Sat, 01 Oct 2022 21:06:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 32 32 At Battle of the Ad Bands, even punk rocker Julius Caesar got his 15 minutes Sat, 01 Oct 2022 20:06:50 +0000

“This is the best gig we’ve ever played!” It’s also the first concert we’ve ever played!’

The Arctic Monkeys saw no need to include a long saxophone solo in “Do I Wanna Know?”, their 2013 slow-burning rocker with a killer chorus. Chances are no one has ever listened to this song and thought, “This could be improved with a lot no more sax”.

But that’s exactly what a bunch of dapper guys from media agency OMD decided to include in the opening song of their brief set on a drizzly Thursday night in Auckland. As The Pixels, they promised to provide as much variety as an op-shop record bin and they delivered, turning the ultra-grungy British guitar anthem into a yacht rock opus.

On a good thing, perhaps inspired by Kenny G, they then repeated the trick for an equally jazzy cover of MGMT’s “Kids.” “You are a sax delinquent,” said one of the three impressed judges after their set. Their mustachioed leader was smiling as if he had just committed a crime.

The Pixels fight their way through a set of saxed covers at Battle of the Ad Bands. Photo: Supplied

At the annual Battle of the Ad Bands, a sort of adult-only Smokefree Rockquest headlined by bands made up only of those working in the media or ad industries, the show’s ridiculously compelling motto from four o’clock in the night was “anything goes”.

They weren’t kidding. For the first time in three years, those who held their $50 tickets, or groups who had paid $500 free admission, arrived at 6 p.m. ready to party. From the free vodka shots and drink vouchers handed out at the door to the homemade signs and rowdy moshpits that formed in the front rows of Galatos throughout the night, everyone got what they came for. .

The nine acts playing back-to-back performances were often hilarious and exhilarating. Given 15 minutes to play the motley mix they liked, some chose sets full of songs that are sure to please the judges of the night, provided by Radio Hauraki, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Killers the heavy favorites.

Others mixed it up, taking wild swings that could have easily come off. From the local branch of Dentsu, Jille & the Meat Lovers started a fierce version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” then pivoted by mixing in the lyrics to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Chelsea Parsons, who has the title “chief of success” in her day job at digital marketing company Hype & Dexter, ably rapped the lyrics to Missy Elliott’s “Get Your Freak On” before moving on to the part of From The Soul of Gorillaz ”Feel Bon Inc’.

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Chelsea Parsons performs with Hype & The Dextones. Photo: Supplied

Perhaps the most diabolical performance of the night came from a group of misfits called AC/DDB. One looked like Ronald McDonald had joined Slipknot, while another looked like the Hamburglar if he grew his hair out and stole a guitar. The bassist had apparently spent three hours backstage dazzling his dome with rhinestones.

Led by a punk-rock Julius Caesar with tomatoes hanging from his groin, the six-piece delivered the Venga Boys song “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” a punk-rock makeover, then nailed Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name,” receiving the most rowdy response of the night for their efforts.

Battle of the advertising tapes
AC/DDB performs at Battle of the Ad Bands. Photo: Supplied

The banter between the songs was also worth the applause. “I’m almost 50!” the Poster Boy singer shouted after tearing up “What’s My Age Again?” from Blink-182. “It’s the best concert we’ve ever played! It’s also the first gig we’ve ever played! shouted the overexcited guitarist from Jille & the Meat Lovers.

Sponsored by the wazoo, at times I felt like I was stuck in a chaotic episode of The Price is Right as the night’s over-eager stage host shouted a series of brand names – “Huffer!” “Prepare! “Coffee Supreme!” “Summit!” – and threw large gift packages of Whittaker chocolate into the crowd.

There, the atmosphere turned towards a student party in Remuera. Many were there for one thing and one thing only. “There’s another bar upstairs,” shouted a happy drunk, winking at me in the queue at the downstairs bar. “Time to get drunk!” shouted a singer after shoving her way through The Sugababes’ “Overload.”

But the soundtrack to all that mayhem was taken surprisingly seriously. Bands, some who have formed over the past few weeks, others who have played together and performed at BOTAB for much of its 13-year existence, had trained for the occasion far more than they probably wouldn’t want to admit it.

Only occasionally did the wheels feel like they were falling off. Inviting a transvestite on stage to perform during ‘Man! I feel like a woman’ felt out of touch, and that wasn’t the only time someone appeared dragging in the night. No one seemed to understand the irony of a room full of advertisers chanting “Fuck you / I won’t do what you tell me,” when it’s their exact job to get people to do exactly what they do. they tell them.

