Entries tagged with: My Brightest Diamond
As mentioned, acclaimed ensemble Kronos Quartet are celebrating their ruby anniversary this year with the "Kronos at 40" mini-festival within Lincon Center Out of Doors' 2013 slate. In addition to that, Kronos Quartet will be performing with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus' Concert Chorus and Young Men's Ensemble on May 7 at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn. It will include commissioned works by Julia Wolfe (World Premiere), Aleksandra Vrebalov (New York premiere), the Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry (New York premiere), Bryce Dessner and Shara Worden. The event is a BYC benefit and tickets are on sale now. For those with deeper pockets there's a gala reception before the show you can buy tickets to as well.
Brooklyn Youth Chorus, who just performed at Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, is in its 21st season and will be a part of the 2013 Bang on a Can Marathon which happens June 16 at 3 Spruce St. which is near City Hall in downtown Manhattan. The nine-hour event, part of the 2013 River to River Festival, also includes appearances by Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Maya Beiser with the Provenance Project Band, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Le Cabaret Contemporain, David Cossin & Ben Reimer, Peter Evans, Monica Germino, Hotel Elefant, Yungchen Llamo & Anton Batagov, NYU Steel Pan Ensemble, NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Talk Normal, TILT Brass, Shara Worden, and more. Full new press release below.
Watch Glen Hansard, Richard Reed Parry, Little Scream, Shara Worden, Bryce Dessner and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus play Leonard Cohen's "Passing Through" recently at the MusicNOW 2013 fest in Ohio, in the video below....
My Brightest Diamond @ Bowery Ballroom, Feb. 2013 (more by Caroline Harrison)
The 2013 season of Lincoln Center's free Out of Doors festival happens from July 24 to August 11 at various outdoor venues in and around Lincoln Center. The centerpiece of this year's season is "KRONOS at 40" which is being dubbed "a festival in a festival," with 12 performances happening between July 24 - 28. is a series of events in collaboration with The Kronos Quartet. They include premieres and commissioned work by Kronos Quartet; Mark Dendy Dance & Theater Projects; Red, Hot + FELA LIVE!; Superhuman Happiness; Mariana Sadovska; Jherek Bischoff; Dan Deacon; Amon Tobin and performances by Asphalt Orchestra (performing The Pixies' Surfer Rosa); My Brightest Diamond; Emily Wells; The Gloaming; Found Sound Nation; Dan Zanes; Ozomatli, and more.
Other highlights include Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra, Rubén Blades, Nick Lowe, Allan Toussaint, and Jason Isbell. You can read more at Lincoln Center Out of Doors' website, and the full schedule is below.
photos by David Andrako
Shara Worden & The Orchestra for the Next Century, Ecstatic Music Fest 2013
As you may know, the Ecstatic Music Festival is underway in NYC with concerts happening now through March 21 at Merkin Concert Hall in the Kaufman Music Center. Last night (2/6) featured a performance by Clogs and Sarah Kirkland Snider & Orchestra for the Next Century. The latter was presenting the world premiere of Unremembered, a 13-song cycle set to poetry and artwork by New-York-based poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows. DM Stith, My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden (who performed the opening night) and Clogs' Padma Newsome. sang as part of it. Pictures from the evening, as well as setlist and program notes, are in this post.
The next EMF performance happens February 20 featuring a collaboration between Deerhoof and Chicago ensemble Dal Niente, including new work by Brazilian-born composer Marcos Balter. Deerhoof and Dal Niente previously collaborated last summer as part of Chicago's Wordless Music series. Tickets to the event are still available.
More pics from last night's Ecstatic Music Festival performance are below...
photos by David Andrako
DJ /Rupture @ Ecstatic Music Fest, 2/2/2013
"There's nothing you can do to avoid a museum-ification of your own work when you put out a retrospective box set, but we're doing everything we can to keep it fresh," said [Zs' saxophonist Sam] Hillmer, a thoughtful and passionate performer for whom Zs ("It just means us.") has always held a firm creative perspective.Avant garde ensemble Zs are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, and just played a collaborative show over the weekend (2/2) with DJ /Rupture at NYC's Merkin Concert Hall as part of The Ecstatic Music Festival. Zs and /Rupture did alternating mini-sets that fed off each other. Pictures from that performance are in this post.
