Recent Posts in pictures
May 28, 2015
photos by Debi Del Grande
Future Islands / Run the Jewels / Tame Impala / Courtney Barnett / Kendrick Lamar
Backed by a four-piece band, [Kendrick Lamar] bent the crowd to his will with roaring energy. He roamed the stage and made sure no side was ever too far away from him -- early on, he pit the right and left against each other in a cheer war, a tactic ensuring they'd be engaged for the evening.Sasquatch 2015 wrapped up on Memorial Day (5/25) with performances by Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels, Tame Impala, Future Islands, Courtney Barnett, Natalie Prass & Ryan Adams, and more. Pictures from those performances and more are in this post.
Lamar's confidence seems beyond question -- this is the MC who dropped the "Control" verse, after all -- yet he didn't spend much time on the songs of this year's triumphant "To Pimp a Butterfly." An ferocious, intricate work, it pushed the MC to new heights -- or rather, old ones, the vintage achievements of jazz and soul. Their sounds permeate the album, illuminating the through-line of black American music in the way Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Common and other hip-hop innovators have before. Perhaps "King Kunta" and its fellows are too complicated to bring to life just yet: either way, when Lamar left the stage after 80 minutes, the audience wanted more. - [The Oregonian]
May 27, 2015
photos by Debi Del Grande
St. Vincent / Robert Plant / Ex Hex / Temples @ Sasquatch 5/24/2014
On stage Annie Clark, or as she's known, St. Vincent, is like an alluring, otherworldly android. She skitter steps around rapidly on high stiletto heels, staring blankly and doe-eyed, smiling at odd times while tearing through guitar lines seemingly effortlessly. Much of her show seems almost choreographed, moves precise, robotic, and at times in unison with her rhythm guitar player/keyboardist. Hers is a very conscious stage presence, each strange move intentional, and it is completely captivating. But her set on the Sasquatch main stage proved her to be not just an engaging performer, but an excellent musician as well; Clark is the complete package. Her confident guitar lines lead the way on her early hit "Cruel", and the single "Digital Witness" from her 2014 self-titled album was very danceable over the massive, bass-heavy sounds coming from the stage. Her set was fairly light on stage banter, but when she finally spoke she said, "good evening ladies and gentlemen, and a special welcome to the others, and the queers, and the dominatrixes, and the dominated of Washington State," before launching in to "Huey Newton", drawing her fingers across her exposed neck in a throat slitting pantomime. - [KEXP]The third day (Sunday, May 24) of the 2015 Sasquatch Music Festival in Gorge,WA featured such performers as Robert Plant, St. Vincent, Temples, Lana Del Rey, Jenny Lewis (who also recently played Chicago), Jose Gonzlez, Twin Peaks and more. Pictures from day 3 are in this post.
photos by James Richards IV
Jenny Lewis @ Chicago's Vic Theatre 5/19/2015
"I'm a professional musician ... (but) all these balls are distracting me," she said with a laugh, as she fumbled the opening of her encore. Lewis is indeed a pro, a one-time child actress who still brings a hint of Hollywood glamour to her show. She's at ease in front of an audience; confident, stylish, with a knack for selling the songs with a raised fist, twirling wrist or pogo hop. At times, she and her six-piece band came off as slick, especially when they plunged into a half-dozen sleek rock songs from across Lewis' career, including her off-and-on band Rilo Kiley.Jenny Lewis is currently on tour and in the last week or so has played Chicago's Vic Theatre (5/19) and Gorge, WA's Sasquatch Music Festival (5/24). Pictures from the Vic, with opener Nikki Lane, are in this post.
Yet her pristine voice, a piercing instrument in the upper register with a timbre reminiscent of a young Emmylou Harris, specializes in dispensing honesty, no matter how discomforting or withering it might be.
In other news, she's also just released a couple videos, both of which feature SNL's Vanessa Bayer. The first is part of Bayer's "Sound Advice" series where Bayer plays media coach Janessa Slater who, among other topics, asks about Lewis' old group...Troop Beverly Hills. You can watch that below.
Lewis' child star past comes up again in the new video for "She's Not Me," the new single from last year's The Voyager. She directed it herself and it has nods to not only Troop Beverly Hills, but also The Wizard and her guest appearance on The Golden Girls. Helping her out are Vanessa Bayer, Fred Armisen, Girls' star Zosia Mamet and Leo Fitzpatrick (Telly from Kids). Watch it below.
Jenny's summer tour dates include a few opening for Wilco, and a few as part of Mumford & Sons' Gentlemen of the Road Stopover tour, the latter of which hits NJ's Seaside Heights Beach on June 5 & 6 (tickets). All dates are listed with more pictures below.
