THE TERMITES HAVE BEEN EXTERMINATED

10703796_1058845017474989_3570388553864786770_nIt’s been 6 months 2 weeks and 3 days and finally, we return to rural Georgia to find out what has happened to our gritty band of zombie apocalypse survivors. Now normally 6 months is too long to wait for anything, but The Walking Dead arrived on Sunday evening with such a rush of adrenaline, such an awesome Season 5 beginning, such an epic opening, I didn’t mind the wait.

Before I delve into the episode, I need to get this out of the way…I was frigging right! I said Carol would save Rick and the gang from the horrors of Terminus and sure as hair growing out of my ears, Carol saved Rick and the gang from Terminus. Jeff Baskin was right!!!

But she saved them blowing up propane tanks and blowing apart heads that it blew my mind!  The opening of Season 5 was a “Call to Arms” for so many of our survivors.

Rick is back and may be more tenacious than ever. “No one gets to live…” he growled at Glenn and Daryl.

Tyrese is so back. Our gentle, babysitting nanny didn’t just kill that annoying Tigers’ fan (that was a Tigers’ hat?), he beat the jerk to death.  And I did let out a whoop whoop!

So, Terminus is in ruin. BBQ Mary died poetically. Carol graciously opened the door for 4 zombies to feast on her Lieutenant Yar flesh. But her hipster son, Garreth (looks like a dude who works at bike shop in Williamsburg), took a shot, but didn’t look like he died.  Spoiler alert:  I predict he will be back.  He was too important a character to not have a gruesome TV death.

So as the zombies deteriorate further, their skin flagging, we enter a new season.  Abraham will continue on his crusade to save humanity clashing with Rick’s determination to save his people.  It will be fun to see how this plays out and who makes it to Season 6 alive.

Welcome back Walking Dead! I missed my Sundays with you. And oh yeah, one more thing… I’ve done my research, and if you mess with Baby Judith, you frigging die!

Jeff Baskin is currently writing a vampire novel. Don’t miss his column every Dead Wednesday all season long. Follow him on Twitter: @1Brooklynwriter Photo courtesy of AMC. 

KEITH COSMOS “WHAT I WANT”

“I don’t want a woman that sleeps around/I don’t want a woman that brings me down…” Stream the new single and grab your free download of the song.

Also, check out the song, Fukushima. It was recorded by Keith Cosmos to help raise awareness of the ongoing radioactive crisis in Japan. Watch the official lyric video, click here.

DRONE OVER BURNING MAN

Drones are the future. For years, they’ve been utilized for intelligence and warfare, and like many tools our government has in their arsenal, they eventually trickle down into the civilian population. Enter the handheld drones. Our privacy may be further infringed upon by these high-tech toys, but you can’t beat the footage when they’re used responsibly. And this type of cinematography is quickly growing into an art form.

To see what I mean, check out Eric Cheng’s Drone’s View Of Burning Man 2014 video. It was shot with DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter and it offers up some incredible footage of a one-of-a-kind event. The video features music by The Gaslamp Killer and it provides the perfect soundtrack for this nearly surreal visual journey.

Drone’s view of Burning Man 2014 from Eric Cheng on Vimeo.

MY GUEST SPOT ON THE LATE NIGHT WITH JOHNNY P SHOW

I did my first TV appearance not to long ago on the Late Night with Johnny P show on CTV. It was not only a learning experience, but also a lot of fun. And like most activities that give you an adrenaline rush, I want to do it again. Please sir, I want some more…

Besides my interview with Johnny, this episode features actor John Bianco (The Sopranos, Taxi Brooklyn), The Crew from The Wiseguyz Radio Show and Comedian Pete Michaels. Watch the whole show below, or skip to my segment. It’s at the 27:30 mark. Enjoy!

OUTLANDER CAPTIVATES FANS WITH GENRE BENDING STORYLINES

Outlander_Gallery1_wmPart science fiction puzzler, part romantic drama, and part historical epic, the new Starz original series has garnered quite a following in its short run. Following the lead of such period dramas as “Game of Thrones” and “Downton Abbey,” “Outlander” sets its story not in the modern world but in the past, and is based on a series of books by American author Diana Gabaldon.

The show follows protagonist Claire Beauchamp Randall (played by Irish actress Caitriona Balfe) as she is transported from World War II era Scotland, to two hundred years into the past. In 1743 Scotland she finds herself dropped into a civil war between the Redcoats and the Highlander rebels. “The Outlander” has become infamous as being a genre-bender. It does not fit neatly under any one label, although there is a strong romantic element; the first Outlander novel brought its author a Romance Writers of America’s RITA award for Best Romance back in 1991. Claire finds herself torn between her 20th century husband Frank and a new love in 18th century Scotland: Jamie Fraser. Jamie is played by native Scotsman Sam Heughan, and the two leads have been praised for their “potent chemistry,” says the aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.

Part of the reason for the show’s wild success is its exquisite attention to detail in sets and costuming. “Every time I walk onto set, there’s at least a split second where I feel like this is not a set, this is actually real; it’s so rich,” says supporting cast member Lotte Verbeek.

“Outlander” is shot on location in Scotland, and executive producer Ronald D. Moore has said the landscape and the scenery–Scotland itself–is a character in the show.

