826NYC put on another great benefit show last night (Aug 26, 2007) at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. As usual, it starred a cast of top-notch (or at least popular) indie-rock & comedy superheroes (pun intended). The show started at 7pm, but thanks to underestimating how long it takes to get from Brooklyn to 74th Street & Broadway in Manhattan on a Sunday, I was a little late. When I walked in, The New Pornographers' A.C. Newman was almost finished with his set, and I'm told I missed a funny intro
that included a short song by Feist, Newman, and Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew. *
BV-reader-poll-favorite Demetri Martin was an able, and hilarious, host. He did stand-up between every performer, and the whole show ran surprisingly smoothly. On a whole, it beat my expectations. Not that last year was bad - it just seemed like a big jumble of performers and a recipe for disaster.
Eugene, Britt, Feist, Ed, Jim, Sarah
Grizzly Bear came up next, and though they only played six songs, it was my favorite performance I've seen by the Brooklyn band (I've seen a few).
Feist came out for one song, and GB played "Marla" live for the first time. Set list:
1. Shift (off Horn of Plenty)Grizzly Bear's sound was made for the Beacon Theatre (or vice versa or something like that). They sounded so good from the orchestra where I was sitting.
3. Deep Blue Sea (an oldtime cover they play live a lot)
4. Marla (first time ever live) (MP3 & info)
5. Service Bell (off Horn of Plenty) (w/ Feist)
6. Graceland (Chris Bear & Dan only) (Paul Simon cover)
Next up was My Morning Jacket's Jim James, and some say he stole the show. It's true that he probably should have played last. Alternating between guitars and that electric-thingee (with drum beats), he played a bunch of My Morning Jacket songs I recognized (set list anyone?) - all sounded awesome. You can tell that he's the frontman of band who soon-enough will - and is well-suited to - be headlining stadiums across America (if MMJ haven't already).
Leo Allen (not pictured), Demetri Martin, Eugene Mirman and Sarah Vowell educated us on 826NYC a bit - in the form of comedy. They also showed a few movie previews made by 826NYC students. Remember, this was a benefit.
Then she played "The Water" on the piano...
Then came her boyfriend Kevin Drew and his friend Brendan Canning - the two founding members of Broken Social Scene. They played two BSS songs (or one Kevin Drew song, and one BBS song). It wasn't that good.
They're in town to play (along with Feist and Grizzly Bear) McCarren Pool on Wedneseday August 29th.
Next up: Britt Daniel of Spoon. I saw him with Spoon recently, and he (alone) was good again...
He did one song alone, a few accompanied by someone on piano, and one with A.C. Newman....
At the end everyone came out on stage to say goodbye. As Demetri Martin pointed out, it was like 'We are the World', but without a song.
Last year David Byrne & Sufjan Stevens played.
* see comments - person who told me about the intro was "kidding"