel their appearance and Fall Out Boy was to be the only opening band.

And who wouldn’t rather be in four hours of traffic instead of listening to Fall Out Boy? Or worse, watching them.

So yeah, the traffic. Anyone want to do anything about that? From about 5:30 p.m. until 8:15 p.m., we moved about six miles and all we had to think about was how anyone got away with still charging $54 for a show that was now completely and substantially worse than originally advertised.

I mean really, this is like going to your favorite restaurant, ordering a steak and lobster and then the waiter brings you out meatloaf and doesn't adjust your bill.

Also, I’d like to talk to whoever is in charge of scheduling events at Blossom Music Center. Is this guy or girl not from Cleveland? Did they just move here from Florida? California?

Don’t they know what a late September night could feel like around here?

Let me answer that question for that employee. Frigid.

Anyway, the show must go on and thankfully, Blink did what they could to make people forget that they were standing inside of an igloo.

They ripped through their plethora of hits and spread their setlist between their three most popular albums. Tom Delonge introduced “Stay Together for the Kids,” by saying “this song is about three guys who hated each other for five years,” referring to the band’s break-up in 2004.

For a band that is on their first tour in five years, they weren’t lacking any chemistry and they sounded better than I expected.

Because of the cold, they limited the stage shenanigans that the three are known for to make the set go faster. They also played through what would have normally been their encore so the fans wouldn’t have to wait in the cold for five minutes to hear more music.

Blink was good, but not $54 good. I’d see them again with better openers, a cheaper price and a warmer venue.

Feeling This
Rock Show
What’s My Age Again?
I Miss You
Stay Together For the Kids
Stockholm Syndrome
First Date
Man Overboard
Don’t Leave Me
Not Now
All The Small Things
Reckless Abandon
Anthem Part Two
Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (Poison cover)