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Genesis turns it on again at Mellon Arena 


I'd imagined that Genesis would be a show I'd see and not confess to anyone; I certainly wouldn't be able to find anyone who wanted to go. Boy, was I wrong. There's a lot of closet fans out there, like Black Tie Revue bassist Matt Hanzes, who ended up ringside at Mellon Arena with me for the marathon concert. Just as you'd expect, these veteran prog-entertainers delivered great sound, slick stage design and almost-tasteful video projections.

The band dug deep with medleys of older material and long instrumental passages, bolstered by mega-hits ("Land of Confusion"), extended workouts (a killer "Home by the Sea") and, as Hanzes aptly put it, "serious baby-making music." Apart from some overly melismatic codas, Phil Collins' vocals were astonishingly good (is that kind of pitch accuracy even possible?). But the real surprise of the evening was the large number of sweet young things present ... balancing out the equally large number of men who looked exactly like Phil Collins (and who often also bore his likeness on their T-shirts).

It was a little surreal to see local emcee Wiz Khalifa's video in the top featured spot on MySpace the other day, but I guess that's what starts to happen right after you ink a deal with Warner Bros. The new single "Youngin' on His Grind," consists mostly of Wiz rapping about hustling and how important money is, over a dreary synth pattern -- I guess that's also what starts to happen when you sign. Wiz has always made a little world-weariness look good, but I dunno ... this single just doesn't seem to have the anthemic juice he routinely delivers, as he did on "Pittsburgh Sound" (now apparently retitled "All in My Blood"). But don't take my word for it: See for yourself at www.myspace.com/wizkhalifa.

Something else you might want to see -- though perhaps in private -- is the video for "Girls Kiss Girls," a goofy sexxx-jam by Pittsburgh Slim, a.k.a. Sied Chahrour. Formerly of local hip-hop group Strict Flow and now based in Los Angeles, Slim landed a deal with Def Jam at the end of August. It's pretty obvious why: The video's an unabashed cash-in, featuring a couple of hotties stripping for a Web-cam. But at least it has a sense of humor: Slim just beams his shit-eating grin and chants, "I like when girls kiss girls." To some, this is "lowest common denominator"; to everyone else, Slim's a mind-reader.

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