Entries tagged with: BAM
words by Rachel Kowal, photos by Getty Images for American Express
All week, The National has sponsored nightly events at their "High Violet Annex" to celebrate the release of their highly anticipated fifth album, High Violet. On Friday they even performed a set of National songs at the space. Saturday night's sold-out "ZYNC from American Express Presents The National to Benefit Red Hot" show at BAM capped off the week's festivities which started earlier the same evening at the Annex where 70-or-so lucky attendees were, unexpectedly, given tickets to the BAM show and then bussed to the Brooklyn venue to see the show...
the bus @ BAM
The BAM show began with a brief behind-the-scenes video about their recording process, and then the band launched into "Mistaken for Strangers" and then played a string of new songs. Though the National is technically a quintet, as many as nine additional people joined them on stage to play a variety of string and brass instruments. Sufjan Stevens joined the band to sing backing vocals (like he did on Letterman) on a handful of songs. Sometimes National-members Padma Newsome and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) made a rare appearance together on stage (usually its one or the other as a member of the band). The biggest surprise band member of the night was the Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry who sang backup and played a variety of instruments throughout the set. Richard, Sufjan and Thomas all also contributed to High Violet which is out now.
With its ornate molding, dramatic curtains, and theater-like seating, BAM may be a bit of an odd choice to host what is essentially a rock show, but the beautiful space complimented the dapperly dressed band and gave them enough room to spread out on stage. Possibly sensing that something was not quite right, lead singer Matt Berninger hopped off the stage and began pulling people up into a standing position early into the show.
Throughout the show, Berninger was a sight to behold. One moment, he'd take a sip of white wine and sing softly into the mic stand and the next, he's wildly pacing back and forth on stage with his head down, pounding his hands together like a mad man. The contrast between Berninger's smooth baritone voice and his manic behavior makes for a dynamic performance. During the four-song encore, Berninger leapt off stage again and rushed the audience in the orchestra section. With his impossibly long mic chord trailing behind him, Berninger climbed desperately over anything in his path - be it chairs or people. From the middle of a row, he stood recklessly on a chair, screaming the chorus to "Mr. November" into the faces of ecstatic fans.
When all was said and done, The National played the entirety of High Violet in addition to a number of older songs. Film directors D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus were on hand to direct the live webcast of the concert that was happening on YouTube (the band addressed the Internet audience a few times), and which you can still watch there (some videos below too).
After the show, a fancy ZYNC-sponsored afterparty was held around the corner at One Hanson Place, aka the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, downstairs in the old bank's bottom floor (now used as an event space). The National, their friends and associates, partied until late with an invite-only crowd that also included members of Grizzly Bear and Beirut, and some celebrities who had attended the show (like Julia Stiles). And there was a lot to party about - recently completed Europe tour and a week of festivities in NYC aside - High Violet is selling really well too. More pictures from the show and the afterparty, with the setlist and some videos below...
The National's High Violet came out Tuesday. They also used that occassion to release a video for the song "Bloodbuzz Ohio." That clip, which features Matt Berninger, his infamous glass of wine, and documentarian D.A. Pennebaker as a bartender, is posted below.
The band's High Violet Annex events kicked off last night with a low key few hours of DJing from members of Blonde Redhead and a ticket contest for Saturday's BAM show. Contests like that will be happening each day at the space which is next to Other Music. Tonight, Wednesday, there's also a full lineup of bands playing. Lineups for the rest of the nights still TBA.
Speaking of D.A. Pennebaker, he'll be directing a live webcast of the BAM show on YouTube Saturday night. And speaking of ticket contests for the show, we also have two pairs to give away courtesy of the show's sponsor, Zync. Contest details, with the above-mentioned video and a Pennebaker/Dylan (both pictured above) rehash to promote the show, below...
