Ariana Grande Doesn't 'Break Free' of Mediocrity on Saturday Night Live

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By most accounts, Chris Pratt and Ariana Grande have won the summer of 2014. Guardians of the Galaxy, the geek blockbuster bonanza that catapulted Pratt from Parks and Recreation ensemble player to major Hollywood heatthrob status, is still breaking records for both its soundtrack and its box-office appeal. Between the MTV VMA-winning "Problem," her unstoppable collaboration with Iggy Azalea, My Everything, her sophomore full-length, out August 25, and a mile-long, star-studded list of collaborations in the bag, Grande has reached peak pop stardom shortly after her 21st birthday. Booking both Pratt and Grande for Saturday Night Live's 40th season opener was a veritable feat and a perfect pairing after a stellar summer, but the expectations that come with that kind of billing are equally huge, and only one of the two lived up to the hype.

And the one who did? Yeah, Pratt doesn't have a "Problem" at all -- but Grande had plenty.

See also: Miley Cyrus Redeems Herself on SNL

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Rapper Tim Dog: 'A Financial Rapist and an Abuser of Women'

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Columbia
Tim Dog of "Fuck Compton," grand larceny, and speculation-over-his-death fame.
Last week came the definitive news that Bronx rapper Tim Dog was indeed dead. After over a year of investigations into Tim Dog (real name Timothy Blair) possibly faking his death following the February 2013 news of his alleged passing from a diabetic seizure, Dateline NBC finally obtained a copy of his death certificate. Among those who were looking to find proof of his expiration was one of Blair's former victims, Esther Pilgrim. We spoke to Esther, who was at the center of the Dateline special about Tim Dog, "The Perfect Catch," about their relationship and the process of trying to track down proof of his death.

See also: Rapper Tim Dog Is Dead

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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 9/29/14

Categories: Listings, Live

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Aloe Blacc by Timothy Norris
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

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Eric Prydz Is Bringing the World's Largest Hologram to MSG Tonight

Categories: Interviews

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Eric Prydz EPIC 3.0 show is going to be, well, Epic!
Considered by many a dance music legend, Eric Prydz has produced hits that have satisfied the mainstream and underground in equal measure. We met up with the DJ and his manager Michael Sershall at the Refinery Hotel to talk to them both about the EPIC 3.0 show that makes its way tonight, Sept. 27, to Madison Square Garden, a blow out the two say will feature elements heretofore unseen in any other EPIC production (or any other show in general, for that matter).

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Pitbull & Enrique Iglesias - Madison Square Garden - 9/26

Categories: Last Night

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Credit: Esthela Lopez
Enrique Iglesias
Better Than: Derek Jeter's last game in Yankee Stadium.

For now, the year of the Super Tour is coming to a close, and what better encore to collaborative superstar tours than the absolute party that is a show headlined by both Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias? Though their approach to the co-headlining was more traditional than that of this summer's other Super Tours, with each playing one full, uninterrupted set rather than weaving together their songs and collaborations like Drake Vs. Lil Wayne or Eminem x Rihanna, or Jay and Bey, the respective time Madison Square Garden spent rapt with attention for each individual made the nearly three hour show fly by.

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Get Lost in the "Unusual, Handmade, Live Ambiance" of DJ Jonathan Toubin's Soul Clap

Categories: Interviews

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Credit: Alexander Thomas
Jonathan Toubin
Saturday, DJ Jonathan Toubin's famous 'Soul Clap Dance-Off' returns to the Brooklyn Bowl after a summer off. Toubin, known for his spinning of old and obscure soul 45's, hosts the monthly BK Bowl party where a special guest comes 'round to facilitate a middle of the night dance off. For the return of the Soul Clap, Buster Poindexter, a.k.a. David Johansen of the New York Dolls, will be teaming up with one of the best DJ's in the city for the Saturday evening party.

To complement the amazing and classic music, Toubin has a number of exciting visuals and aesthetic elements in store for the show. Aiding the old school vibe will be shadow dancers -- dancers who will move behind a screen allowing the audience to view their gyrating silhouettes. "I'm trying to create all these visual things where people don't stare, and they get lost in this unusual, handmade, live ambiance," says the DJ. "It should hopefully look different and feel different and organic and express what all these people do, but hopefully it won't also detract from the main thing which is just the music and this dance contest we have."

In advance of his return, Toubin spoke with us about his summer, festival experiences, and style versus fashion.

See also: Who is the Best DJ in New York?

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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 9/26/14

Categories: Weekend

For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

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Five Times Lee Ranaldo Proved He Was the Driving Creative Force in Sonic Youth

Categories: 2013

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Photo by Eli Collins via
Lee Ranaldo
Despite a career spanning over 30 years, Lee Ranaldo retains a thirst for unabashed creative expression that is truly rare. So, to ready ourselves for seeing this maverick's latest incarnation, Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, at Union Pool this Saturday, let's take a look back at the guitarist/vocalist/writer/producer's five greatest moments.

See also: Watch Sonic Youth Perform on Gossip Girl


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Eddie Van Halen Contemplates Fame, in Illustrated Form

Categories: Handy Guides

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All illustrations Jena Ardell
Van Halen fans are hoping for a follow-up from the band whose last record, A Different Kind of Truth, was released two years ago.

"I'm writing. I write lyrics routinely," David Lee Roth told Jim Florentine from That Metal Show in 2013. "And the band plays together routinely, at least three times a week. They're up at Ed's place, routinely. I was up at Edward's house, maybe three days ago--just before I came here to the city--and we're starting to put music together. Not to give away exactly what the package will be. It's gonna be about 18 months, I think."

Ex-bandmembers routinely dish out details about the band's turbulent past in the media. Mick Jones told ultimateclassicrock.com tensions were so high during the recording of 5150 that sound engineer Donn Landee "locked himself in the studio for a day and threatened to burn the tapes."

We imagine the drama within the group has subsided now that Eddie has both his brother, Alex, and son, Wolfgang, in the lineup. Hopefully Roth will stick around this time.

While fans eagerly await the band's (estimated 2015) return, they can rock out with the new EVH Stripe Series "Circles" guitar, made famous by Van Halen's 1981 "Unchained" music video. Here's what Eddie had to say about fame and his love for music.

Quotation above via esquire.com.

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Meet Daye Jack, the NYU Student Whose Experimental Hip-Hop Will Make You Swoon

Categories: Interviews

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Via Twitter
Lately, it seems like Atlanta's got a whole new bag of tricks; the latest to emerge from the musically prolific city is 18-year-old rapping-singer Daye Jack. The Nigerian-born and Atlanta-bred musician is incredibly fresh to the scene, with only eight months under his belt. This past January, Daye took to SoundCloud to premiere his debut mixtape Hello World, which he recorded last Fall, during his first semester at New York University. What's even better is the kid doesn't study music at NYU -- he studies programming, which he views as akin to his musical pursuits.

Less than a year out of the gate and Daye already has his second project Soul Glitch slated to drop in the coming months. Now, he's preparing to play the first show of his career this Thursday, Sept. 25, at Baby's All Right. We spoke with Daye about finding his sound, his emotional connection to his music, and his cross-country and cross-continent upbringing.

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time

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