Entries tagged with: Amanda Hatfield

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photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis

Royal Headache / Sheer Mag / The Gotobeds @ Saint Vitus 8/30/2015
Royal Headache
Sheer Mag
The Gotobeds

Watching Australian band Royal Headache is kinda like being courtside at a tennis match, with frontman Shogun being the ball. The guy is a constant blur, and was bouncing from one side of the stage to the other at Saint Vitus on Sunday night (8/30). He is most definitely the lifeblood of the band, an absolute maniac who was shirtless and drenched in sweat just a few songs into their set. He also reminded me a bit of The Fall's Mark E Smith in that, even though he doesn't play an instrument onstage, he seems to be the architect of their sound, correcting the substitute bassist when he played a bum note, and guiding the drummer at one point. All while singing his heart out in a soulful croon that is somewhere between Steve Marriott and Feargal Sharkey. They are a total blast.

This was the final of three NYC shows for Royal Headache, all in Brooklyn and all with Philadelphia's Sheer Mag. That band's tough sound draws most of its influence from late-'70s riff rock like Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy, while most of its energy comes from singer Tina Halladay who is also a belter. I don't quite get all the ultra-hype surrounding them in some circles, but they were good.

Opening the night were Pittsburgh's The Gotobeds who came up just for this show. They were in a good mood and frontman Eli Kasan, who was later singing along to pretty much every Royal Headache song, was cracking jokes and throwing kicks throughout the set. And an interesting set it was. In addition to three songs from their first album for Sub Pop which is due out early next year, they also covered the entirety of Redd Kross debut 12", and invited Kevin Pedersen, who runs Royal Headache's label What's Your Rupture and whose birthday it was, onstage to sing vocals on a "Annette's Got the Hits." There was also a big skeleton/witch model/costume that guitarist Tom Payne decided to wear at the end of the set. "Can you believe we found this in the trash just a couple hours ago," cracked Kasan.

The Noisey-presented show was just $5.00 to get in, and that included a free Shiner beer, much like you'll get at the Speedy Ortiz show happening at the same venue tonight (8/31).

Lots more pictures from the whole night at Saint Vitus, below...

Continue reading "Royal Headache and Sheer Mag wrapped up their three-show Brooklyn Run at Saint Vitus with The Gotobeds (pics, review)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Colleen Green / Mannequin Pussy / Tweens
Colleen Green
Mannequin Pussy

Colleen Green brought her tour with Mannequin Pussy to NYC over the weekend for two shows, Cake Shop on Saturday and Palisades on Sunday (8/23). Pictures of the latter are in this post.

Larry & the Babes opened with a set of dull '50s/'60s pop-inspired indie rock and sounded like they could use a few more practices, but Tweens quickly upped the energy in the room with their sugar-high garage rock. Tweens are always fun live and last night was no exception. They worked a few new songs in which all sounded great, and of course had the place bopping around for "Be Mean." Then it was Mannequin Pussy, who added a bassist since I last saw them which was definitely a big plus. Their indie rock-meets-hardcore formula was already tight, but the fuller band made it even better.

Speaking of full bands, Colleen Green had been advertising this as a full-band tour, which would make sense seeing as this year's I Want to Grow Up is her first full-band album. Unfortunately, despite saying it'd be a trio, it was just her and drummer Casey Weissbuch (also of Mitski's band and ex-Diarrhea Planet), and I left feeling disappointed. I think I Want to Grow Up is a very good record, but without a bassist or at least a bigger guitar setup, the songs just felt empty.

Tweens play NYC again at Cake Shop tonight (8/24). More pictures from Palisades below...

Continue reading "Colleen Green, Mannequin Pussy & Tweens @ Palisades (pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Cayetana / Chumped / Worriers / Thin Lips at Baby's All Right - 8/15/15
Thin Lips

The great quadruple-billed tour of Cayetana, Chumped, Worriers and Thin Lips wrapped up over the weekend with a BrooklynVegan-presented NYC show on Saturday (8/15) at Baby's All Right. The show started on the earlier side (7:30 PM) and people were still trickling in when Thin Lips took the stage, but it didn't take too long for the sold-out venue to fill up. Everyone sounded great, and you could tell fans really did come out for all four bands. Worriers, who were supporting their just-released Imaginary Life album on Don Giovanni, were the only band I'd never seen before (I had only ever seen Lauren solo), but the full band was super tight.