Influenced by overlapping currents of radical sound--free jazz, the 20th century classical avant-garde, punk rock and underground noise--the musicians applied rigorous technique to embrace its enthusiasms without cliché. "One thing that was really prevalent at the time was this kind of salad-bar approach to creating innovative music," Mr. Hillmer said later, flashing back to the early 2000s, when a certain canned hybridization was in vogue. "'Classical music that rocks!' That's a view of music that tacitly renders styles as alienated from one another. We find that to be philosophically untenable and untrue." - [Wall Street Journal]
The Ecstatic Music Fest continues on Wednesday (2/6) with Clogs and Sarah Kirkland Snider & Orchestra for the Next Century. Snider will be presenting Unremembered, a "13-song cycle set to poetry (and with accompanying projected artwork) by New-York-based poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows," and features vocal performances by DM Stith, My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden (who performed the opening night) and Padma Newsome. The latter will also appear with band/chamber ensemble Clogs. More info is here and tickets are still available.
Clogs (which also features Bryce Dessner) have a new EP out titled The Sundown Song and you can check out the video for the title track below.
More pics from the 2/2 performance below...
photos and words by Caroline Harrison
MBD @ Bowery Ballroom, 1/23/2013
My Brightest Diamond played Bowery Ballroom on January 23 supported by local no wave revivalists Talk Normal. Shara Worden, the creative mind behind My Brightest Diamond, has a reputation for being an accomplished and energetic performer, frequently collaborating with other heavy hitters of indie rock. You may have heard her singing backup vocals on Sufjan Steven's Illinoise and the Age of Adz, or crooning the role of the evil queen in the Decemberists' Hazards of Love.
Worden's lush arrangements and complex songwriting betray her music school background. As impressive as the instrumentation is, the real selling point of My Brightest Diamond is Worden's unique voice. She mixes tonalities and techniques from jazz, folk, and opera, and she's pretty hard to pigeonhole into any one genre. She drifted gracefully through a polished, sometimes theatrical set. The only sour note of the evening was the addition of a Keyboard Cat-style drum machine under the powerful "Inside a Boy," the act's last number before the encore.
Openers Talk Normal are a slow burning, noisy two piece. They were an odd choice to pair with Worden's ethereal vibrato and multi-genre approach, but the contrast worked. Guitarist Sarah Register and drummer Andrya Ambro moaned and wailed and chanted their way through the set. They were earthy and hypnotic, at times reminiscent of the droning sounds of Liars or My Disco.
Bowery was the first of two NYC shows for Worden last week. On Friday (1/25) she also played the opening night of the Ecstatic Music Festival and we'll have pictures from that show soon. Meanwhile check out more pics (including one of the setlist) from Bowery below...
Ecstatic Music Festival 2012 (more by David Andrako)
As discussed, the indie/classical Ecstatic Music Festival is returning to the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center this year and it begins Friday (1/25) with a show from My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The festival also includes shows with Clogs, Laurel Halo and Julia Holter, Deerhoof, Megafaun, and more. The full schedule is below and tickets for select shows are still available.
However, you've also got a chance to attend for free because we're giving away a pair of tickets to a show of your choice. Contest details and the Ecstatic Music Festival schedule, below...
Julia Holter at Bowery Ballroom in August (more by Amanda Hatfield)
The Ecstatic Music Festival is returning to the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center in 2013 from January 25 to March 21, where it's happened in past years. Over the course of the approximately two month-long period, the festival will be presenting eleven shows, with multiple collaborations between artists that blur the lines between indie and modern classical. The collaborations include Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus; Sarah Kirkland Snider with vocalists DM Stith, Padma Newsome (of Clogs), and Shara Worden; DJ / rupture and Zs; Deerhoof with Dal Niente and Marcos Balter; Laurel Halo and Julia Holter with Daniel Wohl; Arnold Dreyblatt with Megafaun; Simone Dinnerstein with Tift Merritt; a Bang on a Can concert, and more.
Full schedule is below.
