Entries tagged with: Highline Ballroom
I got word about ten days ago that Comedy Central was going into high gear deciding if they wanted to air TCGS. This past weekend, I was in a sandwich shop in Toronto when I got a tough call - after much debate, Comedy Central have decided that TCGS is not for them.Read the rest at his Tumblr, though he notes: "I still feel in my gut like we are going to find a new home."
Obviously this is a huge bummer, and there are a lot of feelings to sort out here. I'm sad it won't be going down. I feel like I let my friends down. I'm definitely a bit shell-shocked - it's been a crazy six months and I was pretty convinced for a moment there that it might actually happen.
Most of all though, I feel grateful.
Meanwhile, continue to watch new and old episodes on his website (Lemuria was his last musical guest), and go out and catch Chris live (at bigger and bigger venues). Tickets are now on sale for a 7/15 "Chris Gethard and Friends: show at NYC's Highline Ballroom, a pretty big room, but he can handle it.
Chris also plays the Slipper Room in NYC this Tuesday (6/10) at part of SWEET before opening some shows for his friend Mike Birbiglia including one in Atlantic City on 6/14. He also appears at an upcoming Night Train at Littlefield, at UCB for the upcoming Del Close Marathon, and at this year's Outside Lands festival. All dates are listed along with the last episode of the show (with Lemuria) below...
A$AP Rocky at Made In America 2013 (more by Greg Cristman)
The Other Ball is a new annual live music event that raises money for Arms Around the Child, an organization that takes care of children infected/affected by HIV in Africa and India. The inaugural event takes place on December 10 at Highline Ballroom in NYC with sets from The Black Keys, A$AP Rocky, Miguel, Lyyke Li and Mikky Ekko. Jeff Bhasker is the musical director, Mark Ronson is hosting, and his sister Samantha Ronson will be DJing. The dress code for the event is "more black leather than black tie," and there will be a "flowing bar and exquisite tapas." Regarding the event, a press release (via Broadway World) reads:
"When Mark approached us about 'The Other Ball' and told us the incredible story of Arms Around the Child and Leigh Blake and her team's work to make positive change in the lives of helpless and exposed children across the world, there was no question regarding our support," says TOPSHOP TOPMAN. "This event will bring creative hearts and minds together in one of this year's most exciting events and will no doubt raise awareness and much-needed funds to enable Leigh and her team to continue their invaluable work for these extremely vulnerable young people."$2000 tickets for the event are on sale now.
"I'm deeply honored to be involved in the first annual event for Arms Around the Child, The Other Ball. Leigh is a force of nature and through her tireless work and insane energy has launched two life-changing organizations, Red Hot and Keep A Child Alive, which have between them raised $50 million and helped to save over three million lives," says producer and artist Mark Ronson. "Leigh puts on some of the most memorable events. The Black Ball, the annual fundraising event for Keep a Child Alive, has featured mini concerts with everyone from Adele to Jay Z. The Other Ball is going to be its cool little sibling."
Tyler, The Creator @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (more by Jason Bergman)
Odd Future's most popular character, Tyler, The Creator, who recently dropped his new album Wolf and played Music Hall of Williamsburg on the first leg of the LP-supporting tour, will return to NYC for another show SOON, but not one where he'll be playing music. Tickets go on sale at noon for a live coversation between critic Elliot Wilson and Tyler. It happens at Highline Ballroom on Tuesday, April 23rd (10:30pm doors).
From there Tyler will head to Arizona to kick off the 2nd leg of his "Wolf" tour which includes three big shows in Texas with Earl Sweatshirt where they're being billed as "Earl Wolf". All dates are listed in the poster below...
Stylish Mark Eitzel at Knitting Factory, Dec 2011 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Move over Alex Trebek, Mark Eitzel wants your job. (With his upbeat demeanor and penchant for suits, this probably seems obvious.) The American Music Club frontman is preparing for the October 2 release of Don't Be A Stranger via Merge by releasing a series of trivia questions via the AMC website.
Each Wednesday from now through September 26th, there will be an Eitzel-related trivia question posted... with the answer revealed the following Tuesday. The answers will be tallied and the top 3 contestants (top 3 from the US and top 3 from Europe/Australia/New Zealand) with the most correct answers will win a smattering of Eitzel-related prizes, including concert tickets, autographed albums and more.What, no Turtle Wax or Rice-a-Roni? The first three questions are up and ready to go. How many can you answer?
Are you ready?
Meanwhile, all of you cheaters in NYC won't be able to snag the answers from Eitzel himself in time to make the contest; the man won't swing through the five boroughs until Dec 3 at Highline Ballroom. Tickets are on sale. The dates are part of a larger East Coast tour for Eitzel, all of which are listed below.
