Tag Archives: Brooklyn Bowl

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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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CMJ Music Marathon Kicks Off Today

October 21st, 2014

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For more than three decades the annual CMJ Music Marathon has been one of the most important outlets for shining the spotlight on new music from across the country and even around the world. The five-day (and night) festival kicks off today, which means the city’s venues—traditional and otherwise—will be jam packed with stacked lineups and fans chasing bands that might possibly become the next big thing. And, of course, The Bowery Presents has plenty of great shows, big and small:

Today
1. Tom Vek and Olga Bell at Mercury Lounge EARLY SHOW
2. Oh Land, Walking Shapes, Corbu, Sons of an Illustrious Father at The Bowery Ballroom
3. the Crookes, Money, Spring King and Longfellow at Rough Trade NYC FREE
4. Cold War Kids, Aurora, Chief Scout, the Big P.A. at Brooklyn Bowl
5. Ming City Rockers, Made Violent, Slothrust, Børns at Mercury Lounge LATE SHOW
6. the Horrors and Moon Duo at Stage 48

Wednesday
1. Spookyland and Mighty Oaks at Mercury Lounge EARLY SHOW
2. Ryn Weaver, Circa Waves, Public Access T.V., Step Rockets and Sway Clarke II at The Bowery Ballroom
3. Teen Daze, Mothxr, Vérité, Carousel, Ayer and guest DJ Dart Party at Brooklyn Bowl
4. Bombay Bicycle Club, Milo Greene and Luxley at Terminal 5
5. Cold War Kids, Elliot Moss, Moses Sumney, Little May and Doe Paoro at Rough Trade NYC SOLD OUT
6. Young Magic, Saint Pepsi, Popstrangers, Dog Bite and Chandos at Mercury Lounge LATE SHOW

Thursday
1. Twin Peaks, Happyness, the Wytches, Spring King and Nai Harvest at Rough Trade NYC FREE DAYTIME SHOW
2. Heat, Avid Dancer, Trixie Whitley, Cheerleader, Tor Miller, Bully and Bee Caves at Mercury Lounge EARLY SHOW
3. Beach Fossils and Small Black at Brooklyn Bowl
4. RAC, the Kooks and Speak at Terminal 5
5. the Kills, Moon Duo, Nuns and Slothrust at The Bowery Ballroom SOLD OUT
6. Moses Sumney, Adult Jazz, J. Fernandez and George Maple at Rough Trade NYC
7. the Big Sleep and Haven at Mercury Lounge FREE LATE SHOW

Friday
1. Special Guest TBA, Oscar, Pinact and September Girls FREE DAYTIME SHOW
2. Mexican Golden Girls, DMA’s, Bear’s Den, Peter Matthew Bauer, Little May, Chief Scout and Colony House at Mercury Lounge EARLY SHOW
3. Kevin Morby (full band), Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, Twin Peaks, Springtime Carnivore, Modern Vices, Ryley Walker, Geronimo Getty and guest DJ Mondo Boys at Rough Trade NYC

Saturday
1. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, the Wytches, Circa Waves, Water Liars, DMA’s, Springtime Carnivore, Public Access T.V., Spookyland, Amason, Little May, the Bright Light Social Hour and Ryley Walker at Pianos FREE DAYTIME SHOW
2. the Paperhead, Ultimate Painting, Doug Tuttle, Estrogen Highs and Negative Scanner at Rough Trade NYC FREE DAYTIME SHOW
3. Teen Commandments, Sphynx, the Ocean Blues, Wild Adriatic, Walker Lukens, Saskwatch, Pree, New Myths and No Way Josie at Mercury Lounge
4. A Place to Bury Strangers, White Fence, Moon Duo, Prince Rama, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Wampire, Young Magic, No Ningen, Spires, the Wytches and the Paperhead at Rough Trade NYC
5. DJ Dodger Stadium, Special Guest TBA, Blue Hawaii, Adult Jazz, Aurora and Casual Sex at Brooklyn Bowl
6. Slowdive and Low at Terminal 5 SOLD OUT
7. Sam Roberts Band, Water Liars, Springtime Carnivore, Dilly Dally and Knox Hamilton at The Bowery Ballroom

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Brazilian Girls – Brooklyn Bowl – October 1, 2014

October 2nd, 2014

Brazilian Girls - Brooklyn Bowl - October 1, 2014

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

A Night of Transportive Music with Bombino at Brooklyn Bowl

September 8th, 2014

Bombino – Brooklyn Bowl – September 7, 2014

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Context is everything. Take your basic Fender Stratocaster guitar—the de facto rock and roll instrument—and take it to the African desert and put it in the hands of Bombino, and all of the sudden it becomes so much more. At Brooklyn Bowl last night, Bombino’s guitar painted pictures, told stories and inspired. The set began with his band sitting, Bombino playing acoustic backed by percussion, harmonica and electric bass. On paper, they seem like a standard blues band, but following Bombino’s deft playing and singing, the percussion and the harmonica transported the bowling alley to the Sahara, with warm- breeze rhythms and a bleak, stripped-down beauty. Each guitar string seemed to tell its own independent tale, weaving together strands into a larger narrative of strife and redemption.

