Recent Posts in pictures

May 2, 2015

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Sufjan Stevens @ Kings Theatre - 5/1/15
Sufjan Stevens

After playing NYC's Beacon Theatre back in early April, Sufjan Stevens brought his tour in support of his fantastic new album Carrie & Lowell to NYC last night (5/1) to begin a two-night stand at Brooklyn's recently-reopened Kings Theatre. After opening with the delicate instrumental "Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou" from 2003's Michigan, Sufjan proceeded to play 10 of Carrie & Lowell's 11 tracks all in a row, almost in the exact order as the album tracklist. He didn't talk at all during that section, and he and his backing band (including Dawn Landes, who's playing with him on this tour) kept things mostly as bare-bones as the album. After that part, he played a couple of his more recent songs that fit the stripped-down vibe of this show ("Futile Devices" from The Age of Adz and "The Owl and the Tanager" from All Delighted People), as well as a few Seven Swans cuts, before wrapping up the pre-encore set with Carrie & Lowell closer "Blue Bucket of Gold." Then he returned for an encore of all early-mid '00s songs, including set-closer "Chicago."

The Kings Theatre really was the perfect atmosphere for this kind of show, and both Sufjan and opener Naomi Shelton said on stage how good it was to be on Flatbush Ave. Sufjan ended up telling a story of living in the area and going by Cortelyou Carpets to take a picture of the sign every day.

Sufjan returns to Kings tonight (5/2) with Moses Sumney, which is sold out. More pictures from last night's show, and Sufjan's setlist and a couple videos, below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens began his Kings Theatre run (pics & setlist of night 1 w/ Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens)"

photos by PSquared; words by Bill Pearis

Blur @ MHOW 5/1/2015

Blur played Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday (5/1), a free surprise show sponsored by Converse Rubber Tracks which marked a number of firsts: it was Blur's first live show since the release of their new album The Magic Whip, their first NYC show since 2003 and their first in even longer with guitarist Graham Coxon back in tow. (It was also the first time this writer had seen them since The Supper Club in 1997.) Along with frontman Damon Albarn, drummer Dave Rowntree and bassist Alex James, Blur were augmented by a chorus, extra percussionist and keyboardist. Pictures, video and setlist from the show are in this post.

Damon Albarn was in a very good mood the whole time, sporting a mischievous grin for most of it, and spent a lot of time trying to crack up guitarist Graham Coxon when not continuously dousing the audience with water. Like in London in March, Blur played almost all of The Magic Whip, in order, and it all sounded pretty great. You do notice live the fast song / slow song / repeat nature of the record but that was alright. Especially good: the very Blur-esque opener "Lonesome Street," thoughtful "There Are to Many Of Us," the '70s funk lite of "Ghost Ship" and sing-a-long "Ong Ong" (which they played on The Tonight Show.) The best part for me was watching Graham Coxon, still an amazingly inventive guitarist, play. At one point he either pushed up his glasses or scratched his face with his knee while still playing guitar. It seems impossible now that they existed those years without him. The only Magic Whip song they didn't play was Gorilaz-esque "Ice Cream Man," and when an audience member shouted for it, Damon said "If you'll have us back, we promise to play it next time."

Blur came back for a three song encore, doing "Beetlebum," Parklife deep cut "Trouble in the Message Center," and then, because it's America, "Song 2" which basically sent Music Hall into hysterics. Great show. As for the line, it was long but folks were behaved and from what I could tell, it seemed like everyone got in. They made you print out your tickets (no mobile apps) which sent some people in search of an internet cafe, but they weren't checking IDs against tickets and once they opened doors the line moved quick. The only craziness was people trying to get the very nice free show posters after the gig, which was a bit like Black Friday at Toys R Us.

Opener Honduras, who were chosen after being involved in the Converse Rubber Tracks program (which provides bands with recording time at Brooklyn's Rubber Tracks studio), really lucked out with a packed captive audience. They did pretty well with their vaguely Brit-pop-meets-Strokes guitar pop. They actually play MHOW again tonight, opening for Twin Peaks. Pictures from their set, and lots more from Blur, below...

Continue reading "Blur played 'The Magic Whip' and more at first NYC show in over 10 years (pics, video, setlist, review)"

May 1, 2015

photos by Gretchen Robinette

Fat White Family

UK scuzz-psych band Fat White Family brought their current tour to NYC last night (4/30) for a show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The gap-toothed Saul Adamczewski was not with the band for this show, and his presence was missed even as he loomed over everyone (as in, a giant photograph of him was projected onto the screen behind the band). Even without him (and without bassist Joe Pancucci) though, the band still sounded great and we got all the usual highlights -- "Auto Neutron," "Is It Raining In Your Mouth?," "Cream of The Young," "Touch the Leather" and more. They were maybe a bit more tame than past shows (the only nudity this time was singer Lias Saoudi performing shirtless), but a great show nonetheless.

Opening was Sun Club and Roya. More pictures below...

