Entries tagged with: BAM
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...
The Breeders @ McCarren Park Pool, July 13 2008 (more by Ryan Muir)
Pixies played their first high-profile UK gig in nearly four years tonight (June 14), performing before Neil Young at the Isle Of Wight Festival.The Pixies followed that show with an invite-only release party for their Minotaur boxset the next night in London. (That boxset includes each of the five Pixies studio albums cut onto LP/gold-plated CD/Blu-ray audio/DVD/etc.) Drowned in Sound was there and wrote...
Opening their Main Stage set with 'U-Mass', the band treated fans to an 80-minute greatest hits set.
Early on in the set, bassist Kim Deal remarked that she found the island "very pretty", before giggling into the microphone. [NME]
Doubtless you know/saw enough of the last reunion tour to be well aware the Pixies are still very, very good at playing Pixies songs, and a full review would be kind of gratuitous: they were frickin' awesome.Set lists for both shows are below.
There's no word on any additional Pixies dates yet, though Frank Black has announced some solo Black Francis shows, and is touring with his Grand Duchy project this summer. That group plays NYC's Siren Fest on July 18th, with a show the night before in Hoboken. Updated tour dates (FB and GD) are below.
The Pixies' Kim Deal has shows this summer too, with The Breeders. They'll be at Sled Island Fest in Calgary this weekend (June 26th). The band's also announced several August tour dates. Those include NYC shows on August 18th and 19th at the Bowery Ballroom. Tickets for both nights go on presale Wednesday, June 24th at noon. General sale starts Friday at 11am.
Kim and Kelley Deal of the Breeders will lso be performing as part of The Long Count, a BAM commissioned project by the National's Bryce and Aaron Dessner. That premieres in Brooklyn in October.
Pixies set lists, with all tour dates, below...
BAM has announced the schedule for the Next Wave Festival 2009, a series of fourteen new music, theater and dance pieces that'll run from September 15th to December 19th.
The lineup includes a number of awesome-looking BAM commissions and premieres.
Bryce Dessner & Aaron Dessner of The National (and Dark Was the Night fame) and Matthew Ritchie have put together a piece called The Long Count, to feature Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond, Decemberists) and Matt Berninger (The National) on vocals (Oct 28th-31st).
Imaginary City, a new 70-minute work by So Percussion, will be accompanied by video and take inspiration from the Italo Calvino novel of the same name (Oct 14th--17th). Meredith Monk will compose and perform in Songs of Ascension alongside her vocal ensemble and the Todd Reynolds String Quartet (Oct 21st--25th). (As a side note -- Reynolds and Monk both appeared, separately, at the Bang on a Can benefits at LPR on June 3rd.)
The program features a concert staging of the Philip Glass opera Kepler (Nov 18th, 20th, 21st). And, maybe in time for the first snow (...) a performance by DJ Spooky and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) of Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica, a piece "based around DJ Spooky's sound recordings in the Antarctic that explore the acoustic qualities of ice" (Dec 2, 4 & 5).
Most of the programs above will have an "Artist Talk" companion program, free to those with tickets to the event.
There's a couple ways to get tickets to the series. Friends of BAM will get the first stab at subscription packages, which let you pick a combo of shows to attend, on Monday, June 15th. Subscriptions for the general public go on sale Monday, June 22nd. Single ticket sales for Next Wave Festival starts Tuesday, September 8th (Aug 31st for Friends of BAM).
Full music lineup below...
Janelle Monae @ MHOW in April (more by Tim Griffin)
This summer Afro-Punk, BAMcinematek and Toyota will present the 5th annual Afro-Punk Festival, taking place July 3rd - July 8th, 2009 in the heart of Brooklyn, NY. The festival is the definitive destination for the global Afro-Punk community and audiences yearning to experience true AP culture!Headliners at this year's fest include Pure Hell and Whole Wheat Bread on July 4th, Living Colour and Earl Greyhound on July 5th, and Saul Williams and Janelle Monae on July 6th.
Schedule and more info, below...
Rokia Traoré @ LPR in February (more by Lori Baily)
Allen Toussaint @ New Orleans Jazz Fest 2009 (more by Graeme Flegenheimer)
The 15th-annual BAM Rhythm & Blues Festival will take place every Thursday at noon from June 4th to August 6th at Brooklyn's MetroTech Commoms. The previously-announced festival kicks off today (June 4th) with funk band Lakeside (of "Fantastic Voyage" fame).
