Nickelodeon, Paramount’s ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ 5-Season Set Re-Issue Is Imperfect, But Fun

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Paramount

This past May, Nickelodeon and Paramount brought the first five seasons of Nickelodeon’s hit animated series Spongebob Squarepants home once again in a massive 14-disc, 100 episode collection simply titled Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes.  It marked the first time the collection had been re-issued, and came a little more than a month ahead of the premiere of the series’ 11th (yes, eleventh) season.  Not even the network’s classic Nicktoons – as wonderful as so many of them still are today – lasted that long, with most running their course at four or five seasons.  That is an aside.  Getting back on track, this recent reissue of the box set, which was originally released to the masses in 2009 as part of the celebration of the series’ 100th episode’s airing, is a largely impressive reissue, albeit not perfect.  The set’s episode listing is its most obvious positive, and will be discussed shortly.  The set’s one negative, its packaging, will be discussed later.  Last but most definitely not least of note here is the bonus material included in the set.  Each element is important in its own right to the set’s overall presentation this time out.  All things considered, they make the first re-issue of Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes one of this year’s top new DVD & BD Re-Issues.

Nickelodeon and Paramount’s recent reissue of Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation for true hardcore fans of the beloved Nicktoon.  That is due in part to the set’s episode listing.  The 100 episodes presented in this collection make up the series’ first five seasons. Not a single episode from that first half of the series’ current run is missing either.  Even the roughly 2:30 short “Reef Blower,” which was part of the series’ very first episode is included here.  This is something important to note due to its tie to the set’s average price point.  Stores nationwide right now are carrying nearly every one of the series’ current seasons either in single-season sets and in some cases as bundle packs, that include single season sets together at a set price.  The cost of those sets eventually adds up.  In the case of the series’ first five seasons, the average cost of the sets runs approximately $50 both by themselves and in standalone form regardless of the outlet.  In the case of this set, its average price point is $34.73, with most of the major retailers – Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Amazon – selling it at a price point of 32.96.  Target is the only standout with a price point of $39.99.  Add in the fact that most of the noted retailers sold the set at roughly $38 in its 2009 release, that indicates a noticeable price drop this time around.  Considering all of this, audiences will see that this collection is, for the relation between its primary content and average price point, a welcome addition to their collections.  While this is clearly a positive for the set, it is not without at least one glaring problem.  That problem is its packaging.

The packaging in this set is problematic in that its 14 discs overlap each other, two to each side of the set’s plates.  While this may be a positive ergonomically speaking, the size of the set has not been reduced that much in comparison to the set’s previous release.  What’s more, by making the discs overlap in that effort to save space, it also greatly increases the odds of the discs being scratched both when they are taken out for play and when they are replaced.  To that end, this is just not smart packaging.  Audiences would probably settle for bulkier packaging if only for the reduced chance of the discs being damaged.  Even worse, this is not the first time that Paramount has gone this route in recent memory.  The company has used the same packaging method for its recent re-issues of Star Trek The Original Series: The Complete Series, The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series, I Love Lucy: The Complete Series, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Complete Series, Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series and The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series.  Considering this, one would have thought the people at Paramount would have learned their lesson by now, but apparently not, and that is disappointing.  Maybe if Nickelodeon and Paramount release a “mega-set” for the series’ second half, they will take this issue into consideration.  Again, while another method might be bulkier, it would be worth it if it meant decreased odds of discs being damaged.  Luckily, it is the set’s only negative and doesn’t completely ruin the collection.  The bonus material included in the set rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in this presentation of Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes is important to note because it is the same material presented in the set’s 2009 presentation.  The nearly hour-long VH1 special Square Roots: The Story of Spongebob Squarepants is the most important of that bonus material. It takes audiences through the series’ history up through its fifth season from its unlikely roots in series creator Seth Hillenburg’s early career at an aquarium to the religious right’s attempt to slander Spongebob to Hillenburg’s eventual departure from the series.  The 40-minute-plus doc presents the series’ humble roots on Nickelodeon to its surprising rise to worldwide fame all while looking ahead to its future, which obviously has proven to be quite bright.

