Recent Posts in pictures
February 27, 2015
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Sleater-Kinney @ T5 - 2/26/15
Sleater-Kinney kicked off their reunion tour in Washington earlier this month, and last night (2/26) they finally made their triumphant return to NYC. It was their first of two sold-out Terminal 5 shows and first time playing here since Webster Hall in 2006. And "sold out" is no understatement. This place was packed, maybe oversold. They probably could've added a third night and sold that out too. It makes sense for a lot of reasons: Sleater-Kinney are a beloved band, they've been gone for way too long, their old songs still sound great today, and they still have every bit of what made them special in the first place. But that's true for a lot of reunited bands, of which there seem to be more of each day. What Sleater-Kinney have that American Football, or The Blood Brothers, or even The Replacements don't, is new songs. A whole album's worth. Almost half the set was new songs, and they weren't these flimsy reunion tunes that had the crowd wishing for old favorites -- the new material rivals their best work.
The only downside was that Terminal 5 is a less-than-ideal place to see Sleater-Kinney. They still play like a punk band, relying more on their own personal power than the kind of extravagant stage show that can suit a venue that big. But even while I was wishing they would be turned up three times as loud, you couldn't deny that they were a total force. Corin Tucker's voice was piercing, overpowering everything else in the room at almost any given moment. And the band members' interplay on stage was fucking electric. Carrie Brownstein with her rock star moves was the most fun to watch individually, but the way the three of them (four including new live member Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin) were constantly locked in and feeding off each other produced the kind of larger-than-life energy that only happens with a band this tightly knit. As great as Carrie and Janet Weiss's post-hiatus band Wild Flag was, there's something about having Corin, Carrie and Janet on stage at once that even the best side project can't replicate.
One of my personal favorite parts about the new album is, putting aside all the baggage that comes with a new Sleater-Kinney album in 2015, it's just a great guitar rock album. It's packed with almost as many riffs as a Led Zeppelin album, but they're not derived from blues, separating Sleater-Kinney from the masses of retro riffers. And seeing them shred away at those last night was the kind of thing that could melt Jack Black's face off. But as much as I think the new album is a big part of what makes this reunion so good, the most special moment of the night was the last two songs, two favorites from their initial run. I don't doubt that the crowd was singing along like this the whole show, but you could hear the entire room more than ever during the mostly drum-less penultimate song, "Modern Girl." It was one of those moments where you could actually hear the awe in the voices of the crowd. That led into the final song of the night, and the band's most wild performance, "Dig Me Out." It's the first song on the first album with the lineup of Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss (they didn't play anything from the first two albums without Janet), and probably the first song many people ever heard from that trio. 18 years later, they still sound passionate playing it.
Kicking the night off was Minneapolis rapper Lizzo, who knew how to keep a packed house entertained, and whose short speech on gender and racial equality was met with huge cheers from the crowd. Before she came on, her DJ kept the crowd hyped with a set of The Runways' "Cherry Bomb," Le Tigre's "Deceptacon," Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl" and more.
Sleater-Kinney and Lizzo do it again at T5 tonight, which is also sold out. Ahead of last night's show, S-K also played "Price Tag" on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Watch the video of that, with more pictures and their setlist from T5, below...
February 26, 2015
Swami John Reis & Blind Shake @ Saint Vitus, 2/25/2015
On tour from Minneapolis, a city with a rich surfing tradition, Minneapolis' The Blind Shake played St Vitus last night (2/25) with John Reis (RFTC, Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu, the Sultans, Pitchfork, etc) who recorded an album called Modern Surf Classics with the band last year and is on tour with them. Pictures from the show are in this post.
They blasted an hour's worth of blistering surf rock at the packed crowd. The band consists of three guitars, a sax, and drummer. No bass, no vocals, just serious riffs and a rolling drumbeat. Reis introduced a few of the songs with their origin stories, one of them called "Kooks on the Face". He told about being in Hawaii on tour with a band. They were on a beach without a change of clothes, so they stripped down to their underwear and were "frolicking " in the waves. Some kids were bodysurfing on plastic food trays from a restaurant, and as they rode in, one kid asked another if he wanted to go back out to catch another wave. The kid looked at the almost naked band and replied, "naw, there's too many kooks on the face." Reis announced, "that was us, we were the Kooks on the Face."
Tonight (2/26), they play an early show at Mercury Lounge (tickets), again with The So So Glos who opened at Vitus. They play D.C. on Friday and Philadelphia on Saturday. The Blind Shake will will also be heading to Austin for SXSW again (maybe you caught them there last year?).
