Kill Us Now, Please
10. "Sweet Caroline": This is a classic singalong. It hasn't hurt that the Boston Red Sox turned it into a ballpark anthem as well. Put this on and listen to everyone sing "SO GOOD! SO GOOD!"
9. "Twist and Shout": I love the Beatles perhaps as much as any music fan, but this has never been a favorite. Still, who doesn't love the crescendo of AHs at the end of each section? Also, this dovetails nicely into a medley of "twist" songs like "The Twist," "Twisting the Night Away" and "Twist Again." Sounds stupid, but it works every time.
8. "Play That Funky Music": Few songs make white people shake their collective asses like a song about white people getting funky, sung by funky white people. And if the crowd is culturally diverse, it often turns into a kind of dancing melting pot that's either really heartwarming or hilarious...or both.
7. "Brick House": I've never quite understood why women want to be compared to an outdoor toilet (brick shithouse, as it were), but they sure as hell love this song.
6. "Shout": This gospel-infused Isley Brothers song made popular in Animal House is the second best crowd participation song on this list and one of the best that does not involve the words "Hokey" or "Pokey."
5. "Celebration": This song reminds me as much of middle school as it does weddings, but that's because I'm old. Still, the on-the-nose theme of this song may seem ultra-cheesy, but so are most weddings.
4. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun": Oh, daddy, dear, does this ever get women onto the dance floor. Personally, I prefer the song from The Goonies when it comes to Cyndi Lauper, but that's me.
3. "We Are Family": This is a song that takes aim directly at the theme of the day and is likely to get the oldest, stodgiest farts out of their chairs and shaking their asses with the new in-laws. If you are lucky, at your wedding one will dress like Gene Hackman in drag in The Birdcage.
2. A Grease Megamix: Musicals used to fill the charts with hit songs back in the '50s and '60s. Some of the greatest jazz standards were taken from the classic musicals of the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Bernstein. But for weddings, the Megamix is king.
1. "YMCA": I can feel your eyes rolling and I'm with you. Who would have thought that a '70s gay disco anthem would become one of the most popular heterosexual wedding songs of all time? But it is. Even the most conservative old white guy will be out there making the letters with his body like his life depended on it.
October 30: Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson at Reliant Arena
The men of the "Twins of Evil" tour made two important statements at Reliant Arena October 30. Marilyn Manson's was that people are zombies. Rob Zombie's was that fire is awesome.
Which one do you think was more fun?
Manson must have been born on the wrong side of the bed, and has been making up for lost time ever since. Tuesday he tried a different accessory on about every song — a stylish stole, a pope outfit, insecticide sprayer, several different hats, SS-style leather trench, a butcher-knife microphone he used to stab a couple of beer cans — making a series of Big Statements that rang strangely hollow.
Zombie, on the other hand, approached his set like the B-movie director he is: Aiming for maximum thrills, the more visceral the better. Lots of fire and sex, robots and a cover of Alice Cooper's "School's Out."
Those were the high points, but it was high points from the word go, from opener "Jesus Frankenstein" all the way through "Dragula," which dragged Manson's Nazi podium back out to be mounted by Zombie in a floor-length gold-spangled coat. This was after Zombie left the stage to meet the people during an extended guitar solo, slapping hands all the way to the back of the arena, with a Satan puppet as tall as two men lurking behind riffmaster John 5.
Zombie's songs are these hulking superstructures of electronically augmented enormo-rock that often move at a very fast speed; "Superbeast" almost gave me whiplash. They seem to exist to indulge his id as far as it can go, which was pretty far on "Mars Needs Women" and "Pussy Liquor."
His secret weapon is how much groove is bred into his songs, which was not lost on the Terminator robot onstage dancing during "Meet the Creeper." Marilyn Manson covers Depeche Mode and Eurythmics; Zombie prefers KC & the Sunshine Band's "I'm Your Boogieman." Not Tuesday, sadly, but you get the idea. There was plenty of other stuff.
That included animated nudity, clips of The Shining and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the actual Great Pumpkin (or a guy with a pumpkin on his head anyway), a giant golem doing the robot during "More Human Than Human," Gerald Scarfe-like animation in "Sick Bubblegum," flames licking out from the top of the amps on almost every song, Zombie riding some kind of industrial harvester on "Mars Needs Women," and a trailer for his new movie The Lords of Salem, due Spring 2013.
Zombie also carried on a running dialogue with a fan dressed as Jesus Christ throughout the show. If you don't see the entertainment value of that the night before Halloween (or any night), I'm afraid I just can't help you. Chris Gray
The Rocks Off 100
Lunaface's Hector Del Valle, Concert Promoter Extraordinaire
If you have ever attended an old-school or underground rap concert in Houston, chances are that Hector Del Valle has been the mastermind behind the show. By keeping his ear to the streets and booking artists on the cusp of blowing up, or choosing former greats who can still pack a venue given the chance, Mr. Lunaface delivers hit show after hit show.
