Category Archives: Review

With The #3 Pick, MBP Selects Bonnaroo X’s…

Here’s my second post talking about Bonnaroo X, my favorite performances and their best songs. Without further ado; the third best performance I saw (hailing from the “This” Tent…no seriously):

Home of mushroom fountains, insane heat, naked people, phenomenal music and the worst physically manifested Abbot and Costello inspired mind-f*** ever

3. Florence and The Machine (Come on, it has to be “Dog Days”) as the Oklahoma City Thunder circa 2010-2011

I know I know, “didn’t OKC lose in the Western Conference finals 4 games to 1 in largely unimpressive fashion? Did Bonnaroo suck or something?” Hardly, in fact Bonnaroo exceeded my expectations in unexpected ways. I went in dreading the heat, dreading the lack of showers and dreading the porta potties. I thought if things were going to go well these things would have to at least be somewhat ok. I also dreaded that Oklahoma City would be too young this year, Durant too exhausted and people to cocky about what this team could do after 2010’s breakout season. They would have to mature and Durant would have to be Durant in spite of playing a year straight of basketball coming in. In fact, all of the things above somewhat materialized (Durant began the season exhausted, I didn’t shower for 120 hours, OKC looked young at times, and the porta potties absolutely did suck). The beauty is that both the Thunder and Bonnaroo managed to overcome those issues to be big successes. It just took me a little reflection to fully grasp it.

You think I'm the first to compare her^...

to him^?...

Florence and the Machine embodied this. Going in I cautiously expected great things after seeing them perform live online. Florence, like Durant, seemed like a great front-woman, energizing the crowd with her performances while managing the live vocals well (a difficult thing to do consistently when you sing like she does). I believed out of all the groups F & M had the most potential to be both great and disappointing. They started out well enough. We were reasonably close (about 2/3rds of the crowd was outside the tent, behind us in the open air) so we could hear the music and catch glimpses of the stage and Florence’s performance. The problem was, on a couple of occasions, she had to drop her voice an entire octave, altering the choruses of popular songs like Dog Days. This was like Durant altering his game early in the season (when he was missing shots like crazy) because he was worn out from leading Team USA to FIBA Gold during the summer. Florence has been touring pretty hard lately (while opening up for U2) so I’m guessing her voice has been worn down by the insane schedule. By dropping it an octave in parts she could conserve her voice while keeping the song from being too drastically changed. It wound up working out. While I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get the full brunt of a high pitched “Dog Days” chorus, the song was still fantastic, the musicians were great and the overall performance had the crowd going bonkers. Meanwhile OKC adjusted their lineup, added Sam Perkins late in the season and won the first two playoffs series of their young careers while Durant largely got his mojo back. They got to where we expected and hoped they would be, they just did it in a somewhat different way.

John Calipari's opinion of the NCAA's so-called "rules" and "bi-laws"...

That’s all for now folks. Tune in next time for:  “Hope Solo said the US Women’s 2-0 victory in the first round of the Women’s World Cup was the first time she’s had fun in an international tournament. I guess two Olympic gold medals just weren’t very “fun” for Hope?,” “Kentucky just signed John Calipari through 2019. So, if we’re keeping score kids, if you want to earn millions as a coach, leave two teams (three?) shamed with vacated Final 4 seasons and do it with relatively few repercussions; coach college basketball…,” and “The Halfwits are keeping a long run of July 4th beer ball games going this year on Sunday…it may prove to be the least athletic display of ‘sport’ in, well, ever.”


Bonnaroo X: Ho…ly…S***

The Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee is a blend of emotional extremes. You have your highs: bands bringing their “A-game” to every performance, constant high quality music from noon until 5 AM every day, phenomenal food and beer if you choose to partake (and can afford it) and a level of organization that Woodstock couldn’t have remotely dreamt of. You also have your lows: having to make a choice that (I imagine…) is like picking between children when favorite artists play simultaneously, the incredible ability of people to make porta-potties 20 times more disgusting than they already were, consistent 95 degree temperatures and a serious lack of hygiene. Honestly, it’s a lot like being a fan of a sports team. You have your Championship years (Band of Skulls coming out of nowhere on the first day to bring down the house) and your 2-14 seasons (literally being blinded by the rotting stench of the plastic sweat dome of terror your just bared your goods in). It is a give and take kind of thing, but by the end those highs out weigh the lows substantially.

