Iconic New Zealand band The Chills played their first NYC show in 20 years at Brooklyn's Littlefield, as part of the final day of the 2016 NYC Popfest (Sunday, May 22). Armed with a new band, Martin Phillipps genuinely sounded great with songs from last year's Silver Bullets fitting in perfectly next to Chills classics like "Pink Frost," "I Love My Leather Jacket" and "Heavenly Pop Hit." They encored with a cover of David Bowie b-side "Conversation Piece" which they made sound like a Chills song.
The next night (5/23) The Chills played WFMU Monty Hall in NJ, which was a longer set that the Popfest crowd got.
Earlier at the Popfest show, '80s-era Manchester band The Railway Children played their first U.S. show in more than 20 years, and songs like set-openers "Brighter" benefited from being stripped of dated '80s production. It was a more enjoyable set than I was expecting, to be honest.
Before that, two bands from the early '90s era of Sarah Records: Australia's Even As We Speak seemed particularly jazzed to be playing, starting their set in animal costumes and finishing with a cover of The Go-Betweens' "Right Here"; and UK's Secret Shine whose gentle brand of shoegaze still holds up.
Pictures of those four bands are in this post. The Sunday show also had the live debut of Lake Ruth, noisy indiepop acts and Witching Waves and Eureka, California.