In anticipation of the new LP, head below for a stream of "I Love You But You're Dead." Mark Eitzel is currently trying to update his image, consulting Billy B (Lady Gaga's makeup artist) and Nadya Ginsburg (writer for "Joan Rivers Fashion Police") to make sure he knows what the kids are up to. Grab your notepads and head below to check out video on their advice to Mark.
photos by Greg Cristman
Russian Circles / Chelsea Wolfe, Highline Ballroom 8/18/2012
Chicago's post-rock crew Russian Circles' tour with Chelsea Wolfe and Marriages came through NYC this weekend with a show at Meatpacking District's Highline Ballroom on Saturday (8/18). Pictures from that show are in this post. The three bands continue their tour, playing Montreal tonight (8/20).
In other news Chelsea Wolf will release an acoustic album this fall titled Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs. You can stream "The Way We Used to Be" from it at the bottom of this post and the album will be out October 16.
More pics from Highline Ballroom and the Chelsea Wolfe stream are below.
by Klaus Kinski
In today's "Oh yeah, that makes total sense" comedy news, it was just announced that Klaus Kinski All Time Favorite Kurt Braunohler has joined the upcoming Comedy Bang! Bang! tour and will be the master of opening ceremonies in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle and Portland (Oregon)(not Maine). Bad news though; the previously announced NYC August 7th show at the Highline Ballroom has sold out. GOOD NEWS though: a late show has been added! Tickets for that 10pm doors / 10:30pm show are on sale now but they are flying off the shelves. Git em! All dates are listed below.
As I mentioned earlier, Comedy Bang! Bang! is not only a superior podcast, but it's also a show on IFC that you can see Friday's at 10/9C. Mr. Braunohler is the host of comedy game show Bunk which you can see on IFC Friday nights at 10:30/9:30C. From an "industry" standpoint, you can see why the pairing makes sense. But from a Klaus Kinski standpoint, it makes sense because Aukerman and Braunohler are hilarious, and have been since waaaayyyyyyyy before their IFC shows. This is a great opportunity to see one of NYC's best share a bill with some of LA's best, and you can be damn sure there will be HELLA surprises and special guests. That's a promise to you, the BV reader, because that's who I am and that's who I care about. Full dates below.
And don't forget, you can see Kurt Braunohler all the freaking time in NYC, provided he is in town. As mentioned, his phenomenal show Night of the Living takes place every so often at Littlefield in Brooklyn. The next installment of Night of the Living takes place Friday June 29th and features Judah Friedlander, music by Amanda Palmer, and a screening of his show Bunk. Inexplicably, $10 tickets are still available. Kurt also co-hosts the great Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen which takes place Mondays at Littlefield. Hot Tub is SO MUCH fun and offer up an always eclectic roster of awesome guests.
Last month Kurt was a guest at Kevin Allison (of the State)'s show Risk! which goes down at the Pit in NYC. Check out the video below. Risk! happens again tonight (6/28), but this time with guests Mara Wilson, Jamie Lee, Lisa Kirchner, AND Tom Shillue (who tells funny stories) AND Simon Amstell (who we've been stalking since he landed in NYC)!
Also tonight in NYC: Yacht Rock Revue @ Canal Room.
Tons of local Kurt Braunohler dates, the video of him at Risk!, and all Comedy Bang! Bang! dates, below...
Lauryn Hill at Rock the Bells 2011 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Other than Switzerland's Openair Frauenfeld and Ottawa's Bluefest, Lauryn Hill doesn't appear to have much in the way of live shows this year, but it was just announced that she'll play a NYC show on June 2 at Highline Ballroom. She'll be performing music from her classic LP The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (which she performed in full at Rock the Bells 2011) and more. TIckets (which are $125 for general admission or $250 for VIP/post-show meet and greet) for that show go on sale Monday (5/28) at noon. Doors are at 6 PM and the show starts at 8 PM... but what time will Lauryn show up?
A list of all dates and some videos from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Washed Out @ Highline Ballroom
Washed Out's tour with Memoryhouse hit Highline Ballroom last night (4/22) for their first of two sold out NYC shows on a very rainy night. Washed Out played a 12-song set with a good mix of material off 2011's Within and Without LP and 2010's Life of Leisure EP to a sometimes dancing and fist-pumping crowd. More pictures from the Highline show are below.
Meanwhile, Memoryhouse played despite having their gear stolen. The Highline show was the third NYC show for the band this past weekend, having also played an in-store for Record Store Day at Permanent Records on Saturday (4/21) and Public Assembly that night with Ex Cops and Matteah Baim. Check out a video from the Public Assembly show below.
