Idris Elba: Fighter Doc Is Smart, Real

Idris Elba

Idris Elba

For fans of Stringer Bell, DCI John Luther or his real-life non-actor personification as Idris Elba, the idea of Elba embarking on a quest to become a pro kickboxer on the wrong side of 40 was… disconcerting.

Idris Elba: Fighter, the doc series that emerged from this journey, however, is entirely real and genuine.

Sarah watched and wrote about it for Fightland.

To read what she said click here.

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Filed under Films, Jock Stuff, Shameless Promotion, Television

Metallica’s Reputation Vindicated By Their Live Show

Metallica

Metallica

LIVE: Metallica
October 26, 2009
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, Ontario

It’s been 13 years since the haircuts and the “alternative” Load album, nine years since Lars Ulrich versus Napster and five since the group therapy of the Some Kind Of Monster documentary.

That’s a long time for the biggest and baddest band in the heavy metal world to be lost in the wilderness, but if Monday night’s show at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre is any indication, Metallica have once again found their way.

It probably helped that Metallica brought Lamb Of God as openers to keep them honest. The youngsters (at least comparatively) nipping at their heels were a double-kick drum, extreme metal hit for all the under-25 shaved-headed bros in the sold out ACC. To these older school ears, there wasn’t enough “song” to match the band’s relentless metal-ness, but anyone in the frothing circle pit that formed at the one end of the arena floor no doubt thought otherwise.

Metallica started their set in almost complete darkness with a new song from the Death Magnetic album, “That Was Just Your Life,” content to let a slashing laser show cutting across the band’s massive blue line-to-blue line stage setup be the main draw.

“The End Of The Line,” another new song, was next. Singer/guitarist James Hetfield would bound from one corner of the massive stage to the next, making each successive pocket of fans he faced go crazy. However, it wasn’t until the third song, “Ride The Lightning,” when the thrash legends’ return to form truly showed itself in the 36,000 thousand raised fists pumping furiously along.

Ulrich may get maligned as bourgeois whiner who’s lost touch with his common fanbase, but you’d never know it by the brave soul in the front row who held up their handmade “LARS” sign through every mosh or jostle. Or the multi-dozen air drummers that could be seen hammering away in each and every section of the building during any given song.

Likewise, when a mere flick of his hand in their direction would send the crowd roaring, it was pretty certain that nobody cared about guitarist Kirk Hammett’s emo breakdown about there not being enough solos in latter Metallica songs.

For his part, bassist Robert Trujillo, couldn’t do much wrong. He’ll probably always get a free pass from me for being in Suicidal Tendencies, but whenever he crossed paths with Hetfield and the two would fist-bump (known around here as the “swine flu handshake”), or when he stomped across the stage during a pounding “Sad But True,” he gave every impression of utter badassery.

Hetfield still has all the menacing posing down pat, but what was probably most interesting from him were the two separate between-song speeches stressing the importance of the “live” Metallica experience and how if you attend a Metallica show you’ve joined “the family.”

The subtext screamed “we’ve given up on worrying about the internet and album sales,” but when a spontaneous hugfest broke out amongst a 100-or-so pit thrashers at the end of “Master Of Puppets” it would be impossible to deny that at that very second the family tree made up of brothers-from-other-mothers in the ACC was virtually unravelable.

Some of the older material could have been played better: “One” was a touch pandering in its crowd singalong-ness and the ACC crowd weren’t quite able to keep up with a sped up “Enter Sandman.” At least a punky “Fight Fire With Fire” made up for its imperfect delivery with spirit.

“Nothing Else Matters,” meanwhile, may have turned into something of a signature song — at least for Hetfield. He started the track perched on a stool and by the end of it was on his knees rolling around the stage. It’s not like he’s a passionless performer, but there was a certain newfound vulnerability in the delivery that made it something greater.

Metallica took a short pause before launching into their encore set with the Queen cover “Stone Cold Crazy.” Hetfield’s voice isn’t well suited to cribbing Freddie Mercury’s, so it made for an awkward couple minutes. Far better were the blistering renditions of Kill ‘Em All classics “Whiplash” and an all-in, house lights-up burn through “Seek & Destroy” that featured dozens of black beach balls released from the rafters.

The new songs occasionally failed (“Cyanide,” “All Nightmare Long”) and turning their bigger hits into pop singalongs was vaguely annoying, but when it came down to it, Metallica delivered a solidly heavy show, which is the only thing metal fans have wanted from them in the first place. Now that they’re delivering, we can all be a happy Metallica family once again.

Here’s Metallica’s set list:

“That Was Just Your Life”
“The End Of The Line”
“Ride The Lightning”
“The Memory Remains”
“Fade To Black”
“Broken, Beat And Scarred”
“Cyanide”
“Sad But True”
“One”
“All Nightmare Long”
“The Day That Never Comes”
“Master Of Puppets”
“Fight Fire With Fire”
“Nothing Else Matters”
“Enter Sandman”

Encore:
“Stone Cold Crazy” (Queen cover)
“Whiplash”
“Seek & Destroy”

This review was originally published October 27, 2009 via Chart Communications.

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Filed under Concerts, Music

Ditch TV: Kanye Wisdom, Thirst Traps, Parkour Fails

Parkour Fail

Parkour Fail

It’s a shame Ditch TV is RIP because this one batch of videos I curated for them was on fire.

Check them:

What is a Thirst Trap?

15 Rap Illuminati Conspiracy Theories

Intro to Patti Smith

Jack Black Chews Some Scenery

The Wisdom of Kanye West

Mickey Avalon: Hustler Hall of Fame

Amoeba: What’s in These Stars’ Bags?

15 of the Greatest Fails Ever

The B-52’s Rock Your Lobster

11 Wicked Parkour Fails

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Filed under Comedy, Culture, Music, Shameless Promotion

Kieran Tamondong’s Breakout Year

Kieran Tamondong

Kieran Tamondong

One of the athletes that Sarah’s benefactors at Asian World Of Martial Arts sponsors is teenage breakout star Kieran Tamondong.

Tamondong did a pile of high-profile things in 2016, but there’s probably no better indicator that he’s on his way than the fact that he was in a Beyonce video.

Sarah recapped his year for AWMA.

To read the story click here.

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Karate’s Big Comeback

Van Zant vs. Waterson

Van Zant vs. Waterson

After Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson’s victory over Paige VanZant in December, it became increasingly clear that karate is making a comeback as one of the go-to skills needed to compete in mixed martial arts.

Sarah wrote about this in a blog post for Asian World Of Martial Arts.

To read the story click here.

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When Tito And Chael Fight Does Anyone Win?

Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen

When Tito Ortiz beat Chael Sonnen recently in their match at Bellator 170 it was billed as the retirement fight for the MMA pioneer Ortiz.

Throughout their careers both were bigger-than-life personalities whose in-ring successes were matched by out-of-the-ring trash talk and razzle dazzle.

Now, though, as both of them age out of elite competition, the prospect of a fight between the two is more sad than it is intriguing.

Sarah wrote about this for Fightland.

To read it click here.

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There Are People Who Really Don’t Like MMA

Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan

There are a lot of people who really don’t like mixed martial arts.

These people often aren’t shy about letting their opinions about the sport well known.

Sarah gathered a number of these opinions together for a piece called “A Brief History Of Outsiders Insulting MMA.”

To read it head over to Fightland by clicking here.

 

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Filed under Jock Stuff, Politics, Shameless Promotion