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5 Small Music Venues that Seriously Rock

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5 Small Venues

Toad’s Place – 300 York Street, New Haven, CT

Why Toad’s Place Rocks: Originally, the Yale Co-op stood where Toad’s now resides. It was various restaurants after Yale sold it off, and former culinary student Michael Spoerndle purchased the building to turn it into a French and Italian restaurant in 1975. But by 1976, Toad’s Place (that was also the name of the restaurant, btw), Spoerndle transformed Toad’s into a live music venue with the help of local musician Peter Menta, as well as friend and co-owner Brian Phelps. Right off the bat, acts like Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker graced the stage at the 750 capacity club. Billy Joel recorded “Los Angelenos” from his album Songs in the Attic at Toad’s in 1980, and U2 played there three times at the dawn of the ‘80s while they promoted Boy and during their October Tour. They also premiered the song Fire there, and Adam Clayton can be seen in a Toad’s tee shirt in early promo photos of U2. In 1990, Bob Dylan played a set that lasted more than five hours, and was his first club appearance in a quarter century. More recent acts have included Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, Juicy J, Interpol, and Wiz Khalifa.

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My fellow music listeners, the state of our reunion is pretty poor. Out of all of the bands I said should go on tour again in the previous two posts, only one has actually managed to do it. Let's check out the record.

The Track Record

  • Led Zeppelin: No
  • ABBA: No
  • Pink Floyd: No, though they did release a new album last year.
  • Queen: Yes, with Adam Lambert.
  • Oasis: No
  • 'NSync: No, but they had a performance at 2013 MTV VMAs.
  • Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince: No, but they had a one-off reunion on a 2013 episode of the Graham Norton Show in the UK.
  • Nirvana: No, but some members performed during the band's 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: No
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Madonna Needs to Bare Her Claws

The following is a guest article by Doris Schmidt.

Madonna

"More material, girl!"

That was critics' best advice to Madonna as she flashed her thong-enhanced bottom and exposed acres of bustier-boosted cleavage on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 8. When she took the stage to perform “Living for Love,” the grande dame of pop music seemed to be up to her old tricks: Fishnet stockings? Check. Horned, bare-chested dancers? Check. Levitation? Check.

What could be wrong with that? Madonna was playing the provocateur, as she has done so well for more than three decades. But that was precisely the problem. After all, this was the diva known as Madonna, Mother of Reinvention. She’s been praised by music magazines and marketing gurus alike for her quick-change artistry; the Los Angeles Times even named her "the world’s most famous chameleon."

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My Top 5 Super Bowl Quarterbacks of All-Time

The storylines in play at this season's Super Bowl seem endless. They go from stupid and overblown (deflategate) to historic (New England Head Coach Bill Belichick going for a record-tying fourth title). One of my favorites though is the match-up of quarterbacks. On one side you have Tom Brady, the 37 year-old veteran playing in his sixth Super Bowl; and on the other side you have Russell Wilson, the third-year player and defending champion. The NFL is a quarterback driven league, and it often takes a great quarterback to become a champion. Everyone has a list of their top Super Bowl QBs, so I decided to take a crack at it myself:

#1. Tom Brady

Yes, I am biased. Yes, I am a New England Patriots fan. In this case, however, I think I have a pretty strong argument. This is his aforementioned sixth time playing in the big game, winning three times before. The other two times, the Pats lost late in the fourth quarter. He is a few breaks away from winning all five. He has won two game MVPs and now is the all-time leader in postseason touchdown passes. You can make an argument for other players, but it's tough to knock the credentials of Brady.

#2. Joe Montana

While I have Brady slightly ahead, most other people place Joe Montana at the top of their lists, and with good reason. Montana played in and won all four times he appeared in the Super Bowl. He was game MVP three of those times, and in the only game he didn't win MVP, he led the 49ers on a last minute drive to win the game.

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NFL

#1 (Maybe ever). Odell Beckham Jr. vs. the Cowboys

Source: YouTube.com

Wow. The catch that Odell Beckham made in their Week 12 game vs. the Cowboys on Sunday night was one of the those plays that transcends sports and has been described as one of the best plays in sports history, not just football. LeBron James took notice. So did Mike Trout. As did fellow wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jeremy Maclin. Get ready to see replays of the catch, because it will be shown for years to come.

#2. Rob Gronkowski vs. the Broncos

Source: YouTube.com

Prior to Beckham's catch, the best one-handed grab of the year belonged to Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. Against the Denver Broncos in Week 10, Gronk snagged ball out of the air with his left hand and was nearly able to find his way into the end zone (one play later, he caught a touchdown pass). In the weeks since the catch, Tom Brady has said that it was the greatest catch he had ever seen on one of his passes. Randy Moss disagreed.

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