More pictures from the Brooklyn show below...
photos by Greg Cristman
1349 / Origin @ Gramercy Theatre - 2/23/15
The half black metal, half death metal tour of 1349 & Wolvhammer and Origin & Abysmal Dawn, respectively, rolled into NYC on Monday (2/23) at Gramercy Theatre. The crowd seemed biggest for Origin, and the mosh pits were the craziest during their set and Abysmal Dawn's. At one point during Origin's set, the singer lined up a wall of death, pitting the black metal fans on one side against the death metal fans on the other.
If you went, what did you think? Which side of the wall of death were you on? More pictures below...
February 25, 2015
photos by Amanda Hatfield
"Still blown away by the 1-2 punch of Port St. Willow and The Twilight Sad last night. Intense." - Jared Dionne
The Twilight Sad @ Baby's All Right, 2/24/2015
Scotland's The Twilight Sad came to Baby's All Right on Tuesday night (2/25) as part of their current North American tour with Port St. Willow. The Twilight Sad brought the energy, which came in no small part from lead vocalist James Graham who gesticulated emphatically over the cheering pack of fans crowding the front of the stage. Pictures, setlist and video of "I Became a Prostitute" from the show are in this post.
Port St. Willow, meanwhile, are rolling with some new members -- including a horn/keyboard player -- who really filled out Nicholas Principe's songs, and the band sounded huge at Baby's. Pictures of their set, plus more of The Twilight Sad, below...
February 23, 2015
photos by Greg Cristman
Hull at their final show
"Did we finally sell out a show after eleven years?" asked guitarist Nick Palmirotto from the stage. "I'm gonna fucking cry."Beloved Brooklyn sludge band Hull has now officially called it quits, but went out with a bang at their sold-out final show at Coco 66 on Saturday (2/21). The review quoted above is full of praise, and we couldn't agree more. It's sad to see them go, but they were great as ever on Saturday, and so were all three openers: Elder, Wizard Rifle and Cleanteeth. More pictures of all the bands, and setlists, below...
Snow, slush, and wintry rain couldn't keep a throng of metalheads from packing the house at CoCo 66 Saturday night to bid farewell to Hull. The progressive sludge band has been a staple of the Brooklyn metal scene for the past eleven years but have decided to disband as life takes each member in new directions.
...The band played a deliberately unhurried, two-hour set, pausing between songs to thank individuals in the audience for being part of Hull's history. (During one break, someone in the audience grabbed a mic to say, "You guys have been up here thanking everyone, and I think everyone should thank you guys.") The set featured tunes from the full catalog, stretching back to the epic one-song Viking Funeral LP from 2007. Sound guru Sean Ray of Stray Audio was on deck, mixing and recording the gig in addition to lending extra equipment to the band to ensure optimal sound, and the results were appreciable. About midway through, the third founding guitarist Drew Mack, who left the band in 2012, stepped onstage to revive the triple-ax attack of the original lineup. [Village Voice]
photos by Mimi Hong, words by Andrew Sacher
You Blew It! @ The Studio at Webster Hall - 2/20/2015
'90s-style emo revivalists You Blew It! brought their current tour in support of their new Pioneer of Nothing EP on Jade Tree to NYC over the weekend, hitting The Studio at Webster Hall (2/20) with tourmates Tiny Moving Parts, Sorority Noise and Rozwell Kid. I missed the openers (but caught TMP and Sorority Noise last time they played Webster together), but did show up just in time for You Blew It!, who I'd still never managed to catch before despite many recent chances.
The place wasn't 100% sold out, but it was really close, and the packed crowd was definitely loving every second of their set. If your criticism of a "revival" band like You Blew It! is that they don't bring enough new to the table, one thing you can't deny is that they bring a genuine energy to the live shows for the kids who weren't around to catch Braid and Cap'n Jazz in their prime. Or Weezer for that matter, whose "My Name Is Jonas" You Blew It! covered to end their set.
Our photographer did catch every band, and more pictures from the whole show continue below...
February 20, 2015
photos by David Andrako
Helado Negro @ thingNY @ Ecstatic Music Festival, 2/18/2015
It was a whimsical, theatrical night at the Ecstatic Music Festival on Wednesday (2/18) when Helado Negro (aka Roberto Carlos Lange) teamed with collective thingNY at Merkin Concert Hall. For his piece, "Brain Finger Composition," Lange conducted / controlled musicians via tethered yarn. Meanwhile, thingNY gave a preview of their upcoming opera "This takes place close by." Pictures from the night are in this post and you can listen to the concert over at WNYC.
