Entries tagged with: David Byrne
With the most recent run of David Byrne's Here Lies Love now in the past, David Byrne has just announced his next high-concept project which is on an even bigger scale. It's called Contemporary Color which happens at Barclays Center on June 27 & 28. A co-production with BAM (part of their 2015 Winter/Spring Season), it's a mix of live music and color guard (the synchronized flags will be familiar to anyone who's watched a high school or college marching band). The live music portion feature performances from Byrne, Nelly Furtado, How to Dress Well, Devonté Hynes, Kelis, Nico Muhly + Ira Glass, St. Vincent, and tUnE-yArDs, plus 10 color guard teams from the US and Canada.
Tickets are on artist presale now (password: DBCOLOR). Tickets are also on sale today (1/21) for Friends of BAM, with an AmEx presale starting Friday (1/23) at 10 AM. Tickets go on sale to the general public January 28 at 10 AM.
Here are more details from Byrne:
Some years ago, a Colorguard team wanted to use some music I'd written (from a theater piece I did with Robert Wilson, called The Forest) for one of their routines. I said, "Fine, no charge... you are a high school team after all." But I asked that they send me documentation out of curiosity and for my archives. I eventually got a DVD of the whole World Championship competition. I watched, and was amazed and delighted to find myself in a new world that I didn't know existed.You can watch a video trailer about Contemporary Color below and learn more at its website. The extravaganza will make its world premiere the week before (June 22 & 23) at Toronto's Luminato Festival.
What I was viewing is more properly referred to in that world as winterguard--as it takes place in the winter and spring--after fall football season, when the colorguard teams are more closely associated with drum lines and marching bands. Off season they do their own thing--still employing flags, rifles and sabers--but their routines are less about formation than about themes, emotion, concepts and visual spectacle. Over recent decades, the teams have evolved into something strange and wonderful; they've created a vibrant, innovative and original vernacular artform that is wildly popular across the whole North American continent, but is all but unknown in many of the big urban centers--like New York, where I live. Contemporary Color aims to remedy that situation.
I was stunned at what I was seeing, and being a musician I naturally wondered to myself, "What if these performances had live music? Really great live music! Wouldn't that be amazing? And wouldn't that lift it to another level?" (Besides being fun for the musicians too!). The competitions these teams engage in already fill arenas with their fans and supporters, so I thought to myself, "Let's take it from there!"
photo: Sharon Jones at The Apollo in 2014 (more by PSquared)
As discussed, Michael Dorf's annual charity tribute concert at Carnegie Hall (3/23) honors Talking Heads / David Byrne this year, and since we last spoke, more artists have been announced. Cee-Lo Green, Sharon Jones and Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff have been added to the lineup that already includes Sleigh Bells' Alexis Krauss, Beth Orton, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Cibo Matto & Nels Cline, Glen Hansard, Perry Farrell, Rufus Wainwright, Steve Earle, The Roots and more.
Antibalas are the house band. Tickets (benefiting music education for underprivileged youth) are still available. Updated lineup below.
David Byrne also just announced a big project with St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, Dev Hynes, How to Dress Well and more happening at Barclays Center.
David Byrne does in fact respect music
The NY Times published an article on Sunday that makes the case that art is NOT in fact dead in NYC, and that many of those complaining are really just old, nostalgic for their youth, and out of touch. It's an interesting read that includes mentions of Death By Audio, Nonsense NYC, Monster Island, the band Bubbles, Goodbye Blue Monday, and Silent Barn.
Silent Barn is somewhat hilariously pitted against David Byrne in the article (which was written by Alan Feuer). Byrne has been known to discuss the expensive real estate related problems artists face if they want to live in NYC, but apparently Silent Barn's Nathan Cearley isn't buying it...
"To survive for the long term, we have to grow up and have adult conversations about stuff like loans and workers' compensation," said Nathan Cearley, a Silent Barn veteran, who also works as a schoolteacher, plays in a "void drone" band called Long Distance Poison and serves on the collective's working group for logistical issues, which is known as Risky Bizness.Perry Farrell, Steve Earle, The Roots, Rufus Wainwright, and more will honor David Byrne at Carnegie Hall in March.
