Entries tagged with: Billy Bragg
photos by James Richards IV, words by Zach Pollack & Milos Markicevic
Mineral / Patti Smith / Superchunk
Riot Fest Chicago wrapped up this past Sunday (9/14) with sets from The Cure, Weezer (playing Blue Album), Primus, Social Distortion, Cheap Trick (playing Heaven Tonight), Patti Smith, Mudhoney, Hot Snakes, Mineral, Lucero, Naked Raygun (playing Throb Throb), La Dispute, Superchunk, The Hold Steady, Kurt Vile, Bouncing Souls, The Front Bottoms, The Menzingers and many more.
I arrived at the final day of the festival to find New Jersey punk heroes The Bouncing Souls already on the Roots Stage, and NJ folk punks The Front Bottoms getting set to perform on the Rebel Stage. Having seen the former a few times, I went for the latter band and heard "Flashlight" as I approached the stage. Their early afternoon-yet-rabid crowd screamed the lyrics along to the song's stop-start chorus. The tongue-in-cheek Talon of the Hawk opener "Au Revoir (Adios)" came next, followed by mix of songs from that album and their 2011 self-titled LP. --ZP
Kurt Vile & The Violators were the next band I caught, over at the Riot Stage. Given that Sunday beared even better weather than Saturday had, opening with "Wakin on a Pretty Day" was an apt choice in full sun. The Violators proceeded to deliver a low-key and enjoyable set that touched on Wakin on a Pretty Daze, Smoke Ring for My Halo, and Childish Prodigy. After a bit of KV and co., I headed over to the Rebel Stage to catch The Hold Steady. The NYC crew kicked things off with "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" from this year's Teeth Dreams, followed by the Boys and Girls in America favorite "Stuck Between Stations." The band flew by their usual M.O. -- flexing some muscle without coming off as too cheesy -- while pulling out tunes from their back catalog. --ZP
Next I went to catch Superchunk, and I arrived at the Riot Stage a bit prior to their set. In the meantime, I caught the last few songs of Billy Bragg's performance on the nearby Roots Stage. Before playing "The Milkman of Human Kindness," Bragg shared that he's out to become "the Pete Seegar of punk" and hopes to be performing into his 90s. He turned "There Is Power in a Union" into a sing-along and finished off with "A New England." Superchunk began with the No Pocky for Kitty tune "Cast Iron," followed by the one-two punch of "Digging For Something" and "FOH." It was back to No Pocky... for "Punch Me Harder," and then Mac asked the crowd to sing along during "Learned To Surf." "I'm gonna need you to repeat after me, in the age-old tradition of repeating after people on stage, he quipped. Their 11-song set came to a close with "Slack Motherfucker" into "Precision Auto." --ZP
Michigan post-hardcore crew La Dispute were up next at the far-from-everything Rock Stage. The four-piece were heavy on this year's great Rooms of the House, and began their 10-song set with "HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956," "Stay Happy There," and "First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice" from the LP falling within the first five they played. Their meditative grooves quickly won over the large crowd they had gathered at the stage. My next target after La Dispute was the Rise Stage, where whiskey-soaked Memphis crew Lucero would soon begin their late afternoon set. I only stuck around for a few songs, but I got to hear some of my favorites from the start, including "On My Way Downtown" into "Nights Like These." --ZP
La Dispute's crowd
After Lucero, it was back over to the Rock Stage for reunited Austin emo band Mineral. The band quietly took the stage and delivered an excellent set that was split evenly between their 1997 debut The Power of Failing and 1998's EndSerenading. Highlights included their heavier moments found within the brief "Five, Eight, & Ten," "For Ivadell," and "Gloria," and also the more subdued offerings like "Love Letter Typewriter." Mineral were one of the best emo bands out there, and it's great to see them return sounding great. --ZP
One of my most anticipated sets of the three-day fest was Patti Smith's 6PM performance on the Riot Stage. Patti was born in Chicago not all that far from the stage she occupied, and spoke about coming to the park with her mother as a very young child. She and her band opened with "Dancing Barefoot" into the Horses tune "Redondo Beach." A cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" came next, followed by "Pissing in a River." Along with a select few others, Patti Smith fully embodies the spirit of Riot Fest. --ZP
While Zach was over at Patti Smith on the Riot Stage, I was at the Rise Stage for Mudhoney. The grunge grandfathers ripped through their set and barely stopped to catch their breath. Drummer Dan Peters was a beast on drums throughout the set, and at one point the band even made way for a brief drum solo, bringing in the fuzz at the climax. You would think Mark Arm's vocal style would have wrecked his pipes after all these years but the guy sounded just as good as he did on the band's debut album. The definite highlight of set was the band's classic "Touch Me I'm Sick" which left everyone floored. --MM