Outlander_Gallery4_wmThere seems a real determination among cast and crew, some of whom are longtime fans of Gabaldon’s work, to maintain the integrity of the original books. So what does the author think of the new adaptation? Her reception has been positive, and she has even been on set to watch the process. There are small differences between the books and the show, which she considers necessary given the challenging medium of serial television. She finds new material presented in the show to be true to the heart of the book; small plot elements that could have occurred off the page in the original work. “Everyone who has read the book will feel totally at home and excited to see their favorite scenes, but there’s also new material to get excited about as well,” she said in an interview with Word & Film.

Fans seem to agree. “Outlander” premiered on the Starz network on August 9, 2014, and audience reception was so favorable that Starz ordered production for a second season after airing only one episode. The show found a ready made fanbase among the female readership of the original Outlander books, although Moore’s track record on shows like “Battlestar Galactica” should bring in male fans, as well. Is “Outlander” destined for greatness? Only time will tell. “Outlander” airs Saturday nights on Starz.

Suzy Kerr is a blogger living in Missouri. She writes regularly for realitytea.com and talkthrones.com. All photos courtesy of Starz

‘ZEPPARELLA’ BRING IT ON HOME

As the four ladies that make up the Led Zeppelin tribute band, Zepparella made their way to the stage at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn, the vibe in the room seemed to change. Not only was there a certain sense of excitement, but also an expectation of what was to come.

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The fact is, there are plenty of bands that cover the music of Led Zeppelin, but when a band bills itself as a tribute band, the stakes are higher. The band has to be tight and the songs must be true to the studio versions. Band members don’t have to resemble the original artists, but they better sound like them.

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And that’s exactly what Zepparella is all about. Not only did they turn in some note-for-note renditions of some classic songs like Communication Breakdown, The Lemon Song and What Is and What Should Never Be, but they also delivered a bone chilling version of Dazed and Confused that featured Gretchen Menn slashing a violin bow across the strings of her guitar (check out her killer instrumental album, Hale Souls)

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Another standout moment was during the drum solo in the song, Moby Dick. Drummer, Clementine nailed all the fills, played with her bare hands and even pulled off that little hollow pitch bend on the snare (I always wondered how John Bonham did that). Listen to some of Clementine’s solo work here.

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There was also a cool guitar duel between Menn and the bass player, Angeline Saris midway through the song, Trampled Under Foot. They traded licks back and forth, and both guitarists showcased some impressive two-handed tapping during their solos.

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As for the vocals, it’s not easy to mimic a young Robert Plant. Not even the Man himself can hit those high notes anymore. But despite the fact that he’s not an easy singer to copy, lead vocalist, Noelle Doughty was able to bring it on home. She may not sound exactly like Plant, but she’s a passionate singer that belts out the lyrics with fiery resonance.

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The only low point of the night was with their opening number, The Rover. Although they played it well, and the song is an interesting selection, it’s not a crowd pleaser. Zepparella could have kickstarted the party early with any number of fan favorites: Good Times Bad Times, Rock and Roll or Black Dog just to name a few.

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Some might call this nitpicking and they would be correct, especially since Zepparella were able to engage the audience and keep them entertained for the entire show. So if you like Led Zeppelin, then go see Zepparella. They’re not a gimmick, they’re the real deal, i.e. four talented musicians. In short, they rock!

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To watch video, buy merch, or to catch Zepparella on tour, click here. All photos by Michelle Jesipaz.

ALL HAIL KING BUZZO

Buzz101Buzz Osborne (the Melvins) could have held a clinic the other night at The Wick in Brooklyn on how to keep an audience engaged as a solo acoustic act. His in-your-face and fierce guitar playing only intensified his stage presence.

Osborne pumped and strummed his guitar like James Hetfield of Metallica, only instead of playing a Gibson Explorer plugged into a wall of Marshall stacks, all Osborne had was his acoustic guitar, a small combo amp and head full of curly blond hair. But that didn’t stop him from pulling off intricate riffs across the fretboard.

Instead of opening his set with a track from his debut solo album (This Machine Kills Artists) he went right for the jugular with Boris. The song is off the Melvins’ 1991 album, Bullhead. And as he made his way through the intro he visited each side of the stage, stepping right up to the edge, and getting so close that fans could have easily reached out and touched him.

Buzz102The Wick is a great space for live performances, but it’s not very comfortable. Either their air conditioner was broken or they didn’t have one. Whatever the reason, it was hot as balls. And by his third song, Osborne was drenched with sweat. In between songs he had to stop and wipe down not only his face, but also his guitar.

By his fourth song, King Buzzo played some tracks off his new album. The first one was titled, Dark Brown Teeth. It’s an upbeat and colorful song that builds and then lays back on the verses. It sounded just as good live as it did on the album. Some of the highlights were Rough Democracy, The Vulgar Joke, We Are Doomed and an Alice Cooper cover titled, Ballad of Dwight Fry.

Too bad more solo performers don’t put on a show like Osborne because if they did, there would be a lot fewer people staring at their smart phones in the audience. For more information on Osborne or the Melvins click here.

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*All photos by Michelle Jesipaz. 

ANGEL OF MERCY

Black Label Society are wrapping up their European tour in Moscow, Russia tonight. Then after a short break, they’ll be unleashing the doom through the States. For dates, click here. Until then, check out a new video of their song, Angel of Mercy. Director Justin Reich captures the mood of this track with some vivid shot selections and cinematography.