As if that extensive history lesson isn’t enough, the set also includes a multi-lingual presentation of the series’ debut episode ‘Help Wanted’ as a bonus.  The episode includes the series’ theme song being sung in Spanish, Chinese, French, German and other languages for the opening segment.  The episode itself continues in a variety of languages, showing even more Spongebob Squarepants’ far-reaching popularity.

The “Life Lessons From Bikini Bottom” brings its own entertainment as it is in reality just a character profile of Bikini Bottom’s most beloved (and not so beloved) inhabitants. It’s a relatively short segment, running about five minutes, but is still entertaining thanks to the work of the editors who pieced the program together.  The timing of the profiles and the show clips makes for plenty of laughs even in this short presentation.

The short “Kick-Wham-Pow-Bob” music video, which crosses music from Pantera and video from the series, adds its own enjoyment to the set’s presentation.  No worries about hearing from the band’s former front man either.  The musical portion of the video is all instrumental.  Audiences will recognize the music as the same musical base used in the episode “Prehibernation Week.”

Each of the bonus elements discussed here is an important piece of this set’s presentation in its own way.  All things considered, they show in whole why the set’s bonus material is so important to its overall presentation.  When that material is joined with the set’s episode listing, its related price point, and even that one negative that is the set’s packaging, the whole proves to be a collection that while not perfect, is still enjoyable in its own right.  That packaging prevents it from being the year’s top new DVD or Blu-ray re-issue, but also doesn’t keep it from being one of the year’s best in that category.

Nickelodeon and Paramount’s recent re-issue of Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes is one of this year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  That is the case even when one takes into account the set’s problematic packaging.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this set, other Spongebob Squarepants collections and all of the series’ latest news and more is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.nick.com/spongebob-squarepants

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/spongebob

 

 

 

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Tales From Wisconsin Is One Of Teenage Bottlerocket’s Best Records Yet

Courtesy:  Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Teenage Bottlerocket is one of the best punk rock bands that audiences have never heard. For almost fifteen years, this Laramie, Wyoming-based band has been making its own brand of punk rock and building its audience base. All the while, it has remained just under the mainstream radar. This is actually a good thing. That is because it has kept the band from becoming just another cookie cutter pop punk rock band a la Sum 41, Blink 182, Newfound Glory, etc. Remaining just under that mainstream radar has allowed the band to continue crafting its own brand of music more akin to its counterparts in The Lillingtons, Bowling For Soup, and others of that ilk, all the while building its legions of fans around the world. The band’s latest album Tales From Wisconsin is proof of that. It is a fourteen track, thirty-five minute record that is just as certain to have listeners singing along happily just as much as any of the band’s previous releases. This has already been proven thanks to the album’s lead single, the light-hearted ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You),’ and its follow-up ‘They Call Me Steve.’ Both songs clearly show that nearly fifteen years after it first formed and roughly thirteen years after the release of its debut album Another Way, Teenage Bottlerocket has not lost a single step. The album’s gentle, acoustic closer ‘First Time’ shows this just as much. What’s more, it shows a certain growth from the members of Teenage Bottlerocket. Sure, the comparison to Dropkick Murphys and Green Day are inescapable here. But considering TBR’s body of work up to this point, it shows a turning point for the band and just as with the album’s first two singles shows yet again why this album is one more success from what is one of the punk realm’s best kept secrets.

