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Super Bowl

Last year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show caused a bit of an uproar when it was revealed that the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ instruments weren’t plugged in. It was somehow more scandalous because we associate lip syncing strictly with singers, so the confession that the musicians were now also faking their guitar parts was a pretty big letdown, especially for a band like the Chili Peppers who pride themselves on playing “our guts out live onstage for anyone who wants to get their brains blown out.”

The NFL’s stance on this subject is staunch – the prospect of sound defects is near catastrophic to them, so they pre-record as much material as possible. I understand the sentiment; there’s a national audience watching, and you don’t want anything to go wrong. However, I think it’s a poor excuse for a sport that historically takes pride in their musical accompaniment. The Super Bowl should hold the same high standards for their performers, especially now that they want the artists to pay the NFL for exposure, as they do for the elite marching bands that rally teams throughout the country.

The argument stems from the small amount of time they have to set up the stage during halftime. However, the extensive preparation that goes into the Super Bowl should account for this factor. You can’t tell me that the pyrotechnics, laser lights, massive video displays, and elaborate interactive moving sets the artists perform on are less difficult to pull off than successfully turning on a mic and amplifier.

Our plastic-surgery-happy, auto-tuned culture puts such a high price on perfection that we have become terrified of the very nature of being human – making mistakes. But it’s not like these performers don’t know what they’re doing. With the exception of Britney Spears, they can all really sing and play their instruments. The likelihood that they’re going to mess up their own songs is slim to none, and if they did, it would still be far from the Super Bowl’s most controversial moments (e.g. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, M.I.A.’s middle finger to the world).

If the singers of the National Anthem are supposedly really singing, then why aren’t the Halftime Show performers? How is Diana Ross being lifted off the stage via helicopter less anxiety-inducing than a band forgetting their lyrics? The NFL needs to man up and let their star attractions do what they do best – perform live. Stop pretending the professional sound techs and stage crew can’t get it right. If I wanted to hear previously recorded music, I’d listen to their album, not pay hundreds of dollars to see something that is fundamentally fake.

Ultimately, lip syncing is for hacks. Go big, or go home. Will you let me down this year Katy Perry? Probably. But the NFL is the true root of the problem – too concerned about tarnishing their image to stand for honesty. Oh, but we already knew that. As if the Ray Rice cover-up wasn’t disturbing enough.

September 2014 © Comedy Central

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Highlights of the week: Superbowl, Cabaret, and New Kids on the Block!

Sports


We're getting pumped here in New England for this Sunday's big game! CNN has already released a montage of expected ads for those more interested in the commercials. But whether you're pulling your hair out over a replay, or simply enjoying your 20th hot wing, Super Bowl Sunday is a day to look forward to, as well as these other notable sports on-sales this week:

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Grateful Dead and EDM

Although the organic/natural ideals of the hippies don't seem to complement the computer-based society we now live in, there is a concrete connection between the Grateful Dead's atmosphere - the counterculture of the 1960s - and the EDM landscape - our modern cyber/tech culture. The Grateful Dead established a new form of music marketing that subsequent jam bands and DJs have successfully adopted, each having obtained a cult-like following without any mainstream radio play. Additionally, key members of the first Deadheads turned out to be extremely instrumental in the technological revolution that began in Silicon Valley.

Stewart Brand

At the heart of the matter is a man named Stewart Brand. In the mid-60s, Brand became associated with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, a group whose mission it was to promote the use of psychedelic substances at concerts and gatherings. Interested in combining rock music with light shows to create a new trend of multimedia events, Brand helped produce the legendary Trips Festival, one of the first shows the Grateful Dead played. Soon they all formed a community in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, which became the most revolutionary city in the United States at the time.

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Most of the talk about Super Bowl XLIX is focused on deflated balls -- and that's a shame. The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots are two very, very good football teams -- and the two model organizations in all of football. There's a lot of fanfare that goes into the week preceding the biggest game of the year, as the NFL and media has made the Super Bowl into a spectacle, akin to the Roman Coliseum. Lost in the shuffle thus far is the Super Bowl halftime show, which illustrates what an event the Super Bowl has become.