"Tickets did go on sale at the pre-sale link b/c it now says "No Inventory Currently Available".Comments like that yesterday illustrated the confusion surrounding how to get tickets for the show The National are playing at BAM on May 15th, but Beggars, Bowery Presents & the band's original instructions all confirm that, despite what someone at BAM may have said, tickets do go on general same today at 10am (and appear to be on sale as of 9am for BAM members). Yesterday, as advertised, was just the presale.
If you try to purchase via BAM's website, you get the following message: "Although tickets are on sale, this performance of The National is currently not available online. Please contact BAM Ticket Services"
I talked to someone in the ticket office who said tickets did go on sale via BAM's website this morning and are sold out, but more tickets may become available & to check back" [Brett]
The National performed at Royal Albert Hall in London last night (5/6), and the UK's Electric Ballroom the night before that. All dates HERE. Videos from those shows below...
The National on WNYC's Soundcheck
The National's Brooklyn Academy of Music show on May 15th will be going on presale tomorrow (May 6th) at 10am. Tickets are here (pw: "VIOLET"). They go on general sale through BAM May 7th at 10am. Apparently you don't actually need a ZYNC card to get the tickets. You can also try to win your way in (and get flights and a hotel) through KEXP and via KCRW.
The show is a benefit for the Red Hot Organization (which the Dark Was the Night project also supported) and will be filmed by Don't Look Back D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus for an Internet simulcast on YouTube.
The National recently appeared on WNYC's Soundcheck, and videos of their performance on that show are posted below...
Naomi Shelton celebrating Brooklyn in 2009 (more by Fresh Bread)
BAM Rhythm & Blues Festival brings free afternoon shows to the MetroTech Commons (corner of Flatbush and Myrtle Aves) on Thursdays June 3-August 5 (noon-2pm). The performers this year include Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré (who played LPR in April), Bernie Worrell's SociaLybrium (fronted by the Parliament-Funkadelic and Talking Heads keyboardist), Mykal Rose of Black Uhuru, bassist Victor Wooten and more.
The full schedule, with directions, is below...
...though I don't know when it goes on sale or how tickets are working yet. The show will be a benefit, like Dark Was the Night, for the Red Hot Organization. A live webcast of the concert will be streamed from the Brooklyn Academy of Music on YouTube. The webcast will be directed by documentary filmmakeer D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus and it'll be the first live (like, actual live, as it happens) concert video directed by the husband and wife. Before the concert they'll show one of their short films. The show is being presented by ZYNC from American Express.
Stay tuned for more info on that, and what exactly will be happening at the High Violet Annex from May 11-15th. Meanwhile, stream High Violet at NPR.
UPDATE: The Zync Facebook page now mentions the show.
Updated National tour dates below...
photos by Kevin Mazur/ Wire Image
"Yoko Ono, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Bette midler, freaking amazing!" - nico843
Yoko's Plastic Ono Band will be playing a special show at BAM's Gilman Opera House on Tuesday, February 16th. The show includes guest spots from original/former Plastic Ono band members Eric Clapton, bassist Klaus Voormann and drummer Jim Keltner. Other guests include Justin Bond, Kim Gordon, Bette Midler, Thurston Moore, Mark Ronson, Scissor Sisters, Martha Wainwright, Haruomi Hosono, Paul Simon and son Harper Simon, and current Ono Band members Cornelius, Yuka Honda and Sean Lennon.That's how we listed last night's event at BAM (2/16). Martha Wainwright, whose mother recently passed away, ended up not being there, but Gene Ween showed up. Full review and setlist coming soon. In the meantime here are a set of pics...
DOWNLOAD: Sweet Apple - Do You Remember (MP3)
Thurston w/ Sonic Youth @ MHOW in November (more by Lori Baily)
Society's Ills: In 1994 Society's Ills (Moore, Cadena, Watt, Markey) made their world premier with the now coveted "Skins, Brains, and Guts" release - a slab that managed to cram (9) 7 seconds covers onto one 7". In 2010, the band is back and once again fronted by Thurston but he brings with him a new crue of slayers to launch the hardcore fury:Society's Ills play in addition to Thurston Moore solo, Talk Normal, The Entrance Band, Violent Soho, the Slits' Viv Albertine, Awesome Color, Jemina Pearl and more at the Ecstatic Peace SXSW Showcase happening Friday, March 19th at Red 7 in Austin. Curious about Society's Ills? Their version of 7 Seconds' "I Hate Sports" is below.