TBR’s new album Tales From Wisconsin comes some thirteen years after the release of its debut record Another Way. One would think that considering how long TBR has been making music together, it would have broken through into the mainstream a long time ago when MTV and VH1 were still airing music videos and when they, along with the nation’s mainstream radio stations, were thirsting for the next big name in punk rock. Interestingly enough that never happened. Yet considering what those outlets did to the reputation of punk rock, maybe it’s a good thing that TBR never did break through. It allowed TBR to continue making its own music rather than give in to some A&R rep and other label exec along the way. Because it has manage to avoid those trappings, the band has manage to craft an album in Tales From Wisconsin–its sixth full-length studio effort–that is just as enjoyable as any of its previous recordings. That is evident early on in the record courtesy of its lead single ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You).’ This fully tongue-in-cheek song pays homage to veteran hard rock/metal act Metallica all while presenting a story of a man who has met a woman who is just as much a fan of the band as him. The song’s standard, melodic punk sound will itself have audiences on their feet, dancing in time as Brandon Carlisle keeps time alongside brother Ray Carlisle and fellow guitarist Kody Templeman. The song’s lyrical side is just as apt to put a smile on audiences faces as Templeman makes reference after reference to Metallica’s body of work throughout the song, singing, “That guy was such a d*******/When we were sticking up for Jason Newstead/That’s when you said you loved …And Justice For All/I didn’t make up with the creeps that night/they were looking for a fight/I was totally right on/The frayed ends of sanity/The shortest straw has been pulled for me/I’ll probably fade to black someday/Unless you hit the lights and escape with me.” The references to Metallica’s extensive catalogue don’t stop here. There is also a reference to ‘The Unforgiven’ and ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ The song’s very title is itself a reference to ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ Such playful use of references coupled with the standard theme of a love found make this one of the most original compositions of its kind to be churned out by a musical act in any genre. Such originality makes clear why this song was chosen as the lead single for TFW. It also makes clear by itself what makes TFW one more wonderful release from one of the rock world’s best kept secrets. Audiences can check out the song’s lyric video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdRrN4xQ8zk.

‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You) is one of the most original compositions about a relationship that has ever been crafted by any act in any of the music world’s many genres. The playful references to Metallica’s biggest hits as the basis for the song’s story coupled with the song’s catchy hooks and chorus makes it obvious why the song was chosen as TFW’s lead single. It also stands as just one clear example of why TBR remains today one of the best kept secrets in both the world of punk and rock in general. The song’s follow-up ‘They Call Me Steve’ shows just as clearly how much TBR has to offer on its latest release. The song’s musical side boasts even more infectious hooks and choruses throughout its two-minute, twenty-one second run time. Looking at the song from a lyrical standpoint, it is just as intriguing as Templeman sings, “I knocked down a tree with my bare hands/And I’ve been to all four corners of this land/I killed a giant spider with an iron sword/And I ran ten miles being chased by a zombie horde/They call me Steve/I’ll do anything you want me to/They call me Steve/I’ll dig a hole to Hell and back for you.” If not for the song’s companion video, which can be viewed online now, the song alone would definitely have had audiences talking. The song’s companion video is a Minecraft themed creation that perfectly complements the song’s lyrical content. It’s a love story in a video game world. The video can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqLAkjRyiJU. In viewing the video, audiences will agree that it perfectly illustrates the story presented in the song and in turn makes the song even more enjoyable than it is on its own musical merits. The combination of the song’s musical and lyrical sides, and its companion video makes clear once again why TBR remains one of the best names in the punk realm and one of rock’s best kept secrets. Alongside ‘Nothing Else Matters (Without You),’ it shows even more clearly whyTFW is such an enjoyable record.

‘Nothing Else Matters (Without You)’ and ‘They Call Me Steve’ are both clear examples of what makes TFW such an enjoyable record both for fans that are new to the band’s material and to those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work. As much enjoyment as those songs offer audiences, there is one more song on this record that stands out even more than them as one of the album’s highest of points. That song is the album’s string-laden acoustic closer ‘First Time.’ Both musically and lyrically it presents the band’s much more rarely exhibited softer side. The comparison to Green Day and Dropkick Murphys among others is inescapable here because of that combination of music and lyrics. But being one of those truly rare times that the band has gotten to display its softer side, it makes this moment something special. It shows the band a little more willing to grow and show a more mature side from the band in comparison to what audiences have become accustomed to hearing. There is almost a certain desperation in Templeman’s voice as he sings I’m falling apart with a broken heart for the first time/I’m starting to doubt what this feeling’s about/For the first time/I stare at the wall/I’m beginning to fall…For the first time/spinning out of control/With nowhere left to go.” It’s not the standard oh, woe is me sort of delivery musically or lyrically that audiences have become all too familiar with from so many punk and emo bands. It has its own identity. Because of that, it proves yet again what makes TFW just as enjoyable as TBR’s previous records and why this veteran punk rock band remains today one of the best kept secrets of the rock world in whole. Together with ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You)’ and ‘They Call Me Steve,’ all three songs together exhibit why this record is just as enjoyable for first time listeners and for those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work. That is not to discount the other dozen tracks that make up this record, either. Each of those tracks not noted here makes its own argument in favor of TFW, too. The whole of those tracks and those more fully noted here show clearly why every punk rock fan should hear this record regardless of their familiarity with TBR.

