Friday, June 22, 2012

It's a NHL Draft Night in Pittsburgh

View of Pittsburgh on Draft Eve
After all the celebration and fanfare, the 2012 NHL Entry draft is set to begin tonight at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Many of the sports finest young talents will descend on Pittsburgh tonight to find out what team they will be playing for in the near future.  Some of that talent is located close to home, with potential first-round pick Michael Houser raised in Wexford.  It is unlikely that Houser will be drafted by his childhood dream team Pittsburgh Penguins, as his position is that of goaltender.  Pens GM Ray Shero all but ruled out taking a goalie in the first round, stating "I don't think so...I don't think that's what we'd do."

In any case, the major news of the day is the likely departure of fan favorite Jordan Staal, who turned down a 10 year extension worth reportedly $60 million last night. Rumors are now circulating as to why he turned it down and his potential future.  Will he go to Carolina to be with his two brothers?  Or will he land in Toronto, near his hometown of Thunder Bay?  These answers could potentially be answered before tonight's draft begins, and the anticipation is very high.

Time to sound off.  In your opinion, what should the Penguins do?  Trade him right now, for some potential draft talent?  Or hold on to him the whole year for one more cup run?  Whatever happens, it will be front page NHL news.  Staal is set to be the second hottest unrestricted free agent behind Rick Nash next summer, so something is bound to occur.  Enjoy the draft.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Needles Pricks Pittsburgh and the Nation

Add yet another honor to the city of Pittsburgh. This time Pittsburgh has shown that it is not only the most livable city and the new trendiest city in America, but Yinzers can hang their hat on the fact that the 'Burgh is home to the winner of the most recent edition of RuPaul's Drag Race. Winner, Sharon Needles is a Bloomfield resident who has been seen as not only the winner of the popular TV show, but also as a symbol for Anti-Bullying and LGBT pride.

Needles was honored by the Pittsburgh City Council on June 12. Outside of the drag circle Needles is otherwise known as 30-year-old Aaron Coady. Needles has used her position throughout her life to push for LGBT rights. This has not come without risk as the fire department is currently investigating a suspicious fire at her residence and she has even thought of moving out of the city due to peoples’ unwillingness to be tolerant and hateful towards the way she lives.

Needles has brought another honor to the city of Pittsburgh further exemplifying Pittsburgh as a hip, modern city that is open and progressive. Congratulations to Sharon Needles on her accomplishments as she moves forward as a symbol for the LGBT community.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Concert Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers "I'm With You" tour made its way to the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on May 30 and they did not disappoint.  Although this was the first appearance by the Chili Peppers in the 'burgh since 2003 legendary bassist Flea made sure to remind the crowd of their history in the city going back to the days of playing Graffiti, "We've been coming here for 30 years now, and every time has been better than the last!"  Hearing from others this may indeed have been a true statement.  The buzz from friends and media it sounded as if the Chili Peppers weren't a great live band.  After hearing criticism and seeing a few live concerts on TV my expectations were a bit tempered going in, but this show was great.  Fellow Blast Furnace contributor Ben State who had seen them twice before believed this was the best that they have sounded as well.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers opened the show with "Monarchy of Roses" a hit single from 2011's "I'm With You" album.  The setlist consisted of hits from the majority of their popular albums from the 90's through 2011, the most being from 1991's classic "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" and their newest album "I'm With You."  Absent were songs from "One Hot Minute."  Personally I would have liked to hear a few more songs from one of my favorite albums "Californication," but the Chili Peppers covered most of their classics.  There were a couple of jam sessions mixed into the setlist as well, featuring Flea, new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, and Chad Smith on drums.  Flea was definitely the highlight of the show by displaying his slap and slide techniques which were incredible to watch and hear live.  Newest addition Josh Klinghoffer filled in admirably for the departed John Frusciante.  A few of the older songs you could tell Kinghoffer didn't have the same skill as Frusciante, but Frusciante is considered one of the all-time great guitarists making him difficult to duplicate.  Frontman Anthony Kiedis displayed his range and talents by making the smooth vocal transitions between rock, hip-hop, and funk; the sounds that made the Chili Peppers a legendary band.  The show lasted approximately two hours and the band played almost non-stop without much chatter or interaction with the audience. 

The Consol Energy Center has hosted several legendary musical acts in its first two years of existence and the Red Hot Chili Peppers delighted the sold-out crowd.  Being a teenager in the 90's, the Chili Peppers were one of those bands that you just had to see and they certainly lived up to their Hall of Fame status on this night.