If Patti Smith carries the ethos of Riot Fest, then Primus serve to represent the festival's large carnival presence. Les Claypool was transfixed on the ferris wheel he faced from the stage and spoke at length about how beautiful it was and how lucky they were to be performing near it. He later prompted guitarist Larry LaLonde to do a solo inspired by the wheel. Unlike when I saw them in 2013, Primus shed their jammy approach of late for the tighter feel of their early material. This shift was aided by stand-in timekeeper Danny Carey, who delivered a fast-handed, rigid performance. The trio opened with the Sailing the Seas of Cheese cut "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers," followed by the driving LP number "Here Come the Bastards." The tweaky Brown Album song "Over the Falls" was also played, as well as more favorites like "My Name Is Mud," and set endcap "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." --ZP
Weezer were one of the albums billed to play a classic album (The Blue Album), but first they warmed up with some of their more recent singles, steadily going back in time with each song. The band played "Pork and Beans," "Beverly Hills," "Island In The Sun," "Hash Pipe," "El Scorcho" and others before getting to 1994, the year of The Blue Album. Everything prior to The Blue Album's performance felt like filler as everyone, including myself, sang along to every Blue Album song, most loudly to "Buddy Holly" which some fans begged to be played again. Weezer performed flawlessly while their stage lights bathed everyone in blue light, keeping in theme of the album's color. It was amazing seeing the band perform The Blue Album-- one of my favorite 90s albums-- in its entirety. I only wish they could've squeezed in Pinkerton right after. --MM
"There was a certain amount of science to it. An entire week of work experience students left the office thinking that cutting-edge music journalism in 2014 mostly involves calculating which bands have been mentioned most in NME in the past two years, then hunting out references to the bands that influenced those acts online and finally adding up the number of times each influence came up. This gave us a rough list which our editorial team - heads swimming with all of the bands that Wolf Alice (or whoever) have raved on about over 4am ciders - then took to the pub, tore into shreds, fought and shouted about and finally reconstructed in the rundown of 100 you see in the mag today. The Beatles didn't make it. Sorry." [NME[NME went ahead and listed who they think the 100 most influential musicians and bands are (their latest cover story). Radiohead topped the list. Read the rest with justifications at NME, or just look at their full list below...
Riot Fest Chicago 2014 is set to take place from September 12-14 throughout Humboldt Park. The 10th anniversary of the festival features Jane's Addiction, Slayer, The Offspring, Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova & Masha Alekhina), Mastodon, The Murder City Devils, Failure, Title Fight, The National, The Flaming Lips, Wu-Tang Clan, Descendents, The Cure, Weezer, Social Distortion, Primus, Patti Smith, and many more across seven-stages. The fest has now shared daily lineups, which you can scope out at the bottom of this post. Three-day and two-day passes are still available, and single-day tickets are on sale now.
RFC 2014 daily lineups lie after the jump...
The Kills at Governors Ball 2014 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
The Kills were last in NYC for Governors Ball and they've since added more dates which brings them back here for a benefit show in the fall. That show is The Open Road Aperture Foundation Benefit Party, which is a tribute to photographer/filmmaker Robert Frank, and happens on October 21 at Terminal 5. In addition to The Kills' short set, there will be music by Alec Soth, Joe Purdy and Billy Bragg (whose tour also hits NYC twice before that). Tickets, starting at $150, are on sale now.
The tour also includes a Halloween show in LA with Queens of the Stone Age (who play the NYC-area this week). The Kills haven't released an album since 2011's Blood Pressures, but they're reportedly working on a followup. Alison's other band The Dead Weather (with Jack White and a QOTSA member) have a new LP on the way too.
All Kills dates are listed, with a video, below...
Back in April, Billy Bragg released Live At the Union Chapel London which documented his June 2013 performance at the venue where he played all of his most recent album Tooth & Nail, the entirety of his classic debut, Life's a Riot with Spy Vs. Spy, plus other songs from his career. You can stream it at Rdio and it was released as a DVD as well.
Billy has a few North American shows coming up, including two nights at NYC's City Winery on September 17 & 18. Tickets for those shows are on sale now, and all dates are listed below...
Chicago has The Cure, Jane's Addiction, The National, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Social Distortion, Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, Descendents, Tegan & Sara, Metric, the reunited Samhain (!), Cheap Trick, Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova & Masha Alekhina), Patti Smith, Taking Back Sunday, Mastodon, Afghan Whigs, Naked Raygun, Cock Sparrer, Superchunk, Lucero, Murder City Devils, Mudhoney, Failure, Hot Snakes, Thurston Moore, Get Up Kids, Kurt Vile, Wavves, ALL, Mineral, Title Fight, Samiam, Menzingers, Front Bottoms, Pianos Become the Teeth, Bouncing Souls, Buzzcocks, Gogol Bordello, Stiff Little Fingers and many more. Tickets are on sale now.
Denver also has The Cure, The National, Weezer, Social Distortion, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, Taking Back Sunday, Lucero, Failure, Hot Snakes, ALL, Mineral, Menzingers, Pianos Become the Teeth, Bouncing Souls, Buzzcocks, Gogol Bordello, Stiff Little Fingers plus Primus, TV on the Radio, Glassjaw, Bob Mould, Violent Femmes and more. Tickets are on sale now.