TBR is currently out on tour in support of its new album. It will wrap up the U.S. leg of its tour this Sunday, April 19th in Denver, Colorado before taking a few days off to recharge and prep for the European leg of its tour. That leg kicks off next Thursday, April 24th in Lindau, Germany. Fans will be able to pick up TFW at either of those shows or any of its upcoming shows, too. Fans that can’t make it to the band’s shows can also pick up TFWin stores and online. Fans can check out TBR’s latest tour dates and get more information on TFW, and where they can purchase it online now at:

Website: http://www.teenagebottlerocket.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/teenagebottlerocketofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/teenbottlerock

Instagram: http://instagram.com/teenagebottlerocket

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ACL Celebrates 40 Years Is A Wonderful Celebration Of A Show And Of Music Itself

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS and its hit concert series Austin City Limits celebrated two major landmarks for the series this fall. This past October Austin City Limits celebrated forty years on the air. That landmark makes the concert series the longest-running concert series on television to date. Making the anniversary even more special is the fact that this October, the show’s original studio was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s tenth Rock and Roll landmark. Both of these marks are big honors for ACL and for PBS. In honor of these honors, PBS released on DVD today the brand new concert recording Austin City Limits 40 Years. There is a lot to like about this concert recording starting with the show’s all-star lineup. Featured in the concert is a who’s who of the music industry. It features legendary names such as: Willie Nelson, Buddy guy, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Foo Fighters, and even the original members of Double Trouble among so many others. There are even performances from up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes. It’s a display in its own way of how many generations this series has reached over the course of its four decades on the air. Making the set even better is the concert’s set list. Emmylou Harris covers Willie Nelson’s hit ‘Crazy.’ There’s also an all-star tribute to Sam & Dave with a performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ And just as enjoyable is the multi-song, all-star tribute to blues legend and Austin native, the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. These are just some of the examples of what makes the show’s set list so important to the presentation in whole. Last but hardly least noteworthy regarding the recording’s success is its bonus material. Included as bonus material, is forty-five minutes of bonus performances. There is also a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the work that went in to making Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a reality. It’s all set against a great performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood.’ These bonuses, partnered with the show’s all-star list of performers and its equally wonderful set list, serve to help make Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years one of this year’s surprise best new live recordings of 2014. It also serves to show yet again why PBS is the last bastion of worthwhile programming on television today.

Austin City Limits has been on television for forty years this year. That is a huge landmark for PBS’ concert series. It has outlived MTV’s Unplugged Series. It has also outlived VH1’s Storytellers and CMT’s Crossroads. In the four decades since it made its debut, ACL has gone from focusing on just one or two genres of music to being one of the preeminent destinations for some of the music industry’s biggest names. Elvis Costello has been on the show. Kings of Leon appeared just last year. And even none other than Nine Inch Nails appeared this year. It just goes to show how much this show has grown since its earliest days as has its importance in the music industry. That is shown just as much in the list of performers tapped to appear on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years. The list of performers tapped to appear on this recording is a who’s who of the music industry from past, present, and even the future. It includes the likes of Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Guy Clarke, Jr., Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Emmylou Harris, and up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes and so many others. With such a wide swatch of performers, that list becomes for all intents and purposes a music history lesson live on stage. It shows not only where ACL has been and where it is going but where music itself started and to where it has come today. And every act tapped to perform is an excellent example of both histories. It’s just one of plenty of reasons that audiences will enjoy this DVD.

