Entries tagged with: Music Hall of Williamsburg

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by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Bear in Heaven - Sinful Nature (Anika With BestMate Remix) (MP3)

Bear in Heaven at Hotel Vegan party, Austin (more by Tim Griffin)
Bear in Heaven

Just a reminder that Bear in Heaven wrap up their North American tour this week with two hometown shows: tonight (5/8) at Bowery Ballroom and tomorrow (5/9) at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Both shows are $15 with two solid openers: synthy Portlanders Blouse and Montreal's Doldrums. After these two shows, Bear in Heaven head to Europe for most of the summer -- all tour dates are at the bottom of this post.

Bear in Heaven last played NYC back in early March at Union Pool where they were billed as "Adventure Hippies":

...watching them play last night with waves of roto-toms and giant synth pads washing over us, it struck me what that is: the Miami Vice soundtrack (Jan Hammer, Phil Collins, Yello, Glen Frey, etc) condensed into one band, albeit one that also loves Yes and late '80s/early '90s techno. Which is a really strange combination, but Bear in Heaven make it work, due in part to excellent musicianship and that they clearly love playing. All three members (singer Philpot, bassist/guitarist Adam Wills and drummer Joe Stickney) let the O Face slip when they're in the moment, which, in their case, is endearing.
If you haven't seen them live yet in their roto-tom-loving glory, Bear in Heaven did a set for Yours Truly during SXSW (they also played one of our Hotel Vegan parties) and you can watch that below. You can also download a remix of "Sinful Nature" by Anika and Bestmate at the top of this post. And if you haven't heard their new album I Love You It's Cool, you can stream it at Spotify.

Openers Doldrums will tour with Grimes in Europe after their stint with Bear in Heaven wraps up and then head back this way for a string of dates with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, including June 7 at Mercury Lounge and June 8 at Glasslands. Those dates are at the bottom of this post as well.

Continue reading "Bear in Heaven wrapping up tour with Blouse and Doldrums"

words by Rebecca Strassberg, photos by Gloria Lee

Washed Out

When Georgia native Ernest Greene (aka Washed Out), sold out his first scheduled show at Highline Ballroom before I could get a ticket, I thought, "no fair" as I tweeted, and begged him to add another. I know it's probably not my doing, but much to the surprise and excitement of all his fans, he added Monday night's show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, with tour mates, the dream pop duo Memoryhouse.

Scheduled to begin at 9, Memoryhouse didn't go on until about 9:30. By that point Music Hall was packed elbow to elbow with a stiff crowd. For just having all their gear stolen they did a hell of a job, playing what seemed like most of their debut LP, The Slideshow Effect, including "Little Expressionless Animals", "All Our Wonder", and "The Kids Were Wrong".

And though they didn't play their thoughtful Zombies cover of "This Will Be Our Year", they did, of course, play My Bloody Valentine's, "When You Sleep".

A white board was placed in front of where vocalist Denise Nouvion was standing and singing, meant to display whatever well-thought out, projected visuals they wanted to go along with their set. Unfortunately, the board was tilted just slightly up, so what it mostly produeced were the shadows of audience members. This inevitably resulted in more of a hand puppet show than a Memoryhouse performance. This also blocked Nouvion, and distanced her from the audience. If you look at photos from their set at Highline Ballroom the night before, the images were projected behind them, and made for a much more aesthetically pleasing show.

When Washed Out took the stage, Greene was backed by an entire band, flashing lights, some smoke, and an overwhelming but appropriate amount of bass. His set up, set list, and even attire seemed exactly the same as the night before, but no less entertaining.

I had some concerns that his music would fall flat when being performed live, but I was very much mistaken. Greene's set showcased every different kind of song he's written from the funk-inspired, dance-provoking "Get Up", to the softer,"Before", and the classic, sensual, "Feel It All Around". Huge beats and echoing synths consumed Music Hall of Williamsburg. Aside from lights, there were no projections, tricks or gimmicks, just his music, which proved more than enough to keep the crowd captivated.

He left some of his most well-known songs for the end, like "Feel It All Around", and "Amor Fati" off his recent, highly regarded album, Within and Without. Greene said few words throughout the performance, rather, allowing his songs to speak for themselves.