It was an emotional night too, with all four bands giving mini speeches about how important the tour was to them for having more women than men. Anika from Chumped's story included a time when she actually met Augusta from Cayetana in a bathroom at Fest before either of them were playing in bands, and they talked about how they'd love to play music but didn't feel like the opportunity was there. Of course, both did end up making music (very good music), and I think everyone in the venue on Saturday was grateful for that.

More pictures from Baby's below...

Continue reading "Cayetana, Chumped, Worriers & Thin Lips played Baby's All Right (pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Vince Staples / Lil Herb / Loaf Muzik @ The Shop - 8/10/2015
Vince Staples
Lil Herb
Loaf Muzik

"This song is dedicated to my n--- Cornel West. He's locked up right now," said Staples, before asking the Brooklyn crowd to raise their hands in the gesture linked to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Throughout the show, Staples also alluded to recent instances of police brutality. "If you're in Brooklyn, New York tonight and you do not f-k with the police, you gotta make some motherf-king noise," Staples said. When concertgoers at the back of the venue didn't join in, he addressed the fans. "I know what's wrong with the back! Them n---s is cops!"
[Entertainment Weekly]

Long Beach rapper Vince Staples came to NYC last night (8/10) for the latest BrooklynVegan-curated installment of Red Bull Sound Select at new-ish Bushwick venue The Shop. Opening was Chicago rapper Lil Herb and local group Loaf Muzik. That's an excerpt from Entertainment Weekly's review of the show above. XXL caught it too, and pointed out that Vic Mensa and Joey Bada$$ were in attendance. Pictures are in this post.

Loaf Muzik got things started around 8 PM and played for almost an hour straight, with the energy only increasing both on stage and off during their set (pretty impressive for an opener). The stage was as packed as could be with Loaf Muzik and the many friends they brought up there, and if you came to the show not knowing their music (which I think was a lot of people), you definitely left remembering their set.

Then came Lil Herb. He was less wild than Loaf Muzik and didn't have a mass of friends jumping around with him, but did have a lot of fans come out who clearly knew the words. Vibe caught his set too, and wrote: "Unlike Herb's aggressive demeanor on-wax, the Eastside Chi-Town native felt at home on stage, beaming for most of the night and saluting his fans for showing love."

It was basically as packed as The Shop could be by the time Vince Staples was ready to go on stage. The whole part of the venue in front of the stage had fans squeezed in, people were standing on tables and booths to get a better view, and the minute the lights dimmed and Vince walked out the place erupted in cheers. This was clearly going to be something different than Vince's last public Brooklyn show that happened only two months earlier. Granted, that one was opening for Run the Jewels in a huge venue, but it's pretty clear that once Vince's debut album hit at the end of June, it caught on almost immediately and last night's show was even more evidence of that. Whether he was playing off the new album or off 2014's equally excellent Hell Can Wait EP, he had the majority of the crowd dancing, waving their arms, and yelling along.

At the moment at least, a small club like The Shop seems like exactly the type of place Vince feels at home. The way he gets in his own zone when he raps is nothing for the festival circuit, and neither are his dark unconventional beats that sounded great coming out of The Shop's booming sound system. But the place was so wild for him last night that maybe it won't be long before he's headlining the size venues he'll be playing on his upcoming tour opening for A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator and Danny Brown.

Thanks to all the bands, Red Bull, The Shop, poster designer Tyler Spangler, and everyone who came out. If you were there, we hope you grabbed one of the free limited edition posters on your way out.

The next BrooklynVegan-curated Red Bull Sound Select show is Against Me!, Cakes Da Killa and Big Eyes at Asbury Park's Stone Pony on September 4. Like the Vince Staples show was, it's $3 with RSVP or $10 without.

More pictures and videos from the Vince Staples show below...

Continue reading "Vince Staples, Lil Herb & Loaf Muzik played The Shop (BrooklynVegan-RB #SoundSelect pics & videos)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

tUnE-yArDs / Shabazz Palaces @ Prospect Park 8/8/2015
Shabazz Palaces

Grooving through "Wait for a Minute," "Powa," "Es-so," "Sink-O," "Real Thing," "Look Around," and "Stop That Man," tUnE-yArDs never ended up quite where they started. Some ideas trailed away to crazy places - like in "Sink-O," where Garbus breezes through the words, "Peace, peace and love, love is waiting for the feeling of discomfort to pass before killing." Wait, what?