Washed Out and Memoryhouse will do it again tonight (4/23) with a sold out show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. More pics, including one of WO's setlist, and videos below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Asobi Seksu @ Highline Ballroom
the great pumpkin: Asobi Seksu is based in New York where there is a booming coffee scene. Are you a coffee drinker? What is your favorite Local Coffee Shop & Drink of Choice?If there was any food-related tension in the band (pretend or real), it didn't show at Highline Ballroom on 4/16, when Asobi Seksu stood in solidarity with Planned Parenthood. The NYC shoegaze crew were joined by North Highlands, Little Big & comedian Sara Benincasa at the Monday night shindig. Here are some pictures and a video. More, with tour dates (I hope the band likes Japanese food), below...
James Hanna of Asobi Seksu: I love coffee, Qathra near my house in Ditmas Park is solid. I either like a double espresso or just plain old French press. Generally I make my own because few places make it murky enough for me. Viscosity is very important.
Fine dining is big in this city, but it's easy to get great food for a low price. Do you have any favorite cheap eats?
James Hanna of Asobi Seksu: I love Wonton Garden in Chinatown. There are some really good spots down there but mostly terrible ones. I miss Carmines Pizza in Greenpoint.
Do you have a favorite New York City restaurant? Yuki mentioned in her interview with Eater that she likes Five Leaves in Greenpoint.
James Hanna of Asobi Seksu: Yuki is a fool... No just kidding. There are too many restaurants in New York City, and not enough good ones.
The Zombies (featuring original members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent) celebrated their 50th anniversary last year with a new album and tour. They've got another run of UK dates announced this year for May and June, and just announced two NYC shows which will take place on August 5 and 6 at Highline Ballroom. Tickets for both of those shows go on sale today (4/13) at noon.
The Zombies continue to be influential on new bands, having recently been covered by twee/dream pop groups Memoryhouse and Tennis. Stream Tennis's take on "Tell Her No" and Memoryhouse's take on "This Will Be Our Year" below.
All dates and streams below...
Action Bronson at Gramercy in 2011 (more by Brook Bobbins)
Action Bronson, who played the Girls/Real Estate afterparty at Tribeca Grand hotel this past Saturday (how was that?), has a few more shows coming up including another hometown show in NYC at Southpaw on February 9 with Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, who he has shared many local bills with in the past, most recently at Highline Ballroom on 12/27. The bill also includes Kyle Rapps, Soul Kahn, special guest Illustrate, and DJ Meka (2DopeBoyz). Tickets are on sale.
Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, who dropped a new mixtape for Christmas, meanwhile plays a Chicago show this weekend with Chicago rapper ShowYouSuck who recently released a new mixtape too. eXquire also has a show schedyled at Echoplex in LA on 2/28 with Das Racist.
Action Bronson recently released his first new track of 2012. Find a link to that HERE.
All tour dates dates and an 11 minute video feature made from footage shot at the recent Highline Ballroom show, below...
The Roots on the Intrepid (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
The Roots have unveiled undun, the band's latest LP due via Island/Def Jam on Dec 6th. undun is, as described by the band, "an existential re-telling of the short life of one Redford Stephens (1974-1999) that plays in reverse, retelling the intersection of free will and prescribed destiny as it plays out on the corner." Sounds heavy, and you can check out the lead track to surface, "Make My" featuring Big K.R.I.T. which is streaming below.
You can obviously catch The Roots virtually every night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, or you can see them in person at Highline Ballroom on Nov. 29th & 30th and Dec. 5th as they celebrate undun. Ticketing info is forthcoming, but we're guessing they'll be late shows based on the currently full calendar on those dates (Corey Glover, Basya Schechter's Songs of Wonder, and Corey Taylor of Slipknot respectively). Meanwhile those with a CMJ badge (or a ticket to the sold out show) can head to Highline Ballroom to see Alice Smith & Gary Clark Jr tonight (10/18).
The Roots recently played a live show aboard the Intrepid with The Hold Steady. Questlove has since opened for Little Dragon at Terminal 5, and CMJ badgeholders can see him DJ for free at Brooklyn Bowl this Thursday (10/20).
Check out "Make My" featuring Big K.R.I.T. below.
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
"OMG. Is there anything cooler for a mother/daughter trip to New York to incorporate going to see one of the finest examples of an older woman strutting her stuff? I took my daughter to the Highline Ballroom, a small intimate venue packed full of mostly men - but she's still got a diverse following - it wasn't all fat old blokes in tight t-shirts like Pink Floyd fans or ageing women like Tom Jones - it's a real mixture.Deborah Harry and Blondie strutted their way onto the stage onf Highline Ballroom on 9/12 & 9/13. Pictures in this post are from the second night with opener Lissy Trullie.
SHE IS SO COOL. Initially I was a little worried. She came out in sunglasses and quite a lot of clothes and didn't move very much and her hair is a little, well, a little too Blonde, which I guess in her case is entirely acceptable.
She just got better as her set progressed. Started moving around the stage with that attitude she does so well, stripped down to something more sexy and her voice was good and it was just a great evening and she's f*cking 66!!!!