My Brightest Diamond at BAM in May (more by David Andrako)
My Brightest Diamond (the project of Shara Worden) is headed to the UK in December for ATP, and after returning home she'll take about a month off before playing a hometown show in NYC at Bowery Ballroom on January 23. Tickets for that show go on sale Wednesday (11/12) at noon.
A list of all dates and a video, below.
Composer and songwriter Gabriel Kahane is playing Carnegie Hall tonight (10/25) with help from with Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and string quartet Brooklyn Rider. The performance includes the debut of The Fiction Issue, which was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, as well as songs by Ryan Adams, Benjamin Britten, Cee Lo Green, Yotam Haber, Charles Ives, Jerome Kern, Andrew Norman, Robert Schumann, and Chris Thile. Tickets are still available, including $10 student rush tickets.
Kahane will be at Carnegie Hall again on November 5 as part of a program called "Uncommon Threads" where he and Julian Lage, Aoife O'Donovan, and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble will be " exploring the ties between distinctive musical styles." Reservations for that performance can be made here.
Kahane has other dates around the country coming up as well and those are listed below, along with a stream of the Original Cast Recording of his musical, February House which was released this month.
While on the subject of Carnegie Hall, don't forget Fiction will be there on Saturday (10/27) with Deer Tick AND Diamond Rugs. plus help from Jason Isbell, Mark Sultan (BBQ), and Langhorne Slim. A few tickets are still available.
UPDATE: This happened.
In recognition of Occupy Wall Street's first anniversary there will be a concert, from the Occupy Guitarmy folks who are looking to educate Jay-Z to the OWS cause outside his first show at the Barclays Center, will be held in New York's Foley Square today (9/16) featuring Tom Morello, Jello Biafra, Michelle Shocked, Lee Ranaldo, Das Racist's Kool A.D., My Brightest Diamond, and more.
The concert starts at 1 PM, following at march from the West Village and will be an open jam, playing classic protest songs like Woodie Gutherie's "This Land Is Your Land," Florence Reece's "Which Side Are You On?" as well as more modern sing-a-longs like Cee lo Green's "Fuck You." More info at the OccupyGuitarmy website.
UPDATE: This happened.
My Brightest Diamond at BAM in May (more by David Andrako)
My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) will be performing solo in NYC TONIGHT (8/23) at MoMA in the Sculpture Garden as part of MoMA Nights. The event runs from 5:30 - 8:00 PM and Shara plays form 6:30 - 7:30. The concert is included with the price of admission to the museum.
My Brightest Diamond will also be playing "Soundcheck" on WNYC with host John Schaefer on Friday (8/24) at 2:30. She'll be performing with Brian Wolfe on drums, Chris Tarry on bass, and the yMusic ensemble, who she's worked with many times.
MBD has other dates coming up including a few more in NYC, like a free show at Segal Theatre Center CUNY on October 4 as part of "Kings of Macedonia" with Andrew Ondrejak, and another on October 25 at Zankel Hall for Gabriel Kahane's program which combines selections from Come on All You Ghosts, Where are the Arms, and the premiere of a new work commissioned by Carnegie Hall with songs by Ives, Schumann, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Norman, Cee Lo Green, and others.
A list of all upcoming dates including a show at Chicago's new City Winery is below.
James Murphy at Brooklyn Bazaar (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
It's benefit season, don't you know? MoMA's annual Party in the Garden is on Tuesday (5/22) with Santigold as the featured performer, and then the next night (Wed. 5/23) it's the Spring Gala Benefit at The Kitchen, one of New York's oldest not-for-profit performance spaces. It happens at Capitale (130 Bowery) and this year's guests of honor are video and performance artist Joan Jonas and minimalist composer Steve Reich. The evening features performances from David Cossin (Bang on a Can), Jason Moran and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden. The afterparty features a DJ set from James Murphy.
Tickets are still available, and will set you back anywhere from $500 - $25,000. If you just want to go to the afterparty, tickets start at $75. The proceeds will support artistic and production fees for The Kitchen's annual presenting season, which features experimental work by innovative artists, both emerging and established. Programs range from dance, music, and theatrical performances to video and media arts exhibitions to literary events, film screenings, and artists' talks.
