Entries tagged with: The Bell House

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words by Rachel Kowal, photo by Cienna Wills

Atlas Sound

Ornate blue and white paper snowflakes dangled from the ceiling of the Bell House on Saturday night (12/11), announcing the unofficial onset of winter and appropriately setting the stage for the sparse, introspective music of Atlas Sound. Following Lyonnais' early performance (which I inadvertently missed), Bradford Cox walked on stage alone and began with a bit of an awkward intro. "How you doing? Can you guys hear this?" He took a seat on the stool. "Oh, it's soft," he admitted with surprise. He hadn't even begun to play, but he already held the audience's full attention. With a harmonica strapped around his neck and a guitar in his lap, Cox kicked off his show with a string of newer songs, beginning with the excellent "Terrarium."

After a few songs, Cox addressed the crowd, his voice comically laden with reverb. "It's great to be here," he began. "I figure [he reached to turn off the effect] I figure I came here in the winter last time and played and had such a good time. Why not repeat the experience? I really like this place a lot. The people are awesome, and I really like the sound. And I think I'm going to come here every year. In the wintertime.... like a Christmas tradition... or Hanukkah tradition...or Kwanzaa - whatever it is you choose. A holiday tradition. What do you think?" The crowd cheered enthusiastically in response.

Though Cox played a few songs from his studio recordings (like "Shelia" and a toned down version of "Walkabout"), much of his set contained songs he self-released on his website in recent weeks. "I hope some of you have heard these," Cox announced mid set. "I got off tour with Deerhunter, and I went home and didn't have anything to do. I started feeling pretty wild. Like cabin fever, you know? I watched two seasons of Law and Order: Criminal Intent in like 52 hours, and I wasn't returning phone calls. It was dark. So I got out my little recording machine and made some recordings and then I decided to play them."

As per usual, the lyrics in Cox's new repertoire were often on the bleak side, making them well-suited for the winter show format. But to counteract the foreboding sense of gloom that pervaded his lyrics, Cox warmly interacted with the cordial, sold-out audience throughout the evening.

After capping off his set with a few longer, more meandering songs, Cox thanked the crowd and announced that there was another event scheduled, so he had to wrap up his set. As he walked off stage, the lights to the venue came back on, but it wasn't enough to deter the crowd from cheering for an encore. Cox soon returned with a big grin plastered on his face.

"I'll remember this. That was a nice feeling. I really didn't think I'd have time, then they told me to come back." He fumbled around for a moment, trying to figure out what to play. "Would anyone be mad if I played 'The Screens'? You guys are actually making me nervous. You're so nice." "You're nicer!" came a gruff male voice in response. Cox began to play the harmonica, then stopped abruptly to shake the spit from it. "Let's see if I can't fuck this up."

Despite his low estimation of his talent (or perhaps because of it?), his brief encore was the perfect end to the evening, and I eagerly await next year's winter show, as promised.

Atlas Sound also played Maxwell's in Hoboken one night earlier. The approximate setlist from The Bell House and a video from the show, below...

Continue reading "Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound) played his (annual?) show @ The Bell House (and one at Maxwell's)"

words & photos by David Andrako

Daniel Kitson / Jim Gaffigan
Daniel Kitson
Jim Gaffigan

The 2nd night of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival (read about the first here) featured two shows: "Montreal Callbacks" and a super sized "Invite Them Up."

The first show of the evening was held at Union Hall and was billed as "Montreal Callbacks" - a reference to the Montreal Comedy Festival. Kurt Braunohler began the show with a brief set before he assumed the role of host for the evening. The night featured young stand-ups many of whom can be found performing weekly at clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Mike Lawrence, Greg Johnson, Max Silvestri, Andrea Rosen, Ken Reid, Dan St. Germain and Hannibal Buress.

Highlights of the show included Ken Reid's set, which featured stories of his "white trash" childhood growing up in Massachusetts, Dan St. Germain's self depreciating tales of living in Brooklyn and Andrea Rosen recounting awkward encounters with celebrities and long lost friends. I caught the first few minutes of always great Hannibal Buress's set before heading off to The Bell House for the second show of the night.

Invite Them Up, the much beloved weekly comedy show that Eugene was involved with from 2005-2008 returned for a sold out performance at The Bell House. The show was again hosted by Bobby Tisdale, and featured performances by ITU co-host (and the host of the night) Eugene Mirman, A.D. Miles, , Maeve Higgins, Morgan Murphy, Reggie Watts, Daniel Kitson and special guest, Jim Gaffigan.