No emotion was off limits, and there was no way of guessing what came next. All you could do was give in. So 10,000 people gave in together, arms in the air, bodies swaying in the darkness. tUnE-yArDs closed in total brilliance with "Water Fountain," "Bizness," and "Left Behind," and the whole park moved like an insatiable beast. - [Pancakes and Whiskey]

It was the final free show of Celebrate Brooklyn's 2015 season in Prospect Park on Saturday (8/8), with tUnE-yArDs packing the bandshell. Shabazz Palaces, who opened the night and played a headlining Brooklyn show earlier in the week, joined Merrill Garbus and company for "Sink-O" and "Bizness." (tUnE-yArDs also played the Montauk Surf Club on Sunday.) Pictures from Saturday's night's show, and tUnE-yArDs' setlist, are in this post.

Celebrate Brooklyn! has one last show to go in 2015 -- the sold-out Willie Nelson & Family show on Wednesday (8/12) with Old Crow Medicine Show. More pics of tUnE-yArDs and Shabazz Palaces, below...

Continue reading "tUnE-yArDs & Shabazz Palaces played the last free Celebrate Brooklyn! Prospect Park show of 2015 (pics, setlist)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Worriers @ Knitting Factory - 8/7/2015

Brooklyn's Worriers celebrated their new album, Imaginary Life, with a hometown show on Friday (8/7) at Knitting Factory. The Don Giovanni-released record was produced by Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace, and it's quality pop punk that's as political as it is personal. The openers at Knitting Factory were well-matched: Emilyn Brodsky, Adult Mom and Fleabite. Pictures of all four acts are in this post.

Worriers were already announced for a few dates on the ongoing Cayetana / Chumped / Thin Lips tour, and we're now happy to announce that they'll be the special guests at the BrooklynVegan-presented NYC stop: Saturday (8/15) at Baby's All Right. Tickets for that show are still available.

Speaking of BV-presented shows and Against Me!, AM! play one in Asbury Park on 9/4.

Updated Worriers dates are listed, with more pictures from Knitting Factory and the video for "Most Space" off the new album, below...

Continue reading "Worriers played Knitting Factory, added to BV-presented NYC show with Cayetana, Chumped & Thin Lips (pics, dates)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

U.S. Girls / Yuck / EZTV
U.S. Girls

River Rocks wrapped up its 2015 season on a very lovely Thursday evening with U.S. Girls, UK indie rockers Yuck, and local boys EZTV as the sunset painted the manhattan skyline in hues of pink and lavender. Pictures from the evening are in this post.

Even though they were the middle band, Yuck were clearly the draw of this show, and played a nice, rocking set of favorites from their two albums and a few from the band's third which is, as singer Max Bloom awkwardly/hilariously put it "coming in your face in 2016." It was a fun set. Unfortunately a good chunk of the crowd left after their set, making things a bit sparse for U.S. Girls performance. (As good as U.S. Girls new 4AD-released album, Half Free, is [and it is]... it's not out yet. Not sure why they were on last.) Meg Remy, who basically is U.S. Girls, didn't seem to pay it any mind, though, and with the help of two back up singers belted out songs like the great "Damn That Valley." She's got pipes and charisma.

EZTV, who were only added to the bill the night before, opened the evening with a selection from their Captured Tracks debut. Their brand of janglepop is a lot like the kind that popped up in the late '70s and early '80s in the wake of Big Star, and they do it well. Speaking of the '80s: the band now includes second guitarist Will Cole whose father is Lloyd Cole.

More pics from the final 2015 River Rocks, below...

Continue reading "U.S. Girls, Yuck & EZTV played 2015 River Rocks finale (pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

photo: Father John Misty / Angel Olsen @ Central Park SummerStage 8/5/2015
Father John Misty
Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen

Josh Tillman's alter-ego Father John Misty has an oversized persona that's made for big shows and Wednesday night he took it to Central Park for a sold-out SummerStage show. FJM seemed in good spirits, and worked every inch of the stage's real estate. For the encore (an "unprecedented move" he cheekily claimed) he did "I Went To the Store One Day" solo acoustic and ended with "Everyman Needs a Companion." Setlist is below.

Angel Olsen also played, delivering another bewitching set and opening the evening was Summer Moon, which features members of The Strokes, Au Revoir Simone and The Like.  Pictures from the whole evening continue below...