The Good...

The Bad...(this is fake, but really not that far off)

For the next few days I’ll post my top 4 Bonnaroo X performances (plus a couple of honorable mentions) roughly 1 at a time. In addition I’ll list my favorite song of theirs and a corresponding (think: “major stretch”…) analogy from the sports world. I also apologize for the delay. I was moving my girlfriend up to Boston this past weekend and between that and Bonnaroo it’s been a little insane (we caught a game at Fenway too, a first for both of us…a post on it is in the works).

But enough about that (just kiddin Sar, kisses), here are a couple of honorable mentions and my number 4 pick from Bonnaroo:

Honorable Mentions: Bassnectar as the Arizona Diamondbacks circa 2001 and STS9 as the VMI Keydets men’s basketball team since roughly 2006

While I admittedly didn’t stick around for the entire set of either group I felt I had to mention both. Bassnectar does some truly incredible things with a relatively limited set of musical accoutrements on stage, literally making your heart feel like it will beat right out of your chest the second the music starts. Even as I walked away exhausted through the massive throng of dancing bonnaroo revelers and out into the relatively open air of Centeroo I could feel the sub woofer vibrations knocking around my…insides. Bassnectar’s a one man version of the 2001 Diamondbacks because he does so much with so little. Arizona won the World Series with a two man rotation that year and made the Yankee’s vaunted and financially blessed juggernaut look relatively meek in the path of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. It was more with less, much like Bassnectar, and like Bassnectar those guys literally thundered through the Yank’s lineup relatively un-encumbered (the Yanks didn’t score more than 2 runs in any of their starts). Plus there was that whole blown save by Mariano which, while it was only a bloop single, shook me right to the core. Now excuse me while I go throw up in a porta potty.

The difference? This doesn't trigger my gag reflex...

I actually caught more of STS9 (they wound up being my last show of the whole epic weekend) and got to get a full live taste of what I had sometimes listened to while studying for 3 years in college (my roommate turned me onto them late in my freshman year). I always knew they were unique because of a couple of distinct things. The first distinction is their electronically infused dreamy yet energetic sound, which is described by the band as “post-rock dance music,” whatever that means. The second distinction is that they use a lot of real instruments (i.e. guitars, drum kits, bongos, bass guitar in addition to multiple key boards) to produce their sound. This is why STS9 so embodies the mindset and style of play of the Keydets over the past several years. VMI runs a high powered ridiculously fast paced up and down brand of basketball that essentially operates under a “five seconds and shoot” mantra. This results in some wildly entertaining and high scoring games, with both teams usually breaking the 100 point threshold easily (the Keydets have led the nation in three pointers and scoring the last five years). In a 40 minute (college) basketball game those kinds of averages are pretty remarkable. It’s also completely unique. No team in division I plays quite the same brand of ball, and while some times they lose it seems like it’s always a hell of a ride no matter what. I get the same impression about the unique style of STS9.

The difference? These guys don't do a whole lot of "losing"...

4. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (My girlfriend’s choice: “Ooh La La”) as the University of Vermont Catamounts from 2001 to Now

This is a somewhat more literal analogy. Both the band and basketball team (obviously) are from Vermont but they also can trace the success of their career arcs to a pretty parallel time frame. Potter was discovered at St. Lawrence University singing on campus in 2002 by a fellow band member and left school relatively soon thereafter to form the band. Their major successes came in 2006 and 2007 with songs like “apologies” and “falling or flying” before gaining notoriety recently for “Paris (Ooh la la),” which they closed with at Bonnaroo. Likewise, the Catamounts basketball team first burst onto the NCAA tournament scene in 2003 as winners of the America East conference before beating #3 seeded Syracuse in the first round of the NCAAs in 2005 (Vermont’s third straight appearance). Vermont also made the NCAAs last year as conference champs and won the regular season handily this year before being upset in the conference tourney. Needless to say the parallels are uncanny.

What isn’t is the dynamic end to their major 2011 performances. The Catamounts faltered, but Potter and the Nocturnals most certainly did not. In front of a great (and massive) day crowd on the main stage Potter pulled off her best Janis Joplin impersonation with a cleaner (read: not as raspy) musical sound and truly came off like a rock star. I’d never even heard of herbefore my girlfriend circled her as a must see prior to the festival, but I’m certainly glad I didn’t miss out. In a gorgeous white dress that accented her long straight blond hair Grace embodied all that is in her name, sweeping across the stage with thunderous vocals while alternating between a guitar and a piano easily. Like the Catamounts in ’05, this little group from Vermont made some thunderous noise on the biggest stage. Bravo.

