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Alessia Cara, Ed Sheeran to Perform on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live announced its next bunch of musical guests and hosts Monday (Jan. 23), with Alessia Cara and Ed Sheeran accompanying Kristen Stewart and Alec Baldwin, respectively, in the coming weeks.

Cara will take the stage — marking her SNL debut — on Feb. 4, while Sheeran will perform on the Feb. 11 show. After SNL sneakily announced that the “Scars To Your Beautiful” singer is the show’s next musical act, she expressed her excitement on Twitter.

This will be Sheeran’s second time performing on SNL, as he first graced the Studio 8H stage to sing his x hits “Don’t” and “Sing” in April 2014. Like Cara, Stewart will also be making her SNL debut, hosting the show in line with promoting her directorial debut Come Swim, which is premiering at Sundance Film Festival and features a score by St. Vincent.

As for Baldwin, his hosting gig marks his 17th time spearheading the late-night sketch show — a record-breaking feat that will likely include his beloved impression of now-President Donald Trump.

—— #SNL

A photo posted by Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) on Jan 23, 2017 at 9:28am PST

Tomorrowland Announces 2017 Stage Partners

Tomorrowland has unveiled the stage partners for its upcoming edition in Boom, Belgium.

In addition to Canadian label Monstercat hosting their own stage at the massive event, a slew of other major labels will be showcasing talent and bringing the bass to Belgium including Spinnin’ Records, Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak, Martin Garrix’s STAMPD Record, and more.

Tomorrowland’s monster two-weekend agenda includes 40 unique stage hosts over each weekend. Although there are a few overlapping names, nearly 65 collectives, artists and more will host a day at one of the many stages. We’re patiently waiting for the lineup announcements expected later today (Jan. 23).

Tomorrowland will take place from Friday, July 21-Sunday, July 23 and July 28-30 in Boom, Belgium with the theme of “Amicorum Spectaculum,” meaning “show of friends” in Latin.

Check out the stages below.

Newt Gingrich: Madonna Should Be Arrested for Women’s March Remarks

He calls the singer part of the ’emerging left-wing fascism.’

Newt Gingrich thinks Madonna should be arrested following her comments at the Women’s March on Washington.

While speaking at the march, Madonna said, “Yes I’ve thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything.” The rest of her speech talked about revolution and love, as she dropped F-bombs and cursed at “detractors that insist this march will never add up to anything.”

The majority of her speech evoked a powerful response, although the back of the crowd booed when she talked about blowing up the White House. In response to the backlash about her White House comments, Madonna said, “I am not a violent person, I do not promote violence and it’s important people hear and understand my speech in its entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context.”

Gingrich talked about her defensive statement on Fox & Friends on Monday (Jan. 23). “I love the left. When they say, ‘I dreamed about blowing up the White House,’ they didn’t mean, ‘I dreamed about blowing up the White House,'” he said. “They actually meant, ‘The yellow purple banana,’ but they didn’t want to say, ‘The yellow purple banana’ because it was too shocking. So they said blow up the White House. Give me a break.”

He compared the singer to the protestors who broke windows on Friday (Jan. 20) during Trump’s Inauguration Day. (On the day of the Women’s March none of the more than 500,000 demonstrators in D.C. were arrested.) “What you have is an emerging left-wing fascism,” said Gingrich. “She’s part of it, and I think we have to be prepared to protect ourselves. The truth is, she ought to be arrested.”

President Donald Trump Inauguration

Hear Jorge Drexler’s ‘Bridges Not Walls’ Anthem ‘Puentes’

The singer/songwriter recently named Ibero-American Cultural Ambassador joins global “Bridges Not Walls” movement with music

Jorge Drexler has written a new song in support of the global movement to “build bridges, not walls.”

Drexler, the Uruguayan singer/songwriter known for music that speaks of the human journey, posted a video of himself singing “Puentes” on Sat. (Jan. 20). He also published the lyrics of the song, noting it was written “a day before Trump’s assumption.” He also acknowledged that Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” had served as inspiration, quoting the line “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” in his Twitter post.

