Tag Archives: Bowery Ballroom

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The Barr Brothers Return with New Music at The Bowery Ballroom

November 20th, 2014

Brothers Andrew (drums and percussion) and Brad (vocals, guitar and keys) Barr, who have been members of the Slip and Surprise Me Mr. Davis, moved to Montreal after one of the brothers fell for a local waitress. Early on, Brad and neighbor Sarah Page (harp) could hear each other playing through the walls and struck up a musical friendship. Then, following the addition of Andres Vial (keys, pump organ and bass), the Barr Brothers were born. The folk quartet’s self-titled debut album (stream it below) came out in 2011. “The Barr Brothers are a different kind of folk group,” announced AllMusic, “bringing in unusual instrumentation and performing in a manner that draws the listener into a special musical world.” The Barr Brothers (above, playing “Even the Darkness Has Arms” on Late Show with David Letterman) released their second full-length, Sleeping Operator (stream it below), last month. And the good folks at Relix were impressed: “A product of both invention and intuition, the appropriately dubbed Sleeping Operator isn’t anything less than a dazzling delight.” See them headline The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night. Bluesy folk singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk, also from Montreal, opens the show.

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Thee Oh Sees Chase Away Cold Weather at The Bowery Ballroom

November 19th, 2014

Thee Oh Sees – The Bowery Ballroom – November 18, 2014

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The reasons to stay home last night were there for the taking: It was the first “damn, it’s cold outside!” night of the season, late start on a Tuesday night, etc. No one’s blaming you if you skipped out on the Thee Oh Sees at The Bowery Ballroom. But John Dwyer and his bandmates are a center of gravity, and judging from the jubilant packed house, few, if any, were able to withstand its irresistible pull. Opening with “Tunnel Time,” off last year’s Floating Coffin, Dwyer was a lesson in classic physics—pure kinetic energy, object-in-motion-tends-to-stay-in-motion conservation of angular momentum—and pretty much kept it up the entire set. The band mixed songs off their newest album, Drop, with plenty of older barn burners, but it wasn’t so important which tunes they played as how they played them, and how they played them was like a powder keg with a very short fuse.

Here’s what you don’t get at a Thee Oh Sees show: fancy lights, digital projections or witty banter … or any banter for that matter. They pretty much employed the Bowery’s basic lights, eschewing the modern color palettes and designs available and sticking mostly to red, yellow and blue. This was primary-color rock, stripped down to its bare essentials: guitar, bass and drums operating as a single unit, a shot of punk adrenaline with a garage-psych chaser. Which isn’t to say that Dwyer’s music is simple. Songs were stretched out just long enough, Tim Hellman on bass and Nick Murray on drums matching his blistering, never self-indulgent guitar with propulsive melodic rhythm.

On some songs Dwyer used a 12-string guitar to add a little flavor, other times playing a few riffs through a small synth to good effect, but mostly he was pounding away at his guitar, half singing/half shouting his lyrics, everything punctuated by one big Sans Serif exclamation point, if not two or three of them. The crowd kept up with the band, bouncing and moshing with the occasional stage diver taking a ride on the bubbling audience. It was hard to not get sucked into the high-energy fun. For all their great studio tracks, Thee Oh Sees proved that they are best experienced live in the raw and that this was live music in its purest, distilled form … well worth getting off the couch. —A. Stein | twitter.com/neddyo

(Thee Oh Sees play Warsaw on Friday.)

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Rachael Yamagata – The Bowery Ballroom – November 17, 2014

November 18th, 2014

Rachael Yamagata - The Bowery Ballroom - November 17, 2014

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

(Rachael Yamagata plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight.)

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Thee Oh Sees Appear Twice in New York City This Week

November 18th, 2014

John Dwyer (vocals and guitar) formed Thee Oh Sees in late-’90s San Francisco, playing psychedelic garage rock that sounds “a bit like the Mamas & the Papas run through a seriously bent garage blender,” according to AllMusic. Dwyer and a changing lineup have recently been prolific, releasing at least an album a year since 2008. So much material provides the opportunity to go from pop to rock to experimental to punk over the course of their catalog. And on their two past two LPs—each of them terrific—last year’s Floating Coffin (stream it below) and this year’s Drop (stream it below), Thee Oh Sees (above, performing “I Come from the Mountain” for Culturebox) have edged away from guitar freak-outs, sticking to hard rock on Floating Coffin and pop on Drop. Of course, another benefit of so much recorded output is that Thee Oh Sees tour often and are a finely tuned live band. See them tonight at The Bowery Ballroom (Jack Name and Economy Punk open) and on Friday at Warsaw (Jack Name and Ice Balloons open).

