Entries tagged with: Music Hall of Williamsburg

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photos by Jessica Amaya, words by Rachel Kowal


Beirut at MHOW

Walking into the Music Hall of Williamsburg last night (7/5), I realized that I knew nothing about WOOM, the opening act, but I was pleasantly surprised by their set (erratic sound quality aside). The Oakland duo cultivates a refreshingly distinct sound that refuses to blend into the background. With a thumping bass line, unconventional beats, and irresistible male-female vocals, WOOM's music manages to be both confrontational and unassuming.

WOOM spiced up their live act by supplementing the programmed tracks with help from a guitar, tambourine, wooden blocks, and vocals. Sara Magenheimer was particularly magnetic with her cute boy haircut and street-punk aesthetic. She was both fierce and simultaneously adorable (think a poppier tUnE-yArDs), and she shared an undeniable chemistry with her band-mate, Eben Portnoy. I'm definitely eager to hear more from this dynamic duo. Check out their first full-length album, out on Ba Da Bing today.


Beirut at MHOW

At the crowd's enthusiastic reception, Beirut's French horn tattooed frontman Zach Condon leaned into the mic, saying "We're really excited to be here, too. It's been a while. The last time we were here it was still North 6th," which sent ripples of both confusion and smug recognition through the audience. It's also been a while since Condon released a proper full-length album, favoring an experimental double-EP release last year instead.

Condon spent no time getting to business. Beirut's opening song was hit song "Elephant Gun". Condon stuck mostly to older material, but he did slip a few newer songs into the mix, like "East Harlem" and "The Shrew" (see the complete set list below). Toward the end of the show, Condon also elusively disclosed that he had been working on a new album, but he refrained from providing any specific details on his current project.

Of course, no Beirut show would be complete without a little help from a wide array of instruments, and for Monday night's show, Condon was accompanied by a brigade of musicians. Though a 19-piece Mexican funeral band (like the one used on last year's March of the Zapotec) was not in attendance, Condon and his band juggled instruments like: the tuba, trombone, organ, drums, French horn, ukulele, upright bass, accordion, and a couple of boisterous trumpets. Due to Condon's eclectic influences, the evening was punctuated with music reminiscent of everything from a dimly lit French bar, to a Balkan celebration and a traditional Spanish bullfight. "We're not in Mexico anymore, folks... though it would be pretty awesome if we were," Condon quipped after a few songs.

Throughout the show, the crowd reacted enthusiastically to Beirut's songs. "It's really awesome to hear you guys sing along," said Condon. Of course, it's worth noting that there were several obstacles that made attending last night's show somewhat difficult. There was no option to buy the discounted tickets online. Instead, fans waited in line outside the box office to secure a hard ticket when they went on sale on a Saturday at noon. Then, of course there was the (absent) L train to contend with yesterday, which definitely made the venue less accessible to those coming from outside the neighborhood. Suffice it to say that the people who managed to make it out to the show must have been fairly determined to take it in. "WE WALKED ALL THE WAY OVER THE BRIDGE!" yelled one concert-goer.

Beirut concluded the show with a three-song encore that featured first a lovely, stripped down version of "The Penalty" before the rest of the band re-emerged on stage for the final two songs.

WOOM and Beirut play their second sold-out show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (7/6), and play a 3rd sold out NYC show at the Guggenheim on July 15th.

The setlist with the rest of the pictures below...

Continue reading "Beirut & Woom played MHOW - night 1 pics & setlist "

by Erez Avissar


UK's Gold Panda kicked things off with his synthetic glitch-house, fitting in with a certain forward-thinking new breed of dance music (Pictureplane, Crystal Castles) that HEALTH so openly loves (this was their "DISCO2" comp record release after all). Just a shame that from the audience's vantage point you couldn't see him construct drum beats and launch samples from his MPC.

Indian Jewelry was the surprise face-melting of the night, summoning spirits at Music Hall with an awesomely loud and heavy set that mixed the occult with the industrial. Better experienced live than on record.

HEALTH were as tight as I've ever seen them, playing pretty much their whole discography as fans eagerly sent their bodies aflail and shifted like a drunken sea. They capped off their set with the new "USA Boys" before returning to do an encore which consisted of "Courtship", a song that runs for less than a minute. I looked at my friend and we both laughed a little, knowing we couldn't really ask for more.

More dates HERE. More pictures from Sunday's show at Music Hall below...