Continue reading "Father John Misty, Angel Olsen & Summer Moon played Central Park SummerStage (pics, setlist)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

The Appleseed Cast @ The Studio at Webster Hall - 7/28/15
The Appleseed Cast
The Appleseed Cast

The Appleseed Cast are currently on tour playing their 2000 sophomore album, Mare Vitalis, in full for its 15th anniversary, and that tour hits NYC's Studio at Webster Hall last night (7/28). Appleseed Cast are one of those bands where it's hard to pick a favorite album -- each one has its merits and they are all different but never too drastically. Still, there was something extra great and cohesive about seeing this excellent album played front to back. Of course there's the nostalgic value of an entire set of songs you've known for years, and the given fact that these songs were *meant* to be played in this order, but it also felt like the band was more locked in than the last couple times I saw them.

The Appleseed Cast are the kind of band that mesmerizes, more than inspires dancing and singalongs, and mesmerize they did. The Mare Vitalis songs have their individual intricacies (like the tricky lead riff of "Fishing The Sky"), but mostly they build the kind of walls of sound that make you forget where you are. When they announced they had one song left last night I thought "it's over already?" They did of course give us an encore, which began with a cover of The Stone Roses' "I Wanna Be Adored" (you can watch a video of that cover from the Seattle stop of the tour, below).

Opening was Ohio's Annabel, who recently released their new album Having It All on Tiny Engines. They make the kind of '90s-style emo that The Appleseed Cast briefly dabbled in on their 1998 debut, and though Mare Vitalis isn't really up that same alley, it was still a good fit. Before them was Adjy, who make similar quirky multi-instrumental pop to Anathallo, Freelance Whales, and other oft-forgotten bands that came in the wake of Arcade Fire and Sufjan.

More pictures from The Studio At Webster Hall below...

Continue reading "The Appleseed Cast played 'Mare Vitalis' in full at Webster Studio with Annabel and Adjy (pics, review)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Mr. Twin Sister / Moon King @ Bowery Ballroom 7/24/2015
Mr Twin Sister
Moon King

Mr. Twin Sister wrapped up their tour with Toronto's Moon King on Friday (7/25) with a homecoming show at NYC's Bowery Ballroom. It was a full house and songs like "In the House of Yes," "Rude Boy," and "Out of the Dark" had the crowd dancing. Pictures, including one of Mr. Twin Sister's setlist, are in this post.

Mr. Twin Sister have just been added to the 2015 Out in the Streets Festival which happens this weekend (August 1 & 2) at the Onderdonk House in Ridgewood, Queens. Also playing the two-day fest are Total Slacker, Stranger Cat, Wild Yaks, Heliotropes, Air Waves and more. tickets are on sale and poster and daily lineups for Out in Streets fest are below.

Moon King, meanwhile, played a great opening set (they've really been at the top of their game lately) and will soon be back on the road with Youth Lagoon this fall, hitting Webster Hall on October 29. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (7/31) at 10 AM.

More pictures from Bowery below...

Continue reading "Mr. Twin Sister wrapped up tour w/ Moon King at Bowery Ballroom (pics), playing Ridgewood's Out in the Streets fest"

photos by Amanda Hatfield


Porches played what was probably their biggest show to date in Prospect Park on Saturday night. Lines for the show, which was headlined by North Carolina electropop duo Sylvan Esso, were wrapped around Prospect Park in multiple directions before doors, and that meant a capacity crowd for an opening band. Thousands of Sylvan Esso fans were waiting for their headliner to come on, inside and outside the "Celebrate Brooklyn" gates. That could be a disaster for an opening band, but it definitely worked in the NY band's favor, which was clear by the loud applause during and after their set. They did in fact sound great. Sylvan Esso, who covered Porches last year, also expressed their fandom and apprecation later in the show.

Greta Kline aka Frankie Cosmos was on bass and some vocals for the show, but sadly that will never be true again. Greta confirms she is leaving Porches to focus more on Frankie Cosmos.

Like we guessed they might be, Porches were added to one of the Brooklyn dates of the Exploding In Sound extended weekend. Porches play 8/20 at Baby's All Right with their former EIS labelmates Pile, Grass Is Green, Two Inch Astronaut and Washer. Tickets are still available.

Pics of Sylvan Esso at Prospect Park coming soon. More pics of Porches below...

