Entries tagged with: Prospect Park

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Extra Mooga

We still have a few more days before we find out the entire music lineup of the Great GoogaMooga, but the new Prospect Park festival announced the May 19th & 20th schedule, and almost-full lineup, of "ExtraMooga", the part of the fest that requires you to pay extra money. Taking place in multiple park venues that you can see illustrated in the above map, in addition to chefs and the previously announced James Murphy & Aziz Ansari, the lineup now also includes WTF with Marc Maron, Hot Tub with Kurt & Kristen, and Patton Oswalt too. You can view the whole thing HERE.

Meanwhile, Hot Tub with Kurt & Kristen continues every Monday night at Littlefield.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Brooklyn's Prospect Park food & music festival The Great GoogaMooga is still somewhat of a mystery, though the food lineup seems to grow by the day. What about the music (and more general admission tickets)? Well, the festival just posted this:

"Turns out we've got just as healthy of an appetite for music as we do for food and drink. On Monday, April 23rd, we'll be laying out the spread of musical enticements so you can come to The Great GoogaMooga ready to rock out between bites - 2 days, 2 stages and 10 acts each day.

Since we'll already have you drooling on Monday, we'll be opening general admission ticket registration the next day, Tuesday, April 24th. More details to come...
Meanwhile, James Murphy/Aziz Ansari/Anthony Bourdain ExtraMooga tickets are still on sale, and we know that that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is one of the musical acts playing the fest on Saturday, and Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens are playing on the Sunday. Anyone else have any leaks?

Preservation Hall Jazz Band's full tour schedule, below...

Continue reading "Who's playing the Great GoogaMooga?"

M. Ward at Newport Folk Fest 2011 (more by Jim Brueckner)
M Ward

As mentioned, M. Ward is set to kick off a tour with Lee Ranaldo in May which comes to NYC for a sold out show at Webster Hall on May 11. If you weren't able to get tickets to that show, he'll be back in NYC for a much larger show at Prospect Park on August 7, one of the ticketed Celebrate Brooklyn shows. Lee Ranaldo won't open this one (neither will fIREHOSE), but keeping the trend of having clasic 80s/90s indie rock bands on the bill, Yo La Tengo will. Tickets go on sale Friday (4/20) at noon.

Meanwhile, M. Ward, like fIREHOSE, played Coachella this past weekend and will again next week. Check out a video from his performance below.

He also released his new album, A Wasteland Companion, earlier this month via Merge. You can stream the entire thing below.

Updated dates, video, and album stream below...

Continue reading "M. Ward playing Prospect Park w/ Yo La Tengo, played Coachella (updated dates & video)"

photos by Julie Schabel

"Always a good time at @SOBs. Schoolboy Q show was ill." - Robby Rav

"At sobs watching schoolboy q go the fuck in." - Curtis Williams

Schoolboy Q

Schoolboy Q stopped by NYC for a sold out show at SOB's Wednesday night (4/11) ahead of his tour with Ab-Soul. While on stage at SOB's, he called Kendrick Lamar and put him on speakerphone. Here's what Complex had to say about it:

The night's coolest, if not most awkward, moment came when Q telephoned his Black Hippy teammate Kendrick Lamar and put him on speakerphone. A major proving ground for new talents, S.O.B.'s has a way of demanding a little extra star power. Though Lamar couldn't be present physically--he's currently bunkered down recording his debut album--he did the next best thing. Q asked him what he should perform next. Lamar suggested "A.D.H.D," a fan favorite.
More pictures and videos from the show are below.

Schoolboy Q will return to NYC in June to play Central Park Summerstage on June 25 and Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell on June 26 with Danny Brown and Childish Gambino. Tickets for the Brooklyn show are still available. Updated dates are listed below.

The SOB's show was opened by Nemo Achida, Iron Solomon, and Curtains, though Julie missed the first one because she was at the Lil B NYU lecture which was the same night.

More pics and videos from SOB's and dates below...