Fish Tacos
Fish Taco performs at Battle of the Ad Bands. (Photo: provided)

The industry isn’t known for lacking in self-confidence or having an overabundance of self-awareness, and you might read the night as a drunken celebration of the arrogance, ego and showboating that permeates the craft. . But you couldn’t fault the commitment of everyone involved determined to live out their rock star fantasies in 15-minute chunks.

I spent most of the night with my mouth hanging open, either shocked at what was happening or laughing at their increasingly brazen antics. It’s perhaps no surprise that the winning actor of the DayLit party (a quick admission: I work alongside most of the group, made up of members of The Spinoff and creative agency Daylight) l done by taking things down a notch or two.

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DayLit winners perform at Battle of the Ad Bands. (Photo: provided)

Rather than performing in front of the crowd, their Polyphonic Spree-style takeover of the same stage, Dave Grohl, has already played on invited spectators inside their performance. Opening with a cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” they seemed to play for each other as much as the audience. Their carefully constructed set, built in energy and speed, shifted from male vocalists to female vocalists for Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” then erupted with a finale of Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.”

It was another wild swing on a night full of them, but their lack of costumes and humble winning celebrations played well against the over-the-top antics of most of the other featured acts. “I would pay to watch this set,” a judge said afterwards. Most of those present were too drunk to take anything on board, but there may be a lesson to be learned somewhere for the advertising industry.

Behind the name of the group: Goo Goo Dolls Fri, 30 Sep 2022 17:08:23 +0000

The band formed in Buffalo, New York, responsible for the post-grunge hits that marked the soundtrack of the late 90s – originally composed of vocalist and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and deceased drummer since George Tutuska – has an unusual name. Goo Goo dolls. Yes, it’s memorable because of its uniqueness, and it’s easy, almost elementary, to pronounce, but strange nonetheless.

However, the group behind “Iris,” the heartbreaking “Name,” the agonizing “Slide,” and many other melodramatic bops, began their careers under an even stranger moniker.

Origin of the name

The Sex Maggots were a tough name to sell on a marquee. Originally joining forces as a cover band, the trio formed under this moniker in 1985. Although the origin of the name The Sex Maggots is unclear, the Goo Goo Dolls were forced to come up with a new name because of it.

“We had a gig and so we had to sort of come up with a name just to play the show,” Rzeznik explained. The trio were, supposedly, leafing through a real detectivea real detective magazine in circulation until 1995, when they came across an advertisement for a toy called Goo Goo Doll.

“That’s how folklore goes,” said bassist, Takac. “[Goo Goo Dolls] it really doesn’t mean anything… The first name was bad, so we moved on to another bad name, we got 15,000 fans, and we were afraid to change it… At the time, we thought [the name] was really inappropriate for what we were doing in this post-punk era that we kind of wallowed in.

What is a goo goo doll? If you Google a slimy doll (try saying that five times faster), the group results will inevitably pop up with terrifying photos of a hand puppet from the 1980s, pictured HERE.

What do you think? Was it the doll the group discovered between the pages of this real detective?

Goo Goo dolls today

Whatever a goo goo doll was or was, the Goo Goo Dolls made a name for themselves with that particular alias. Over their nearly 40-year career, the group has garnered 19 top-ten singles, sold 15 million records worldwide and seen four Grammy nominations.

Revisit the band’s 1998 classic, “Iris,” and let us know which songs you’re having fun with in the comments below.

Photo: Maxine Evans/BBgun Press

US House approves antitrust bill targeting Big Tech dominance Fri, 30 Sep 2022 04:33:17 +0000

This image combination shows logos for Apple, Meta, Google and Amazon. The House, September 29, 2022. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday approved antitrust legislation targeting the dominance of Big Tech companies by giving states greater power in competition cases and increasing funds for federal regulators.

The bipartisan measure passed by 242 votes to 184. It was separated from more ambitious provisions aimed at curbing Meta, Google, Amazon and Apple and approved by key House and Senate committees. These proposals languished for months, giving companies time to launch vigorous lobbying campaigns against them.

The more limited bill would give states an advantage over corporations in choosing the location of courts that hear federal antitrust cases. Proponents say the change would avoid the “home court advantage” enjoyed by Big Tech companies in federal court in northern California, where many cases are tried and where many companies are based.

Numerous state attorneys general have filed antitrust lawsuits against the industry, and many states have joined the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in their landmark lawsuits against Google and Meta (then called Facebook), respectively. end of 2020.

The bill would also increase filing fees paid by companies to federal agencies for all proposed mergers worth $500 million or more, while reducing fees for small and medium transactions. The goal is to increase revenue for federal law enforcement efforts.