Continue reading "Fat White Family played MHOW w/ Sun Club & Roya (pics)"

photos by Greg Cristman

Six Organs at Baby's All Right - 4/30/15
Six Organs of Admittance

Last night, when Chasny took the stage at Baby's All Right, he spread his wings further than I ever could've expected. There wasn't a second that went by that had him standing still. He'd walk, but more like float, across the stage to the other members of the band, wailing on his guitar, pulling on his strings, wincing at his drummer to play louder, harder and faster.

There was no acoustic guitar in sight. The sound that once had me traveling to the vast wasteland of sand and heat had been mangled and transformed into a sound that had me gazing into the center of an exploding sun. [DMNDR]

Six Organs of Admittance, the experimental rock band led by Ben Chasny, brought their tour in support of this year's Hexadic (out now on Drag City) to NYC last night (4/30) for a show at Baby's All Right. As the review above points out, Six Organs played an electric full-band set, and they really were quite the sight on stage. Opening the show was Ben's past collaborator and labelmate Elisa Ambrogio (of noise trio Magik Markers), who was joined by Ben and Six Organs' drummer for a few songs.

Pictures of both sets are in this post and continue below...

Continue reading "Six Organs of Admittance & Elisa Ambrogio @ Baby's (pics)"

April 30, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

The Replacements in Chicago - 4/29/15
The Replacements

Make no mistake, by most standards the show was a bit of a mess, full of missed cues, flubbed lines and plenty of fooling around. Westerberg conspicuously avoided nearly all of his most heartfelt ballads, and he and the band gleefully sabotaged some of their most popular tracks, kicking "I Will Dare" into double time or tacking on a taste of the bubblegum ditty "My Boy Lollipop" to the end of an otherwise blazing "Bastards of Young." The airtight "Left of the Dial" and heavy "The Ledge" were balanced by loose renditions of lighter fare like "Waitress in the Sky" and "Kiss Me on the Bus," all to the band's mischievous delight. A new song, "Whole Foods Blues," was as much a goof as a truncated T. Rex medley.

Yet if Westerberg and Stinson didn't want to be doing this, they clearly wouldn't. Anchored by unflappable session drummer Josh Freese and enabled by guitarist Dave Minehan, the pair were having a blast, every indulgence and detour tempered by the fact that they were still singing and playing their hearts out. Yes, you can repeat the past, and farce trumps tragedy every time. [Chicago Tribune]

The Replacements are currently on a US tour, which kicked off in Seattle, hit the ongoing 'Converse Rubber Tracks Live Boston' series with Dinosaur Jr on Monday (4/27), and began a two-night stand at Chicago's Riviera Theatre last night (4/29). We caught the Chicago show, and pictures of that one are in this post.

We got tons of favorites at the show, including "Alex Chilton," "Bastards of Young," "Can't Hardly Wait," "I Will Dare," "Kiss Me on the Buss," "Color Me Impressed," and so many more, a few covers, and the new song they've been playing on this tour, "Whole Foods Blues." Opening was Chicago's hometown heroes The Smoking Popes, making for a great double bill of veteran alternative rock. Both bands do it at the Riv again tonight. Replacements' full setlist and a video of the new song at last night's show, below.

The Replacement's tour continues, and though it never comes to NYC, it will be sorta close on May 9 at Philly's Festival Pier which is another double bill of veteran alternative rock with Superchunk playing as well. Rootsy rockers J. Roddy Walston & the Business open as well. Tickets are still available. All remaining Replacements dates are listed below.

Paul Westerberg has apparently also been wearing shirts on this tour with different letters on the front and back that are in the process of spelling a sentence. So far the front says "I HAVE ALW..." and the back says "NOW I MUST..." What could it be?

There's also more shows in Converse's above-mentioned series of free Boston shows with Chance the Rapper / Action Bronson tonight (4/30) and Descendents on Friday (5/1).

More pictures from Chicago, Replacements' setlist, video, and tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Replacements on tour, played Rubber Tracks Boston show, Chicago w/ Smoking Popes (pics, setlist, video of new song)"

April 29, 2015

photos by Tim Griffin

The Who @ Frank Erwin Cener - 4/27/15
The Who & Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Frank Erwin Center - 4/27/2015

Townshend was on, beginning with his windmill-accented guitar mandhandling on "The Seeker." He injected Live at Leeds prowess into "My Generation," and the palpable whiff of punk edging 1981's "You Better You Bet" ("our most recent hit," cracked Townshend) egged Daltrey to near vocal gnashing, and all without the apparent use of a teleprompter. The singer couldn't be reading the guitarist's original outpourings given that he often sings with his eyes closed. [Austin Chronicle]
The Who kicked off their 50th anniversary tour with support from Joan Jett earlier this month, and hit Austin this week for a show at the Frank Erwin Center. The review quoted above and the pictures in this post are from that show. Check out the hits-filled setlist, which included everything from "I Can't Explain" to "My Generation" to "Pinball Wizard" to "Bargain" to "Love, Reign O'er Me" and plenty more, below. Joan's setlist, also including hits like "Bad Reputation," "Cherry Bomb," "I Hate Myself for Loving" and more, is below as well.

The tour hits the NYC-area on May 20 at Nassau Coliseum, May 26 at Barclays Center, May 30 at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, October 25 at Prudential Center and October 27 at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for all five shows are still available. Forest Hills tix here, and tix for the other four here.