Check out more pictures from the Brooklyn show, below...

Continue reading "Washed Out & Memoryhouse played MHOW too (pics, review)"

photos by Bao Nguyen


"this weeknd show is a serious singalong situation
"I've never seen MHOW get down like this"" - Eric Bees


Hot Canadian R&B artist The Weeknd began a post-Coachella, in-demand club tour last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn (4/25). The tour now continues to DC and Boston before returning to NYC for a Manhattan show at Bowery Ballroom. How was the Brooklyn show? We don't have the setlist, but you can see what he played at Coachella, and check out a few more pictures from MHOW, below...

Continue reading "The Weeknd played Music Hall of Williamsburg (pics)"

photos by Guy Eppel

The Cribs @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
The Cribs

While Courtney Love was reuniting with 90s Hole and giving them a shout out next door at Public Assembly, The Cribs headlined Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night as part of a quick North American tour that is now complete. The band, who no longer count Johnny Marr as a member, were supported by The Skaters and Hounds Below at the Brooklyn show. Here are some pictures. More below...

Continue reading "The Cribs played Music Hall of Williamsburg (pics)"

photos by Joe McCabe; words by Bill Pearis

The Horrors

The Horrors swept through town earlier this week, playing two nights at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Monday and Tuesday (4/9 and 4/10). I was there Monday night for what was a pretty good show. While I like their new album Skying a lot (it made my Best of 2011 list), the album's midtempo shuffle doesn't make for the most exciting live show, though the band came alive on more energetic songs like "I Can See Through You" and the motorik pounder "Moving Further Away" which closed the night. Primary Colours tracks "Scarlet Fields" and "Three Decades" still sound terrific.

The Horrors play Coachella this weekend and next, scooting up to San Francisco in between. Seattle garage rockers Night Beats opened the Monday MHoW show. Pictures of both bands, plus Horrors setlist, are below.

Continue reading "The Horrors & Night Beats played Music Hall of Williamsburg (pics, setlist), playing Coachella this weekend"

photos by Chris Doss

The Rapture

Like they did at Bowery Ballroom one night earlier, The Rapture played to a sold out, hometown crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday (4/7). Here are some pictures, opener Ava Luna included. More of them, along with all upcoming Rapture tour dates (next is Coachella), below...

Continue reading "The Rapture played MHOW w/ Ava Luna (pics & more dates)"

photos by Amanda Rae & Tim Griffin

Of Monsters & Men @ Hotel Vegan (by Amanda Rae)
BV Free Day Show - Thursday @ Hotel Vegas on 3/15/2012

Right before Glen Hansard played and while Love Inks was playing on one of the inside stages, Of Monsters & Men kicked things off right at noon on Thursday, March 15th at Hotel Vegan in Austin. Here are a few pictures from their set along with a video recap the Iceland band made of their entire SXSW 2012 experience which you can watch below. Pictures and a review from their more-recent Chicago show, HERE.

Of Monsters & Men, now on tour, are in NYC for two sold out shows, the first of which will STREAM LIVE ON YOUTUBE from Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (4/5) at 10pm EST. Check out the stream's trailer, along with all tour dates and the SXSW stuff, below...

Continue reading "Of Monsters & Men played Hotel Vegan (pics), on tour now, STREAMING Brooklyn show TONIGHT"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Fiona Apple @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Fiona Apple

"Fiona Apple got a warm welcome back to her native city [Friday] night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Born in New York City in the fall of 1977, her last live show here dated back to December 2005 [actually she played NYC in August 2007], so fans --most of whom, we're assuming, probably didn't see her performances at SXSW last week-- were exploding with emotion as the lights dimmed. She came onstage to deafening cheers, her hair in a simple ponytail, wearing a bright green camisole cinched with a silver-y belt that hung stylishly in a bow at her side. She declared that she had two things to say:

1) She missed her dog Janet, so her friend had made her a cardboard cutout of her canine pal that she could bring with her on stage.
2) Even though she wouldn't hear anyone chatting away during the show, she suspected other folks in the crowd wouldn't appreciate any loud talkers.

