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U2 at Madison Square Garden, 30 July 2015

30 July 2015 11:46 PM, PDT

I finally did it: I saw U2 in concert.

I may have waited too long to catch the band in its prime, but its 37 years of experience -- without a personnel change -- and undiluted passion have made it one of the biggest concert draws for decades now, even if recent albums have been uneven in inspiration.

The current tour, with Thursday night being the next-to-last of eight shows at Madison Square Garden, is promoting last year's Songs of Innocence, which I mostly like. It figured that the annoying album opener, "The Miracle of Joey Ramone" (I wrote that it "panders like a commercial") would also be the concert opener (unless you want to give that honor to Patti Smith's recording "People Have the Power," which at all those shows is the song the quartet has walked on to, coming through the audience and climbing onstage). But then, pandering »

- SteveHoltje

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At Lincoln Center: Pedro Costa and His War on Narrative Film

29 July 2015 8:56 PM, PDT

In 1997, Pedro Costa (above), at the age of 38, began a trilogy exploring Portugal's impoverished, an undertaking that would continuously draw raves from the more erudite critics around the world. First came Ossos, which was pursued by In Vanda's Room (2000) and Colossal Youth (2006). These films, often showcasing the same characters, are sublimely visual, meditative masterworks that paint within shadows the seemingly plotless lives of the drug-addled inhabitants of a ghetto that is slowly being dismantled.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center last week had a retrospective of these early works plus other tidbits of Costa's oeuvre, a sort of celluloid foreplay leading to the release of Costa's latest effort,  Horse Money. The accompanying press release for this tribute notes that "Costa is now widely regarded as one of the most important artists on the international film scene," and the Film Society's Director of Programming, Dennis Lim, added, "Simply put, nobody makes »

- Brandon Judell

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Favorite Guitarists - The Baddest of the Bad, Top 5!

27 July 2015 9:50 AM, PDT

So over on our Facebook Culture Catch page I asked our fans to list their five favorite living guitarists. For me, they still must be recording and touring and challenging themselves on the fretboard today, not yesterday. Our managing editor crushed me for not including Jimmy Page, who I hail as an unparelled innovator once upon a time. Hey, Steve, they have to be active and playing out right now. When was the last time Jimmy dropped a cool riff or run of memorable notes in a new song for anyone? He's certainly still capable. Here are my five favorite string benders in no particular ranking:

Nels Cline

NY-based Nels slings some serious git-action with Wilco having recorded and toured with Tweedy since 2004, but also fronts several jazz duos and trios. I was lucky to see him jam with the Allman Brothers a few years ago at the Beacon Theater. »

- Dusty Wright

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