El Monstero drops by We Are Live! to chat with Chris Denman

Pink Floyd Tribute Band, El Monstero drops by prior to their run of shows this December at The Pageant in Saint Louis, MO. The guys talk about the production aspect of their shows, is there a legal element to covering another bands work? Great time with the guys. 

On Itunes: HERE! 

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On the Pod Page: HERE!

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Dylan Palladino, "He's in town from New York."

Dylan Palladino, "He's in town from New York."

Dylan Palladino experienced a lot from the STL comedy scene on his trip in from NYC. A WWE style feud, German beer, fried chicken, and lots of love. 

Target Practice Live! A summary of the live roast tourney, also... someone ruined comedy.

Target Practice Live! A summary of the live roast tourney, also... someone ruined comedy.

Target Practice Live was a 2 night event with 2 Champions, 1 WWE Style feud, and lots of happy attendees. It featured head to head roasts, where'd you go to high school commentary, and even the time honored comedy classics like roasting Sacagawea, JFK, and Ghandi. 

LouFest Prep with Nick Freed

Special Contributor and 'Consequence and Sound' writer Nick Freed gives us the rundown for LouFest 2016 and showcases the bands that are sure to make an impact during St.Louis' biggest music festival. 

 

Lower Tier Bands to Look Out For

When it comes to festivals, the strength of a line-up isn't in the headliners, but in the middle to lower tier bands. In my six or so years of covering festivals, including a stint at the third year of LouFest, I quickly learned that the most dynamic performances come from a band you might not have heard of who's playing an early afternoon set. When I covered the Toronto Urban Roots Festival, it was Pokey Lafarge on a side stage at 2pm that stole the entire festival. I remember The Walkmen playing at 3pm at Lollapalooza more than My Morning Jacket headlining. That being said, here are five day-time options for the this weekend's festival that are sure to deliver a stellar set and gain a whole new legion of fans.

 

Anderson.paak and the Free Nationals

The artist with the latest time slot on this list belongs to California's own Anderson .paak and the Free Nationals who are performing Sunday the 11th at 6:00pm on the Tunespeak BMI stage. Anderson .paak is part of what I like to call a “new wave of hip-hop positivity,” along with artists like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, .paak is releasing music that speaks of his upbringing and tribulations with a soul and jazz backbeat. The incredibly talented drummer, rapper, and singer combines the feel good vibes from early pioneers like Tribe Called Quest and Talib Kweli with the social awareness of Kendrick and Chance, and the smooth croon of Marvin Gaye. His set backed by his band, the Free Nationals, is sure to be an uplifting, soul affirming adventure made even more entertaining when .paak takes his turn behind the drums. If you're not sold yet, check out his recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to seal the deal.

 

 

Twin Peaks

For a 60s garage rock dance fest, get to the grounds early on Sunday for Chicago delinquents Twin Peaks. They play at 2pm on the Bud Light stage, and they'll be the perfect band to help you shake off your Saturday night Chris Stapleton whiskey hangover. Their sloppy, Replacements-esque take on punk rock has been taking the Chicago-area and critics by storm over the last few years. They're three albums deep into an exceptional career highlighted by no holds barred live shows that are sure to make an early trip to Forest Park well worth it. Check out their newest video for their single “Butterfly” for a little peak at the madness.

 

Vince Staples

Before you dive into the feel-good soul of Anderson .paak, head to the Forest Park stage at 5pm for fellow Californian, Vince Staples. Flowing into the public consciousness via the lunatics in Odd Future, namely Early Sweatshirt, Staples is a pure product, like Snoop before him, of Long Beach. Staples has the laid back flow of Snoop with the hard tales of Dre. His multiple mixtapes and debut full-length, Summertime '06, feature a who's who of rising hip-hop talent including Schoolboy Q, A$ap Rocky, and Mac Miller. His powerful verses about street life in the LBC, and beats from DJ Dahi, Clams Casino, and No ID put Staples in a class of his own. His late afternoon set should be a perfect way to ring in the sunset. Check his pounding “Norf Norf” for a preview.

 

Diarrhea Planet

I know that day one of a festival is sometimes met with trepidations, especially when it comes to the first bands to play. However, the LouFest bookers have made sure the festival starts with a bang by slotting Nashville's Diarrhea Planet in the 1:30pm slot on the Forest Park Stage. Don't let the name deter you from seeing them. This six-piece group brings the rock with influences ranging from AC/DC to Dokken. There's something so refreshing seeing a band fully enjoy themselves during a live set, and Diarrhea Planet is no exception. With plenty of face melting solos and upbeat sing-alongs, they're THE band to start your weekend off right. It also may be the last time you have chance to see them in such an small setting because they're on their way to selling out bigger houses in no time. See their bizarre video for their single “Babyhead” here. 

 

Frightened Rabbit

Speaking of bands on the verge of bigger things, the best band with the earliest time slot has got to be the Scottish boys of Frightened Rabbit. Their 5:30pm slot at the Forest Park Stage is one of the biggest short changes at this year's festival. There are few bands active today that deliver the kind of powerful and thoughtful live shows you'd expect to see closing out major festivals. Their most recent album, Painting of a Panic Attack, is filled with boisterous arena anthems and lush, multi-layered ruminations on addiction, relationships, unknown lands, and more. They've been releasing incredible albums for ten years, and the latest is their best one yet. Missing their first night set would be a disservice not only to this remarkable band on the rise, but to your own enjoyment. Do. Not. Miss. Frightened Rabbit. Here's the video for their most recent single, “Woke Up Hurting”. 

