Recent Posts in pictures
March 26, 2015
photos by P Squared Photography; words by Bill Pearis
Kate Tempest @ Mercury Lounge 3/24/2015
"Don't clap, it'll make it cheesy," Kate Tempest told the crowd at Rough Trade, heartfelt, as she enthused about playing her first show in Brooklyn, home to heroes like Mos Def and Biggie. This was the last show of her first American tour -- "a trip that absolutely changed my life" -- and she was positively beaming onstage. You couldn't help but smile or shout back at her genuine enthusiasm. Backed by an excellent band that included her producer/collaborator Dan Carey on synthesizers, a drummer (everything seemed to be played live to me) and a backing vocalist, Tempest absolutely mesmerized from the second she hit the stage. It is hands-down the best live performance I've seen this year.
She is not the female version of The Streets. She is not Lady Sovereign. See her live and you'll know. The songs on her debut album, Everybody Down (based on her new novel, Hold Your Own) and are detail-rich stories of everyday people trying to connect in a world of constant distractions. Being human to each other, doing things that matter, never giving up -- subjects that are not new but Tempest delivered with passion and conviction and serious flow. We need more like her.
Interesting side note: one of the things that gives Kate Tempest's album such a distinctive sound, musically, is the use of the ribbon-controlled Swarmatron analog synthesizer, which Dan Carey played last night. Leon Dewan, creator of the machine, was at the Rough Trade show and Kate gave him a big shout-out from the stage.
Kate played Mercury Lounge with opener Jack Garratt on Tuesday (3/24) and pictures from that show are in this post. NYC has one last chance to catch Kate Tempest this go-round, albeit in a different format. She'll be at the WORD bookstore in Greenpoint tonight (3/26) at 7 PM to celebrate the US release of her books Brand New Ancients and Hold Your Own. It's free, but WORD is small so get there early.
Kate will be back in May, playing Governors Ball. More pics from Kate Tempest's Mercury Lounge show, plus setlists from both NYC shows, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Kero Kero Bonito / Chastity Belt @ Hype Hotel, SXSW 2015
London trio Kero Kero Bonito seem as much influenced by Blue's Clues as they are by Sleigh Bells and Cibo Matto, so it's no surprise that they were more illustrative with their costumes and sets than any other artist we saw this week. Songs about graduation came with cap and gown, songs about birthdays came with wraparound cone hats, and songs with mid-song telephone conversations came with an actual rotary phone to ring and be answered. If single "Picture This" gets as big as it deserves to be, the group could do more to revitalize the Polaroid than anyone since André 3000. - [SPIN]The Hype Machine's Hype Hotel presented by Feed the Beat has been a fixture at SXSW for a few years now, and in 2015 occupied its biggest space yet, offering up shows curated by music blogs from around the world.
We stopped by on Thursday night (3/19) for Gorilla Vs Bear's showcase, catching sets from Chastity Belt (who also played one of our day parties), ramshackle Spanish garage rockers Hinds, and UK trio Kero Kero Bonito who employed a variety of props and costumes to flesh out their live show. Pictures from all three are in this post. We left before Autre Ne Veut, Leon Bridges, and Yumi Zouma (who we caught earlier that day at our own show).
There was free Taco Bell at Hype Hotel again, but this year they also had a Mazda car made into a playable instrument with Mogees technology. Best Coast, in addition to playing Hype Hotel, got a chance to try playing the Mazda. You can watch that, and a full recap video of Hype Hotel along with more pictures, below.
Hinds @ Hype Hotel, SXSW 2015
Kero Kero Bonito are not playing NYC (at least not any time soon) but do have a very catchy new single about taking cameraphone pictures.
More Hype Hotel pictures and videos, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Villagers @ Union Pool - 3/25/15
Villagers (aka folk singer Conor O'Brien) has a new home-recorded album on the way, which (from what we've heard of it) is sounding like his barest material yet. He came to NYC this week to open Laura Marling's post-SXSW show at Warsaw on Monday (3/23) and then to play his own smaller show at Union Pool last night (3/25). Last night's show was about half new stuff, and half older ones. He was also accompanied by a harpist (who also played some keys and did some background vocals), and the two of them sounded lovely together.