Thurston Moore: Vocals
J Mascis: Guitar
Don Fleming: Guitar [SY producer & Velvet Monkeys/Gumball frontman]
Andrew W.K.: Bass
Awesome Allison: Drums [from Awesome Color]
This set is their first, but don't worry if you miss it cause I'm sure we can put this together again in another 15 years! [Ecstatic Peace]
J Mascis will also be playing at SXSW with Sweet Apple, who are playing Mercury Lounge on April 20th. One of their SXSW sets will be at the showcase for TeePee Records, who are putting out the Sweet Apple debut, Love & Desperation, a track from which is above. That show is Thursday, March 18th at Habana Calle 6, and also on the bill are Priestess, Iron Age, Nebula, Naam, Imaad Wasif and more. Full details and a poster are below. Tee Pee Records has also teamed up with BrooklynVegan and Chronic Youth for another day party taking place on Saturday, March 20th in Austin. This is the first we've mentioned it. Stay tuned for more info.
Lou Barlow will also be at SXSW (backed again by The Missingmen) - one of his shows will be the Merge Records showcase at Cedar Street Courtyard on March 18th also featuring Let's Wrestle, She & Him, and others. Full lineup below. For She & Him it's one of two official SXSW shows. They also play Saturday night (March 20th) at Auditorium Shores (with Justin Townes Earle & TBA). Cheap Trick play the same slot at Auditorium Shores one night earlier.
Merge's showcase mentions that one slot will be filled by "Special Guest". We don't know who that is, but we'd have to guess Superchunk is a strong possibility since Mac & Laura have a speaking engagement (in a bookstore) on March 17th, and another one (official SXSW) at the convention center on March 19th (with Michael Azerrad), and the band is on the bill of the Village Voice day party happening at La Zona Rosa the afternoon of March 19th (with the xx, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Surfer Blood). It's definitely not Spoon who play the NPR show at Stubb's on March 17th with Deerhunter (their tour-mates) and The Walkmen.
Kim and Thurston are playing with the Plastic Ono Band in their two-night Brooklyn Academy of Music run. They were at the dress rehearsal (aka the first night) last night (2/16). BV photographer Greg Cristman was in the audience and told us, "One definite highlight was Thurston and Kim played with Yoko as a trio and did a killer version of Mulberry from Unfinished Music No. 2 while the film Fly was projected on a huge screen behind them!" - a (poor quality) video clip of one of the other songs is below.
Full lineups for the showcases and videos are below...
"WE ARE PLASTIC ONO BAND on February 16 sold out immediately! Due to popular demand, a special dress rehearsal show featuring Yoko Ono and her core band (Sean Lennon, Yuka Honda, and Cornelius) has been added. They have never done anything like this before and probably never will again. This will certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and while no special guest artists are slated to rehearse, you never know..." [Bam]
words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo, more words by Zach Pollack
Ra Ra Riot
Ra Ra Riot played to a sold-out crowd at the Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn on Friday (2/5). The Syracuse-based band played an energetic set and threw in a couple of Kate Bush covers (finishing the show with "Hounds Of Love".) "Suspended in Gaffa" appeared on 2008's critically acclaimed The Rhumb Line of which the band played all of its songs.Peter Silberman, Michael Lerner, and Darby Cicci collectively known as The Antlers took the stage at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House at a prompt 8:10pm. This kicked off the 4th night of BAM's Sounds Like Brooklyn Festival. Silberman commanded audience attention with his sweeping falsettos, and impressive guitar tones coming from his daisy chain of pedals. They had a two man horn section join them (Tim Cronin and Jon Natchez), adding depth to their already dense sound. The band's set largely consisted of songs off of Hospice.