“Long live everyone who is brave enough to raise a bridge and the brave one who crosses it,” sings Drexler — albeit sounding more poetic in Spanish — in the song.

Drexler’s song coincided with a widespread show of support for the “Bridges Not Walls” movement on Jan. 20, in which people around the world stood on bridges holding banners with anti-racist and pro-unity slogans. The movement, started in the U.K., adopted Martin Luther King Jr.’s urging to “build bridges, not walls.”

This past November, Drexler, who lives in Spain, was named Ibero-American Cultural Ambassador at the celebration of the tenth anniversary of UNESCO’s Ibero-American Cultural Charter. At the meeting in Montevideo, Drexler said he would “create bridges between the different sectors of the Ibero-American world.”  The musician succeeds Argentine ballet dancer Julio Bocca as ambassador.

Drexler, whose father fled Nazi Germany as a child, contributed a song to the 2016 album Refugio del Sonido (Refuge of Sound) a project spearheaded by Javier Limon to benefit refugees.

Actor Fatally Shot On Set for Bliss N Eso Music Video

An actor died on Monday (Jan. 23) after being shot during the filming of a music video for chart-topping Australian hip-hop act Bliss N Eso

A man in his 20s was struck in the chest as a film and production crew worked on a clip in which several firearms were reportedly used as props. 

The incident took place at the Brooklyn Standard, a bar in Eagle Lane in central Brisbane bar, during the early afternoon. Police are calling the situation a “workplace incident” and a criminal investigation is underway, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 

Detective Inspector Tom Armitt said the one of the actors on the set received wounds to the chest and subsequently died from his injuries. 

“At this point in time, Queensland police are conducting a criminal investigation,” he told the ABC. “We do not know specifically how those injuries occurred at this point in time and that’ll be (the) subject of our investigation.”

A statement from the act’s management reads, “We are able to confirm the death of a person occurred today at the filming of a Bliss n Eso music clip. “The band were not on site at the time. The video production crew and our team are currently working with the police in their investigation and we are unable to provide further comment at this time.”

Bliss N Eso – comprising MC Bliss, MC Eso and DJ Izm — is one of the biggest names in Australian hip-hop. The trio has an ARIA Award (2008 best urban release) an APRA Award (2014 best urban work) and two chart-topping, platinum certified albums (Running on Air from 2010 and Circus in the Sky from 2013) to their credit.  

The group’s next album Off the Grid is scheduled for release March 10 through Illusive Sounds/Liberation Music. 

PIAS Acquires Australia’s Inertia Music

European independent powerhouse PIAS is ramping up its activities Down Under with the acquisition of Inertia Music, one of Australia’s top indie record labels and distribution companies. 

Through the new arrangement, PIAS will snap-up Inertia Music and the representation of the artist and label roster of the PIAS Group in Australia will be taken over by Inertia with effect from April 1. 

The new partnership sees Inertia remain indie and, PIAS assures in a statement, will further both companies’ commitment to the Australian and New Zealand independent music markets. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Established in March 2000 as a cutting-edge label and a distributor of fine tunes from overseas, Sydney-based Inertia expanded as it matured by offering a suite of services to artists and labels across sales, marketing, publicity, touring and merchandise.

Inertia today represents a slew of cool acts from Sia to M83, Tycho, Bonobo, Big Scary, Bjork and many more.

Not part of the new deal are the other companies in the Inertia Group, which include publisher GaGa Music, live music promoter Handsome Tours and Fairgrounds Festival and Collective Artists.

On the personnel side, Colin Daniels will continue to oversee Inertia Music as CEO, while the current staff structure will remain unchanged, notes a statement issued Monday (Jan. 23) by PIAS. Co-founders Ashley Sellers and Justin Cosby are expected to remain on board and both parties stress that its “business as usual” for all of the labels and artists currently working with the company.

“Inertia’s mission has always been to empower artists independently, a vision and passion that we share with PIAS,” comments Sellers in a statement. “This partnership will plug Inertia Music’s existing operations into the world class services offered by PIAS, strengthening our connection with the international stage for our incredible roster of local artists.”