Pixies @ Beacon Theatre 5/26/2015
Taking full advantage of impassioned company and the savory acoustics of the space, Pixies played a comprehensive set of a vast scope of work, weaving in and out of timeless classics and lesser known B-sides and current releases. Not content to rest on their laurels, they leaned into new and unusual material with the giddiness of a high school band at their first talent show, then pivoted into oldie-goodies, turning spectator intrigue into frenzied sing-alongs. All of it was presented with the dramatic arc of a rock opera. "Wave of Mutilation" ascended deliberately and hovered, with Frank Black's voice crawling through Paz Lenchantin's deep, muddy basslines. Then seizing on the hypnotic mood, Pixies grabbed the crowd by the necktie with the raucous anthems "Break My Body" and "The Holiday Song." Lenchantin drove numbers like "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and "Velouria," spookily mimicking former bassist Kim Deal with her playing and support vocals, while David Lovering's flawless percussive churning intertwined with Joey Santiago's standout guitar fluency on heavyweights like "Debaser" and "Bone Machine." - [The House List]After playing the BrooklynVegan-presented show at Stone Pony Summer Stage on Saturday, alt-rock vets Pixies continued their four-show, NYC-area run with their first of two sold-out nights (5/26) at one of the cities' toniest spots, Beacon Theatre. Pictures from their set, as well as opener John Grant, are in this post.
photos by Debi Del Grande
Spoon / Fuzz / Modest Mouse / Father John Misty / Syvan Esso / Diarrhea Planet
While Friday and Sunday nights are topped with EDM, Saturday belonged unequivocally and inarguably to good ol' rock and roll.Day 2 of the 2015 Sasquatch Music Festival, which happened Memorial Day Weekend in Gorge, WA, featured such heavy-hitters as Spoon, Modest Mouse, Decemberists, and Father John Misty, as well as Arcade Fire's Will Butler, Sylvan Esso, and greasy-haired upstarts Diarrhea Planet, King Tuff and Ty Segall's proto-metal trio, Fuzz.
It climaxed early with a face-melting set from five-guitar band Diarrhea Planet, who brought every rock god dream to fruition: Head banging. Windmilling. Soloing behind your head. Soloing with your teeth. A dusty mosh pit kicked up in front of the stage, the wild-eyed youth unleashing their inner demons, all to the ritualistic howl of the electric guitar...
...The onslaught of guitars continued after sunset and well into the night, with veteran indie rock acts The Decemberists and Modest Mouse anchoring the main stage. The day concluded with a great set from fellow veteran band Spoon, but by that late the crowds had largely given up on guitar rock, trading it in for the synthesized sounds of ODESZA. - [Oregon Live]
Pictures from Sasquatch day 1 are HERE, and we'll have photos from the fest's final two days soon. More pics from day 2 below...
May 26, 2015
photos by P Squared Photography
[TV on the Radio] came out just after 7 and did an approximately 1-hour set that, by necessity, left out a couple of my favorites but covered all the major bases. "Wolf Like Me" is still an amazing track as are "Young Liars," "Golden Age," "DLZ," and "Dancing Choose." Newer songs like "Happy Idiot" and "Could You" had some of the younger people around us jumping. Vocalist Tunde Adebimpe and guitarist Kyp Malone thanked The Pixies several times and made it a point to mention how wonderful it was for all of us to be in the same place together. That was kind of cool.Pixies and TV on the Radio's respective tours crossed paths over the weekend for a BrooklynVegan-presented show at Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park. Opening was Pixies tourmate John Grant. Pictures of all three sets, and Pixies and TVTOR's setlists, are in this post.
...I haven't really heard Indie Cindy, last year's return from the [Pixies'] 23-year recording hiatus. It was less than well-received (Pitchfork famously gave it a 1.0 out of 10.), and I may have fallen for the anti-hype a bit. The band interspersed tracks from that record -- "Magdalena 318," "Indie Cindy," "Bagboy," "Silver Snail," "Snakes" -- throughout the set, and they fit in pretty seamlessly. I remember liking "Bagboy" when it came out as a single, especially the Kim-like backing vocals.
Speaking of Kim: Yeah, I felt her absence (and the absence of "Gigantic" from the set). [Paz] Lenchantin did a great job throughout, though, on bass and backing vocals. She's a bit more animated than the rest of the band and has that bass player stalk / runway walk thing totally down. [CoolDad Music]
TVTOR already played two NYC shows on their tour, but Pixies and John Grant have three on their tour this week. Those happen tonight (5/26) and Wednesday (5/27) at Beacon Theater, and Thursday (5/28) at Kings Theatre. Wednesday is sold out, but tickets for the other two are still available.
