Concerts | Featured

The Moonshine Jungle Tour – Bruno Mars in Vienna

By on October 26, 2013

The Moonshine Jungle Tour

For months, we’ve been counting the days we can finally get seated at Vienna’s Stadthalle for this particular day: Bruno Mars’ Moonshine Jungle Tour Vienna Leg. And our long wait is all worth it…even the hour-long opening by Mayer Hawthorne was not to be set aside.

We wanna see y’all moving, we wanna see y’all dancing… maybe, just maybe, put your camera phones down and get into it!

In his trademark fedora, aloha shirt (uhhmm, sort of), matched by his awesome ‘Hooligans’ and dancing along the tunes of “Moonshine” and “Natalie” at the beginning of the show. As early as that, the crowd was on their feet dancing and singing along.

So when Mars commanded the crowd to the tune of “Treasure” – everyone, basically, was swinging to a beat. The set list for his October 26 performance at Vienna’s Stadthalle was completed with the following:

Money (That’s What I Want) / Billionaire
Show Me
Candy Rain (cover)
Our First Time / Pony
Marry You
Runaway Baby
The Lazy Song
When I Was Your Man
Grenade
Just the Way You Are

Encore:

Locked Out of Heaven
Gorilla

(Or at least, that’s how I remember…)

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Mars and the Hooligans

 

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lazy song…I think

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Featured | Street Performances

The Beauty of Encountering Music Unexpectedly

By on October 18, 2013

 

Being in the European Music Centre that is Vienna is like always walking at a park serenaded by Mozart and company. Musicians abound and would play as though they are on a stage in front of a large audience – skillfully and with all the emotions, you can’t help but be mesmerized. It has become habitual, yes, but I still always take time to listen, clip a film and give my due – which is actually just a bonus on their part.

So when I’m out of town or country, I’d stop, look, and listen to them buskers as I’ve always had. They can be musicians, dancers, jugglers, clowns, mimes, sketchers and what-have-you on the streets. All about street act in the hope that you’ll give them your attention and be able to entertain as you pass along them. My favorite of them would be musicians, no matter what instrument. And because I walk a lot whichever city I go, it kinda makes my day happier just to encounter good music unexpectedly at street corners or any given plaza!

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Glass Water, Venice

In Vienna, many hardly notice the soulful voice of the blind man serenading passers-by going to the train station, probably because like the rest of the population, they’re in a rush. Most of the time, tourists are the ones who would always listen. And so it is when I’m out of town; I’d stop, look and listen – just as tourists would. It’s probably because I heard that some popular singers sometimes disguise as buskers. To name a few, there was Joshua Bell, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Sting, Tom Jones and even Bruce Springsteen when he was young. And actually, some were discovered from street busking such as musicians Rod Stewart, Violent Femmes, and Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil theatrical company. Have you noticed any of them?

Unknown to many, busking is quite a complex endeavor. Depending on the city, performers need permits and must conform to regulations and laws. Most of the time, they are the targets of robbery. Artists as they are, one thing’s for sure though – it’s the love of performing that keeps them going.

So during our trip to Italy, the home of the piano and the violin, I’ve seen how there is no shortage of talented musicians who took to the streets. In Venice for example, finding our way back the serpentine roads and after many detours we chanced upon a water glass (glass harp/verrilion) player. Didn’t really mind stopping to listen, it’s no wonder that though called with many names, this instrument fits the description “angelic organ”. It was a delightful surprise despite getting lost.

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Rome, playing 50’s music

While roaming alone in Rome, lost in between thoughts and expectations, I stumbled upon a builder of time machines (slash) rock musician. (His witty sign alone will make you stop!) He was playing his version of Ray Charles’ I Got a Woman, sort of invites you to just pull a partner, dance around not minding the crowd building up around him. I regret not having to! Maybe I should build a time machine myself and go back there to do that? Nah, a trip back to Rome would definitely be more practical, I just hope he hasn’t gone back to the 50’s by then!