Full Chicago and Denver lineups below...
The inimitable Billy Bragg has been a touring machine this year, pretty much going non-stop in support of his new album, Tooth & Nail (stream it on Spotify). He was last in NYC in April, and he'll be coming back to America this fall for another string of dates, too. While it doesn't include a show in NYC, he will play Musikest Cafe in Bethlehem, PA on October 5 and tickets for that show are on sale now.
All 2013 U.S. tour dates are listed, along with the video for Billy Bragg's "Handyman Blues," below...
Coachella 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Multi venue UK festival The Great Escape began today (5/15). The big lineup includes Brooklyn's Parquet Courts, Phosphorescent, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, a keynote speech by Billy Bragg, a set by Mikal Cronin who is one of ten acts this year that NME says you have to see, and much more. Head to Brighthelm Center on 5/16 for a show BrooklynVegan is co-presenting with M For Montreal with AA Wallace, Husky Rescue, Blue Hawaii, How to Dress Well, Phantom and Cloud Boat. The flyer for that is below.
In other festival news, Sasquatch is right around the corner, Lollapalooza has announced set times, Bonnaroo announced theirs earlier this month, Austin City Limits recently announced their lineup, Governors Ball recently announced the schedule and is basically sold out, GoogaMooga is this weekend in Prospect Park, and FYF Fest, which recently announced its lineup, goes on sale Thursday.
Our Great Escape flyer is below...
photos by PSquared Photography
Billy Bragg at Town Hall - 4/27/13
British singing/songwriting veteran Billy Bragg came to NYC over the weekend for a show at Town Hall on Saturday (4/27). He played stuff from all over his career, including Woody Guthrie songs, dating back to his debut ("The Milkman of Human Kindness") through 2013's Tooth & Nail. Of course some people like the between song banter, which is just as insightful and witty as his songs.
Billy's North American tour continues in Newport, KY on Tuesday (4/30) and wraps up in Ann Arbor, MI the next night (5/1) before he heads back to Europe. You can check out his European tour schedule here. More pictures and the setlist from the Town Hall show below...
by Bill Pearis
line to get in Other Music on Record Store Day 2012
As you are probably aware, this Saturday (4/20) is Record Store Day. We've already told you some of our picks from the myriad #RSD13 exclusives, but many of NYC's record stores are having special events that day. While this guide is pretty thorough, it may not be comprehensive. If you know of cool Record Store Day happenings that aren't in this post, let us know in the comments. But here's the stuff we found:
We already told you about Greenwich Village mainstay Generation Records who are having live performances from Forgetters, Doug Gillard, Swearin' and Livids as well as DJ sets from WFMU's Tom Scharpling and Forgetters' Blake Schwarzenbach. Generation will open at 10 AM, with bands starting at 2 PM. Schedule still TBA.
While you're in the area, take a second to walk over to Bleecker Bob's where you won't find any records for sale, but as of Wednesday you could still at least take one more look through the window at the somewhat-still stocked shelves of the closed store.
Wild Nothing at Other Music, RSD2012 (more)
Other Music isn't big enough to have bands play while people shop, so they have bands DJ during RSD, and this year's line-up will have Parquet Courts, Sharon Van Etten, Jonathan Toubin and more on the decks. Other Music opens at 10:30 AM with DJs starting at noon (schedule is below).
Also having DJs spin on #RSD13, as mentioned, is East Village shop Turntable Lab. Their line-up also includes FaltyDL, as well as Nomi Ruiz, Justin Strauss, Eli Escobar and many more. DJs spin from 10 AM - 8 PM.
Another EV store, Good Records, won't have RSD exclusives, but they will have a bunch of rare used vinyl they'll be putting out that day, including albums by Brian Eno, The Fall, Blur, Pink Floyd, The White Stripes and more. They'll also have free food and beverages. More details are here.
still from Cake Shop's RSD video
Some of you may not remember when Cake Shop back lounge was a record store, but they still carry a few a few new releases and they'll have a selection of RSD exclusives on Saturday. Additionally, they'll have "lots of deals, lots of old stuff we've been holding onto forever etc! Plus: tons of fun, possible balloons and maybe Eddie!" That night Record Store Day moves downstairs with an extremely stacked indie rock/pop line-up, with Literature, Grand Resort, Sparxx, Cascading Slopes, The Hairs, a short solo set from TPOBPAH's Kip Berman and Scott and Charlene's Wedding. Kip and Maria Sherman will also be on DJ duty. Doors for the night show are at 8 PM and is a mere $5 entry. A pretty weird, funny video hyping Cake Shop's RSD fun is below.
Downtown at J&R Music World, Anthrax will be in the house at 12:30 PM signing records and anything else you want their John Hancock on, and they generally have a good selection of #RSD13 exclusives too.