Jim Gaffigan, who headlines SIX shows at the Best Buy (formerly Nokia) Theater in December, was greeted with some of the loudest cheers of the evening and the fact that the comics from the earlier show had made their way down to The Bell House to watch his set from the back of the room speaks to his status as a massively respected comedian. His unannounced appearance strengthened an already packed show.

Daniel Kitson, the British stand-up and storyteller, ended the show with an hour long set that featured some impressive crowd work and allowed him to display his razor sharp commentary and lightning fast wit. After admitting that he "didn't have the professionalism to be a middle act," Kitson launched into quizzing audience members on their names and occupations only to later weave them all together in a freestyle rant comparing audience members to each other. In addition to his biting commentary, he wasn't afraid to display his vulnerability explaining that, "I'm quite lonely and I live alone. This is my chance to chat." He also addressed his stutter, which was apparent during his performance. At the age of 33, his stand-up act is impressive and made even more impressive by the fact that Kitson has turned down most television work in the US and Britain. He has performed both story shows and stand-up at the past eleven Edinburgh Fringe Festivals.

The 2010 Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival concludes Sunday night. Read about Thursday night HERE. More pictures from Friday below...

Continue reading "Jim Gaffigan showed up & Daniel Kitson was there at night 2 of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Fest (pics & review) "

words & photos by David Andrako

"I will erase all of the fun that you've had tonight. You didn't pay to see me. I should do 40 minutes of broken jokes." Surprise headliner Louis CK

Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival
Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival

The first night of the 3rd Annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival was billed as "An Evening of Comedy from 1986" and featured sets from Emo Phillips, Tony V, Larry Murphy, Ron Lynch and Jon Glaser. As mentioned above, Louis CK was the unannounced headliner and he worked out some new material in a 45 minute plus set. Eugene Mirman acted as emcee, dj and Teddy Ruxpin operator.

During the 10 minute walk from my apartment to The Bell House I surveyed the damage caused by the fast moving storms that tore through Brooklyn and Queens several hours before the show began. Downed trees, crushed cars and closed streets were rampant as residents were returning home to a neighborhood that was affected by one of the most powerful storms in recent history.

Eugene Mirman kicked off the evening with a 3D film that he made, offered the audience duck (which he'd ordered from a local Chinese restaurant) and directed everyone towards the merch tables which featured everything from festival posters to personal items that Eugene brought from his apartment and had priced "a little high, so that no one would buy them." Tony V, a Boston comedian whom Eugene admired as a young comedian, followed with a tight set that set the mood for the evening. Larry Murphy, another Boston comedian best know for his work on Adult Swim's "Delocated" and "Assy Mcgee", performed as "Sandy Gorbin" the world's greatest impressionist.

Ron Lynch, yet another Boston comic and one who was a working comedian in 1986 turned in a varied set that featured jokes from his 1986 set, slight of hand magic and the playing of Louis CK's 1986 audition tape that Louie recorded in an attempt to be booked at Ron's comedy club. Louie interrupted Ron's set and chastised him for playing the tape and retreated backstage. Dr. Attitude aka Jon Glaser (aka the creator of Delocated) appeared on stage in doctor's scrubs with FUCK YOU spelled out in electrical tape and Van Halen's "Panama" as his intro song. Glaser's attitude heavy set ended with him mocking the audience and interrupting Eugene as he introduced Emo Phillips, the much beloved comedian. Emo, making his first appearance at the festival, was a ball of manic energy that worked his way through topics including religion, greeting cards and marriage. His 20-minute set was punctuated by biting social commentary mixed in with clever wordplay and a stage presence that could best be described as elastic.

Louis CK, one of the most respected working stand-ups today, closed the show with a set of new material that was both familiar and fresh. Unafraid to attack the audience Louie pointed out that "You all hate everything real. You're a bunch of meta motherfuckers" as he worked through material as varied as the origins of the Roman calendar and back to school clothes shopping with his daughters.

The Festival continues through Sunday, the 19th with 8 additional shows at The Bell House, The Rock Shop and Union Hall. Some shows are sold out, but others still have limited tickets available.

More pictures from last night, below...

