June 26, 2015
We all, in life, measure the length of our years not temporally, but in meaningful, personal intervals - in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in Del Close Marathons. Yes, you heard me: the annual three-day improv extravaganza is once again upon us. Now in its seventeenth year, the Upright Citizens Brigade's annual festival has expanded from one theatre to nine featuring 636 improv shows! And just like music festivals, there is an unbelievable amount of talent (Mike Birbiglia, Thomas Middleditch, Jason Matzoukas, Nick Kroll, and SNL's Sasheer Zamata, just to name a few). However, just like music festivals, there are a ton of conflicts, and you have to make a game plan. If you've got tickets to many of the sold out premium shows, well, you're in luck. For the hefty prices on those shows, you have a guaranteed seat to watch some of the most famous faces in the comedy world improvise.
Although many are sold out, there are still tickets available for some premium shows. Tonight (Friday, 6/26): Key & Peele Writers tonight at 7:30 PM, and Convoy (featuring Jason Mantzoukas and Thomas Middleditch) at 10:15 PM. On Saturday (6/27), tickets are still available for Shitty Jobs (featuring "Derrick Comedy" members Dominic Dierkes and DC Pierson, along with Ben Schwartz) at 7:30 PM, The Daily Show Writers at 9:30 PM, and Comedy Bang! Bang! Writers at 11:15 PM.
However, if you were too lazy/broke to buy any of those, fear not! The rest of the marathon is accessible for a $30 fee, and the name of the game is strategy. As lines for the general shows (at UCB Chelsea, The Magnet Theatre, and all of the East Village theatres) can have you waiting around for four hours or more during peak festival times, the smartest move is to study the schedule and pick your favorite block of shows (a "block" herein defined as the shows in between two theatre cleanings) and camp outside the theatre to wait for your seat. (Hopefully you are reading this while in line.) For your hours waiting outside on W 26th Street, you will be rewarded with show after show of the most talented improvisers in the country (and in some cases, in the world). A quick run through of the best hours of the fest are below:
The Del Close Marathon also marks the 25th anniversary of the original Upright Citizens Brigade (Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh). Watch a Today Show interview with all four, below....
Joseph Arthur and his paintings
Joseph Arthur's new album, Days of Surrender, came out in late May as a very unconventional release. One way to get it was on a USB drive -- there were various bundles with his art prints available which are now sold out, but you can still get it with one of his original paintings. You can also pick it up on CD, but the catch is there's only one CD available and it comes with the $14,999 purchase of Joseph's painted van. For fans with a slightly smaller budget, Joseph has mercifully given it a cassette release today (6/26) for the reasonable price of $15. It's not on streaming services either, but you can head below to hear three of the tracks.
Updated dates are listed, with the song streams and a video detailing that van he's selling, below...
by Bill Pearis
Destruction Unit are in town, ready to decimate at Palisades tonight (6/26) and the free "Summer Thunder" Union Pool show on Saturday afternoon (6/27). The Summer Thunder show was originally supposed to have Pampers on the bill as well, but they have had to unfortunately drop off. In their place will be Beech Creeps, and Cheena play as well. Speaking of thunder, Saturday's weather forecast is pretty dicey but if it is raining, bands will either play under the covered portion of the patio or in the indoor performance space. Either way, it's free and starts at 2 PM.
If you want to keep the fun going at Union Pool, Grooms, Rips and Broken Water play Union Pool's Saturday night show.
In related news, Cheena (who are also playing Gonerfest in Memphis) includes Margaret Chardiet whose main concern, Pharmakon, will play the second day of the two-day Summer Scum IV festival at Trans-Pecos on July 18 & 19. The fest goes all-day both days, featuring a cavalcade of noise, drone, outsider music and, of course, scum. The lineup also includes Drew McDowall (Coil/P-TV), Pool (members of Container, Kites, Spiritual Recess), Gnawed, Hollow Seed (Jesse Allen of Migrations Rust) and at least 40 more acts. It's $20 per day, or $30 for both days. Full lineup, schedule and Summer Scum IV flyer, below.
Cheena, whose lineup also includes members of Crazy Spirit, Dawn of Humans, L.O.T.I.O.N., and Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, released their debut 3-song single on Sacred Bones this past spring. You can listen to that in full, below.
The 2015 Maryland Deathfest is behind us (read our review), and now the initial lineup for 2016 is already announced. Next year happens from May 26-29 in the usual locations of Edison Lot, Rams Head Live, and Baltimore Soundstage, and so far the lineup looks like this: There's Venom (whose only US show of 2015 is FFF Fest) and the back-in-action Bongzilla, plus Samael (performing Ceremony of Opposites), Exciter, Sinister, Hail of Bullets, The Haunted, Destroyer 666, Wormed, Gruesome, Jungle Rot and many more.
Early bird passes are sold out. Stay tuned for the next round of tickets to be released and more artists TBA.
Full initial lineup below...
Plus, listen to Pete Rock's new Panda Bear remix
by Andrew Sacher
photo: Talib Kweli at Brooklyn Bowl - 6/24/15 (via BrooklynVegan Instagram)
On Thursday (6/24), hip hop legend Pete Rock celebrated his new Petestrumentals 2 album with a star-studded release show at Brooklyn Bowl. He brought out advertised guests, including Sean Price (who host Pharaohe Monch also rapped with), Slum VIllage, Large Professor, Das EFX and more. Plus there were some surprises like DJ Premier, who held down the DJ booth for Pete to end the night on the mic, and Talib Kweli, who came out early on to play his hit "Get By."