Continue reading "HEALTH, Indian Jewelry & Gold Panda played MHOW (pics) "

words by BBG & Klaus Kinski, photos by Meghan McInnis

Isis played their last show in Brooklyn last night. Holy hell, amazing. They will certainly be missed. -isjimthere


One night after bidding Manhattan adieu at Webster Hall, Isis played Music Hall of Williamsburg with the Melvins and Totimoshi as part of the final leg of their ongoing tour together (which concludes tonight in Isis's old home base of Boston). After tonight (6/21), Isis will trek to the great white north with Cave In for a pair of dates leading to their final gig in Montreal - the site of the first Isis show in 1997.

Au revoir Isis, you will be missed. Klaus was at the show. His review with more pictures and video from MHOW, and Isis's setlist, below...

Continue reading "Isis played their final NYC show @ Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Totimoshi & the Melvins - pics, video & setlist"

by Andrew Frisicano


Mumford & Sons and the Middle East played to a full house last night, 5/17, at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

As the night's only opener, the Middle East (a band on their first US tour who just played their first North American shows period around SXSW in March) had a bit of pressure on them to hold the attention of an audience primed for Mumford's more uptempo fare. Smartly, their set pivoted around two songs "The Darkest Part" and "Blood" - the heartrending twin singles off their debut Recordings of... EP. Around those were dynamic ballads and an onstage shuffle of instruments that included a trumpet, glockenspiel, flute and a bottle-cap-adorned rain stick.

They opened one song with a warning ("It's not a very good song - it's all about the words so you have to listen"), but that proved unnecessary as the talking blues trot grew into a pleasantly engrossing roar. Another, their second-to-last tune, stayed a bit too long in its hushed melody, under growing crowd conversation. It's not unusual for the Middle East to hover around a whisper before breaking free - as they did, led by their suddenly unchained drummer, in the climax of "Blood."

As for Mumford & Sons, the band inspired a Bowery-full sing-along at their packed show in February. Fans at MHOW also tried to match the band in volume and vigor. For both, Mumford & Co. set the bar high, with spot-on harmonies and songs that are arranged with a pop-tuned ear. Though they only have a 12-song debut, their songs are impressively consistent, and come together as a well-structured set (that was structured much the same as the February Bowery show).

The band did some shuffling of their own, with frontman Marcus Mumford taking up drums for a few songs, including newer song (and clear single) "Lover of the Light." With tunes like that and other gems, you can't really begrudge Mumford & Sons' clean-cut radio-readiness. Though they have a certain "old-timey style," it seems unforced.

The band came back for and encore and called back The Middle East to join them. Both bands play again tonight at Webster Hall. Tomorrow (5/19) the Middle East play a show at Mecury Lounge with Mountain Man.

More pictures from MHOW (and a video from the past Bowery show) are below....

Continue reading "Mumford & Sons and The Middle East played MHOW (pics) "

"I am not exaggerating when I say that Iggy Pop's udder was 6 inches from my mouth tonight. Thank god for corporate VIP shows that let me in." -Klaus Kinski

"thank you upscale corporate New York assholes" -Iggy

The Stooges @ MHOW in Brooklyn - May 12, 2010 (iPhone pic by Ryan Muir)
The Stooges

Iggy Pop and the Stooges have public shows coming up that include NXNE in Toronto in June and ATP NY in the fall. Last night (5/12) they played a free, but invite-only show at Music Hall of Williamsburg (capacity around 600 lucky people) with the Virgins (who joined the Stooges on stage) and Free Energy.

Despite rumors that he was retiring, Iggy did stage dive. As you can tell from the above picture, Iggy also invited the crowd on the stage as usual, but during "Shake Appeal". The band consisted of Mike Watt, Scott "Rock Action" Asheton, Steve McKay on sax, and guitarist James Williamson who took over for the deceased Ron Asheton. The crowd was not actually as upscale corporate as Iggy pointed out - there was a mix of everyone including old punks and models. Some young punk rockers spotted in the audience included Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear and members of Dirty Projectors. The venue was decked out with old rock n roll photos. There was a VIP area upstairs and open bar and food. Before the encore, Iggy made mention of the fact that it was cool that nobody had to pay to get in. Thanks PP for the report. The setlist and more below...

Continue reading "Iggy Pop & the Stooges played Music Hall of Williamsburg "

...and The Virgins

Iggy Pop (more by Chris La Putt)
[flyer for the May 12th event removed]

If you see Iggy Pop walking down Bedford next week, now you know why. As far as getting in, apparently it is 100% private and there doesn't seem to be an RSVP either. Thanks to anonymous for the tip.

photos by Brian Reilly

Murder By Death

Murder by Death, Ha Ha Tonka and Linfinity are on a tour that stops at Bowery Ballroom in NYC tonight (5/4), and which stopped by Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn two days earlier. Pictures and the headliner's setlist from that show, below...

