Recent Posts in pictures
August 30, 2015
photos by Amanda Hatfield
La Luz @ Bowery Ballroom 8/29/2015
La Luz usually do a "Soul Train" at shows, dividing the crowd down the middle and have people dance their way down the middle towards the stage. For their biggest NYC show yet, Saturday night (8/29) headlining Bowery Ballroom, they tried to coordinate a "surf train," where fans crowd surfed their way to the stage. It was a little bit awkward -- this crowd was definitely more the dancing kind than crowdsurfers -- but a funny moment in a fun night. La Luz don't rock the boat with their traditional surf rock style, but they show how good it can still be, and it's hard not to dance (at least a little) at one of their shows. They are good.
The show also featured EZTV and La Luz's current tourmates and single-splitters, Scully. La Luz are still in NYC and are playing a surprise show tonight (8/30) at Silent Barn with Scully, BOYTOY and Will Sprott on the bill as well. $8 at the door.
Pictures from Scully and EZTV's Bowery Ballroom sets, plus more of La Luz, below...
August 29, 2015
by Andrew Sacher
The best thing we saw on Day 1 of the 2015 fest...
photo via BrooklynVegan Instagram
Riot Fest Denver kicked off yesterday (8/28) at its new location of the National Western Complex, which (as the mechanical bull and scent in the air reminded you) is usually home to rodeo shows. It's across five stages, one of which is indoors, and also offers carnival rides, Colorado-specific treats like Chronic Candy (though I was told that's only hemp) and more. Like most festivals, it had newer, buzzy bands who played great sets like Speedy Ortiz, Cayetana and The Hotelier, but for me at least, the real highlights were the masses of classic artists we got to see. (Unfortunately one of those, Motorhead, had to drop off at the last minute due to Lemmy's breathing issues. He cut a show short a day earlier in Salt Lake City for the same reason.)
There was a lot to love about Riot Fest Denver day 1, but here's five highlights:
THE GET UP KIDS: It's The Get Up Kids' 20th anniversary, and they don't seem shy about the fact that everyone's favorite songs were written in the '90s because that was mostly what we got. "Holiday," "Action and Action," "Valentine," "Red Letter Day," "Ten Minutes," "Don't Hate Me" and more were played from their classic period and it was a singalong the whole time. The Get Up Kids may have taken an extended period off from being a band, but you'd never know it at this point. They're super tight, they look like they're having a ball on stage, and the crowd is eager to have as much fun as the band is. Their Riot Fest set got off to a rocky start due to sound issues, but it quickly became one of the best sets I saw all day.
TESTAMENT: Of everything I saw, the band who truly got the daytime crowd going wild was '80s-era thrash legends Testament. The pit was going so hard that if you were anywhere near the front you were getting dust in your eyes, and the band delivered expertly. Every extended scream, every guitar solo -- they were flawless. Testament were always smiling, always engaging the crowd, but never at the expense of delivering intense music. People talk a lot about the decreasing interest for rock on major festivals, but between Testament and Anthrax (who took the same stage right after them), fests may just need more classic metal bands.
IGGY POP: Is there anyone as ageless as Iggy Pop? With classic albums dating back to the '60s, he's one of the few people you could safely credit with inventing punk rock, and he hasn't lost that spirit one bit. He runs around stage like he's half his actual age, and genuinely seems like he's giving us every ounce of energy in his body. We got so many favorites -- "No Fun," "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "The Passenger," "Lust For Life," "1969" -- and they all sounded exactly like you'd hope they would. The fact that we get to experience Iggy in full force all these decades later is truly an amazing thing.
ICE CUBE: It's pretty safe to say it's the year of NWA. There's a hit biopic in theaters, the soundtrack to which is Dr. Dre's first album since the '90s, and talk of the groundbreaking rap group is just in the air. So it was perfect timing for Ice Cube to reunite with his old groupmates MC Ren and DJ Yella (like he did at the BET Experience in June) for "Straight Outta Compton," "Fuck Tha Police," "Dopeman" and more classic jams. Sadly (like at the BET Experience) Dr. Dre did not come out, and neither did their pal Snoop Dogg (who did join the group at the BET Experience and plays Riot Fest on Sunday), but it was still a surreal experience to see those three on stage together. And they sounded as fanastic as you'd want. The partial NWA reunion was the real draw, but even when Ice Cube dove into his solo career ("Check Yo Self," "Natural Born Killaz," etc) he made it feel like the G-Funk era was alive and well.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN: Look, when System of a Down were added to Riot Fest, I thought people were going to think it was lame. I mean this is a festival that sold tickets because people wanted to see Iggy Pop, Pixies, The Damned, American Nightmare, Swervedriver and 7 Seconds. These people don't like System of a Down. But not only was I wrong, they had the biggest and wildest crowd of the day. It makes sense that of all the bands to come out of early 2000s nu-metal, System of a Down would work so well at what's largely a punk festival. Most of that stuff was deservedly laughed at by cynics, but SOAD were different. They were weird, and they were way closer to a hardcore band than a pop band. If Refused never broke up, those two might've toured together. And that came across in full force on Friday night. Thousands of people were raging to this band who were playing the weirdest songs that anyone played all day. It was a strange, awesome experience.