Continue reading "Louis CK showed up & it was 1986 again at night 1 of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Fest (pics & review ) "

Ted Leo

Still no word on the impending Citizen's Arrest reunion, but you can officially nix a Brutalist Bricks broadway production. A new video of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists in training for the great white way (aka his video of "Bottled In Cork" featuring Paul F. Tompkins, John Hodgman, and others including some of you) is below - BBG.

Continue reading "new comedian-filled Ted Leo video (is the big reveal)"

by Bill Pearis

Mark Burgess @ the Bell House
Mark Burgess

The two-day Big Takeover 30th Anniversary concluded Saturday (7/31) with a performance from Mark Burgess. The former Chameleons front man played Bell House about a year ago, a thrown-together show with an ad-hoc band that hadn't actually practiced together. This time, however, Burgess came prepared and the five piece band ripped through an hour-long set of Chameleons classics. The band kind of floored the Bell House crowd with just how great they were.

Mark Burgess' voice still sounds amazing and he remains a commanding performer, a genuine rock star who knows how to work the stage. The band, which included Frank Deserto of Revel Hotel and Blacklist drummer Glenn Maryansky, had the songs down for the most part and guitarists Andru Aesthetik and Justin Lomery did an amazing job recreating Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding's distinctive guitar interplay. Full setlist below but we got "Swamp Thing," "Up the Down Escalator" (live video below), "Monkeyland," "Soul in Isolation," "In Shreds," "Nostalgia," and a roaring cover of Alternative TV's "Splitting in Two." I sometimes forget what a huge fan of the Chameleons I am but I was in full geek-out mode Saturday night.

If you missed it, Mark Burgess and band is playing again tonight, Wednesday (8/4) at the Wierd party at Home Sweet Home where smoke machines (maybe the one thing missing from the Bell House show) will be in full-effect ($10 at the door, 10pm doors, band at midnight). This line-up also play Baltimore and Philly, and will then hit the West Coast in September. All dates are below.

Continue reading "Mark Burgess played Big Takeover's Anniversary, playing more dates (Home Sweet Home tonight)"

bocce

As mentioned back in 2005, Todd Abramson, is "a veteran music booking agent and part owner of the legendary Maxwell's rock club in Hoboken." More recently, Todd, who sometimes puts a show at the Landmark Loew's Theatre in Jersey City, was also booking shows at Southpaw in Park Slope. He won't be booking shows at Southpaw anymore though. Instead, Todd has taken the position of head booker at the Bell House in the same neighborhood. He'll also be booking some shows at Union Hall, but not as their head booker.

Todd (who will continue to book Maxwell's too) took over for Skippy who recently left the Bell House & Union Hall, and has since found a home as the booker for The Rock Shop.

The Mugs, a band who Skippy especially has supported through the years, play their final show at The Bell House tonight (7/23).

The Dirty Glamour play The Rock Shop tonight.

Southpaw is hosting The 2010 Coney Island Cockabilly Roadshow (Real Live Sideshow! Real Live Burlesque! Real Live Rock and Roll!!).

Union Hall has: "SIKELIANOS & SIKELIANOS / MY GAY BANJO / THE LESBIAN DORKESTRA / KAREN AND THE SORROWS / DJ LIL RAY "

photos by Andrew St. Clair

Dan Bejar on stage with The New Pornographers
The New Pornographers

One night after they headlined Terminal 5, The New Pornographers played a smaller show at The Bell House in Brooklyn with their tour-mates The Dutchess and the Duke (the Dodos sat the Brooklyn show out). More pictures and both setlists below...

Continue reading "The New Pornographers & The Dutchess & The Duke @ the Bell House in Brooklyn - pics & setlists"

UPDATED VIDEO SHOOT INVITE: "We need YOU to play a theater-goer or punk rocker in the new music video for Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, directed by Tom Scharpling. Wear your finest theater-going or punk-rocking attire and come to The Bell House in Brooklyn by 4pm on Thursday, June 17th. You'll be done and ready to head home (or to Ted's in-store at Generation Records) by 7pm." [RSVP]

Skippy @ the Bell House (more by Jonny Leather)
The Bell House

As you may have heard, Jack "Skippy" McFadden has parted ways, presumably not on great terms, with the Brooklyn venues he booked: Union Hall and The Bell House. Skippy essentially was the man behind the music at Union Hall. He then went on to help build the Bell House from scratch, giving him a "small" and "big" venue to play with for both local and touring bands, comedians, burlesque and other local events. He's even part owner of the Bell House.

