Daily Archives: 06/04/2012

“Iron Man 3” pic – suit up!

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The Avengers did pretty well at the box office this spring.  It’s as popular as Justin Bieber-flavoured dental braces would doubtless be, if some lunatic made them (idea copyrighted and trademarked, people, step away…).

Accordingly, phase two of Marvel’s ongoing “Avengers” project is in motion, with the justifiably emboldened folks at Marvel sharing with us the first proper set picture from “Iron Man 3” – which you can see above.

We’ve already had a few leaks and sneaky shots grabbed from the film’s shoot in North Carolina, which seemed to indicate the presence of Iron Patriot, which might worry those of us who don’t want to see “IM3” conclude with another mano-a-mano battle between dudes in suits.

I mean, I know that the premise of the character implies a certain amount of suit-bound butt-kicking, but it would be nice if splendid film maker and writing icon Shane Black found a smart way to resolve his story without having steel-on-steel fisticuffs saving the day.

We shall doubtless get to see the first teaser trailer for this threequel by the end of 2012, with the film rocking multiplexes and Repulsing box office records down on May 3, 2013…

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Filed under Films, Geekery

This Week In Pint-Sized, Rockstar Follies…

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Oh, Axl, must we go down this road again?

The maxim would have it that time heals all wounds but clearly that slice of home-spun wisdom hasn’t reached the lead singer of what currently passes for Guns N Roses, as this week Axl Rose Forced Fans To Remove Slash T-Shirts at their London 02 Arena show.

Not content with starting gigs several hours late, writing his former band mates out of history in lengthy online screeds, storming off stage regularly and generally behaving like the kind of caricature that you could chuckle at if his behaviour wasn’t so pitiable, he’s now telling fans what they can wear when they’ve spent £56.25 to see his current backing band plow dutifully through the back catalogue and the absurdly overblown sonic mulch which was Chinese Democracy“.

Being as charitable and equitable as Rose now seems unable to be, one might argue that the act of wearing a Slash shirt to a gig where the former G’N’R guitarist is now persona-non-grata could be construed as an act of minor, passive aggressive trolling.  But the point would be somewhat hard to sustain – Slash is, whether Axl chooses to acknowledge it not, an integral part of the Guns story and has carried himself with far more dignity than the defacto protector of the G’N’R legacy cares to.

How about that new Slash record, by the way?  Really looking forward to what Slash, Myles and the boys have cooked up this time…

 

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Filed under Music, Random Notes

Van Halen – “A Different Kind of Truth” album review

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Van Halen’s much-ballyhooed ‘reunion’ album with three-quarters of the classic line-up is proof that you CAN go home again.

I was initially sceptical that giving vintage 1970’s material a buff and polish was a great idea, but the resultant album unequivocally establishes such misgivings are unfounded – this is the best Van Halen record since “OU812” and a joy to listen to. It’s a pleasure to be as wrong as I was about this Van Halen line-up as they’ve only gone and kicked my ass completely.

There’s stuff here – “Blood and Fire”, “Big River”“Chinatown”, “She’s The Woman”, “Stay Frosty” – which stacks up to the best Van Halen material from the late ’70s and early ’80s, both in musical attack and David Lee Roth‘s ‘1,000 aphorisms a minute’ lyrical style.  The wit and sass duke it out with Ed’s crunching riffs, reckless abandon soloing and the pretty damn tight Wolfgang and Alex rhythm section, somehow conspiring to present a record which sounds utterly classic, absolutely contemporary and as though the 1984 line-up were cryogenically flash-frozen and dumped out into the modern-day to rock faces anew.

This record recalls the  Van Halen of “Van Halen II”, Women & Children First and “Mean Streets” with a contemporary, glistening production sheen and every bit of musical moxie intact and somehow enhanced for a modern audience.

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Eddie and Wolfgang – Van Halen & Son, staying frosty and defying the haters. Picture via Esquire.com

Coming back to that latter point, I won’t say that I don’t miss Michael Anthony in the band, but it must be said that Wolfgang more than makes his case to be apart of the new line-up.  The backing vocals are very much up to snuff and the new fellow’s bass playing is tight and unfussy, finding the odd moment to add flair in concert with his uncle’s typically impeccable, thunderous double bass attack.  The rhythm section, always a key element of Van Halen’s sound, is absolutely present and correct and the envy of any of their peers.

Recent events have suggested to the weary Van Halen fan that you should never expect them to keep things on track for too long but it would be a shame to see this line-up go the way of previous iterations, particularly as the middle-aged romantic typing these words would love the entertain the oft-absurd notion that they could drag their asses over to Europe again and let us see this line-up knock one out of the proverbial park (or mid-sized arena).

So, the short version.  Great songs, Eddie’s solos and riffs will melt your face, the rhythm section’s a monster and Dave’s voice is a singular thing of high-pitched, camp, bar room bard beauty.  It’s not the album that I expected – it’s something far, far better.

If you’ve been holding off on picking it up, as I was, buy it with confidence – it’s proof that musical reunions can work out for the best.  Where the band goes from here is anybody’s guess, but I hope that they summon up the mojo to keep going and make more records of this calibre.

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Filed under Music