Meanwhile in Brooklyn, Record Store Day will be the last day ever for Williamsburg's Sound Fix, which is probably enough for them (read a new interview with the owner HERE). Last year they had doughnuts and coffee, if memory serves. They're open at 10 AM and in addition to RSD exclusive, their fire sale (which is happening now) includes "25% off all CDs, 10% off all LPs."
Williamsburg stores in general don't seem to be doing a whole lot of special events on Saturday, though both Academy Records Annex and Earwax will have #RSD13 exclusives, and East Village Radio will be streaming live from Academy Records at 4pm.
Co-Op 87 (via)
For the second year, the tiny but well-stocked Co-Op 87 in Greenpoint will be open for the entirety of Record Store Day, meaning midnight to midnight. No in-store performances or celeb DJs, but they are making a special offer for the truly insane record buyers out there:
"If you are tuff enuff to come to Co-Op 87 Records ONCE an hour, EVERY hour of Record Store Day (24 visits!) and spend $10 on a record (not multiple records) at least ONCE for EACH of those hours, you'll be entitled to an INCREASING percentage off, starting at 4% and increasing BY 4% each time on ANY one record UP to $100! That means he or she who braves this madness could by the final hour, buy ANY $100 or less record for a WHOPPING 96% off!"Elsewhere in Greenpoint, Permanent Records will be open at 10 AM on Saturday with "free gift bags & goodies while supplies last," as well as "nearly all of this year's exclusive releases." And over at Record Grouch, they'll have a smattering of RSD13 exclusives and some choice used records put out just that day, in addition to their extremely well-curated stock of used vinyl.
DUMBO's Halcyon Records will have "instore DJs" and are open at 10 AM.
As for the general NY area, Vintage Vinyl in Ford, NJ will have a full stock of RSD exclusives but no in-stores announced,
And if you happen to be in Philadelphia on Saturday, Main Street Music will feature a special RSD performances by Billy Bragg, the Joy Formidable, Generationals and more.
BV Austin discusses what's going on at Waterloo Records this year.
Again, you can see all stores participating in Record Store Day 2013 here.
Other Music DJ schedule, Cake Shop video, Turntable Lab flyer and other RSD videos are below.
Nick Cave @ SXSW 2013 (more by Tim Griffin)
One of the Grand Dammes of the music festival world Glastonbury 2013 will happen June 28 - 30 in the UK town of the same name. (They skipped last year.) Announced acts include The Rolling Stones, Phoenix, Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Vampire Weekend, Elvis Costello, Kenny Rogers (!), Portishead, Foals, Tame Impala, Alt-J, Billy Bragg, PiL, Smashing Pumpkins, Chic, Cat Power, The Horrors, Rodriguez, Palma Violets, Savages, Crystal Castles and a whole lot more.
No word on tickets yet. You can check out the full line-up on the flyer below.
Dr. John at BAM in April (more by David Andrako)
Dr. John and the Lower 911 are playing Town Hall on March 16 with Allen Toussaint. Tickets for that show go on sale at 10 AM.
Billy Bragg is playing Town Hall on April 27. Tickets for that show go on sale today at 10 AM.
Bettye LaVette & the Blind Boys of Alabama play Town Hall on May 17. Tickets for that show go on sale at 10 AM.
As mentioned earlier today, Billy Bragg -- whose Mermaid Avenue records with Wilco brought the songwriter back in to the pop culture zeitgeist in 1998 -- will be in NYC soon for some Woody Guthrie 100 celebrations. It's part of a North American tour for Bragg who tonight (7/6) will play the legendary Winnipeg Folk Festival. The tour will then continues, and includes a stop at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Guthrie's Okemah, OK birthplace on July 12th.
Bragg then heads to NYC for City Winery's WoodyFest on July 13 (tickets) with Amy Helm & Joe Purdy and host Steve Earle who then plays with Billy again in Coney Island the next day on Woody's actual birthday (July 14). The Coney Island potion includes two events: a screening of Mermaid Avenue documentary Man in the Sand followed by a book/CD signing with Bragg and Nora Guthrie; and an outdoor screening of Hal Ashby's 1975 Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory that will be preceded by a performance by Bragg and Steve Earle at 8PM (the movie starts at 8:45PM).
Bragg's tour continues after that, hitting Sweden's Way Out West festival in August, and many other Woody-themed shows throughout the year. All dates are listed below.
Back in April, Nonesuch Records released Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions which takes the original, critically acclaimed 1999 album where Wilco and Bragg wrote music to unpublished (but complete) Guthrie lyrics and adds 17 previously unreleased recordings made during the Mermaid Avenue sessions, plus a DVD and 48 page booklet.
The Billy Bragg show at City Winery is one of three nights of "Woodyfest" that Steve Earle is hosting and playing. Steve doesn't have any more NYC dates scheduled after that at the moment, but later this month he does head out on a tour with the Dukes that hits Tarrytown and in September he's doing a solo, acoustic tour that visits NJ, Bethel, and Poughkeepsie. In October he plays Austin City Limits.