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Rome, playing and singing Italian

I agreed to a rendezvous with hubby by the pantheon and I lost track of time listening to this lady. I was lost too to the lyrics of her song (the only Italian song I know by heart is Zucchero’s Hai Scelto Me and I still haven’t learned its English counterpart in full) blending so well with her awesome guitar skills. I was so engrossed, I listened to two of her songs before I went on to look for hubby…saw him and a mime clown. But, that’s another story.

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Florence, classics on violin

Then, there’s this young performer at the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, by the side of the Basilica di Santa Maria del FioreWhile many went on to learn what the fuss about the carabinieri in front of the Il Duomo was that particular night, she continued playing her violin, undisturbed in front of a crowd. She did Mozart and Bach. There was a younger girl watching her intently the whole time…I somehow felt like – that was how I might have appeared to others when caught up to beautiful music I chance upon for being the itchyfeet that I am.

There are many more performances I heard and saw while in Italy (I have to look for the videos :/ gott). For all those, I’m really grateful. You know, the one good thing about music that I like is, when it hits you, you feel no pain. Right, I borrowed that quote from someone famous but it’s true. That is why, when you’re out, it wouldn’t hurt to appreciate the performances out in the open. Stop, listen, be engulfed, let it hit you! You will never know, years from now, maybe the next time you hear/see that performer is  during his/her concert on the big stage!

 

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Guitars

Combining Gears for Better Music

By on September 28, 2013

 

Many new guitarists ask themselves this question: What is more important, the guitar or the amp? The reason that they ask often has to do more with money than anything else. They may not have enough money to have top-of-the-line equipment, so they want to know which side they should upgrade first. Are they best to go out and get a $2,500 guitar and pair it with whatever amp they can get with their leftover money, or would they be better off to get a $500 guitar and then spend the money that they have left on the best amp they can get?

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my good ‘ol guitar

The answer really depends on what you are looking to get out of your setup. If you are interested in playing intricately and precisely, about learning the craft the same way that you would learn how to play the saxophone or the flute, you probably want a good guitar. It needs to have a fast, flat fretboard so that you can hit those solos in stride. You do not want a guitar that makes you a worse player because you have to press too hard on the strings or because you cannot play it cleanly. You want it to reflect exactly what you are doing.

If you want to play in a rock band in the garage – which is what many young guitarists really want to do – you are best off with a $500 guitar and a killer amp. A lot of what you are going to be doing is just playing power chords anyway, so the guitar does not have to be as precise. You can rock out on those chords with anything for around the $500 mark, and you can get many good guitars – with twin humbuckers, whammy bars, and the like – for that price. You need to have a powerful amp so that you can turn it up at band practice, and the raw gain on the amp is going to influence your sound more than the guitar.

As you can see, it all comes down to your goals as a guitar player. Take a look at the Greenfield guitars at LuthiersCollection.com and then look up some of your favorite amps and half stacks, and add up the prices. Find out which combination of gear will give you the best results for what you are going to do with it.

 

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Music Degree

Playing Tunes with a Music Degree

By on September 26, 2013

 

Graduates with a music education degree can use their new found knowledge in a variety of ways. Some of them are teaching music to students in public and private schools. This is a nice option for teachers who prefer to instruct students of a particular age. Some teachers want to work with students who are in elementary school while others want to teach older students in high school. Find out some other favorable work options suitable for people with degrees in music education.

music degree
image via http://www.abbeybirmingham.co.uk/

Some people with a degree in music education are choosing to give private lessons. Instructors who want to choose the students they teach appreciate this option. They can teach several young students or even instruct adults. The instructor may teach music history or perhaps offer lessons on a specific instrument such as piano, violin or the drums. By giving private lessons, a music instructor can make his or her own schedule. If the person is writing a composition or trying to perfect his or her skills on a particular instrument, the lessons can take place at a time of day that allows for those other activities.

A person with a degree in music education may want to write books or articles on the topic of music instruction. This way the person will be helping other teachers to instruct students on music history, famous composers or the finer points of a particular instrument. A person with this degree as well as an interest in writing will likely find this to be an ideal occupation.

Making instructional videos is another option for someone with a degree in music education. For example, if the person has great skill at playing the piano, he or she can give lessons to beginners who want to learn the basics of piano. This can be done with practically any type of instrument. The person is using his or her skills and knowledge in the realm of music to benefit others who want to learn.