Like I said; Janis Joplin…except wayyyyyyyyyyyy hotter
That’s all for now folks. Tune in next time for: “I’ll give you a hint on number 3: female lead singer, crazy lyrics and lots of awesomeness,” “Mark Cuban has said that he wants to do super cheap/free beer days if he gets to own a baseball team by allowing beer ads that stretch across entire sections of seats. So basically, we should boycott the MLB until this happens,” “The Nats are above .500 this late in a season for the first time since the end of the ’05 season and Washington couldn’t be…any less interested” and “Kyrie Irving just became the first 1/2 and done number 1 overall pick in NBA history. Remind me again why this rule exists?”

Friday Night Lights: Where Have the Dillon Panthers Been All My Life?

My girlfriend and I recently got into Friday Night Lights at the behest of her brother-in-law and a few critics who put it right up there with Lost as an all-time major network TV show. As we finish season 4 on Netflix I’m truly amazed that I didn’t get into this thing earlier, especially when I have the movie practically memorized and loved the book. It’s an amazing mixture of drama, intermittent comedy, good looking people everywhere and some of the best acting ever on network television. I’m not kidding, there have been maybe two duds in the whole thing, and Minka Kelly makes up for it by being hot enough to land Derek Jeter (like, forever). We at Neighborhood Halfwits can forgive such things. Also, they didn’t try to perfectly mirror the book or movie (great stories), but took it in a great direction anyway. Still, as awesome as the show is, here are a few nit-picky random thoughts to kick this thing off (major SPOILER ALERT here):

Minka Kelly everyone...yeah.

  • Minka Kelly is 30, which means she was 25 when filming of the show began. Does this shock anyone else? I thought for sure Derek Jeter was semi-robbing the cradle with his move to monogamy, but I guess its not so surprising when you consider that Zack Gilford (who played my personal hero Matt Saracen on the show) is only two years younger than Kelly. He’s now playing a doctor on “Off the Map”…huh? One last age related question: Are Season 3 Minka and Taylor Keistch officially the oldest high school couple in television history? Somebody prove me wrong.
  • Can I get a blowout win please? I’m pretty sure that if you factor in a few season 4 blowout losses, Coach Taylor’s 4 year head coaching record would have a total point differential in the negatives. This is with two Texas 5A state finals appearances (and three state playoff appearances), less than 10 total losses, and one ring under his belt. There’s no way this is plausible.

The Man...who cant win by more than 3 points...but is still The Man.

  • In that same vein; Coach Taylor = Mandy ReCarthy (Mike McCarthy and Andy Reed you know, in case you’ve never watched the NFL). There is no way his clock management skills should be that bad.
  • Anyone else notice that the TMU field blatantly had Texas State painted in the end zone during season 2? I’m not asking for a different paint job but it was 2007. Are you telling me there wasn’t film editing technology available to gloss over this?
  • I’m guessing Season 2 was tough to get a consistent story line out of because of the writer’s strike. With that said, I’ll excuse the TV season ending 3 games before the state playoffs, the completely forgotten Santiago story line and Street’s tatted up love interest completely falling off the radar. Still, that doesn’t excuse the fact that Landry was able to kill a guy, admit to it and then have everyone outside of him and Tyra act like nothing happened when the charges were dropped. Are you telling me news of this didn’t at least get out to the high school? As Tyra says repeatedly, “this is a small town,” so people would’ve known. Landry’s dad also blatantly tampered with evidence by torching the station wagon. Even the LAPD would’ve suspended him without pay for a couple of hours.

"I killed a guy while I was in high school, but it was glossed over because of a writers strike...nbd"

  • Trust me when I say this, the Texas 5A state championship game is the pinnacle of high school football. It’s the deepest talent pool in the most fanatical football region in the country. If California held actual state championships (they’re divided into some weird division format thing, look it up) it might contend for second place with Florida, but Texas stands alone. So lastly, how many coaches have been fired the year after making an appearance in the biggest game possible in their respective level of a sport? Start listing, because I’m pretty sure Coach Taylor is one of the very few.