Continue reading "Schoolboy Q played SOB's (pics & video), playing Summerstage & Celebrate Brooklyn (with Childish Gambino & Danny Brown)"

Jonsi of Sigur Ros at Hammerstein Ballroom (more by Vincent Cornelli)
Jonsi

In addition to the previously discussed dates at festivals including Lollapalooza, Sigur Ros has added a few other dates including a show at Prospect Park Bandshell on July 31! Tickets go on AMEX/BRIC presale on Wednesday 4/18 at noon and regular sale on 4/20.

As discussed and as you can tell here, Sigur Ros's hiatus is officially over especially considering the band's new LP Valtari on the way via EMI/XL on May 29th. All known world tour dates are below...

Continue reading "Sigur Ros add dates, including Prospect Park!"

Purity Ring @ SXSW 2012 (photo by SRGN)
Purity Ring SXSW

Purity Ring, currently finishing a post-SXSW tour with Neon Indian in NC tonight, will open for Dirty Projectors at Celebrate Brooklyn on 7/10, as with Wye Oak. UPDATE: I'm told these openers are "not 100% confirmed". Tickets are still on sale. The Prospect Park show is still Dirty Projectors' only announced date.

If you're in DC, catch Purity Ring on Thursday at Red Palace with Ava Luna. Ava Luna's next currently scheduled Brooklyn show is at BAM for the National's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" fest on 5/4 (single day tickets recently went on sale).

Wye Oak's only other announced show at the moment is the National's ATP in the UK in December.

All tour dates for these bands are listed below...

Continue reading "Purity Ring & Wye Oak opening for Dirty Projectors"

GGD

Tickets for many of the just-announced Hot Chip shows are on pre-sale now including the July 18th Brooklyn show in Prospect Park which Gang Gang Dance is opening. Tickets ($35 advance / $40 day of show) go on general sale Friday at noon.

Gang Gang Dance is also playing the Symbiosis Gathering in Nevada in May, during a solar eclipse, with James Blake, Little Dragon, and many more.

GoogaMooga

Did you get free tickets for GoogaMooga the other day? The promoters posted the following message:

Early Registration GoogaMooga Festival is Now Full - More to Come

General admission early registration for the GoogaMooga Festival is now full. There will be more tickets released in the coming weeks. Check www.GoogaMooga.com regularly for more information regarding additional allotments of tickets.

As the official ticketing company for Googa Mooga, we [Eventbrite] are committed to offering a smooth, pain-free ticketing experience for event attendees and organizers. We failed on that [Thursday], and apologize to GoogaMooga fans and the event organizers. While there were people who were successful in securing early registration for GoogaMooga, due to high demand and some serious technical problems, our ticketing page was unavailable to many who were trying to register for the event.

We are working together with the GoogaMooga event organizers to take care of everyone who was trying to get tickets today and fulfill all pending registration requests.

Please keep an eye on GoogaMooga.com for information on additional ticket availability. We'll also be sending posts via Twitter and Facebook when these tickets are available.

They also say that "Customers who received a confirmation message, but who did not yet receive an email with confirmation of your registration, should be receiving an email shortly," and $267 "Extra Mooga" tickets are still on sale.

Still no word on what bands are playing.

Hot Chip

As predicated, Hot Chip have scheduled a few more U.S. dates around their appearance at the Pitchfork Music Festival this summer, and those dates included July 18th in Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell. The band also posted a new song from their fortchoming album to YouTube. Watch/listen with all dates below...

Continue reading "Hot Chip release new song, announce dates, Prospect Park show"

GoogaMooga

As previously mentioned, The Great GoogaMooga is a new festival coming to Prospect Park in Brookly from May 19 & 20, and though food will be a big focus with...

Some of the chefs and personalities on board include Anthony Bourdain (author and host of No Reservations), David Rockwell (founder & CEO of the Rockwell Group), Tom Colicchio (chef & judge of Top Chef), Garrett Oliver (brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery), Paul Grieco (sommelier/co-owner of Terrior & Hearth), Eddie Huang (chef/owner of Baohaus), April Bloomfield (chef/co-owner of The Spotted Pig), Christina Tosi (pastry chef/owner of Momofuku Milk Bar) and Frank Falcinelli & Frank Castronovo (chef/owners of Frankies Spuntino). Other NYC favorites include Roberta's, M.Wells, Russ & Daughters, Hill Country, The Big Gay Ice Cream Trucks and the list keeps on growing...
.. there will also be:
... two stages of music with ten artists per day, both located in the Nethermead Meadow. Programming will be a mix of national and local artists from different genres. Performances start at noon and end at 8:30 pm on Saturday. Performances start at noon and end at 8:00 pm on Sunday. Music will be announced soon, so stay tuned!
Tickets will be sold necessary and more info announced soon.