If you can't make the Spring Gala then you can still catch James Murphy behind the decks at GoogaMooga this weekend. He'll headline the Pagoda Stage on 5/19 as part of the ExtraMooga portion of the program. Tickets for ExtraMooga are still available and the full schedule of events (with times) are up. Murphy will also DJ the upcoming Roots Picnic.
photos by David Andrako
The inaugural, Dessner-curated Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival concluded on Saturday night (May 5) with performances from Beirut, Atlas Sound, My Brightest Diamond, Caveman and more.
There were whispers there'd be an unannounced set from The National, but the secret guest Phi Slamma Jamma was actually Arcade Fire's Will Butler, Jeremy Gara, Tim Kingsbury, and Richard Reed Parry who performed a bunch of covers (Ramones, R.E.M., Devo, Beatles and the Stones, among others) to cap out the Fest.
Night Two pictures HERE. Night one HERE. Lots of pictures from all of Saturday night's performers (including Sufjan), plus video of Atlas Sound (who also kept busy in others ways while in town), Caveman, Beirut and Phi Slamma Jamma performing a song each, below...
Remember that Dessner brother-curated festival, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," which is happening at BAM from May 3-5? And remember how when we posted the National-curated ATP lineup we suggested (for obvious reasons) that it might hint at the BAM lineup? Well, the lineup is out now, and there are definitely some similarities to that, and also not surprisingly, to the ongoing Ecstatic Music Festival which is great at highlighting the growing mix between indie rock and indie classical that the Dessners are huge fans of and participants in.
The three day Brooklyn Academy of Music festival includes The Antlers, My Brightest Diamond (w/ yMusic), Sharon Van Etten, and Buke and Gase who are all playing ATP, in addition to The Walkmen, St. VIncent, Beirut, Atlas Sound, Tyondai Braxton (formerly of Battles), Oneohtrix Point Never, Caveman, Sinkane, Twin Shadow, Jherek Bischoff, Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang (DFA DJ set), Ava Luna, and others which are all listed below. As mentioned, the fest also includes the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the NOW Ensemble.
3-Day Festival Passes go on sale Monday (3/5) to friends of BAM and Tuesday (3/6) to the general public. More details and schedule at the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry website.
Full lineup below...
DOWNLOAD: Lower Dens - "Brains" (MP3)
The National have announced that they're headlining and curating at ATP in Minehead UK, which is happening from December 7-9, 2012. So far, in addition to The National, the lineup (not very surprisingly) includes Sharon Van Etten (who plays the sold out Mercury Lounge tonight), My Brightest Diamond, Wye Oak, Megafaun, The Antlers, Buke and Gase (FKA Buke and Gass), Lower Dens, Owen Pallett, Boris, Tim Hecker, Kronos Quartet, Suuns< and Dark Dark Dark. More artists TBA. Tickets go on sale Friday (1/20) at 2 PM.
Maybe this lineup will shed some light on the bands Aaron and Bryce Dessner will be choosing when they curate BAM in May.
ATP's NJ festival happens in September and is being curated by Greg Dulli.
Speaking of Lower Dens, they've just revealed plans to release a followup to their 2010 debut LP, Twin-Hand Movement. The new album, titled Nootropics, will be out April 30 via the Domino affiliate label Ribbon Music. Grab the fast paced lead single, "Brains," at the top of this post and stream it below. Also below is the album artwork and tracklist.
My Brightest Diamond @ Prospect Park in 2011 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
today in NYC
* SWEET Equality
* NRBQ @ Iridium
* Howler @ Other Music
* Aki Onda @ The Stone
* Ganjatronics @ The Stone
* The Moon comedy show @ Union Pool
* Tony & Johnny's Wedding! @ UCB East
* Daniel Kitson @ St. Ann's Warehouse
* Portugal. The Man @ Bowery Ballroom
* Mr. Coconuts Comedy show @ Union Hall
* The Good Natured, Aislyn, Ski Lodge @ Glasslands
* Caged Animals, Total Slacker, Dive @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Santigold, Spank Rock @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Mattie Safer, Pressed And, Rich Aucoin, Latchkeys @ Pianos
* Celestial Shore, Slothbear, Fluffer, Casiorossi @ Big Snow Buffalo Lodge
* Sweet Tooth, Weekends, Unstoppable Death Machines, Dirty Dishes @ Death By Audio
* My Brightest Diamond, Keller Williams (NY Guitar Festival) @ Merkin Concert Hall
* Lichens, Diamond Terrifier, Hunter Hunt Hendrickson, Lza/Dutch E Germ (Gang Gang Dance), Laurel Halo (DJ set), The Oracle (DJ set) @ Zebulon
Tonight at Merkin Concert Hall:
Groundbreaking guitarists premiere original film scores for silent films by Buster Keaton.That's part of the NY Guitar Festival.