It was his eclectic taste and encyclopedic knowledge of indie rock that helped him compete in a Bowery/AEG/LiveNation world. His accomplishments include Peter Bjorn & John's first NYC show in the basement at Union Hall, a large amount of money raised for Haiti at the Bell House and too many shows to count over the past four years (by the likes of Vampire Weekend, Yeasayer, Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, Andrew Bird, Nada Surf, The Thermals, The National, Charlotte Gainsbourg and many more). His upcoming shows include two nights of Unrest.

He won't say much at the moment, presumably for legal reasons, but he would tell me that he's "grateful for the opportunity and some really wonderful times" and that it'll be one of his "life's biggest regrets that it didn't work out given the amount of effort I made. At both venues." Good luck Skippy.

What the future holds for those venues is unclear, but it seems some shows are already jumping ship to Littlefield and elsewhere. Stay tuned for more details.

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Tuscadero - Hollywood Handsome (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: True Love Always - Modesto (MP3)

Unrest

If you didn't act quick enough to get tickets to the Unrest show at Bell House on July 9 (tickets sold out in an incredible two days), they've added a second Bell House date on Monday, July 5 and tickets are already on sale. But if you're a fan of Teenbeat (Teen Beat? Teen-Beat? They've changed the spelling more than once), whose 26th Anniversary is the reason for this tour, you're probably going to want to go to both, as the July 5th show -- which will be the first show of the tour -- features a completely different, and equally awesome, line-up of openers: Tuscadero, True Love Always and Jonny Cohen.

Tuscadero were one of TeenBeat's most loved bands, with '70s pop culture nostalgia lyrics set to ridiculously catchy punky pop. Their 1994 full length debut, The Pink Album, is a '90s inde rock classic which got remixed and reissued two years later when the band signed to Elektra. Check out "Hollywood Handsome" above. Tuscadero broke up in 1999 and haven't played since the 2005 the Teen Beet 20th Anniversary in Washington D.C. so this is a real treat.

True Love Always play bossanova-inspired indie pop and have been together, off and on, since 1995. Check out "Modesto" above. Jonny Cohen, who will play MC at many of the TeenBeat 26 shows has "been associated with Teen-Beat for over twenty years. He sings both humorous and thoughtful acapella songs. Not to be missed!"

The July 9 Bell House show features Versus, The Rondelles, Bossanova, and Cotton Candy (who play Friday as part of NYC Popfest). Below are a couple '90s-era performance videos of Tuscadero, plus all TeenBeat 26 tour dates.

Continue reading "Unrest & even more TeenBeat bands add another NYC show"

Tinariwen @ Highline Ballroom (more by Benjamin Lozovsky)
Tinariwen

Lady Gaga is playing Madison Square Garden on July 6th, 7th, and 9th, and now February 21st too. Tickets for the 2011 one go on Citi presale at 10am (you can try code 546616).

Tinariwen will return to the Bell House in June (they played there in February) for a show (6/27) the day after they play Summerstage (6/26) . Tickets are on sale.

Tickets are on sale for tonight's Ui (featuring Sasha Frere-Jones) show at the Bell House.

Tickets are on sale for the Eli "Paperboy" Reed show at the Bell House.

Tickets are on sale for the Big Takeover 30th Anniversary shows at the Bell House.

Tickets are on sale for the New Model Army shows at the Bell House.

Tickets are on sale for the Van Dyke Parks show at the Bell House.

Tickets are on sale for the two rescheduled Chapterhouse/Ulrich Schnauss shows at the Bell House.

Chapterhouse

UK shoegazers Chapterhouse have rescheduled a pair of Brooklyn shows after canceling their early May dates because of the volcanic ash that grounded European flights. The new shows for the reformed band will happen on October 3rd and 4th at The Bell House. Tickets are on sale (and tickets for the old dates will be honored for their corresponding night). I assume that all the cancelled dates will happen around then too (especially since a San Francisco one is also showing on Ticketweb with an October 9th date next to it).

Ulrich Schnauss opens both NYC dates, with Mahogany (who have a Rooftop Films show coming up) also on the first and Soundpool on the second.