More pictures and setlists below...
photos by Greg Cristman; words by Bill Pearis
Föllakzoid / SQÜRL @ Rough Trade 5/23/2015
Chilean psych band Föllakzoid wrapped up their North American tour over the weekend, playing NYC at Rough Trade on Saturday (5/23). The band ride motorik, krautrock grooves with extended psychedelic passages and their live show (which I caught at Austin's Levitation) was some trip. The music by opening band, SQÜRL, may not be known by that many, but more probably recognize the snowy, shock of a coif on their vocalist/guitarist as that of famed indie filmmaker (and Follakzoid's Sacred Bones labelmate) Jim Jarmusch. It was a double umlaut kind of night. Pictures continue below.
photos by Debi Del Grande
Sleater-Kinney / Action Bronson / New Pornos / Angel Olsen @ Sasquatch 5/22/2015
Rain fell in distant hills on either side of the venue as rapper Action Bronson kicked off the late evening sets at the Bigfoot Stage, puppeteering the crowd with bristling confidence and a rap game to back it up. He called for middle fingers in the air - thousands complied.The 2015 Sasquatch Festival happened over Memorial Day Weekend (May 22 - 25) at The Gorge in Quincy, WA. The first day (5/22) featured sets from Sleater-Kinney, Little Dragon, Action Bronson, Angel Olsen, The New Pornographers, Thunderpussy (featuring members of Deerhunter, La Luz and more) and more. Pictures from Day 1 are in this post.
The wind picked up at the Yeti Stage as Angel Olsen and her band did their sound check. Two guitars onstage toppled over with a sudden gust, their respective musicians rushing to pick them up, each laughing nervously as backstage tarps began to flap chaotically. - [The Oregonean]
Stay tuned for pics from the rest of Saquatch 2015. Meanwhile, more of day 1 below...
photos by P Squared Photography
Condo Fucks @ Cake Shop 5/22/2015
I'll admit that it was somewhat surreal to see the three members of Yo La Tengo enter tiny basement stage at Cake Shop. We've seen hundreds of bands on this stage, but perhaps never one of the kind of legendary status that YLT possesses. The set began as all of the Condo Fucks shows we've seen have begun, with the instrumental Booker T track "Outrage" before the band personalized the Harmonics song "On the Warpath". The remaining set-proper was a high-energy run through the band's usual garage covers -- Rascals, Flamin Groovies, The Exciters and the like. At the mid-set mark, the Condo Fucks were joined by long-time friend Gaylord Fields ("The Great Gaylord") on vocals for a four-pack of songs that we've never seen the band perform before. The clear highlight was the extended version of the Swamp Dogg cult classic "Total Destruction To Your Mind" which we're streaming below. A Condo Fucks show is a rare event and it was a very classy move that Yo La Tengo celebrated Cake Shop's 10th Anniversary by treating the venue to this special show. - [NYC Taper]Cake Shop has been celebrating their 10th anniversary all month with a series of "super shows" featuring bands they love and sometimes ones don't normally play somewhere as small as this Ludow St. venue. That was the case on Friday (5/22) when Yo La Tengo played under their covers-loving alter ego Condo Fucks. Pictures and setlist from the show are in this post. NYC Taper recorded the show and you can stream "Total Destruction," which featured Gaylord Fields on vocals, below and download the whole thing over his way.
That show also had sets from a couple other long running NY-scene bands, Antietam and Speed the Plough (who we missed.) Pictures from Antietam's set are below.
photos by Greg Cristman
Primal Scream @ Warsaw 5/21/2015
Primal Scream wrapped up their North American tour with three shows in the NYC-area. Their second of two NYC shows happened Thursday night (5/21) at Brooklyn's Warsaw with an identical setlist to the previous night's Irving Plaza show. This was a stripped-down 'Scream, with core members Bobby Gillespie, guitarist Andrew Innes, keyboardist Martin Duffy, plus drummer Darrin Mooney (who's been with them since the late '90s), and bassist Simone Marie Butler who replaced Mani a few years ago. No backup singers, no fancy projections, just a set loaded (pun intended) with favorites. Pictures from that show are in this post.
Like Irving Plaza the night before, Nicole Atkins opened the show. Primal Scream's tour wrapped up Friday (5/22) at Stone Pony is Asbury Park, NJ.
More pictures from Warsaw, and setlists, below...