The list of performers tapped to perform on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is itself plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this brand new release from PBS. That list is itself a music history lesson and a lesson on the history of ACL. The performers themselves serve as plenty of reason for any music lover to check out this DVD. The songs that they perform make the recording just as enjoyable if not more so. Audiences will love Willie Nelson’s performance of the classic song ‘On The Road Again,’ and Emmylou Harris’ cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’ If that’s not enough, there is a star-studded, multi-song tribute to Austin, Texas’ own Stevie Ray Vaughan. That tribute features performances from Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and almost every member of the a-list cast of performers. There is also a special tribute to Sam & Dave in the performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ That song is handled by Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr. and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the star-studded tribute to SRV is complemented with an equally gran tribute to Buddy Holly. These are just some of the performances included in the concert that audiences will enjoy in watching this recording. There are plenty of other great performances along the way that audiences will enjoy just as much. Collectively, all of those performances make for yet another wonderful reason for every music lover to see this concert.

If the who’s who list of performers tapped for this concert and their performances aren’t enough for audiences, the bonus material included on the DVD will convince audiences. PBS has included forty-five minutes of performance footage as bonus material on this DVD. That forty-five minutes includes a performance of ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ from Willie Nelson and ‘Freight Train’ from Gary Clark, Jr. and Sheryl Crow among the bonus performances. Robert Earl Keen handles ‘I Gotta Go’ and Joe Ely covers ‘All Just To Get To You’ as part of the bonus performances, too. Partnered with that is a special behind-the-scenes look at the concert set against a performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood’ by Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Robert Randolph, and others. It’s a double whammy for audiences. Not only does it give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the concert from pre-pro to show but it also offers audiences a bonus performance. Audiences are given another bonus performance by Bonnie Raitt and company in their rehearsal for their performance of ‘Wrap it Up.’ It’s a nice finisher to a concert recording has already more than proven itself one of this year’s best. Together with the aforementioned list of performers and set list, it pushes this recording over the top, once again proving why ACL has run so successfully for forty years and why its original studio is now part of music history thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It shows once more why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.

So much can be said of what makes Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a success and a total enjoyment. And so much has been said, obviously. It goes without saying that the show’s production values are just as impressive as everything else already noted here. Whether one is taking in the concert on a regular TV or one with a high-priced surround sound home theater system, every viewer will agree that all of the other positives noted here would be nothing without those top notch production values. The concert looks and sounds just as good as other performances recorded over the years. It is that proverbial cherry on top of the musical sundae that is this recording. It is that last part that makes this recording well worth the listen by music lovers of every age.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50214636&cp=&sr=1&kw=austin+city+limits&origkw=Austin+City+Limits&parentPage=search. More information on this and other recordings from Austin City Limits over the years is available online at:

Website: http://acltv.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/austincitylimitstv

Twitter: http://twitter.com/acltv

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Celebrates Four Decades Of ACL With Special Anniversary Concert

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ Austin City Limits hit a major milestone this year.  The network’s hit music series celebrated forty-years with PBS.  In celebration, PBS is releasing a special DVD celebrating the long-running series next month.

PBS will release Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years on Tuesday, December 2nd.  Austin City Limits’ four-decade long run on PBS is especially important to both the network and to music lovers alike.  In the four decades that Austin City Limits has been on PBS, it remains the only TV series to be awarded the Medal of Arts.  Also in that time, MTV’s Unplugged and VH1’s Storytellers have gone by the wayside.  And even CMT’s on Crossroads series has failed to maintain the stability and reputation of ACL.  Throughout its now forty-years on television, ACL has seen and continues to see some of the industry’s biggest names take to the stage.  Those names include the likes of Elvis Costello, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, and so many others.  Many more names are sure to be added to that list as there appears to be no end to this landmark series.