The band successfully played the UK and Japan in March and April. Videos from those shows are below...

Continue reading "Chapterhouse reschedules NYC & other shows (on sale now) "

by Bill Pearis

Big TakeoverBig Takeover

One of NYC most esteemed musical institutions, fanzine-gone-legit The Big Takeover turns 30 this year, and is having a two-day birthday party in Brooklyn at the Bell House on July 30-31. Founder and editor Jack Rabid has put together quite a line-up for this 30th Anniversary Festival, including rare NYC performances from Visqueen, For Against (!), a reformed Flower, Chameleons singer Mark Burgess, onetime Mutton Birds frontman Don McGlashan, Libertines U.S. and Jack's own band Springhouse.

Tickets are $25 for individual days (Friday 7/30 and Saturday 7/31)  or you can buy a 2-day pass for $40. Here's the full rundown:

Continue reading "Big Takeover celebrating 30 years @ The Bell House (lineup)"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Low Anthem

In a bold move for a live performance, The Low Anthem performed several numbers huddled around one microphone at the center of the stage. As the crowd grew quiet Miller's guitar and voice would begin, drenched in reverb, to take over. Supported perfectly by his bandmates, the result was stunning. To say the very least, they are incredibly accurate as vocalists, and no one voice takes over, but all work in harmony with each other. The addition of a fourth member last year allowed the group to add some excellent touches to their live repertoire. Most notably, the saw and a fiddle made appearances during these low-key portions of the set. And judging by the new material on display here, the four-piece is going to be something to talk about for the rest of the year.

Timber Timbre were the perfect pairing here. The trio opened the night with a set of acoustic and ambient bliss. The collection of songs was minimal while sounding huge. Sparing, but well placed, vocals from Taylor Kirk accompanied a violin, a lapsteel guitar, and Kirk's driving guitar. [Paper Trail Music]

The Low Anthem and Timber Timbre played NYC shows on April 14th and 16th as part of their tour together. The first of those was at Bowery Ballroom (opened by the Woes and described by the words above) and the second was at the Bell House (which is where the picture here are from).

The Low Anthem's upcoming dates include a set the Newport Folk Festival on July 31st and a July 29th show at Concerts in the Studio in Freehold, New Jersey (the "house shows" where Alejandro Escovedo just played earlier this month, and John Doe & Exene Cervenka from X are playing on May 1st).

More pictures from the Bell House are below...

Continue reading "The Low Anthem & Timber Timbre @ the Bell House (pics)"

words & photos by Kurt Christensen, additional photos by David Andrako

Nada Surf

Nada Surf played the 2nd night of 3 full album shows at The Bell House on Friday night. On deck for the evening was "The Weight Is A Gift" followed by a set of covers and songs from their other albums.

John Roderick of The Long Winters opened the show. He definitely seemed to have the crowd more engaged than the opening set by Sondre Lerche the night before. Some were familiar with his music, but Roderick won over the rest of the crowd with his great in-between song banter. His humor was also on sale at the merch table, where he was selling a book of material culled from his twitter feed (@Johnroderick). Nada Surf joined him for the final song of his set.

Perhaps Matthew Caws was getting over his cold, or perhaps the Bell House provided a better atmosphere for the show, but Nada Surf seemed to have even more energy than they did the night before at Bowery Ballroom. Joined by John Roderick on background vocals, and Doug Gillard on guitar (also there the night before), as well as a rotating list of guests on keys, the band got the crowd bouncing for two long sets. During "Blankest Year" everyone shouted along, and a girl up front jumped on stage in her bra, waving her shirt before diving back into the crowd. That got the crowd going even more.

The second set, like the previous night, was a mix of old favorites and covers from their new all covers album. several songs were played again including Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence" and Bill Fox's "Electrocution". Oddly, they included no songs from "Let Go" (the album featured the night before at Bowery) despite shouts for songs from that album from the crowd. Nada Surf closed the show in the same fashion as the night before, with a cover of "I Fought The Law", this time joined by John Roderick, which brought it to another level.

They concluded their 3-night run at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday. At that show they performed "Lucky". Their tour next brings them to Toronto, but NYC is the only place they were scheduled to play full albums. More pictures from Friday with the setlist, below...