The Antlers, architects of one of last year's critically acclaimed records, Hospice, opened with a taut, haunting set, placed in stark contrast to the headliner's flowing, uptempo pop songs. - Dominick
Ra Ra Riot headlined the show, featuring a string quartet and a four man horn section. The band sounded impeccable live, and carried though their set with the poise, grace, and energy of a well practiced rock band. In four short years since forming the band Ra Ra Riot has grown a large fan base, which was certainly apparent at The Howard Gilman Opera House Friday night. Cellist Alexandra Lawn and violinist Rebecca Zeller add to the already dense rhythms of the band with their sweeping string section.
Friday night's show was the third and last 'Sounds Like Brooklyn' show at BAM this year. The first two were Les Savy Fav / Vivian Girls and Rain Machine / Anti-Pop Consortium. More pictures from Ra Ra / Antlers, below...
photos by Vincent Cornelli
Rain Machine @ BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House
post-show: still smitten with kyp. he was great. funny and personable and best alone on stage (esp. with howler monkey backup chick with them? yeesh) AND anti-pop consortium killed it. they were so good. i kind of felt bad for them, though; sitting at shows is weird which is the one reason i'm not more of a fan of seeing concerts like that at bam, and it must be double weird for a bunch of rappers up on stage to be performing in front of an awkwardly seated audience. no matter, though, their energy was great and it made me like the new album even more. [The Vagabond]The above review is of Rain Machine's Satureday night (January 30th) Sounds Like Brooklyn show at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House with Anti-Pop Consortium. Les Savy Fav and Vivian Girls kicked off the fest (which has shows through February 6th) at the venue the night before (1/29).
Though Kyp and the rest of TV on the Radio are still taking a break, Iran, a group fronted by filmmaker Aaron Aites that sometimes includes Kyp, has an upcoming show. They'll be playing at Knitting Factory on Thursday, March 11th with Arbouretum. Tickets are on sale.
More pictures from the BAM show are below...
DOWNLOAD: Saxon Shore - "This Place" (MP3)
Saxon Shore (photo by Geordy Peterson)
American post-rockers Saxon Shore hit back. It Doesn't Matter, the quintet's follow-up to 2005's The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore is a welcome return to form for the band and their original leader Matthew Doty.Saxon Shore released their gorgeous Dave Fridmann-produced LP It Doesn't Really Matter last year. The song "This Place" from that album is available for download above. You can catch the band live (their only upcoming scheduled show) at the Knit on 2/5 as part of the Sounds Like Brooklyn Festival put on by BAM ("60+ shows. 15 venues. 2 weekends. Celebrating Brooklyn's best music and bands with shows throughout the borough.") American Dollar and The Abbasi Brothers open the NYC show. Tickets are on sale.
Having gone through a long period of upheaval - be it line-up changes and relocations - the band spent four solid years as a unit before plucking up the courage to hit the Tarbox Road Studios Cabin out in Cassadega, New York.
Apt then, that the unearthing of It Doesn't Matter follows a line of melodic delicacy that recent post-rock efforts appear to have departed. Album opener "Nothing Changes" rocks gently into the onslaught of feedback drenched guitars while 'Bar Clearing Good Times' maintains an unexpected steadiness that other same-vein bands like Explosions In The Sky often make the habit of breaking from. -[Altsounds]
Les Savy Fav @ BAM - 1/29/10 (photo by Steven P. Marsh)
'Sounds like Brooklyn' kicked off last night (1/29) at BAM (the only venue hosting shows during this first weekend of the fest) with Les Savy Fav and Vivian Girls...