Video of Ice Cube, MC Ren & DJ Yella playing "Straight Outta Compton" and more pictures below...
August 28, 2015
photos by Greg Cristman
AC/DC at MetLife Stadium 8/26/2015
For over four decades, they've plowed through a sound as uniform as The Ramones' and as unchanging as the original formula for Coke.Hard Rock greats AC/DC brought their patented riffs, attitude and sheer volume to MetLife Stadium on Wednesday (8/26) for a crowd-pleasing show as part of their current tour. Setlist and pictures are in this post.
It works because the essential AC/DC gestalt has such power, momentum and wit, it requires no update or variation.
To wit, they opened Wednesday's show with the title track off their latest album, "Rock or Bust," a riff-fest that has nearly as much freshness and punch as songs off their very first release.
The band's 20-song set featured many of the band's metallic standards - from "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" to "T.N.T. - delivered at the usual face-melting volume. - [NY Daily News]
Opening was Vintage Trouble who played vintage soul/R&B in the classic James Brown style, complete with high jumps, twirling mic cords and old style soul poses. A few pics of their set, plus lots more AC/DC, below...
August 27, 2015
Sexwitch / Songhoy Blues / St. Vincent / SFA / GOAT @ Green Man 2015
The Green Man Festival has been taking place in Wales' beautiful Brecon Beacons for the past few years, drawing an increasingly impressive line-up of worldwide and Welsh musicians to the sprawling Glanusk Estate. The 2015 edition happened August 20 - 23 and added enough extras (Hot tubs! A cinema! A beer festival! A science garden!) that you didn't really even need to see any bands at all. But that would be silly, because the bands are great. Read on for some of the best bits from the last two days.
Most anticipated set: Sexwitch - the act billed only as "Special Guest" turned out to be the debut performance of a new project from Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan, TOY and Dan Carey - dark, droney and insistent.
Best set by someone we hadn't heard of before: Hannah Lou Clark and her band, equal parts angsty and dreamy.
Best place to hide out to during the sudden three-hour heatwave on Saturday: The Cinedrome tent with Gulp, because angel-voiced dream pop makes everything better, even when you're simultaneously horribly sweaty and covered in mud (somehow singer Lindsey Leven was immaculate in head-to-toe white, which reinforces our theory that Gulp are slightly magic.)
Most fun to shoot portraits of: Girl Ray, three London ladies who were finalists in the Green Man Rising competition and are very fun to hide between tents with.
Song we still have stuck in our heads: "Moons in My Mirror" by H Hawkline, whose pleasingly intriguing songs and deadpan demeanour were so appealing that the tentful of watchers were quite happy to comply with his request that they whistle the theme from the Great Escape while he tune his guitars, twice.
Most talked-about performance we failed to see: Northumbrian balladeer Richard Dawson [and not the late Family Feud host - Ed] in the Walled Garden, who we are assured was brilliant and unusual.
Youth enterprise award: The three children at the festival entrance with an acoustic guitar busking Super Furry Animals songs: Charlotte, Amelia and James. "Fire in My Heart" was a delight:
Most packed tent: Songhoy Blues from Mali, because they manage to combine deeply cool rock-star stage presence with an overwhelming sense of glee. Plus singer Aliou Touré does really good dancing, and everything they played was brilliant.
Most unfortunate scheduling: Stealing Sheep, who are great but played at the same time as (and right next to) Songhoy Blues.
Most committed crowd: Super Furry Animals. Fans stood ankle-deep in mud and didn't seem to mind the torrential rain, and in return received a predictably first-class set. There can't be any better setting to hear "Mountain People" than the Mountain Stage at Green Man. (Extra points to the gentleman who crowd-surfed all the way to the front sitting in an eight-foot inflatable dinghy.)
Best between-songs chat: Welsh folk legend Meic Stevens, who at one point delightedly exclaimed, "I've had cancer for three years, you know, and I've had 150 hours of radiotherapy on my throat - they said 'I wouldn't have thought you'd be able to talk after that, let alone sing!' but you've got to sing, don't you?! Because it makes people happy!"
Most appropriate name: Towel, who played just after the 21-hour rain storm (complete with 6am wake-everybody-up thunder) stopped.