In honor of the series’ fortieth anniversary, many of those same big names have come on board for this celebratory concert.  Bonnie Raitt joins Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes for a performance of the Sam & Dave classic ‘Wrap It Up’ to open the concert.  Howard returns later in the show alongside Gary Clark, Jr. for a special performance.  Willie Nelson, the red-headed stranger himself, joins Emmylou Harris for a performance of Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’  Singer/actor Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow team up for a performance of Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee.  Foo Fighters even make an appearance to perform Roky Erickson’s ‘Two-Headed Dog.’  That performance was recorded at the original ACL television studio especially for the concert.  Actor Jeff Bridges hosts the night’s festivities.  He also performs a special rendition of ‘What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do’ from the late singer-songwriter Stephen Bruton.  Bruton was a big influence on Bridges’ Oscar-winning role in the movie ‘Crazy Heart.’  As if all of this isn’t enough, Joe Ely and fellow local legend Robert Earl Keen make an appearance.  Blues legend Buddy Guy rounds out the show with a performance of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’  And finishing off the whole thing is a star-studded tribute to Buddy Holly and the one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan.  A who’s who of guitarists performs Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’ and SRV’s ‘Texas Flood’ for the night’s biggest finish.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years was taped live at the ACL Live at the Moody Theater and the show’s original studio, Austin PBS affiliate KLRU’s Studio 6A.  The complete list of performers is: Alabama Shakes, Doyle Bramhall II, Jeff Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Double Trouble, Joe Ely, Mike Farris, Foo Fighters, Grupo Fantasma, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jimmie Vaughan.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years will be available Tuesday, December 2nd.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99.  It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50214636&cp=&sr=1&kw=austin+city+limits&origkw=Austin+City+Limits&parentPage=search.  More information on Austin City Limits is available online at

Website: http://acltv.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/austincitylimitstv

Twitter: http://twitter.com/acltv

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Don Jamieson Is As Irreverent And Funny As Ever On His New Comedy Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Don Jamieson, co-host of VH1’s hit show That Metal Show will release his new full length comedy album Tuesday, March 18thHell Bent For Laughter, Jamieson’s second full length comedy album, was recorded in December 2013 at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.  Despite recording his show close to the new home that he tells his audience that he and his wife had bought, neither The Garden State nor its embattled governor are off limits to Jamieson in his show.  It’s just part of what will have audiences laughing uproariously.  Jamieson also goes after politicians, certain pop acts, and even some of his favorite rock bands of all time in his act just to note a little of what audiences can expect in this performance.  Regardless of whether it be for any of the noted material or that not noted, there is enough in this recording to have anyone laughing, even when they know they should be ashamed to be doing so.  It is a laugh riot and a must hear for anyone that needs a good laugh.

Don Jamieson covers so much ground in the show recorded for Hell Bent For Laughter.  He obviously has plenty of music related jokes and jokes related to That Metal Show.  But that’s not all he hits in his show.  Jamieson also justifiably gets plenty of laughs when he tells his audience about having bought a house in New Jersey with his wife.  Those laughs are thanks to jokes about his bad luck in the timing of having bought the house and about the cost of mortgage payments.  He laughs as he tells his audience that anyone that’s renting should keep doing so.  From there, he goes on to make jokes about embattled New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Christie’s potential run for the presidency, and of course his weight and weight loss.  It’s just one of a handful of moments throughout the show when Jamieson really shines in this show.  Audiences will agree when they hear his jokes for themselves.

Gov. Christie isn’t the only politician that Jamieson goes after in his latest comedy release.  He also goes after Vice President Joe Biden and how little people actually see him versus how much people see President Obama.  He makes a sharp joke about how much Biden spent on room service in one night at a hotel room at one point.  He really shows with both this joke and those aimed at Christie his ability to branch out and cover more than just music.  It shows his abilities as apolitical satirist as well as media personality, which bodes well if he ever decides to step away from his day job.  On an even deeper level, the fact that he would go after both a Republican and Democrat means that no one can even begin to accuse Jamieson of supporting one side or the other.  He gives equal time to both sides.  Anyone with any knowledge of how the media works will appreciate that reference.

