Entries tagged with: Neutral Milk Hotel
Jeff Mangum (via @spune_productions)
Jeff Mangum, who plays NYC this week as part of the all-star "The People's Bailout: A Variety Show and Telethon to Benefit the 99%," benefit for Strike Debt happening at Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday (11/15, sold out), is heading out on a honest-to-goodness big tour next year, kicking off in Buffalo, NY on January 9 and heading South before returning to the Northeast by mid-February.
There are no NYC dates as of now, but he will play The Great Hall in Union Station in Hartford, CT on 2/8, the Hamilton College Chapel in Clinton, NY on 2/14 and the Barvadon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, NY on 2/15. Tickets to the Poughkeepsie show are on sale Friday (11/16) at noon. All tour dates are below.
If you didn't get tickets to the benefit at LPR, the whole show will stream live at Rollingjubilee.com on Thursday. Besides Mangum, the show features Janeane Garofalo, Lizz Winstead, Frances Fox Piven, Max Silvestri, Hari Kondabolu, David Rees, The Yes Men, actor/director John Cameron Mitchell, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, Climbing Poetree, the Invisible Army of Defaulters, members of Healthcare for the 99%, Occupy Faith, and many more.
photo via Stephen Cramer
A memorial service for Olivia Tremor Control's Bill Doss, who passed away on July 30, went down at the 40 Watt in Athens on August 4th. Friends and family, like Jeff Mangum, Julian Koster, Robert Schneider, Bryan Poole, Jason NeSmith, Derek Almstead, and Eric Harris, gathered to tell stories and perform songs in tribute to their Elephant 6 brother...
A slide show portrayed Doss with his family, friends and performing with band members and musicians. Others captured a combination of serious and funny portraits.Watch a 12 minute clip from the Georgia event, below...
"Bill was a beautiful soul who left the world in a better state than he found it," said Jason NeSmith, lead guitarist of Casper & the Cookies. "I love him like a brother."
When a stream of performers and others who were close to Doss spoke to the gathering, they emphasized laughter, family and music.
A tearful reading of The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" started the line of conversations and acoustic performances.
Robert Schneider, lead vocalist and guitarist of Apples in Stereo, recounted the time he first met Doss. [redandblack]
Jeff Mangum kicks off his sold out three-night run at BAM with The Music Tapes tonight (1/19). The Brooklyn shows are part of a longer tour for the two Neutral Milk Hotel bandmates. Updated dates, Philly included, are listed below.
Jeff himself is auctioning away 2 pairs of tickets for Saturday's (1/21) show! Each pair also comes with 2 original signed Jeff Mangum drawings. The tickets are being auctioned on ebay with a current bid (as of this post) of $300 and the proceeds will be donated to Occupied Real Estate, a project regarding the foreclosure crisis by Not An Alternative and Occupy Wall Street (not the first time Jeff has shown his support). You can bid on the tickets/drawings HERE and HERE.
Updated Jeff Mangum dates (sold out Coachellas included) below...
Julian Koster spreads holiday cheer and offends his audience at once
Business idea! Flight cases for "singing saws". Worst case scenario: you will probably have at least one customer in Julian Koster (The Music Tapes), who will need a way to protect his instruments from the elements while on the road as part of his annual Holiday Caroling Tour.
Koster's festive tour centers around caroling and spreading the holiday cheer, and you can join in at one of a few select cities.
Several houses a night will be visited in each city. Houses welcoming outside guests in each area will be listed via email auto-reply two nights prior to the Music Tapes arrival. Write firstname.lastname@example.org to receive open house list or to make a last minute caroling invitation. Routes are only projected and may change so check often!Philly/NYC and NYC get the looks on 12/8 and 12/9 respectively. All projected dates are below.
Koster recently posted a video for "Nantasket" from the Purim's Shadows (The Dark Tours the World) EP on Merge Records. That video, one starring "badger saw", and the list of dates below...
a ticket to see Jeff in Jersey City (via Deanna Cannonball)
"Jeff Mangum's two sold-out shows at the Loew's Jersey theater in Journal Square on November 5 and 6 resembled a church service more than a rock concert.The rebirth of Jeff Mangum continues. After playing two sold out shows at Loew's in Jersey City over the past two nights, even more dates have been announced for the Neutral Milk Hotel frontman, and they include New Haven, Brooklyn, Philly, and a rescheduled UK ATP. All dates, with on-sale info, below...