Best impromptu special guests: Deep Throat Choir who, 24 hours after Matthew E White apparently asked them to join him, appeared en masse at the end of his set and started making up dance routines while singing the outrageously catchy backing vocals to "Rock & Roll is Cold."
Most rapt audience: Father John Misty, who was throwing himself on the floor by the first chorus of the first song and had row after row of grown adults grinning with glee like kids on Christmas morning.
Most apt headliner: Goat, whose vaguely pagan masked glory closed the final night of the Far Out stage and were followed by the ceremonial burning of the giant Green Man. Plus, "Run to Your Mama" might've been the best performance of the entire festival.
Pictures from the first two days of Green Man 2015 are HERE. Lots more pics from the final two days, below...
August 26, 2015
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Melody's Echo Chamber @ MHOW 8/26/2015
It's been three years since Melody Prochet released her first, and so far only, album as Melody's Echo Chamber and clearly folks haven't forgotten about her, as Wednesday's sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg show proved. There were a few shouts of "I Love You!" (and at least one "Je t'aime!") from the crowd who had packed the main room before opener Quilt began. The Music Hall show was only her second U.S. headlining show ever (she opened for Raveonettes' tour in 2012). For those hoping for a clue as to where Prochet is heading musically after breaking up with boyfriend/collaborator (and Tame Impala frontman) Kevin Parker, she left us wondering, as last year's funky single "Shirim" was pretty much the only new song she played.
For those wanting to hear her debut album played live with a very solid band, she more than delivered and most of the crowd seemed to be in this camp. That album's psych-rock singles "Crystalized" and "I Follow You" sounded great, but the highlight for me the encore. After performing a song by legendary French chaunteuse Marie Laforet, the band finished the night with "Be Proud of Your Kids" which closes her debut. A charming almost-throwaway on record featuring samples of a toddler Prochet once babysat, live it turned into an extended prog/kraut jam that really showcased her excellent rhythm section. Very good show. Now let's get a second album.
Openers Quilt, who have finished their third album for Mexican Summer (due out early 2016), were in fine form as usual, playing a number of new songs as well as a few from their first two albums. Guitarist/vocalists Anna Rochinski and John Andrews sound great together and the band continue to move further and further away from obvious '60s flower-power pastiche into their own groove. Pictures from their set, plus more of Melody's Echo Chamber, below...
August 25, 2015
photos by Tim Griffin
Mother Falcon @ Empire Control Room - 8/22/2015
Earlier this month, Austin-based indie orchestra Mother Falcon sent out this message:
Just a quick note to let you know that MF's 3rd album, Good Luck Have Fun, will not be released as planned this Friday, August 14. In addition, the album's first single, "Kid", has been pulled. The release parties and concerts scheduled for 8/21 at the ND (w/ RF Shannon and The Quintessential Clarinet Quintet) and 8/22 at Empire Control Room (w/ TAFT and Monté) will become free shows as a gesture of appreciation to the band's hometown of Austin for many years of love and support. Mother Falcon will make a major announcement about the new album and the band's future next week.That major announcement is that the new album will now be released on October 9 by their new label, Universal Music Classics. Their fourth album, planned for 2016, will also come out via UMC.
What does Mother Falcon's Matt Puckett have to say about all this?
"Good Luck Have Fun explores more deeply the indie-pop as well as the neo-classical sides of our sound. It's new territory for us both sonically and now in our partnership with UMC. We feel the team at the label truly understands both aspects of what we are up to musically and we can't wait to see what comes next."Congrats to the band for all that, and for the packed not-release shows they played over the weekend. We were at the Empire one. Pictures are in this post, and more shows are coming.
Elizabeth Sobol, President & CEO of UMC underscores Matt's sentiment: "I've been following Mother Falcon for quite some time now. Their classically-derived instrumentation and exploratory compositions set them apart. No one sounds like Mother Falcon. Their music is truly in line with the artistic vision of Universal Music Classics."
After a couple of October gigs in Houston and New Orleans, Mother Falcon will head out on a fall tour with Ben Sollee. That trek hits City Winery in Nashville, World Cafe in Philly, Thalia Hall in Chicago, Le Poisson Rouge in NYC on 10/21, and many other places. All dates are listed with the rest of the photos below...
Sylvan Esso photos by Amanda Hatfield
Made of Oak (photo by Endless Endless)
Nick Sanborn, who you may know as half of Sylvan Esso (and Megafaun before that), has a new solo project called Made of Oak that will release its debut EP, Penumbra, on November 6 via Partisan. What to expect? You can watch a teaser trailer for the EP (featuring some ethereal synthesizers and cricket chirps) below.
Made of Oak will also be playing live, touring with Tuskha (aka Phil Moore of Bowerbirds) including a show at Brooklyn's Baby's All Right on November 13. Tickets will be available soon. All dates are listed below.