This year, Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz will perform while Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick prepare for the final 30 minutes of the football season. Katy Perry is one of the more obvious choices -- she's good looking and has no shortage of No. 1 songs over the last few years. That she doesn't appeal to the NFL's target demographic illustrates just how much of an event the Super Bowl has become.

Still, many music fans were clamoring for another pop star to perform -- Taylor Swift, who came out with arguably the biggest song in 2014 with "Shake it Off." The NFL, however, opted to tab Katy Perry as the Super Bowl XLIX halftime performer -- and it could get a little catty.

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Winter Storm Juno Playlist

If you live in the northeast, you've probably encountered grocery store war zones, hysterical newscasts, and kids rejoicing about school cancellations over the last 24 hours. We're expected to get anywhere from one to three feet of snow here in Connecticut, so if you need some tunes to kick off your shut-in vacation, I've got 16 snowy songs to get you in the mood for spiked hot chocolate, fireplace crackling, and Netflix binges.

Winter Playlist 1.) “Stormy Weather” – Pixies
2.) “Snow (Hey Oh)” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
3.) “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” – Bruce Springsteen
4.) “Sweater Weather” – The Neighbourhood
5.) “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” – Frank Zappa
6.) “White Winter Hymnal” – Fleet Foxes
7.) “The Blizzard” – Camera Obscura
8.) “A Hazy Shade of Winter” – Simon & Garfunkel
9.) “White Queen (As It Began)” – Queen
10.) “California Dreamin’” – The Mamas & the Papas
11.) “Shut In” – Strand of Oaks
12.) “Tracks in the Snow” – The Civil Wars
13.) “January Hymn” – The Decemberists
14.) “The Wolves” – Bon Iver
15.) “Shelter” – The xx
16.) “After the Storm” – Mumford & Sons

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The Patriots and the Seahawks will take the field for Super Bowl XLIX on February 2, and there's no shortage of story lines to follow.

  • "#DeflateGate" looks to be the newest scandal that won't go away.
  • Shiny new quarterback Russell Wilson comes to town taking on the aging sheriff in Tom Brady.
  • Wilson is the youngest QB to appear in two Super Bowls since Brady did it 2003 and 2004.
  • Settle is hoping to be the first team to repeat since the Patriots did it in those same seasons.
  • Seattle's head coach Pete Carroll led the Patriots from 1997 to 1999 before owner Bob Kraft hired Bill Belichick.
  • 2015 marks the first time both Super Bowl coaches will be more than 60 years old.
  • And so forth, and so on.

All kinds of stats, records and bragging rights hang in the balance. Fortunes will be made and lost on the game. Fans, bettors, pundits and writers across the country have been examining the game from any and all angles (well the ones not obsessed with firmness of balls anyway) to find any details that might affect the outcome of the Super Bowl.

But for all the blustering about keys to the game, for my money Super Bowl XLIX will be most impacted by New England's Rob Gronkowski and Seattle's Richard Sherman, the most important non-QB players on their respective teams, or as I've decided to dub them alien and predator.

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Events On Sale This Week

Here's a list of the hottest events with dates going on sale this week. Our event of the week is "The Boys of Zummer" Tour featuring Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa. This is going to be one hot tour with new albums coming out from both Fall Out Boy and Wiz, so be sure to pick up your tickets as soon as possible. Billy Joel made a big venue announcement this week; the piano man will play Chicago's Wrigley Field this summer and will break the record for the most times a musician has performed in the iconic stadium. Lots of tickets are going on sale for Train (remember them?), who will be playing select tour dates with The Fray, as well as Motley Crue with Alice Cooper and Weird Al (a motley crew indeed). For tickets to these events and more, head over to Ticket Liquidator.

