3 Things the Grammys Got Right

Kendrick Lamar performs at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Kendrick Lamar performs at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Let’s be honest: of the four major award shows – the Emmy’s (TV), Grammys (Music), Oscars (Movies), and Tony’s (Theatre) – the Grammys is probably the worst and least representative of what is truly the best in its field. We’ve covered that plenty over the last five years but if anyone knows me, I like to focus on the positive. I’m a glass half-full type. That proved especially difficult with maddening snubs for Best Song, New Artist, and Album of the Year and just an overall boring broadcast. But I’ll do my best. So here are the three things the 2016 Grammy’s got right.

Hamilton gets its moment in the spotlight

Hamilton has been the biggest musical smash since Book of Mormon, and it rightfully crossed over from the Tony’s into the Grammy’s for a live performance and incredible rapped acceptance speech from creator and star Lin Manuel Miranda. It was a big wakeup from the first 1.5 hours of the awards show that was nothing but snoozy adult-contemporary singing.

Genre awards were largely correct

Whether it was Alabama Shakes winning Best Alternative album, Kendrick winning Best Rap Album, Chris Stapleton winning Best Country Album, or D’Angelo winning best R&B album, several great songs and albums actually won awards. In terms of sub-categories, this is probably the highest hit-rate a Grammy night has had in the last 10 years.

Kendrick getting awards two years after getting snubbed out for Macklemore

Two years after getting snubbed  for all the rap awards to white-rapper Macklemore, the Grammys do what the Grammys do best: make up for a previous wrong. Not completely, but at least in part. This has been done time and time again, and it usually happens with rock bands 30-40 years after their heyday, but fortunately, the Grammys actually got it right with Kendrick Lamar sweeping the rap categories. They certainly screwed up Album of the Year going with Taylor Swift over Kendrick, but that’s not a huge surprise (Speakerboxx/The Love Below by Outkast was the only time a rapper has won Best Album of the Year, and half of that album isn’t really hip hop at all).

Kendrick also delivered easily the best performance of the night, starting by pointing to the injustice towards Blacks in our prison system with “Blacker the Berry”, than going crazy with a huge bonfire and tribal dancers with the Grammy-award winning song “Alright”, and finally debuting a new song where Kendrick raps better and faster than anyone else. It was one of the few thrilling performances in a largely drowsy night.

3 Things the Grammys Got Right

Bonnaroo 2015 Recap In Full

bonaroo-2015-gi

I’mmmm bacckkkkk! This is Riley Johnson, fellow friend and festival attender of LxL’s Wes, Austin, and Todd. After I attend Bonnaroo, and as is now tradition here at LxL,  I like to quickly recap the experience with a full 1-sentence review of each act I was able to see over the wonderful weekend (Todd filled in on any I might have missed that he happen to catch as well).

Last year, I had my Bonnaroo wristband purchased, my line-up all planned out, and my baby powder and chaffing cream packed away! Sadly, life got in the way and I was unable to make the trip to the farm. However, 2015 brought a new day and I jet-setted back from California to hoof it down to Manchester, Tennessee with some of my best friends. Bonnaroo was not top heavy this year, but it definitely was one of the best festivals I have seen from start to finish. There was a consistent flow of quality, weirdness, and crunk to keep you on your toes. You won’t get my favorite or my worst, but you will get a beautiful little one sentence take on every act I saw over the 4-day brain freeze known as Bonnaroo:
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Bonnaroo 2015 Recap In Full

Pinestock Festival 2014 Recap

Pinestock Music Festival

September 6th, 2014

Churubusco, IN

 pinestock music festival 2014 recap

Churubusco, Indiana isn’t known for much beyond turtles (it’s high school mascot) and this creepy burger restaurant with clown dolls, but Pinestock Music Festival in the last four years has given Churubusco a new name. And that’s home of one of the best fests in the Midwest.
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Pinestock Festival 2014 Recap

Artist Profile: Benjamin Booker

benjamin bookerWanting to focus the entirety of my Jack White show review on, you guessed it, Jack White, I decided to forgo even mentioning opener Benjamin Booker.  This dude is straight legit.  I’m not really going to give much of an in depth profile here, as all my insight would be straight plagiarism from other people’s articles.  But I would like to give you a little insight into an artist that could be poised to break out (if you don’t already consider opening for Jack White “breaking out”).
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Artist Profile: Benjamin Booker

Pitchfork Music Festival 2014 Recap

 pitchfork

In all of its infinite and pretentious wisdom, there is hardly any doubt that Pitchfork has become one of America’s leading sources for modern music recommendations and critiques. Love or hate their opinions, it is true. And regardless if they seem to leave a bitter taste in your mouth every once in a while, they do manage to do one thing very right: Pitchfork Music Festival. Three short-but-not-too-short days in the city of Chicago with a solid lineup of acts every year. Even with Death Grips canceling their performance this year, I  along with fellow LxL’er Wes and a few friends still showed up for the party, and a glorious three days it was. Here is the one sentence (or more) breakdown of what we encountered:

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2014 Recap

2014 Super Bowl Halftime Show Recap

super bowl halftime show 2014, bruno mars, red hot chili peppers

Like every first Sunday evening in February, most Americans were glued to their television two nights ago, transfixed on the most-watched event of the year: The Super Bowl. But what is normally a guaranteed night of non-stop entertainment, was quickly turned into a 4 hour snooze-fest after the Denver Broncos simply decided to sit this one out. An odd choice in games to not show up for given that it is, ya know, the Super Bowl, but everyone needs a break once and again I guess. So what could make TV’s biggest night even worse? The backup entertainment options, those being the commercials and the infamous Super Bowl halftime show, offered up almost zero entertainment value as well (aside from a surprisingly hilarious effort from Jimmy John’s and an incredible two part comeback performance featuring Stephen Colbert from the Pistachio company, after the horrendous attempt of comedic relevancy with the “Cracking Gangnam Style” disaster of of 2013). When it is all said and done however, I guess the least surprising of the three disasppointments was in fact the halftime show. I suppose that is what you get for booking whom fellow LxL’er Wes, has deemed “the modern day Frankie Valli” (Bruno Mars) with a band that hasn’t actually been relevant for almost eight years (Red Hot Chili Peppers).
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2014 Super Bowl Halftime Show Recap