(On the second point, there would be little to worry about. The crowd hung on her every lyric last night. Talkers? No. But there were plenty of participants, as the set would veer into a full-fledged sing-along at several moments during the hour-long show.)" [VH1]

Guitar great/singer-songwriter Blake Mills opened the Brooklyn show and also addressed talkers ("I can't hear myself think"). He then joined Fiona as a member of her extremely talented live band, as he will again Monday night at Bowery Ballroom (part of a very short North American tour).

Like she did in Chicago, Fiona, who was on stage by 9:45pm (I know at least a couple of people who missed the first 15 minutes of her set), played for just under an hour. Her 12-song, encore-less performance included a couple of new songs, hits like "Fast as You Can", "Sleep to Dream", and "Criminal", and the title track of her 2005 album "Extraordinary Machine" (one of my favorites of the night). She closed with a cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins/Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make-Believe" which I thought, despite being a cover, was the greatest, most powerful moment of the too-short show. Video of that & more, with the full setlist and more pictures from Music Hall of Williamsburg, below...

Continue reading "Fiona Apple & Blake Mills played Music Hall Of Williamsburg (pics, videos, setlist)"

words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

The Twilight Sad @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad shrugged off a crazy week to deliver a blistering performance to open their US tour at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on 2/25. The band saw the first two shows of their tour in D.C. and Philadelphia cancelled due to visa issues that had the Scottish rockers venturing all the way to Paris to secure passage to the states. None of that seemed to matter once they took the stage though, as they mixed older songs (like the excellent "Cold Days From The Birdhouse" and "She Would Darken The Memory Of Youth") with songs from their new, synth-laden record, No One Can Ever Know (Fat Cat).

Of the new material, set opener "Kill It In The Morning" rocked the hardest. Other highlights included the Radiohead-inflected, "Sick", and the propulsive "Dead City". Icier and more polished on the record, the new songs at the Music Hall slotted in seamlessly with the wall of guitar immediacy of the band's earlier material, thanks in large part to the work of guitarist Andy MacFarlane, who made it sound as if there were three guitarists on stage not one. And all the while lead singer, James Graham, was in perpetual motion - moving about the stage and around the microphone stand, dropping to his knees as he belted out one line and up on his toes to wail another in his distinctive Scottish brogue.

New Fat Cat signing, Forest Fire, and the quite excellent Micah P. Hinson opened. Hinson received a lengthy and fully deserved applause following his set, with people in the crowd shouting for him to play one more. I wish he had.

The Twilight Sad have since hit SXSW where they played the BrooklynVegan day party at "Hotel Vegan" on Friday. More on that one later. More pictures from the Brooklyn show, setlist included, below...

Continue reading "before SXSW, The Twilight Sad played MHOW w/ Forest Fire & Micah P Hinson (pics & setlist)"

Fiona Apple

BrooklynVegan is more than thrilled to present Fiona Apple's return to the Big Apple NYC on March 23 @ Music Hall of Williamsburg and then again on March 26 @ Bowery Ballroom. Both shows go on sale Friday (2/24) at noon, but we'll have an exclusive pre-sale for tickets starting one day earlier, and an AMEX presale on Wednesday. Stay tuned for the passwords for the Thursday presale. UPDATE: It looks like the Ticketmaster listings were updated. No more American Express presale.

3/23/12 @ Music Hall of Williamsburg: PASSWORD = promise
3/26/12 @ Bowery Ballroom: PASSWORD = shadow

Passwords for other cities HERE.
UPDATE : Damn those sold out quick. Who got tickets? General sale begins Friday.


Fiona Apple is also playing the Pitchfork showcase at SXSW in Austin this year. To quote LA Reid, "Welcome back Fiona!"

UPDATE: There are a few more dates including Atlantic City and Chicago. They are all listed below...


(And speaking of artists playing Pitchfork's SXSW show, tickets for Charli XCX's upcoming Brooklyn show are still on sale.)

Continue reading "BV Presents: Fiona Apple @ Bowery Ballroom & Music Hall of Williamsburg (after SXSW and other dates)"

photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin


Primus came to town for a pair of intimate shows last week along with an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Here are pictures from the Brooklyn gig at Music Hall of Williamsburg. More of them with video of the TV appearance (on air and web exclusive songs), below...