Updated tour dates are listed, with more pictures and setlists, below...

Continue reading "The Who on tour w/ Joan Jett, played Austin's Frank Erwin Center (pics, setlists, updated dates)"

photos by Greg Cristman

John Lydon @ Saint Vitus 4/28/2015
John Lydon

With so much trash talking, it's hard to know when to take Lydon seriously (could his theory be true that one of Sid Vicious's drug debtors planted a knife on him and framed him for the killing of Nancy Spungen?). He cheekily acknowledged this as he kicked off last night's talk: "There's so many easy ways to get into music and just do it for the money and tell a load of fucking lies and be a wanker tosser," he said. "I like my route: right from day one I knew that (cuz I love my mom and dad very, very much and they always knew I wouldn't lie) I'm not going to lie to anybody. They've both sadly passed away and I'm going to carry on the good and honest tradition of not getting caught lying." - [Bedford & Bowery]
Though he's got a reputation for being a difficult interview subject, John Lydon was in an extremely good and jocular mood at Saint Vitus on Tuesday night (4/28) -- self deprecating even -- for a release event for his new memoir, Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored. He talked with Pitchfork's Jenn Pelly about the book and other subjects, and even signed copies of the book. The Sex Pistols and PiL frontman still had room for a few bilious invectives (aimed at various institutions, religions of all kinds, Jah Wobble, Siouxsie Sioux, Green Day) but in general had the crowd laughing and enjoyed himself. Pictures from last night's Q&A and signing are in this post.

Lydon will do another Q&A / signing at The Strand on Thursday (4/30) where he'll talk with Buzzfeed Books editor and Pen & Ink co-founder Isaac Fitzgerald. You need to buy a copy of the book to attend. More pictures from Saint Vitus, below...

Continue reading "John Lydon talked about his new memoir at Saint Vitus (pics), will do it again at The Strand on Thursday"

photos by Carly Hoskins

Lucius @ MHOW 4/27/2015

Brooklyn's Lucius brought their colorful co-fronted pop to Music Hall of Williamsburg on Monday for a free show with alt-pop outift Field Mouse. Pictures and live video from the show are in this post. The night served as a kickoff for Lucius' tour dates this summer, which include stints with both The Decemberists and My Morning Jacket. Luciusl next play NYC  on June 13 in Prospect Park with Luke Temple, which is a free show part of Celebrate Brooklyn's just-announced 2015 season.

Field Mouse are also heading out on tour this summer on supporting runs with Hop Along and mewithoutYou, the latter of which hits Bowery Ballroom on July 17 and tickets are still available.

Check out more pictures from Monday's show, a video of Lucius playing "How Loud Your Heart Gets" on Monday and a tour video from Field Mouse's recent run with Kevin Devine and Dads below...

Continue reading "Lucius played MHOW w/ Field Mouse (pics, video), playing free Celebrate Brooklyn! show w/ Luke Temple in June (dates)"

April 28, 2015

photos by Chris La Putt; words by Bill Pearis

Max Silvestri, Gabe Liedman, Jenny Slate @ Warsaw 4/26/2015
Big Terrific

Big Terrific, the free weekly NYC comedy series, came to an end after seven years with two big ticketed shows at Warsaw on Sunday night (4/26). Original hosts Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman (both of whom live in LA these days) and Max Silvestri were on hand and Greg Johnson and Joe Mande were also there for both shows, delivering very funny sets. Pictures from the early show are in this post.

The late show, which I went to, also featured an appearance from Hannibal Buress (who also appeared at BT's final free show at Cameo earlier in that week). Jenny, Gabe and Max have come a long ways since Big Terrific's beginnings in the back of Sound Fix and all three's sets were, um, terrific -- though a late start meant Jenny's closing set didn't start till 12:30 and I think a lot of people were checked out (mentally if not physically) by that point. At the end, it was a quick goodbye without a lot of sentimentalizing, which was ok. We did get a reprise of Gabe and Jenny's collaborative impersonation of "Kelsey Grammer in line for craft services" which was welcome. They've done this one-joke bit (he farts a lot!) many times but it remains funny.

More pics from the early show of Big Terrific's Warsaw send-off, below...

Continue reading "Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman, Max Silvestri, Joe Mande, and Greg Johnson said goodbye to Big Terrific at Warsaw (pics)"

April 27, 2015

photos by Mimi Hong

Into It. Over It. at Brooklyn Night Bazaar - 4/25/15
Into It. Over It

One of Evan Weiss's many bands, Into It. Over It., brought their tour to NYC this past Saturday (4/25) for a free show at Brooklyn Night Bazaar with math rock trio Tiny Moving Parts, as well as Major League, Collect Yourself and Safety (who we missed). Coming on around midnight, Evan opened the set solo with "Anchor," and the rest of the set included a good mix of their albums (Intersections, Twelve Towns, etc.) as well as a new song.

More pictures of Into It. Over It. and Tiny Moving Parts, and IIOI's setlist, below...

Continue reading "Into It. Over It. & Tiny Moving Parts @ BK Bazaar (pics, setlist)"