Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

DVD: Kelly Osbourne ~ Live In London

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: alt rock, punk rock
Label: Sanctuary Records
Year: 2004
Home: Los Angeles, California

Concert location: The Electric Ballroom, London, England
Year Recorded: 2003
Length: 53 minutes
Bonus Features: "Changes" music video with Ozzy Osbourne, 15 minute soundcheck, 17 minute interview

Members: Kelly Osbourne ~ vocals
Mat Dauzat ~ lead guitar
Devin Bronson ~ rhythm guitar
Alicia Warrington ~ drums
Grog Prebble ~ bass

Guests: Aimee Osbourne, Har Mar Superstar ~ b. vocals


One either wants the children of musicians to& fail - to prove that talent isn't inherited - or to succeed - inaugurating a new generation of talent with a familiar name. The fact that the results are mixed puts neither side in the lead. Famed daughter of the Prince Of Darkness/ex-Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy, Kelly Osbourne undoubtedly knows that she probably wouldn't have a singing career if its wasn't for her famous headbanging father & the surprise runaway success of their reality TV show ... though many have forgotten that dad was on the verge of retirement when TV did wonders for his career, too. Osbourne is a competent singer for the punk music she's largely surrounded herself with. It's a wise decision as punk music has never been about vocal acrobatics. She's not aiming for any greatest singer awards & isn't egotistical enough to push too far & try & inevitably embarrass herself on stage, which more than one musician has done when the accolades of fans exceeded abilities. The point of her music is the expression of teenage angst, plain & simple. It's not about making some grand statement beyond just having fun nor pushing musical boundaries. It's high energy music for a young crowd &, if nothing else, a musical souvenir of a TV star that's a statement all her own far away from her father's musical legacy. The result is that she neither embarrasses herself as a talentless child nor exceeds as a unique talent unto herself. One might even say that she plays it safe & thus gets a better response in the end. A similar musician in the same bind that immediately comes to mind is Lisa Marie Presley who can never touch her famous father but hasn't embarrassed anyone, including herself, either. But, it's also helped Osbourne that some rather average lyrics have been given some under-recognized above-average musical arrangements by at least one producer hidden in the shadows. She's not a studio creation but the session musicians around her definitely know their stuff and exactly what to do, when & where. But, Osbourne does follow her father's footsteps in her physical performance. Ozzy is not known as the greatest performer with his stilted clapping & jumping that only succeeds due to the enjoyment he seems to be having. Kelly is a competent singer but lumbers on stage like a band making their debut at a high school dance. She has no command of the stage & seems to be more in awe of the moment than anything, barely even getting into the music until the third song. Considering the punk rock of the band, which puts in an incredibly tight performance & is an under-rated part of the show as the attention is undoubtedly about one person, one would expect a wilder performance. Even the band keeps it calm, if not fairly tame, so as not to outshine the star. A few physical gyrations are sexless, listless & appear choreographed if not stolen from whatever MTV she watched earlier in the day. Sadly, the final song, Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach", ends up being a highlight of the show when Osbourne does a sexy little free form dance, letting her hair down an hour too late. She's joined in the dance by guest Har Mar Superstar - to the unknowing a ragged roadie but actually a pop singer known for performing in his underwear - in an odd little bit that she announces is based on the urgings of her sister Aimee, the Osbourne not seen in the TV show & thus less known to many except that her reputation is as the 'normal' one, who also joins in the fun. It's an obvious inside joke but Har Mar has a fun & makes the show what it showed have been, considering Osbourne should be aiming more for fun then the ill-fitting voice of a generation/teenage angst. Further, "Papa Don't Preach" is actually the best song of the night greatly outshining the originals. One can't help but wonder where Osbourne will go next. She's young enough to consider her last few releases the folly of sudden fame & not something with long term ambitions behind it. Osbourne's best musical outings have been one-off performances not full albums/shows where she's just not comfortable in keeping the energy going for extended lengths. The DVD also includes a multiple song low-fi soundcheck. It's a dull almost painful bonus to watch & forgets the fact that music buyers tend to prefer bootlegs of live concerts over studio demos, as with a sit down non-performance by Osbourne on one song it comes off as more of a demo than a rehearsal. Performers seem to forget that vocals change when when one performing, even partially performing, making them more vibrant & closer to the actual performance. Being a competent vocalist when she's performing it's painful to watch her nearly mumble through the rehearsal. But, to make up for the soundcheck doldrums is a lengthy pre-show private Q&A with Osbourne that covers her music & life in Britain & America. No, neither sides gets out alive in typical Osbourne fashion. It's an interesting talk but one walks away remembering that Osbourne is only 18. Her answers are much more intelligent than one might expect based on more than a few emotional episodes of The Osbournes but she's still very much a young woman discovering herself, her role in the world & what she wants out of it.

Track listing: Disconnected
Contradiction
On The Run
Shut Up
Right Here
I Wear My Sunglasses At Night
Too Much Of You
Come Dig Me Out
More Than Life Itself
Coolhead
On Your Own
Papa Don't Preach









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