Googa Mooga

A new "food, drink & music festival" is coming to Brooklyn's Prospect Park on May 19 & 20, 2012. The weekend-long festival, presented by Superfly, the festival creators behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, will feature "chefs, restaurateurs, purveyors, and wine and beer makers from New York", and it's called Googa Mooga! Stay tuned for more details.

Laura Marling at the McKittrick Hotel in 2011 (more by Chris La Putt)
Laura Marling

Laura Marling will be coming to the US in April to support Andrew Bird on a short tour surrounding both musicians' appearances at Coachella. She'll be playing solo like she did on her last North American tour which brought her to NYC in December.

The April tour includes no east coast dates, but she'll be returning to North America in June for a full band tour which kicks off with Bonnaroo and hits NYC for a free show on June 14 for Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park. It's the second free Celebrate Brooklyn show announced so far (Jimmy Cliff was the first) and third overall, including the not free Dirty Projectors show.

Speaking of Andrew Bird, who just played the Bell House, you can stream his new album, Break It Yourself, on NPR.

All dates and Laura's video for "I Was Just A Card" below...

Continue reading "Laura Marling announces tour, free Prospect Park show (dates)"

Dirty Projectors @ Lollapalooza 2010 (more by Josh Darr)
Dirty Projectors

Jimmy Cliff will be playing the first free Celebrate Brooklyn show at the Prospect Park Bandshell this summer. Dirty Projectors will play the first-announced pay show on July 10th. Tickets go on AmEx presale Wednesday at noon. General sale begins Friday.

Jimmy Cliff

Celebrate Brooklyn, aka the mostly-free concerts at the Prospect Park bandshell, announce:

JIMMY CLIFF TO KICK OFF 34th ANNUAL
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL
WITH FREE OPENING NIGHT CONCERT ON TUESDAY, JUNE 5

Evening Begins with Opening Night Gala Benefiting Free Summer Performing Arts Festival

Brooklyn | February 27, 2012 - BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn is pleased to announce that reggae legend Jimmy Cliff will open the 2012 Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival on Tuesday, June 5 in a free performance at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Throughout the past 50 years, Cliff has helped shape modern music with his influential and socially conscious work. This year marks the 40th anniversary of his landmark hits, "You Can Get It If You Really Want" and "The Harder They Come," which helped to make reggae mainstream throughout the world. He is the only living musician to hold Jamaica's Order of Merit, the highest honor granted for achievement in the arts and sciences. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence and Cliff's performance will pay tribute, not only to his origins, but to the great Jamaican population of Brooklyn.

The free concert by Cliff starts at 8:00 P.M. It will kick off the 34th season of free Celebrate Brooklyn! performances presented by BRIC in Prospect Park. Announcement of other performers at the Festival will come later this spring.

Stay tuned for more lineup announcements.

Meanwhile, those heading to Austin in March can catch Jimmy Cliff at SXSW. He's playing one of the free shows at Waterloo Records and the official Gorilla Vs Bear showcase at Hype Hotel.

He's also playing Coachellas this year.

A set of European tour dates is listed below...

Continue reading "Jimmy Cliff playing opening night @ Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park, Coachella & SXSW"

photos by Ryan Muir

Jose G on stage w/ The Books
The Books

One of the best concerts of summer 2011 was probably the one by The Books in Prospect Park (maybe you saw Beirut that night instead). One of the highlights of that show was when Jose Gonzalez, whose band Junip opened, joined the headliners on stage to perform "Cello Song" which is a collaboration the two artists released as part of the "Dark Was the Night" compilation. I just realized we had these unposted pictures, so here they are...