"I don't see David Byrne investing in real estate and trying to lower prices so that artists can stay here," Mr. Cearley said. (Mr. Byrne responded in an email that he failed to see how a real-estate investment, "even if I had the spare cash," would lower rents for artists.)
Mr. Cearley then went on: "If David Byrne isn't interested in art anymore" -- in his email Mr. Byrne said that he was -- "I suppose that's good to know. But we are. So instead complaining about the end of art in New York, I'd love to see him save it. Because he can write us a check anytime he wants." [NY Times]
Steve Earle in Austin, 2011 (more by Tim Griffin)
We reported before that Michael Dorf's annual charity tribute concert at Carnegie Hall (on 3/23) will feature the music of Talking Heads and David Byrne, and that Bebel Gilberto would be among the performers. The initial lneup has now been announced and also includes Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells, Perry Farrell, The Roots, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Rufus Wainwright , Steve Earle and more. The full list is below, and stay tuned for the rest to be announced (David Byrne, if he's going to make an appearance, will never officially be listed). Tickets, including $10,000 "fantasy" tickets that give you the "ability to join entire ensemble for encore on the stage at Carnegie Hall, Backstage Access throughout the concert, full access to rehearsal day at City Winery, and customized encounters with artists" are on sale now and proceeds go to fund music education.
Speaking of rehearsals at City Winery, they usually put tickets on sale for the show part of that too, but we don't see anything up there yet.
Initial lineup of the Carnegie tribute below...
David at William Onyeabor tribute @ BAM (more by Chris La Putt)
Every year, City Winery founder Michael Dorf presents a tribute show at Carnegie Hall to benefit NYC music education programs. Last year was Paul Simon. This year will be a tribute to David Byrne and Talking Heads and will happen at Carnegie Hall on March 23. Tickets are on sale Friday (12/12) at noon.
While the lineup for the Byrne tribute hasn't been announced, we do know Bebel Gilberto will be a part of it. She's got a few other tour dates in between then and now and all are listed below.
David Byrne at Wellmont Theatre in 2013 (more by Greg Cristman)
Keep A Child Alive's 11th annual Black Ball benefit will go down at NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom on October 30 this year. Hosted once again by Keep A Child Alive co-founder Alicia Keys, the event will feature performances from Talking Head David Byrne, rapper Angel Haze, Keys herself and more TBA. About the event, David Byrne told Billboard:
Many many years ago my friend Leigh Blake, co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, approached me about being part of a charity record called Red Hot & Blue. It was a great experience, and it had the side effect of opening my ears to the music of Cole Porter! So, when she approached me about participating in this year's Black Ball, Keep a Child Alive's annual fundraiser hosted by Alicia Keys, I immediately said yes. I'm flattered and excited.Tickets for the benefit are on sale now.
Keep A Child Alive "support[s] innovative, community-led responses that increase access to life-saving HIV treatment and care, nutritious food, and loving support for children and families living with and affected by HIV in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and India."
David Byrne w/ Arcade Fire at Barclays Center (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
David Byrne's Luaka Bop label is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and leading up to the Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor performance at Central Park's Modern Sky Festival (also including Blood Brothers, Cat Power, Liars and more), the label will celebrate with more events at NYC's Mmuseumm (Cortland Alley b/t Franklin St & White St in TriBeCa) from October 1-3. Mmuseumm is "is a modern natural history museum - devoted to the curation and exhibition of contemporary artifacts that illustrate the complexities of the modern world," and for the Luaka Bop celebration it will host "Javelin performing out of a car radio, Kings Go Forth's Andy Noble presenting his special 'Soul Field Recordings' project, Janka Nabay singing his three latest or oldest songs (we don't really know which), and Delicate Steve & Friends performing Harry Belafonte Live at Carnegie Hall." Events start at 7 PM each day and there will also be afterparties each day at Forlini's Restuarant (93 Baxter St) at 8:30 PM, and Winnie's Bar (104 Bayard St, karaoke anyone?) at 9:30. All events are FREE. Flyer below.