The laughs that Jamieson gets with his political pot shots don’t stop there.  He also goes after some of the biggest names in pop culture as part of his act.  Those names include the likes of Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, and even One Direction.  He basically accuses Lady Gaga of being a cross-dressing male.  And in terms of Whitney Houston, he shows just how irreverent he can be.  Some might even call his joke at Houston’s expense walking a very fine line.  It’s not the only time at which he walks that line, either.  Audiences will find he walks that line quite a bit throughout this set.  Getting back on topic, in going after One Direction, that joke is so off color that this critic would get in a lot of trouble for even beginning to repeat it.  It is something that audiences will have to hear for themselves to appreciate.   They’re not the only acts to taste Jamieson’s comedic venom so to speak, either.  He spreads the love, even making jabs at some of the biggest names in the rock industry.  Metallica, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, KISS, and Guns N’ Roses all get their moment in Jamieson’s set.  From calling Motley Crue Motley Karaoke thanks to how Vince Neil handles live shows to a crack about Metallica working with Lou Reed to jokes about songs from KISS and Judas Priest, Jamieson leaves no stone unturned.  He shows that he can get audiences laughing even in making jokes related to his regular day job even on these topics.  It shows that whether it be music, pop culture, politics, or even more blue material, Don Jamieson can entertain any audience.  And audiences will agree on this when they pick up Hell Bent For Laughter Tuesday, March 18th.  It is definitely a recording that will have anyone laughing nonstop.

Jamieson will hit the road beginning next Friday March, 14th for a stand-up tour to support Hell Bent For Laughter.  Audiences will get to hear some of his material when he kicks off his tour at the New Hope Cinema Grill in New Hope, Minnesota.  He will be joined by his co-hosts of That Metal Show on a handful of his upcoming live dates.  Fans can get a full rundown of Jamieson’s upcoming live appearances online now at http://www.donjamieson.com, http://www.metalblade.com/donjamieson, http://twitter.com/realdonjamieson, and http://www.facebook.com/donjamiesonofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Andy Grammer’s Star Keeps Rising With One World Concert

Andy Grammer had one of his biggest honors yet last week.  Grammer was one of the pop stars tapped to perform at the One World Concert “Common Ground For Peace” at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome.  Among those in attendance at the event was none other than the His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama.  Grammer was joined at the performance by the likes of:  Dave Matthews, Counting Crows, Matisyahu, Nelly Furtado, and a slew of others.

Courtesy: MSO PR

Grammer’s performance comes at a high time for the singer.  The third single from his self-titled debut on S-Curve Records, ‘Miss Me’, is quickly making its way up Billboard’s charts and VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown.  It joins his previous two back to back singles that have already garnered their own success.  He is also currently touring in support of his debut album.  He will be at the Canopy Club in Urbana, IL tomorrow, October 17th.  For a full list of tour dates and all the latest news from Andy, fans can go online to http://www.andygrammer.com, http://www.facebook.com/amdygrammer, and http://twitter.com/andygrammer.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Delta Rae Announces New Tour Dates, Releases New Video

Durham, North Carolina’s Delta Rae is quickly making quite the name for itself.  The band recently released its major label debut record, “Carry The Fire.”  Since then, the band has spread its name and its music thanks to performances in some of the country’s biggest venues, and on one of its biggest shows in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and VH1’s The Big Morning Buzz.  Now, the band is offering fans even more chances to see it live.  Fans can check out its live show online and in person.

Delta Rae has released a live medley of songs from its new album that fans can check out now.  The video, which can be seen here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ_JqRcU9YA, features the band performing its songs:  ‘Morning Comes’, ‘If I Loved You’, ‘Is There Anyone Out There’, and its breakout hit, ‘Bottom of the River.’  It’s just the band and its instruments, emphasizing the joy of this band’s sound.  If seeing the band online isn’t enough, then there are more chances to see the band live.  The band has announced another batch of tour dates.  Among those dates is a stop at Mike Dianna’s Grill in Corolla, NC on Saturday, October 13th. 

Courrtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Fans can get a full rundown of the band’s latest tour schedule online at http://deltarae.com, http://www.facebook.com/deltarae, and http://twitter.com/deltarae.  And while waiting to see the band live, fans can check out the band’s music on its official YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/deltaraeband.  Fans can pick up the band’s debut album in stores and online via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/album/carry-the-fire-deluxe-version/id532969027

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.