Continue reading "Primus played Fallon, Gramercy & Music Hall (pics & video)"

by Bill Pearis

Of Monsters and Men

While the rest of the world was asking who the #$%@ Bonny Bear and Paul McCartney were, I was asking that same question of Of Monsters and Men who are playing here in April. They've already sold out their 4/5 show at Music Hall of Williamsburg and 4/6 show at Bowery Ballroom, though the Bowery show was moved to Webster Hall (tickets are still on sale, but maybe not for long). Actually, half their US tour is already sold out (all dates at the bottom of this post).

Then I remembered I had actually seen Of Monsters and Men -- who are from Iceland --  at last year's M for Montreal at teeny tiny club Casa Del Popo. Their name is a bit on the generic side which is why I think I couldn't place it. (You also see a lot of bands at festivals. It's a blur.) Anyway, here's what I wrote then:

The other Icelandic group, Of Monsters and Men, made more of an impression with their stirring folk rock that was augmented by horns and an especially fancy accordion. (It had LED switches on it.) While also similar to a lot of other sweeping ensembles (fill in your favorite here), the songs were memorable and I did wish their set had been a couple songs longer. So it goes with festivals.
I don't think a folk band has snuck up like this since Mumford and Sons (or maybe The Head and the Heart).

They're already huge in Iceland (which is like being huge in Rhode Island, but still), where their debut album, My Head is an Animal, was released last year. Of Monsters and Men signed to Universal who rushed out the Into the Woods EP in America late December, which contains the KEXP hit "Little Talks". The band will be at SXSW too and are surely one of the "Bands to Watch" this year for some folks.

Click through for all Of Monsters and Men tour dates, plus some videos as well.

Continue reading "are Of Monsters and Men Iceland's Mumford & Sons? (MHOW sold out; Bowery moved to Webster Hall) --- 2012 Tour Dates"

Bad Brains

Bad Brains will play Boston & Manhattan with H2O and then Brooklyn & Philadelphia with GZA. As you can see in the poster, tickets go on pre-sale Saturday. Lionize also opens the Philly show, and there's a show happening on 4/20 with GZA in a TBA city. Stay tuned for more info. All dates are listed with more info below....

Continue reading "Bad Brains announce East Coast shows with GZA & H2O"

photos by Andrew St. Clair

Shellshag & Screaming Females fans
Screaming Females

NJ's Don Giovanni Records held their annual big showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on Saturday night (2/11). Were you there? Here are some pictures. They continue below...

Continue reading "Don Giovanni hosted Screaming Females, Shellshag, Laura Stevenson, For Science & Black Wine @ MHOW (pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Bill Pearis

Veronica Falls @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Veronica Falls

The last time Veronica Falls were in town, singer Roxanne Clifford was under-the-weather, making for somewhat subdued performances. Thursday (2/9), though, the band were in fine health and form, the best I've seen since Popfest 2010. (Best-sounding too.) Clifford and James Hoare attacked their guitars in a furious jangle -- The Wedding Present by way of New Zealand -- when not producing minor key harmonies, while the rhythm section of drummer Patrick Doyle and bassist Marion Herbain kept the pedal to the medal. There's nothing twee about this sound, loud and fierce, assured and pretty. In addition to most of their debut album -- plus their awesome cover of Roky Erickson's "Starry Eyes" -- we got four new songs, including the Primitives-esque "My Heart Beats" which was the real standout.

Veronica Falls' tour and labelmates Brilliant Colors also played, bashing out scratchy C-86 style indiepop and were fun despite equipment problems. I missed local openers Grooms, as I was seeing Cate Le Bon at Mercury Lounge (sorry guys) but photographer Amanda Hatfield was there for the whole night and you can click through for lots of pics from all three bands.

Veronica Falls tour with Brilliant Colors continues, with Bleached joining as well starting in Minneapolis on 2/17. All tour dates at the bottom of the pictures...