Continue reading "Nada Surf completed their 3 night run of NYC album shows - pics from the Bell House (where a shirtless girl ran on stage)"

photos by Bao Nguyen

Amazing I spent $20 to see one of my favorite bands play a club show to debut material for their upcoming album. Played for about One Hour and Forty minutes. All other bands please take note. -Anon 6:05

The National

The National closed their two-show engagement at the Bell House with a show Friday night (3/12). Like night one, the band mixed songs off their forthcoming LP, High Violet, with older material. According to the set list below, they added "Brainy," "Mistaken for Strangers" and "All The Wine" for their second night (and cut "Start a War").

Their upcoming shows include an June 16th show at Radio City Music Hall, and one in Prospect Park in July. Their next scheduled show happens March 28th in Knoxville, TN's Big Ears Fest.

More pictures and a set list from Friday's show are below...

Continue reading "The National @ the Bell House (night 2) - pics & setlist"

Cheeseburger

Brooklyn party-rock band Cheeseburger will be playing a show at the Bell House on Saturday, March 13th (after the venue hosts tough-act-to-follow The National for two nights). Opening the show will be Valley Lodge (a band that features writer/comedian Dave Hill) and a special set from another writer/comedian, Jon Glaser. Tickets are on sale.

Cheeseburger, who have their second album on the way, recently played Brooklyn Bowl on February 13th with Diamond Nights. At the show, singer Joe Bradley was absent (to be with his newborn baby), and the band was led by a series of guest vocalists who included Jon Glaser, Jason Green of Violent Bullshit, Diamond Nights' Morgan Phalen, and Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington and Andy Reuland. A video of Tim Harrington (on a ladder) fronting the band is below.

Total that makes at least three times Jon Glaser and Cheseburger have shared a stage. The other time I'm thinking about was that Adult Swim show at Santos over the summer.

Cheeseburger will also be in Austin for SXSW, and one of their shows will be the BrooklynVegan/Annie from Panache Day Party at Spider House on Thursday, March 18th along with a ton of bands that including Tyvek, Thee Oh Sees, Jim Jones Revue, Everybody Was In the French Resistance Now and DM Stith (to just name a few).

Dave Hill performs his "Big in Japan" one-man show at UCB Theatre in NYC this Thursday, March 11th. Tickets are on sale. He'll also be performing as "The Dave Hill Explosion" at the same venue on March 25th. Tickets for that are up too.

A video and tour dates are below...

Continue reading "Cheeseburger playing SXSW & Brooklyn w/ Jon Glaser & Valley Lodge (featuring Dave Hill who has other shows too)"

The National recording the new record...
The National

The National's new record will be called High Violet, and it'll come out May 11th on 4AD. Way sooner than that, the band is heavily rumored to be playing two last minute surprise shows in Brooklyn. The dates are Thursday (3/11) and Friday (3/12) at the Bell House. Tickets may even go on sale today at noon.

The National previously announced a show at Prospect Park in July with Beach House opening and a show at Radio City Music Hall in June. Before that, the band will be playing scattered shows around the country (and in Europe). Those include Big Ears Fest at the end of March, Sasquatch in May and Bonnaroo in June. All tour dates and video from their SummerStage show back in August of 2008 are below...

Continue reading "The National name new album, playing 2 shows at The Bell House this week? (and other tour dates) "

photos by Ryan Muir

"Chatroulette @ Union Hall, Brklyn. I laughed, I cringed, I screamed. I witnessed THE pinnacle moment of Eugene Mirman's career. Amazing!" - kotter

Kristen Schaal as a smoking whoopie cushion...
Kristen Schaal

Heeb Mag:What do you love most about living in New York? And your neighborhood in particular?

Eugene Mirman: One thing I love most about living New York is that you can walk out of your apartment at any time of day, go into almost any type of restaurant, point at someone and fuck them in the bathroom with no questions asked. It's so cool how up for anything New Yorkers are.
Eugene Mirman and Friends performed comedy (and went on Chatroulette) at the Bell House on Saturday, February 27th as part of the Friends of Celebrate Brooklyn membership campaign. The 'Friends' included Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Showalter, Marc Maron and Kristen Schaal.

Eugene pulled up Chatroulette again Tuesday night at Union Hall which is where his next Tearing the Veil of Maya show (with friends, again) is scheduled for this Sunday, March 7th.

More pictures from the Bell House are below...