Luaka Bop is also releasing a two-part box set that reissues William Onyeabor's full discography on November 18. That also includes a Peaking Lights (who open for Real Estate on 10/2) remix of "Body and Soul," which you can stream below...
photo by Amanda Gentile
Trombonist Ryan Keberle has played as a member of Sufjan Stevens' Age of Adz band, St. Vincent & David Byrne's band, and appeared with Sufjan, Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly at their Planetarium shows. He's also played with Escort, The Welcome Wagon, Nedelle Torrisi, Alicia Keys and more. He leads his own Brooklyn-based group, Catharsis, who will release their new album, Into The Zone, on September 30 which features collaborations with Chilean singer Camila Meza. His time playing with Sufjan Stevens (and being a longtime fan) inspired him to cover "Djohariah" last year, and now he takes on another Sufjan song, "Sister" (from Seven Swans) as a bonus track to Into The Zone. Here's what Ryan had to say about his Sufjan influence:
I, like so many others, spent the majority of my 20's listening to the music of Sufjan Stevens. Most good music connects with me on a deep emotional level, but there are those rare composers whose music moves me in ways that I've only otherwise experienced through sex, drugs, alcohol, good friendship and great comedy. My list of composers with this kind of musical emotional power is short and includes the likes of Lennon and McCartney, Maurice Ravel, Duke Ellington, and Maria Schneider, and after listening to Sufjan Stevens' music for the past 10 years now, I have officially added him to this list. In 2010, I had the great fortune to not only perform with Sufjan, but tour the world with him, performing the music from his last LP, "Age of Adz". Aside from being a true dream gig, this time spent on the road with Sufjan was filled with poignant lessons about music and life that I've drawn from thoroughly as I continue to delve deeper into the art of songwriting and band leading.The track premieres in this post and can be streamed below.
This track, "Sister", the second Sufjan Stevens "cover" recorded by my band, Catharsis, is a culmination of these lessons learned, both musical and personal. The music, although delivered in a jazz context, has much more to do with the universal and emotional power of all styles of music than it does with current jazz trends. Both Sufjan Stevens tracks we've covered, "Djohariah" and now, "Sister", are songs he wrote inspired by his sisters which I personally relate to having two sisters of my own.
Ryan & Catharsis have shows coming up too, including a release show in NYC happening on October 7 at Jazz Standard (116 E 27th St). All dates are listed, with the new Sufjan cover, below...
photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin, words by Andrew Sacher
Arcade Fire @ Barclays Center - 8/24/14
Arcade Fire completed the three-night Barclays Center run of their current tour last night (8/24). Like the first two, Dan Deacon and the reunited Unicorns opened, but this one was extra special because it also included an opening set from New York's legendary Television.
The Unicorns kicked things off early at 7:15 PM, and unfortunately the soon-to-be-filled venue was mostly empty for them, but this rare set (one of six dates they're playing this year) was a treat for those in attendance. They mostly stuck to material from their classic Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, and despite Nick Diamonds and Alden Penner's more "serious" recent projects, they retained all the quirk from their Unicorns days for this show. Alden and Nick both ran around on stage, cracked jokes ("Some people have told us now that they've finally seen us they can die happy ... that is very accurate"), and seemed to be having a genuinely good time on stage playing those old songs. We certainly had a good time hearing them.
Television followed with an excellent set that included half of the classic Marquee Moon ("See No Evil," "Prove It," "Torn Curtain" and it's sprawling title track), but was more of a jammy psychedelic trip than a rehashing of old favorites. The band, whose lineup is 3/4 of the one that recorded Marquee Moon (Jimmy Rip in place of Richard Lloyd), are now almost 40 years past the release of that album and they don't perform all that frequently, but they were dead on last night. The interlocking guitar solos went on endlessly without dragging, and the rhythm section was locked in for all those jams. As improvisational as some of it sounded, parts like the ending of the instrumental break on "Marquee Moon" were exactly like the album. It was as powerful blasting from the stage at Barclays Center as it was the first time you heard it on record.