Concert Tickets On Sale

Event

Date

Cities

Billy Joel Saturday, 1/24/15 Chicago, IL
Bjork Friday, 1/23/15 New York, NY
Chicago Friday, 1/23/15 Cedar Rapids, IA
Clean Bandit Friday, 1/23/15 Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Toronto, ON; Carrboro, NC; San Francisco, CA
Darius Rucker Friday, 1/16/15 Alpharetta, GA
Elton John Friday, 1/23/15 Augusta, GA; Fayetteville, NC; Greenville, SC; Huntsville, AL
Eric Church Friday, 1/23/15 Albany, NY; Wilkes-Barre, PA; Cincinnati, OH; Tallahassee, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Raleigh, NC; Newark, NJ; Lexington, KY; Syracuse, NY
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First things first: the New England Patriots did not win the AFC Championship Game because they used balls that may or may not have been below the legal PSI limit. The Patriots dismantled the Indianapolis Colts and absolutely deserve to be playing in Super Bowl XLIX.

Whether or not any discipline comes from the NFL remains to be seen. Fans who are on witch hunts to discredit the Patriots are quick to forget (or ignore) the fact that each ball is inspected by a referee before the game begins, and is then marked with a dot deeming it game-ready. It is feasible that the Patriots could have then deflated the footballs post-inspection, but if true, it is an incredibly brash an arrogant move. More likely, the weather caused a bit of a drop in pressure.

Regardless, the Patriots will play in Super Bowl 49. The Seattle Seahawks, seemingly forgotten this week, opened as two-point favorites when the Super Bowl matchup was originally known. Since then, the line has moved to pick 'em, or even favoring the Patriots by one point.

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Work Out at Concerts

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming? Did you already blow the money you set aside for a gym membership on upcoming 2015 concerts? No worries! There are tons of ways to get your exercise in at shows (no sassy personal trainers necessary). After all, the key to a successful work out is quality music, so why not have the ultimate body-building experience whilst seeing your fave act live? Check out TL’s recommendations for making the most out of your next night out:

General

1.) Transportation – If you live near the venue and the weather is agreeable, walk or bike to the event. You won’t have to worry about reserving a designated driver or paying for a taxi. If you’re driving, there will be multiple parking options. You could choose the parking lot closest to the venue, but that will most likely be filled, overpriced, and the patrolling of tailgaters will be much more strictly enforced. Choose the cheap $5 lot instead. You’ll need the few extra blocks of walking to work off all that beer and chips and Cheetos. Not only will you be adding more distance to your miles walked per week (because I know you count that sort of thing), but you’ll be saving a few bucks at the same time. It’s a win-win.

2.) Line-waiting – Unfortunately, standing-room-only concerts can create quite the commotion both inside and outside the venue. Long lines often form before doors open because fans want to be the first ones in to secure their spots in front of the stage. However, you don’t need to simply stand by idly while you wait. Inconspicuous exercises like calf raises (3 sets of 12) and butt pinches (to tone your twerking muscles) can be done with no one noticing, and if you simply don’t care what people think, you can try The Tree, a yoga position that focuses on balance and posture, or lunges.

Calories Burned Per Hour: 50-100

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Apologies to the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts, but next year is only eight months away.

It's just two days until Championship Sunday, when we find out which two teams will head to Arizona to participate in Super Bowl XLIX. Though anything can happen on Sunday, it's inevitable that we'll see Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks take on Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots on February 1.

It's not that the Packers and Colts are bad football teams; they're very good football teams. The Packers have likely league MVP Aaron Rodgers behind center, while the Colts are led by future MVP Andrew Luck. Those are two very, very talented quarterbacks, surrounded by explosive talent such as Jordy Nelson and T.Y. Hilton. Unfortunately for the Packers, Rodgers isn't at 100% -- he's battling a torn calf muscle. And before you say "it's not torn, it's just a strain," please remember -- all strains are tears. It's not going to be easy for Rodgers to go into Seattle and win on one leg.

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