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Shaver shows staying power on new album 1D uneven at stadium concert

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ, Aug 5, (Agencies): In just four years, One Direction has cultivated a feverish fan base so strong, the boy band can sell out U.S. stadiums, a feat that mirrors ‘N Sync’s success more than a decade ago, and an achievement only a handful of musicians can claim. But 1D is a New Age boy band. Its members don’t dance or play instruments (really). Instead, they are part-charming, part-edgy and have impressive voices. The fivesome, who were formed on the UK’s version of “The X Factor” in 2010, provided some memorable moments at a sold-out MetLife Stadium show in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Monday night, showing they have chemistry. But most of the night, they were clumsy. 1D kicked off the concert with heavy fireworks, matched with screaming, screeching, yelling and crying from more than 80,000 passionate fans — and their parents — who filled the venue for the “Where We Are” tour. They started with the title track from their third platinum-selling album, “Midnight Memories,” offering their most rock ‘n’ roll moment of the night as Niall Horan played guitar and Liam Payne sported a New York Giants jersey.

Upbeat 

But during that song, and other upbeat ones, you couldn’t hear the voices of the band members — including Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson — over the loud instruments and heavy bass. During “Rock Me,” though, the boys worked the center of the stage nicely, each placed in a corner and singing directly to fans. However, most of the time, they were sloppy and out of place. There was no real choreography onstage. While one sang, another did a silly dance, looked awkwardly into the camera that was taping the show or playfully shoved the other. Even when Horan spoke seriously to the crowd about how the band was humbled to perform at stadiums — they all mentioned the Super Bowl nearly a dozen times because it was held at MetLife Stadium earlier this year — Payne uttered mindless words on his microphone. And at one point, Styles ate a banana onstage.
 
The band doesn’t seem to take itself seriously — which can be a good thing — but that makes it hard to take its musicianship seriously. 1D shined when band members sang slower songs such as “Don’t Forget Where You Belong,” the recent hit “You & I” and “Moments,” where Malik’s voice was striking. The simpler performances were tighter and gave each member a position onstage, showcasing the group’s brotherhood and talents. That’s probably the direction that One Direction should take.
 
Billy Joe Shaver, “Long In The Tooth” (Lightning Rod)
Old cowboys love to lament that contemporary country music’s in a sorry state and guilty of casting aside sage singers and songwriters — like Billy Joe Shaver. The crusty Texan trots out that trope at the start of his new album, and then spends the rest of the record showing he still has plenty to say. “Long in the Tooth” covers a wide range of topics in 10 songs and 32 minutes. Shaver sings about politics, war, and that’s just in the space of four verses on the tune “The Git Go.” The title cut’s a hoot, with Shaver noting that as his 75th birthday approaches, “what I used to do all night, it takes me all night to do.” He sings about the rails on “Sunbeam Special,” then rails against America’s class divide on “Checkers and Chess.” Best of all is “I’m In Love,” a ballad beautiful in its simplicity as Shaver pledges everlasting devotion. The song’s a testament to this cowboy’s staying power.
 
“They Want My Soul,” Spoon (Loma Vista/Republic)
The Austin, Texas-born band Spoon is out with its eighth album, “They Want My Soul.” It’s a lush jangle of guitars, smart lyrics and catchy refrains that continues to set the band apart from, well, other bands you’re not quite sure you’ve heard of. Therein lives the mystery of Spoon. They’re just good enough to make a 20-year career out of music while producing albums and songs you’ve probably overlooked. That may not last much longer thanks to a couple of standout tracks that are certain to be late-summer earworms once “They Want My Soul” migrates into frequent rotation.
 
“Do You” is the one song you must know about. It asks of the listener “”Do you want to get understood?/Do you want one thing or are you looking for sainthood?” It has a great pace and is delivered with matching emotion by the band’s electrifying lead singer Britt Daniel. While “Do You” offers straight-ahead rock, “Outlier” has a more modern feel with its danceable backbeat and ghostly keyboard echoes. Spoon can do a little bit of everything, and does so on “They Want My Soul.” To sound this fresh after two decades of work speaks to the band’s smartness and savvy. They were one of the crowd favorites during their set at the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta this year with an energetic stage presence. Spoon is wearing its experience well these days.
 
There have been dozens of epic feuds in rap’s long and contentious history: this might be the weirdest.
Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J recently collaborated on a rap song — “Shellshocked” — for the upcoming Michael Bay-produced “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie, but ‘90s hit rapper Vanilla Ice is unimpressed. “With respect to all of the artists, the song doesn’t really do it for me. It feels a little artificial — what I mean by that is that it sounds like a bunch of executives in the corporate world put it together.” Ice told GQ. “It really does not fit the theme of the Ninja Turtles legend. I think you have to understand, and be a true Ninja, to possess the Magic to really pull off the secret sound.” While Ice wrote “Ninja Rap” for the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” soundtrack, he remains best known for his 1990 hit “Ice Ice Baby,” and that one time he destroyed an MTV set with a baseball bat. Khalifa and Juicy J are best known for their current, popular, multi-song rap careers.

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