 

Honorable mentions:

Charles Bradley – Amazing James Brown-esque soul

Buddy Guy – Classic Chicago Blues from one of the greatest guitarists of all time

John Turturro, HBO's The Night Of, and the best scene of the year

By Dan Buffa, Special for We Are Live Radio

Can I talk to you about John Turturro's performance in HBO's The Night Of?

Get a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let's talk about the best performance given by a male or female actor on television or film this year. Sorry movie roles, but Turturro's gone for broke lawyer kicked your ass six ways from Sunday, which is where the miniseries concluded this past weekend. 

The show may have been about the presumed innocent yet jail bound college student Naz(the superb Riz Ahmed) who may or may not have killed a young woman, but Turturro's Jack Stone is the heart and soul of this show, which is based on a BBC series named Criminal Justice. and adapted by two of Hollywood's best writers in Richard Price(The Color of Money, The Wire, Sea of Love) and Steven Zaillian(Schindler's List, American Gangster, Mission Impossible). A whodunit became a showcase for Turturro Street.

Why is he so good? What sets his work apart from the work from the rest? It's the way Turturro tackles the role head on in a way few actors can without overpowering his audience. His technique is the opposite of flashy. He doesn't rely on gimmicks.

Turturro shows us a measure of a guy who buries himself in his work because the other avenues of his life are too dark to stare at any longer. His feet are covered in rashes. His love life is wrapped up in a few twenty dollar bills. His independent lawyer business is essentially him pleading his cases out. e is in no shape for an extended trial in court. Against those odds, Stone throws himself into the case of Naz, a man he believes in his bones is innocent of the murder charge. 

This isn't a knocked over dripping bottle of cinematic syrup here. Stone isn't going to do whatever it takes, but he has a special interest that starts out as opportunity knocking and develops into something personal. He is driven to not only win his first big case in decades but also save himself from a personal life that includes getting rid of a cat he is allergic too and finding a cure for his skin. The result is a masterful piece of work. 

It's touching, poignant, badass, and to the point. The actor has portrayed close to 100 different characters over a career that stretches back 40+ year. Jack Stone may be Turturro's best work in 20 years and should be remembered easily come Emmy award time. In fact, let's just send him the award now. Let me rename the award. 

"Best Performance by a Seasoned Pro in a dark ass series that may have turned off others if it weren't for this man's work". Sound good? No? Let's try harder. 

"Best performance by an actor in a film or TV series this year."  I have a knack for these things. 

The series takes expected turns and is twisted around multiple corners. It becomes more than a murder mystery drama and extends into darker areas of the human psyche. Why do we do the things we do and how one must face the fact that no matter what choice you make, good or bad, a repercussion will occur. 

The best part of the series was the smooth riding finale, which climaxed with Stone's closing argument to a jury of 12 semi angry men and women. Let's talk about that scene that put gold on the ceiling.

You put that monologue, which was brilliantly written by Price and Zaillian, in another actor's hands and it may become an instant ham job. In the 57 year old actor's hands, the scene joins the best courtroom moments of all time. 

For five minutes, Turturro and Stone became one guy in front of our eyes. A desperate lawyer taking a case so close to his heart that it may become life threatening. A wet conscience sticking to a dry presumption. 

It was no longer a mere job for Stone to save Naz's life, but a necessity. A man beaten to his knees by a life and profession cloaked in loneliness and hollow success. This was Stone's last real shot at truly saving a life. While the story machinations worked overtime to get this character in front of a jury, Turturro's speech cleared those doubts with how he handled the scene. 

It wasn't Newman in The Verdict. It wasn't Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird. It was even better because Turturro took a secondary character and made him the headline with this pivotal moment.

Turturro, pulling a page from his tragic Millers Crossing character, basically pleads for the jury to look into their heart. He uses a mix of facts(the mistakes, laws broken, and charges) and reminds them of a man who had NO priors and is presumed innocent beyond a reasonable doubt to get his point across.

The most provocative part coming at the end. "Reasonable doubt doesn't really have a definition. It's what we believe." A great performance doesn't really have a clear definition either. As an audience, we just know it when we see it. We believe in the person and wonder if he really exists somewhere in the world. 

It was the kind of scene that makes you wonder after the director said "CUT", did the rest of the cast and extras on set turn to each other and say, "Holy Shit"? I bet they did. If not, they should have. It was a perfectly rendered scene made all the more powerful by the real emotion on Turturro's face as he sat back down after the speech and was on the verge of tears. 

The Night Of was outstanding, and a huge part of that success goes to John Turturro. He played a flawed man with a good heart who was walking on easy street until he met Nasir "Naz" Khan. Sometimes in life an unlikely soul is required to spark something new in our life. It may be dangerous and overpowering, but the lasting effect is easy to notice. 

Give Turturro all the damn awards for his work as Jack Stone. Watch the series and find out for yourself.