VHS or Beta

The Junkyard, March 24

The 7:30 p.m. start to their set in the hard-to-find downtown lot made VHS or Beta’s stellar show the most criminally under-attended of any band I saw that weekend. While the early start might have made sense had the venue not changed from the alley behind Beauty Bar (blame new zoning regulations), it did no favors to the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Louisville, Ky., dance-pop outfit. Nonetheless, VHS or Beta put on one of the better sets in Neon Reverb history. “Burn It All Down” might be five years old but it’s so likeable, it could still be a dance anthem. “Bring on the Comets” should be featured in any movie trailer that doesn’t want to use another Killers or Passion Pit song. “Alive” features the lyric, And we shout, shout, shout, shout, shout to kill the silence. This Neon Reverb featured too much silence and not enough shouting. We hope that all will be rectified for its next installment in September, where we’d welcome VHS or Beta’s return … with a later start time and a better venue. ★★★☆☆

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By now you’ve been bombarded with the pop-culture phenomenon that is The Hunger Games. Following the likes of Harry Potter and Twilight, the young-adult trilogy is traveling a well-trodden path toward ubiquity. Three books turn into four movies (pending box office success, of course); the first, called simply The Hunger Games, comes out on March 23. Its young cast finds insta-stardom, their soon-to-be-familiar faces plastered on tabloid covers, themed products and an elaborate social-media marketing scheme. It’s enough to inspire a backlash.

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