Who? "Lunaface Promotions started six years ago," says Del Valle. "I was the understudy of Jeff Messina for many years before that. Lunaface comes from the inspiration of my first-born, Luna [who is five years old now] and who keeps me driving with her beautiful energy and spirit. I started off as a house/freestyle dancer when I was 15, then after that, music in general began to play a pivotal role in my life.
"I remember my Dad (RIP) used to give me the hardest time because he never understood why I was out so much," he continues. "There would be times when I got home and the door was locked. I didn't have a spare, so sometimes I would just sleep in my car or go over to my buddies'. I flyered for many years from 18 to 26 and did it for free tickets and all that good stuff.
Why Do You Stay in Houston? "For the past few years, there has been a renaissance movement happening in Houston that I knew was coming," says Del Valle. "You can see it happening around you everywhere you go: From the rise of the museums, venues, food, culture, and ideas of people like me and you that will continue to make this city top-notch." Marco Torres
The 5 Best Songs That Were Never Released (NOT Yet, ANYWAY)
5. Sisters of Mercy, "We Are the Same, Susanne": What list of unreleased music would be complete without Andrew Eldritch, whose catalog of live-only songs has its own entry on Wikipedia? Eldritch is famous for refusing to record another studio album, but regularly plays new material live. Of all the ones I've heard, "Susanne" is my favorite because it sounds like a lost ballad from Floodland. Only one artist can top Eldritch in unreleased material territory.
4. Prince, "Others Here With Us": Recorded around the time of Parade, "Others Here With Us" is a really, really creepy track of ambient-synth screams while Prince sings about ghosts. It sounds like his Royal Badness is guest-spotting on a Creatures track, and is proof positive that the reportedly very deep well of unreleased Prince material is full of treasures. If you can't manage to track down an MP3 of "Others Here With Us," then look for "Witness 4 the Prosecution" or "Dance With the Devil," a track cut from Batman for being too creepy.
3. Peter Murphy & Trent Reznor, "Dead Souls": The album every goth wants is for Reznor and Murphy to sit down in the studio and hammer out some original tunes together. The two of them have been jamming together a lot over the last several years, and even sat down to record some covers of their own songs for a radio session in 2006. As you can hear, they work like a perfect machine, but so far the only thing we have from this fruitful union of gothic heavyweights is YouTube videos of the 2006 session.
2. Radiohead, "True Love Waits": Thom Yorke has been playing this song at concerts for more than 15 years. It is one of their most requested live performance pieces, and yet, only this solo acoustic live version has ever been put out on CD. C'mon, guys, it's time that we finally got a studio version.
1. Queen, "We Will Rock You (Maida Vale Studio Version)": Queen's best-known tune has two versions, well, two and a half. The first is the radio version you've all heard. The second is the fast version that they would use to open their shows in the late '70s and early '80s. Between those two versions is one grand superversion from an Italian bootleg that combines the studio recordings of both on either side of readings from Siddhartha. It originated from a BBC Radio documentary. Jef With One F
Black Sabbath for Kids...Really
I remember scouring my elementary and middle-school libraries for every book I could find on music, any kind of music. Books about composers, Broadway folk and everything in between. Sometimes you could get lucky and find a book about the '60s with a few sentences about the Beatles, the Stones or even hippies. Maybe a shot of a punk or two in a '70s chronicle.
Brian Aberback's Black Sabbath: Pioneers of Heavy Metal made it into our mailbox this week, in all its brightly covered, hardback glory, with tons of wicked pictures, as a part of Enslow Publishers' "Rebels of Rock" series.
The back cover touts editions on bands like the Clash, the Stones and Aerosmith. I guarantee you that I would have straight-up stolen all three of these from my school library.
The band's prodigious sex, drinking, drug use and general chicanery on tour and in the studio are barely mentioned. You won't hear about Ozzy smoking his weight in hash, or the time cocaine practically joined the band and started getting royalties.
But young readers will get plenty of facts and insight, since the author is a veteran rock journalist. This man is doing the Dark Lord's work.
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More adventurous kids should pick up 2010's I Am Ozzy, Mr. Osbourne's exhaustive memoir, plus at least the first five Sabbath albums and all the '80s Ozzy albums — even The Ultimate Sin, which has some pretty heavy moments. Craig Hlavaty
Fun Fun Fun Fest
More than 50 acts across three days and four stages, including Kreayshawn and Turbonegro came to perform at Fun Fun Fun Fest at Austin's Auditorium Shores November 2-4. Follow Rocks Off's full coverage at blogs.houstonpress.com/festival_experience.