Honestly. You couldn't find a better role model for the older woman. She is an inspiration. I'm going to walk about New York in my pants today. ROCK ON!!! [Family Affairs & Other Matters]
Maybe you bought some merch from the punk legends at their table, or maybe instead you headed to the Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker Street as part of their pop-up Blondie store, a benefit for Riverkeeper and promotion for their new album out now Panic of Girls, which dropped that same day (Beirut cover included).
Blondie play Music Box at the Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ tonight (9/16) and a show in Clark, NJ on Saturday. Westbury, NY happens Sunday. All tour dates and pictures from Highline Ballroom are below.
photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin, words by fan & show promoter Jake Szufnarowski
The Bouncing Souls love to set up shop in New York City. In 2006 when they released The Gold Record, they celebrated that joyous occasion by playing six nights in a row at the old Knitting Factory culminating with the Gold Record in its entirety. Six nights was pretty fitting considering that record was released on June 6, 2006. The day of the beast!
That run of shows ignited a desire in the band to play multiple night stands of shows in their hometown, and the following year they started the "Home For the Holidays" tradition - a run of multiple nights in their adopted home turf of Asbury Park. This past December the band decided to do something special with "Home for the Holidays" and play all 8 of their albums - in order - over the course of 4 nights.
Sadly Mother Nature intervened and the Great Blizzard of 2010 blanketed everybody's favorite shore town in more snow than even the White Castle could surmount. That left the band snowed in, along with hundreds of fans who had come from all over these great United States - and even abroad - and the Stone Pony was unable to open their doors. The band of course took those lemons and made lemonade and gave a blistering show at the Asbury Lanes to anyone who could trudge through the mountainous snowdrifts to make it. They ended up rescheduling that run of shows for February and had so much fun they then decided to literally take the show on the road! And that, my friends, is the legend of "For All the Unheard - All 8 Records in 4 Nights!"
Never ones to shy away from a big idea, the Bouncing Souls are taking this concept worldwide and started the assault in Chicago and Boston before bringing it all back home again to New York, NY!
For the band that has seemingly done it all - the one major club they had yet to play is where they chose to put up stakes and settle this travelling circus down for 4 nights - the Highline Ballroom.
There's something funny about bands playing entire albums in their entirety. If you already know what the band is going to play, then how are they gonna make it exciting? Well the Souls let us know right off the bat, on the first of four nights (July 6th), that this wasn't going to be any ordinary night. After great opening sets by Hostage Calm, then a solo set by Dave Hause of the Loved Ones and a blistering set of classics by their 90's contemporaries Weston, it was time to get down to business.
With a single spotlight shining in the center of the stage - out strode the tuxedoed man of class and savoire faire, "Gentleman" Jim Norton. Reminiscent of the finest boxing announcers, he told the crowd "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!!!!" and proceeded to lay down an introduction that would make Michael Buffer blush. He informed us that "Tonight's proceedings are overseen by the New York State Athletic Commission - the judges' scores will be final - this bout is for the undisputed 'Heavyweight Punk Rock Belt," and a foxy ring card girl strode back and forth across the stage holding high an oversized replica of the cover of "The Good! The Baaaaaad! Aaaaaand the AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGYYYYYYYYYYLLLLLEEEE!"
With that, the band bounded onto the stage and with the opening notes of "I Like Your Mom" proceeded to whip the capacity crowd into a fervor that did not let up until the end of the "first round". Round 2 was once again preceded by the boxing intro of Gentleman Jim with his announcement of the challenger, "Maniacal Laughter!!!!". The band kept up their relentless pace. So relentless that a guy in a wheelchair crowd surfed his way onto the stage - not once but TWICE! Equal opportunity moshing!!!
There was stage diving, circle pits, and there wasn't a single song that wasn't a singalong. Sing Along Forever indeed!
The mayhem continued for three more nights. On Thursday the Souls played their Self Titled LP and "Hopeless Romantic" Opening bands Star Fucking Hipsters, Yuppicide and Wildstreet kicked things off. Friday night saw the Souls tear through "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" and "Anchors Aweigh" which were the first two albums featuring their 2nd and current drummer Michael McDermott. This was the first night of the run to sell out and maybe the one that saw the band most spirited; During the intro for "No Comply" singer Greg Attonito remarked to the crowd "You guys keep surfing up onto the stage and smashing the monitors and knocking over mic stands - Im gonna do that too!" - as he tossed a few mic stands aside and, with a huge smile on his face jumped into the crowd - leaving guitarist Pete Steinkopf and bassist Bryan Keinlan to sing the song. Amazing Attonito made a huge crowd surfing circle around the entire floor of the Highline Ballroom and back to the stage. He looked like he was swimming while doing it. Check out the video below. Friday also featured opening sets by: The Loved Ones, Up For Nothing and Iron Chic. Pictures from that show are in this post.