Continue reading "Murder by Death & Ha Ha Tonka @ MHOW - pics & setlist"

by Andrew Frisicano

DOWNLOAD: Nick Thorburn - gone bananas (rough mix)

Islands TV?.... (via)
Nick Diamonds

Islands, (one of) the post-Unicorns projects of Nick Thorburn/Diamonds, has been almost totally quiet since the band canceled their European tour at the beginning of 2010. They are signed on to the tentative, possibly doomed Mountain Man Festival in Saratoga Springs on July 24th, and Nick has been busy on Twitter, which is where the above picture is from. Its caption reads: "here's a promo for my NBC dramedy airing this summer at 8/7 central. Make sure you tune in!" In January Islands released a new video featuring Michael Cera. The song was from their Anti-released album that came out in September. Their last NYC show was part of that supporting tour at Bowery Ballroom in the beginning of November.

Consider the band one step closer to active duty - they have a confirmed show at Music Hall of Williamsburg scheduled for Sunday, June 27th. It's part of the second annual Northside Festival. The four-day Fest is in the process of being announced, but we now know all four Music Hall shows:

6/24 - Thao Nguyen & Mirah
6/25 - Woodsist
6/26 - BrooklynVegan (us!)
6/27 - Islands (this post)
Tickets to three of those shows go on sale Friday at noon. All four were supposed to go on sale Friday, but our show didn't make it through Ticketmaster's system on time so the on sale has been moved to Saturday.

Nick posted a free song called "Gone Bananas" on his website with a note, which is pasted below with another solo song and other videos...

Continue reading "Islands playing a Northside show. A Nick solo record soon?"

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey, who just completed a giant mural on Houston St, has added a similar looking decoration to the upstairs bar at Bowery Presents music venue Music Hall of Williamsburg. The permanent installation is two murals on adjoining walls. True story: "Listening to a playlist including Metallica, Fugazi, and Band of Horses, Fairey's pasted posters feature images demonstrating his disdain for the dysfunctional democracy and the need for campaign finance reform."

Fairey's NYC murals (with the Music Hall one being advertised as the only indoor one) are to promote his upcoming exhibition at Deitch Projects, and "as part of the OBEY phenomenon aimed to enhance the urban landscape". The first chance to see the mural is at the Hellyeah show at the venue tonight (4/27). It will also be the last time to see it since Pantera fans will surely burn the Band of Horses-loving wimpy artwork to the ground. More pictures of the art below...

Continue reading "Shepard Fairey murals installed @ Music Hall of Williamsburg"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo, words by Andrew Frisicano


At their Brooklyn Vegan-presented show on Saturday night (4/24), The Morning Benders didn't bring out any special guests a la their widely circulated video for "Excuses" (which features support from a studio-full Bay Area musicians). Instead, the band made do with the sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg crowd, who boosted that song's wordless harmonies with encouragement from frontman Chris Chu as he suavely serenaded the women in the front row and then hopped off stage. He hopped back on before the extended, set-closing hit song was over. There was no encore.

The Morning Benders' Big Echo has only ten songs, but from that they culled a set with ups and down that started with a whisper and closed with ebullient highs of "Excuses". They also went back to their 2008 record Talking Through Tin Cans for the song "Damnit Anna", and played a non-album track live for the very first time. It was a B side to a limited 7" that was for sale at the show. They said they played it to mix up the set for those who came to multiple NYC shows on the tour.

Holiday Shores warmed up the crowd with splashy beach pop. The band was bolstered members of Twin Sister, who they had played with the night before, and who were filling in for Holiday Shores members that couldn't make the trip to NYC this time. Their drummer and bass player were totally locked in and riveting to watch. That made the other things happening on stage - an extra ride cymbal being pulverized, a Rhodes solo, vocals - all the more interesting. They split afterward to do a late set at Bruar Falls' one-year-anniversary party, which was happening a few blocks away.

Before that, Montreal's the Luyas played gently shattered art pop with a French horn, keys and a harplike electric guitar. They created atmospheres of tension with those tools and more - at one point, their drummer rattled chains on his floor tom for extra eerie effect. It was one of several NYC shows that week for the band (one of which was at a loft, and the last of which was at Glasslands on Sunday night).

The Morning Benders, now based out of New York, have one more sold-out NYC show on Wednesday at Mercury Lounge, before they tour with Broken Bells in May and June. That includes a June 5th show at Irving Plaza. Tickets are sold out. Their shows after that include a pair of shows at Central Park SummerStage with the Black Keys in July. Tickets to one of those are still available.

More pictures from the MHOW show, with the Morning Benders' setlist and their newish video for "Promises" and all tour dates are below...