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – The Bowery Ballroom – November 15, 2014

November 17th, 2014

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - The Bowery Ballroom - November 15, 2014

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

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A Taste of Alberta Lands on Delancey St.

November 14th, 2014

Rural Alberta Advantage – The Bowery Ballroom – November 13, 2014

Rural Alberta Advantage – The Bowery Ballroom – November 13, 2014
Rural Alberta Advantage singer Nils Edenloff never makes anything look easy. The veins in his neck bulge as he reaches for his upper register, a frequent move in the arrangements of his band’s emotive acoustic pop. Often as early as a melody’s second or third note, Edenloff’s raspy tenor nears the top of his range, rattling away like a charming, reliable, old bucket-of-bolts car, possessing a mixture of utility and worn grace. The overwhelming sense of watching him perform his craft, a painful high-wire act, is that he may well be damaging himself for your benefit. If it isn’t guilt you’re feeling, it’s something like indebtedness. So it was theatrically painful pathos—along with their most bombastic studio album to date, Mended with Gold—that the Rural Alberta Advantage brought to The Bowery Ballroom on a blustery Thursday evening.

The RAA opened with “Stamp,” “Muscle Relaxants” and “Don’t Haunt This Place,” all songs from their first two records. The opening sequence reminded a New York City audience that hadn’t seen the band since January that their catalog runs deeper than just a new LP. Paul Banwatt, one of the best-period-drummers-period-in-rock-music-period, wailed away on the same beat-up drum kit he’s used for years. The My Old Kentucky Blog sticker on the side of one of his tom drums dates the kit back to an era when music blogs helped rocket the band out of the open-stage night in Toronto where Edenloff and Banwatt first met. The band, too, felt older, more methodical, moving with deliberate if not frenetic pacing. The riffs exploding from Banwatt’s drums supported Edenloff’s raspy vocal when the band switched to material from Mended with Gold, pounding out lead track “Our Love…,” the snare hits arriving with the same inhuman effort as the melody.

Edenloff reminded fans that although the band is from Toronto that he was originally from Alberta and that many of the songs regarded his native province. With the always delightful Amy Cole—backstage sticker affixed to her bare right arm—leaning on the backing vocals, the RAA played  “Runners in the Night” and “Vulcan, AB.” On the latter, Edenloff sang into a modified telephone-receiver microphone. It was a call from far away, a Canadian prairie hymn shot through with human suffering and effort. Outside, the first snow of the season was rumored to be only hours away from dusting Delancey St., a bit of the frontier carried in a gravelly vocal, an old drum kit and Cole’s Swiss Army ebullience. It was anything but easy. —Geoff Nelson | twitter.com/32feet

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

(Tonight’s Rural Alberta Advantage show at The Bowery Ballroom is sold out.)

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A Double Shot of the Rural Alberta Advantage on the Lower East Side

November 12th, 2014

After forming in Toronto in 2005, the Rural Alberta AdvantageNils Edenloff (vocals and guitar), Paul Banwatt (drums) and Amy Cole (keys and vocals)—began releasing emotional folkish music, which led to a fair amount of Internet intrigue. Their debut full-length, Hometowns (stream it below), came out in 2008 (and was rereleased a year later). AllMusic rang in: “With a name like the Rural Alberta Advantage and a debut album called Hometowns, one would hope for an unpretentious collection of amiable indie pop tunes filtered through the wistful lens of a Wes Anderson film, and that’s exactly what you get.” The band followed that in 2011 with Departing (stream it below), and PopMatters was impressed: “The Rural Alberta Advantage have delivered a rarity: An album that remarkably stuns, even though its world view is largely seen from a car stuck in the middle of snow bank on the side of the road.” The Rural Alberta Advantage (above, performing “Terrified” for AudioTree Live) returned this year with their third album, the terrific Mended with Gold (stream it below), about which Consequence of Sound says, “The band is in a groove, churning out good to great songs with a distinguishable aesthetic.” Despite their impressive recorded work, RRA are best experienced live. See them tomorrow and Friday at The Bowery Ballroom.