Below you can read a little more on Guthrie and the Mermaide Avenue album, penned by Billy himself, plus all upcoming BB tour dates.
Woody Guthrie was born on July 14th, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma. Over the decades, his songs have run around the world like a fast train on a well oiled track. They've become the folk song standards of the nation, known and performed in many languages throughout the world. Pretty Boy Floyd, Pastures of Plenty, Hard Travelin', Deportees, Roll On Columbia, Vigilante Man and This Land Is Your Land are among the hundreds of his songs that have become staples in the canon of American music.It's a rare thing for an artist to still be making an impact on modern music as he approaches the 100th anniversary of his birth, like Woody Guthrie is. It's fitting then that people have been celebrating Woody's centennial, at multiple events across the country, all year long. A big list of remaining events across the country is below. We'll also highlight a few.
The GRAMMY Museum is partnering with the Guthrie Family / Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. and the Woody Guthrie Archives to create the Centennial celebrations. The year-long celebration will include a host of concerts, programs and events taking place throughout the country and across the pond.
The Guthrie Family ("Arlo Guthrie w/ Abe, Cathy, Annie, Sarah Lee, Johnny Irion...and the Kids") will celebrate with a "Guthrie Family Reunion" tour featuring three generations of Guthries. Arlo Guthrie commented:
"Getting the family together and heading out on the road is the perfect way to celebrate my father's centennial - only once before did we have the whole family on tour, and we did 80 shows. Instead of doing an entire year of touring and taking the kids out of school, we are focusing on shows right around Woody's actual birthday. This time of year marks the climax of the Woody Guthrie centennial celebrations all over the world. I'll also continue my solo touring in honor of my dad through spring 2013."The Guthries, who will perform Woody's songs as well as new material written by various family members, will spend the day after Woody's birthday at Central Park Summerstage. The free Sunday (7/15), NYC show starts at 7pm. They also play a show in Ocean City, NJ the next day, and Newport Folk Festival later in the month. All tour dates are listed below.
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion play Hill Country in NYC on 7/12.
On 7/14 head to Coney Island for a free screening of "Bound for Glory" on the beach along with "live music by Billy Bragg and Steve Earle starting at 8:00pm, and the feature film starting around 8:45pm." Get to Coney Island earlier and see a free screening of "Man In the Sand" at the Coney Island museum. "Following the film, there will be a book signing by Nora Guthrie and CD signing by Billy Bragg, with both items available for purchase."
City Winery in NYC will play host to a trio of events titled "Woodyfest" from July 11-13 Hosted by Steve Earle, the shows will feature an assortment of artists paying tribute to the troubador. July 11 features John Hammond & Tim Robbins, and more TBA (tickets). July 12 has Rachael Yamagata, The Wood Brothers & Allen Toussaint (tickets). July 13th features Billy Bragg, Amy Helm & Joe Purdy (tickets).
Brooklyn College will host a "Woody at 100" celebration on September 22 with a conference, and a tribute concert.
More events, dates, and some videos from the party that took place at the 2012 Clearwater Festival in June, below....
Bon Iver at Bonnaroo 2012 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Bon Iver recorded an iTunes session at East West studios which is available exclusively from iTunes starting today. It includes six tracks off 2011's great Bon Iver, Bon Iver and a cover of Bjork's "Who Is It?," which the band has played live many times. You can stream the session's opening track, "Beth/Rest" below.
As mentioned, Bon Iver is touring internationally throughout the summer and fall and will come to NYC on September 19 and 20 at Radio City Music Hall. Both of those shows are now sold out. All Bon Iver dates, including a recently announced European leg, are listed below.
Speaking of Bjork, she's teaming up with the New York Public Library (NYPL) and the Children's Museum of Manhattan to create interactive educational programs for middle school-aged students based on her Biophilia app. Speaking about the program, Bjork said:
"It's not a bookish thing. You cannot learn to make music from a book." "I love books; they're like the best ever," she added. "There are things you can only learn from books, but it's also important to introduce the physical aspects. So for me, it was very important to make, somehow, music education that was physical." (via NY Daily News)Both Bon Iver and Bjork are set to play Oya Festival in Oslo, Norway this summer (Aug 7-11) with The Stone Roses, Refused, The Afghan Whigs, Bob Mould (performing Copper Blue), Chromatics, Cloud Nothings, John Maus, Purity Ring, Saint Etienne, SBTRKT, Screaming Females, St. Vincent, and more. Full list below.
Way Out West (Aug 9-11) in Gothenberg, Sweden features many of the same bands as Oya like Bon Iver, Refused, Afghan Whigs, St. Vincent, Purity Ring, John Maus, and Bob Mould in addition to Blur, Wilco, I Break Horses, Hot Chip, The War On Drugs, Mark Lanegan Band, Adolescents, Swans, and more. Check out the spotify playlist. The full lineup is listed below.
As mentioned, the reunited Mazzy Star is set to play both of those European festivals. Full lineups and the Bon Iver dates and song, below...