Continue reading "The Morning Benders, Holiday Shores & The Luyas played Music Hall of Williamsburg - pics"

photos by Tim Griffin, words by Bill Pearis

LCD Soundsystem

"There's good news and bad news. The good news is we're here. The bad news is I'm wasted." James Murphy, who claimed to be swilling his "special drink" (champagne and whiskey) all night, kept trying to set the bar low for last night's LCD Soundsystem show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, the first the band has played in three years... a fact that he kept hammering into the crowd. "This is the longest we haven't played in the history of the band. It's not really a 'show,' it's a live rehearsal."

He was right, technically. Not only was it the live debut of new material from LCD's upcoming third album, This Is Happening, but also the first for the new six-piece (at times seven) version of the band, still anchored around the core of Murphy, keyboardist Nancy Whang and drummer Pat Mahoney. All of Murphy's hemming and hawing was for nought. This is contender for show of the year. LCD Soundsystem blew the lid off the joint for almost two hours.

The band mostly ignored the new album. "I made a conscious decision not to play too much of the new stuff in the early part of the tour," Murphy said. "I remember being a kid taking the train two hours just to hear 'This Charming Man' only to get 'Panic." (Of all the things to be jealous of, Murphy also saw the Smiths.) Instead we were treated to a cavalcade of hits including "Your City's a Sucker," "Tribulations," "All My Friends," "Losing My Edge," "Yeah," "Someone Great," and show-closer "New York, I Love You."

Only two new songs were played. The VU-meets-Bowie first single "Drunk Girls" and what will surely be the second single, "I Can Change" that is more Gary Numan or Eurythmics (you can hum "Love is a Stranger" to it). The latter was more successful, though I think "Drunk Girls" is gonna turn into a big summer single once people hear it spun in a club at maximum volume. I wish they'd have played a couple more tunes, especially the Roxy/Eno-ish rocker "All I Want" but we'll get those in time.

Seriously, no complaints at all. The crowd was going mental for the last half of the 90-plus minute set, especially during "Yeah" and "Someone Great." Maybe too mental. After an early attempt at a mosh pit, Murphy and Whang put the kybosh on such behavior. "If you're dancing and not within two people of a girl," Whang explained. "You're doing it wrong." Murphy added, "Dance up and down!" In addition to the crowd, the stage was packed on the side like a hip hop show, including Hot Chip's Al Doyle who was LCD's touring guitarist on previous excursions.

Murphy must've reminded us ten times that this was LCD's first show in ages and they were under-rehearsed. (Though I heard they used MHoW as a practice space all week.) But clearly New York had missed LCD Soundsystem. And they missed playing. Three years was definitely too long. But, thankfully, absolutely, they haven't lost their edge.

LCD Soundsystem

Editor's notes:

Light Asylum were a great opener and sounded booming on the Music Hall sound system. Bill said they're like a goth Yaz. I just wish they would showcase Shannon Funchess's frontwoman abilities more. She used to shine when she was on stage with !!!. She later joined LCD for a bit during "Someone Great", but mostly just in the background. Before she left the stage James gave her a great big bear hug.

Other LCD band members included Dave Stone, who as Murphy told the crowd, plays with the Melvins and many others, and Gavin Russom, who, as Murphy told us, can be found at gavinrussom.com.

Murphy pointed out that he was 40 years old "which means every show I saw had Fishbone opening". That was a nice intentional-or-not intro to "Losing my Edge".

The crowd really was moving all night. The closest thing to a mosh pit came during the punk rock "Movement", and there was a bit of a fight near the stage earlier in the night (I think because someone thought people were being too rowdy).

The lasers all over the walls and ceiling during "Yeah" were the coolest thing I ever saw visually happen at Music Hall.

Though the band took an encore break before "Someone Great", James announced before leaving the stage that it wasn't an "encore" because in NY aka home, we don't have encores. They're for "other places". Nancy moved from her keyboard to a piano for the show-closing "New York I Love You".

Definitely the show of the year (so far). Stay tuned for the announcement that they're playing another one at Webster Hall on Monday (ANNOUNCED AND ON SALE). You can also catch them twice at Terminal 5 and at other places. More pictures and the full setlist from Music Hall below...

Continue reading "LCD Soundystem returned @ Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn - pics & setlist"

"Lucero shows now perhaps surpassing Hold Steady shows in drunkenness of crowd. Saw @ least 6 ppl get kicked out last night. On a TUESDAY." - Juliet Ulman

"front row @ lucero tonight was nuts! sweaty rager! may have gotten a black eye but oh well, feeling good." - Courtney Haefner

"Couldnt take more than 15min of JJ! most awkward/uncomfortable show in a while. Washed my ears out with LUCERO" - Adam GD


It's amazing for me to think that after enjoying their early albums I wrote Lucero off after not being impressed with their live show at Bowery Ballroom a bunch of years ago. I can't even remember much about it at this point, but I'm really glad I gave them a second (and many more after that) chance because, as the Memphis band proved at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn last night (3/30) (and not long before that down in Austin), they know how to put on a show. And they have more than enough songs to keep it going for over 2 hours.