Immediately after Television's set, Dan Deacon got started on the small stage on the opposite end of the floor, hosting a huge dance competition on Barclays Center's ground floor which ended with the whole floor dancing. A second dance competition was then framed as a battle between Brooklyn DIY venue Death by Audio and NYC print-only show listings publication Showpaper. This was the second recent show we've attended that a now-big act playing to a lot of people in NYC gave props to Death by Audio from the stage (the last was Future Islands). Also spotted dancing in the crowd to Dan Deacon was fellow bald, bearded indie music maker Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav (Dan thanked him at the end). Dan's set was both a fun/funny activity for the crowd and an entertaining precursor to what was to follow.
Arcade Fire then took the stage at 9:30 for a 2-hour set (encore included) which was all thrills. At least in the world of music blogs and music twitter, Arcade Fire have gotten more than a little criticism for the last year or so of their career, which has included an elongated album rollout, lots of costumes, cover songs, and other gimmicks. But last night's show was such a truly good time, you'd have to be bitterly cynical to have been there and felt otherwise. Yes, it is a huge spectacle built for the huge venues they now typically play (this was their third arena show of the weekend in Brooklyn, and all three were full), but they do it without falling into bombast.
One of Arcade Fire's first NYC shows was ten years ago at the tiny Mercury Lounge (October 2004 to be exact). Core members Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Richard Reed Parry, William Butler, Jeremy Gara, Tim Kingsbury, and Sarah Neufeld were all on stage that night, and impressively they're all still there ten years later. This time around they're joined by multiple other musicians (including sax genius Colin Stetson who you can catch in a more intimate environment at Baby's All Right TONIGHT (8/25)), a few people in paper mache bobblehead masks, dancers, confetti, and an elaborate light show, but they make it all unmistakably their own. The Arcade Fire of 2004 may not have written the dance-heavy "Reflektor" or "Sprawl II," but when the Arcade Fire of 2014 plays them right next to "Rebellion (Lies)" and "No Cars Go," nothing sounds out of place. The setlist was heaviest on Reflektor and lightest on Neon Bible, but it mostly felt like a very well curated collection of the many sounds Arcade Fire have made over the years, each song flowing perfectly into the next.
You know by now that Arcade Fire have been doing location-specific covers on this whole tour, and with NY Dolls' David Johansen (as Buster Poindexter) joining them for a cover of "Hot Hot Hot" on Friday, followed by Marky Ramone joining for two Ramones songs on Saturday, and Television opening last night's show (not to mention Deborah Harry joining them at Coachella), it seemed like a pretty good bet that they'd keep the CBGB theme going for this final show. And they did. But Television, though their opening set fit the theme, did not end up being the guest. Win Butler, like Dan Deacon before him, did point out how amazing it was to play with Television though. In fact, Win said last night's show was the best lineup of bands they ever played with at one show.
Arcade Fire & David Byrne
The CBGB-themed cover ended up being Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream," after a fake-out of LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" playing through the PA as The Reflektors mimed the song from the smaller stage at the back of the floor. Nobody from Suicide joined them for this one, but they brought out Talking Head David Byrne (who was also on stage with Arcade Fire almost ten years ago) to sing guest vocals, complete with white face makeup on. It seemed like a good bet that David would be joining them when we heard he was spotted in the building, and we're pretty sure he was even out dancing in a mask to Dan Deacon. (There was a rumor they'd be covering Bruce Springsteen after someone got a hold of the setlist early, uploaded it to setlist.fm, and must have mistakenly not realized Bruce's recording of that song is in fact a Suicide cover.)
"Dream Baby Dream" segued into "Here Comes the Night Time," followed by "Normal Person" (which included Win singing "New York I love you, but you're bringing me down" over the intro, further teasing those of us who were hoping for a James Murphy cameo), and then the show ended with the longest-ever version of "Wake Up." Even after the song's huge ending and the crowd's applause, Win started singing the "whoa-oh, whoa-oh-oh-oh" part again as he and the band walked off stage, then the horn players joined back in, and the whole band proceeded to leave the stage in marching band fashion (the same way they had entered the venue 2 hours earlier) playing the song even once the PA was turned off until they fully exited the room.
