20 Watts


Syracuse in Running for Victoria’s Secret Concert Event by JohnCassillo
March 24, 2010, 3:33 pm
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Syracuse could have a free concert next fall

For those who may be dissatisfied with concert selections during your time at Syracuse, perhaps this is a way to actively change that feeling.

Victoria’s Secret PINK is running an online voting competition throughout 59 different college campuses in the U.S. The winner gets a free Back to School Bash put on by the company. The event would include a concert, free PINK merch, celebrities and Victoria’s Secret models (so not a bad deal). While the musical artist for the event– which would take place next fall– has not yet been chosen, past performers have included Girl Talk, Cobra Starship and Fergie.

If you’re interested, and want to vote to help impact who wins, check out the contest at the PINK Nation website. You can vote once per day, but the first round ends THIS FRIDAY. If SU gets past the first round, it’ll continue to compete against other schools in a bracket-style format. The winner will be announced April 20.

-John Cassillo, Reviews Editor



Editor’s Pick #285: Houston’s Free Press Summer Fest 2010 by elizabethvogt

Eleanor Tinsley Park and the Houston skyline at 2009's Free Press Summer Fest

PREVIEW: VISIT Free Press Summer Fest 2010′ site

Ah, I love festival season. With Coachella in California, Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Ultra in Miami, there are almost too many epic road trip options. Luckily, Free Press Summer Fest decided to make its debut in my hometown, Houston, this past summer, surprising everyone with its huge headliners such as Of Montreal and Broken Social Scene. Considering it was the first music festival H-town has ever had, the number of attendees was highly unprecedented, leading to lines that were Woodstock-worthy. After the reveal of the 2010 lineup, it is pretty clear that Free Press was ready to blow away the festival crowds once again. The headliners: The Flaming Lips, Girl Talk, Stars and Ra Ra Riot. Other “lesser known” acts include Kid Sister, Lymbyc Systym, Dead Prez and 50 other local artists. Did I hesitate when purchasing my $22 2-day pass? HELL NO! Even though it will probably be a stifling 100 degrees June 5-6, it’s no match against good friends, good music and the Houston skyline.

–Elizabeth Vogt, Assistant Front of Book Editor

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Editor’s Pick #261: New York Noise by carlywolkoff

PREVIEW: Visit “New York Noise’s YouTube channel

My bored-to-death high school evenings were often spent watching “New York Noise” on NYC TV, entranced.  “New York Noise” is basically what MTV should have been–full of the newest indie music videos, artist interviews and festival adventures, completely devoted to discovering up-and-coming talent.

Making me feel like an unaccomplished fool, Brooklyn native Shirley Braha masterminded “New York Noise” in 2003, the summer before her senior year at Smith College while interning at NYC TV.  And since its inception, we’ve gone virtual record shopping with Mark Ronson, drank tea with Tommy Ramone, toured Les Savy Fav’s apartment and partied at a rooftop barbeque hosted by Bishop Allen.

Luckily the fun hasn’t ended yet; word on the Internet is that new episodes will begin airing in May of this year.  But for now, if you live in the NYC metro area, you can catch reruns of this hour-long eyegasm at 11 p.m. on Wednesdays, channel 25.  Oh, and before ever contemplating the uselessness of the Oxford comma, guess who interned at “New York Noise”? None other than Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig.

–Carly Wolkoff, Front of Book Editor



Juice Jam 2009: 20 Watts Wrap-Up Podcast by 20watts
September 14, 2009, 4:05 am
Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , , , ,
jj_gt

A day's worth of fun and music in a few short minutes!

DOWNLOAD: 20 Watts JUICE JAM PODCAST MP3

Every September, Syracuse University students venture to South Campus’ remote Skytop Field for a day of good music, bad hot dogs, and really sick spray-painted hats.  But this year, something was different — 20 Watts’ Irina Dvalidze was also on the scene to bring you the best of Juice Jam in podcast form.

With onsite crowd and fan interviews, extensive commentary and only the best selections from The Cool Kids, Jack’s Mannequin and Girl Talk’s sets, 20 Watts is proud to offer you a true sip of this year’s Juice.

