Archive for April, 2010

A Future Midwest?

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

A Future Midwest?

Thoughts from a startup after the conference.

Contributing Writer : Rashon A. Massey []

Roving Festival Writer received the esteemed pleasure of being invited to the FutureMidwest conference.  Taking place at the Royal Oak Music Theater, the gathering was a two-day intensive seminar aimed at the marketers and techies seeking to network, learn and discuss social networks, marketing sciences and analytics upon a bed of brand construction, organization and maintenance.

For Ben and I, this proved to be the click of reality that a strong, emerging technological infrastructure has been developing throughout the state of Michigan for quite some time.   Although we expected more twenty-something’s like ourselves, we did meet and interact with a packed house of individuals who were a small representative sample of the thriving communities branching right in our own backyard.  Even the largest sponsors who backed the event including GM, FORD and Verizon Wireless, played a role within the production of the event, from internet access to presentations sharing methods their companies were harvesting their social media outlets and brand marketing initiatives to yield the best results.

The conference was no joke about time slots, moving the first session forward through 20-minute presentations.   Instead of going into details of the event, I will share what I felt were the universal concepts throughout majority of the presentations.

Right from the start, this was a conference aimed at teaching that “retention is the new acquisition,” providing tools to understand, utilize and enhance the overall user-generated experience via social networks and websites.  As far as being a brand, Sam Valenti IV, Founder of Ghostly International, knocked the ball out the park from the onset of his presentation, sharing why it was important to be a permeable brand.  Using a textbook example, he referred to brands as homes on a spread of land surrounded by a picket fence.  He dared and challenged us to understand which neighbors and strangers were attractive to us, find open-generated methods of grabbing their attention to bring them to yard.  It would be Kelis’ “Milkshake.”

The highlight of the conference echoed in the voice of Jay Adelson, Entrepenuer and Former CEO and chairman of Digg (.com), a Southfield, MI native who has been part of integral actions which have given us the Internet.  His passion about the energy, event and the possibilities for the Midwest didn’t leave a single person feeling anything less than superhuman.

But is there really a future Midwest?  Can the once agriculturally, automotive driven hot spot be transformed and potentially birth the next Silicon Valley?  Time will only tell; however, with the recent direction of the economy, corporations and government decisions, things are looking mighty bright for some of these hardest hit areas of America.

Check it out :

The Royal Gogol Bordello

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The Royal Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello | Royal Oak Music Theater | Royal Oak, MI

April 21, 2009

Contributing Writer & Photographer : Raymond Grubb

Thanks to ShanikaVideo at YouTube for the video!

“ All your sanity and wits they will all vanish, I promise, It’s just a matter of time.”

It’s been almost two years since my last Gogol Bordello show, and those same Gogol vibes begin to take over me as I stand in line outside the sold out Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak (Michigan), humming and tapping my feet to the songs I anticipate to hear once the party begins and Eugene Hutz and company take stage.  I usually caught Gogol shows down in Detroit, so the scenery was a little different but the people, they haven’t changed a bit.  All the unique faces were out, smiling and in full-swing, the flamboyant dressers, the punks and the old timers all conversing like family, dancing in line and chanting, “Start wearing purple, wearing purple.”  I couldn’t help but smile.  I knew where I was and what I was in for, and I was just as excited as the next fan.

Gogol first blew me away in 2005 at the Magic Stick in Detroit. I remember on the way to the show, I felt a bit confused and left out because everyone seemed as happy and giddy as little children on Christmas Eve.

I soon found out why.

Going to a Gogol show is not really comparable to any other show or any other genre of show for that matter; these cats are in a league of their own.  They smuggled that Gypsy punk/funk Eastern European “dance your ass off music” into New York in 99’ and they haven’t stopped since, mixing the gypsy sound with almost every known genre, bringing that rebellious vibe everywhere they go.  The pure energy put out by the band and front man Eugene Hutz is contagious, sparking mosh pits at every show I’ve attended, encouraging through sound, all the “wallflowers” to get off their asses and enjoy themselves.  After all that’s what going to a show is all about.

Article Continues After The Jump/Photos!

On the other hand, Gogol is not all fun and games. Some songs, although they may make you dance like never before, carry serious messages about humanity, history, and politics, speaking out against the bourgeois lifestyle and corrupt governments and preaching love and understanding, tolerance and change.  Heavily influenced by Nikolai Gogol, one of the most famous Russian/Ukrainian writers (hence the name Gogol Bordello), they intend on spreading a message and influencing a culture.  They have succeeded thus far.

They have claimed millions of fans in America and millions more world-wide, touring every chance they get just to gain another fan and stay close to the ones they have: to stay real, to stay “un-corrupted” by that ugly hand that taints so many others in their industry.

If you plan on attending a Gogol show, which I highly recommend, plan on dancing, hearing a unique sound like no other.  Plan on being encouraged to drink heavily and smile about it.  Plan on an overall good time incomparable to any other. Last but not least, I wouldn’t plan on wearing your nicest clothes since they’ll probably end up soaked in your own sweat.