My Brightest Diamond & Buster Keaton's Balloonatic (1923)
Keller Willams & Buster Keaton's One Week (1920)
Redhooker & Buster Keaton's The Neighbors (1920)
Playstation opens a space in the LES tonight where you can try the PS Vita before it's released.
Watch little kids playing Darkthrone's "Under a Funeral Moon" below...
photos by David Andrako
National week at Beacon Theater continued on Friday night, 12/16, for the fifth night in a row. Shara Worden's project My Brightest Diamond opened the show and she later joined The National on stage as did Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman, Richard Reed Parry of the Arcade Fire, Conrad Doucette, Rob Moose, Nadia Sirota and string quartet yMusic... and Phish's Trey Anastasio who members of the National are working with right now. As Jambands.com points out:
"The Phish guitarist emerged partway through the group's set for "Blood Buzz Ohio," "Squalor Victoria" and "Murder Me Rachel." While onstage, the members of The National described the guitarist as "a hero of ours." Anastasio reemerged alongside Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry the evening's opening act My Brightest Diamond to play guitar on "Terrible Love." All of the night's guests then joined the members of The National for an acoustic sing-along based around "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks." National frontman Matt Berninger was particularly chatty throughout the show, jokingly describing Parry as a member of Kings of Leon and declaring "that's the sound of faces melting" after Anastasio's performance."You can watch a video with Trey in it below.
yMusic at Castle Clinton in July (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Six-piece ensemble yMusic released their debut LP this past September, Beautiful Mechanical, with compositions by Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond (whose new album yMusic played on), Annie Clark, Son Lux, and others. They'll celebrate the album with a record release show in NYC on Sunday (12/4) at Rockwood Music Hall. Tickets are on sale now.
yMusic are also play the Ecstatic Music Festival with album collaborator Son Lux (Ryan Lott) and Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry on February 8 at Merkin Concert Hall. Tickets are still available. Stream the Son Lux-composed track "Beautiful Mechanical" off yMusic's album here.
Speaking of Richard Parry, he was spotted in the audience of the Little Scream show the other day at Pianos. He also happened to co-produce the new Little Scream record (which he also contributed to musically). Maybe he'll be there at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn tonight (12/2) too.
My Brightest Diamond also has an upcoming show at Merkin Concert Hall, but hers is part of New York Guitar Festival. She plays on January 17, performing an original score for Buster Keaton's silent film Balloonatic, aliong with Keller WilliamsRedhooker, who will both also be performing scores of Keaton films. Tickets are still available. Shara is also one of the performers for David Lang's Making Music piece, along with Bryce Dessner of The National, Owen Pallett, Nico Muhly and others, which is being presented at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on January 27. Tickets are on sale now.
All dates below...