Complete with horn section, slide guitar, Kylesa t-shirt, and alcohol, the nine-piece band led by Ben Nichols played to a packed and sometimes-rowdy house that was not deterred by the rain, Passover or Lost (ditto, minus the rowdiness, for the packed crowd at Micachu at LPR earlier in the night) (I can't speak for jj at Knitting Factory except that everyone keeps saying she sucks live) (see above).

The setlist mixed old classics (all the hits) with new songs, rare tracks, and even a Bill Withers cover. Nights Like These, Kissed The Bottle, That Much Further West, Sixteen, The Blue and The Gray, Sweet Little Thing, Slow Dancing, Tears Don't Matter Much and the Jawbreaker cover Kiss The Bottle, to name a few.

Glossary, "a band that features Lucero's Todd Beene", opened the show but I only caught about half a song. More pictures from the show, and updated tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Lucero played Music Hall of Williamsburg (pics), now on tour (updated 2010 dates) "

by Benjamin Lozovsky

Broken Bells

Broken Bells, the new collaboration between producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse and Shins leader James Mercer, did everything that was expected of them Wednesday (3/10) at Music Hall of Williamsburg. A roundly good thing, unless like most live music fans, you come to a performance expecting the unexpected.

For Mercer and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse's real name), it was only their fourth show (they already played LA, Paris and London) together after a whirlwind musical courtship and friendship saw them create a stunning record of golden nugget mining 60s pop and psych rock. Brimming with melodious texture and refined emotion, the self-titled album released the day before the show is nearly spotless and blatantly thought through. For the majority of their set at Music Hall, the same rang true. But in a live implication, that translated into sterile, almost medically scrubbed renditions of all the songs from their first recorded effort. It was no small feat to reproduce such a nuanced and instrumentally rich work note for note, and the musicianship all night was stellar. But rock concerts aren't held in ICUs; germs and other unaccounted irregularities are encouraged.

The venue was dark, with dotted, drug-induced projections making up the entire lighting scheme. The album certainly has gloomy leanings, especially in Mercer's sometimes tortured vocals, but there are also mounds of joy clumped in there. With the exception of the lead guitarist and bassist, it was almost as if the band was hiding their lack of sentiment, obscuring their unease with playing the music on purpose. It wasn't necessary; hopefully Mercer and Burton realize as more shows unfold that they are readily capable of playing with precision and thoroughness, and that their skill will only shine clearer with a little dirt thrown over their pristine looking glass.

There was some pleasant filth present though. Openers Plants and Animals plenty soiled up the venue with their exciting identity crisis of stoner sludge-rock meets tainted indie crooning.

And after completing their album, Mercer and Burton came out together for an encore and performed a brightly paired down cover of Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down," followed by full band cover of Tommy James and The Shondells' huge hit "Crimson And Clover." They were faithful to both songs while taking thrilling liberties, with Mercer and Burton even showing uncharacteristic smiles throughout.

Coming up, both Broken Bells and Plants and Animals are heading to SXSW. Plants and Animals play six shows including a BV day party. Broken Bells play one big official NPR one at Stubb's with Spoon (3/17), as well as at least two more that have since been announced. On Wednesday 3/17 they're also playing an AOL pop-up day show with the location TBA that day, and they were added to the T-Mobile/Mog party happening March 20th at the Mohawk with the Black Keys also on the bill.

More pictures from Music Hall below...

Continue reading "Broken Bells & Plants & Animals @ MHOW in Brooklyn - pics "

photos by Jessica Amaya

"Show in Williamsburg was AMAZING last night. Thank you to everyone who came out. EPIC show. 2 hours and 25 minutes. WOW! ha." - Tegan & Sara

Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara played a stripped down post-Valentine's Day show last night (2/15) at MHOW in support of "Sainthood." They played some older tunes and took audience requests. According to the performers, set highlights were "Divided, This Is Everything, Light Up, Monday Monday Monday, Not Tonight, When I get Up, You wouldn't Like Me." Tegan & Sara also said, "Thanks to all the fans who stood outside all day in the cold. Thank you for the Light Up Cake and Blistex as well! Ha." The show was seated, but Jessica points out that "people were anxious to stand which they did for the last song." Hopefully everyone got their $75 (the price of tickets to this one-off show) worth.

Tegan and Sara, who were just announced on the lineup of this year's Sasquatch Fest are now on tour with Holly Miranda (who played her own show at Other Music last night). More pictures from MHOW below...