Zachary Cale opened the show. More pictures (including one of Villagers' setlist) below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Ceremony @ BV-SXSW at Red 7 - 3/21/2015
Ceremony were just down in Austin for SXSW last week, playing a few shows including the BrooklynVegan Saturday party at Red 7. The shapeshifting band previewed a few songs from their upcoming album, and while people often use "sounds like Joy Division" to just mean "post-punk," these new Ceremony songs really sounded like Joy Division. Not a bad thing though, because Ceremony do it well.
Now the album's officially been announced, and studio recordings for two of the tracks, "The Separation" and "The Understanding," are out. Check them out for yourself in the band's new video (dir. Ross Thomas), below. The album's called The L-Shaped Man, and will be out May 19 via Matador.
The band also announced a few tour dates, including a NYC show happening July 1 at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets for that show will be on sale soon via Ticketmaster. They're also performing songs from the new album this Friday (3/27) at Kinfolk 94 (94 Wythe Ave in Brooklyn) at 6:45 PM. RSVP here, but admission is still first come, first served.
All dates are listed, with more pictures of their BV-SXSW set, the album artwork and new video, below...
March 25, 2015
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Glue on Lamar Pedestrian Bridge - 3/19/15
Like there tend to be in Austin during SXSW, there were a few late shows on the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge last week, two of which included local hardcore band Glue (Thurs 3/19 and Sat 3/21). We caught both of those, and Glue's sets at both were especially apeshit. Whole place was a big mosh pit, and Glue were raw as hell.
The first show had them joined by a typically short and abrasive set from noise/hardcore duo Uniform (ex-The Men, Drunkdriver), a shambolic set from psych punks The Ukiah Drag, and the night ended with the highly-confrontational Pharmakon.
The second one had Houston hardcore band Dress Code, who had the place in a similar frenzy to Glue, and punky riff rockers Sheer Mag, who had much of the crowd huddled around the band much like they did in NYC just before SXSW. Pictures of both bridge shows are in this post.
Glue come to NYC soon for New York's Alright, during which they'll play The Wick on April 19 with Dawn of Humans, Heratys, Raw Distractions and Urbanoia. That's a day show (3 PM doors), and tickets are still available.
Sheer Mag also have a NY's Alright show. Theirs is a late one (11 PM doors) at Acheron on April 18 with Vanity, Bad Noids, Tapehead and
Uniform also put out a new song today via Stereogum. Listen to that, plus the ripping "Backwards Society" from Glue's 2014 S/T EP, with more pictures from the bridge shows, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
METZ / Octopus Project
The first of three free BrooklynVegan SXSW day parties at Red 7, and the only one that had no rain, happened Thursday (3/19) from noon to 6pm with 15 bands across the venue's two stages.
The inside show began with recent Run for Cover signees Elvis Depressedly who played a set of scrappy indie rock with singer Matthew Lee Cothran's animated stage moves intact. Then Emmy the Great brought things down with a set she played mostly as a duo but with a few solo songs too. Next up was the alt-R&B of three-piece Basecamp, followed by the danceable, super fun pop of New Zealand's Yumi Zouma. Veteran Canadian band Frog Eyes came next with Carey Mercer & co's eccentric indie rock in excellent form (story about being accused of doing meth in the BrooklynVegan comments included), and then it was their neighbors from up north, Cancer Bats, whose blend of hardcore and stoner rock riffage was the heaviest set of the day. Oklahoma rockers Broncho followed, playing to one of the most packed in crowds of the day and totally sounding built to do so. Finally it was one more Canadian band to wrap up the day, METZ, who were as loud, fast and full of energy as ever.