Continue reading "Porches lose Greta Kline as member, played huge Prospect Park show, added to Exploding In Sound at Baby's (pics & tix)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Courtney Barnett
Speedy Ortiz

On Tuesday, Courtney Barnett, Sadie of Speedy Ortiz and Torres headed to the LES for an art show (pictures), and last night (7/22) those three acts played a huge sold-out NYC show at Terminal 5. All three were supporting great new albums -- Courtney's Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, Speedy's Foil Deer, and Torres' Sprinter -- and all three played rocking sets. Courtney went 10 minutes past Terminal 5's 11 PM curfew, and seemed like she woulda kept on going if allowed, quipping, "I thought New York was the city that never sleeps?" We've got pictures from the show in this post.

After the show, Torres headed to Elvis Guesthouse for a tiny midnight show (pictures). Anyone catch that? She'll play NYC again on her tour with Garbage.

More pictures from T5, with Courtney's setlist, a picture of Speedy's, and a video of Courtney playing "Avant Gardener," below...

Continue reading "Courtney Barnett, Speedy Ortiz & Torres played Terminal 5 (pics, video, setlist)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Mitski at Palisades - 7/17/15

Towards the very start of her set, Mitski addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support and encouraging the historically marginalized communities to be proud of their roots and "take up as much space as you can", with a disarming sincerity that's seen far too infrequently.

...With ex-Diarrhea Planet drummer Casey Weissbuch (who's also the mastermind of Infinity Cat's extraordinary cassette series) anchoring the trio, the band dove headfirst into a memorable set that wound up recapturing a lot of the magic of the last Mitski set to get coverage here (no small feat) while supplementing it with new intricacies. Deceptively nuanced and- a recurring theme throughout the night- unerringly heartfelt, it touched on various points throughout the songwriter's discography, while- understandably- leaning heavily on the Bury Me At Makeout Creek material. If Mitski was baring her soul on the Palisades stage, the audience was reciprocating that generosity with extremely vocal support between songs.

At one point, in one of the evening's most genuine and communal moments, Miyawaki ran backstage to collect the bottled water on hand for the artists and passed it out to the audience to help them cope with the uncomfortable humidity that only a small space packed with bodies on a warm day can bring. [Heartbreaking Bravery]

Brooklyn songwriter Mitski wrapped up her tour with two hometown shows over the weekend: Palisades on Friday (7/17) and Shea Stadium on Sunday (7/19). Both sold out very far in advance, which isn't too surprising since Mitski keeps quickly moving up in the world and her tourmates were both worth seeing on their own: the Run For Cover-signed Elvis Depressedly and Epoch member/Frankie Cosmos collaborator Eskimeaux. We caught the Palisades show, which also had Normal Person, who share members with LVL UP and Crying. (Elvis Depressedly also had one of the LVL UP guys on drums.) The review quoted above says it perfectly, but the things Mitski did and said between songs made this show as great as the songs themselves.

Pictures from Palisades continue below...

Continue reading "Mitski, Elvis Depressedly & Eskimeaux played 2 NYC shows (pics from Palisades w/ Normal Person)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis

Jacco / Meatbodies / Dinner @ Baby's All Right 7/12/2015
Jacco Gardner

Dutch retro psych-pop wunderkind Jacco Gardner wrapped up his current North American tour in NYC on Sunday night (7/12) at Baby's All Right. While his second album, Hypnophobia, perhaps hews a little too closely to the sound/structure of his debut, Gardner really is great live with a seriously tight band who ably recreate the late-'60s baroque sounds of his albums. His band on this tour included his old Trouble in Mind labelmate (and fellow paisley popper) Matson.

This was an all-around fun, if all-over-the-place, bill with LA garage rockers Meatbodies, who played 4 Knots the day before, as special guests. The night started with Dinner, the Danish synthpop singer whose live shows veer more towards interactive performance art. He's fun. Pictures from the whole show continue below...