"To my surprise, [Les Savy Fav] played very tight rhythms that zagged all over the place but were not sloppy. I was reminded of times I had seen Modest Mouse, Built To Spill or The Flaming Lips, with the music being loose and jangly, yet deliberate and well-crafted at the same time. The band itself held my interest quite well, as they played the straight men to the antics of Harrington, who, instead of being a distraction, complemented the instruments rather well, reminding me at times of Jello Biafra with his voice and dialogue with the audience. Yes, he was a crazy looking fat dude running all over the stage and into the crowd, but his angry-goofy-gibberish song rants, energy, enthusiasm and sheer earnestness overcame my pre-judgment. At the start of LSF's set, Harrington dropped into the crowd beckoning people to stand, and it ended up being the right thing to do. Despite the opera house setting with assigned seating, it quickly became apparent that it would take a lot more than that to contain the force that is Les Savy Fav." [Qbertplaya]The fest continues tonight (1/30) at the same venue with a show by Rain Machine and Anti-Pop Consortium. Tickets are still available. The Antlers and Ra Ra Riot play the opera house venue on February 5th.
The full Sounds Like Brooklyn schedule, along with a Les Savy Fav video from last night, below...
Yoko's Plastic Ono Band will be playing a special show at BAM's Gilman Opera House on Tuesday, February 16th. The show includes guest spots from original/former Plastic Ono band members Eric Clapton, bassist Klaus Voormann and drummer Jim Keltner (one former "member," Ringo Star, isn't scheduled to be there, though he is in NYC on Jan 14th). Other guests include Justin Bond, Kim Gordon, Bette Midler, Thurston Moore, Mark Ronson, Scissor Sisters, Martha Wainwright, Haruomi Hosono, Paul Simon and son Harper Simon, and current Ono Band members Cornelius, Yuka Honda and Sean Lennon. Tickets are on sale.
Plastic Ono Band (sans guests) will also be at this year's Noise Pop Festival in San Fran on Febraury 23rd. The group's new sprawling record, Between My Head And The Sky, the first 'Ono Band' record since the '70s, came out last September. A flyer for the show is below...
photos by Stephanie Berger
BAM's 2009 Next Wave Festival is in the process of wrapping up (there are two dance shows - Mortal Engine (opens tonight) and The Good Dance-dakar/brooklyn - left). Past shows included So Percussion's Invisible City and The Long Count, Philip Glass's Kepler and the last music-based show, DJ Spooky's Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica (with International Contemporary Ensemble), which happened December 2nd-5th. How was it? The pictures in this post are from that show. A few more of them, along with the Mortal Engine trailer, below...
Les Savy Fav rides the ladder at Fun Fun Fun Fest (more)
"Launched in 2007, Sounds Like Brooklyn Music Festival (formerly known as Brooklyn Next) is BAM's annual showcase of the some of the most innovative music coming out of the borough. The program features concerts in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAMcafé, and partner venues around Brooklyn that highlight the breadth and depth of music produced by Brooklyn artists working in jazz, hip-hop, rock, electronic, brass band, and every other hybrid genre in between. As a vehicle for artist development, Sounds Like Brooklyn focuses on emerging and mid-career musicians working at the intersection of innovation and tradition."BAM's Sounds Like Brooklyn Festival will be happening this year January 29-30 and February 4-6 at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAMcafé and other venues around town. Last year's lineup included Beirut, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Japanther. This year's shows include Les Savy Fav, Vivian Girls, Rain Machine, Anti-Pop Consortium, Ra Ra Riot and The Antlers. Tickets go on sale Monday, December 14th (or today, 12/9, for Friends of BAM). Full lineup and more info below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Mode Records has etched its name in the annals of music history, producing the avant-garde and modern classical music of influential composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis, and Harry Partch. In its twenty-fifth year, they are hosting a six-hour benefit concert featuring very special performances by Philip Glass and John Zorn and a rare performance of John Cage's "Concert for Piano and Orchestra" with "Aria." This marathon of experimental music luminaries in the intimate Abrons Playhouse helps Mode Records to continue producing the best of New Music into the 21st century.The Mode Records "Marathon" will happen this Saturday, November 21st at the Abrons Arts Center with a 6pm early show and a 7:30pm late show. Glass, whose opera Kepler makes its US debut at BAM this week (Nov 18, 20 & 21 at 7:30pm) (tickets are still on sale), will be at the early show only, performing solo piano work. That'll also feature a John Zorn-directed performance of his piece "Cobra." The later show will run four hours (the marathon part) and includes Respect Sextet playing music by Sun Ra and Stockhausen, John Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchestra with Aria (performed simultaneously) and The Jack Quartet with a performance of Iannis Xenakis' Tetra. Tickets are still available.