The final night of the run featured the albums "The Gold Record" and "Ghosts on the Boardwalk", an album which was a collection of songs released as digital singles and 7" singles during their "20th Anniversary Celebration". Openers on Saturday night were Lost in Society, a reunited Grey Area, and the one and only Tim Barry of AVAIL. Tim delivered an amazing set - always an astounding amount of energy for a solo act and the crowd was singing along so loudly and passionately you would have thought he was headlining. The highlight of his set came during "Idle Idyllist" where Barry abandoned the stage, lights, and PA system and jumped down into the crowd and sang the song at the top of his lungs from the middle of the packed Highline Ballroom floor. We've seen him do that before at the comparatively tiny Knitting Factory and Mercury Lounge, but seeing it at the Highline was something else - as was the fact the the entire venue went silent so everyone could hear the fully acoustic strains of the man's voice and his guitar. Music for the people. God bless Tim Barry. And god bless the Bouncing Souls for 4 nights of awesomeness.
More tour dates HERE. More pictures from Night Three and a couple of videos below...
photos by Brook Bobbins
Odd Future @ Highline Ballroom
Odd Future played Highline Ballroom on Friday (5/13) as part of a week long string of shows for the LA hip hop crew in celebration of the new Goblin LP by Tyler, The Creator. We already mentioned that the NYC show happened, and who some of the guests in the crowd were (we forgot GZA). Now here are some pictures from both the show, and other places Tyler & crew visited while in NYC. They continue below.
Today's even hotter news comes from the New Yorker who interviewed the missing Earl Sweatshirt, who was located by Complex Magazine at a camp in Samoa in April. In the New Yorker piece (which is only available in its entirety with a New Yorker subscription) Earl speaks on the current wave of hype and the backlash on his family due to popular OFWGKTA slogan "Free Earl":
"Initially I was really pleased that all these people claimed that they wanted me released because I thought that translated into 'they care,'" Earl wrote. "So time progresses and the fan base gets bigger and the 'Free Earl' chants get louder but now with the 'Free Earl' chants come a barely indirect 'Fuck Earl's Mom' and in the blink of an eye my worry changes from 'will there still be this hype when I get back' to 'Oh shit I just inspired a widespread movement of people who are dedicated to the downfall of my mom.'"The article mentions that his return is currently up in the air.
Earl added, "The only thing I need as of right now is space. I've still got work to do and don't need the additional stress of fearing for my family's physical well-being. Space means no more 'Free Earl.'"
In other (and possibly polar opposite) news, Tyler the Creator responded to the criticism from Tegan & Sara regarding Odd Future's "misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving". And by that we mean, Tyler maturely tweeted, "If Tegan And Sara Need Some Hard Dick, Hit Me Up!" Yikes. More NYC pictures below...
"And Frank Ocean Is Here........" - Tyler, the Creator
"NYC Odd Future crowd was terrible, total amateur hipster shit. I don't blame Tyler and Hodgy for being pissed. Frank Ocean rocked though." - Ari Shahdadi
"NY Was Cool. My Voice Is Completely Gone." - Tyler, the Creator
"The wolf gang is the truth." - Q-Tip
"Man. Hip hop aint been this edgy in a minute.
Enjoyed the Odd Future show tonight" - Questlove
?uestlove in a Tyler mask @ Highline Ballroom Friday night
When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry? When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offenses? While an artist who can barely get a sentence fragment out without using homophobic slurs is celebrated on the cover of every magazine, blog and newspaper, I'm disheartened that any self-respecting human being could stand in support with a message so vile.PREVIOUSLY: 'Is hip-hop homophobia at a tipping point?' ('Goblin' out Tues.)
As journalists and colleagues defend, excuse and congratulate 'Tyler, the Creator,' I find it impossible not to comment. In any other industry would I be expected to tolerate, overlook and find deeper meaning in this kid's sickening rhetoric? Why should I care about this music or its "brilliance" when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible? There is much that upsets me in this world, and this certainly isn't the first time I've drafted an open letter or complaint, but in the past I've found an opinion - some like-minded commentary - that let me rest assured that my outrage, my voice, had been accounted for. Not this time.
If any of the bands whose records are held in similar esteem as Goblin had lyrics littered with rape fantasies and slurs, would they be labeled hate mongers? I realize I could ask that question of DOZENS of other artists, but is Tyler exempt because people are afraid of the backlash? The inevitable claim that detractors are being racist, or the brush-off that not "getting it" would indicate that you're "old" (or a faggot)? Because, the more I think about it, the more I think people don't actually want to go up against this particular bully because he's popular. Who sticks up for women and gay people now? It seems entirely uncool to do so in the indie rock world, and I'll argue that point with ANYONE.