Id trust him with the lives of my family and pretty much anything else...just not the liquor cabinet.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am in love with this show. But I wouldn’t be a true blogger, modern day American and Generation Y’er without picking at least some pieces of it apart. Regardless, you need to watch this show. Season 5, which is somehow the last one (this when Two and A Half Men is somehow in roughly its 236th season) airs tomorrow night (Friday, April 15th) at 8 p.m. on NBC. That last part explains why the ratings are so low, but maybe if we all band together and watch the crap out of this thing they’ll bring them all back together for another go. A guy can hope…right?

One more time...

That’s all for now folks. Tune in next time for: “Kobe Bryant got fined $100,000 for being a homophobe…why am I supposed to be surprised?,” “Kevin Durant has two scoring titles in 4 years in the NBA…He was the first freshman to win POY in college…He’s been the catalyst to turn around the OKC franchise…Remind me again why Rick Barnes is still allowed to coach anything?,” “Pedro Feliciano was just publicly compared to post-injury Chien-Ming Wang, and it may actually be an insult to post injury Chien-Ming Wang…s***.”

Game Review: BulletStorm

Foot to the face is a subtle way of saying "Fuck You"

Game Review: BulletStorm

Console: PC/Xbox/PS3 (I played the PC version)

Quick Review: Cool if unrealistic murder simulator for single player. Multiplayer is less fun than staring at the sun.

  • Good: Graphics, Character banter, Using the “leash” for fantastic frags,  Fun weapons and gameplay, Points awarded for shooting people in the dick or for murdering someone to death with your boot.
  • Bad:  Character banter (yes it’s in both categories), Glitchiness, A random flashback and poor storytelling, Ridiculously terrible multiplayer.

Score:  5/10

Long(er) Review:

I’m going to start out by saying that I was very excited to play BulletStorm. VERT excited.  This game spoke to me through its packaging and previews. It whispered to me of hours of amazing bloodshed with twisted weapons. I was ready for BulletStorm.

Once I picked the game up from Best Buy, every additional moment longer it took me to get this game to my computer because of shitty (safe) drivers was another small animal I promised to punish.

Don’t blame me kitten, blame the jerkoff in the minivan going twenty five in a FUCKING FORTY

I finally got home, installed the game and jumped right into the single player thinking that I would come back to the multiplayer after I learn some basics first. No need to let some 12 year old wipe the virtual floor with my face because I refused to learn a few things on my own. They have too much going for them already with that whole ‘no responsibilities’ thing.

Fuck 12 year olds

Anyways, in the first controllable sequence with my character I noticed my mouse was fucking up. The mouse sensitivity was next to nothing. Quick fix of adjusting the ingame settings and… same problem. OK. Must not have saved the settings. Go back and surprise! I had saved the correct settings. First 5 minutes and already a glitch. Sweet.

I’m not going to give away too much of the story. You play as an alcoholic angry mercenary out for revenge who ends up getting trapped on some world surrounded by cannibals and tumored monsters. You know, the usual. The story actually has potential and has some fun pitched battles. The cool thing about this game (and most new games) is how the environment can get involved in battle. You can literally kick a hot dog cart at a group of mutants and shoot it’s propane tank to create a massive explosion. You can also whip people around by your ‘leash’ and throw them into spiked walls or electrical wires. The game rewards you with points by how epic and gruesome your kills are. These points can then be used to purchase upgrades and ammo for your weapons. In the end, the story dips off a bit and the end isn’t really an ending so much as an annoying cliffhanger.

So, after beating the single player I thought I was ready to kick the living shit out of some people on multiplayer. Login, join a match and am waiting to be placed in a game. I get in a game and am amped to start murdering people. Game starts and I whip around and unload my gun on the other people running around. I fill one of them with a good 2 clips before I realize that they aren’t shooting back and my gun does no damage to them. The game chat box says the following:

K1dCuD1: lol wut r u doin?

BejeweledAll*24: save your bullets nub

I realize two things instantly. One, kids these days are fucked with a lack of imagination and two, I had joined a coop multiplayer game.  I leave k1dfuckyourself and bejeweledsucksadick behind to go join a real deathmatch… only to find there is no such thing. Nope. ZERO deathmatch whatsoever. The only multiplayer option you have is to coop kill wave after wave of enemies in a closed environment and try to score bigger points with different frags. Shit was stupid.

Not going to get involved with opinions on how to improve the game. Developers should know better. Worth it for $20 but not full price.