Continue reading "pics: Jacco Gardner, Meatbodies & Dinner @ Baby's All Right"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

New Pornographers / Thao @ Celebrate Brooklyn! 7/11/2015
The New Pornographers
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

The New Pornographers played a free Celebrate Brooklyn! show at Prospect Park Bandshell on Saturday (7/11). The last time they did this was in 2005, part of a Canada Day celebration. Frontman AC Newman noted how that show changed the course of his life in that he met his wife at it. "I have no idea where I'd be now if I hadn't played that show." It was a perfect night, weather-wise, and the bandshell couldn't have been more packed. Unfortunately the lineup this time didn't include either Neko Case or Dan Bejar (we were spoiled on last year's tour) but they were still great, playing a generous 22-song set. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down were well-matched openers for NPs, making for a lovely evening in Prospect Park. Pictures from the night, plus New Pornographers' setlist, are in this post.

This weekend New Pornographers will be in Chicago for Pitchfork Fest. More pics from Prospect Park below...

Continue reading "The New Pornographers and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down played a packed Prospect Park (pics, setlist)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Rainer Maria @ Saint Vitus - 7/10/15
Rainer Maria
Rainer Maria

The Rainer Maria reunion marched on with two more shows in the band's hometown of NYC over the weekend: Saint Vitus on Friday (7/10) and Shea Stadium on Saturday (7/11). We caught the Vitus show, which was a similar setlist to the one they played at Bowery Ballroom on New Year's Eve. The place was sold out, packed, and lots of people were singing along. Someone asked if a new album would happen and after hesitating they did admit "we're trying out some new material."

Olivia Neutron-John and Vision Control opened the show. Pictures continue below...

Continue reading "Rainer Maria continued their reunion with two NYC shows (pics from Saint Vitus)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Speedy Ortiz / Weyes Blood
Speedy Ortiz
Weyes Blood

The annual River Rocks series of free shows on NYC's Pier 84 kicked off yesterday (7/9) and thanks to the weather, it got off to a rocky start. Rain and lightning caused headliner Waxahatchee's set to be cancelled, for which the band apologized and said "we'll make it up to NY." Speedy Ortiz did get to play, but unfortunately the weather wasn't too kind to singer/guitarist Sadie Dupuis' gear:

As far as we know, everything went over just fine for opener Weyes Blood's set though. Pictures of her and Speedy are in this post.

Waxahatchee are set to return to NYC on their tour with Kurt Vile, which hits Webster Hall on October 7 (tickets). They also have an Asbury Park show with Weyes Blood on 10/10 at Asbury Lanes (tickets).

Speedy will be back here on July 22 at Terminal 5 with Courtney Barnett and Torres. That show is sold out.

And Weyes Blood recently announced a tour with Little Wings that hits NYC on September 10 at Rough Trade. Tickets for that show go on sale today (7/10) at noon.

River Rocks continues with We Were Promised Jetpacks and Krill on 7/23 and U.S. Girls and Yuck on 8/6.

More pictures from last night's show, below...

Continue reading "River Rocks began (pics), BUT rain cancelled Waxahatchee's set and ruined Speedy Ortiz's guitar pedals"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Bill Pearis

Dick Diver @ Baby's All Right 7/7/2015
Dick Diver

Australia's Dick Diver played Baby's All Right on Tuesday night (7/7), one of the first dates of their U.S. tour supporting their terrific new album, Melbourne, Florida. It was a surprisingly packed house, including a lot of Australian expats and a fair number of fans who knew the words to almost all the songs. (Maybe Courtney Barnett wearing their t-shirt in a press shot has helped raise awareness.) The band were in a very good mood too. They offered up a dozen or so songs, mostly from the new album, and engaged in a little joke-telling during tune-ups.

Everyone in the band writes and sings, but it's a fairly cohesive sound, rooted in the kind of jangly guitar pop which that part of the world does so well (The Clean, Go-Betweens, etc) with multiple-part harmonies to boot. Highlights for me were basically my favorite songs from the album, particularly the lovely "Percentage Points" and rousing "Tearing the Posters Down." Sound and lighting were especially good last night. Great show. Pictures from their performance, including one of the setlist (which they didn't follow to the letter), are in this post.

When Dick Diver's tour ends, bassist Al Montfort will stick around to join Total Control (he's in a handful of bands) for their US tour in August.

I got to Baby's about halfway through openers Lightning Bug's set. They were better suited on this bill than when I saw them open for Kate Tempest, and their brand of motorik psych sounded good. Plus, they covered Broadcast's "I Found the F" which is an easy way to win me over. Kleenex Girl Wonder's Graham Smith opened the show, but we missed him.

Dick Diver also played a last-minute surprise show at Cake Shop on Sunday after Canadian dates fell through. (Anyone catch that one?) More pictures of their Baby's show below...