Pictures of the third and final night are in this post (though unfortunately none of the openers this time). Saturday pictures HERE. Friday pictures HERE. More from Sunday, with a video of the Suicide cover and AF's setlist, below...
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Johnathan Demme's classic Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, and the film has been making the rounds at various screenings around the country and was just released on Blu-Ray. The film will screen as part of Lincoln Center's Sound + Vision Festival at the Walter Reade Theater on August 1, to be followed by a Q&A with David Byrne himself. File this one under 'not to be missed.'
Tickets are sold out, but If you'd still like to go we have two pairs of tickets to the Lincoln Center screening to give away. ALSO one of those two winners will also be getting the new Blu-Ray of the film SIGNED BY ALL FOUR MEMBERS of the Talking Heads. Details on how to enter the contest, plus a few clips from Stop Making Sense, below...
David not worrying about his phone @ BAM (more by Chris La Putt)
David Byrne thinks Google is evil. He expresses this opinion, after having problems with one of his Android devices, in a post -- he's too even-keeled to write anything you'd call a rant -- on his website titled "Google is Evil":
Poking around, it seems that the latest version of Android (KitKat) disables certain kinds of uses on these storage cards that I had purchased; Google (who helped develop the Android operating system, and later bought it) seems to have intentionally crippled my devices. It cost me money for those cards, but more importantly, I use them as a creative tool. Phones especially get filled up with apps and other stuff, but if I can store my pictures, music and voice memos on an SD card, I can worry less about memory issues...Read the whole thing over at David Byrne's place.
...Other forums suggest Google is "forcing" us to store stuff in the Cloud, presumably where they can get at all our data and then market it to advertisers.
It's a weird feeling to have an invisible corporate hand reach into your gizmo, without asking really, and cripple it.
Wish I could do the same--reach in there and cripple their search algorithm--because, maybe on a whim, I determined I wanted it to work differently.
photos by Chris La Putt; by Bill Pearis
David Byrne / the Lidaju Sisters & Alexis Taylor / finale with Dev Hynes, street dancers
The music of Nigerian musician William Onyeabor was celebrated over the weekend with the two-night "Atomic Bomb" concerts at BAM. Part of this year's Red Bull Music Academy, it featured David Byrne, Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, the Rapture's Luke Jenner and Nigerian singers the Lidaju Sisters singing Onyeabor's songs, backed by a tight band (who knew how to hang loose) led by Sinkane's Ahmed Gallab. (The band also included Money Mark, LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney and more.) Saturday night's show, at least, was a fun, joyous time with as much dancing in the aisles as would be allowed.
Perhaps a tip of the hat to Onyeabor's current born-again Christian status, the night opened with street preacher Rufus Cannon wheeling his portable speaker down the center aisle, shouting testament to God and Jesus on his way to the stage, and at the end of the show a variety of street performers were brought on stage as well, giving the evening a distinctive NYC flair. The music was great, hitting most of the highlights of last year's Who is William Onyeabor? compilation, and the Lidaju Sisters performed a couple of their own songs mid-set. Both Taylor and Byrne were onstage most of the evening as part of the band when they weren't singing.
I do wish the keyboards -- which is what makes Onyeabor's music so distinctive -- had been a little louder in the mix. "Good Name," which on record has an almost Kraftwerk vibe to it, was overtaken by the horn section (which included sax great Joshua Redman). But the crowd and everyone onstage seemed to be having a genuine blast with Onyeabor's music.
The Atomic Bomb Band -- which played The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon ahead of the BAM concerts -- head to the West Coast this week for shows in LA and San Francisco. More pics from Saturday's performance below...
by Bill Pearis
The monthlong 2014 Red Bull Music Academy starts this week here in New York City, and one of the most anticipated events is "Atomic Bomb! The Music Of William Onyeabor" tribute that happens at BAM on Friday and Saturday (5/2 & 5/3). It features singers David Byrne, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Joshua Redman, Luke Jenner (the Rapture) and more paying tribute to the music of the Nigerian funk singer and synthesizer pioneer, and features a backing band including Sinkane, Money Mark and onetime LCD drummer Pat Mahoney. Tickets are still available to both nights.