Gogol Bordello is signed to SideOneDummy Records and released their newest album Transcontinental Hustle on April 27 10’.  They have made their way into the festival circuit, the film world and tour constantly; Luckily, I think I’ll have the pleasure of catching many more amazing Gogol shows in the future.

Trans-Continental Hustle

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010


Trans-Continental Hustle | Album Review

Eugene Hutz, tireless rabble-rousing frontman for gypsy-punk iconoclasts Gogol Bordello, has traveled great literal and spiritual distances to be where he is today. A teenage Hutz immigrated to the United States as a political refugee in the early 1990s at the conclusion of an arduous journey begun in his native Ukraine. Assembling his band in New York City in 1999, he’s spent over two decades pouring passion and sweat into establishing Gogol Bordello as one of America’s most chaotically enthralling live acts and relentlessly ebullient recording artists.

Hutz’s odyssey has been so dogged and so deeply felt that it has become the great subject of his art itself. Much like its predecessors, Gogol Bordello’s fifth studio album, the aptly titled Trans-Continental Hustle, is largely about the experience of being Gogol Bordello, about overcoming stigmas against immigrants and America’s tacit favoring of bland one-world homogenization in order to carve out a vibrant, warts-and-all space where life can be celebrated and differences cherished. In songs like “Break the Spell”, “Raise the Knowledge”, and “Rebellious Love” Hutz seems more polemical street philosopher and positivist guru (no wonder Madonna’s a fan) than conventional rock frontman, refusing to put any distance or irony between himself and his artistic creations.

In the past, Hutz has rarely allowed songcraft to get in the way of his manic exultations of joy and frenzied bouts of soul-searching. That changes somewhat with Trans-Continental Hustle, as Gogol Bordello work with famed producer Rick Rubin, who ostensibly is largely responsible for a newfound emphasis on nuance and dynamics, in contrast to the always-in-fifth-gear MO that has defined the band. Results are mixed– “Sun Is on My Side” offers lovely accordion and a weary, haunting refrain, but the midtempo “Uma Menina Uma Cigana” feels flat and perfunctory, while the lugubriousness of “When Universes Collide” actually undermines Hutz’s harrowing, poverty-tinged lyrics.

Hutz’s emboldening exhortations and the band’s sweatily democratic live show make it clear that Gogol Bordello wish to foster a massive brotherhood of open-hearted partiers. Such non-stop full-throttling might work for punk-rock true believers, but the band’s inviting uniqueness ensures that its admirers will be more far-flung than that, and most of us don’t want to spend our entire lives in the red. In that context it makes sense for Hutz and the group to try taking a more multifarious approach, but honestly it just doesn’t play to their strengths. I may only want to join his raucous shindig every now and again, but its nice knowing he’s always somewhere tearing the roof off.

— Joshua Love, April 28, 2010

Hoxeyville – RFWtv

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010



2009 Hoxeyville Music Festival

Featuring Music From :

Hot Buttered Rum, Buddy Guy, EOTO, GALACTIC

Hail! Hail! Rock N Roll

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Contributing Writer : Beatle Bob [ ]- From the blog Beatle Bob Speaks!

Hey gang,

I was interviewed this past Saturday for the documentary film being made on St. Louis’ Rock & Roll Hall of Famer: Johnnie Johnson. The film is being written and produced by local St. Louis TV news broadcaster (from our local NBC affiliate: KSDK-Channel 5), Art Holliday.

First of all, for you who don’t know the legendary status of Johnnie Johnson (and shame on you music fans who don’t), Mr. Johnson was the piano player on most of those great Chuck Berry hit singles and album tracks as well. Johnnie actually asked Chuck Berry to join his band after seeing the great response the crowd had at the East St. Louis,Illinois music venue -The Cosmopolitan Club – on New Year’s Eve 1952. Johnnie eventually named the band after Chuck Berry’s name and they played together on records and live shows until 1973. Johnnie Johnson was elected into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and passed away on April 13, 2005.

Beatle Bob

Johnnie Johnson received very little recognition to his massive contributions to rock & roll until the Chuck Berry concert/documentary film Chuck Berry Hail! Hail ! Rock n’ Roll was released in 1987, with the concert footage taking place on Chuck Berry’s 60th birthday at St. Louis’ legendary concert venue: The Fox Theater.

When Art Holliday was going through the Fox Theater photo archives of the the filming of the movie, Art noticed a photo of me holding six tickets for the Chuck Berry film concert. I was the first one in line to get tickets and stayed in line for over 50-hours to get 6 first row seats! You can actually see me for a few seconds in the movie dancing.

Below is a picture taken of me minutes after I purchased my tickets for the concert-film. Also, below is a link to hit for the official Johnnie Johnson movie. Save this link as it is updated regularly.


Beatle Bob