Continue reading "Eugene Mirman & friends played the Bell House (and with Chatroulette) (pics)"

words by BBG, photos by Tod Seelie

Agnostic Front

World War 3 I tell ya. Agnostic Front played all of their seminal Victim in Pain with moments of United Blood and even "Gotta Go" for the new-ish schoolers at Bell House on Friday (2/26). Snowstorm be damned, it was a packed house, with a decent crowd for Ultraviolence by the time I arrived at the venue (missed Sexual Suicide), although for my money I wish I had gotten there after the following band, Urban Waste whose live show I couldn't get into despite liking their recorded output.

One of the risks you run by being an older band in a younger-skewing genre (punk, hardcore, hip hop, etc) is coming off like a nostalgia act. I have seen this happen with countless bands who don't have the energy to keep up with either the songs or the crowd (see previously mentioned bands). But for every rule there is an exception. Cro-Mags. The Jesus Lizard. De La Soul. Add Antidote and Agnostic Front to that list.

Antidote hit the stage a shade after 11PM and ripped it, playing songs from their great Thou Shalt Not Kill, as well as covers by Minor Threat ("I Don't Wanna Hear It", Filler") and Black Flag ("Rise Above"). Stage energy was met with equal crowd energy. The original matieral was furious, and covers breathed new life into those hardcore classics. Any other night, I would have been content with Antidote as a headliner.

I wish I had enough fingers and toes to count the number of times that guitarist Vinnie Stigma yelled "This is Hardcore!" during Agnostic Front's set. The vets blasted through a short, but sweet set of material that covered their early years, joined by a chorus of AF fans and Sab Grey of the legendary Iron Cross, who helped with AF's cover of "Crucified". As advertised, Stigma and vocalist Roger Miret were joined on stage by drummer Dave Jones (also Mental Abuse) and Rob Kabula for their set of Victim In Pain material, with bassist Adam Moochie and Dave Jones sitting in for the departed Raybeez for the United Blood material. Killer show, though I wish I wasnt showered in beer as much as I was that night, and I am sure Miret and some stage divers agree; too many people to count slipped and fell on that slippery stage.

Some video of Antidote and Agnostic Front, as well as a ton of pics are below...

Continue reading "Agnostic Front, Antidote, Ultraviolence & Urban Waste @ The Bell House in Brooklyn - pics & video "

words & photos by Benjamin Lozovsky

Field Music
Field Music

The members of Field Music really wanted to play a gig in the US; so much in fact, that they had a one-off show at The Bell House Saturday (1/30), flying in early that morning and returning to England shortly after their performance. It was more than enough time to make their mark.

The date came after the band canceled performances in New York City and Chicago late in 2009 due to illness, and this occasion was far from ideal circumstances as well. But even with jetlag, horse throats and only a handful of rehearsals together as a new line up under their belts, Field Music played with inspiration and intrepid musical awareness.

Founding member Peter Brewis wasn't sure after the show whether the band sounded fully meshed yet, but as he and brother David calmly swapped out handling guitars and drums throughout then night, they demonstrated their confidence as leaders of a rapidly congealing group. New bassist Ian Black and multi-instrumentalist Kev Dosdale followed the Brewis' assured approach as the group tackled many new numbers from the band's revelatory, soon-to-be-released new album, Field Music (Measure). Powerful songs like "All You Ever Need To Say," and "Clear Water" added darkness and grit to the intelligence and grace that categorized their previous output. "I think we were listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin," said Peter, speaking of the recording of Field Music (Measure).

The Zeppelin flavor was most evident in the sparse but loudly punctuated drumming that frames many of their new creations. But other harder-edged influences abounded, sitting well with the more artsy inspiration they take from bands like Television and Steely Dan. Basically they've added some balls to their brainy youthfulness.

Speaking of youth, openers The Mugs and The Spinto Band were also at their most juvenile this night, to the enjoyment of the crowd. They both cater in a bouncy kind of indie hodge-podge, and there was a lot of bouncing by the two bands during their respective sets. The Mugs brought out a bullhorn for one number, and The Spinto Band brandished kazoos and clanged lots of cowbell. There were good ideas brought forth by both, and each of the two groups played with enough heart to somewhat mitigate their poorly defined musical identities and moments of lackluster songwriting.

It's not easy to balance the adolescent hopefulness of such spirited music with the ability to act well above your age. Field Music seems to have just the right measure of both.