Continue reading "The Books @ Celebrate Brooklyn (belated pics) "

Peters Tree

Deceased Type O Negative frontman and ex-NYC park worker Peter Steele had an oak tree planted in his honor in Brooklyn's Prospect Park recently thanks to the effort of a Facebook group called "Peter's Tree". More pictures from the planting (with clues on how to find the tree) HERE.

In related news, original Type O drummer Sal Abruscato (who left Type O to drum exclusively for Life of Agony) has a new project called A Pale Horse Named Death which is playing the Studio at Webster Hall on December 9th. Type O's 2nd and final drummer Johnny Kelly (who also plays with Danzig including recently at Fun Fun Fun Fest) plays drums for Sal who has moved out from behind the kit for this band as you can see in the video below...

Continue reading "Peter Steele tree planted in Prospect Park"

UPDATE: This is all now cancelled/postponed (no new date yet)

DJ Spinna

"Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson" returns to Prospect Park for a third year in a row on Saturday, but not for long...

The Michael Jackson event will take place until 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Due to predicted hazardous weather, ALL Park facilities will close Saturday, August 27 at 2 p.m. and REMAIN CLOSED THROUGH SUNDAY AUGUST 28.

Saturday, August 27, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The Nethermead

Spike Lee, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks*, Spike DDB & The Republic of Brooklyn invite you to celebrate the birthday of Michael Jackson with a special celebration in Prospect Park.

*40 Acres And A Mule is documenting Michael Jackson's Birthday Celebration in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York on August 27th, 2011. By your presence in the Prospect Park - Nethermead Field area, you acknowledge that you have been informed that you may be photographed, recorded and videotaped. Further, by your presence there, you grant your permission for your likeness and voice to be included without compensation, credit or other consideration

DJ Spinna and Q-Tip will also DJ a Michael Jackson party at Irving Plaza on Saturday night (tickets). Irving Plaza is now cancelled.

Check out pictures from last year's Prospect Park party HERE.

photos by Jessica Amaya

"Cut copy in prospect park was AMAZING! So good in fact that I woke up with a fever today and my head feels like it may explode. OUCH" - Jackie

"Perfect night for a little cut copy in prospect park.
They're killing it! #celebratebrooklyn" - Ana Maria Lopez

"So much love for Brooklyn. A show we will never forget! Thanks for spending the night in the park with us. X" - Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Cut Copy headlined a sold out Celebrate Brooklyn show at Prospect Park on Thursday (8/11) with Midnight Magic and Foster the People (who have TWO SOLD OUT Terminal 5 shows coming up with Reptar). Cut Copy focused mainly on stuff off their two most recent albums, opening up strong with favorites "Feel the Love" and "Take Me Over."

Cut Copy team up with Midnight Magic again on a tour with Washed Out. You can catch them on September 13 at The Wellmont Theatre. Tickets are still available.

More pictures from the Brooklyn show below...

Continue reading "Cut Copy, Foster the People & Midnight Magic played Prospect Park (pics)"

photos by Amanda M. Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Bon Iver

Justin Vernon walked onto the dimly lit stage at the sold out Celebrate Brooklyn show in Prospect Park last night (8/10) with his 9-piece Bon Iver, picked up his guitar, and quietly began playing the guitar riff of album opener "Perth." The band slowly began building the song into its borderline-heavy metal ending, letting us know immediately that Bon Iver are not a 9-piece band for no reason. Justin's obviously a guy who has been part of a lot of collaborations (though he needs a break from all of that), but this new lineup is far more than another collab for the record books. I mean these guys sound huge. What started out as a folk-leaning, acoustic guitar based project with sparse accompaniment from other instruments, is almost entirely the opposite now. The band that was once backed mainly by a bass drum now has two drummers behind fully structured kits and an auxiliary percussionist. Fluttering horn lines that are often indiscernible on their own, come together to create deftly beautiful atmospheres throughout the songs. Justin also now has the freedom to make as much noise as he wants on his guitar, and he definitely uses it.