The 1,500-strong audience sat quietly throughout both performances; the artist sat too, lit from above, on a bare stage flanked by four acoustic guitars. The audience applauded politely after each song; sometimes they clapped as the familiar chords of some cherished old favorite began, too. Once or twice -- following Mangum's earnest entreaties -- the crowd attempted to sing along, although even that sounded more like hymns in a cathedral than generational anthems at a big rock show.
Worship may be too strong a word to describe the relationship between Mangum and his fans, but barely so." [Jersey City Independent]
(photo by _crobin)
For the entire hour-long set, during which he played only old songs, the audience sat rapt, hanging on every note. And between songs, if anything, the focus sharpened alongside a collective hope that the odd, angular figure in the page-boy cap might take five minutes to explain everything: why he took a J.D. Salinger-like dive out of public life, why he's back now, and what the future holds.Jeff also played a Roky Erickson cover, like he did in Asbury Park, at Town Hall in NYC on Saturday night (10/29). Olof Arnalds opened. If you missed it, you have two more chances to see him in Jersey City. The Town Hall setlist is below...
But true to character, Mangum gave up little. At one point, he said the audience could ask him questions -- and a few rang out. But the one he chose to answer -- "What's your favorite book?" -- he didn't really answer at all. "You know the answer to that one," he said, cryptically. Devoted fans suspected, perhaps, that he was referring to "The Diary of Anne Frank," which supposedly inspired many of the songs on "Aeroplane." But it could have just as easily been anything else -- "The Catcher in The Rye" or "Gravity's Rainbow," the Bible or the Koran or "How to Make Friends and Influence People." Who the heck knew?
Over the course of the set, we did get something out of the guy: When he performs, he craves a sense of community. It was unexpected, coming from someone who has so cautiously guarded his privacy throughout the years. But he repeatedly asked the audience to sing along with him -- and uttered gracious notes of thanks when we complied. Twice, he asked for the house lights to be raised so he could "see the faces" of those to whom he was playing, and he answered several "we love you, Jeff!" hoots throughout the night, with an earnest and direct: "Thank you, my friend." [Wall Strett Journal]
thanks to Bao Nguyen for this pic in real time...
So Radiohead didn't happen, but, while Portishead was playing at Hammerstein Ballroom Tuesday night (10/4), Jeff Mangum made a surprise live appearance down at Wall Street in support of the Occupy Wall Street protestors! If you weren't there, maybe you caught the live stream? If not, watch it now below...
Jeff Mangum isn't on the list, but one could argue that the elusive frontman of Neutral Milk Hotel might be classifiable as an "outsider musician", much like Daniel Johnston (who he covered on Friday again) and Roky Erickson (who he covered on Sunday again). Those covers aside, Jeff's three ATP Asbury Park setlists, religous experiences for many, stuck 100% to songs he wrote.
At last night's show (Monday, 10/3), Jeff was also joined on stage for two songs by show opener A Hawk and a Hacksaw, his Neutral Milk Hotel band-mate Jeremy Barnes included. To quote one anonymous attendee, "I loved him just solo but when they came out it sounded like neutral milk hotel." It looks like we're one step closer to the full on reunion. The Neutral Milk Hotel box set is out 11/22.
Last night's setlist also included "Little Birds" which he didn't play the other two nights. Two quote wiki, it's "the only song by Neutral Milk Hotel written after the release of In the Aeroplane over the Sea of which a recorded version exists.
"It's the beginning of a story where a boy is in a not-so-nice situation. One day, little birds start to form around him in his room. They start coming into his body and he was very happy about this. But unfortunately he tries to share it with other people and they get very upset because this is something that he finds to be very beautiful but they don't find very beautiful and they want to destroy it." -Jeff MangumJeff comes even closer to and in NYC when he plays sold out shows at Town Hall on October 29th and Landmark Loew's Theatre in Jersey City on 11/6. Jeff also has a benefit show scheduled in Woodstock. No openers have been announced for those.