Continue reading "Tegan & Sara played Music Hall of Williamsburg (pics)"

photos by Paul Birman

"Thanks to everyone who came to the BV Haiti benefit last night. You made it really special." - St. Vincent

"St. Vincent and Justin Vernon performing together was easily one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen/heard." - Steph Lo

Brooklyn Vegan and Bowery Presents Haiti Benefit

Wyatt Cenac was funny. Then came Britt Daniel (of Spoon) with White Rabbits frontman Stephen Patterson. They had such a good time on stage together, you can tell they were buds. Janeane Garofalo came next - she has the smartest humor and is a strong rooted New Yorker. Made a ton of jokes about the L train and hipsters which the crowd took very warmly to. Gosh she's tiny. St Vincent went on and sounded like the lovely thing she is. Someone yelled while she was setting up 'show us your bush'????', In which she replied, 'that is the strangest thing someone has ever said to me...on or off stage'. Adorable. Following her was Zach Galifianakis who everyone was undeniably waiting for. It really looked like he just rolled out of bed, picked up some papers from a table and walked on stage totally winging his whole act...hilarious. Alas came Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver). His voice sounded just as amazing it does on record. The room was at its most quiet during "Flume". Unreal. He was the last act but did say something about a special guest - I heard it was Megafaun/My Brightest Diamond (had to leave early), which I imagine rounded out the benefit nicely. Really awesome that these guys all came together"...
[Stadiums & Shrines]
Thanks for that partial recap S&S. You should have gotten there earlier and stayed later though!

The night opened with a great debut set by singer-songwriter John Shade (previously Dave Godowsky) who brought out Justin Vernon on drums for two songs. Before and after John, and between every set of the night, came comedy by our two able hosts: Bobby Tisdale and Leo Allen. St Vincent's set included a National and a Nico cover. Justin covered John Prine. Britt Daniel did three songs, which was one less than he played at Sound Fix a few hours earlier.

And yep, the special guest after/during Justin's set was in fact Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) who (after headlining Bowery Ballroom one night earlier) played two jaw dropping numbers - one with Colin Stetson on his most-insane giant saxophone, and a cover of Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore".

But it didn't end there. A supergroup called Songer Singwriter featuring Annie, Justin, drummer, and Brad from Megafaun came back to close the night off right with a set of four more covers. Neil Young's "Harvest Moon", Tom Petty's "Face in the Crowd" (with Brad on lead), Dolly Parton's "Jolene", and Annie Lennox's "Why". Each of those final covers was better than the next. To quote one of my tweets, "To quote my friend, 'Sounds like sonic youth playing a dolly parton song. Sick!' and now Annie Lennox Why! Full room Bon Iver singalong".

We ran almost non-stop for 3.5 hours straight (8-11:30), and raised over $20,000. I'm still waiting for an exact number. More pictures (one of two sets we have) and some videos from the show, below....

Continue reading "Britt Daniel, Justin Vernon, St Vincent, Zach Galifianakis, Janeane Garofalo & others raised money for Haiti @ MHOW - pics & video "

words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Himalayas / Elvis Perkins
Elvis Perkins

Having played the night before with Bowerbirds and with everyone seemingly headed to the Friendly Fires/XX show at Webster Hall, the deck may have appeared stacked against Elvis Perkins on a bitterly cold Saturday night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (12/5). The night before may have been the sexier lineup and for a moment it seemed that opener Himalayas, and their marching band madness, were going to pull a Merrill Garbus and upstage the headliner. But for all their sound and 30-plus people on the stage, it was the nuance and subtleties of Perkins and his smart use of his supporting act that ultimately won out.

Probably nowhere was that more apparent than in his choice of set opener, "While You Were Sleeping", Perkins opting to counter the earlier chaos with just himself and his acoustic guitar. His band took the stage as needed and filled in as the song grew. Members of Himalayas, including band leader Kenny Wollesen (who sat in on drums for a couple songs), provided extra horns. The highlight of the intermittent collaboration coming late in the set during the acoustic Chains, Chains, Chains, as they popped up mid-song in the balcony to provide the musical bridge. Earlier on Perkins enlisted the crowd as his gospel choir as he introduced "Slow Doomsday" from his new Doomsday EP. "This next song requires a gospel choir," said Perkins, "but there's not enough room on this stage for one... so that means you." Throw in a good-natured Brooklyn vs New York competition and Perkins had his choir. "You're already winning, Brooklyn," claimed Perkins, as the crowd sang shaky but credible "ahhs" to augment the slow, brassy waltz.

More pictures from Saturday night, including one of the setlist, below...

