Tag Archives: Ben Lovett

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Bear’s Den Headline The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow Night

July 30th, 2014

Thanks to their modern take on throwback folk—and their use of a banjo—Bear’s Den have garnered comparisons to Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers. And although they’ve only released a few singles and EPs, hitting the road in support of bands like Of Monsters and Men and Daughter, has already earned the young London three-piece—Andrew Davie (vocals and guitar), Joey Haynes (banjo and guitar) and Kev Jones (drums and Communion cofounder with Ben Lovett)—a growing reputation as a band not to miss. Following on the heels of last year’s Agape (stream it below), Bear’s Den (above, doing “Don’t Let the Sun Steal You Away” for Sideshow Alley TV) put out a second EP, Without/Within (stream it below), earlier this year. “The songs were in many ways our most personal yet and also our most ambitious sonically,” Davies told Rolling Stone. A proper full-length is due later this year, but on the heels of playing the esteemed Newport Folk Fest this past weekend, Bear’s Den headline The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow nightLittle Racer, a local four-piece, open the show

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Treetop Flyers Celebrate Album Release Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

June 25th, 2013

Friends Reid Morrison (vocals and guitar), Sam Beer (guitar and vocals), Tomer Danan (drums and vocals), Laurie Sherman (guitar) and Matthew Starritt (bass and vocals) were playing in different London bands—although Danan is the lone American among them—when they teamed up to form the folkie, Americana-tinged Treetop Flyers in 2009. That they play cool, roots-y music should come as no surprise considering Morrison cites My Morning Jacket, Jonathan Wilson and Matthew E. White as influences. As a live band, Treetop Flyers (above, playing “Things Will Change” for FaceCulture) burst onto the scene by winning the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition in 2011, putting them on the venerable festival’s main stage and setting them up to open for bands like the Lumineers. As for their recorded material, they put out a few singles and an EP on Communion Records (co-owned by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett) before switching over to Brooklyn’s Partisan Records for debut full-length, The Mountain Moves (stream it below), out today. Join in on the celebration when they celebrate its release tomorrow at Mercury Lounge.

 

 

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Mumford & Sons Soar in Brooklyn

February 13th, 2013

Mumford & Sons – Barclays Center – February 12, 2013

(Photo: Joe Papeo)

Mumford & Sons began to break in the United States with a run of shows during the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon, including a memorably half-full show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. How little we all knew then. A few months later they appeared on our TVs at the Grammy Awards. Last night, in their second grand return to the borough in as many weeks, this time on the heels of their Grammy win for Album of the Year, the four-piece Mumford & Sons, the band that launched a thousand banjos, took the stage at a sold-out Barclays Center. As the curtain whipped away, the band launched into “Babel,” a song that bears at least nominal reference to the moment in Biblical history when man was unified and spoke a common language.

And it was in this temple of unity, the Barclays Center, the big tent of eminent domain and gentrification, microbrewed beers, suspenders and beards, that Mumford opened with a string of songs off their recent Grammy-winning album, Babel. After the band soared through the album’s title track, they moved on to “I Will Wait,” “Winter Winds,” a first-album favorite, and “Below My Feet.” It was equal parts elegy and ebullience as the general-admission floor alternated between silence and carbonated bouncing, and the sections near the rafters produced reverence and reverie. This, of course, marked the brilliance and mainstream appeal of Mumford: to package the unremembered kitsch and nostalgia of folk melodies with explosive, life-affirming moments of musical elevation. The quartet then switched between the collective, quiet appeal of “Timshel” and the unstoppable, “Little Lion Man,” which first launched this band into the hearts and minds of many of these assembled thousands.

The middle of the set was highlighted by “Lover of the Light,” which sounds a great deal like a sustainably raised, NPR-listening Dave Matthews Band song in its latter half, and comprised both elements of the somber and the celebratory—its final banjo line and lyrics transformed into the screaming marching orders. The main set closed with “Whispers in the Dark” and “Dust Bowl Dance,” the former a song with which the band closed their 2009 Music Hall performance. It was then unrecorded: “Something from the next album,” they said that night. But last night, things were in sharper focus, the benefit of time and perspective. “Whispers” was the second track off a hit album, its edict of “live while we’re young” repeated and screamed back from a basketball arena of adoring fans. It was about unity to be sure, a moment of mass collective experience before the band receded into the darkness of stage left and the empire built on a tower of four-part harmonies and emotive evocation. It wasn’t a night about prayer, a common complaint about the band, but it was about rebuilding the temple and speaking in one voice. —Geoff Nelson

Photo courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Communion Comes to New York City

March 30th, 2012

Communion: Austin to Boston Tour – Mercury Lounge – March 29, 2012


Communion’s name has risen to prominence in recent months due in part to the involvement of Ben Lovett from Mumford & Sons, but mostly because of the English label’s consistently stellar folk-singer-songwriter (and everything in between) lineups and releases. And last night its Austin to Boston tour, featuring Bear’s Den, Nathaniel Rateliff, the Staves and Ben Howard, came to Mercury Lounge. Something I love (and have always loved, since Communion’s London club nights way back) is the fact that you can arrive at an event knowing none of the acts and leave a fan of all of them.

Bear’s Den, featuring longtime London favorite frontman Andrew Davie, started off the night. Davie’s beautiful, unique voice mixed with earnest lyrics made for a perfect beginning. And songs like “Stubborn Beast” and “Pompeii” are sure to be floating around blogosphere soon. Next, Rateliff, a solo performer with a great sense of melody and melancholy, seemed somewhat darker but equally as beautiful.

After Rateliff the Staves, an all-female harmonizing trio with a killer sense of humor, told the audience they had used Midnight Cowboy’s “Hey, I’m walkin’ here” line at least once that day. And then Ben Howard closed the show with his beautiful brand of upbeat British folk. Communion may only recently be receiving attention Stateside but the label’s been chugging along quietly in the UK, building up a fantastic roster of talent and, thankfully, they’re ready to share it with us now. —Lauren Glucksman