Carlita Loves Music

Come with me on my musical journey…

My thoughts on the 2014 Grammy nods December 7, 2013

Filed under: Music — carlitasconcerts @ 8:12 pm

So it’s that time of year around here again. Here being LA and time of year being awards season. After attending the Latin Grammys a few weeks ago, I was curious what lie ahead for the 2014 Grammy nominations. After the Grammys foolishly decided again not to make their nomination concert nor their ceremony in real time, I relied on the East Coast media outlets to inform me of developments. Forget the fact that over 30 million people live in California, we can all wait to have the shows rebroadcast as old and irrelevant news, hours after the East Coast. Bitter much? Perhaps.

Before the noms came out, I knew pop giants Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry would be in the mix. I did not think “20/20″ was a candidate for “Album of The Year” and it looks like the Recording Academy agreed with me. Point blank, it was good but not as good as “Future Sex/Love Sounds” nor “Justified” and my two least favorite songs off the album “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors” got nods ( I prefer “Take Back the Night” and “Pusher Lover Girl” 10x more). All in all, he got 7 nods so he’ll get at least one for sure.

I did not think Jay-Z deserved 9 nods and thought “Holy Grail” was ok. J. Cole’s album was way better than his and Drake’s and should have been nominated instead. I have not jumped on the Lorde train as I prefer Birdy and Kimbra but at least she brings some youth into the fray. Was surprised to see Janelle Monae and India Arie get shut out.

Interviewing several artists and producers this year, was happy to see some artists I spoke with get nominated- Hiatus Kaiyote, Mack Wilds and J.Rob, a producer on Chrisette Michele’s album “Better”. I missed the deadline to cover the show so my ass will be after partying after the show and then watching the old news clips the following day. Will be looking forward to all the concerts and madness in a few weeks.




Carlita’s September Sentiments- Rock The Bells LA, SF, Justin Timberlake, Aloe Blacc, Eve and India Arie September 30, 2013

Filed under: Music — carlitasconcerts @ 2:39 am

Although I anticipated it would be, September was a VERY crazy music month for me. Somehow between interviewing artists and album reviewing, I managed to attend eight shows this month- 6 in the LA vicinity and 2 in the Bay Area. Although I did go to a few shows this summer, it seemed like a tamer one than usual, with tons of artists coming through to the West side all at once this month. While I won’t bore you with all the details, I’ll give the cliffnotes version of what happened.

Rock The Bells- Deciding to attend Rock The Bells in LA and SF for the first time, I had very different experiences at each. The LA one took place during a 100+ heatwave in the mountains and the SF one close to the Bay was in the 60’s. Temperature matters and def affects your concert enjoyment. The VIP experiences were different too as LA’s was pretty lush and the SF one was very scaled back. The LA one I focused on the meet and greets and the SF one I focused on the performances, being able to meet 12 artists and see 12 artists during the 3 day experience. Although I thought everyone I met was cool, it was a thrill in particular to meet Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Dilated Peoples and Joey Bada$$. Had no clue a few weeks later, Guerilla Union would awkwardly cancel DC and NY’s RTBs, blaming folks for poor ticket sales, alienating fanbases and creating a PR fiasco. Although my experiences weren’t perfect, I did enjoy my shows and felt even luckier after this happened.

Getting last minute tickets that opened up on 1iota to see Justin Timberlake for free for a block concert at Jimmy Kimmel, this was a highlight of the month. Sure, going to a concert at a late night show is free but quite an investment in time. Expect at a minimum to be there at least 4 hours. Putting screens throughout the streets on Hollywood Blvd and a blimp and helicopters circling overheard, the scene was pretty hectic. Justin,who was sick but didn’t sound like it, performed 6 songs- 3 old and 3 new to the crowd of thousands. My fav moments were seeing two of my tweets scroll under Justin’s head while he was performing and I dancing to “Rock Your Body”, “Sexyback” and “Take Back The Night” in the middle of the street outside The Chinese Theatre.

Overall throughout the month, I went to a few hip-hop and soul shows-seeing Eve (who I got to meet), Aloe Blacc at the Beach Ball Fest (who I e-interviewed a few weeks ago and discovered has a #1 song in 102 countries with Avicii) and India Arie (who I also got to meet, went to soundcheck and saw perform for 2 hours). Was def one for the books and look forward to what the end of ’13 will bring!