One festival highlight -- previously listed as "A New Orleans R&B legend, to be announced," -- will be Allen Toussaint on Thursday, June 11th. Toussaint recently played six nights at the Village Vanguard.
Rokia Traoré, pictured above, closes the fest on August 6th.
Full schedule and directions to the venue, which is on corner of Flatbush and Myrtle Avenues, below...
photos by Lori Baily
Pitchfork: As the daughter of a diplomat, you must have traveled a lot. How does that experience inform your music?Rokia Traoré last visited NYC in February. She played Le Poisson Rouge, and we have some pictures from that show in this post.
Rokia Traoré: My father was not able to get all the vinyl he used to listen to with me. He couldn't travel as he did it because of his profession as a diplomatic career. The fact of playing an instrument and singing... that I can try to make my dream of singing and becoming a professional musician come true is linked probably to the fact that I traveled a lot, which gave me an open mind and an ability to push my limits. Probably, traveling so early changed my personality and gave me this ability today to do the music I do and to think in a certain way that everything can be possible. You just have to try before thinking that you can't.
Rokia will next be here in August. On August 7th she plays the Damrosch Park Bandshell as part of the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors festival, and one day earlier she'll play a free lunch-time show at Metrotech in Brooklyn. The 2009 "BAM Rhythm & Blues Festival" lineup also includes Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and "A New Orleans R&B legend, to be announced". Full Metrotech lineup, and more Rokia tour dates and pictures, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
New York-based composer Steve Reich has won the Pulitzer Prize for music with his piece Double Sextet. Reich composed the work for two identical sextets of instruments, each made up of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone and piano.NPR]The award-winning piece was commissioned by new-music ensemble eighth blackbird, who toured with Double Sextet as part of their The Only Moving Thing program in 2008. That show visited New York's Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, April 17th, 2008.
The second half of The Only Moving Thing was a new joint composition by Bang on a Can artistic directors David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe, called singing in the dead of night. Gordon's Trance is being performed at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Wednesday, April 22nd.
On May 20, BAM is hosting a screening of The South Bank Show: Steve Reich. The event, which also includes a reception and a Q&A with Reich himself, is free, but "exclusively for Friends of BAM".
More info on Double Sextext, with a NYT review of its debut and videos of eighth blackbird rehearsing and recording the piece below...
photos by Stephanie Berger
"It is not unusual these days to hear Merce Cunningham called the world's greatest living choreographer. I go further: I have long thought that he is the greatest living artist since the death of Samuel Beckett, almost 20 years ago.The show's 4th of four performances takes place today, Sunday the 19th, at BAM. More pictures below...
His latest world premiere, "Nearly Ninety," presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Thursday (his 90th birthday), is not a perfect work of art...
...The music, composed and performed by John Paul Jones, Takehisa Kosugi and Sonic Youth (Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley), sounds now like a rock musician's worst hangover, as if the pot and the kettle were calling each other every color under the sun before settling down and breeding a whole tribe of tintinnabulations. One powerful guitar chord out of the blue happened on Thursday to coincide with the most electrifying gear change in the Goggans-Squire duet, but even such moments are mere effects... [NY Times]
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Sonic Youth - The Eternal (montage) (MP3)
Sonic Youth @ Battery Park (4th of July) (more by Jason Bergman)
Along with your preorder of 'The Eternal' on LP or CD, you'll get an instant stream of the album when BEGN launches on April 28, and later (either picking it up at your fave local record store or through the auspices of the U.S. Postal Service) a bonus limited edition live LP [while supplies last] culled from Sonic Youth's July 4, 2008 show in Battery Park, which will contain an exclusive poster. Additional MP3's will be delivered via the BEGN site before or after the album's physical release date (June 9).As reported previously, Sonic Youth is also releasing two exclusive split 7"s (one with Beck, one with Jay Reatard) for Record Store Day on April 18th.