If you were on the fence, wondering what to expect or both, David Byrne and the band dropped by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday (4/29) to perform "Fantastic Man," one of the more winning tracks from last year's essential Who is William Onyeabor? compilation. By the looks of it, this is going to be -- like the Gene Clark 'No Other' tribute -- a straight-up, "let's do it like he woulda" kind of thing. Which is good news I think and bodes well for this weekend's shows. You can watch the Tonight Show performance (and compare and contrast with the Onyeabor original) below...
You can read how it all came about over at David Byrne's website. In addition to the shows happening in NYC, the Atomic Bomb Band most of the same singers/players are performing shows next week in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Dates and lineups are listed below...
Panda Bear at MHOW in 2011 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As discussed, the Red Bull Music Academy is taking over NYC again this May, and since we last spoke, lineups have been announced. Artists appearing include D'Angelo, Panda Bear, Hudson Mohawke, Tim Hecker, Napalm Death, François K, Robert Henke, The Haxan Cloak, Gunplay, Wolf Eyes, Regis, Optimo, Daedelus, Autre Ne Veut, Bastard Noise, The Thing, Yoshiko Ohara, Dam-Funk, and Gunplay. Events go down in various NYC venues from May 1-31.
RBMA will also host the previously-mentioned 'Atomic Bomb! The Music Of William Onyeabor' tribute which will feature David Byrne, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Luke Jenner (formerly of The Rapture), Pat Mahoney (ex-LCD Soundsystem), Joshua Redman and The Lijadu Sisters, Money Mark and Sinkane.
Tickets are on sale now for individual shows. Schedule and more details below...
When many of us think of the song "Respect," we think of Aretha Franklin. Many people are shocked to learn that Aretha never made a penny from all the radio broadcasts of her performance of R-E-S-P-E-C-T (this is because she wasn't the composer.) It's true--many musicians receive little compensation or struggle to pay bills despite having widely-aired recordings...If you support artists' pay for radio play, you will probably want to sign this petition for the I Respect Music initiative. There will be a concert/rally for the cause at Le Poisson Rouge on February 25 featuring appearances by David Byrne, Janita, John McCrea, Mike Mills, Marc Ribot, and more. It is a FREE show but you do need to RSVP by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More info here.
...With its denial of a Performance Royalty to artists, the U.S. stands with a short list of countries that includes: Iran, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Rwanda. Most other countries in the world pay out at least small amounts to performers for the use of their performances of songs on radio--a use that makes up the content of their broadcasts. To clarify, songwriters and publishers of songs do get paid a little bit, but there is nothing allotted for the folks who record and sing the versions of songs that we hear all the time and whose recordings are used to sell advertising on commercial radio.
- David Byrne
In related news, still no word on tickets for the Byrne's Here Lies Love which is set to return to the Public Theatre at the end of March.
The full text of Byrne's letter about I Respect Music is below....
When Here Lies Love ended it's sold-out Public Theatre run last summer, co-creator David Byrne said they were looking for a new place to stage the musical. Byrne sent out a missive today with good news, and an old venue:
Here Lies Love is back! Or rather, it will be back up and running in late March (previews), with Opening Night slated for March 31st... and the run is open-ended!Great news! No word on tickets yet, but Byrne also mentioned that there would a cast recording album coming out on Nonesuch. "It doesn't sound like any cast album you've ever heard, with seven new songs since the last iteration of this project," Byrne writes. The physical release will be two CDs with a 52-page booklet. Release date is TBA but that's the cover art above.
We're back at the LuEsther, the atmospheric 3rd floor space at The Public Theater that was the former Astor Library. There will be improvements --- better visuals all around and drinks after!
Byrne recently staged a version of Here's Lies Love at Terminal 5 to benefit relief efforts for the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.
photos by Greg Cristman
2013 has come and gone but we still have a couple year-end posts to go. Greg Cristman shot a whole lot for us last year -- everything from metal to synthpop and all points in between -- and he picked his 25 favorites from '13 which are in this post.
"Recorded live at CBGB's in New York City on July 30, 1976. Talking Heads (still a trio at that time) and Television both played two sets that night - this recording is from the second Talking Heads set. This track was never released in any form." Listen below...