No genre is without its controversial and offensive characters- I'm not naive. I've asked myself a thousand times why this is pushing me over the edge. Maybe it's the access to him (his grotesque twitter, etc). Maybe it's because I'm a human being, both a girl and a lesbian. Maybe it's because my mom has spent her whole adult life working with teenage girls who were victims of sexual assault. Maybe it's because in this case I don't think race or class actually has anything to do with his hateful message but has EVERYTHING to do with why everyone refuses to admonish him for that message.
It is not without great hesitation and hand wringing that I enter into the discourse about Tyler, the media who glorifies and excuses misogyny and homophobia, and the community of artists that doesn't seem remotely bothered by it. I can only hope that someone reading this might be inspired to speak out. At the very least, I will know that my voice is on record. - skq
photos by Andrew St. Clair
Femi @ MHOW
Chicago Sun-Times: You're always discussed in relation to your father's musical legacy. What does that mean to you? What was his musical legacy?Nigerian royalty blessed Music Hall of Williamsburg last night (4/27), as Femi Kuti headlined his second of two NYC dates in NYC (Highline Ballroom occupied his Tuesday night). Lord Huron supported last night at MHoW and will play a headlining show TONIGHT (4/28) at Mercury Lounge with North Highlands, The Wilderness of Manitoba, and Spanish Prisoners. Tickets are still available.
Femi Kuti: It's one that started within our family, creating a music that was unique. Folks in Lagos and Africa can identify. It's very homely for us. It's like funk is to America, or rock. It's a distillation of the native sounds made into something a wider audience can appreciate...
Chicago Sun-Times Is it a burden to carry your father's legacy?
Femi Kuti: No, because I understand what I am doing. I enjoy doing the music myself. People want to know about him and I'm obliged to answer. I love my father. Some people are not close to their parents, they grow up and don't want to be identified with them. It's not a problem for me.
Femi is out on tour supporting his new album 'Africa for Africa.'
More pictures from Music Hall of Williamsburg and some recent video of both bands in action, including video from Highline Ballroom, below.
Two days after he plays Wellmont Theater (on 6/9, tickets), Brian Wilson will start a three-night NYC run at Highline Ballroom with first-come-first-served seated shows on June 11th, 12th, & 13th. The performances, like at the Wellmont show, and a recently-added CT show, will see Brian performing "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin in its entirety, along with a selection of solo and Beach Boys classics." Tickets for all three shows are on sale.
Updated tour dates below...
night 2 opener Breathe Owl Breathe @ Highline Ballroom
Yann Tiersen is on tour and headlined two shows at NYC's Highline Ballroom over the weekend - February 18th was "unplugged with orchestra" and February 19th was just billed as "regular band." Though we have pictures here from both nights, I was just there on the second...
Great Lake trio Breathe Owl Breathe wasted no time at the top of their opening set. Singer/guitarist Micah Middaugh offered a quick hello, and they launched into "Dog Walkers of the New Age" from their most recent album, Magic Central. Much of the crowd may have been unfamiliar with the music, but that didn't seem to get Middaugh down - he smiled when people began to prematurely applaud during "Own Stunt," and continued to sing.
Breathe Owl Breathe has a knack for melding lovely Bowerbirds-esque melodies with charming storytelling. Middaugh and singer/violinist Andréa Moreno-Beals often incorporated sound effects to make the subjects of their songs (say, a hang gliding expedition gone haywire or a swimming trip) more visceral. The light-hearted (but surprisingly poignant) song "Dragon" was particularly memorable. To get into character, Middaugh put on something resembling the head piece of a wet suit that obscured his hair and beard and gave him a more scaley appearance. "Now the dragon and the princess, they were pen pals," Middaugh began by way of introducing the song. "But the princess had no idea the dragon was a dragon... because the dragon had really good penmanship... So the dragon and the princess, they're in love, but it's complicated times." As he began to sing, Middaugh pantomimed the lyrics - jumping up and down and breathing fire when necessary, to the sheer delight of the crowd. Mid song, he and Moreno-Beals lead the crowd (or should I say "cave") in a lively two-part clap-along. At the song's conclusion, Middaugh tapped the mic. "That's the sound of the dragon's heart."
Heart-meltingly cute antics aside (Middaugh could make a killing doing Raffi cover songs for kids), the band isn't afraid to delve into more complex emotions. In the midst of "Dragon," for instance, Moreno-Beals poses the open-ended question, "How do you stop loving someone?"
Breathe Owl Breathe concluded their set with a rousing number that required yet another prop - this time, a plush wolf hat, complete with a gaping mouth and teeth, which Moreno-Beals proudly wore. "This is a story about a werewolf," Middaugh began. "Every time he gets excited, he starts to grow hair... but one day, he decides to shave to try to fit in, and his mom doesn't know who he is because he's all smooth now." As Middaugh spun his forlorn tale, Morenos-Beals (playing the part of the wolf mother) leaned into the mic to bark and wail with mounting intensity as the song played out.