Thanks to the recession (and the other more nuanced factors we can lump in with it), the Mode concert is neither the only benefit nor the only marathon happening this week. Another benefit marathon this week (also with John Zorn) is happening at the Clemente Soto Vélez (CSV) Cultural Center (dubbed "The Suffolk" for CMJ this year) on Friday, Nov. 20th and Saturday, Nov. 21st. The beneficiaries of the 28 hour marathon are non-profit Arts For Art and the annual Vision Festival, which is going into its 15th year. Night one acts include Sex Mob, John Zorn solo, pianist Connie Crothers and her quartet, Sam Hillmer's Regattas and $KELETON$ Big Band (who are also at the Stone in December). Night two includes Milford Graves & Marshall Allen Duo and a cast of rotating musicians and groups. A full schedule is here. Tickets are on sale.
Yet another (!) benefit marathon comes from WFMU, who is currently holding a 24-hour benefit that runs until Wednesday, November 18th (today) at 7pm. More details on the fundraiser and why it's needed are below. Donate here.
A poster, the full Mode Fest lineup and relevant videos and info are posted below...
Magnetic Fields @ Loews Theater, Jersey City in Oct. 2008 (more by Chris La Putt)
The Magnetic Fields are happy to announce that they will be touring early next year in support of their forthcoming album, "Realism," which will be out on Nonesuch Records on January 26, 2010. The US and Canadian tour dates will take place in February and March. After their US and Canada dates, the band will be heading to Europe for a string of dates in mid- to late-March.You can take a look at Realism's cover art, which is extremely similar to Distortion's cover art, below. Tracklist down there too.
The 2010 tour hits a bunch of major cities and includes three NYC shows over the course of two separate visits. Most dates are on presale now.
During the first NYC visit, the Magnetic Fields play BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House on Saturday, February 13th. There's a limited fanclub & BAM member presale on sale now. General sale tickets go up Friday, November 20th.
Album art, tracklist, more info and all tour dates are below...
photos by Julieta Cervantes, words by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: The Long Count - Bull Run (feat. Kelley Deal) (MP3)
The Long Count premiered last night (10/28) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music while the Yankees were losing to the Phillies up in the Bronx. It's a risky piece - and not just because the pre-show epigraph was a radio broadcast of the last time the Yankees were swept in a World Series. The overarching "Creation" theme guides the piece's rise-collapse-rebuild structure, and its individual songs and their discrete musical worlds make each movement engaging and unexpected. Each part has its own center: At the beginning the band sounds like a chamber ensemble, with the two lead guitars playing in counterpoint. That transitions into a duet between twins Kim and Kelley Deal of the Breeders, whose smiles and lighthearted gait broke through any opening-night tension that might've been present. Their informality went against the general seated-show seriousness of the BAM Opera House. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), in contrast, was in total performance-art mode, bouncing around lithely in a series of choreographed gestures and rotating costumes. The Deals sang muffled, overdriven harmonies, in their classic style, before splitting to take their own numbers. Kim's song in particular , "Time to play" it might be called, crested into a bass-less din like a staticy AM radio that filled the hall. (Kelley's, "Bull Run," you can hear above.)