On the album's second track, "Minnesota, WI," Justin was joined by the crowd on the "never gonna break" refrains, before taking the song into the funk-edged middle section driven by Colin Stetson's bass sax and pounding drums from Matt McCaughan and Sean Carey. Skipping "Holocene," the band continued to play straight through the album for a couple more songs, touching on the country-tinged "Towers" and the eye-watering beauty of "Michicant." Justin and band then took a break from the new material to dive into some older stuff. They fleshed out the older songs to fit in with the new setup, adding textures and dynamics not heard on the original recording, and managed to not lose any of its delicacy. Lead by band member Reginald Pace on trombone, the band delivered a soulful soft-rock interpretation of For Emma, Forever Ago's "Creature Fear." By the song's building second chorus, when it would normally fade into the companion track "Team," they took the song in an entirely different direction with explosive post-rock crescendos and layers of noise guitar from Justin and Mike Noyce. The band amped the older material up even more later on when they went into "Blood Bank" off the 2009 EP of the same name. The members were soaked in red light as they propelled into a heavy distortion-ridden rendition of the track. They kicked things up even harder at the end when they took the song into a double time rock bit with more noise guitar from Justin.

After "Blood Bank," they calmed things down with the much-anticipated "Holocene" that was skipped earlier on. The audience piped in on, "And at once I knew I was not magnificent," and "I could see for miles, miles, miles." Then the entire band except Justin left the stage, and with no more than an electric guitar he played the For Emma, Forever Ago closing track, "re: stacks." As a musician whose romanticized backstory is centered around lonesomeness, taking relief from the now-large band to perform with the vulnerability that his first album was written with made as large of an impact as the orchestrations of the rest of the set did. After the song, Justin was again joined by his band for "Flume" and "Calgary" before an audible count-in lead into the new album's closing track "Beth/Rest." Say what you will about this song and its '80s lite.fm-leaning tendencies, the performance was absolutely beautiful. The band played with far too much confidence to call it "ironic" and too much genuine emotion to call it "cheesy." About halfway through, Justin stretched the song a bit with some reverb-laden vocal scat before going into the guitar/sax solos that take up the ending. He then thanked the crowd, took a bow with the band and left the stage.

The stage crew wasted no time preparing the set for 9-piece Bon Iver's rendering of "Skinny Love." Once that preparation was complete, the guys walked back out on stage to tremendous applause, Justin sat down with his resonator guitar, Matt McCaughan and Sean Carey sat behind their drum kits, and the other six members took to microphones for backup vocals, stomps and claps. The song comes off as something the band knows they can just have a ton of fun with, and that's totally fine, because with an hour and a half of really heady melancholic music, nothing is wrong with three minutes of fun. The band members then all returned to their instruments and covered Bjork's "Who Is It," like they'd been doing on tour. Reginald Pace handled the blips and clicks with some pretty impressive beat-boxing and the horn and string players interpreted Bjork's electronic textures, as Justin strongly delivered Bjork's vocal parts. The band ended the encore with the crowd sing-along "The Wolves (Act I and II)" and again bowed and left the stage. Though the "Skinny Love" setup assured us of the first encore, much to my surprise, the band returned for a second encore to play one last song -- "For Emma." The song, which is already the fullest of all the For Emma, Forever Ago tracks, fit so perfectly with the new material, that it would have convincingly been a b-side to the new album if the song had never been heard before.

The show began with a great opening set by The Rosebuds. They were joined by Justin Vernon on guitar and backup vocals for the song "Leaves Do Fall" off 2005's Birds Make Good Neighbors. Justin's bandmate Mike Noyce also came out towards the end of the song to help out with more backing vocals. Bon Iver bassist Mike Lewis also joined the band later on for a song. Their set wasn't too long, but every song was solid and the guest appearances were the perfect way to warm the crowd up for Bon Iver's headlining set.

More pictures and the setlist from the show below...

Continue reading "Bon Iver & The Rosebuds played Prospect Park ------------------ (pics, review & setlist)"

photos by Toby Tenenbaum, words by Andrew Sacher

"The highlight had to be Ra Ra Riot coming
on stage to "Raining Blood" \m/" - Debbie Encalada

Ra Ra Riot
Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot played a free Celebrate Brooklyn show, the second to last one of the summer, in Prospect Park Friday night (8/5) with support from Buke & Gass and Delicate Steve.