"We're Gonna Die" was inspired by an insight she traces to this incident, the idea that sadness brings isolation. We are most alone, most cut off from the possibility of comfort, when we are most in need of it. "It's not even like you can like rip off the mask and let it all hang out when you're in private around people who care about you," she confides, "because there's only so long you can keep dumping your pain on other people before eventually they start to get fed up. Which makes being in pain an incredibly lonely experience."Earlier this year, playwright Young Jean Lee adapted her cabaret We're Gonna Die, that she debuted in NYC at Joe's Pub in 2011 (the show the above review is from), into an album -- the debut release by her band Future Wife. The album has an impressive list of guests either performing or reading monologues, including David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Kathleen Hanna, Ad-Rock, Matmos, Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld. It was produced by Shannon Fields of Stars Like Fleas and Leverage Models. Lou Reed was a fan too, and called her "one of the most accomplished, articulate, versatile and hilarious playwrights, musicians, artists that we in America have to offer."
Also a universal one of course. The charm of "We're Gonna Die" is in how effectively (and humorously) Ms. Lee converts the exaltation that pop music can spread into a kind of collective consolation for life's unavoidable woes. Employing the same basic tools of songcraft -- catchy choruses, relatable lyrics, uplifting melodies -- she applies them not to the eternal subject of swooning romance but to darker if no less common experiences (more common experiences, probably): loneliness, unhappiness, the gut-churning 4 a.m. fears about the pointless mystery of life that all sensible souls are prey to. There is comfort, Ms. Lee suggests, in public celebration of the private misery we keep locked away for fear it will leave us too exposed. [NY Times]
She's now made a video for one of the album's tracks, "I'm Gonna Die," which makes its premiere in this post. You can watch it, along with the album's tracklist, below...
Jherek Bischoff (center) w/ Kornos Quartet in July (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Amanda Palmer/Parenthetical Girls collaborator Jherek Bischoff has announced a couple NYC shows for early 2014 with some pretty great guests. He'll be at St. Ann's Warehouse on January 8 and 9 with Contemporaneous Chamber Orchestra to perform his album Composed with David Byrne, Zola Jesus' Nika Danilova, Sondre Lerche, Deerhoof's Greg Saunier and Mirah Zeitlyn. Tickets are on sale to St. Ann's Warehouse members now, and general on-sale begins Tuesday (12/17).
Watch the video for Jherek's David Byrne collaboration from Composed, below...
David Byrne at Wellmont Theatre in June (more by Greg Cristman)
About a week ago, on November 7th, Super Typhoon Yolanda (as Typhoon Haiyan is known in the Philippines) made landfall. It was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on record. Ever. The full extent of damage and the death toll have yet to be assessed, but it's unimaginably catastrophic. The city of Tacloban on the island of Leyte has been almost wiped off the face of the earth. No place could have withstood this storm.David Byrne's Fatboy Slim collaboration Here Lies Love ended its Public Theater run over the summer and was looking for a new home. A permanent new home hasn't been announced yet, but David did just announce that he's doing a Here Lies Love show on November 25 at Terminal 5 to benefit the people of the Philippines affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Tickets are on sale now, and proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders.
This past spring and summer, a musical I had been working on for years called Here Lies Love ran at The Public Theater here in NY. It takes place in the Philippines, and it follows the rise and fall of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines. The first song sung by Imelda begins with the words "When I was a young girl in Leyte." The show is about the resiliency of the Philippine people--that sentiment couldn't be more timely.
Upon hearing about this tragedy, the cast contacted me about doing a show to raise money for relief efforts. Most of our cast is Filipino, and all of us feel the same way. It's personal for all of us. We all dropped whatever we were doing and this concert version of the show will happen in one week--Monday, November 25th, 8PM, at Terminal 5 here in New York.
In related news, David Byrne collaborator St. Vincent revealed some new music and announced tour dates.
'Here Lies Love' flyer below...