Tuesday, April 7th (tonight), Thurston Moore curates and performs at the Sessions at Santa's at Santos Party House. You may remember the Stereogum-hosted series from its Tuesdays in March at the venue. The bill includes performances by Thurston Moore/OkkyungLee/Ikue Mori Trio, Fat Worm of Error and Noise Nomads. (Tickets are on sale.) Flyers for the next three Sessions are below.
STEREOGUM: No Fun is coming up as well. Will [Sonic Youth] be playing material from the new album at that? Doing a noisier set?That might shed a little light on Sonic Youth's No Fun Fest plans, but not on the program for the group's four-night run (April 16th-19th) at BAM. Those unique performances will celebrate the 90th birthday of dance choreographer Merce Cunningham. Also on the BAM bill are "former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and mixed-media sound composer Takehisa Kosugi."
TM: We're going to compose something distinct for No Fun -- it will be fucking insane...
SY's Lee Ranaldo just performed an original composition with the Bang on a Can All-Stars on Thursday, April 2nd. How was that?
Flyers (NSFW) for the April dates of the Sessions at Santa's series (minus the unannounced April 28th lineup), plus a 1991 Nardwuar interview that includes Kim Gordon complimenting Led Zeppelin (at the end), and all SY tour dates (with a bunch of European festival stops) below...
"April 16 marks the 90th birthday of Merce Cunningham--one of the most important choreographers of our time--whose radical approaches to space, time, and technology continue to redefine the way we experience dance. Over the course of his celebrated career, he has forged a distinctive language of movement, illuminating the body's inherent drama and limitless capacity for change. And as a longtime collaborator of John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, he has played a leading role in fostering innovation across art forms.This show is happening at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on Apr 16 at 7pm, Apr 17 & 18 at 7:30pm, and Apr 19 at 3pm. Its running time is 90min with intermission. Tickets are ON SALE (thx Hiro).
In celebration of his birthday, Merce Cunningham Dance Company returns to BAM with the world premiere of a dazzling evening-length work created in collaboration with and performed live by underground rock legend Sonic Youth, former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, and mixed-media sound composer Takehisa Kosugi. With an intriguing multi-tiered décor by world-renowned architect Benedetta Tagliabue, lighting by Tony and Obie-winning designer Brian MacDevitt, and costumes by Romeo Gigli, this new masterpiece is testament to the boundless imagination of a man who, on the cusp of his ninth decade, still keeps us on our toes."
It's not totally clear to me if Sonic Youth will be playing any of their own songs at the four BAM performances (I'm looking into though). What they'll decide to put on the setlist at the No Fun Fest show they're playing in Brooklyn in May is also somewhat of a mystery.
Sonic Youth's 16th album, 'The Eternal', is out via Matador Records on June 9th. Maybe we'll get a plain old Sonic Youth concert some time around then.
Grizzly Bear w/ the Brooklyn Philharmonic (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
Grizzly Bear founder Ed Droste told [The Quietus] that the collaboration was "one of the most challenging, exciting, exhausting but rewarding months of our lives." He added that it took a huge amount of preperation to put the event together, in part because of working practices: "So much work going into this one show! So much rehearsal as a band listening to MIDI versions of the arrangements and only a few hours we were allowed with the orchestra to rehearse because they are unionized and very strict with their time. So needless to say there was a sigh of relief when it went off without a hitch!Having just conquered BAM, Grizzly Bear announced two new NYC shows - this time at Town Hall. The May 28th & 29th dates go on sale Friday at noon. Tickets are $26.
"I sure would have loved more time with the orchestra to rehearse and talk about the songs and get used to playing with 40 extra people behind you. It's so vastly different from performing just as a band because there is a score and a tempo and things need to be JUST SO. Luckily the conductor was BRILLIANT as was Nico Muhly and the two of them if needed, could casually adjust the tempo if one of us fell out."
Videos from BAM and all dates below...
photos by Kyle Dean Reinford
Thursday night (2/26), Sufjan Stevens and Shara Worden joined members of The National (Clogs) and Arcade Fire (Bell Orchestre) on stage with the Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM.
Two nights later (2/28), members of the National joined Grizzly Bear (headliner) and Final Fantasy (opener and sometimes member/contributor to Arcade Fire) on the same stage with the same orchestra. Nico Muhly, who contributed arrangements to the show and to Grizzly Bear's new album, was on stage playing piano during both sets as well.