While the Dessners sat (and rose at moments) on stage, they trusted the weight of their composed music to the assembled band. For the complexity of the piece, and the precision to which it was arranged, the tightness of the well-rehearsed and conductor-less band was remarkable. The middle of the piece is a series of instrumental arrangements that progress from relative order to menacing crescendo. To transition certain segments, Colin Stetson (on bass clarinet and bari sax) explodes through the hall with freefrom circular breathing figures. For these moments he's wholly alone.
A massive symmetrical backdrop of flowing abstract landscapes looms over the musicians and audience. The final piece, a Morricone-tinged number sung by Kim Deal, plays before a breezy, sun-burnt plain.
The show happens again at BAM on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are still available. More pictures from Wednesday below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Aaron Dessner - We Were Born (from the Long Count) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Long Count - Bull Run (feat. Kelley Deal) (MP3)
Twins! (the Dessners & the Deals)
The Long Count kicks off its three show engagement at BAM's Gilman Opera House tonight (10/28). Tickets are still available for the show, as well as for the Friday (10/30) and Saturday (10/31) performances.
The 70-minute music and multimedia piece, commissioned by BAM Next Wave Festival, is the work of Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the National and visual artist Matthew Ritchie. But they haven't been working alone. At every step of composing and arranging the Long Count over the past year, the brothers have tapped into their crew of skilled collaborators. The 12-piece orchestra that will be joining them on stage counts talents like NYC violist Nadia Sirota (who played last month's Archipelago series show), sax/bass clarinet player Colin Stetson, and Antony & the Johnsons' guitarist/violinist/conductor Rob Moose (who in particular assisted with some of the arranging duties).
As previously mentioned, the Breeders' Kim and Kelley Deal (twins) collaborated with the Dessners (also twins) on much of the music - they sing for nearly half of the show. Other vocal turns will be taken by the Nationals' Matt Berninger and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden.
All four singers play roles in the narrative of the Long Count, which takes its story from the Mayan creation myth of Popol Vuh. In that, multiple sets of twins (in the story and on stage) experience repeated cycles of life and death until giving birth to the world as we know it. The original tale ties in strongly with a ballgame played by its main characters - an element which the Dessners have woven in with their love of baseball, particularly Cincinnati Reds and the Big Red Machine.
Musically, the Long Count sections posted above, both from the show's work-in-progress performance at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on September 11th, showcase the piece's diversity. The first, "We Were Born," highlights the minimalist pedigree of the show, while "Bull Run" layers those elements with fearsome orchestral lines and extremely creepy vocals by Kelley Deal.
Paired with the spooky nature of Mathew Ritchie's animation (which you can preview here) the show looks to be a good Halloween night warm-up as any. In fact, the early Saturday night show has the most tickets available, and it follows a pre-show Q&A (ticketed separately) led by Brandon Stosuy (who's curating the Mount Eerie + metal show at Market Hotel later in the night).
Bryce generously answered some of our questions over the phone while in the last week of rehearsal (and in the hectic center of CMJ week). More photos from the production, and that interview, where he reveals the existence of an unreleased Christmas album he made with Sufjan, details on the new National record and more, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: So Percussion New Amsterdam/BAM Next Wave Podcast (MP3)
So Percussion @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple in December '08 (more by Zach Stern)
The four members of So Percussion do not seem themselves as mere drummers. Instead they are explorers of sound: some exotic, others everyday, some invented, and others found. Their newest work, Imaginary City, is a multi-layered meditation on the American urban landscape, which combines the sound explorations of So Percussion's original compositions with the video art of Jenise Treuting and the theater direction of Rinde Eckert. These different artistic media do no exist discretely, but rather as a fluid exchange of sound, image, and gesture, all of which will be brought to life in the BAM Harvey Theater on October 14-17 as part of the BAM Next Wave Festival.That introduction is from the podcast, put together by New Amersterdam Records, linked above. In it, So Percussion and BAM Executive Producer Joseph Melillo discuss Imaginary City's inspiration - curiously, the cities of Brooklyn, Helena, Burlington Cleveland, Denver and Houston - and the musical structures gained from them.