Buke & Gass kicked things off with their unique brand of avant-pop, driven by their self-built instruments and whatever percussion the duo can manage to pull off with their feet. The circumstances definitely weren't the best for the Brooklyn-based band, who were opening a large, sparsely filled out venue for a much poppier act. But given the attention they deserved, Buke & Gass were able to prove that they've got some really interesting material. The duo focus more on rhythm than melody (which are usually far off-kilter) and are able to loop you in to hypnotic patterns, somewhat similarly to tUnE-yArDs, who they have opened for. On top of the attractively unsettling chord progressions, singer Arone Dyer delivers with a surprisingly beautiful voice, unlike the howls of the aforementioned tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus. As I said, the circumstances were not ideal, but I was definitely won over by their set and look forward to hopefully catching them in a smaller venue.

Their set was followed by Delicate Steve, who I first saw when they opened for Yeasayer at Governors Island last summer, and they haven't changed a bit. They played a mainly instrumental set which was sonically more fit for the jam scene, except for the fact that everything felt way too scripted. The band's bland chord progressions and overused jungle drum beats were added to only by uninspired, repetitive guitar solos.

At around 9 PM, the lights completely darkened and Slayer's "Raining Blood" blasted through the PA system as Ra Ra Riot ran out onto the stage. WIthout saying a word, Slayer faded out and Ra Ra Riot went directly into "Too Too Too Fast" off 2008's The Rhumb Line. The band played what they said may have been their longest set ever, which included most of both full lengths, a track off their self titled EP, and two covers. Save for a few exceptions, The Rhumb Line tracks stood out pretty significantly among the rest. The Orchard is a solid album start to finish, but many of the songs lack the urgency of their earlier material, which resonates so strongly in a live setting. When the band powered through classics like "Can You Tell," "Oh La," and "Ghost Under Rocks," the members were having so much fun on stage that you couldn't help but join them. They did hit some highs with the newer material though, notably on the Alexandra Lawn-fronted slow-burner "You And I Know" and when they closed their set with the frantic pop of "Boy." The band opened their two song encore with a cover of Steve Winwood's "Valerie," before diving into another standout, "Dying Is Fine," which saw singer Wes Miles run through the audience.

More pictures, videos, and Ra Ra's setlist from the show below...

Continue reading "Ra Ra Riot, Delicate Steve & Buke & Gass played Celebrate Brooklyn (pics, video & setlist)"

photos by Jessica Amaya & words by Rachel Kowal

Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens

There's no question. The Age of Adz, Sufjan Stevens' bombastic game-changer-of-an-album is hugely divisive among fans and critics alike. Many balked at its sheer absurdity and accompanying oddball aesthetic. When I first heard the new album, I admit I was one of the skeptics. It was the gentle beauty of Michigan and quirky magnificence of Seven Swans that initially drew me in, but after seeing his performance at Beacon Theatre last fall, I was a convert. I drank the neon-colored, glow-in-the-dark Kool-aid, and I do not regret it.

Before Sufjan and his 14+ band mates claimed the Prospect Park Bandshell stage last night (8/3), the one-man glam artist Diamond Rings (John O'Regan) took his turn. Like Sufjan, O'Regan's show is just as much about his attitude and aesthetic as it is about his music. Dressed in a glittering silver crown and eye make-up reminiscent of Ziggy Stardust, O'Reagan helped pump up the crowd with his upbeat synthesis of samples, drum machine beats, and live guitar/keys.

Though the rain ceased a bit during Diamond Ring's set, by the time Sufjan and his band began to play, it had begun to steadily fall once again. But in a movement of crowd solidarity, umbrellas disappeared one by one as people traded in comfort for better sightlines.

As if in an effort to ease old fans into the post-apocalyptic landscape of glow-in-the-dark electrical tape, Sufjan Stevens kicked off his second Celebrate Brooklyn show not with a new song, but with "Seven Swans" (as he did the night before). Of course, it wasn't long before the nine-minute song began to get raucous.

And in what was just the first of many times throughout the evening, Sufjan slipped into the role of spiritual guide, sage, and motivational speaker. "Oh you are fierce warriors," he said, surveying the sopping magnitude before him, "You have the patience and fortitude and strength."