Members of Beirut, who played their own two shows at the same venue a few weeks earlier (but with their own orchestra), could be spotted in the indie-rocker heavy audiences at both the Clogs/BO and FF/GB shows. All this collaboration and support between the current group of popular "indie" artists is commonplace (especially in Brooklyn), and there's no better representation of that than the recently-released National members-curated Dark Was the Night compilation which pretty much everyone mentioned in this post so far (except the Philharmonic) contributed at least one song to. I'm still anxiously awaiting more news of the ultimate live representation of Dark Was the Night in the form of a concert at Radio City Music Hall. Speaking of which, that's where Dark Was the Night contributor David Byrne was playing for the 2nd night in a row on the same night as Grizzly Bear.
So, how was Saturday night? I thought It was great. Final Fantasy opened the show....
Mr. Pallett, who hails from a classical background, was in his element, if not his comfort zone. Many of his songs reflect orchestral dimensions, including "Horsetail Feathers," which required little reinvention, and "Arctic Circle," which led to a coda packed with chromatic suspense. The two newer pieces that closed his set were marked by pungent but graceful touches: a suggestively smudged viola part, a twitchy line for violins.Grizzly Bear came up next and even impressed the people who had never heard of either band that were sitting all around me ("Grizzly Bear can sing!") (BAM subscribers?). Grizzly Bear played a mix of old and new songs, some for the first time live, and many of them with the orchestra. Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen have such different voices, and write such different songs, but somehow they mash it all together and it becomes Grizzly Bear. More than ever it seems the two front-men are collaborating - singing at the same time, or back and forth. Ed also seems to be letting his voice out in a gothier, Depeche Mode/Dead Can Dance/Antony-like direction that I liked a lot. I can't wait to hear the new album. More pictures, a video and the setlist from the show, below...
Usually, though, Mr. Pallett practices an art of accretion, looping his own violin and keyboard parts to create chamber-pop arrangements in real time. Without that hint of sorcery, his performance felt almost ordinary. And because he isn't a forceful or particularly magnetic singer, he sometimes sounded overwhelmed by the pomp... [NY Times]
photos by Kyle Dean Reinford
"Shuffle Mode," the Brooklyn Philharmonic program on Thursday night [2/26] at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, put the orchestra on an equal footing with two indie-rock bands: Clogs, from Brooklyn, and Bell Orchestre, from Montreal. Both are connected to better-known indie-rock bands: two members of Clogs are in the National, and two members of Bell Orchestre are in Arcade Fire.All three groups were on stage at the same time (playing in "shuffle mode"). Though the music is/was mostly intrumental, as promised, there were guest vocalists. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) sang one song with Clogs and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and then Shara and Sufjan Stevens joined Clogs for the song "We Were Here". More pictures below...
More to the point, both include conservatory-trained musicians writing what's essentially chamber music, using the same pool of ideas as nominally classical contemporary composers: Minimalist repetition, elements of traditional music and a rediscovery of melody. [NY Times]
Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear return May 25th with a new album Veckatimest (pronounced veck-ah-tim-est) , the follow up to the 2006's critically adored 'Yellow House'. Featuring contributions from Beach House's Victoria Legrand and classical composer Nico Muhly, the album is named after a beautiful uninhabited island off the the coast of Massachusetts.Tickets are back on sale for the February 28th Grizzly Bear / Final Fantasy / Brooklyn Philharomic show at BAM.
Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, who have their own show (with their own special guests) coming up at BAM, will play guitar ane banjo with Grizzly Bear on two songs at the Brooklyn show. Grizzly Bear (and the National) have songs on the Dessner-curated Dark Was the Night compilation that is out now.
Grizzly Bear is also playing SXSW, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, and Norway's Oya Festival this year. Grizzly Bear Dan's band Department of Eagles will be at SXSW too.
Veckatimest (in the running with Bromst for best album title of 2009) track listing, below...
photos by Natasha Ryan
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah did not seem like a band thinking about calling it quits on Friday night, the 13th, at BAM. If anything, they seemed like a band on the top of their game - well rehearsed and with a strong enough catalog to keep people's attention for the 90+ minute show. Old hits were mixed with new songs that sounded great. According to the same person who first told me the band was taking time off, the new songs were the very new songs they had planned to record for their new album before cancelling scheduled studio time indefinitely. Hopefully they think about the image of 2000 cheering and dancing NYC audience members at this sold out Brooklyn show, and get back in the studio to put those songs on a record.