Above photo by missdubs. All three Asbury Park setlists below...
photos by Chris La Putt
Dark Dark Dark / A Hawk and a Hacksaw
"Eerily soothing piano melodies, smirking accordion lines plucked from a New Orleans carnival, cloudy gang vocal harmonies, and lonely horn bleats inhabit last year's Bright Bright Bright EP and full-length Wild Go (both from Supply & Demand Music). Thus far, the catalogue of Dark Dark Dark could be mistaken for lullabies inexplicably emanating from a deserted lakeside cabin haunted by Tori Amos and Gogol Bordello . . . except that, thankfully, Amos and those affiliated with the Bordello camp are alive and well, and therefore can't haunt anything. [The Phoenix]The A Hawk and a Hacksaw (ft. Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeremy Barnes) / Dark Dark Dark / Pillars & Tongues tour came to NYC for two shows last week - 9/28 at the Bell House and 9/29 at Drom. Pictures from the latter are in this post.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw have since opened for Jeff Mangum as part of ATP at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park on Friday (9/30) and will again in the same venue tonight (10/3)...
Without a word, Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Magnum walked onto the stage of Asbury Park's gilded, enveloping Paramount Theatre Friday night and eased into "Oh Comely," staring straight ahead, singing "soft silly music is meaningful, magical." In the recorded version of that song, at the end, you can hear someone far off exclaim "holy shit!" as if startled - which is just about right.Jeff Mangum's entire Friday setlist, along with more pictures from the non-Mangum NYC show at Drom, below...
Over an hour and 15 minutes, Mangum - performing as part of the three-day ATP I'll Be Your Mirror Festival - was focused and relaxed, sitting on a chair mid-stage. He was flanked by four guitars, bathed in autumn orange lighting and looking especially solitary in the theatre's expanse. Where Bon Iver has traded up in touring accompaniment, Mangum is more at home alone - except, of course, for the rapt, capacity crowd of around 1500. [Rolling Stone]
The Olivia Tremor Control
The Olivia Tremor Control are back and reportedly working on a new release. Previously confirmed to play the December Jeff Mangum-curated ATP UK, the band has now confirmed a full North American tour with fellow Elephant 6er The Music Tapes (aka Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel). The tour includes FYF Fest, MusicfestNW and a NYC show on September 21 at Le Poisson Rouge which is on sale now.
The Music Tapes is also playing Restoration Fest in Albany in August along fellow Neutral Milk Hotel offshoot The Hawk and a Hacksaw who also plays ATP NJ with Jeff and some other dates which are listed below. All of Jeff Mangum's tour dates are HERE
The Olivia Tremor Control recorded their first new track since the reunion last year. The song, "North Term Reality," appears on AUX's compilation AUX Vol. 2. Listen to Olivia Tremor Control's contribution to the comp over at Pitchfork.
All tour dates below...
Shepard Fairey is also DJing the event on Sunday
ATP Asbury Park ("I'll Be Your Mirror") has released the second wave of artist announcements including many of Portishead's choices for the bill! We already knew about Jeff Mangum, Bonnie Prince Billy, Shellac, Chavez and more. New additions include, not surprisingly, Portishead-related acts Anika and Beak> (and this time Anika will be performing live and not just DJing). There's also now a rare reunion of The Pop Group, an Ultramagnetic MC's reunion (WITH Kool Keith), Silver Qluster (Simeon of Silver Apples and Hans-Joachim Roedelius of Cluster/Harmonia), Thee Siliver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Mogwai, Earth, The Horrors and more. The full list is below.
More details, a bigger Shepard Fairey-designed poster, and the full schedule below...
The mysterious Wordless show will NOT be in NYC (it's in Cambridge, MA), but Jeff Mangum will in fact play NYC's Town Hall on October 29th AND Loew's Theatre in Jersey City (where the Strokes are filming a video today) on November 6th. Tickets TBA. All dates (Toronto in AUGUST included), below...