Sufjan followed the more mellow opening number with a string of songs from The Age of Adz, breaking up the new material only slightly with "Enchanting Ghosts" from last year's over-shadowed but excellent All Delighted People EP. Like last fall's show at Beacon Theatre, the scene was ridiculous. Psychedelic projections, wild costumes (including massive white wings for "Seven Swans"), and the carefully choreographed moves of Jessica Dessner (the sister of Bryce and Aaron of The National) provided abundant visual stimulation.

"I'd like to apologize for being so melodramatic, but I knew you had the heart and strength and soul to take it," Sufjan said as if anticipating a backlash. "So if you're feeling a little bit wet and disenchanted, I encourage you to move your butt."

At times Stevens comes across as a parody of himself and a bit of a megalomaniac, teetering on the edge of sanity... and maybe he is, or maybe he's just channeling the eccentricities of others.

Toward the middle of his set, Stevens explained that the inspiration behind both the fantastical scene on stage and much of the music was an "amazing outsider artist" from Louisiana that he had started studying a few years ago named Royal Robertson. "I decided to use him as my muse [...] and I just really wanted to capture in the frenetic sense the sound of the universe. I wanted to sound my barbaric yawp above the rooftops. And so I threw away the acoustic guitar, and I threw away the banjo, and I decided to surround myself with noise. And then through Royal Robertson I was able to contextualize all this mess into a sort of beautiful pop pageant."

Sure, The Age of Adz is an indulgent, schizophrenic mess, but it's a marvelous mess--especially in a live setting. The neon colors, the flashing lights, the trilling flutes, and dancing girls--it all just works... if you open yourself up to it, that is. Luckily, with the steady rain and steep ticket price (which benefits the Celebrate Brooklyn series), this was no place for haters.

"Tonight we celebrate Brooklyn. We celebrate rain. We celebrate ourselves. We sing the body electric. Am I quoting too much Whitman? I celebrate myself. I sing myself [...] every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. These are your songs this is your show. Thanks for being here." And with that, he launched into "Impossible Soul."

By turns life affirming and heartbreaking, his sprawling opus was clearly the grand finale of the set. Stevens and friends pulled out all the stops--especially DM Stith (on backing vox and keys) and Cat Martino. Though she provided backing vocals for much of the show, Martino (who also sings with Sharon Van Etten) left her post at the back of the stage for a spirited, soulful duet with Stevens, proving that she is more than capable of being the leading lady. (Look for Martino's second solo album, Yr Not Alone this fall.)

After donning an elaborate golden headdress for the auto-tune portion of the song, Stevens re-emerged wearing a crazy balloon costume that would even be a bit much for George Clinton. Then out of nowhere, inflatable dancing men--the kind typically found in side-of-the-road displays--popped up, sending cheers throughout the soaked but ecstatic crowd. As if the scene on stage were not enough, large, clear beach balls began to circulate the crowd.

Stevens concluded the show with a three-song encore of older songs, including the simple, quiet love song "The Dress Looks Nice On You" and of course, "Chicago."

One thing's for sure. As Stevens sings himself in "I Want To Be Well," he's "not fucking around."

More pictures and setlist from the Wednesday show below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens played Prospect Park again, but this time w/ rain & Diamond Rings (pics & setlist)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Sufjan Stevens

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

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.

Sufjan celebrates Brooklyn again tonight (8/3) with Diamond Rings (instead of My Brightest Diamond). Tickets are still available. Don't forget to bring your neon.

More pictures, videos, and setlist from the first show below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens & My Brightest Diamond brought neon to Prospect Park (night 1 pics, video, setlist)"

by Andrew Frisicano

Seun Kuti @ Prospect Park (by maiga_69)
Seun

A sizable crowd braved the 100 degree heat Friday night for Seun Kuti and Egypt 80's Celebrate Brooklyn show. Faaji Agba, a collective of Nigerian musicians, opened the night with a set of laid-back traditional tunes. By comparison, the Egypt 80 set was anything but laid back. Steamy music for a sweaty evening in Prospect Park.