Stars @ LPR in 2010 (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
today in NYC
* Hess is More @ Westway
* Jenny Scheinman @ Barbes
* Slavic Soul Party @ Barbes
* Rich Robinson @ City Winery
* Sweet (comedy) @ Ella Lounge
* RJD2, Icebird @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Steel Panther @ Gramercy Theatre
* Dylan LeBlanc @ Rockwood Music Hall
* Steve Miller Band @ Beacon Theatre
* Dan Mangan, Icewater @ Mercury Lounge
* The Respect Sextet @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Lovely Liar, Jennifer Evans @ Zebulon
* Helmet, Skeleton Key @ Bowery Ballroom
* Akiko Yano, Marc Ribot @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Bernie Worrell Orchestra @ Bowery Electric
* After Hours w/ Gene Hackman & friends @ UCB East
* Mat Maneri, Ed Schuller, Randy Peterson @ The Stone
* Mat Maneri, Kris Davis, Ingrid Laubrock @ The Stone
* Stars, North Highlands @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Knockin Boots, C. Gibbs, The Bay Leaves @ Union Pool
* Star Fucking Hipsters, (A)Truth, Skelptarsis @ Europa
* Manburger Surgical, Awott, Spreaders, Zilmrah @ Cake Shop
* TEEN, Erika Spring, Ex Cops, Atlantic Thrills @ Glasslands
* The Life and Times, Deleted Scenes, Vs. Antelope @ Mercury Lounge
* Pictureplane, Mux Mool, Beacon, DJ Todd Pendu @ Santos Party House
* Scandelabra, S (ex-Carissa's Weird), Tom Gluibizzi, Mr. Sympathy @ Bruar Falls
* The Vandelles, The Foreign Resort, Autodrone, The White Papers @ Pianos
* Pursesnatchers, Weird Owl, Radical Dads, The Bronzed Chorus @ Death By Audio
* The Black Dahlia Murder, All Shall Perish, Cannabis Corpse, Gang Signs @ Knitting Factory
We're giving away tickets to see Mates of State at Webster Hall tomorrow on Facebook.
In case you're confused, the initial Stars announcement said the MHOW show was yesterday, but it is today.
My Brightest Diamond, who has some shows coming up, recorded a Take Away Show which you can watch below...
by Andrew Sacher
DOWNLOAD: yMusic - "Proven Badlands" (composed by Annie Clark) (MP3)
My Brightest Diamond at Prospect Park in August (more by Amanda Hatfield)
My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) is set to release her third full length album All Things Will Unwind on October 18 via Asthmatic Kitty. She's already revealed the excellent track, "Reaching Through to the Other Side," which you can grab HERE. Now she's got a video for another album track, "Be Brave," which you can watch below. The song's got backing vocals by DM Stith, was engineered and mixed by Pat Dillett (Laurie Anderson, The National), and features instrumentation by yMusic, who play on every track of the album. The video was directed by Murat Eyuboglu, who has directed other videos for Shara in the past, and stars Jessica Dessner as a dancer.
Shara's got some upcoming dates in the next few months including an album release show in NYC on October 14 at Littlefield with yMusic and DM Stith, who both appear on her album. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All dates are listed below.
Speaking of yMusic, they will release their debut LP Beautiful Mechanical on September 27 via New Amsterdam Records. The album features tracks composed by Shara Worden, St. Vincent (Annie Clark), Son Lux, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Judd Greenstein, and Gabriel Kahane. You can download the St. Vincent-penned piece, "Proven Badlands," above and check out the album's tracklist below.
All dates, video, and tracklist below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Sufjan Stevens and his elaborate band walked out onto a dark stage at Prospect Park last night (8/2), masked by a black transparent screen. They slowly began the delicate "Seven Swans" as dim light patterns swelled on the screen. Where soft piano and drums usually enter the song, Sufjan's entire band erupted into a heap of crashing chords as the black screen rose and revealed the neon-coated collective of musicians, backup singers, dancers, and Sufjan Stevens flapping a pair of massive bird wings. Sufjan and his band then proceeded to play a set of mostly Age of Adz material. Last night's and tonight's Celebrate Brooklyn shows are the last of the Adz tour.
They launched into the glitchy pop of "Too Much" and "Age of Adz" complete with a frenzy of futuristic visuals and carefully choreographed moves from Sufjan and his dancers/backup singers. After about 15 minutes of the orchestral glitchy awesomeness, Sufjan gave the crowd some "folk relief." He told us that he's still a folk musician at heart and played "Heirloom" off the All Delighted People EP, which was released shortly before Age of Adz last year. He took a moment to tell us about the inspiration for the album and all of the corresponding visuals, outfits, and dancing. He told us that he discovered the work of folk artist/self-proclaimed prophet Royal Robertson, and was influenced by his material. He described Royal's work as the portrayal of visions he had throughout his life, and mentioned that he also faced many struggles within himself, as all of us do. Sufjan said that much of the album was a tribute to Royal, his artwork, and his ideas, and explores themes like inner space, outer space, and the body.