Continue reading "Elvis Perkins & Himalayas @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - pics"

photos by Vincent Cornelli

Fanfarlo @ CMJ 2009

The 2010 CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival will take place in New York City from October 19 to 23. The 2009 CMJ Music Marathon began on October 20th which was the same night as the BrooklynVegan showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg. A new set of pictures from that show is continued below...

Continue reading "2010 CMJ dates, 2009 CMJ pictures (from the BrooklynVegan showcase @ Music Hall of Williamsburg) "

photos by Tim Griffin

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Tim and I stopped by the Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros show at Music Hall of Williamsburg last time they were in town (8/30). I was especially curious to see what all the fuss was about. The show, much like the two Ed (aka Alex Ebert of Ima Robot) is playing/played in NYC this week, sold out well in advance. I left the show with mixed feelings. It was a while ago, but the thing I remember the most about it - besides the theatrical aspects of it (I mean that in a school play kind of way) (actually if I had to review the show in one word, I would choose "Hair"), was the insane crowd. I barely knew they existed, but the extremely packed Brooklyn venue was going crazy and singing all the words. It was one of those rare shows when the audience honestly demanded an encore - the cheers for the barefooted, hippie/Devendra-Banhart-like frontman to return to the stage were deafening.

They played Bowery Ballroom last night (11/17) and do it again at Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (11/18). As previously mentioned, openers on the tour and at these shows are the great Local Natives and Fool's Gold (both bands that got plenty of attention this past CMJ). More pictures from the August show below...

Continue reading "Edward Sharpe played Bowery Ballroom - plays MHOW for the 2nd time tonight (here are pics from last time)"

photos by Zach Roberts

Amanda Palmer

"She did a mix of her solo songs with Dresden songs, some old cabaret standards. A really sad song about a woman growing up and missing her mom now that shes gone. It made me cry. She did a funny song about a pirate too.

It wasnt just a regular concert though. Amanda read snippets from her boyfriend Neil Gaiman's book titled Who Killed Amanda Palmer. Its a really cool book that I totally need to get. Its basically a photo book of Amanda dead in different scenarios and stories that go along with the pictures. She read a story about a guy in a hot air balloon with his girlfriend and he was typing a novel with a typewriter and the picture is Amanda in a field with a typewriter on her head and groceries to the side. It was cute.

She also did a question and answer period. I was bummed because I found out there was a fishbowl where people could submit questions and had I known I would have put in a few haha. She answered about 4 which was awesome.

Also during the tour, at every show she has artists doing drawings and painting during the concert. Towards the end of the show, she auctions them off. Well there were two artists and both paintings went for 300 each! Pretty damn nifty." [Natalia]

Franz Nicolay and Sxip Shirey joined Amanda Palmer and the Nervous Cabaret for the show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night (11/14). Franz played a show at Southpaw on the same night and he plays again with Demander and Hoots & Hellmouth at Mercury Lounge tonight (11/16).

Amanda and friends covered "That's Not My Name" by the Ting Tings at the show. A video of that and more pictures below...

Continue reading "Amanda Palmer & Nervous Cabaret played MHOW (pics), covered Ting Tings w/ Franz Nicolay & Sxip Shirey (video) "

words & photos by Benjamin Lozovsky


When a musical act does what it does well, it can be hard to ignore. Their music might not be wildly innovative or emotionally challenging or rhetorically complex; but a pretty picture is still a pretty picture, no matter how much one may try to elicit some bogus existential commentary from its depths. Wolfmother might be one the quintessential examples of such an approach in today's rock landscape; you know exactly what to expect, and yet you still end up surprised and exhilarated when a head-on experience with the band is through.

Such was the attractive canvas on view Monday night (11/9) at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, where the band played its second of two New York City gigs as part of its 2009 North American tour with The Heartless Bastards (the first was at the much larger Terminal 5 in Manhattan). With as much subtly as a Jeff Koons masterpiece, Wolfmother ripped through a nearly two-hour set of cleverly interpreted 70's arena rock pastiche, replete with all the genre-characterizing theatrics one would come to expect from a band categorically set on suckling from the same breast as their prototypical influences.

continued below...

Continue reading "Wolfmother & Heartless Bastards @ MHOW - pics & setlist"

The Dead Weather @ Home Sweet Home in July (more by Ryan Muir)
Dead Weather

The Dead Weather will be performing at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday, November 17th. The show, happening one day before the group plays the mtvU Woodie Awards at Roseland Ballrom, is currently the only gig on their schedule. Tickets for the show will go on presale for subscribers of The Vault, the online club run by Third Man Records, starting Tuesday, November 10th at noon. General sale starts Friday, November 13th at noon. There will be a two ticket limit, will call only.