The band first took the stage without their frontman for a warm-up song to set the mood. Though it was Seun's name on the bill, Fela's presence was felt throughout the evening. Egypt 80 used to be Fela's backing band, and in the introduction, the bandleader referred to Seun as "the last son of our hero, Fela Anikulapo Kuti." From there, another Fela tribute followed: a 10-plus minute version of "Zombie," probably Fela's best known song. Seun played the opening lick and took a moment to glance at the audience for a hint of recognition, which came in cheers and applause. The song was an early highlight, and an example of Seun's highly theatrical performance style.

During "Zombie," the singer moved in circles, pantomiming the lyrics of the chorus by marching across the stage, saluting, etc. Later on, he took care to water the stage aka his weed garden on "The Good Leaf," and sprint from side-to-side on "You Can Run." His active presence made for good viewing, though his moves often put his back to the crowd.

While Seun was the visual focus, the band's sonics centered on the Afrobeat rhythm. In addition to the kit drummer, the group's percussionists included musicians on shekere (that's a dried gourd with beads on the outside), wood block and congas (or a set of similar drums). Those three performers stood up front, at times blocking out the other band members (like the backup singers, stuck way in the back).

After the opening Fela tune, it was all Seun originals, mostly off the new From Africa with Fury: Rise: "African Rulers," "Giant of Africa," "Rise," "Mr. Big Thief," and the finale, "You Can Run." The ending--no encore because of park curfew--seemed abrupt, with the last song's soaring horns and charging rhythms marking the show's peak to that point.

The band should get more time to stretch out at their more intimate show at SOB's tonight (Wednesday, July 27th). Tickets are still on sale. More tour dates and info HERE. Video of "Zombie" from the Brooklyn show below...

Continue reading "Seun Kuti played Celebrate Brooklyn, playing SOB's tonight"

photos by Tamara Porras

"Times New Viking and The Feelies were really really great at Prospect Park last night. Real Estate also played." - Kris Liakos

The Feelies @ the Prospect Park Bandshell
The Feelies
The Feelies

The Feelies braved the heat to play a free Celebrate Brooklyn show in Prospect Park on Saturday (7/23) with Times New Viking and Real Estate. Like Seun Kuti in the same space the night before, the band was definitely competing with people's air conditioning on Saturday night.

The Feelies rewarded those in attendance with two encores. The first was three songs and they covered Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and The Stooges. They then left and returned once more for a second encore which was the Crazy Rhythms single "Fa Ce-La."

Check out a video of The Feelies' Stooges cover, some backstage audio with Times New Viking and Real Estate, the partial setlist and more pictures from the show below...

Continue reading "The Feelies, Times New Viking & Real Estate played Celebrate Brooklyn (pics, video, partial setlist)"

Diamond Rings at Europa in June (more by Diana Wong)
Diamond Rings

As mentioned, My Brightest Diamond opens the first (8/2) of two Sufjan Steven shows at Prospect Park in August. Historically, this is an excellent match-up and her set should suit the show perfectly. Unfortunately, it is sold out. Sufjan's second show (8/3) now has an opener too though, and the addition suits Sufjan's new neon coated electronica (and diamond fetish) pretty well. It's Diamond Rings. Tickets for that show are still available, and we have a pair you can win. Details below.

The website "After Elton" asked Diamond Rings aka John O to describe his fanbase. This is what he said:

"It's really diverse. Short of bugging your own friends to come out and see you, after that it's out of my hands by and large who comes to my show. I can only make the music I want to make, and present the image that I feel represents me and hope that the right people get it. Not that there's wrong people. People who come to my shows are all over the place. Kids in high school, 20 something downtown folks like me, people my parents' age, which is really cool. It's all over the place. I'm trying to reach as many people as I can. I want to try and make the music and put on the kind of show that allows anyone to feel like they can come and express themselves and be themselves and be safe and have fun. I would be really worried if I had a demographic niche and everyone were the same that comes to my show."
Diamond Rings will return in October during their tour with Twin Shadow. Updated dates, contest details, and the song "Give It Up" which features vocals by Austra's Katie Stelmanis, below...

Continue reading "Diamond Rings opening for Sufjan (win tix) --- updated dates"