Talib will be back at Brooklyn Bowl twice in the next week, with live full-band shows on Wednesday (7/1) and Thursday (7/2). Both will be opened by Rapsody, Niko Is and K Valentine. Tickets for night 1 and night 2 are on sale now.
Pete Rock also has other NYC appearances coming up, including one TONIGHT (6/26). It's the "Masters of Ceremony" show at Radio City with fellow legends Rakim, The LOX, DMX, Shabba Ranks, Mase, Brand Nubian and Das EFX. Pete's playing as a duo with longtime collaborator CL Smooth. Tickets are still available. After that show, Rakim, The LOX and other surprise guests head to the Blue Note for a 12:30 AM jam with The Soul Rebels, Slick Rick and surprise guests (tickets).
Pete's also one of the five remixers on Panda Bear's upcoming remix EP. Listen to his taken on "Crosswords" and check out the tracklist for the EP, below...
photo: Wolvserpent at Acheron in 2010 (more by Fred Pessaro)
Tonight (6/26), the three-day metal festival Stardust begins at Brooklyn's Saint Vitus and continues through Sunday (6/28). Since we last spoke, the lineups have changed a bit. Taake, Bethlehem, Wolvhammer, Young and in the Way, and Inter Arma all dropped off, and Wolvserpent were added to two of the shows. The lineups now look like this:
Fri, 6/26: Wolvserpent, Fell Voices, AniconTickets for all three, including a three-day pass option, are still available.
Sat, 6/27: Tombs, Black Anvil, Svart Crown, Vorde
Sun, 6/28: Wolvserpent, Fell Voices, Svart Crown, Mutilation Rites
photos by Carly Hoskins
Creepoid / Ecstatic Vision
Two Philly bands, the shoegazy Creepoid and the heavy psych-rockin' Ecstatic Vision, have new albums out this month and celebrated together at NYC's Mercury Lounge on Tuesday (6/23). The albums in question were Cemetery Highrise Slum on Collect Records and Sonic Praise on Relapse, respectively. Both albums are currently streaming in full. You can listen to both below, and check out pictures of that Merc show in this post.
Creepoid were also going to play a Trans-Pecos show with Sick Feeling this Saturday (6/27), but that's been cancelled and there's a Uniform show that night instead. They'll return to NYC in July though for a Music Hall of Williamsburg show (7/24) with Emma Ruth Rundle's band Marriages. Tickets for that one are still available. The Philly band were also just announced for hometown festival Made In America with Beyonce, The Weeknd, and more.
More Merc pics and the album streams below...
A man who has an endless supply of irons for the fire, Damon Albarn has written the music for a new stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland which will make its debut at the upcoming Manchester International Festival. (It's not his first stab at the theatre.) Titled wonder.land, it reimagines Lewis Carrol's classic fairytale as an online game where shy Alice escapes to from her unhappy life. Lyrics are by Moira Buffini and the production is directed by National Theatre's Rufus Norris. The musical will run at Manchester International Festival from June 29 - July 12, and will begin its London run in November. You can watch a trailer for it below.
photos by Rachel Juarez-Carr
Kevin Morby / Weyes Blood @ The Lexington, London, 6/17/2015
Kevin Morby just wrapped up a European tour with Weyes Blood, which hit The Lexington in London on June 17. We've got pictures from that show in this post. Having released his second solo album, Still Life, last year via Woodsist, Morby recently announced that he'd signed with Dead Oceans and his first album for the label will be out next year. Stay tuned.
Since we last posted, Kevin released a video for Still Life's "Parade" which was directed by Elise Tyler. The features Kevin hanging with his old Woods friends on a quiet day in NYC, going for Vietnamese food, and generally chilling out. Watch that, and check out more pics from his London show with Weyes Blood, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
The last time I saw Conor Oberst in a live setting was at Radio City in 2011. Conor and his band (Bright Eyes) were in semi-formal attire, and the lavish venue was decked out with huge, elegant stage props. Fast forward to last night (6/25), and he's thrashing around Bushwick DIY venue Shea Stadium's tiny stage in a t-shirt, jeans and a baseball cap. It was the first of two NYC release shows for his punk band Desaparecidos' great new album, Payola, their first since their 2002 debut and Conor's best work in at least a decade.
It's almost hard to imagine this is a guy who just last year released an album on Nonesuch with pedal steels and clarinets, considering how natural he looked rocking the fuck out last night. I'm only guessing here, but seeing the passion Conor had playing those songs, it seemed like revisiting his punk past is something he's been dying to do. And I mean, of all the "nostalgia tours" Conor could do, it's not even possible that this could be a cash grab or anything. If he wanted to do that, he'd play I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning in full or something. He wouldn't make a new Desaparecidos album. This is Conor making some of the most energized music of his career, and having a blast playing it.
It was a blast to watch too. The whole album had only been on the internet for ten days (though seven of the songs were around much longer), but this crowd came ready to yell along to every song. We got most, if not all, of the new record, and they sprinkled in a few off the debut too. There wasn't a dull moment.
Opening were Brooklyn staples and Conor's new friends, The So So Glos, who also appear on the new Desaparecidos album. Conor thanked them multiple times during his set, and also came out to sing on a song during theirs. I hadn't seen those guys in a while, but they're still killing it. Don't miss them when they open for Desaparecidos again on their tour which includes the larger NYC venue Webster Hall on August 6 (tickets).
Desaparecidos do it again tonight (6/26) at another intimate Brooklyn venue, Rough Trade. It's with The Bandroidz, who are also on that Webster bill. Sold out.
More pictures from Shea Stadium below...