Continue reading "Veronica Falls, Brilliant Colors & Grooms played Music Hall of Williamsburg (pics, review)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Dum Dum Girls @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Dum Dum Girls

After playing a secret show at Cake Shop one night earlier Widowspeak, The Babies, and Punks on Mars played a much larger and public show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday (2/7), but this time Dum Dum Girls were dressed all in white!! Proof is in this post.

Dum Dum Girls (usually all in black) and Windowspeak with continue their joint tour with another area show at Maxwell's this Saturday (2/11). Tickets are still available.

Widowspeak have also announced a Glasslands show with Mac DeMarco who is signed to Captured Tracks whose SXSW showcase Widowspeak is also playing.

More pictures from MHOW, including a shot of the headliner's setlist, below...

Continue reading " Dum Dum Girls wore WHITE at Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Widowspeak & Punks on Mars (pics)"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Aimee Mann @ MHOW
Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann's concert at Carnegie Hall in New York on Saturday night (Jan. 28) was for the birds. Or, at least, birdcalls.

The singer/songwriter has humbly admitted in the past that crafting small talk on stage between songs is slightly beyond her comfort zone. How far so? On her 2006 holiday tour, she outsourced the job to such comedians as Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tompkins.

The audience assumed the responsibilities Saturday, as Mann invited the crowd to fill the spaces between tracks with birdcalls, a running gag that humorously linked her stellar 18-song set.

Backed by her three-piece band, Mann's adult alternative rock was a natural at Carnegie Hall's prestigious Zankel Hall. She joked that she'd do her best to adjust to the fairly formal setting, as she had played the more casual Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, N.Y. (with its smells of "beer and bleach," she ribbed), the previous night.[Billboard]
Pictures from the Brooklyn show, the 2nd to last on Aimee's tour, and one day before the Long Winters' John Roderick headlined his own show at Mercury Lounge, continue with a shot of Aimee's setlist, below...

Continue reading "Aimee Mann & John Roderick ended their tour in NYC (pics)"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo


Initially announced in November with more dates added in January, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein have been bringing their funny/offensive IFC show Portlandia to live stages across the country over the past month. They started at the end of December with shows in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco (where Thao & Mirah joined them for a song). January's run started in LA, continued to Chicago (where guests included Jeff Tweedy's kids), and then hit NYC for two shows: 1/20 @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (pictures in this post) and 1/21 @ Bowery Ballroom (pictures HERE).

The Brooklyn show, pictured here, included special guests Adam Horovitz (aka Beastie Boy Ad-Rock) and Hugh Cornwell. The live band included Carrie's Wild Flag bandmate Rebecca Cole.

Wild Flag were all in the audience at the same venue just over a month earlier to see Eleanor Friendberger perform. Eleanor opened for Wild Flag on their October tour, and is joining Portlandia on their February run of dates that kick off 2/19 at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. All dates and more pictures from the Brooklyn Portlandia show, below...

Continue reading "Portlandia hit MHOW w/ Ad-Rock & Hugh Cornwell (pics), bringing Eleanor Friedberger on tour (dates)"

Primus at Roseland (more by Kurt Christensen)

Ahoy there all,
I just wanted to thank everyone for the support my nephew Mathew has received over the last year. It has been amazing how many folks have put forth the effort to help my brother and his family. Unfortunately, just at a time when he's learning to walk, little Matthew has had a major relapse and is back at Stanford Medical Center for treatment. To see what this little guy has gone through these last twelve months has been heart wrenching and to think he has to go through it again is just beyond comprehension.
Matthew will undergo an intense round of chemotherapy this month in the hope of getting his blood levels back to a status where he can receive a bone marrow transplant. As far as a donor, we have decent options within the family but there could potentially be a better match out there somewhere. If anyone is inclined, check out: www.marrow.org for information on how to see if they are good match for Little Matthew or others in the same terrible situation. It is a simple procedure to test and the program has saved a lot of lives.

Thanks again for the support,
Les Claypool

Here's to hoping for some good news for Little Matthew and the Primus frontman soon. Head to the link above for more details or if you can help.

In the meantime, Primus will try and move toward a sense of normalcy with a string of European dates what will take place after a smaller-than-usual-show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 2/8. Tickets for the Brooklyn show go on AMEX presale on 1/11 at noon and regular sale on Friday.