— Irina Dvalidze

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Juice Jam 2009, featuring Girl Talk, Jack’s Mannequin and the Cool Kids, Only on 20 Watts by 20watts

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Juice Jam 2009: ‘Cuse Psychs Up and Gets Down to Girl Talk, Jack’s Mannequin and the Cool Kids by 20watts
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Not even the rain could stop the insanity on South Campus

Not even the threat of impending rain could keep Syracuse University music-lovers away from South Campus on Sunday.  Muggy, overcast and miserable as it was, several thousand students converged on Skytop for Juice Jam 2009, and no amount of drizzle or line-up cynicism could stop them from psyching up and getting down.

Although the show got off to an admittedly slow start — a problem that has plagued the annual concert in the past — Juice Jam succeeded on the strength of its headliner, Girl Talk, who stirred up over an hour of neon, confetti-filled mayhem on Sunday afternoon.

Chicago based hip-hop group The Cool Kids were the first to take the stage, though a great number of concert attendees seemed not to have noticed.  The crowd gathered in front of the stage was a relatively small group of loyal fans, which unfortunately can’t even be attributed to their early set time, as the line for a lame airbrushed hat was still a mile long.

Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish were still the ultimate flirts, emphasizing the number of pretty girls in the audience more than once before transitioning into “Bassment Party,” instructing, “if you ugly keep your hands by your side.”  This attitude stayed true after the performance, when Mikey and Chuck embraced adoring female fans.

Cool as they might have been, however, the hip-hop duo failed to attract the enthusiasm that greeted piano pop mainstay Jack’s Mannequin.  Seeing Jack’s perform was like a trip down memory lane — and judging by the crowd that gravitated towards the stage, others felt that way, too. Friends likely reminisced about high school as they danced in groups to Andrew McMahon’s piano melodies during “Holiday from Real.” The band played much of Everything in Transit, including  “The Mixed Tape,” “Dark Blue” and “La La Lie.”  Bassist Jonathan Sullivan helped to keep the high school theme alive with his arm warmers and emo-licious haircut.

After closing with Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” Andrew McMahon climbed atop his piano and stomped on the keys.  Although this move was relatively badass at the time, in comparison to the imminent mayhem, McMahon’s momentary awesomeness was as P.G. as it gets.

The transformation to said mayhem started gradually enough. Sorority girls clad in neon, eager to be Gregg Gillis’ one true love/grinding partner, searched for a way to get on stage. The masses followed suit.  Hints of marijuana filled the air. Antsy people anticipating the ultimate dance party muttered their frustration as Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger” blasting through the speakers to pass the time.

But the sunshine finally started to peek through the hazy sky and our host, Gregg “I’m Not a DJ” Gillis, stormed the stage to start the party.  Cue toilet paper.  Balloons.  Balls.  Confetti.  Gillis plays pop music for people with short attention spans and long memories: in his sets, pop music from the last 30 years resurfaces as a hook, a line or a beat, mixed into something entirely new.

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Juice Jam 2009: “In Philadelphia, a couple had sex on stage, which is relatively insane.” by 20watts
September 12, 2009, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Features, Interviews, Juice Jam Preview | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Girl Talk tells 20 Watts

Girl Talk dishes on pop music, his first iPod and the craziest things that people have ever done at his infamous shows

You’ve seen the sweaty neon pictures.  You’ve heard the hyperactive pop culture collages that some naively call songs.  But chances are you’ve never sat down with Gregg Gillis, a.k.a. Girl Talk, to talk pop music, first iPods and the craziest sets in DJ history after one of his infamous party shows.

20 Watts’ Allison Polster caught up with Girl Talk after his show at the University of Rochester last year.

20 Watts: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?

Girl Talk: On a surface level, I usually tell parents and old people that I make new music out of old pop music. I’d say simply, I kind of just collage. It’s an audio collage. I collage together a bunch of sources, layer it, chop it up and just take a bunch of familiar songs and try to create new songs out of those.

20W: Is there a certain criteria you use for songs that you put in? Do you only use songs that you actually like or just songs that fit in best? How do you decide which songs to use?

GT: Everything I use I like. I try not to use anything ironically. I’m pretty sincere about all that. I try to keep it diverse. These days I mainly listen to pop music, but going back to high school and those days, I do listen to a lot more obscure music as well. And I specifically don’t include samples from that as much just cause I like the idea of taking a very familiar thing and then manipulating and kind of playing with people’s connection to that song.

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