Continue reading "Dick Diver played Baby's All Right with Lightning Bug (pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Joey Bada$$ / Flatbush Zombies / Underachievers / crowd
Steez Day 2015
Steez Day 2015
Steez Day 2015
Steez Day 2015

But the night kept getting more hyped and the crowd's energy was building along with it. The Underachievers took the stage as the sun officially set, running through a slew of songs from their debut mixtape Indiegoism and their latest solo project, Cellar Door, including "Sun Through Rain" and "Amorphus." Mick Jenkins, Justine Skye, Bodega Bamz, Vashtie and 2015 XXL Freshman Raury all rolled through as Flatbush Zombies' set began to the loudest cheers of the night, while Ab-Soul and his girlfriend Yaris Sanchez hung out behind the scenes.

...But that was just the beginning; Ab-Soul then took the stage for his track "Terrorist Threats," rocking at the front of the stage with Joey going crazy beside him. The next to take the stage was A$AP Ferg, who hadn't been spotted backstage before then, who came out as the crowd erupted and asked the crowd to put their hands in the air for both STEEZ and A$AP Yams. Ferg then launched into "Work," which flowed seamlessly into "Shabba Ranks" and threw things onto another level. A moment of silence was called and Pro Era all took a knee on stage and turned to the projector behind them as a video tribute to Capital STEEZ played on screen. As STEEZ's mother, sisters, nephew and other family members watched from the side, Pro Era huddled for a moment in the middle of the stage before launching into "Survival Tactics," Joey's breakout song off 1999 that featured STEEZ and did more than anything to that point to launch Pro Era's hip-hop dreams and expose their balanced and insightful lyricism to the masses. [XXL]

In honor of the late Pro Era member Capital STEEZ, Joey Bada$$ and the rest of the Pro Era crew presented the inaugural Steez Day show in Central Park yesterday (7/7), which would have been Steez's 22nd birthday. They brought out a bunch of their talented friends, including Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers (who just announced a new album and tour), Phony Ppl, Smoke DZA, Dyme-A-Duzin, 22 Love and SMTH, plus surprise appearances from Ab-Soul and A$AP Ferg. Later that night, a chunk of the lineup played the afterparty at Highline Ballroom, and the previous night, Joey and other friends showed up at Statik Selektah's release show at Santos. Statik was also on hand to DJ Steez Day.

More pictures of Underachievers' set here, and more pictures from the rest of Steez Day, below...

Continue reading "Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers, Ab-Soul, A$AP Ferg & more celebrated Steez Day in Central Park (pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

The Underachievers in Central Park - 7/7/15
Steez Day 2015
Steez Day 2015

The Underachievers helped Joey Bada$$ celebrate Steez Day yesterday (7/7) with a show in Central Park and an afterparty at Highline Ballroom. Pictures from their set at the Central Park show are in this post, and pictures of the other acts on that bill are coming soon.

The duo have now announced that their sophomore album, Evermore - The Art of Duality, will come out this fall via RPM MSC and that first single "Take Your Place" is due out Friday (7/10). They also announced a headlining fall tour with support from Pouya & The Buffet Boys, Kirk Knight and Bodega Bamz.

The tour includes a show in their hometown of NYC on October 24 at Webster Hall. Tickets for that show will be on sale soon.

All dates are listed, with the tour flyer and more pictures from Central Park, below...

Continue reading "The Underachievers played Central Park, announce new LP & tour w/ Buffet Boys, Kirk Knight & Bodega Bamz (pics, dates)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Pride March 2015
Pride March 2015
Pride March 2015

"What do we want?"

"Marriage equality!"

"When did we get it?"


Two days after the United States Supreme Court affirmed same-sex marriage as a right, well-timed pride parades on Sunday in the country's twin hubs of gay activism, New York City and San Francisco, promised a sort of social catharsis -- a bicoastal toast to the nation's rapid shift on gay rights and an extended curtain call for the movement that drove it.

"All 50 states!" the New York crowd roared at one point. It was no longer a plea, but a celebration.

If even a typical pride parade can blur the lines between friend and stranger, the proceedings on Sunday assumed the feel of a large-scale wedding reception, uniting graying activists, fledgling families and party seekers in a historic moment that all seemed keenly aware they occupied. - [NY Times]

With Friday's historic same sex marriage ruling by the Supreme Court, it was a very very special Pride Weekend in NYC, which culminated with Sunday's annual March down 5th Ave. Pictures from the parade are in this post (some are NSFW), with lots more below.