Primus are also scheduled to play Summer Camp Music Festival (not to be confused with Summer Camp the band who just announed some shows) in Chillicothe, IL from May-25th-27th. The three day festival will feature a bevy of jammy all-stars (moe., Umphrey's Mcgee, etc) as well as an appearance from Gogol Bordello who recently played NYC twice: Dec 30th and Dec 31st. Primus played their own pair of New Year's Eve shows in San Francisco.

All tour dates and some song streams are below.

Continue reading "Primus schedule initmate Brooklyn show, asking for more help for Les's nephew Mathew"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Eleanor Friedberger @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Eleanor Friedberger

You saw one set of pictures from this BrooklynVegan Holiday Party. Here's a second. More shots of Anna Calvi, Eleanor Friedberger & New Moods @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, below...

Continue reading "Anna Calvi, Eleanor Friedberger & New Moods @ Music Hall of Williamsburg -- (pics part 2)"

photos by Chris La Putt

Anna Calvi @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Anna Calvi

Anna Calvi, visiting Brooklyn from the UK, headlined the BrooklynVegan Holiday Party at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 12/13. According 2 G was there and he (G) listed his ten reasons why you should always see Anna live, which you can read at his site. Anna played every song on her debut album which came out earlier this year and covered Edith Piaf and TV on the Radio. She definitely rocked the house (and played one of Bill Pearis's favorite shows of the year). One person is now wondering who is better at shredding, Anna or Annie Clark?

Eleanor Friedberger (who plays the venue again soon) and New Moods (who told us her favorite things from 2011) both opened the Tuesday night show and tore it up as well.

Thanks to all who came - $1.00 of your ticket was donated to Toys for Tots, and we raised even more from the raffle we were running in the lobby (thanks to Domino Records, Merge Records, Frenchkiss Rercords, Partisan Records, Beggars/Matador, Bowery Presents, Rocks Off, Brooklyn Bowl, Live Nation, Vice, and more).

More pictures and videos from the show HERE, and below...

Continue reading "BV Holiday party pics: Anna Calvi, Eleanor Friedberger & New Moods (part 1)"

words by Christopher Paragraph, photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin

DOWNLOAD: Bird of Youth - Bombs Away, She Is Here to Stay (MP3)

Sondre Lerche looking sexy as usual @ MHOW Friday night
Sondre Lerche

The Friday night show at Music Hall of Williamsburg featured three very different songwriters who all happen to live within a few blocks of the venue. The same is true for me so, in terms of proximity, the night was a success before it even began.

Bird Of Youth opened with a couple songs from their self-released album "Defender," breezing through them with ease and on-stage confidence that one would usually expect from a more seasoned band. This helped to counteract the darker themes of the songs, perhaps the best example of which was a song that lead singer Beth Wawerna wrote for her father. The unforgettable closing lines, "you watched me as I watched you watch me cry," caught more than a few off-guard. The songs are unique in terms of Wawerna's vocal phrasing. Rather than writing melodies over single chords, the melodies seem to form themselves over the chord changes. It feels like she allows the phrases to emerge from the song, instead of constructing a song around a pre-conceived melody. As a songwriter, Wawerna is doing something special and distinct. Unlike many female-fronted bands of their ilk, the songs don't hide behind her voice; her voice seems to be dragged along by the force of each song. This may present a problem for a pop singer, but for a band like Bird Of Youth, it proves to be a perfect way to articulate emotional, expressive songs. The last song of their short set took a different turn, however, and was significantly more poppy and conventionally structured. Working in a Nada Surf-esque style, the song succeeds in a way that runs counter the aforementioned thoughts in this review. An interesting way to end the set, leaving the audience pleased but just unsure enough to want to hear more.