PIAS, which was founded in 1982 by Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot, has been on its own growth spurt in recent years. The company announced a new global plan last year, follows its purchase of classical, jazz and world music specialists Harmonia Mundi. PIAS also beefed-up its U.S. presence in early 2016 with the launch of a new Los Angeles office, new hires in New  York and a renewed U.S. sales and distribution agreement with RED. 

It’s one big happy indie music family, say Gates and Lambot. “We are very excited to have Ashley, Justin, Colin and the whole Inertia team joining the PIAS network and family. PIAS and Inertia share the same values and vision for our industry and that is why our new partnership is such an obvious and natural fit,” the PIAS founders note. “The attention, the focus and the investment we both put into the artists and labels we represent is our raison d’etre. Over and above the focus we both have for building a strong and prosperous business, we believe there is a heartbeat that pulses through our shared passion for music.”

The combined offering of the PIAS network and Inertia’s expertise and experience, say Gates and Lambot, will “make a true difference for the independent community in Australia and New Zealand.”

Luke Bryan Confirmed for National Anthem at the Super Bowl

Country boy Luke Bryan is performing the National Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, he confirmed on Twitter Sunday (Jan. 22).

Bryan joins Lady Gaga on the Super Bowl LI lineup. While he’ll be opening the game, Gaga was previously announced as the 2017 halftime show performer; she will be performing without guests.

“Excited to perform the National Anthem on @NFL’s biggest stage #SB51. See y’all in Houston,” Bryan tweeted.

“Is the anthem challenging? Yes. Is it nerve-wracking? Yes. But I moved to Nashville to follow my dreams and singing the National Anthem on that stage doesn’t get any bigger,” he told People.

Bryan added: “I never served in the military — that’s something I wish I had had the opportunity to do, but I feel like this is my way of honoring my country. It’s a little chance to serve.”

The Super Bowl will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston on Feb. 5.

Super Bowl 51

The xx Debuts at No. 2 on Billboard 200 Chart, The Weeknd Holds at No. 1

The xx scores its highest charting album ever on the Billboard 200 chart, as the alternative band’s third studio album, I See You, debuts at No. 2. The set earned 46,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Jan. 19, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 36,000 were in traditional album sales.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Feb. 4-dated chart (where I See You starts at No. 2) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

The xx had previously peaked as high as No. 5 in 2012 with Coexist, the act’s second album. It debuted at its peak, starting with 73,000 sold in its first week. The band has charted one other title, its self-titled debut effort, which reached No. 92 in 2010.

I See You’s 36,000 in traditional album sales enables the title to bow at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart, which ranks the week’s best-selling albums.

I See You is blocked from the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200 by The Weeknd’s Starboy, which holds for a third straight week at No. 1, and collects a fourth week atop the list overall. (It debuted at No. 1 on the chart dated Dec. 17, then returned to the top on Jan. 21, where it has been since.) Starboy earned 61,000 equivalent album units in the latest tracking frame (down 3 percent). The bulk of those units were generated by streams of the songs from the album, as streaming equivalent album units for Starboy totaled 38,000 for the week (which translates to 57.2 million streams of the album’s tracks). The rest of Starboy’s overall units were powered by track equivalent album units (10,000) and traditional album sales (13,000 copies sold).

Starboy has now blocked three challengers for No. 1 in the last three weeks: the Moana soundtrack surged 6-2 on the Jan. 21 list; the La La Land soundtrack vaulted 15-2 a week ago, and this week the xx debuts in the runner-up slot. The last time one album blocked three successive ascending or debuting (at No. 2) titles from hitting No. 1 was Drake’s Views, which thwarted ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face LP, NEEDTOBREATHE’s HARD LOVE and Gucci Mane’s Everybody Looking between July 30 and Aug. 13. (All three of those titles debuted at No. 2.)

As for the rest of the new top 10: La La Land dips one rung to No. 3 on the Billboard 200, with 42,000 units (up less than 1 percent), while Moana falls one slot as well, to No. 4, with 34,000 units (down 13 percent).