Broncho / Speedy Ortiz
Outside the show began with the UK's Ultimate Painting, the band with members of Veronica Falls and Mazes whose Dead-like guitar jams and close harmonies were super tight and pretty perfect outdoors on a sunny afternoon. They were followed by Girlpool, who previewed some material from their upcoming debut LP and included some favorites from last year's EP that had a chunk of the crowd singing along. Then came the shouty noise rock of Ireland's Girl Band (who unlike Girlpool who played before them, don't have girls in the band), and then the smart/sarcastic indie rock of Chastity Belt ("this next song is about mansplaining"). After them it was Mitski who was more impressive than before at this show and had a lot of the crowd screaming in approval. She was followed by Speedy Ortiz, who seem to get tighter each time and whose new songs came off great live ("Raising the Skate" was especially a highlight of the set). And to end the day it was hometown heroes The Octopus Project with a highly enjoyable set of their experimental rock to a full backyard of people.
Thanks to our sponsors Dropkloud, Esurance (who let 30 people skip the line each day) and MailChimp for helping make the party possible. If you unlocked our party playlsts on your phone with the DropKloud app, you can go listen to them now. If you're still in Austin, you can still unlock them when at Red 7 with the app installed on your phone. Thanks also to Sailor Jerry for helping keep our artists relaxed.
More pictures from the whole day, below...
by Bill Pearis
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders @ BVSXSW 2015
Australian group Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders just played a bunch of shows at SXSW, including the BrooklynVegan day party on Saturday (3/21). Seeing them live, Jack's bravado-filled voice fits his very tall frame well, and the band rose to the challenge of the noon opening slot well. Pictures from their performance at our show are in this post. If you haven't checked out Jack's album, Playmates, it's the kind of neon-reflected-on-rainy-streets synthnoir that might've fit in on Miami Vice or Less Than Zero. You can stream it below.
The band, which includes talented eccentric Kirin J Callinan, are in NYC now and will play Rough Trade on Thursday (3/26) with former Yellowbirds frontman Sam Cohen and Invisible Familiars. Tickets are still available, but if you'd like to go for free we're giving away a pair of tickets. Details below.
Kirin & Donny in "The Edge" video
Meanwhile, Kirin is playing a free show tonight (3/25) at Baby's All Right. He'll be doing two sets: one solo, and one as a duo with Dreamlanders bassist and solo artist in his own right, Donny Benet and "there may even be a surprise performance from another associated act." Again, it's free and anything with Kirin J Callinan is pretty much guaranteed not to be boring. Is Connan Mockasin in town?
You can watch a video of Kirin and Donny performing "The Edge" (which is something to behold) below. That is from Donny's album, Weekend at Donny's which is more synthy '80s style eclecticism. In addition to Kirin, features guest lead vocals from Jack Ladder, The Preatures' Isabella Manfredi, Crayon Fields singer Geoffrey O'Connor, and other offbeat Australian indie luminaries. You can stream that below too.
March 24, 2015
by Bill Pearis
Last night was the David Byrne tribute show at Carnegie Hall which brought out a host of cool musicians to perform songs by Talking Heads and other Byrne songs. This was the 11th annual tribute show at Carnegie, which are produced by City Winery's Michael Dorf and benefit NYC music education programs. The show was over two and a half hours long and ended with the man himself marching down the aisles with a marching band, covering Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk." If you thought that Carnegie Hall might be the one place you'd never hear that song, you were wrong (video below), and it was a joyous capper to a very fun night.
The night opened with the Little Kids Rock band (one of the charities these shows fund) covering "Stay Up Late" which was appropriate for this School Night and they brought endless enthusiasm to the Little Creatures song. For such dance-friendly music as Byrne's, Carnegie Hall is maybe not the best venue (percussion/low end suffers in that room), but we all made do and there were some great performances. Esperanza Spalding took on another Little Creatures song, "Road to Nowhere," and brought some New Orleans funk and soul to the chorus; Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top gave "Houses in Motion" boogie and twang (not to mention endless cool), and he also added a mean guitar solo to Steve Earle's take on "A Million Miles Away."