Under the bill, companies seeking merger approval would have to disclose subsidies they received from countries deemed to pose strategic or economic risks to the United States, particularly China.

“We are in a moment of monopoly as a country,” Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., said before the vote. “Multibillion-dollar corporations have grown into giants, eliminating all real competition in their industries and using their dominance to harm small businesses and consumers. Meta’s monopoly power has allowed it to harm women, children, and women. people of all ages without recourse. Amazon has used its dominance to copy competitors’ products and direct small businesses to the ground.”

The Biden administration, which has pushed for antitrust legislation targeting Big Tech, approved the bill this week.

The legislation has drawn fierce opposition from conservative Republicans who have split from their GOP colleagues supporting the bill. Conservatives have opposed the proposed increase in revenue for antitrust regulators, arguing that the FTC has been excessively brazen under President Joe Biden.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-California, described FTC leader Lina Khan as “a radical leftist seeking to replace consumer decisions with her own.”

Another California Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa, told his colleagues, “If you want to stifle innovation, vote for it.

If Republicans win control of the House or Senate in the November election, they will certainly try to crimp the activism of the FTC and challenge its broader interpretation of its legal authority.

The more sweeping antitrust proposals would prevent powerful tech companies from favoring their own products and services over competitors on their platforms and could even lead to mandatory severances separating the companies’ dominant platforms from their other businesses. They could, for example, prevent Amazon from steering consumers towards its own brands and away from competitors’ products on its giant e-commerce platform.

The drafting of this legislation marked a new turning point in congressional efforts to curb tech giant dominance and anti-competitive practices that critics say have hurt consumers, small businesses and innovation. But the proposal is complex and has drawn objections to some provisions from lawmakers on both sides, even as all condemn the conduct of the tech giants.

Lawmakers have faced a tricky task as they try to tighten the reins around a powerful industry whose mostly free or nearly free services are popular with consumers and integrated into everyday life.

So, as the time for action runs out with the November election looming in about six weeks, lawmakers have extracted the least controversial provisions on antitrust courts and merger filing fees, inserting them into the new bill that has been passed.

Lawmakers added the provision targeting foreign subsidies to U.S. companies. Republicans in particular have been highly critical of Chinese ownership of popular video platform TikTok.

In the Senate, Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar is sponsoring similar legislation with Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Lee of Utah.

“Effective antitrust enforcement is essential to ensure consumers and small businesses have the opportunity to compete,” Klobuchar said in a statement Thursday. “The Enforcers can’t take on the biggest corporations the world has ever seen with duct tape and band-aids.”

]]> Punk rock’s Latin roots explored in new podcast Thu, 29 Sep 2022 12:38:40 +0000

Ceci Bastida was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, in the shadow of the US border. She saw the border fence become a wall and observed the militarization of the area. In the 90s, Bastida played keyboards and sang with the punk rock band Tijuana No! on immigration, travel, the war on drugs and political corruption. The group incorporated Latin rhythms with ska and punk and released six albums including Contra Revolución Avenue in 1998.

Bastida now lives in Los Angeles and she recently narrated the eight-part podcast Punk in Translation, available in English and Spanish on Audible. The series explores the world of Latinx punk rock and pre-punk bands of the mid-70s, including Los Seicos from Peru (1966). Other episodes celebrate Los Angeles bands like The Bags, Los Illegals and The Plugz and feature interviews with musicians like Kid Congo Powers, John Doe and Joan Jett. The Sentinel recently spoke with Ceci Bastida about the revolutionary potential of punk rock.

Militarized border

Q: “Tell me about growing up in the shadow of the border wall between Mexico and the United States and how that inspired you to sing about political issues with Tijuana No!”

A: “There is definitely something that makes people who live near the border different from people who live in the rest of Mexico. Growing up in Tijuana, you constantly see the border. It marks you in some way. When you drive on one of the main roads between where I grew up near the beach and downtown, you basically drive next to the border wall,” Bastida recalls.

“Over the years, we have noticed that the border wall has become more and more militarized. When I was growing up it was a flimsy chain link fence. This changed, notably with Bill Clinton’s Operation Gatekeeper (1994). This forced migrants to go to much more dangerous areas, such as the desert. People who crossed over, many of them ended up dead. The boundary is something that’s inside you, because you can’t look away.

“So if you’re curious, you want to know; Why is this fence here and why do people want to cross the border into the United States? You realize that we live in a country – Mexico – that has a very large wealth gap and the population that is rich is small compared to the amount of poverty. So you understand why people have to leave. It’s something I couldn’t not think of. That’s what made me want to keep talking about it over the years.

