Tag Archives: Beastie Boys

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The Avalanches Throw a Dance Party at Music Hall of Williamsburg

June 14th, 2017

The Avalanches – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 13, 2017


Over the past 17 years, the Avalanches have carved out a strange and mysterious world for themselves. The Australian DJ collective appeared out of obscurity in 2000 with their classic album, Since I Left You, and it’s remained a gold standard in the world of sampling. The album brimmed with ideas in the same way as Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique or DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing—and it still sounds just as fresh today as it did upon its release. The band remained silent to their fans as the years went by and their legend only grew larger and larger. That all changed in 2016 with the release of their highly anticipated follow-up, Wildflower. It was well worth the wait. With the group’s core lineup now down to the two principal members, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi, Wildflower is packed with the same mosaic sample style and emphasis on old school drum samples that made Since I Left You such a cohesive masterpiece.

The Avalanches made their long-awaited return to New York City during Governors Ball a couple of weeks back, but decided to add a last-minute stop to Music Hall of Williamsburg last night to return the love. To no surprise, the show was sold out and the room was packed with eager fans not willing to miss out on seeing them. After all, who knows when the next Avalanches album might come out? The anticipation in the moments before they took the stage could be felt in the room like the heavy air outside. Everyone knew this was going to be special and, man, did they deliver. Di Blasi and Chater ran through the hits off of Since I Left You and Wildflower with the help of a dynamite band consisting of Paris Jeffree holding the groove on drums, singer Eliza Wolfgramm covering the hooks and MC Spank Rock taking care of the guest rap spots. They moved from song to song with an insane amount of proficiency that barely gave the audience time to settle down in between tracks. Di Blasi stuck to the electronic triggering of the songs with a huge smile plastered on his face for the entire show, and Chater mainly played guitar jumping up and down during each tune like the rhythm guitarist in a pop-punk band.

The joy coming from stage was infectious and the crowd gave it back tenfold as Music Hall was transformed into one massive dance party. Wolfgramm’s soulful support on the hooks was impeccable and even more impressive was how she danced around while wearing a neck brace for most of the show. It didn’t slow her down for a second and she led the crowd through a fantastic cover of the Clash’s classic “Guns of Brixton” while swinging a baseball bat over her head like a slow-moving helicopter blade. MC Spank Rock did the material justice as well as he easily covered the wide variety of guest rappers’ styles. He was even able to imitate Danny Brown’s verse on the Wildflower track “Frankie Sinatra,” which is no small feat. The biggest reaction of the night came from the Avalanches’ biggest hit, “Frontier Psychiatrist,” its patchwork samples and blasting operatic chorus sounding larger than life. The band played a two-song encore, ending on Since I Left You’s title track. It’s refrain “Since I left you/ I found the world so new” took on a new meaning as much has changed in the world since most of us had last seen the Avalanches in action, but the world seems a little better having them back. —Patrick King | @MrPatKing

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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See Middle Class Rut Play The Bowery Ballroom Tonight

March 17th, 2014

Singer-guitarist Zack Lopez and singer-drummer Sean Stockham had already been in another band by the time they formed the duo Middle Class Rut in 2006. They toured extensively, winning over fans with their high-octane live shows, and released several EPs before their debut full-length, No Name No Color (stream it below), arrived in 2010. Drowned in Sound called it an “impressive debut” and compared the band to Rage Against the Machine, Perry Farrell and Beastie Boys. On their follow-up, last year’s Pick Up Your Head (stream it below), the guys in Middle Class Rut (above, performing “No More” for Audio Tree TV) open up sonically and play more instruments than on their first album. “Although fans of the duo’s previous effort might need to adjust to the new tone,” said AllMusic, “one they get settled into this newer, more driven sound, they won’t want to turn back.” See them play The Bowery Ballroom tonight.

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Another Year Older and a Little Bit Bigger

October 8th, 2012

Flying Lotus – Terminal 5 – October 7, 2012


Take Flying Lotus beats out of headphones or tinny computer speakers and into a club and they become sometime else entirely. On recordings, Flying Lotus is the manufacturer behind chilled-out and jazzy shape-shifting beats. But played live in a jam-packed venue with the bass turned up so high that it’s felt in the knees, and you have an almost unfamiliar sound. It’s like comparing a wild tiger to one in the zoo—the setting changes the music in a fundamental way. Flying Lotus’s natural habitat is the club, where beats can roam free, bouncing off every corner of the venue and sweeping up an audience in the process.

It’s safe to say Flying Lotus was in his natural habitat last night at the sold-out Terminal 5. During the few breaks in the set, the crowd serenaded the L.A. producer, celebrating his 28th birthday, with several renditions of “Happy Birthday to You.” Set up behind a screen with mind-altering visuals, for a while all you could make out of Flying Lotus was a silhouette wearing a sequin-covered sweatshirt that reflected the colored projections back like a thousand laser pointers. Playing one song after another, he wove samples ranging from Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” to Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You” into his own beats. After a few songs, he stepped from behind the screen to greet the audience, and after a few more, he invited everyone in his entourage onstage for the night’s most successful rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”

Pop music moves pretty fast these days, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if a year from now Flying Lotus’s beats find their way into a Kanye West sample or something else equally mainstream. The same has happened with so many other producers carrying the banner for a whole new interpretation of club music. If it happens, everyone at last night’s show can say to jealous late adopters that they saw Fly Lo in New York City on his 28th birthday. The show certainly felt like the beginning of a big musician getting bigger, or in the very least, another year older. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com

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Music Legend Lee “Scratch” Perry Plays Music Hall on Sunday

September 21st, 2012

As one of the godfathers of Jamaican music, singer, songwriter, producer and mixer Lee “Scratch” Perry has played a huge role in bringing reggae and dub from the Caribbean to the rest of the world. In the early ’70s he built an influtential studio, the Black Ark, in his backyard and began producing for acts like Bob Marley and the Wailers. Over the years, Perry (above, doing “Exodus”) has put out an incredible amount of material under a variety of different names, but the flamboyantly dressed musician has always remained relevant, working with the Clash, getting a shout-out from the Beastie Boys and still getting out on the road at the age of 76. See this musical legend live and in person on Sunday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

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Better Late Than Never: A ’Roo with a View

July 10th, 2009

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Eddie Bruiser is a menace. As our RV neared Bonnaroo on Thursday afternoon, an already-sweaty Eddie incessantly urged me to ingest something I’d ordinarily otherwise never consider. (He claimed it was Aboriginal, but with its string of vowels and two sets of double g’s—one of them, strangely, silent—it was unpronounceable.) Sensing my reluctance, he said, “Come on, think of me as Pops Staples, and ‘I’ll Take You There.’” But despite my affinity for the Staple Singers’ soulful sounds, I was pretty sure blindly following Eddie’s lead would end disastrously, with me in a ditch or, worse, prison. And, yet, for some strange reason, like Alice before me, I decided to see what was down that rabbit hole. We didn’t sleep for days, but we sure did see a lot of music. —R. Zizmor

Photos courtesy of Chris Reddish