Finally, a person with this degree may want to pursue a career as a music professor at a university. This requires an advanced degree, but it is worthwhile for a person who wants to teach college-aged students. The person may even be able to work with a school’s band or orchestra as a side activity. This can be very inspiring work for someone who is devoted to teaching music in any fashion.

image via http://derbytheatre.co.uk

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Headphones

Dr. Dre Studio Delivers the Beat and then Some

By on July 16, 2013

 

Dr.Dre Beats solo new
Dr.Dre Studio

“There’s music in the sighing of a reed;

There’s music in the gushing of a rill;

There’s music in all things, if men had ears:

Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.”

~Lord Byron~

Truly, music is everywhere. If you tap your nails on a table, you would be able to create a rhythm. Listen carefully to the rustling of the leaves on a tree as the wind blows, and you would realize that a soothing pattern is formed. Perhaps this is the inspiration behind portable music players and earphones/ headphones – you could take music everywhere you go.

Now since you can take your favorite songs with you wherever you head out to, you might as well choose the best gadgets to make the experience even more thrilling and memorable. That’s where the Dr. Dre Studio earphones enter the picture.

There’s little to rant about a pair of Dr. Dre Studio earphones, and you only need to try it out to actually feel the difference. That’s not an overstatement. The Dr. Dre line of earphones offers nothing but the best in sound engineering, both in style, ergonomics, and sound quality. It’s built for the low end by default, and it’s understandable considering the creator’s penchant for heavy beats. Some earphones over-perform on the mid, high, and low ranges, but it’s fortunate that a pair of Studio earphones strikes a comfortable balance for a truly enjoyable listening experience.

A Comfy Fit

Sound quality is the end-all of great earphones, but you have to admit the endless hours spent in a confined soundscape take their toll on your comforts. The worst earphones don’t offer a comfortable fit, and you’ll notice this within an hour of use. Noise cancellation is an important aspect of earphones, so the cup must cover the ears without crimping the earlobes. Dr. Dre Studio earphones feels great on this aspect, with padded, oblong ear-cups mounted on swiveled support. The small improvement lets you move with ease, in case you decide to use the pair on an early-morning stroll. You have to be conscious of the bulk, though.

Audio Quality Packs a Serious Punch

The best thing about this pair is the audio quality, hands down. It’s configured for the expected genres, hip-hop, RNB, and dance, but it performs well no matter which type of music you’re into. You can listen to Beethoven’s 3rd and get lost in the mood, or trip to alternative and still be impressed with the guitar riffs. The set comes with plenty of perks as well, so you get more value for your money. A pair of four-feet, 3.5mm cables ensures great sound quality for mp3 players and iPhones, and it comes with an airplane and home system adapter as well. It’s better if you invest in rechargeable AAAs, though. The Dr. Dre Studio earphones offer a solid listening experience, and it’s comfortable enough for hours of extended use.

 

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Music Festivals

Your Guide to Surviving Summer Music Festivals

By on July 11, 2013

 

Summer music festivals are synonymous with intense heat, crowds and a lack of shade. Having been to many festivals in my time, I have made myself a survival kit that makes attending these events much more pleasant. No longer do I have to worry about not having everything I need, and neither should you. By following a few pieces of advice, you can have an amazing time at your next summer concert series. 

Water is my top essential, though you must check ahead to ensure that your festival allows you to bring water bottles onto the premises. In any case, it is important that you have enough money to buy water. In addition, you should be drinking more water than you actually think you need to consume, as dehydration happens quickly. You can even bring in an empty water bottle and refill it in the bathroom or at a water fountain if you find yourself in a jam.

summer music festivals
image via http://www.theaureview.com

Carrying a small backpack is a great way to carry in some of your essentials, which should include sunscreen. This is especially important if you are attending a festival that lasts an entire weekend. You will find very little shade, so apply sunscreen liberally to your face, shoulders and neck. You should carry lip balm with SPF, sunglasses, a hat or bandana to cover your head in the heat and a blanket to sit on or wrap yourself in if the weather gets cold.