Yann Tiersen @ Highline Ballroom
By the time Yann Tiersen and his five-man band began to play, both the tables and the floor were packed. Though an orchestra certainly would have been a welcome addition, the performance was still cinematic in scope. (This is of course the man who scored Amelie we're talking about.) Gentle instrumental interludes on mandolin or violin were suddenly punctuated with tempestuous bursts on percussion and guitar.
The music was the focal point of the evening and rightfully so. The renowned French composer didn't interrupt the flow of the songs much to talk, and the lyrics (and enigmatic, propaganda-like voice overs) were sparse. Tiersen has a gift for blending his classical influences with more contemporary elements and effects. One song even featured a duet on the melodica.
With the lights streaming gracefully through the lightly fogged room, music pumping from all corners of the stage, and sudden switches in tempo and instrumentation, Tiersen's performance was truly desiring of the (sadly over-used) word 'epic.' Midway through the set, the stage suddenly cleared out, leaving just Tiersen to show off his virtuosic skill on the violin. His frenzied playing sent both his hair and the broken strands of his bow flying.
After the full band returned to play another handful of songs, Tiersen abruptly announced the performance's conclusion with a quick thanks, but luckily, the show wasn't over yet. After a pregnant pause, the musicians returned, bearing drinks to conclude the evening with a much appreciated three-song encore.
Pictures from both NYC nights (with the first night's setlist) continue below...
Yann at Irving Plaza in 2009 (more by Leia Jospe)
French artist Yann Tiersen, who is especially known for his well-received Amelie soundtrack, released his sixth album, Dust Lane, in October via ANTI- Records. Tiersen played the "Concert Hall" in NYC around the time of its release, and is now set to return for a larger tour that will have him back in NYC for two more shows. He plays Highline Ballroom on February 18th (tickets) and 19th (tickets). The full North American tour kicks off and ends in Los Angeles, stretching from the end of January until middle March, and it is promised that "the band will be bringing Dust Lane to life with synths, electric guitars, violins and drums in an energetic and powerful show."
All dates, some video, and the latest entries from Tiersen's video tour diary are below.
I walked out of the flurries falling over 16th street Monday night and into the ballroom that is Highline where the right and left sides of the room are dedicated to tables, and the aroma of french fries was in the air. Openers White Hinterland aka Casey Dienel and Shawn Creeden, enthusiastically took the stage around 8:15. A decent group had gathered and stood silently, hypnotized by the sounds of Dienel's ghostly vocals looping and poignantly floating through the room. There were a few technological problems with wires from her keyboard falling loose so Dienel sweetly commented on our politeness, and suggested that we get rowdy by heading to the bar area to get our drink on (but the show was 16 and up, and the room wasn't exactly filled, so no rowdiness actually happened).
Despite the few sound issues, White Hinterland played a solid and lengthy set. There were projections of a light sky with birds flying, and white, glittered branches were collected in areas throughout the ballroom, so the place "truly look like White Hinterland," as Dienel pointed out. Their last song, a tasteful cover of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream", was dedicated to Gretchen Jones (winner of Project Runway) who was in the crowd. Gretchen is a friend of the members of the band; she used their music as the accompaniment to her winning collection when it was debuted during Fashion Week.
S. Carey started their set with the album intro "Move," a mainly instrumental piece with Carey on acoustic guitar and the percussionist on vibes, running violin bows along the fronts of the strings to create mystical sound effects, accompanied by quiet vocal harmonies and strings. The band was nothing short of fantastic and transitioned into two more songs before stopping to speak. They then spiraled into the crescendo that was the song "Mothers." Bon Iver member Sean Carey, up from his keyboard, joined in a tumultuous beating of drums as upright bass player Jeremy Boettcher pounded out the deep soul of the song and viola player Mike Noyce helped carry the beautiful melodies. After the song, the band was met with an uproar of applause.
Although their set seemed short, they played their album All We Grow in its entirety. Sean also played b-side "Leave", and concluded the set with a cover of the Notwist's "Consequences."
Casey Dienel said that White Hinterland may play another show in the city come February. Both bands continue on tour. Roadtrip anyone? More pictures from the Highline show below...
Reggie Watts @ BV-CMJ 2010 (more by Andrew St. Clair)
Much like his friend Conan O'Brien did, NYC comedian/musician/mastermind Reggie Watts is heading down to Jack White's Third Man Records to perform and cut a live record. The December 2nd show will be "recorded live directly to analog reel to reel tape and available for purchase to all those in attendance. Only patrons of the event will have the opportunity to purchase a very limited edition Black and Blue split color vinyl of the show they just saw for a cool $20." Hopefully that also gets a wider release.
Catch Reggie in NYC on December 17th when he headlines the sizeable Highline Ballroom. Tickets cost $20, but I'd imagine if he is playing a headlining show at a venue that big for that much money, he has a lot in store.