Imaginary City was actually premiered in one of those cities, Helena, Montana, on October 2nd. Before that, the group performed the piece as a work-in-progress - one of those shows was August 28th at Kasser Theater at Montclair State University in New Jersey and an excerpt of that performance is posted below. From the clip, you get a glimpse at the variety of instruments and sound-objects used in the piece (not only those played in the video, but those littering the stage as well) and a taste of its narrative thrust.
Imaginary City runs October 14th through Saturday, October 17th. Tickets are on sale (with some prime seats still available for each night).
Imaginary City is just one of the programs in BAM's Next Wave Fest - each of which mixes music and visuals in a unique way. The shows coming up include singer and composer Meredith Monk's Songs of Ascension (Oct 21-25), The Long Count with by National members Bryce and Aaron Dessner and lots of indie-rock-world guests(Oct 28/30/31), and the US premiere of Philip Glass's Kepler (Nov 18/20/21).
So Percussion video is below...
Tickets are now on sale for the fall BAM Next Wave shows. Those include The Long Count (Dessner brothers + Matthew Ritchie with guest vocalists Kim and Kelley Deal, Shara Worden and Matt Berninger) (tickets), So Percussion's Imaginary City, Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica (with DJ Spooky and ICE) and Philip Glass's Kepler, a preview video for which is below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Aaron Dessner - We Were Born (from the Long Count) (MP3)
The Long CountThe MP3 above is the first musical glimpse at the above-described (and previously mentioned) Long Count project. The heavy minimalist influence on the track makes the role of those guest vocalists even more curious. Single tickets for the Long Count, and all the BAM Next Wave concerts, go on sale September 8th. A video trailer for the show, which falls on and around Halloween, is below. More Brooklyn Halloween show options HERE.
Oct 28, 30 & 31 at 8pm
Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner, and Matthew Ritchie
In an inspired collision of creative worlds, three inexhaustibly original artists--brothers Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner of indie rock royalty The National and omnivorous visual art phenomenon Matthew Ritchie--combine talents to create a song-filled myth about the beginning of time. A feast of images, instrumentals, and songs thick with primordial mystery, The Long Count pairs Ritchie's protean forms with a twelve-piece orchestra and the Dessners' gothic mix of electric and orchestral sounds.
Guest vocalists Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders [who are at the Bowery August 18th & 19th]), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and Matt Berninger (The National) round out the line-up in this visionary collaboration between music and art.
Shara Worden has been keeping super busy and impressing Decemberists audiences across the country when she sings her part in the Hazards of Love production (and when she's doing Bob Dylan). Upcoming Decemberists dates include September 21st in Montclair, NJ.
The National recently played a set at All Points West in Jersey City.
Also below is a video from "a 20-minute animated and musical collaboration developed by Bryce Dessner and Matthew Ritchie" that premiered at the Kitchen in March (Sufjan Stevens played the harmonium), and trailers and music (!) for the other BAM Next Wave commissions including Imaginary City (the So Percussion show), Terra Nova (the DJ Spooky/ICE collaboration) and Meredith Monk's Songs of Ascension...
If you showed up to Metrotech at noon today, you probably noticed that Rokia Traoré wasn't there. In fact, her entire U.S. tour was cancelled this time around. Zap Mama played the free afternoon show today instead, and Meshell Ndegeocello takes her place at Friday night's free Lincoln Center Out of Doors show (8/7).
photos by Tim Griffin
"The other day I attended the Afro-Punk Festival at the BAM skate park. I had the pleasures of seeing Janelle Monae and Saul Williams. There were also cats skating [and biking] around and doing tricks. All around there was just a good ol' merry vibe and I had fun for the short time I was there." [Phantastictful?]Janelle Monae has been added as opener to the Erykah Badu show happening on the beach at Governors Island on August 4th. Tickets are still on sale. More pictures from Monday's Afro-Punk Fest show, below...