Sylvan Esso @ Prospect Park 7/25/2015
August 24, 2015
photos by Gretchen Robinette
Lauryn Hill / Death Grips / Suicidal Tendencies @ Afropunk Fest 8/22/2015
Death Grips, on a smaller stage right after Ms. Hill's set, played with a similarly uninterrupted, flow-through feeling, though way more explosive and less legible, and with zero sentimentality. Through five years of confounding moves against record companies and its own listeners (the band announced last year that it would break up, but who knows?), its sound has held steady: A punk-noise-rap hybrid with Zach Hill's assaultive live drums, MC Ride's bellowing warnings and a general air of police-state dread and negativity. But the good feeling of the festival accommodated them too: hundreds of fans near the stage jumped in coordination to the jagged beats; behind that front flank, there was more general pleasure in the audience than I've seen at their shows in the past. - [NY Times]Following Friday's Grace Jones-headlined Fancy Dress Ball, the 2015 Afropunk Fest got underway proper on Saturday (8/22) with performances from Lauryn Hill, Death Grips (who did in fact both show up and play), Kelis, Danny Brown, Suicidal Tendencies, Candiria and more. Our photographer was there mainly to shoot the concertgoers and scene, but did get a few shots of Lauryn Hill (who started 40 minutes late and had her set cut short because of it), Death Grips and Suicidal Tendencies. Pics from those acts, plus lots of the 30,000+ crowd continue below...
photos by Mimi Hong, words by Andrew Sacher
PBTT / TWIABP at LPR - 8/22/2015
Former Topshelf and current Epitaph labelmates Pianos Become the Teeth and The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die wrapped up their tour together in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge (8/22) over the weekend. It was an early show, with openers Take One Car taking the stage at 6 PM for a set of their mewithoutYou/La Dispute-style post-hardcore, but even at that early hour there was a decent-sized crowd. Turnover were up next to shift the vibe towards ethereal jangly pop, which worked especially well with their light show (really everyone's light show was on point that night). Catch Turnover again on their tour with Basement.
TWIABP have an anticipated new album due out in a month, though they chose to play none of that. Instead, they put on the most gorgeous set I've ever seen them play. They have a slightly updated lineup for this tour, which includes three guitarists, a violinist, a keyboardist and more, and a total of four members sing. Like any of their shows, they're all stuffed onto a stage that's too small and you usually can't see every member at once, but what a beautiful wall of sound they make. Their post-rock climaxes and atmospheric interludes were in full force at this show, peaking with set closer "Getting Sodas" that had even more people join them on stage (members of Take One Car) for the song's group vocals.
Pianos Become the Teeth were at least as excellent, and also a massive-sounding band (though with a few less members). They opened with "Hiding" off their 2013 Touche Amore split, which may be their best song to date, but that didn't mean the set peaked early. We got most of the best songs from last year's Keep You and a few old favorites that got the mosh pits going, and the band were tremendous the whole time. As musicians, they're impossibly tight (especially that drummer!) and singer Kyle Durfey is as sincere and passionate as you could ask for. They looked like they were putting just about everything they've got into that performance, but they somehow made it look easy too. It was an amazing show.
Pianos Become the Teeth will be on the road again with The Menzingers, mewithoutYou and Restorations, which is yet another fantastic bill. That tour hits NYC on November 27 at Webster Hall. Tickets are on sale now.
More pictures from LPR, below...
photos by Greg Cristman
"Battles at St. Vitus just now was one of the most inspiring shows I've seen in I don't know how long." - Jonathan Cohen
Four years after their last record, Battles are back and ready to regain their focus as one of the tightest live bands in indie rock. "We've played a few shows, but this is our first real show back" they stated as they welcomed a home town crowd in Brooklyn.Experimental rockers Battles are releasing their third (and first entirely instrumental) album, La Di Da Di, on September 18 via Warp, and they'll be supporting it on tour this fall. Ahead of that though, the band decided to squeeze in a couple festival dates and a sole club show at NYC's Saint Vitus (8/20). We caught that show, which included a lot of the new album, plus old favorites like "Atlas" and "Ice Cream." Pictures, including shots of openers Activator, are in this post.
As they set to unleash their new album, their third overall and second as a trio, the group have eased into their sound of epic experimentation. Battles do a fantastic job of letting their music run wild. As songs progress, things seem to spiral out of control right until the moment when the band reels everything back into place with extreme precision. Carefully crafted, the songs come to life slowly as they build into powerful riffs and melodic hooks one on top of the other until together, they release all of their tension sending tunes into rapturous overdrive. [OMG-NYC]
Their proper tour brings the band back to NYC on October 20 at Webster Hall. Tickets for that show are still available. More pictures from Vitus below...