If you are camping at your festival for a few days, there are a few extras you need to bring with you. For one, use your phone to take a picture of your camping spot and any identifiable markers. The crowds can get pretty big and you don’t want to spend hours looking for your spot. You should also pack a raincoat and an extra pair of shoes suitable for rain, especially if your festival is located somewhere humid. The rain can roll in faster than you will even notice.

It may not sound like very fun advice, but it is important that you get plenty of sleep while you are at the festival. It seems more fun to stay up late and party, but doing so puts you at risk for waking up late and feeling terrible all day.

You need to put together a plan of action that covers everything from what bands you plan to see, when you are going to eat and what you are going to do if you get separated from your friends. If you are camping, your cell phone might be dead and you need to determine a better way to find each other. In addition, knowing which bands you are going to see at what times will keep you from wandering around aimlessly and getting bored.

Finally, make sure you arrive early. This is especially true if you intend to camp out, as setting up camp in the dark can be quite difficult. You also want to ensure that you have the best spot for your favorite acts, which may require waiting in the front of the stage from morning until dark.

Following a few simple tips can keep you from overheating, getting soaked or spending hours doing things you do not want to do. By packing effectively and managing your time efficiently, you are well on your way to having a fantastic festival.

TLS Productions are an audio equipment provider in Perth. If you’re looking for anything audio or visual, contact them for more information.

music fest
image via www.isaactan.net

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Concerts | Featured

Alicia Keys Sets Vienna on Fire

By on June 14, 2013

 

There used to be glow sticks being waved by fans in concerts -nowadays, that’s your cell phone…especially if Alicia Keys ask the audience to do so, it turned the whole concert hall into an illusion of starry skies. It was easy to see how the singer-pianist could set a city on fire; when she sits at the piano and starts to tip them keys and belt her songs there’s nothing to do but be in awe.

At the Wiener Stadhalle via http://aliciakeysmedia.com/

Two hours long of soulful singing with a minimal set, Keys’ Set the World on Fire Tour Vienna Leg  featured her greatest hits starting off with the Jay-Z collab-feature Empire State of Mind and an elaborate cityscape of New York on a giant screen.

Grammy nominated American artist, known by the mononym Miguel, opened the concert for Keys singing a selection of his own songs. It was a very good performance (although I was turned off by his assumption that the Viennese population don’t speak English that much, lol).

 

 

Often she’d be on the piano skillfully playing as she sings. Which is what we love about her.

There was just one costume change for Ms. Keys. Clad in a tight-hugging trousers that showed off her curves, she paired it with a old rose or something to that shade-top, looking all too graceful as she moves a bit to the tune of her jazz-y songs. She changed into into a killer lila dress for the Empire State of Mind finale (yes, twice… but this time with a video intro of Jay-Z on the big screen, we thought he’d actually be there) sending the audience to their feet.

(Watch on youtube to see more.)

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I regret not having brought the bulky camera… 😀
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🙂
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doing what she does best

 

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Apps

MiniPiano for Kiddie Music Fun

By on May 17, 2013

 

Exposing kids to different toys and activities helps a lot in rearing well-rounded kids. Parents usually buy classic toys like dolls, action figures, cars, blocks, and puzzles for their little ones. Role play toys like cooking sets, doctor’s kit, handyman tools, or musical instruments are normally bought depending on the child’s interest. Now that techie gadgets have entered the playing field, parents are given more tools to keep their kids entertained and trained while at play. Those who have little ones that show interest in playing the piano can download the MiniPiano App and let their kids fiddle around with music anytime and anywhere.

The MiniPiano App by Junpei Wada works just like a real piano toy. The black and white keyboards are displayed on the screen and the notes are played by pressing or tapping on the keys. Kids who would like to try out their musical skills can play around with a total of 14 playable notes that are available in the app. Adults may also find MiniPiano as an entertaining app simply because of the realistic looking keyboard and sounds in the app. The one octave limitation in the notes that can be played can be a turn-off for those who would like to play more than just the basic tunes with their mobile piano. Kids on the other hand will enjoy playing their do re mi’s and nursery rhymes with this app on their fingertips.

This app may be a long way from being a great virtual piano, but it does the trick for educating little kids on basic musical notes and simple piano pieces. It is also good enough to tap their interest in playing music and keep them engrossed during long waits or road trips. Best of all, it’s free! Parents who would like to expose their kids to a variety of apps to play with, can consider having the MiniPiano around as one of the musical apps in their mobiles.