You can also check out pics of EMF's 2/12 show with John Zorn and Taleo Ensemble. Next up at Ecstatic Music Festival: Julia Holter, Alex Temple & Spektral Quartet on Wednesday (2/25). Tickets are still available.
Helado Negro will hit the road later this year as an opener on Sufjan Stevens' tour, but he's not announced for Sufjan's NYC dates (no one else is either). More pics from his show with thingNY, below...
photos by David Andrako
John Zorn w/ Talea Ensemble @ Ecstatic Music Festival, 2/12/2015
A relatively short but satisfying and energizing immersion in Mr. Zorn's myriad styles, the evening was organized by the dazzling Talea Ensemble. The chronology ranged from "Hockey" to the premieres of two 2014 works and touched on jazz, electronics, wild and woolly Modernist sounds, Beethoven, Wagner, Debussy, Stravinsky, elegy and horror.Following a couple free shows last month at Brookfield Place, the 2015 edition of the Ecstatic Music Festival, which mixes pop with composers and avant garde musicians, kicked off properly last week (2/12) at the Kaufman Center's Merkin Concert Hall. The fest welcomed welcomed the great John Zorn on February 12 as part of an evening curated by the Talea Ensemble that also featured drummers Tyshawn Sorey and Ikue Mori. The evening included two of Zorn's "game" pieces, "Rugby" and "Hockey," the latter having John Zorn on saxophone.
Most stimulating was the sustained sensitivity of Mr. Zorn's instrumental writing. "The Prophetic Mysteries of Angels, Witches and Demons" (2007) for flute (Barry Crawford), amplified percussion (Matthew Gold and Mr. Lipowski) and ominous live electronics (Ikue Mori), joined a sinuous flute line to fanciful percussion effects, like the sound of writing and the slamming of a door. Hands rhythmically plopped in a tub of water; rustling white noise emerged from an old phonograph. -[NY Times]
Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2015 Ecstatic Music Festival. More pictures and the program listing from 2/12 performance are below....
photos by Greg Cristman
"Well, @sharonvanetten just killed it last night at Warsaw. What a gorgeous show." - Aoife O'Donovan
"Sharon Van Etten was fantastic! Magical voice and a lively stage presence!" - Ansh
"And to finish off the night..Sharon Van Etten. She gets me every time." - Erica Johnstone
"Sharon Van Etten from her 2nd Sold Out show at Brooklyn's Warsaw Ballroom. Such a fantastic show!" - Simon Clark
Sharon at Warsaw - 2/18/15
Sharon Van Etten brought her tour to Greenpoint's Warsaw for two sold-out shows this week, last night (2/19) and Wednesday (2/18). Both shows were great, with a good mix of her 2014 album and earlier material, and also a little bit of brand new stuff. At the second show, a man passed out about halfway through the set and Sharon stopped the show to check on him after he was carried out of the venue, but luckily he was okay. When she got back on stage, she thanked everyone at the venue, and before continuing her set said, "Now I'll continue playing sad songs knowing nothing sad is happening."
Opening both nights was Leon Bridges, who had a smooth New Orleans-style blues sound. He was backed by a saxist and two backing vocalists, who occasionally played percussion too. He also headlined a sold-out Mercury Lounge show on Tuesday (2/17) before the shows with SVE. Anyone catch that?
More pictures from Wednesday's Warsaw show, and Sharon and Leon's setlists from that night, below...
photos by Mathieu Bredeau
Helmet @ Bowery Ballroom - 2/18/15
"That album was the sound of us being obscure and weird," he says. "And one thing I've found from doing these Betty shows is it's also a difficult album to play live. A song like 'Sam Hell,' where it's just me alone, and I'm essentially playing this blues groove and singing? That was nerve-racking at first. But it's been a great challenge, and apparently the music means something to people. So I'm happy to do it." [Page Hamilton talking to Rolling Stone]NYC alt-metal vets Helmet are currently on tour playing their boundary-pushing third album, Betty, in full for its twentieth anniversary. The quote above is from singer Page Hamilton's interview with Rolling Stone, where he also included a retrospective track-by-track breakdown of the album. The tour began in Helmet's hometown with a sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday (2/18). They opened by playing the album in full, and then followed it with 16 more songs from throughout their career.
The tour comes back to NYC on Saturday (2/21) at Bowery Ballroom and Sunday (2/22) at Saint Vitus, which are both also sold out. More pictures and the full setlist from Wednesday's show, below...