People love to hate on CYHSY, especially for their second album, but you wouldn't have known that from the standing ovation they got after the 5-song encore. As Loud Colors Bright Noises points out...
These guys really gave us some great music, and yet it seems that people feel the need to crap on them. No, I say! Not cool!Frontman Alec Ounsworth usually doesn't say much, but at BAM he seemed in good spirits and said more than a few words (including something about how their set moves so quickly because they barely speak at all). Early in the show, keyboardist/guitarist/backup vocalist Robbie invited the crowd to move forward. From my view in the mezzanine I could see that having a front row seat no longer meant anything. The Opera House show looked like the rock show it sounded like.
"Lead singer Alec Ounsworth was a bit precious, wearing striped pants, a green crocheted cap, and quavering, affected vocals. But he's written some irresistible hooks that flatter his artistic forebears as they command attention. "Is This Love" featured Philip Glass-like organ trills that repeat; "Upon This Tidal Wave of Youngblood" sounded like British new wave; "The Skin of My Yellow Country" has bent guitars like Built to Spill and vocals like David Byrne. In other words: a damned good show." [Feast of Music]Alec loves those striped pants.
Chairlift opened the night. They were a good opening act, but I think they would have benefitted from a better mix (aka the sound sounded off from where I was). More pictures from the show below...
The National @ Fun Fun Fun Fest (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
...the charity compilation that Aaron & Bryce produced for the Red Hot Organization, "Dark Was The Night", will be released this coming Tuesday, February 17th!!! (February 16th outside the US). Please help us support Red Hot's effort to raise money and awareness to combat the HIV / AIDS epidemic and go out and buy yourself a copy next week. It is well worth the money and you'll be contributing to an important cause. The record features 31 exclusive tracks and will be released digitally, as a double CD and triply vinly LP! You can learn more about the project and stream songs here.The National announced some tour dates yesterday. They'll be "trying out new songs (!) and playing some old ones too of course." You heard two of those new songs if you were at the recent Tibet House benefit at Carnegie Hall. No NYC date on this new tour, but there is Boston, DC, and Philly.
For a NYC show, check out Bell Orchestre and Clogs when they share a bill on February 26th at BAM in Brooklyn. Clogs features National members Bryce, Padma, and Aaron "along with special guest vocalists". The National have lots of talented friends who can sing here in NYC. Who knows who they'll bring along. Tickets for that show are now 20% off if you use promo code 9826 when ordering tickets by phone at 718.636.4100 or online.
For an actual National show in NYC, stay tuned for more announcements and keep your fingers crossed for a fantastic lineup at Radio City Music Hall in the name of the above-mentioned Dark Was the Night compilation.
All dates below...
photos by Natasha Ryan
Beirut thrives on the indie-rock circuit playing music that has little to do with typical rock sounds or rhythms. On Friday its nearly all-acoustic lineup included accordion, trumpet, trombone, bass fiddle and drums; Mr. Condon switched between rotary valve flugelhorn and ukulele. Beirut rarely uses a standard rock beat; more often it has the sputtering snare drum and occasional bass-drum thuds of waltzes, tangos, polkas and Balkan dances.Beirut played four shows in Brooklyn in two weeks. It started with a secret show at Coco66 in Greenpoint on January 27th. Then on February 4th came Music Hall of Williamsburg, and finally on Friday (2/6) and Saturday (2/7) came the two shows with the Vassar Orkestar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Kaki King opened those last two. Beirut also appeared on Letterman Friday night. Video from that, and more pictures from the last BAM show, below...
On Friday night Beirut was backed for part of its set by the three dozen musicians of the Vassar Orkestar -- on strings, reeds and horns, with arrangements by Beirut's trumpeter Kelly Pratt -- who added elegant pizzicato parts and put more oomph in the oompah. Mr. Condon beckoned the audience out of the opera-house seats, to throng the stage as if the Brooklyn Academy of Music were just a bigger club. [NY Times]