"numb fingertips from the guitar playing last night. .. worth it coz I get to tell people I played Lincoln Center with Billy Bragg!!" - Marsha Burnett
Billy Bragg at Lincoln Center (via Ian Jane)
Billy Bragg kicked off the FREE Lincoln Center Out Of Doors 2011 season on Wednesday (7/27) with his "Big Busk". He invited people to play and sing along to the songs, many of which were covers. I pictured it more like a parade, but he basically just played from the stage. Some in the audience had guitars. Ian Jane writes:
Bragg launched into a cover of Johnny Cash's I Walk The Line... not the greatest starting point and probably the worst song of his set. From there he covered The Monkees, Smokey Robinson, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Marley, The Weight, and most puzzlingly, Cee-Lo Green (turning 'Fuck You' into 'Forget You' as there were kids in the audience). As far as material from his own catalogue, the only tracks we got were Power In A Union (itself a cover of sorts but one of Bragg's most powerful songs) and New England (the only track that really seemed to have everyone in the crowd singing along). He came out for a quick encore and did a rock solid cover of Kristofferson's Me And Bobby McGee before finishing the night.Check out a video of Billy Bragg covering The Band's "The Weight" below.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors continues with free outdoor shows through August 14. On Saturday (7/30), Ponderosa Stomp: A Girl Group Extravaganza will take place at Damrosch Park Bandshell with performances by members of girl groups including The Crystals, The Chantels, The Jaynetts, The Angels, and others. On Sunday (7/31), Mavis Staples performs at Damrosch Park with The Relatives who will be making their NYC debut. Blitz the Ambassador plays Damrosch Park on August 7 with Spoek Mathambo and Iyadede. Laurie Anderson and Friends play Damrosch Park on August 10 with many guests including Caleb Burhans, Conrad Harris, Yuki Numata, and others. Bettye Lavette, Ellis Hooks, and Dylan LeBlanc play Damrosch Park on August 14. Many other events will be occurring throughout the series too. Full schedule HERE (and below).
Billy Bragg plays his last of three City Winery shows tonight (7/29). That show is sold out. Video and Out of Doors schedule below...
On Wednesday, Richard Robbins will take his two daughters, Ava, who is 5 years old, and Ella, who is 3, to the Damrosch Park Bandshell, where they will join the British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg and an anticipated crowd of 5,000 in a giant sing-along. It's called the Big Busk, and if Mr. Robbins gets his wish, one of the 10 or so tunes they'll all perform will be "Paradise City," by 1980s hard-rockers Guns N' Roses.Billy will also be playing three shows at City Winery while he's in NYC. All three are now sold out though City Winery's site says "More tickets have become available. Please call 212-608-0555 Ext 472."
"Where better than Lincoln Center for Billy to release his inner Axl Rose?" asked Mr. Robbins, a 42-year-old digital strategist for a Manhattan public relations firm. The song isn't the most obvious that one would associate with Mr. Bragg, a post-punk folkie known for his activist political stances. It just happens to have a chorus that Mr. Robbins's little girls love to sing. And that's the whole idea.
To busk is to play music on the street or subway, likely with an instrument case laid open so passersby can toss money in appreciation. Mr. Bragg, who is 53 years old, supersized the venerable troubadour tradition in 2007 when he staged the first Big Busk at the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre in London. It's become a biannual tradition there, with audiences invited to bring acoustic guitars or other instruments, or simply join in the chorus, as Mr. Bragg and his band play familiar songs limited to four or fewer simple chords.
On Wednesday, Lincoln Center will launch the summer season of its Out of Doors series with an American edition of the hootenanny in Damrosch Park.
Pete Seeger at Clearwater 2009 (more by )
The 2011 edition of the Clearwater Festival boasts some big names over its two days, June 18th and 19th, in Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Founder Pete Seeger will be joined by Drive-By Truckers, Martin Sexton, Indigo Girls, Josh Ritter, Arlo Guthrie, Suzanne Vega, Billy Bragg (who plays NYCx3 a month later), and man other artists who are listed elow. Tickets are still available.
In related news, Martin Sexton will play four NYC shows before that Clearwater appearance, as part of a residency at City Winery. Tickets are sold-out for Martin Sexton on June 2nd, 3rd, & 4th at the venue but he just added a fourth late show on 6/4, and tickets are still available.
All Martin Sexton tour dates and the full Clearwater lineup is below.
If on you're way out of the subway in late July you happen to notice a busker that looks a helluva lot like Billy Bragg surrounded by an army of other guitar-weilding maniacs, don't be alarmed. The spectacle is just the opening act for the two+ week Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, which will feature shows with Mavis Staples (as discussed), "Laurie Anderson and Friends", Bettye LaVette, a girl-group heavy Ponderosa Stomp, the 28th Annual Roots of American Music Festival, The Bar-Kays, and many, many others at the Damrosch Park Bandshell and other Manhattan locations from July 27th until its close on August 14th. The full schedule is below.