"ATP Concerts are very excited to present the return of Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum to headline and curate one of two festival weekends planned for December 2011 at Butlins, Minehead. After releasing what is now one of the most loved and critically acclaimed albums of the 1990s (In The Aeroplane Over The Sea), Neutral Milk Hotel disbanded before many of those who now love their albums had a chance to see the songs performed live, so Jeff's much anticipated return to the live stage this year will no doubt be a very special occasion for fans throughout the UK and worldwide.Ok, so Jeff is playing two Wordless Music shows in September followed by two NJ Portishead ATP-related shows at the end of September and the beginning of October (both sold out), and now at least two shows at his very own ATP in the UK in December. More shows are sure to come.
As well as headlining, Mangum will choose around 40 acts to play across the weekend on three indoor stages with a total festival capacity of around 5500 people. Mangum will perform more than once in the more intimate Centre Stage venue, although entry to only one show is guaranteed - he will be performing a solo acoustic set."
Jeff's initial UK lineup (listed below) includes A Hawk and A Hacksaw who (also contain a Neutral Milk Hotel member and) are also on the lineup with Jeff in NJ.
The full initial UK ATP lineup and more details below...
The Wordless Music Series has announced:
In September of 2006, the Wordless Music series presented its first concert at the 250-capacity Good Shepherd Faith Church on West 66th Street in New York City. Five years later, we are slightly shocked and humbled to announce the start of our 5th anniversary season with a true musical great: Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, performing his first U.S. live shows since 1998, and in two of the country's great acoustical treasures: on Saturday, September 10, at the 1,050-capacity Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory in Boston; and on Friday, September 9, at an historic 1,150-capacity venue to be announced next week. Tickets for these concerts will be $35 and open to audience members of all ages. A small number of tickets for the Jordan Hall concert go on presale next Friday, February 25 at 10am by phone, online, and (with no service charges) at the Jordan Hall box office; the remaining Jordan Hall tickets will be sold at the same outlets starting at 10am on Saturday, February 26. Ticket info for September 9's concert will be disclosed....imminently.There goes ATP's claim that the September 30th and October 3rd shows will be "his first large public show of Neutral Milk Hotel songs in over a decade." They will be at least his 3rd or 4th now. Stay tuned for more info as it's released.
So, what venue has a 1,150-capacity?
This was actually posted by ATP on Friday, but probably still all true:
The Jeff Mangum show at the Paramount Theatre is now sold out.Remember, only people with 3 day passes get to go to the Mangum show on Friday, and only people with separate Mangum Monday tickets get to go to Mangum on Monday. 3 day pass holders need to choose between seeing Portishead either Saturday or Sunday (though depending on capacity I suppose some lucky people will get to go to both). There doesn't seem to be a way to stop people who buy Saturday and Sunday day passes from seeing Portishead both nights though. Tickets went on sale Friday morning.
Three Day passes and Day passes are selling fast and the ticket sites are going slow due to the number of visitors so if it doesn't work first time please be patient and try again, or try phoning! Thanks for your understanding. On Seetickets you will know your order was successful when you get email confirmation.
Here are the correct ticket links to use for today's on-sale at 9am EST. Tickets will be limited to 4 per order per ticket type so please bear this in mind and if you need more than that try to get a friend to do a separate order.
Please note 3 day passes are only on Seetickets...
Three Day Passes - SEETICKETS
Please be advised that each site has a different allocation of tickets, so if tickets say they are sold out on one ticket agent, check out the other!
If you want to try phoning for tickets the numbers are:
Ticketmaster - 0844 844 0444
Seetickets - +44 (0)1159 129000 (thats a UK number)
OR if you're in Asbury Park, Day tickets will be available at The Stone Pony Box Office, located at 2nd and Ocean Avenues in Asbury Park, and at the Experience Asbury Store, located in The Grand Arcade off of the 5th Ave Boardwalk.
Updated I'll Be Your Mirror USA lineup (they added a couple names since the initial announcement) below....
For those of you who were wondering if ATP New York was returning to the kitschy resort that is Kutschers, the bad news is that it won't. The good news? All Tomorrow's Parties is instead headed to one of the kitschiest towns in New Jersey this fall, and "American I'll Be Your Mirror" will begin its inaugural year with a BANG!