‘No Sleep Til…Time Delayed Rebroadcast’-The 2013 VMAs August 26, 2013

Filed under: Music — carlitasconcerts @ 2:59 pm

Not sure what age it is but there’s definitely an age when the stuff on MTV just isn’t appealing anymore. Sure, call it getting old but there’s an age when watching reality programming about teenage mothers fighting with their baby daddies, getting drunk in a sick house in a city they’ve already done collectively with 7 other individuals and spoiled, little rich kids receiving Range Rovers for their 16th birthdays, loses its draw. Plus it’s probably been a good 10 years since I’ve seen a VMA show. But once the rumors started swirling about a N’Sync reunion, I drank the Kool-aid (or fizzle added soda water). I absolutely had to watch.

Holding the show in Brooklyn, the theme was gimmicky. Yes, the American public is well AWARE Brooklyn is hipster trendy. We get it. Not viewing some of the commercials used to hype it until a few min before the broadcast, my eyes started rolling immediately. Unsure if we were going to see the broadcast live, I tuned in at 6PM PST to be greeted by an episode of “Catfish”. Beyond annoyed that we still have award shows with West Coast time delays in an age where videos of the performances go up 5 min later, I went online and saw audience cam where they had cams spying on the celebs in the rafters, getting their reaction during the show. That was fun for a while to see Rihanna looking bored during most of the show, Taylor Swift non-rhythmically dancing along to each performance, gossiping with Selena Gomez and the first glimpse of Miley Cyrus in nude leather underwear with a foam finger backstage. Also visited Twitter and FB which always brings out the comedic best of the people I follow. The comments about RT Beetlejuice, MC ratchet twerking and Gaga’s Little Mermaid outfit made the spoiled time I could have been watching the show live, pass much faster.

Finally viewing the show at 9PM PST after being told about all highlights via text and online in detail, the lack of host concept took a little adjustment. On the one hand, it was nice not to see someone work their way through unfunny bits but on the other, it made the show lack cohesion. The intro from Vanessa Bayer pointing out Miley Cyrus now likes to stick her tongue out was priceless. Hannah Montana no more. Did I see Minnie fondling foam fingers and slapping asses? Am still processing that.

Bravo to Macklemore getting his first Moon man. It’s been great to see this astronomical rise and the fact that Macklemore mentioned he was indie onstage was dope. Props to Ray Dalton too. But it all pales in comparison to the main event. Justin’s ruled 2013 and a 20 min concert during the VMAs just drove the point home. A medley of solo album songs with the much hyped N’Sync reunion everyone wished for AND lots of dancing. I love that Justin said “You asked for it” twice. My inner college girl that’s seen N’Sync in concert 5 times squealed with delight for 2 minutes. Perfect way to highlight his discography and prove why he’s such a great entertainer. Although Justin’s been in the biz for 20 years, he’s still only 32. I thought it was a little early to give him a lifetime achievement award but the performance that came along with the award was awesome. Can’t wait to see him again soon.


Peeping the elusive ‘Award Tour’- A Tribe Called Quest at the H20 Music Fest August 18, 2013

Filed under: Music — carlitasconcerts @ 5:51 pm
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Courtesy of My SL

Courtesy of My SL

As many hip-hop groups as I love, there is one I love most of all. A Tribe Called Quest. Period. This group was the most influential group of my youth and a few days will not go by that I don’t play something from their discography. It is, was and will always be THAT good. I’ve seen their documentary four times, even attending two special screenings featuring the movie’s director Michael Rappaport discussing the possibility of reunion. They’ve reunited for a few elusive shows since then but so far no new music collectively. Although I wasn’t thrilled of the venue choice – a park full of dirt- (yes, I’ve become a venue snob, I’ve earned it after going to 100+ concerts), but when ATCQ reunites in my vicinity, I must attend. Reading on H20’s FB page, Tribe wouldn’t go on until 9:30, I wasn’t interested in being there any earlier.