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Two Nights of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. in NYC This Week

November 11th, 2014

Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott were each playing in different Detroit bands when they first met. But soon after, they began recording together in Zott’s suburban basement. It’s a Corporate World (stream it below), their first LP, which deftly combines Beach Boys-esque harmonies (they do a mean rendition of “God Only Knows”) and electronics, came out in 2011, but even prior to that, the two, performing as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., became known for their high-octane live performances. In the spring of 2013, the Motown duo—above, performing “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t on the Dancefloor)” on Conan—put out their third EP, the catchy, dance-heavy Patterns (stream it below), before releasing their second full-length, The Speed of Things (stream it below), last fall. Filled with dense electronic pop, rich melodies and pulsing beats, the album received a fair amount of praise. Paste effusively declared, “Epstein and Zott have concocted an album that will ultimately elude the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’ tag. They have stuck to a formula that worked on their debut but have taken it a step further. And while the album bolsters the band’s brand of sound rather than showcasing any significant amount growth in writing and arrangement, The Speed of Things is an exercise in consistency and accessibility. It’s refreshing.” They arrive in New York City for a pair of shows this week, on Thursday at Music Hall of Williamsburg and on Saturday at The Bowery Ballroom. L.A. trio Mini Mansions and Nashville singer-songwriter Madi Diaz open both nights.

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The Dismemberment Plan Deliver Live at The Bowery Ballroom

November 10th, 2014

The Dismemberment Plan – The Bowery Ballroom – November 8, 2014

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“We’re the Dismemberment Plan from Washington D.C.” I’ve never seen this band introduce themselves any other way, and it’s as good a starting point as any. This is a rock band from D.C., America’s most political town that took punk rock in the ’80s and evolved it, kept it great. In some future book about D.C. punk, their chapter will probably follow Fugazi’s and will say a lot about the late ’90s and early Aughts, when they made a legacy for themselves. Here’s the band that took post-punk technicality, added in a synth where applicable, surrounded themselves with a community of devoted fans, and in many ways kept a scene alive. They were an indie band that flirted with a major-label career, one with Interscope Records that gave them the resources to record a near-perfect record, Emergency & I, only to see the relationship dissolve before it was ever released. After some breaks, the band seemed to be back for good as of 2010, even releasing some new material in 2013 with Uncanney Valley. But this latest tour comes on the heels of the vinyl rerelease of Change, their 2001 record that most at the time assumed would be their last. In short, they’re the Dismemberment Plan from D.C. One thing to add: They’re incredible live. That observation inevitably follows their introduction.

If it’s possible for a band to be tighter live than on record, the Dismemberment Plan are. They wouldn’t function without perfect drumming, which they get from Joe Easley. He doesn’t so much lead the band as he pushes them all into the same rhythm. Fun fact: His day job is programming robotics for NASA. Those two jobs are definitely related. Look at New York City from a distance and you may see the place pulsing with an almost mechanical life force, pushing its millions of inhabitants through their lives, creating some large-scale sense of order with a mind entirely of its own. The first few bars of “The City” distill that feeling into the song’s rhythm. Lead singer Travis Morrison’s plainspoken lyrics sit comfortably atop all of this, feeling like real-time narration for the world the song represents. For “You Are Invited,” nothing but a synth skeleton of a beat makes up this world, but when Morrison breaths humanity into the scene he’s setting and responds to it, the band jumps in for the chorus. “You are invited by anyone to do anything/ You are invited for all time.” The sudden change really does make the chorus feel like you’re being extended an invitation to belong in a world that seldom feels welcoming. And it’s certainly an invitation to sing along.

Some of Dismemberment Plan’s lesser-known songs become highlights when performed live. “Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich” almost seemed like the whitest rap song ever written. For seven seconds, the frantic noisy song fell unexpectedly into an out-of-nowhere funk groove for the line “Joe got caught aboard a boat with seven tons of opium,” the most pleasant of sonic surprises for those not anticipating it. “Girl O’Clock” felt like a panic attack in music form, with Morrison thrashing onstage toward his synth, falling over, convulsing through stuttered lyrics about how if he doesn’t have sex soon he’ll die. His self-deprecating banter between songs was almost a show in and of itself. Two songs in, his failed attempt to drink beer soaked the stage. When someone came over with a towel, the frontman remarked, “This is like James Brown with the cape except really pathetic.” The incident provided commentary for the rest of the night, complete with zippy cup jokes, pulling up the beer-soaked set list and other jabs at his own expense. As is customary for Dismemberment Plan shows, about half the venue joined the band onstage for the mighty sing-along that is “The Ice of Boston.” Morrison allowed everyone to stay for the final song of the night, providing the opportunity to “commit to Andrew W.K.–style head banging” through “What Do You Want Me to Say?” They complied. —Dan Rickershauser