Next was Will Sheff, frontman for the successful Okkervil River, a solo set sandwiched between two bands. It was informative and interesting to see Sheff perform solo. Over the years, Okkervil River has come to be known for their energetic, literate folk pop anthems. But most hear them as simply "a rock band." Sheff's folk influences shined through in this set, making the DNA of Okkervil River more apparent. Hearing these songs strummed and picked on an acoustic guitar made clear the influences of British folk songwriters like Roy Harper and Bill Fay. For audience members not interested in the musical roots behind Okkervil River (which many Sondre Lerche fans probably are not) Sheff provided an honest and emphatic set of complex, lyric-driven songs. It was clear form the entranced crowd that Sheff won over a bunch of new fans. Or at least hooked their curiosity. Sheff's lyrics beg the listener to re-listen. As opposed to the chordally-led phrasing of Beth Wawerna, Sheff's songs are driven by lyrics and melodies that command the chords. It was interesting to see songwriting approached from such different angles back-to-back. It is worth noting at this point that there were many people in the far back of the room who seemed intent on talking louder than the music. One can only assume they were attending to "see" Sondre Lerche and felt completely justified in talking over any other artist performing. Sheff took a moment to point out these people (which of course went right over their heads). This resulted in supportive applause from the majority, who were clearly distracted and annoyed by the loud group in the back.

SIDE NOTE: this raises a question, or at least an interesting debate: Is it "OK" to talk loudly at a concert? If someone pays $15 to see a show, isn't it reasonable to expect them to listen to the songs? And even if they aren't interested in a certain artist, isn't it reasonable to expect the respect and courtesy of keeping one's voice quiet, both in regards to the artists themselves and the fans who might actually be trying to listen? In the event that this occurs, should the artist take the initiative to shush them, or should a fellow audience member? Both? Neither? Discuss.

Back to the show. When Sondre Lerche took the stage, a young cavalcade of girls had pushed their way to the front. As he stepped to the mic the screams were shrill and unexpectedly loud. Lerche introduced himself with a solo number before bringing out the band. Although the synth player and bassist had apparently just joined the band a couple weeks earlier, they played tight and confidently, each member brimming with excitement about the songs, not just following charts. The drummer's incredible precision almost stole the show - he brought the energy of the songs out in ways drummers rarely can, and was single-handedly responsible for many "jaw-drop" moments. The only real way to describe it is that it's fueled by real passion for the songs. It's that special intangible thing you can't fake, and this guy clearly has it. Lerche fired off short gems from throughout his career, never letting go of the stranglehold he had on the crowd from the moment he stepped out. On one level his songs are complex, melding jazz chords with pop melodies a la Steely Dan. On another, he's able to perform simple, quiet ballads, which he did at one point, stepping away and unplugging, treating the silent room to an acoustic rendition of "Dear Laughing Doubters."

Sondre Lerche

There were a handful of particularly special moments, including a performance of "When The River," a song about homesickness featuring a choir of the "people he misses most when he's away." This group included his wife, local songwriter JBM, and actor Christopher Abbott. Will Sheff and Beth Wawerna also joined Sondre on stage to trade verses on a cover of Steely Dan's "Dirty Work."

By the time the show was over, it truly felt like Lerche had turned the room into his own house full of friends. He stood atop a monitor wedge and performed the final encore, harmonizing to the 600+ people taking the lead vocal on "Modern Nature." Lerche has toured for years as a solo artist but seeing him with a band showed that he's not just a one-man show. His music is big and the full-band show proved him to be a full fledged rock n roll guy.

More pictures from the show, setlists included, and a video of Sondre and band on Letterman (from 11/22), below...

Continue reading "Sondre Lerche, Will Sheff & Bird of Youth @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (pics, review, setlist)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Raphaelle Standell-Preston of Braids/Blue Hawaii @ MHoW
Blue Hawaii

Like she was when in February, Canada's Raphaelle Standell-Preston was fighting a cold when she returned to NYC to play the BrooklynVegan CMJ showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night (10/21). That didn't stop her from performing at the show twice though! Her electronic and atmospheric duo project Blue Hawaii bravely opened the show to the smallest audience of the night at 7pm (less than one hour after the BV day party at Public Assembly ended right next door). She then sang again at 10pm in Braids, but this time to the largest audience of the night. The room was packed to capacity as Braids performed their "absolutely beautiful" music. Seeming overwhelmed by their grand reception, Raphaelle thanked the crowd over and over as they ended their set and their tour with Pepper Rabbit who played at 8.