Courtesy of My SL

Courtesy of My SL

Taking a risk not coming earlier, the parking situation was worst than expected. All of Spring Street was completely blocked off from traffic as well as the side streets so you were parking miles away or not at all. Sneaking onto a farther side street, I set out for the trek to the stage, with EDM provided by DJ Chuckie, leading the way. Given the runaround from H20 Fest staff, I was sent four places before I finally got my VIP bracelet to get into the dirt pit by the stage. By then around 9:30, I was annoyed but as soon as I saw Ali Shaheed Muhammad, my mood lifted. The cameras would alternate between the back and forth of Phife and Tip and shots of the wack folks standing in the front, barely amused. I didn’t understand this. How can you stand in the front of a music festival and look like you’re at the opera? Fall back, wack people who didn’t know ATCQ at all. At least the area where I was standing had people hype dancing and rapping along. It was obvious Phife and Tip noticed the low-energy folks in the front because they actually told the crowd to get hype- making sports analogies comparing it to the Dodgers, Clippers and Lakers. That did the trick.

Doing all my favs like ” Oh My God”, “Excursions”, “Bonita Applebum”, “Electric Relaxation”, “Lyrics to Go”, “Jazz (We’ve Got) and rare “Everything is Fair”, I yelled out every word. Feel truly blessed every time I see the best there ever was, “buggin'” out.


Jigga and Justin on the West Side- Legends of the Summer Tour at the Rose Bowl July 29, 2013

Filed under: Music — carlitasconcerts @ 2:56 pm
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To say I was hyped when I first heard anything about the “Legends of the Summer” tour would be an understatement. Yes, I even nerdily studied each artist’s discographies to make sure I was extra prepared. It really wasn’t necessary since I knew almost every single song played but it was still fun. Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z on an outrageously expensive stadium tour. A super fan since I was 15 of one and a passive fan of the other since my teens as well so I would run immediately to get tix, right? Not really. The price($280 for tix not exactly close to the stage) and venue choice (with expensive parking lots, big screens and/or ant sized views) proved initial deterrents for all my love and enjoyment I’d knew I have. All in all, my disappointment at missing Justin’s two album tours and his impossible to get into after-Grammy show outweighed the negative.

Receiving a couple of e-mails basically predicting a madhouse and warning concertgoers to get there early, they strongly recommended for people to get there at 4 PM for a 7PM start-time. I got there at 5:30PM and felt like I was twiddling my thumbs for over two hours. For a person as busy as I am, I have a hard time sitting still. DJ Cassidy did come out after 7:30 and played some songs that made me want to dance finally. Around 8:30 PM, the show started with Justin coming out on my side of the stage and Jay-Z on the right side to do “Holy Grail”. For the next 100+ minutes, we got some mashups and solo sets. Hit after hit, it kept coming.

The crowd mix was quite amusing. Mostly couples (with the guys coming to see Jay-Z but knew all the words to Justin’s songs and the girls coming to see Justin) plus groups of “Single Ladies” (all there to see Justin). It’s pretty evident I was there to see Justin too and I lit up every time it was his turn to do a song. It’s as if he never left the stage, playing guitar and piano, he’d also drop some old dance steps in there, making the girls go wild. It’s clear the stage is where he belongs and I was so happy to see him enjoying himself, doing music again. Fav songs of the night for me were “Senorita”, “Summer Love”, “Rock Your Body”, “Like I Love You”, “Love Stoned” with a shout-out to “West Coast ass” and “Sexy Back” featuring surprise guest Timbaland. Jay-Z nonchalantly roared through his extensive catalog of songs like “Heart of the City”, “Nig-as in Paris”, “Jigga What?”, “Hard Knock Life”, “Big Pimpin”, “Empire State of Mind” and “Izzo (H.O.V.A)”. I suppose when you get thousands to throw up Roc signs including some older folks in the crowd, you rule the world. Minus the venue choice, parking situation and uncomfortable seating, this show was one of the best of the year.


