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M. Ward sings to the underground at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

hollywood forever cemetery masonic lodge

Photo by Lisa Brenner

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

There's nothing quite like a cemetery show to build an underground following, and M. Ward was digging deep on Thursday night when the songwriter haunted a sold out crowd at the Masonic Lodge located inside Hollywood Forever Cemetery. 

With hands that seem to be daring each other to do crazy things, the Ventura County native played his guitar like a full band throughout the thoughtfully sequenced set of new material and flashbacks.

A study in under-banter and comedic timing, the musician let his peculiar brand of sound and vision tell most of the stories with lyrics alternating between fantastical and heartbreaking, and a voice that cushions like thick mist.

"No recording allowed" was taken seriously by the exceedingly polite and respectful crowd that sat in orderly rows in complete silence waiting for the rock ritual to save them. Sometimes the un-Memorexed moments just mean more.

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Eddie Van Halen gifts guitars to LA schools

Van Halen Press Conference To Announce Their New Tour

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: David Lee Roth (L) recieves a kiss from guitar player Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen donated 75 brand-new electric guitars to a number of Los Angeles schools that had recently been singing the blues.

Tricia Steel of the non-profit Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation says the Van Halen lead-guitarist dontated instruments this week.

Meant to inspire music in local children, the rocker asked that the educational axes be used in classrooms, and not sold. As a result, dozens of newly empassioned rock prodigies are realizing that in time their band will be most triumphant, but will never be a super group unless they have Eddie Van Halen. 

The guitars were gifted to seven schools serving mostly low-income students. Some will be distributed to replace broken instruments and others to build music enrollment efforts. 

Administrators, advised to keep the shiny 6-strings under tight lock and key, were not told where the guitars came from until they arrived.

Van Halen announced a tour for 2012, and details about their first studio album in 14 years. A Different Kind of Truth, due for release February 7, will be  Van Halen's first original studio album with singer David Lee Roth since the Los Angeles band’s multi-platinum album "1984". 

The first single "Tattoo" was released on Tuesday. The tour kicks off February 18.  

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