As Sufjan and his band were nearing the end of the set, they delivered the one-two punch of "Vesuvius" and "I Want To Be Well," and after quieting down with album opener "Futile Devices," they sent the show into the most epic part of the night with the 25-minute album closer "Impossible Soul." The song opened with Sufjan accompanied by his piano and voice and slowly built into a layered piece that evolved into the portion sung by Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond.
Although Shara was there (because she opened the show), I'm pretty sure it was one of Sufjan's backup singers who handled her part, though it was hard to tell because they were wearing a mask covered in light bulbs. As she sang, the black screen dropped once again, swirling light patterns drenched the stage and a light tunnel zeroed in on the singer and her light-up mask. After that mesmerizing section drifted off into ambiance and the stage went black once again, Sufjan appeared front and center in a large silver mask with a diamond shaped backdrop behind him and delivered the exaggerated auto-tuned vocals of the song's third section. As glitch hop beats entered the song and the robotic Sufjan left the stage, lights sprung up again and Sufjan's backup dancers, now in neon green t-shirts, neon pink shorts, leggings, and sideways pink hats, appeared at the front of the stage singing lead vocals to the song's epic refrain. After hitting the first round of "it's not so impossible"s, an indecipherable Sufan returned, running onto the stage covered in balloons and feathers and joined in on lead vocals. As the stage became a balloon-covered sing-along dance party, clear beach balls were propelled into the audience as long inflatable creatures shot up in front of the stage, turning the entire prospect park into into a huge party. Once the party died down and the song arrangements fizzled out, Sufjan returned to the front of the stage with only an acoustic guitar and sang the wispy ending of the song, where he plays off the refrain's lyrics to create what could be a stand-alone song in Sufjan's style of folk.
After making such a mess, Sufjan thanked the crowd and he and his band left the stage. He shortly returned for a three-song encore of Illinoise material. It's really hard to follow the end of that set with anything, but it's also pretty hard to turn down Sufjan Stevens playing "UFO," "Casmir Pulaski Day," and "Chicago."
My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) opened the show with a strong set of mostly songs off her upcoming album All Things Will Unwind, quirky dancing, and also an awesome outfit. She wore a bright green dress and a headdress of something resembling peacock feathers. She switched between guitar, ukulele, keyboard, autoharp, and other instruments as she and her band delivered one great song after another, including the recently released single "Reaching Through to the Other Side." Shara told a story during her set of seeing a Laurie Anderson show about the death of her mother, being extremely touched by it, and wondering if she'd ever learn to love. She told us that she eventually talked to Laurie and asked her if she'd ever learn to love. Laurie told her that it takes a lifetime to learn to love, which Shara then wrote a song about. She played it for us. It aptly opens with the line, "It takes a lifetime to learn how to love." Shara and her band also played a cover of "Tainted Love," which she recorded for the Guilt by Association Vol. 2 compilation, before her band left the stage and she ended the set with another new song solo with guitar and vocals.
More pictures, videos, and setlist from the first show below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield words by Zach Pollack
Classical, pop-tinged orchestral group yMusic kicked off the second to last concert of the summer season at Castle Clinton in Battery Park as part of the River to River Festival last night (7/7). The six-players rotated on a variety of instruments including trumpet, viola, clarinet, and violin, possibly improvising as they took cues off of each other.
yMusic stuck around to back My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) as she took the stage around 7:30PM. Initially seeming shy and reserved, those notions of her were immediately shattered as she opened her mouth to sing. With a large vocal range in her arsenal, Shara's voice is as much of an instrument as the ones the orchestra behind her were using.
Breaking out a harpsichord, Shara and yMusic, backed by drummer Brian Wolfe, played a sonically expansive new track titled, "Escape Routes" off MBD's new chamber pop album LP All Things Will Unwind. The LP will arrive on October 18th via her longtime label Asthmatic Kitty, and they played in its entirety at the NYC show according to a note on Shara's website (though not in the album order). This will mark Shara's third LP under the moniker, and from the taste of what we received at Castle Clinton, it draws strong comparisons to Edith Piaf, Joanna Newsom and label-mate/collaborator Sufjan Stevens. Grab a taste via the MP3 from the album above. Check out the whole tracklist and cover art below.
