Or “The Nokia Theatre Times Square is now The Best Buy Theatre”
You might recall a recent blog posting where I welcomed back to the world of live performance the venerated Rock concert venue Irving Plaza. Of course, the space had never truly gone away per se, but after running under that name for many decades, it’s purchase by Livenation found it restamped as “The Fillmore NY at Irving Plaza”. You had to admit that it was quite a mouthful but that whole tale can be better examined HERE. Now where was I? Oh yes, the discussion about the venue formerly known as the Nokia Theatre in Times Square. Depending on your age and concert visiting habits, you might only have known this space as the Nokia Theatre because its been that way since early 2005 but before it was converted into one of the cooler places to catch a live band it was a movie theater called the Loew’s Astor Plaza. During its time in this manner it hosted up to 1500 movie lovers and boasted to the world how it had the largest single screen in New York. That was pretty cool, and if my memory serves me correctly I had seen a couple of the Star Wars and Star Trek films here before the conversion. Moving on, I loved when this opened up as a concert venue because now it would fit over 2000 people and depending on the concert would often sell out. The venue is owned by AEG Live (a very well-established concert promoter) and it’s title reflecting its advertising sponsorship. The bright corner sign positioned above 44th and Broadway on Times Square could be seen for blocks depending on your direction of approach and often informed the Metal Republic of sad occurrences such as performance cancellations.
When I read this news on the Bravewords.com site I had to check and first make sure that I was not dreaming and then when that was done had to make sure that I didn’t ingest anything strange with the coffee I was now drinking to better process the information. I also took a couple of days to post anything because I didn’t want to be one of “those sites” that posts information at the very second it happens and finds themselves in trouble for doing so by angry managers and record label publicists. I find that those entities are not always fun to work with so why do anything that makes them keep a target on your brand name right? So anyway, here is the big dramatic news that I was getting at – founding member and drummer for the Progressive Metal titans Dream Theater has quit the band!!!! Gosh I hope you were sitting because I don’t want any of my readers injured at any disclosures I make here on the sites official Blog.
It was however based on events such as this that I decided to use the sites blog as a little bit more of an Editorial tool as opposed to just feeding the readers review content and photographs than I had in the past. I think when it comes to these kind of band shattering news items that it works out very well. So where were we? Oh yes. Mike Portnoy has left the ranks of Dream Theater. Pretty shocking right? I mean this is a dude who helped to form the band back in 1985 and has been at the forefront of their public activities ever since. Here’s what was reported to the world in case you missed any of the mass postings about the news.
Earlier in the year Mike had filled in on drums with Avenged Sevenfold as their drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan had died in 2009. After a few months of slamming down the drums with this exciting Metal band Mike made statements how while he was totally committed to Dream Theater, he would be filling in with Avenged at the close of the year. Of course that brings us to the dramatic news about his departure. The musician said in some postings how he had suggested that Dream Theater take some time off and recharge the musical batteries. Let’s face it, each of the players in the band has a side project of some kind and its something that would have been totally doable. In Portnoy’s eyes this was something that would have given fans a bigger and better Dream Theater who would be coming back to action after rest and creativity. He was wrong, the band said “no thanks” to a break and at that point he decided to step down.
Having seen Portnoy in action with Dream Theater a few times I have to say that I feel bad that events turned out this way for him. He made a choice that he felt would be best for the project on the whole and was outvoted and as he said, he had no other choice but to step down. He is always an active person if you have not been aware of his many side projects or drum clinic appearances but this has to be a move that he will regret sooner than later. Dream Theater is already doing the open casting for the role and while they might be able to get another solid player, I am hard pressed to think that they will find someone who is as passionate and as enthusiastic about the band as he was. To many fans, Mike Portnoy WAS Dream Theater’s most visible member. His was the voice we all heard and I don’t mean this in the singing area.
We know he will land on his feet and we wish him well. If you learn of any of his projects doing regional appearances be sure to go out and support him even if you didn’t agree with this incredibly major career move. Good luck Mike. We shall be watching your Official site and Twitter account for sure.
Back in the early days of Thrash Metal, the guys in Anthrax were the hometown heroes to those Metal fans who lived in the New York area. Formed in the Bronx, the guys were wild and their riffs insane on top of some knock you down drumming. The UK might have given us the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal a few years earlier, but it was clear to many fans on this side of the fence that the USA was doing well at making a mark of its own. During these formative years of my own Metal development, I had to admit that I preferred a lot more of the Anthrax stuff to that of Metallica and this surprised some of my friends but found me in kinship with those who felt the same way. Eventually I found myself enthralled by the Tallica’s and Slayer’s but for the beginning it was NYC for me without question and few band spoke to NYC like Anthrax did.
When PiercingMetal.com was launched it was very close to the time that the original or “staple” lineup of the band had reunited and once again reminded fans about why they were so enjoyed in Metal’s history. We also began reviewing whatever releases came out at the time as soon as we got our hungry Metal hands on them. Click the logo below to be taken to all of the Anthrax content on PiercingMetal.com and find yourself “Caught In A Mosh” once again.
What the hell is Ping you might be asking and well, I am not yet 100% sure of what it is outside of its being listed as a “music social networking” and “recommendation” medium. It’s a part of the latest installations of Itunes which of course is the software that allows you to upload music to your Ipod and Itouch devices if you have them and at this point in time, almost everyone has one kind of music player from Apple. With Itunes Ping you are able to add your friends if you can find them and see how they rate the music that they are listening to. Based on these ratings and their purchases, the get similar artists and music recommended to them. That is pretty cool to some but might be a little confusing if you have a vastly varied music selection. At present I do NOT have an Ipod or an Itouch device. I’m a Zune user but my player is only the 80gb model and I am thinking I will eventually get the largest Ipod available so I can load up more music. The Zune’s never advanced past the 120gb model while Ipods have already reached 160gb.
In Itunes Ping you can also follow artists that you enjoy and see periodic messages from them. There is no real PiercingMetal account in the service but I am on there as myself. Friends who have my email are welcome to add me, but I admit that I do not use it as much for recommendations since I always have a full pile of CD’s to dig through at any given moment. I try to “ping” that I liked something when I load the CD into Itunes for the review purposes if that helps. If you need a quick comparison to the other social networking tools out there, this does have some kinship with both Facebook and Twitter but it is not really the same thing at all and is instead focused purely on music.
To learn more about Itunes Ping, click the Wikipedia entry HERE.
So maybe my title is a little bit misleading because the physical space has not gone anywhere at all and still sits firmly where it has stood for decades on Irving Place, just off 15th Street in NYC. Despite that, Irving Plaza did “go away” for a few years but was now back. Let’s continue shall we? I start with a little background history on the place.