All Tomorrow's Parties returns to the USA this September in the new location of Asbury Park, N.J. bringing an I'll Be Your Mirror event to the iconic Asbury Park waterfront. For the inaugural American I'll Be Your Mirror, Portishead will curate and headline their first East Coast shows since 1998 on the Saturday and Sunday!I'll Be Your Mirror will take place from Sept 30 - Oct 2, 2011. Jeff Mangum will ALSO perform a separate show on Monday, Oct 3rd at Paramount Theater. 3 DAY PASSES, DAY PASSES AND JEFF MANGUM (Monday) TICKETS GO ON SALE THIS FRIDAY AT 9AM EST FROM SEETICKETS & TICKETMASTER via www.atpfestival.com.
ATP, who are curating on the Friday are also very excited to be able to present Jeff Mangum who on the Friday night will perform his first large public show of Neutral Milk Hotel songs in over a decade.... Please note, as Jeff has chosen to play in the stunning, but smaller Paramount theatre only people who buy 3 day festival passes get access to this show on Friday night.
Also playing on the Friday are Chavez, Shellac, Cults and The Album Leaf, with a headliner and some comedians to be confirmed. The rest of the line-ups for the Saturday and Sunday will be announced in the near future.
I'll Be Your Mirror is a new series of artist curated music, film and art events. Acting as sister events to the ATP Festivals, which take place in holiday resorts, I'll Be Your Mirror retains the curatorial and multiple band and film concept, but will take place in cities worldwide. The events are named after the b-side to The Velvet Underground's original All Tomorrow's Parties 7" single, released in 1966.
Everyone who came to our three events at Kutshers knows how special the place was and how lucky they were to have been a part of our events there and while we are sad to not be returning, we are excited to be moving to the iconic Asbury Park. The Convention Hall has seen the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones grace its stage and the Paramount Theatre has welcomed stars such as Tony Bennett who often insists on playing a song with all the electrics turned off to demonstrate the amazing acoustics of the room.
We will be transporting the whole ATP experience over to this new location on the beach at Asbury Park, with the main shows taking place at the Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre, as well as the nearby Asbury Lanes and the Berkeley hotel, which the man in black, Johnny Cash himself once lived at. We think it will make a stunning successor to Kutshers.
As well as the live music line-up of over 30 acts across the weekend, Friday will feature a Comedy stage, and we're very pleased to announce that our friends at Criterion will return again to run the Cinema across the weekend. All three days will also feature DJs and other activities to be confirmed in the months ahead - we'll also be bringing back some of our popular food vendors including the much loved Asia Dogs, and much, much more. Performances all take place indoors, so you have no need to fear about the weather!
Most exciting news ever?
BBG, an ATP NY veteran, in a moment of excitement adds:
This announcement is one big "holy shit" on many levels.Confused by point #6? Well, "Limited 3 Day Passes are available at $249 - these include access to the Jeff Mangum Friday show and the choice of being guaranteed to see Portishead on Saturday or Sunday." More details (including ticket and transportation options) below:
1) Hello Asbury Park, NJ!
2) One of the best things about ATP New York was the "music camp" atmosphere at Kutshers. How will Berkeley Hotel fare?
3) Neutral Milk Hotel!!!
5) Neutral Milk Hotel again!
6) Portishead again, but maybe not?
Elephant 6 Holiday tour 2008 (more by Lori Baily)
Though the full set of dates hasn't been announced yet, it looks like the Elephant 6 collective is going on another "Holiday Surprise Tour," though this time the holiday is whatever happens in March. The NYC shows are March 22nd at Knitting Factory and March 23rd at Le Poisson Rouge. The latter lists the following:
Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise TourThis news comes hot on the heels of Saturday's private Jeff Mangum show, and Jeff did in fact join in the fun in 2008, but of course there are no guarantees and it will be great either way. Tickets are on sale for both shows (just click the links above). Stay tuned for all dates.
w/ Elephant 6 orchestra featuring Will Cullen Hart, Bill Doss, Peter Erchick, John Fernandes , Julian Koster, Scott Spillane, Andrew Rieger, Laura Carter, Derek Almstead , Heather McIntosh, Bryan Poole, Theo Hilton , Robbie Cucchiaro and others play the music of The Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power, Circulatory System, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Gerbils, Nana Grizol, Major Organ and and Adding Machine, Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't , plus games, films & other surprises
Meanwhile The Music Tapes aka Julian Koster is now on his own holiday tour.