Between performing cuts off of her new album, Shara donned a creepy mask while yMusic performed instrumental pieces that Shara composed for them and dancer Jessica Dessner who was there dancing to them. Late in her hour-long set Shara performed the track "High Low Middle" which had a New Orleans-feel to it, and had the entire audience engaged in endless hand claps. The group closed out their amazing performance at Castle Clinton by playing new song "Everything Is In Line".
My Brightest Diamond has sporadic dates throughout the summer, including an opening slot for Sufjan Stevens at his first of two nights at the Prospect Park Bandshell (August 2nd & 3rd).
Sufjan also has a new video for "Get Real Get Right." Check that out, along with more pictures from the My Brightest Diamond show, and her album artwork below...
Laurie Anderson & Bill Laswell @ Castle Clinton - 6/30/11 (photo by David Godlis)
Laurie Anderson & Bill Laswell played a free show at Castle Clinton in NYC last week (6/30). The free River to River series of concerts in Battery Park continues tonight (7/7) with My Brightest Diamond...
My Brightest Diamond with yMusicPatti Smith plays the final free show of the summer at Castle Clinton on July 14th (same rules apply).
July 7, 2011 - 7:00pm
TICKETS AVAILABLE ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS AT THE GATE AT 5PM. DOORS OPEN AT 6PM. THIS VENUE HAS LIMITED SEATING.
Shara Worden is the granddaughter of an Epiphone-strumming traveling evangelist, her father an accomplished accordionist and her mother a classical organist. As a young person, Worden sang in church with her family and competed internationally with her high school chamber choir. She received a BA in Opera from the University of North Texas and studied composition with Padma Newsome. Her band, My Brightest Diamond, has released Bring Me The Workhorse (2006) and A Thousand Shark's Teeth (2008) on Asthmatic Kitty Records. In addition to her own songwriting endeavors (a new album is imminent), she has recently collaborated with myriad artists, including The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, David Byrne, Matthew Barney and Sarah Kirkland Snider. On this night she will join forces with a young but sophisticatedly scrappy group of players called yMusic who have backed the likes of Antony and The Johnsons, Arcade Fire, Beth Orton and Spoon to name a few. A night of incredible versatility in a place called home, Shara and her musical wanderers will leave you in a beautiful daze.
Check out the video of The Hold Steady playing the national monument in 2006, below...
My Brightest Diamond at Bowery Ballroom in 2010 (more by Chris La Putt)
Frequent Sufjan Stevens-collaborator (and now mother) Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond is opening for Sufjan at his previously announced Prospect Park show on August 2. Worden recorded vocals on the album epic "Impossible Soul" off Sufjan's The Age of Adz last year. Hopefully she'll come out and play it with him in Brooklyn. Tickets are still available.
My Brightest Diamond, who is busy working on a new album, also plays a free Castle Clinton show in NYC on July 7. Meanwhile she heads to Amsterdam for some performances of the Long Count. All dates are listed below.
Worden provided guest vocals on the recently released The Only She Chapters by Prefuse 73, who just released an EP with The Flaming Lips. Psych Explorations of the Future Heart has YouTube streams of all four songs. Those in Oklahoma can buy a 12" at Guestroom Records.
Check out a new(ish) My Brightest Diamond video and more of her dates below...
St. Vincent @ Castle Clinton in 2008 (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
Like at South Street Seaport, the River to River Fesival hosts free shows at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park each year, and though more may still be announed, here is their initial 2011 lineup:
June 23: Vijay IyerFor each of these shows, this applies: "TICKETS ARE REQUIRED and will be
June 30: Laurie Anderson with Bill Laswell
July 07: My Brightest Diamond with yMusic
July 14: Patti Smith
available online or two per person at the entrance to Castle Clinton at 5pm on the day of show. Show starts at 7pm. Castle Clinton, Battery Park, State Street and Battery Place."