Jinglin’ and Minglin’-Kings of the Mic-LA- LL Cool J, Public Enemy, De La Soul and Ice Cube at Greek Theatre July 15, 2013

Filed under: Music — carlitasconcerts @ 3:53 am
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For someone who enjoys summer festivals in July and August, the selection of events to choose from this year have been disappointingly just meh. It seems like the same artists are playing the same festivals and overexposure makes me want to go zzzzzzzzzzz. Until I saw the Kings of the Mic line-up. Getting De La, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and LL on one bill was interesting and enticing. Debating whether to go VIP or not, I decided to go both ways, asking a friend to get a ticket in the nosebleeds, just in case I wouldn’t go VIP. The idea of having to stand in a pit for 4 hours was what prevented me from saying Yes immediately. Getting seats in all other VIP package concerts I’ve attended, concertgoers and I were baffled as to why these didn’t come with, when we arrived at the Greek Theatre that night. First world problems, I know, but as ladies who want to look cute to meet LL, it was a little annoying.

Hearing some of the acts soundcheck like Public Enemy because we were told to be there early, eliminated my annoyance and I set out to enjoy the night full of acts, the last tourstop of this tour which was bound to have a hidden surprise. Being from NY, I was excited to see DJ Chuck Chillout and then De La Soul who performed “Me,Myself and I” and “Buddy”, songs I hadn’t seen them do in a while. Public Ememy next followed who I knew would “Bring The Noise”. Flav mentioned their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which happened in April and got an ovation. Out of the whole line-up, I was least familiar with Ice Cube’s discography but playing to his hometown crowd, he and they loved it. He called out the haters who thought he went soft due to his TV and movie success but he’s still the same dude in NWA.

Last but not least came LL Cool J with Z Trip who opened his set with “Mama Said Knock You Out”. The whole crowd got hype yet again and it became hectic in the pit. 6 ft dudes were pushing their way up in front, oblivious to the smaller ladies in there with them. There should be a rule in general that tall folks should always stand in the back. I opted to sit in the front row, closeby, giving up my chance to dance onstage with LL or to receive a rose. That sucked but I was able to dance freely and see the show perfectly. Bringing DMC out, LL and DMC did “Peter Piper”, which was the highlight of the night. LL kept the hits going throughout, performing ” Jinglin’ Baby”, “Hey Lover”, “Rock the Bells” and my fav “Around the Way Girl”. After the show, the VIPs were whisked backstage to say what’s up to LL and take a pic. I already knew he was hot but up close? Lip licking Damn. Def a contender for Carlita’s Top 10 of the year, no doubt.


Late Night “Lady” Jammin- D’Angelo and Questlove- Brothers in Arms at Philly’s Theatre of the Living Arts July 12, 2013

Filed under: Music — carlitasconcerts @ 7:23 am

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Before I even start this post off about D’Angelo’s July 3rd show, I need to state the facts:

-My fav type of musician is the male piano player.
-With said fact #1, D’Angelo is one of my fav artists of all-time.
-I ADORE the music Questlove and D’Angelo have made together. I’d lobby for a Soulquarians reunion any day.
-I couldn’t get enough of the Brooklyn Bowl video clips posted of their show earlier this year.

With these in mind, if these two artists (even though I’d just seen the Roots at BET Award weekend) are within reach of my vicinity, I will be there. Period. Finding myself on the East Coast this time during July 4th week and D’Angelo conveniently doing a show on July 3rd in Philly, the rest is history. Fighting ridic traffic in NYC and crazy thunderstorms the whole way down, I made it to Philly and took my place in the VIP balcony, waiting for the show to start at 12:30 AM, officially making the show on July 4th. A few select cities this year have been able to see the dynamic duo and I was not going to miss this.Not sure who else was lucky enough to spend two July 4ths in a row with D’Angelo but I was, attending my first show EVER of his the July 4th prior.

As the show started, several things were made clear. It’s obvious Questlove likes to playfully tease shy D’Angelo and get him out of his shell. Thank God for that because D was smiling and laughing throughout the show. Questlove acknowledged his hometown crowd who gave him the love back. Mutually loving Prince and 70’s classic soul bands, the set was full of covers (especially loved “Pop Life”, “She’s Always in my hair”, “You caught me smilin'”), with a few “Brown Sugar”, “Voodoo” and “James River” songs mixed in. Philly also provided the added bonus of having the bulk of The Legendary Roots crew in attendance, watching the show from the wings, eventually jumping onstage to play for the finale. Every minute was well worth the drive and with no traffic, I made it back to NYC with more memories and chomping at the bit for this new album to drop. Oh, and counting down the minutes til D’Angelo’ll have me “smilin'” again.



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