 

 

 

 

 

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Lucero – The Bowery Ballroom – November 3, 2014

November 4th, 2014

Lucero - The Bowery Ballroom - November 3, 2014

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

(Lucero play The Bowery Ballroom again tonight and tomorrow.)

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Three Nights of Lucero at The Bowery Ballroom This Week

November 3rd, 2014

Despite their deep catalog of recorded material, Lucero have been most known for their raucous live shows since they began playing them in the late ’90s—road warriors leaving it all onstage every night. There’s a good reason for that: On performing live, bassist and band founder John C. Stubblefield told The House List that “it makes the moment much more transcendent when everyone in the room is on the same wavelength. We don’t make set lists. And we definitely feed off the crowd. We actually listen to the crowd. They might shout out something we haven’t played in three years. And it’s like, ‘All right, let’s give it a try.’” Their music—Ben Nichols’ evocative, whiskey-soaked vocals intertwined with rock, punk, country and boogie, all laid over Stax-style horns—is on full display in the band’s most recent release, the excellent double live album, Live from Atlanta (stream it below). Per Paste: “If the purpose of a live album is to make you wish you were at the show, Lucero’s Live In Atlanta certainly succeeds. It’s the Memphis band’s first live record, and a 32-track opus of one, at that. It’s like their own The Last Waltz, without the whole farewell concert shadow, because Lucero seem like a tireless act.” Lucero (above, doing “I’ll Just Fall,” from Live from Atlanta) are out on the road now with their By the Seat of Our Pants tour, which brings them to The Bowery Ballroom tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday.

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Let Music Be Your Guide on Halloween

October 31st, 2014

Halloween, like New Year’s Eve, is one of those nights that can bring out the worst in people. So rather than getting stuck in parade traffic or stepping in puke on the sidewalk, let live music be your guide tonight. Sohn at Music Hall of Williamsburg and Phil Lesh & Friends at the Capitol Theatre are already sold out, but no worries, because we’ve still got plenty of other options for you:

1. At Mercury Lounge, Booga Sugar hosts their Boogaween Costume Ball, alongside Lead of Foxes and Blubba Brothers.
2. Mercury Lounge also has a late show, obviously, with Park Slope five-piece Bernardo.
3. Brooklyn Bowl has electronic duo Capital Cities with Sneaky Sound System and Night Terrors of 1921.
4. The Bowery Ballroom will have some instrumental illness with Texas quartet This Will Destroy You, plus Future Death and Silent Land Time Machine.
5. Rough Trade NYC welcomes the legendary Meat Puppets and the funny, talented troubadour Cass McCombs.
6. And Terminal 5 plays host to the Royal Family Halloween Ball featuring Lettuce and Soulive with Branx opening.

In other words, we’ve got something for everyone. So get involved.

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Burger Records Caravan of Stars Lands at The Bowery Ballroom

October 29th, 2014

Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard, half of the power-pop band Thee Makeout Party, formed the indie garage-punk label with a philanthropic bent Burger Records in 2007, becoming well known for releasing albums on cassette. As a means to celebrate the bands on their roster, they began hosting an annual Burgerama festival, in their native California. And then Burger Records decided to quite literally take the show on the road with the Burger Caravan of Stars, which comes to The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night. The night’s bill includes the Coathangers (above, performing “Hurricane”), Together Pangea, Cherry Glazerr, Mozes and the Firstborn, AJ Davila y Terror Amor and Wax Witches—plus DJ Justin Strauss (of Milk ’N’ Cookies). That’s a lot of live music.

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Weezer – The Bowery Ballroom – October 27, 2014

October 28th, 2014

Weezer - The Bowery Ballroom - October 27, 2014

Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin | distortionpix.com

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The Kills – The Bowery Ballroom – October 23, 2014

October 24th, 2014

The Kills - The Bowery Ballroom - October 23, 2014

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com