Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Courtesy Flush

First off, I would like to apologize for my baseball picks. I'll admit, they were a little rushed, and although I'm not willing to write them off entirely since we are just at the 20 game mark, a lot of my "predictions" have been horrible. For example, the Tigers winning the World Series without any bullpen and a new offense that hasn't meshed yet. Then there's me not picking Chase Utley for NL MVP. Nine homers later, I feel like a bum. Not only because he is my favorite Phil, but I deliberately did not pick Chase because I didn't want to seem biased. So if I could do it again, I'd change about 85% of my picks. I don't mind my division picks, but as for the awards...I'm embarrassed.

Speaking of sports...

The UFC had their first pay-per-view ever in Canada. Headlined by one of the best pound for pound MMA fighters in the world, and Hab native, Georges St. Pierre. I'm mentioning this because St. Pierre has lined himself up to go on an epic run in the UFC at his weight class. For those that don't know, St. Pierre is arguably the most well-rounded and definitely the most athletic fighter in MMA. Although, he was supposed to go on such a run against Matt Serra before losing to him a year ago. Well, St. Pierre avenged that loss and now has the focus and drive to be something great. Plus, we'll all hold our breath for a possible Anderson Silva v. Georges St. Pierre mega-fight. Unless, Silva, who is the best LB 4 LB fighter in the world, bumps up to 205 before that.

As I mentioned, the UFC was in Canada, and as a result UFC President Dana White piled the card with Canadians. This resulted in some less than "hyped" fights. Including three strange fights.

The first was Michael Bisping v. Charles McCarthy. Bisping is British as McCarthy claims the UFC is giving Bisping a cupcake schedule to increase appeal overseas. Well, McCarthy backed his words up by covering his face for 5 minutes before a Bisping knee did him in.

Second, was the Rich Franklin v. Travis Lutter fight. Franklin was the former 185 LB. champ before Anderson Silva broke his face...twice. Lutter gave Silva the best fight in the past year or so, and he was going to use Franklin as a springboard back to Silva. However, Lutter has consistently had weight problems, even coming in over the limit when he fought Silva. Well this time, the out of shape Lutter made weight but gassed by the 2nd round, leaving Franklin (an excellent striker) to tee off and finish the pathetic mess that is Travis Lutter.

Last but certainly not least was the most bizarre fight I have ever seen. Nate Quarry v. Kalib Starnes. Starnes is one of the Canadians on the card, fighting in front of his home town. Both are respectable fighters, but for some reason Starnes decided he was going to run from "Rock" Quarry (get it?) all night long. Openly leading to his hometown fans booing him and Quarry openly mocking him in the ring. This of course led to numerous YouTube clips being assembled in his name. There really isn't any words to describe it, so video works better. Oh, and Dana White immediately ripped up Starnes contract after the fight. Seriously...

Kalib Starnes Fights Away From The 90's

Kalib Starnes Runs Away To The 80's

Run Hard: The Kalib Starnes Story

Speaking of UFC...

Normal color commentator, Joe Rogan, was not at ringside due to a family obligation. I tend to think that the pay-per-view was on April 19th, and Rogan [a MASSIVE pothead (still cool guy though)] didn't want to miss any 4/20 action. Either or, I did get to catch his main gig, a comedy show in Philly a couple of weekends ago. I saw his standup on Showtime and it was HIIIILARIOUS, so I did the compu-nerdy thing and checked his Myspace to see if he had any shows coming to town. Sure as shit he did. So a couple of my friends hit it up for our first real comedy show. All I can say is that it was awesome.

The show was at Helium Comedy Club in Philly. It really was my ideal of what a comedy club is, which means it looks like the comedy club that Jerry performs at on Seinfeld.

Rogan was touring with two other comics, both of whom, certainly had their own sense of humor. All of them were hilarious, and warmed up the crowd like champs. There were two things I wanted to see at the show:

1. Rogan bring the place down, of course.
2. Rogan throw out a drunk heckler (he's famous for this)

Luckily I got both. Rogan was hilarious, and a drunk bunch of "dudes" were thrown out for being loud and obnoxious. Everyone I went with called it from the get go as these assclowns were waiting for the show holding a blow up doll and doing certain sexual positions to it. Real geniuses we were dealing with. It gave me great pleasure to see them leave, and Rogan of course ripped into them with is usual brash humor.

The coolest part was that Rogan hung out after and talked to the crowd, took pictures, and just made sure we got our money worth, which I say we did. Check out his DVD (it's in my Recommendations) or just go see a comedy show. Keep an eye out for a guy that you think is funny and just make a night of it. Well worth your time, and South Street is only a cab ride away afterwards.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Concert Review: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden is relatively new to me as compared to most of my favorite bands. Metallica and the re-united Stone Temple Pilots have been with me since middle school, tool followed soon after and so on and so forth. Being able to catch up on these metal legends have been a pleasure, and the one aspect I had been missing out on was the live concert. I have seen Maiden once before on the Somewhere Back In Time Tour, but Maiden just essentially played the entire new album. So when this opportunity to see them in a "throw back" concert in honor of their historic 1980's world tour. This is Maiden at their best. Playing all their old songs and putting on a huge stage show that glorifies all the 80's excess I missed out on.

Essentially, Maiden loaded everything onto a custom 757 for a world tour. That's every person, instrument, and piece of equipment needed for an entire stage show. Luckily, of the only two shows in the United States was in East Rutherford, NJ. So I gathered some of my friends in a 2008 stretch Charger we rented (for convenience) and we were on our way!

Getting there, it was sold out of course. But let's start in the beginning. The opening act was Lauren Harris (daughter of Maiden founder Steve Harris). I was initially bummed that there wasn't a more prolific band like Avenged Sevenfold, Helloween, or Iced Earth. However, when Lauren took the stage, I was fine with it for two reasons. First, see the picture to the right. She could have done a mime act for 35 minutes and I would have been fine with it. Second, I'm a sucker for female lead singers in rock bands. I don't know why this is the case, but it gets me all the time. Whether it is Nightwish, Flyleaf, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or Paramore I'm a sucker. If I was a superhero, female lead singers in rock bands would be my weakness.

Just a quick word about Lauren's band. The drummer is 50...seriously. Then there is the bass player. Randy Gregg is his name and rocking the fucking house is his game. The guy is straight out of the 80's. He had the spandex, the hair, make-up and stereotypical rock star moves. He looked like a Motley Crue reject, but by the end of the show I was his #1 fan. Rock on, Randy!

On to the show. I was lucky enough to get VIP floor seats, that left me about 3 people back from the stage. Good times. Then came the Churchill Speech Intro, Aces High, and explosions and the concert was off and running. Maiden ran through many of their classic songs during the 2 hour show. The fans were crazy, and minus some obnoxious asses up front, things were great. The stage show was elaborate, but what really pushed this concert beyond the previous one I had seen (besides the set list) was the pyro. There were so many explosions that you really got a sense for what a classic rock show was.

Despite being essentially a bunch of old guys Maiden never stopped the entire show. Bruce Dickinson was running all over the place and the musicianship of the rest of the band was on point as usual. They still have as much energy as they had twenty years ago. It's a great thing to see as many rock bands are fading out into mediocrity or old age.

Maiden released plenty of more dates in the U.S. for the Summer and I'll be attending the MSG show in June, so I can't wait. Should be a blast. If you have any interest in seeing Maiden, take advantage.