Check out a video he made of himself talking to Jack White about the upcoming Nashville gig, below...
photos by Greg Cristman
Since its inception in 1969, the French progressive-rock ensemble Magma have made a curiously heavy music: a dark complex momentum in which the drums -- played by leader-composer Christian Vander -- are the forward instrument, often flanked by heavily fuzzed bass guitar and the hard watery ring of a Fender Rhodes piano, with an operatic chorale narrating, in a made-up language, extended fictions about the people and wars on the planet Kobaïa. Magma's rigorous, eccentric execution of Vander's continuing fantasia may be the least likely survivor of rock's Euro-prog peak in the early and late '70s. (A Philip Glass spectacle girded in doom-metal chain mail is a distant but not inappropriate comparison.) At New York's Highline Ballroom on September 20th, Vander and his wife, vocalist Stella Vander led a Magma in which most of the other players looked a lot younger than the band itself. But this Magma also sounded, amazingly, very much like the one that made the 1970 debut, Kobaîa. In fact, the encore was the title song from that double-album....Magma played to a sold-out, and mostly seated crowd at Highline Ballroom on Monday night (9/20). People were outside the venue looking for extra tickets, and around 50-75 people were standing inside, around the perimeter of the venue without seats (meaning they didn't need to spend another $10 which was the table minimum for the approximately 300 people who were sitting). The band's set consisted of two new songs in the first hour, and their 2009 album Ëmëhntëtt-Rê in its entirety for the second. And as mentioned, above, a one song encore.
After four decades, there is still nothing in rock -- prog or otherwise -- like Magma. At least in this world. [David Fricke @ Rolling Stone]
The show was one of two US shows for the highly influential zuehl lynch pins. The other was at Sonic Circuits in DC. The setlist and more pictures from the rare NYC appearance, below...
Like her albums and career choices, Nellie McKay's stage presence and between-song anecdotes are at once unpredictable, sarcastic, sometimes politically incorrect, yet altogether charming. At Sunday's Highline Ballroom show (part of the 2010 Highline Piano Series), she unabashedly revealed that she is a fan of neither Donald Trump nor Michael Buble, jokingly referred to the work of 1960's Doris Day (whose covers she has released on 2009's Normal As Blueberry Pie) as Day's "gay period," and was unafraid to break out a ukulele to perform a new reggae song about New York City bodegas. Not surprisingly, she has dabbled professionally in standup comedy and acting, but in between the verbal jabs and awkward anecdotes, McKay brings a nostalgic artistry in her sometimes timid, sometimes smirking yet always beguiling singular talent as a singer/songwriter.
To open the show, Spencer Reed, McKay's guitarist performed a 45-minute long set of both covers and original material from his new album People Just Don't Like Me, a gentle tongue-in-cheek mockery of the blues. Despite the lighthearted album title, Reed's tongue was firmly planted when performing well-represented, emotion-laden covers by Dizzy Gillespie and Hoagy Carmichael.
McKay's own set which hovered impressively around the two hour mark, included a little of everything from her repertoire. She performed material ranging from Ella Fitzgerald cover "A Tisket, A Tasket," with background vocals supplied in unison by her male bandmates confirming that yes, they too hoped she found that yellow basket, to a piece composed only of McKay's haunting soprano vibrato and a slowly rolling piano bass line. She rolled out fan favorite "The Dog Song," from 2006's Get Away From Me, a play on Norah Jones's Come Away With Me. She unsteadily and endearingly played a plastic white recorder of the elementary school variety alongside percussionist Ben Bynum, jabbered with upright bassist Willie Harvey about a song's key (after stopping the song due to her own mistake and jokingly asking, "Who wrote this goddamn song?!"), and she promptly came out for an encore after less than a minute backstage telling the audience, "I didn't want to go away for too long, or you might go away!" Amidst the banter, McKay conveyed her true talent with original songs as well as covers that showcased her well-crafted vocals.
McKay releases her fifth full-length album, Home Sweet Mobile Home on September 28, 2010 and will be back in New York City at Town Hall on October 15 at part of a show called Broadway Melody Makers.
More pictures from Highline Ballroom below...
photos by Greg Cristman
The blue and red hair dye, the painted Timbs, the jewel encrusted clothing. It could only be dub legend Lee "Scratch" Perry that could add so much flavor to the influential reggae grooves at Highline Ballroom. The 74-year old played a show at the club (again) as one of only five US dates in celebration of Revelation, his new album and third release this year out now on Megawave.
After dates in Portland (ME), Boston, and Philly, the tour continues today (8/20) in Stephentown, NY at the Soulive-headlined Bella Terra Festival and concludes two days later in Los Angeles.
Lionize opened the show without guitarist Tim Sult (who is also in Clutch), bringing a whole new angle to the term stoner rock with their riffy-reggae infused take.
More pictures and a couple of videos from the show below...