A magical show happened Saturday night at a loft in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn (at a space also known as The Schoolhouse when it throws shows).
Jeff Mangum, as he said at the show, is thinking of playing out again. He already played a rare 5-song set back in May at the Chris Knox benefit at Le Poisson Rouge (LPR), but he wanted to test out playing live a bit more so his friend set up this last minute show for about 75 lucky attendees, many who were invited just hours before it started, and who were sworn to secrecy and asked very strongly that no visual evidence of the show be posted anywhere afterwards. Like at LPR, there was supposed to be no pictures and no video, and like after LPR, audio evidence quickly appeared online. Word continues to spread.
Brooklyn electro-trio Forma live in, or are associated somehow with, the space, and they opened the show. Definitely check them out if you have a chance, like at TANDEM (246 Troutman Street, Brooklyn) on December 11.
Jeff, dressed in his signature red and black flannel, played 10 Neutral Milk Hotel songs on two different guitars and a microphone. He went on around 9:45pm, and was in top form, bringing many to tears as he opened with 'Oh Comely' followed by 'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea'. The acoustics in the spacious industrial-looking 3-story-high room were ideal for his powerful voice. He modestly thanked the crowd multiple times and asked for forgiveness for not being good with stage banter. Many were seated, with their jackets still on in the chilly room with a small stage and PA set up in it. Everyone was standing and warm though, and cheering, as the show ended and Jeff said thank you and good night after ending with 'Two Headed Boy Pt. 2'. Full setlist below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Music Tapes in Bed-Stuy Dec. 17 2009 (more by Sarah Mulligan)
Julian Koster and The Music Tapes will be delivering lullabies at bedsides from bedroom to bedroom, and house to house in Boston, New York and Philadelphia in August. Featuring new songs as well as some of the gentler songs from Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes and the 1st Imaginary Symphony for Nomad, lucky hosts will be visited at the bedtime hour by the most lulling of music tapes songs, by the sounds of the glowing and enchanting "Ghost Orchestra," Singing Saws, Stories, and so forth.[Merge]Similar to their annual holiday caroling tour (though on a less-road-intensive scale), Julian & the Music Tapes will be visiting houses and apartments in Boston, New York and Philadelphia this August. In each city, they'll also be playing a game of "St. Nikolai the Wonder Worker's Wishing Game of Candles" at a secret location.
The 2009 Holiday Tour packed a number of New York stops into two days. Check out our long-lost review/post on those below.
Dates and info on how to invite the tour (and get invited) are below too....
Video from Saturday night's show at Merriweather Post Pavillion below...
DOWNLOAD: Neutral Uke Hotel - King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1 (MP3)
Singer & guitarist/ukuleleist Shawn Fogel of the band Golden Bloom is Neutral Uke Hotel, a ukulele-based project that covers Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over the Sea in its entirety. He has a short tour lined up for the end of June with stops in NYC, NXNE in Toronto, upstate NY and a few other North East cities. He plays Mercury Lounge with The Handsome Family on Tuesday, June 15th where he writes, "We've got at least one special guest joining us for a song." Tickets are still on sale.
Fogel previously participated in "Beatles Complete on Ukulele" project, which performed at SXSW earlier this year.
Jeff Mangum played some of his Neutral Milk Hotel songs earlier this year at a benefit for Chris Knox.
Download "King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1," the uke & melodica cover which is posted above. Videos of the NMH cover and all tour dates are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
I snuck this picture of the t-shirt...