Bruno Mars24K Magic falls one position to No. 5 with 33,000 units (down 10 percent), while the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical, is steady at No. 6 with 28,000 units (down 4 percent). J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only slips two slots to No. 7 with a little more than 27,000 units (down 10 percent), and Drake’s Views descends a spot to No. 8 with 27,000 units (down 4 percent). Post Malone’s Stoney is a non-mover at No. 9 with 25,000 units (up 7 percent), largely driven by streams (18,000 of the album’s units were generated by streams).

Rounding out the top 10 is the Trolls soundtrack, climbing four slots to No. 10 with 23,000 units (up 20 percent). The set had a big gain in traditional album sales, as it sold 14,000 for the week (up 40 percent). The album was sale-priced for $6.99 in the iTunes Store during the tracking period. 

Lance Bass Cracks ‘Alternative Facts’ Joke in Response to Trump Advisor Kellyanne Conway’s Remarks

The phrase “alternative facts,” coined by President Donald Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, buzzed around the Internet Sunday (Jan. 22), leading to amused commentary by many — including ‘NSYNC‘s Lance Bass.

Conway said the White House delivered “alternative facts” to those reported by the media regarding how large Trump’s inauguration crowd was. Press secretary Sean Spicer backed up claims by Trump on Saturday, saying, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.” Photos of his inauguration crowd compared to previous ones — including former President Barack Obama’s in 2009 — showed otherwise. The New York Times, with the help of an expert, reported that Trump’s crowd was roughly one-third of the size of Obama’s.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” Conway said in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I don’t think you can prove those numbers one way or another. There’s no way to quantify crowd numbers.”

Conway’s choice of words baffled many and made way for some jokes as the hashtag #AlternativeFacts was born on social media.

Bass mocked Trump’s counselor, tweeting, “As a member of the @backstreetboys, I had a love child with @BettyMWhite. #AlternativeFacts”

Conway was also parodied on SNL Saturday night in a Chicago-inspired skit that imagined why she joined Trump’s campaign.

Meanwhile, the ‘NSYNC singer kept busy this weekend, taking part in the Women’s March in Los Angeles, where he carried a sign that read “Gays Love Vaginas.”

Iconic Whisky a Go Go Marquee Going Up for Auction

A bright neon piece of rock ‘n’ roll history is going up for auction — a marquee from the legendary Los Angeles club, Whisky a Go Go.

The 13-foot sign, with letters alight in bright pink, adorned the West Hollywood club in the ’80s and ’90s, during the heyday of punk, new wave and grunge.

Saco River Auction Co. is putting it up for bid Wednesday.

“Being a guy who likes rock and heavy metal and music in general, this is like the holy grail of something that’s collectible,” said auctioneer Troy Thibodeau.

Over the years, the Sunset Strip club featured acts including Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Frank Zappa and the Ramones.

The weathered marquee says simply, “The Whisky.” It was replaced in 2004 with a new sign — “Whisky a Go Go” — that restored the full name used when the club opened in 1964.

The marquee sold for nearly $35,000 in 2012 and was supposed to be used in a “man cave” in a home in Maine, Thibodeau said. Instead, it ended up collecting dust in a storage unit and wound up in Thibodeau’s possession because the owner was delinquent on payments.

Thibodeau said he thinks the sign could fetch somewhere between $25,000 and $60,000.

The Whisky a Go Go got its start with dancing, as the name suggests, but live music quickly became a staple. The Doors were a house band in the late 1960s, and other acts including the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield helped to cement the club’s reputation, said Todd Mesek, from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“It got this reputation as this great place for the hottest new bands, with a lot of street cred, and for being the place to be for new music,” he said.

The club with a capacity for 500 people faded a bit in the 1970s as big rock ‘n’ roll bands played larger venues, like arenas and stadiums, before getting a second wind during the punk era in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the Ramones, the Runaways and Blondie, Mesek said.

Then came the big metal bands of the 1980s, including Van Halen, Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses. In the 1990s, grunge bands like Soundgarden and the Melvins played there.

The venue was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

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