UPDATE: Even more here!

Continue reading "the historic 2015 NYC Gay Pride March in pics"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

St. Vincent / Nelly Furtado, tUnE-yArDs, Dev Hynes / finale
Contemporary Color
Contemporary Color
Contemporary Color

In "Contemporary Color," a copresentation of Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mr. Byrne has organized collaborations among 10 elite color guard teams and recording artists, including St. Vincent, Nelly Furtado and Devonté Hynes. Between acts, the showcase, performed on Saturday at Barclays Center, included video clips making it clear that for many students, color guard is a way to find like-minded souls in what can be the most harrowing of American experiences: high school.

The idea to pair color guard with live music is an intriguing one, but the results don't entirely click. One exception was the pairing of Somerville High School in New Jersey with Money Mark and Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys whose music, not unlike that of a marching band, grew in power. But too much of the music was on the slow side, suffocating the routines and making it apparent that the earnestness of the performers clashed with the musicians who had difficulty shedding their personas. They may have been in bands in high school, but it didn't feel as if they had ever been band geeks. - [NY Times]

After two shows last week in Toronto, David Byrne brought his music-meets-color-guard "Contemporary Color" extravaganza to Barclays Center on Saturday (6/27) and Sunday (6/28), pairing performers such as St. Vincent, How to Dress Well, Dev Hynes, Ad Rock & Money Mark, tUnE-yArDs, Nelly Furtado and Zola Jesus (performing songs written just for this production) with high school color guard teams. Pictures from Saturday's performance, plus video of St. Vincent and David Byrne's performances from Sunday, continue below...

Continue reading "David Byrne, St. Vincent, Zola Jesus, Dev Hynes & more played 'Contemporary Color' at Barclays (pics / video)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Destruction Unit at Union Pool - 6/27/15
Destruction Unit
Destruction Unit

Destruction Unit brought their tour to Brooklyn this weekend, giving us two shows in 24 hours. First they played Palisades on Friday night (6/26) and then got up on Saturday (6/27) for a free afternoon show at Union Pool. The band recently announced a new album (Negative Feedback Resistor, due 9/18 via Sacred Bones), and they used these shows to show off those songs. Considering Destruction Unit are at their best in a live setting, it's pretty great that they're doing a lot of the touring for this record before it's out, allowing us to be introduced to the new songs by the force of their live show rather than through computer speakers.

The new songs have everything that made Destruction Unit great in the past, but judging by these two shows, they might be even better. There's more fast parts, the heavy parts are heavier, and the psychedelia is mesmerizing as ever. Caught between a headbang-worthy rhythm section and a sensory overload-inducing wall of sound, they simultaneously had part of the crowd at Palisades moshing and another part too tripped out to flail their limbs. And as always, the band were as wild as performers as they are as musicians. Guitarists Jes Aurelius and Nick Nappa constantly shift from wielding their guitars in the air to thrashing away at them. And frontman Ryan Rousseau corners himself at the side of the stage but still gets maniacal, like when he caused a towering PA speaker to fall at Union Pool and played on without flinching as four audience members struggled to fix it.

The Union Pool show, part of the venue's Summer Thunder series, happened under the roof-covered patio due to rain. This caused the crowd to surround itself around the large bush in the center of the patio. The pictures in this post are from that show, including openers Cheena and Beech Creeps.

More below...

Continue reading "Destruction Unit previewed their new record with 2 NYC shows in 24 hours (pics from Union Pool w/ Cheena & Beech Creeps)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis

No Joy @ Rough Trade 6/27/2015
No Joy

Montreal's No Joy wrapped up their 'More Faithful' tour in NYC with a free matinee show at Rough Trade on Saturday (6/27). Attendees who maybe weren't quite awake before the show were certainly jolted into alertness via the band's squall which was not toned down for the early hour. Their 40-minute set hit favorites from 2013's Wait to Pleasure and choice cuts from their terrific new LP. Pictures from the show are in this post and continue below...

Continue reading "No Joy wrapped up their tour with a free matinee at Rough Trade (pics)"

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...

Continue reading "Conor Oberst's band Desaparecidos rocked Shea Stadium with The So So Glos (pics, review)"