"Chris Knox (born September 2, 1952) is a New Zealand rock and roll musician, cartoonist, and DVD reviewer who emerged during the punk rock era with his bands The Enemy and Toy Love. After Toy Love disbanded in the early 1980s, he formed the group Tall Dwarfs with guitarist Alec Bathgate, much loved for their honest, unpolished sound and intense live shows. His 4-track machine was used to record most of the early Flying Nun singles." [Wiki]Jeff Mangum played a set of Neutral Milk Hotel songs for the first time in nine years at the benefit for his friend, musician Chris Knox, last night, Thursday, May 6th. From opener "Oh Comely" to encore "Engine," and "A Baby For Pree," "Two Headed Boy Pt. Two" and "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" in between, Mangum's voice was clear and strong as he sang from a chair into microphones set up a few feet away. Most of the audience looked somewhere between giddy excitement and shock. Some quietly sang along, others broke out into tears - one person choked on frantic, shallow breaths as "Oh Comely" climaxed, another stood with his hand over his gaping mouth, unable to move.
A few photos were furtively snapped in defiance of the posted signs, but most were content to just listen. Though "just listen" doesn't really describe the gasps, tears and unending applause. Mangum played with his eyes mostly closed, neck vein tensed, rocking and swooping to the contours of the songs. His eyelids fluttered open on the chorus of "A Baby for Pree" to reveal eyes rolled back into his head. Between songs Mangum gulped down water and was gracious, bordering on triumphant as he popped up at the end of "Aeroplane." He encouraged the crowd to contribute to the encore, "Engine." After the set, someone caught his attention with a book to sign, which he did. Most people up front looked anxious and ready for a post-show smoke.
It was fitting maybe that the bill for Mangum's last show, in 2001 in New Zealand, was with Chris Knox, who suffered a stroke in 2009. Though Jeff Mangum was a clear pinnacle, the rest of the benefit gig was an engaging, full evening which covered 12 bands and 2 comedians, and ran more than five and a half hours (though at least 1/3 of the venue cleared out after Mangum's 8:50pm set). The show ended at 1am, amazingly, exactly as scheduled.
Coasting (set time: 6:20pm) opened up with appropriately coastal guitar sounds and surefire drums, Sharon Van Etten played three songs with nuanced dynamics on electric guitar. The Magnetic Fields' Claudia Gonson played only one song as a trebly synth trio to cover "Beauty" which the band does on the Chris Knox tribute CD Stroke.
Robert Scott (of the Clean) and TVOTR's Kyp Malone (aka Rain Machine) both played solo guitar sets. Kyp, who told the crowd they should check out the new Devendra Banhart video (he checked it out in a cafe because he doesn't have internet), was joined by Emilyn Brodsky for what he said was a Bob Marley cover. Rachel Feinstein did raunchy comedy.
After that, there was New Zealand band Dimmer (who are in town for a while), The Mad Scene (Hamish Kilgour of the Clean's other band), David Kilgour of The Clean (backed by Yo La Tengo and one other band member) and comedy from John Mulaney (who killed it) (and who you may have seen doing a bit about girl scout cookies on a recent episode of SNL).
"Portastatic" was Mac backed by Yo La Tengo. They closed with Superchunk's "Slack Motherfucker" complete with windmill guitar moves and pogoing from some of the crowd (even though the concert was going into its fifth hour at this point). Yo La Tengo, with extra member David Kilgour on guitar, covered a Chris Knox song, said many kind words about Chris and closed with two songs from their 1993 album Painful, which Chris Knox contributed art work to.
The Clean, who Ira introduced as the greatest band in the world, and who'd already been up several times as their solo bands, closed the night right, both jangly and poppy. And despite the mass exodus after Jeff, a respectable amount of people were still there right until the last song. Catch the Clean again (if you have a ticket because it's sold out) at The Bell House tonight (5/7).
Editor's note: Ben Goldberg did an amazing job organizing the event, keeping scalpers away, and making sure that pretty much every person in that venue (except maybe the bartenders) paid their $75 donation to Chris Knox to get in the door (or $20 if you showed up after Jeff went off). Ben did less of an amazing job during his pre-Yo La Tengo stand up routine, but nobody's perfect!
Illegally shot (not by us!) audio and video from the event, and the new Devendra Banhart video, and Jeff Mangum's setlist again, below...