Billy Bragg leading The Big Busk in the UK
The Big Busk is the first performance scheduled (and it happens twice on July 27th), and will see Bragg leading a play-along concert flanked by an army of cue-cards detailing what chords he is playing. Check out a video from a 2008 'Big Busk' that took place in England, below.
Billy Bragg will also make up his cancelled dates from earlier this year around that 7/27 appearance. He'll play City Winery in NYC on 7/26 (tickets), 7/28 (tickets) and 7/29 (tickets).
All Lincoln Center festival dates and lineups, and all Billy Bragg tour dates are below.
IT IS WITH DEEP REGRET THAT I MUST CANCEL MY US TOURBilly was scheduled to play City Winery in NYC on March 29, 30 & 31.
It is with deep regret that I must announce that I have had to cancel my US tour, which was due to start in Brownfield, Maine, on 24th March. My mother was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and her health has deteriorated to such a critical extent in the past week that I am now unable to fulfill these dates. As her life slips away, I feel that my place is by her side.
Details of rescheduled dates and/or refunds will be available soon.
Mavis Staples' new Jeff Tweedy-produced ANTI-released album You Are Not Alone was released in September (it was MOJO's #12 album of the year). Mavis will continue to support that record at various shows in 2011. If you missed her on October 6th at City Winery, she returns to NYC to play the Bell House on January 18th (the same night as Prince's final MSG show). Tickets are on sale for the Brooklyn show which is being billed as "with special guests".
In March Mavis plays a series of dates with Billy Bragg right before he plays three of his own shows at City Winery.
Jeff Tweedy, like he did on the Colbert Report that same week, played with Mavis at City Winery in October. Videos from that show, Colbert and Jools Holland, with all tour dates, below...
Join the legendary Billy Bragg for a triplex of club shows in the intimate setting of City Winery in late Spring. Bragg, the much loved and highly regarded folk master songwriter, returns to New York City for the series -"At Home In the City" - where he'll perform a varied and eclectic selection from his storied career.The shows are March 29th, 30th and 31st. All dates below...
These three dates are your only chance to enjoy the mastery of Billy Bragg in a warm and inviting setting - think of them as conversations over a glass of wine with an old friend. [City Winery]
Francesco Santocono: "'81"That's the tracklist and cover of Joanna Newsom tribute album Versions of Joanna, due out digitally in December, with proceeds going to Oxfam according to Pitchfork. M. Ward's version of "Sadie" is on there. There are also covers by familiar names like Owen Pallett, Ben Sollee, Billy Bragg and Francesco Santocono. Just kidding, I never heard of Francesco Santocono, but now I have! You can check him out covering "81" in a video below. Actually, did they just scour Youtube to find tracks to put on this comp? I think so. Josh Mann, Sarah Katheryn, and an especially good one by Joel Cathey are down there too (and those are just the only four I googled).
A Voice Heard on Baer Mountain: "Autumn"
Sarah Katheryn: "Baby Birch"
Joel Cathey: "Book of Right-On"
Guy Buttery: "Book of Right-On" (instrumental)
Josh Mann: "Bridges & Balloons"
Chris Leeds: "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie"
Ian Cooke: "Colleen"
This Is Deer Country: "Easy"
Doublewuzzy: "Flying a Kite"
Rosa Hinksman: "In California"
White Elephant Gift Exchange: "Inflammatory Writ"
Ian Cooke: "Monkey & Bear"
Billy Bragg: "On a Good Day"
Kristina Forrer: "On a Good Day"
Owen Pallett: "Peach, Plum, Pear"
M. Ward: "Sadie"
Ben Sollee: "Sawdust & Diamonds"
David Miele: "Soft as Chalk"
The Moscow Coup Attempt: "Sprout and the Bean"
Melissa Stylianou: "Swansea"
Jennifer Schmitt: "This Side of the Blue"
Joanna Newsom plays Carnegie Hall tonight! She is not however appearing on the The Simpsons...
"[On October 19th], a rumor of Joanna Newsom appearing on an upcoming episode of The Simpsons quickly circulated on the Interweb. This appears to have originated in an article from Malibu Magazine that was unfortunately incorrect and misunderstood. (Malibu Magazine has now corrected it online.) Joanna Newsom has released a statement regarding this rumor:Speaking of Owen Pallett, tickets are on sale for his March 9th show at Markin Concert Hall. Those Joanna covers below...
"Regrettably, the awesome rumor of my upcoming cameo on The Simpsons is unfounded. I remain, however, steadfast as always in my commitment to the character of Lisa, whom I have of course had the privilege of voicing for the last twenty-one years, in my dreams. Thanks for the memories, gang!" [press release]
Memorial Day Weekend officially opened the summer, and for those in the Pacific Northwest it also brought Sasquatch Music Festival (pictures from all three days are coming soon). Now the lineup for its Labor Day cousin, Bumbershoot 2010, has been announced. That fest, happening at Seattle, WA's Seattle Center September 4th-6th, will include headliners Bob Dylan, Mary J. Blige, Weezer, Hole, Rise Against, Neko Case, The Decemberists, J. Cole and "one more very special guest to be announced soon."