At the mtvU Woodie Awards, at Roseland Ballroom on November 18th, the band will perform their Woodie-nominated video song, "Treat Me Like Your Mother." That's posted below. Also on the bill are Death Cab For Cutie (doing their Twilight song "Meet Me on the Equinox") and Matt and Kim. The event will be broadcast on December 4th.

The Dead Weather video and this year's Woodie Nominees are posted below...

Continue reading "The Dead Weather playing MHOW before they play the mtvU Woodies (with Death Cab & Matt & Kim)"

DOWNLOAD: The Smith Westerns - Imagine, Pt. 3 (MP3)

The Smith Westerns @ Monster Island Basement (more by Leia Jospe)
The Smith Westerns

Despite rumors that The Smith Westerns were kicked out of Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night for peeing in garbage cans, I heard that it was actually due to the band's insistence on repeatedly getting caught drinking despite their under-21 ages. Not only were they asked to stop consuming alcohol by venue staff multiple times, but they even started drinking Jagermeister straight from a bottle on stage, and were stealing beer from other bands' dressing rooms. Finally, when they were asked to leave, they started breaking bottles in their own dressing room.

The show, one of seven the Chicago band had scheduled during CMJ, was the Kemado & Mexican Summer CMJ showcase. Young Prisms, Farmer Dave Scher, Real Estate, and The Amazing were also on the bill.

"Moseying on over to Music Hall of Williamsburg, for the Mexican Summer/Kemado party, we strutted in just in time to hear someone say into a mike, "Hey, we're the Smith Westerns. We're from Shit-cago." Classy! Honestly, we're pretty sure this band's median age is exactly nine years old. But guess what? We loved 'em! They play sugary-sweet, fuzzed-out garage pop that's so solid, it sounds like their mamas must've pumped Velvet Underground into their cribs. Exactly nine years ago. Let's hope The Smith Westerns can handle the impending fame and not have a VH1 Behind the Music chronicling their demise at 24 years old. [Time Out]
Earlier that day the Smith Westerns played a set at the BrooklynVegan/Bowery Presents show at Pianos. Later that night they played the Pitchfork show at Market Hotel. Both without incident.

photos by Tim Griffin

Laura Marling

"I got there in time to see Laura Marling who played acoustic guitar and was accompanied by a cellist. She was adorable and her folk songs brought Joanna Newsom & Gillian Welch to mind, high praise in my book. Her voice and lyrics are stunning, so much so, that I closed the doors at the back of the room myself so she didn't have to compete with merch/bar noise. Yeah, you're welcome." [Blackraptor]

She went on before The Antlers who went on before Fanfarlo at the BrooklynVegan showcase Tuesday night (10/20). Tonight (10/23) she plays her only other show on this tour, at Joe's Pub (sold out). More pictures from Music Hall below...

Continue reading "Laura Marling @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (BV-CMJ) - pics "

photos by Tim Griffin

"Holy Shit. The Antlers" - my Twitter


"The mighty Antlers sure have grown since we last saw them at our Interface taping. Kicking off CMJ at the BrooklynVegan showcase at, appropriately enough, Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday, the three-piece dazzled with a loud mixture of electronic-fused guitars amidst Peter Silberman's impassioned vocals. The frontman brought the story detailed on the band's second album, 'Hospice,' to life over the course of an hour, even if that wasn't the full intention." [Spinner]
The Antlers performed to a packed Music Hall of Williamsburg last night (10/20). More than one person came up to me after the show and said "that was the best we ever saw them play". I couldn't agree more, and have no doubt now that their upcoming headining show at the same-sized Bowery Ballroom makes perfect sense. They went on after Laura Marling and before Fanfarlo who closed the six-band night.

The Antlers play their second CMJ show (a short acoustic set at Sound Fix) at 6pm today. Then they have one more show at The Delancey before heading out on the road. More pictures from Music Hall below...

Continue reading "The Antlers @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (BV-CMJ) - pics"

photos by Tim Griffin

"Nathaniel Rateliff and The Wheel winning over the Music Hall crowd in a huge way, and for good reason." - my Twitter

The Wheel

"I hadn't heard Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel before last night, but they were a very pleasant surprise. Rateliff's voice, which reminded me of the Tallest Man on Earth's Kristian Matsson, strikes the perfect and rare balance between soothing and powerful. I'm going to buy his record now, and I suggest you do the same. Assuming you like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes and autumn." [L Magazine]
Speaking of his record, I found out last night that Nathaniel Rateliff has signed to Rounder Records who will probably release the debut album by "Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel" sometime in the Spring of 2010. In the meantime, you have three more CMJ chances to see The Wheel. Those dates along with more pictures from their set at the BV showcase at Music Hall of Williamsurg last night (10/20), below...

Continue reading "Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel played BV-CMJ @ MHOW (pics), signed to Rounder Records! ++ more dates"