I just got an email from a Chilean actress who wrote what it meant to be able to hear Lou's work during the period of dictatorship there. A breath of life, she called it. That gives you some idea of how widespread and deep his influence was.Read the rest of Byrne's statement at Rolling Stone.
No surprise I was a big fan, and his music, with and without the Velvets, was a big influence on myself and Talking Heads. He came to see us at CBGB numerous times, and I remember three of us going to visit him at his Upper East Side (!) apartment after one of our very early gigs there.
Lou was talking a mile a minute and going through tubs of Haagen-Dazs ice cream while he suggested some variations and adjustments we might make to some of our songs. He began to play our song "Tentative Decisions" (a very Lou song title, no?) but he played it way slower than we were doing it. He was showing us how the song might be as a ballad -- which made it more melancholic and elegaic than our bouncy version. It suddenly was of a piece with "Candy Says," "Some Kind of Love" or "Pale Blue Eyes." Of course we were in awe -- here was one of our heroes playing one of our little songs. But by then it was the wee hours of the morning, dawn was coming, and we were all pretty spaced out -- and we three probably had day jobs to get to at that point.
If Fela Kuti was a child of James Brown, fellow Nigerian William Onyeabor is something like the next-generation musical offspring of Parliament-Funkadelic. His songs are extended call-and-response disco-funk jams driven by the space-age sound of synthesizers and drum machines -- very new tools when Onyeabor was recording in the late '70s and '80s, especially in Africa. After years of existing mainly as secret grail passed between electronic music DJs and other crate diggers, Onyeabor's handful of studio LPs have been licensed and boiled down to a killer compilation by Luaka Bop, the tastemaking world music label started by David Byrne.The above text is quoted from NPR, where you can head now for a full album stream of Who Is William Onyeabor?, the compilation of Nigerian cult-funk singer William Onyeabor's music which comes out on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label next week (10/29). The Guardian also just did a feature video on him, and mentioned that Four Tet, Caribou, and Damon Albarn are all fans.
So who IS William Onyeabor? Part of the album's conceit is that even the compilers don't fully know. The liner notes, by veteran British journalist Vivien Goldman, note that Onyeabor is a crowned chief in his hometown village of Enugu, Eastern Nigeria, where he lives in "a hidden palace in the woods" and is a booster of the local Christian music scene. But he essentially left his own music career in the '80s, in the wake of the recordings collected here, presumably when he became a born-again Christian.
Luaka Bop will be teaming up with OkayAfrica to celebrate with the release with some parties worldwide, including one in Brooklyn happening on Saturday (10/26) at Buka Nigerian Restaurant (945 Fulton St), plus an afterparty down the block at Doris (1088 Fulton St). There will be DJ sets from Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Lizzi Bougatsos (Gang Gang Dance), and Tim Koh (Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti). RSVP for all parties is open now. The full list of parties and the flyer are below.
All William Onyeabor party dates are listed, along with trailer videos for the album and parties, plus the flyer, below...
David Byrne @ Wellmont Theatre in June (more by Greg Cristman)
The city is a body and a mind--a physical structure as well as a repository of ideas and information. Knowledge and creativity are resources. If the physical (and financial) parts are functional, then the flow of ideas, creativity and information are facilitated. The city is a fountain that never stops: it generates its energy from the human interactions that take place in it. Unfortunately, we're getting to a point where many of New York's citizens have been excluded from this equation for too long. The physical part of our city--the body--has been improved immeasurably. I'm a huge supporter of the bike lanes and the bike-share program, the new public plazas, the waterfront parks and the functional public transportation system. But the cultural part of the city--the mind--has been usurped by the top 1 percent...Like most of us who live in NYC, David Byrne has a bit of a love-hate relationship with the city, which he muses on in a new editorial written for Creative Time Reports' Summit Series -- read the whole thing either at The Guardian or Creative Time.
...This real estate situation - a topic New Yorkers love to complain about over dinner - doesn't help the future health of the city. If young, emerging talent of all types can't find a foothold in this city, then it will be a city closer to Hong Kong or Abu Dhabi than to the rich fertile place it has historically been. Those places might have museums, but they don't have culture. Ugh. If New York goes there - more than it already has - I'm leaving.