Field Music return in March while on tour with The Clientele. More pictures from the Bell House with Field Music's setlist, below...

Continue reading "Field Music, Spinto Band & The Mugs @ the Bell House - pics "

photos by Jonny Leather

'@Joslynm congrats on your pop culture trivia expertise!' - Pat Kiernan

Pat Kiernan
Bell House Haiti Benefit

Jimmy Fallon
Bell House Haiti Benefit

"Without being too cheesy, I have to say there was a really beautiful spirit at last night's concert. The venue was sold out and aside from the silent auction, Bell House raised $35,000.00 for Save the Children and Partners in Health. I missed the first hour or so because I had to stop by my place, but got there in time to see Jimmy Fallon do a Neil Young impression. Then Freelance Whales played. You all should check them out. They're getting crazy attention right now and they are based out of Queens. Now that's special! Anyway, it was good times all around. Cat Power and Pavement records and CDs were given away for trivia knowledge, Ted Leo who also has shows in town, was adorable and even though Cold War Kids pulled out of the show, the Walkmen did an amazing job closing the show." [Petunia Eats]
The long show ran from 7pm-2am with, as pointed out, the Walkmen closing out the night. Actress Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) and her band The Leisure Class were a surprise guest that Ryan Muir said were "blowing me away. Now they are covering St Vincent. 'Marry Me'". (St. Vincent herself played covers at the Haiti benefit that happened at Music Hall on Saturday). NY1's Pat Kiernan (possibly who I wanted to see the most on the bill) hosted trivia. Eugene Mirman introduced him as the guy you see every morning on TV if you don't have Fios.

All artists, including Here We Go Magic, played short sets. If you want to see more of them (HWGM), they play as a headliner at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday.

More pictures and some videos (by Tim Duffy of Pop Tarts Suck Toasted) from the Bell House (in alphabetical order), below...

Continue reading "Jimmy Fallon, Pat Kiernan, Ted Leo, Walkmen, the Wrens & others played a Haiti benefit @ the Bell House - pics & video "

photos by Jonny Leather

beach house

"This is kind of like a birthday party," said Victoria Legrend, one half the Baltimore duo Beach House, before a sold-out crowd at the Bell House in Brooklyn Tuesday night (Jan. 26). "A fascist birthday party."

The delicate interplay between Legrend, Scally and the added live drummer was pronounced in the quaint, 350-capacity venue, allowing Beach House to flesh out the subtlety of its arrangements for a room hanging on to every squiggling guitar line and breathy "oh-oh" harmony. Legrend's deep, Kate Bush-style vocals had a powerful, hypnotizing effect, with songs like "Norway" and "Silver Soul" showcasing the diversity of her range.

The set played heavily on songs from the new effort, but songs like "Heart of Chambers" and the slow seduction of "Gila" from "Devotion" pleased attentive concertgoers yearning for the familiarity of those well-worn songs. That familiarity only to deepen with the release of "Teen Dream," which feels nostalgic, lonesome and beautiful all at once. Last night, Beach House allowed us into its intimate world, and it's a party we won't soon be forgetting.[Billboard]

Beach House celebrated the release of their new album, Teen Dream, with a show at the Bell House on Tuesday, January 26th. Jana Hunter opened.

Beach House tour Europe this February, then pick up with North American tour dates in March, April and May. On May 6th, they return to NYC with a Webster Hall show. That gig and others will be opened by Washed Out. Tickets are still on sale (but not for long?).

Bachelorette opens other dates on the tour.

More pictures and a video from the show are below...

Continue reading "Beach House played The Bell House - pics & video "

Haiti

A BENEFIT FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI
100% of the proceeds will be split between Save The Children and Partners In Health.

All performers will be playing abbreviated and stripped down sets. Scheduled to appear:
JIMMY FALLON
New York State Senator DIANE SAVINO
COLD WAR KIDS
TED LEO
THE WRENS
SONDRE LERCHE
EUGENE MIRMAN
AC NEWMAN of NEW PORNOGRAPHERS with RHETT MILLER of OLD 97s and NICOLE ATKINS as THE SEEKERS.

More performers and ticket information to be announced on Monday, January 18.

The above-described event will take place on Wednesday, January 27th @ 6pm at The Bell House in Brooklyn (cost = $50).

City Winery also has some fine benefit shows coming up.

Others are raising money for Haiti with vegan baked goods.