 

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Youtube Sensation

Kai Langer goes steady with Ellen

By on May 10, 2013
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image from Kai’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kai-Langer/145388122295283

Adorable 4-year-old, Kai Langer guested on Ellen the second time and goes steady with her. Kai visited Ellen the first time and sang Bruno Mars When I was your man much to the delight of the host, this time though she was more than surprised. Ellen received a bracelet with Kai’s name on it because he said, he wants Ellen to always remember him. He also wore an identical bracelet with Ellen’s name on it. Ellen jokingly said “this is gonna make news,” lol, just adorable.

Kai went on to tell his experience seeing Bruno Mars and singing for him too at the airport then sang When I was your man taking Ellen’s hand in between the song. (haha, this kid is too cute!)

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Videos

Making Amazing Videos from Home is Easier Than Ever!

By on April 1, 2013

As technology continues to progress at astronomical rates, producing something as simple and routine as a home video or recording a relatives sporting event has turned from vague and boring to vivid and exciting. The introduction of portable, high-definition recording devices with the assistance of massive video databases such as YouTube and Vimeo to a society continually thirsty for fresh and rousing video content has created a pandemic of video production across the globe.

The Technology Behind the Video

Once upon a time, creating a visually appealing video required a bulky and heavy video camera, something to record on, such as a disc or cassette, and something to hold the camera with. Though this feels as though this was technology from centuries ago, we only recently made the transition to small, compact, high-definition cameras that are capable of holding hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of video on a memory card the size of a thumbnail. This just goes to show how rapidly technology is advancing and how swiftly it continues to progress. For instance, it took only 6 years after the introduction of the first tapeless camcorder to create a camcorder capable of producing 3D video.

High-definition video cameras today come in an incredibly vast array of shapes and sizes and can range anywhere from $50 to $50,000 depending on the quality of the video able to be produced and the functions the camera is capable of performing. Though traditional video cameras are obviously still purchased and used all across the world, the popularity of a single-function video camera is decreasing year after year. Why? High-definition video cameras are slowly losing their luster as smartphones and digital cameras are incorporating not only functional video cameras, but recording abilities that are swiftly approaching the clarity and definition of video cameras.

Now, of course our iPhones are not capable of producing movie-quality video. However, the convenience and increasing quality of the videos that is able to be produced on portable cameras and smartphones is more than enough to catch milk come out of your friend’s nose or create that video blog you have been dying to start. There is a time and place for every camera, however. Of course there are some instances that may deem more important and require a better camera; pulling out an Android to record your son’s baptism may not be the best device to capture such an event.

Society and Its Video Obsession

Unless a cave has been your primary place of residence for the past 5 years, then you have probably noticed the explosion of video content being posted on the Internet. The entire world, not just the United States, is absolutely obsessed with producing videos in the hopes of seeing them go viral. Many of today’s celebrities became such by means of a viral video of them falling down the stairs or creating a silly video blog. This addiction has spurred the advances in technology; we are always searching for easier and more portable devices so that we can capture each and every moment that may later be deemed as a viral video. And have you noticed how incredible the quality of these videos on YouTube has gotten over the years? The majority of them were shot with smartphones or Flip Videos, devices that can fit in the back pocket of your skinny jeans, proving that the Average Joe has shot and recorded quite entertaining and visually appealing videos with such “basic” camcorders.

Companies able to produce these inexpensive, rather high-quality products that can produce great video are experiencing tremendous sales because of Average Joes like us. The ease and appeal of these products has caused an explosion of information and entertainment that can be uploaded in minutes to the Internet and accessed by millions the very same day. It’s not just a trend anymore; producing amazing, entertaining, high-definition and high-quality videos has become the norm for society. And it’s changing the world as we know it. More and more people are being exposed to information and entertainment that we never conceived possible. The only question? What’s next?

Katelyn Roberts is a video and music blogger who uses KoyoteSoft’s converter mp3 when creating videos and sharing them online. You can convert wma to mp3 converter from KoyoteSoft.

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