Concert review: Kiss

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Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH – March 16, 2019

Some people are natural born rock stars. Paul Stanley is one of them, a strutting, preening, painted master of ceremonies with a (still) million dollar arena rock voice and potent if occasionally perplexing mixture of heart-on-sleeve earnestness and winking three ring-ready showmanship. The giant, black, eye-enveloping star that dominates his otherwise flat white facial makeup (minus the cheeky, fire engine red lipstick) as the frontman of Kiss might as well be a window into his soul. Gene Simmons, his business partner and bandmate of over 45 years, is not a natural born rock star – nor, some would assert, noticeably possessed of a soul – but built himself into one anyway via a combination of dogged persistence, shameless, in-your-face theatricality, indefinable, at times creepy, charisma, and blunt, dependably macho chutzpah. Offstage, Stanley seems a bit more person than persona, with Simmons the exact opposite. Onstage, they are a literal fireworks display. Continue reading “Concert review: Kiss”

“Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways”: an uneven soundtrack to a killer roadtrip

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Fearless independent filmmaker Werner Herzog is a passionate believer in what he has called the “voodoo of location”*, the notion that specific location filming not only naturally informs the look of a movie but also can appreciably influence how it feels, that history is so inextricably tied to a given place that it almost can’t help, on some level, but be absorbed into the production. Though he’s never spoken the exact words, lead Foo Fighter Dave Grohl is obviously at least a sympathetic mind. His 2013 documentary Sound City was a full blown love letter, equal parts celebratory and wistful, to the titular Los Angeles studio, which served over the course of multiple decades as home base for the recording of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes, and Nirvana’s Nevermind, among others. Grohl is the kind of music aficionado who turns amateur historian via happy accident, a product of deep-seated enthusiasm and wide-ranging experience, with no traditional academic reinforcement required. Continue reading ““Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways”: an uneven soundtrack to a killer roadtrip”