There's a rumor that the BV showcase may have been Pepper Rabbit's last show ever. Hopefully that's not true. To quote Hannah Angst, "Pepper Rabbit puts on an amazing show- I love when so few people can make that much noise." Maria Sherman said that, "the best part of [the] pepper rabbit show [was] John Norris screaming every lyric."

After Pepper Rabbit and before Braids, came Active Child who some say stole the show.

After Braids came the final set of the night, and that was from the great San Francisco post-punk band Weekend (I feel like it doesn't need to be written anymore that Weekend is not to be confused with The Weeknd or Weekends, but at least one person asked me to clarify this weekend, so I think I should keep writing it). Metro.us saw Weekend and says:

Bringing your own lights is an effective move that makes you stand out from the thousand other bands. You can better capture what you know as the es-sence of your own music. Weekend brought three long red tube lights to put beside their instruments, evoking electric heaters, warming up their icy goth rock sound.
Those lights did look super cool as the band closed out the Friday night show on a very loud note.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Sorry if for some reason you couldn't get in! More pictures below...

Continue reading "BV CMJ 2011 showcase @ MHOW w/ Braids, Active Child, Weekend, Pepper Rabbit & Blue Hawaii (pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Jens Lekman

Like he did on Friday, Geoffrey O'Connor opened for Jens Lekman at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday night (10/9). Here are some pictures from that 2nd show. The third, with Luke Temple opening, was last night (10/10). Pictures from that one coming. More pics from Sunday, and a video by Ian Perlman from Friday, below...

Continue reading "Jens Lekman completed his 3 night run @ MHOW (night 2 pics, night 1 video) "

Braids @ Mercury Lounge (more by Andrew St. Clair)

Though you may have noticed it on Music Hall's site already, I'm excited to announce the lineup of the 2011 BrooklynVegan official CMJ showcase, happening at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday, October 21st. It looks like this:

7pm Blue Hawaii
8pm Pepper Rabbit
9pm Active Child
10pm Braids
11pm Weekend
Tickets go on sale today (9/16) at noon, which is also when the BV Holiday show (happening at the same venue) goes on sale. Both will have tickets also available at the Mercury Lounge box office (unless they sell out before you get there), and the CMJ show will of course also let in CMJ badges.

Montreal's Braids (not to be confused with Braid), covered countless times on this site also played a BV-SXSW 2011 party and are currently nominated for the Polaris Award. I'm honored to host them twice in one year.

Blue Hawaii, more of a rarity, is Braids front-woman Raphaelle's solo project. You don't see Blue Hawaii's name on a bill very often, though maybe you just caught them when they opened for Braids at Mercury Lounge on September 6th. Get there early! Raphaelle on stage once is something not to be missed, let alone twice in one night!

Active Child @ Bowery Ballroom (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Active Child

Active Child, whose last NYC was a sold out one at Bowery Ballroom just last week, will play an early 9pm set even though they could probably be headlining the night themselves. No lack of BV Active Child posts too if you want to find out more about the LA-based ex-choir boy harp playing artist (Active Child also played a BV SXSW party in March 2010).

Pepper Rabbit also recently shared bills with Braids, though not in NYC where Pepper Rabbit also just headlined their own Mercury Lounge show. Grab the Freelance Whales remix of of their song "Rose Mary Stetch" HERE if you don't have it yet.

Weekend @ BV-SXSW 2010 (more by Tim Griffin)

Last but far from least is Weekend (not to be confused with The Weeknd or Weekends) who also played the same BV SXSW party in 2011 that Braids did (Malajube, who are in NYC now, played that show too). I'm excited to have them back too! To quote one BV contributor who I think speaks for most of us, "Weekend are one of my favorite new bands of the last year." Maybe you just caught them at one of their two packed NYC shows earlier this month. They played both Mercury Lounge and Glasslands with Talk Normal. Download/listen to their new track "Hazel" below.

NOTE: This is one of two official BrooklynVegan CMJ showcases. The other is much heavier and on a boat. Stay tuned for free day party announcements too.

Continue reading "BV-CMJ 2011 official showcase @ Music Hall of Williamsburg -- lineup & tickets"