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2004 The Beast

 

Reviews:

The Roots

Nas

Hollywood Rose


Live music & carrot cake
By Kelly Koblacki

The big…uh, I don't know how old he turned, but a birthday of some age brought a bunch of friends & fans to Merlin's on July 17 to see the reunited Super Rock stars. Lead singer Jason Klinger's birthday show extravaganza was a night of carrot birthday cake, booze and good 'ol rock & roll.

They were preparing for their performance behind blood stained sheets(the way I too like my sheets). They came out wearing blood covered butcher coats with doll parts all around the stage. Not to mention the 70's stripe hip huggers and fringe vest that Klinger later made an appearance in, so visually, they were great! Musically, with the exception of early 90's covers like Pearl Jam, I must admit, I was rocking out to their music, which I had never heard before. Good riffs, good lyrics and good cheap liquor to wash it all down. I was too busy getting fucked up at home to make it there early enough to hear the opening band but I'm sure they were…well, I don't know how they were.

To top it all off, word has it that their drummer is blind! Now, that was not officially confirmed by any band member so if I'm wrong don't kill me. But if my sources are correct, that's amazing! He was damn good for someone who can't see what's going on. That's even better than the one armed drummer from Def Leppard. That dude 'aint got nothing on a blind guy! Also some more inside info is their drummer is leaving the band (reasons unknown). So if you're a drummer blind, one armed, whatever and are interested in jamming with the Rock Stars contact J. Klinger. "How do I do that," you ask? Well, I don't know, look him up or something. For real, they need a drummer. There's gotta be a decent drummer out there somewhere. So if you're sitting at home with your drum stick up your ass, contribute to your local music scene because not for nothing, but the scene here in Buffalo is pathetic & practically nonexistent.


The Roots
The Tipping Point

Ok people. Now I plan to review this album fairly and keep an open mind to the direction in which The Roots are looking. Let me start off by saying that I expected The Tipping Point to be a little better than the last album Phrenology, which took almost 6 months to grow on me. Don't get me wrong; I am a fan of The Roots, and will not hesitate to purchase their albums or fork over cash to see them live (anyone who's seen them is well aware that at a Roots show is clearly worth the price of admission). As far as The Tipping Point goes, I felt it was another album that needs another 4 to 6 months to grow on me. Of course, the lead single, "Don't Say Nuthin," is a good track for a video to appeal to all those Roots fans who just love Black Thought kicking lyrics to the funky sounds of his band. But then there are other tracks, in my opinion, that should have been left off. The album is only 10 tracks long, however, which is quite short for a Roots album-I'm more accustomed to about 16 to 20 Roots tracks to keep me moving. Oh well, whatever floats their boat. Tracks like "Star / Pointro," "I Don't Care," and "Web" show off Black Thought's ever-increasing lyrical power. One of my favorite tracks, besides "Don't Say Nuthin," is the track "Guns Are Drawn," which Black Thought rips to a simple but cool beat with a nice singing hook. Some people I spoke to feel The Tipping Point isn't better than Phrenology, but that's best left to the critics who really know hip-hop like myself, Ajent O, or Keith Concept. But hey, critiquing hip-hop albums is as easy as sucker punching a drunk! Anyway, The Tipping Point is a good album. Not only do I recommend it, I give it 3.5 out of 5 tomatoes.

- Ketchup Samurai


Nas

Thief's Theme

Things seem to be looking up, these days, in hip hop. The Roots, KRS One, and Slum Village drop good albums, and Nas drops a single and video for "Thief's Theme" from the upcoming album Streets Disciple. Simply put, "Thief's Theme" is a fucking dope single. Every DJ who spins hip-hop should have doubles of this undeclared classic. Nas says his next project will be done in the same mold as his tremendous debut Illmatic, which is great news for us true hip-hop listeners. Slowly, Nas is putting out music that makes me forgive him for trading in his jeans and Timbs for a pink suit and white shoes. I guess all it took was Jay-Z leaving used condoms in his baby's mother's car seat and claiming "Takeover." While Nas still hasn't accepted the $1 million dollar battle challenge from Jay-Z, it's clear that he's more focused on his material and putting out good hip-hop music that we, the lovers of the culture, have been waiting for. I was ecstatic to see that Media Play, the George Bush of music stores, had this single in stock and in CD form! I just wished it wasn't in the ever-so-garbage "Rap" section, where you'll see 100 copies of J-Kwon's joke of an album, and 2 copies of A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory, one of the best hip-hop albums ever. Hey Media Play, get your heads out your asses and build a "Hip-Hop" section. Shit man, let me stock it. I guarantee 95% of the crap you guys stock wouldn't be in it. OK, back to this review. If you're a fan of Nas and aren't up on the man who rocked the hip-hop scene as Nasty Nas, then go out and purchase Illmatic, and pick up "Thief's Theme" and you'll be a happy consumer. This single gets a much-deserved 4 out of 5 tomatoes! Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go pick up a bean taco salad for my girl. Peace.

-Ketchup Samurai


 

Guns N Roses

HOLLYWOOD ROSE: The Roots of Guns N Roses

So you're getting a new band together. You met some guys that share your record catalog and during the few booze-fueled times you've jammed together you could just sense the beginning of a beautiful thing. You start telling people you're the best thing to happen to rock since cigarettes. Too big for Indiana's ashtray, you packed your bags and you moved to the city. You're cocksure that everything's coming up roses. Yes, you will sell thirty million copies of your debut album someday, but this line up is just a precursor to that golden formula.

Don't expect to find Appetite for Destruction outtakes on The Roots of Guns N Roses. What you will find is Axl and Izzy's post-Midwest celebratory jailbreak, more '70s British glam metal than '80s Sunset cockrock, Hollywood Rose has Axl conjuring Rob Halford on these twenty-year-old demos, yet his signature squawk still shines through.

The hype surrounding the disc is overkill. Instead of having dished out $15 for this EP, I should only be $10 further in debt to National Fuel. The first set is the rawest, a five song demo that Axl dished out while attempting to snare a booking agent. The next is a fresh-from-the-barber trim of the split ends, and the last wears an overproduced polish that leaves you chafed. There's smoke coming off some of the guitar solos (a couple overdubbed by L.A. Guns ax man Traci Guns) and the added double bass drum gets overexposed.

The tempo stays consistent, that of punk kids who just discovered rock 'n' roll gunpowder for the first time. Label this one For Fans Only. And for them, label it a must have. Enjoy damaging your throat and your liver singing along to this one.

-Tracy Janis

 


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