Tickets (including non-Mainstage 'economy' passes) are on sale now. The rest of the lineup (by day) for the seven-stage festival is posted below...
words & photos by Andrew Frisicano
Wednesday - The Middle East @ Club DeVille (more by Tim Griffin)
I started toward MtyMx about 4 hours after my last SXSW show, so I haven't had much time to reflect on what happened in Austin - but before they become too irrelevant, here are some quick pictures and words of my personal highlights at the fest.
The Middle East covered the stage with an arsenal of instruments and percussion, bringing out a flute, a banjo, keys, an accordion, and a rain stick covered in bottle caps. Their set kicked off with a wobbling country-western number. "The Darkest Part" was a solemn, two-member affair, with the others jumping in as it progressed. And the barn-burning jams that built up to their finale, "Blood," brought to mind the more unhinged tunes Mumford & Sons (it clicked a moment later that they're touring together this May). Overall: a tight, short set (with a few nervous slips) in front of Club DeVille's cave-wall backdrop, which hopefully will lead into an engaging debut and tour.
Thursday - Thee Oh Sees @ (Spider House &) Lamar Pedestrian Bridge
I caught Thee Oh Sees twice on Thursday - once on the gorgeously sunny garden stage of the Spider House; once on a footbridge over Austin's Lady Bird Lake at 2am - and they played other shows as well. On the bridge the band traded songs with Home Blitz, who looked not-exactly-pleased to be standing in the freezing wind at 3am. Amps, a PA and a few worklights ran through a generator, and the assembled equipment threatened to topple over from the surging crowd. The band stretched out into extended jams that made the bridge literally shake. After a more than generous set, the crowd still prodded Dwyer and Co. for more, which they gave.
Friday - Billy Bragg @ MWTX Festival
Billy Bragg's set, to the wristbandless masses of MWTX (formerly Mess with Texas) focused nearly as much on politics as it did on music. He buttered up the crowd with "Help Save the Youth of America" and "To Have and Have Not" before speaking about healthcare reform, defeating the BNP and the ubiquity of corporations at SXSW ("This set is brought to you by my sponsor: Woody Guthrie."). His inspiring asides were genuine and welcome, and they lead into the crowd-pleasing closer, "A New England." He played again later on Friday night with a ton of guests.
Friday - Man or Astroman? @ MWTX Festival
On a completely different note, Man or Astroman? (back after a bit of a hiatus) headlined MWTX's south stage in full space regalia, with video flashing in the background and a pre-recorded narrator between songs. Their short burst of mostly instrumental surf-rock was anything but boring, and they closed it out by flicking on a huge Tesla coil.
Saturday - Major Lazer @ Carniville
My expectations were pretty low for Major Lazer, who were playing to an iced-over crowd on the massive, corporated-out stage at the Mexican-American Cultural Center (aka the Mad Decent/Iheartcomix/Jelly-presented Carniville for the fest), but they proved me wrong. The antics of hypeman Skerrit Bwoy and dancer Mimi made the frozen crowd erupt (the free T-shirts and foam guns being thrown off the stage helped too) - they mounted and humped everything in sight including crowdmembers, the rigging for the lights, and a ladder, which they used to dive onto each other for more dryhumping. Diplo got through most of Guns Don't Kill People, Lazers Do, with a brief assist from Ninjasonik. Did I mention the huge pink, furry monster on stage? He got some too.
Saturday - The Very Best (and then Freddie Gibbs) @ Scoot Inn
At Scoot Inn, the frigid evening grew on and most of the crowd there for the Pitchfork showcase stayed huddled around a campfire or in the bar's sauna-like interior - until The Very Best (who I missed opening for Major Lazer a few hours earlier). Esau, with a huge grin on his face, his co-mic-man (whose name I can't remember), a pair of dancers and DJ Johan Hugo all made good use of the short set. Their energy passed through the mic into crowd members for songs like "Julia" and "Warm Heart of Africa," which finished with plenty of the crowd on stage.
Freddie Gibbs, who I had never really gotten into before, was up next and seemed similarly unfazed by the cold as he rapped confidently about gangsta life. A handful of friends passed around a blunt and ceded the floor to Gibbs, who cooly made converts with his laid-back approach.
Saturday - Sleigh Bells @ Scoot Inn
Sleigh Bells brought the energy back up for the last set of the night (and for some, of SXSW). Despite being a relatively new commodity, both the band's halves, Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller, are assured, polished performers, and they made their appreciation for the crowd clear with their faultless set.
My many other highlights (bands I'll definitely be catching again in the future) included Califone (in NYC 3/30 & 3/31), La Strada, The Sandwitches, Kid Congo Powers, Private Life/Katie Stelmanis, Happy Birthday, Avi Buffalo, Man Man (who I've seen before, but seem to have a new thing going on) and Think About Life.
More pictures from all the sets above (and a ML video), are below...