Q: “Why did you choose punk rock as a way to express your concerns about the war on drugs, anti-immigration policy and gun violence?”

A: “In punk I would hear more political conversations than in pop music. I listened to a lot of new wave and all kinds of different music,” Bastida explains. “But I noticed that punk music seemed be more direct, speaking about these issues in the most powerful way.”

Zapatista Revolution

Q: “How important is it to you that bands sing about social and political issues?

A: “When I was a teenager, I thought people in bands should talk about socio-political issues in their music. If they didn’t, I would wonder, “Why don’t you talk about poverty in Mexico and corruption? But people express art in their own way, and it doesn’t have to be political. That’s what’s great about art and music. It offers other ways to get involved in these social issues. I know a lot of people who make music that isn’t political, but they’re active in their personal lives benefiting certain bands or volunteering with organizations that do great work.

“When I was playing with my band Tijuana No! in the early 90s, there was this movement in support of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN),” Bastida continued. “In English, they were called the Zapatista Liberation Army, in southern Mexico. A lot of bands got inspired by them to start playing and being super active. Sometimes activism comes in waves; there are times when people are really passionate and then it dies down. And then something else happens that really makes people want to fight for something. In Mexico now there is this feminist movement because so many women are killed every day; at least 10 women. I see artists talking about these things now, whereas five years ago it wasn’t.

Q: “The Zapatista movement was powerful. I was part of a group of journalists and international observers who joined the Zapatista caravan in Mexico City in 2001. We believed that revolutionary changes would democratize Mexico and spread to other places.

A: “I thought there was definitely this huge change coming. And there isn’t. But I like that people don’t give up. The movement is still doing its job. Yeah, I thought Mexico was going to be in a very different place. And when I look at it right now – I’m not going to say we’re dealing with the same issues – but we’re definitely dealing with a lot of cartel issues, extreme poverty and mad corruption,” Bastida told the Sentinel. “This new president (Obrador) sells himself as some sort of liberal leftist and there’s nothing leftist about him! The opposite I would say; he looks like Trump, to my eyes. 1994 is when the Zapatista movement broke out, and we are now in 2022. A lot of things are still the same.

Punk started in Peru

Q: “You point out that white European culture tends to see things from its own perspective and say, ‘We made it all up. Including punk rock!’ A lot of punk grew up in New York and London, but you mention punk’s Latin roots, especially the Cuban rhythm cha cha cha that was used for the punk anthem “Louie, Louie.” I heard about Peruvian punk band Los Seicos from your podcast. Their song “Demolición” was recorded in 1966 and the raw energy and distorted, angry vocals sound like punk coming soon. »

A: “Los Seicos was about immigration issues, racism and things that we still hear from bands now. Even though Los Seicos recorded ‘Demolición’ in 1966, it sounds contemporary. It’s hyper raw. Los Seicos were creating music that must have sounded crazy to a lot of people at the time! It’s definitely powerful and it makes you feel what they feel,” Bastida offered.

“A lot of the music in the United States has had Latin American influences for a very long time. It’s good for people to know that punk isn’t necessarily something that was created here by a bunch of – not white people – but by themselves. Punk is definitely a mix of things. And that’s how the world is; we’re more connected than we sometimes think. I was surprised to learn of this connection between the Ramones and this Mexican – Arturo Vega – who left Mexico because the radical social movement was under attack. He left Mexico and came to New York and became friends with the Ramones. He was super creative and designed the Ramones logo, basing it in part on the Mexican flag.

Everything will be taken away

Q: “What are you doing now musically?”

A: “I stopped playing with Tijuana No! in the mid 90s. They are still good friends of mine. But musically, I wanted to do something different. I’ve released a few albums and hopefully my last one will be out in the fall. The working title is Everything Will be Taken Away, based on an exhibition I saw by an artist called Adrian Piper. The music is very rhythmic and melodic with lots of electronic elements. It is mainly inspired by issues of displacement, immigration and migration,” Bastida said.

“I also became an advocate for the rights of immigrant children in the United States with the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. They put me in contact with a young girl or a boy and I am with them once a week, drawing, talking and telling them if their file is progressing or not. I make sure their needs are met. Ideally, I would go with them to court. I’ve been doing this since 2019.

This work was really important to me because sometimes a lot of our socio-political issues seem so huge that it’s overwhelming, and people just end up doing nothing. I realized that you can make changes even when it seems small. If I talk to a girl for a year, every week, I know there’s an impact and I’m helping a person. It seems very small, but in the end it is very satisfying. I feel like I’m really doing something.