Amanda Palmer w/ Alexis Krauss, Glen Hansard, Antibalas
"I didn't think about being eight months pregnant when I agreed to do this song," admitted a very showing Amanda Palmer, adding "The lyrics take on new meaning." Palmer, with help from Jherek Bischoff, took on "Once in a Lifetime" and she brought her cranked-to-11 personality and stage presence to that. She also brought Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells for Don't Look Back style cue-carding and Glen Hansard on backing vocals. Krauss did a fine job handing "Life During Wartime" (and talked a little about being a NYC schoolteacher) and Hansard performed a stripped down version of "Girlfriend is Better."
It wasn't until late in the show that the crowd all finally jumped to its feet, thanks to Sharon Jones who delivered a knockout performance of "Psycho Killer." The crowd stayed up for Santigold, backed by her flygirl dancers, who did "Burning Down the House." Then Cee-Lo, maybe a weird choice for this, came out for "Take Me to the River," taking out the Talking Heads jitteriness and putting back some of the smooth Al Green. (In a velvet garb, he also looked a giant Shar-Pei.) Then the marching band (which seems to be Byrne's new obsession) hit. Full performer/setlist rundown and pictures from Carnegie Hall are in this post.
The party kept going later that night at City Winery (where they had rehearsals the night before) which featured Malian band Songhoy Blues whose amazing energy definitely primed the crowd for the fun and very loose set by Antibalas who were the backing band at the tribute show. (The free wine and beer added a lot to the looseness of everyone onstage or off.) They performed a few of the songs that were done earlier in the night, including an extended version of "Crosseyed and Painless," but the highlight was an improvised number by Sharon Jones that was a little like "Land of a Thousand Dances" but in her own style, and she also battled on the congas with Antibalas frontman Amayo. As much fun as the tribute was, that will be the moment I remember from the night. A short instagram video of that, plus more pics, video and the setlist from Carnegie, below.
photos by Greg Cristman
Swans @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - 3/22/15
Swans' ongoing tour came to their hometown of NYC for the second time this year on Sunday night (3/22) at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The creative rebirth this band's had since their 2010 reformation is showing no signs of letting up at all. The show was loud, ritualistic, cathartic and an absolutely captivating performance. They never cease to amaze and this was one of the best shows we've seen them do yet. Opener Little Annie played with accompaniment from Paul Wallfisch on piano and vocals, and she was as witty, engaging and utterly unique as ever.
At the end of the set, Michael Gira told the crowd they'll be recording a new album soon and don't have plans to tour again after this one until 2016. More pictures from the show, below...
SXSW photos by Tim Griffin
Philly shoegazers Creepoid were just down in Texas for SXSW, where one of their shows was a smoke machine-filled set at at the BrooklynVegan Friday party, which we have a set of pictures from below. (More pictures from the BV parties coming soon.)
Unfortunately, they ran into some trouble down there too. Guitarist Nicky Kulp was arrested in Texas after the band's van was searched. Here's what they posted to the GoFundMe campaign they launched to raise money for his bail:
On the way home from a 2-month-long tour ending at SXSW, our band was pulled over and our van was searched. Nick was detained and is currently being held on $5,000 bail in a super shitty texas prison. Nobody will issue a bail bond because we are from halfway accross the county and considered a high risk.The goal was quickly met, and Nicky's now out of jail. He writes:
Again - he is currently in a Texas prison. As you can see by his picture, he won't last long in there...
Any help will be profoundly appreciated.
I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming response on getting me out of jail in Hill County Texas • I am safe and currently back with my amazing bandmates/family.Glad to hear everything worked out! SXSW pictures below...
I can't currently comment on what happened, but I do greatly appreciate everyone's help and support ~ to all the amazing family, friends and fans that helped out. This is going to be a long journey and anyone who can help or support in any way would be greatly appreciated.