After a few energizing songs, the band stood as Bombino picked up that Fender and the effects were amplified both literally and figuratively. His Tuareg sound was a mix of Afrobeat and the blues with a flavor of reggae throughout. Its appeal was widespread whether you came to dance or to geek out on guitar, whether you loved your music with a bit of the political or the spiritual. The crowd was a mix of these currents and moved joyously to the music, screaming “BOM-BINO!” in between songs much to the grateful delight of the musicians. While the lights spiraling onto the walls and the ceiling normally turn the room into a dance hall, on Sunday they felt like the infinite stars above the desert, leaving the audience to imagine what sounds the sight must inspire. Bombino filled in those daydreams, decorating each song with an exploratory guitar solo: cascades of sound that were hypnotic and groovy, easy to get lost in as they gathered mass and momentum. These were the jams of a forever horizon that never seemed to get closer, but we kept on riding toward it anyway. —A. Stein

 

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Hieroglyphics – Brooklyn Bowl – August 21, 2014

August 22nd, 2014

Hieroglyphics - Brooklyn Bowl - August 21, 2014

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

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Galactic – Brooklyn Bowl – July 23, 2014

July 24th, 2014

Galactic - Brooklyn Bowl - July 23, 2014

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

(Galactic play Brooklyn Bowl again tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.)

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The Afghan Whigs – Brooklyn Bowl – May 15, 2014

May 16th, 2014

The Afghan Whigs - Brooklyn Bowl - May 15, 2014

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

(The Afghan Whigs play the Beacon Theatre on 10/4.)

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The Revivalists – Brooklyn Bowl – April 17, 2014

April 18th, 2014

The Revivalists - Brooklyn Bowl - April 17, 2014

Photos courtesy of Michael Jurick | music.jurick.net

(The Revivalists play Brooklyn Bowl again tonight.)

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Tinariwen: Magical, Beautiful and Difficult to Resist

March 25th, 2014

Tinariwen – Brooklyn Bowl – March 24, 2014

Tinariwen - Brooklyn Bowl - March 24, 2014
Tinariwen are one of those bands that can be all things to all people. There’s the Tinariwen as culmination of a fascinating backstory. There’s the Tinariwen as a metaphor. And, of course, most important, there’s Tinariwen the collective of musicians, playing excellent music all across the world. All of these were onstage at once Monday night at Brooklyn Bowl, and which one you saw was a purely personal experience, from the enthusiastic young guys chanting and waving flags to the middle-aged fans clapping along to the young Brooklynites dancing the night away.

The Malian music group seemed to know no boundaries, turning a brick-and-mortar bowling alley decorated with a disco ball and big screen TVs into a transcendental tent, orange and yellow lights of the desert on the ceiling, with room for all within. The set list drew largely from Tinariwen’s new album, Emmaar, and the musicians, and the words they sang, seemed to blur into a single communal experience. Electric guitars growled and moaned in helical patterns—was it with sorrow or was it with joy? Either or both or neither, you decide. With a popping electric bass and simple rhythmic percussion, this was mostly dance music: magical, beautiful, difficult to resist. The musicians clapping and twisting hypnotically felt just as vital to the experience as the musicians twisting the unique guitar solos, somewhere between Leo Nocentelli and Robert Johnson by way of the Sahara.

The encore encapsulated the night in three pieces: The first began with Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, alone, chanting and playing acoustic before the band slowly grew, duet, trio until all six played as one, with little boundary between Tinariwen and the audience. The second piece was the funkiest of the night, the electric bass speaking the international language of groove. Finally, the percussion-dominated closer was a rhythmic cacophony, the dancer onstage moving in increasingly faster and more complicated fashion—either he was forcing the band’s tempo or vice versa, but the crowd tried to keep up regardless. The night ended with smiles all round, free of boundaries, at least until the magic wore off. With a final bow, the band repeated the only English words they had uttered all night: “Thank you.” —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com

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Bowlive 5 Kicks Off Tomorrow Night at Brooklyn Bowl

March 12th, 2014

The soul-funk trio SouliveAlan Evans (drums), Neal Evans (Hammond B3) and Eric Krasno (guitar)—formed in the late ’90s and have been bringing their own bluesy, jammy brand of jazz, funk, classic rock and R&B to the dancing masses ever since. Krasno joined the brothers Evans for a recording session in Woodstock in 1999, which eventually became their first EP, Get Down! A host of studio albums, EPs and live discs followed, including 2010’s instrumental take on the Beatles, Rubber Soulive. But despite the trio’s recorded virtuosity, far and away the best way to experience these guys is live. Which works out great because with Bowlive 5 beginning tomorrow, you’ve got eight chances to see them in person. That’s right: Soulive (above, covering “Soul Serenade” with guests) play Brooklyn Bowl eight times between tomorrow and 3/22.

And as always, there will be special guests galore, like Nigel Hall, DJ Logic and the Shady Horns tomorrow, George Porter Jr., Nicki Bluhm, Leroy Justice and the Shady Horns on Friday, the London Souls, George Porter Jr., Nicki Bluhm and the Shady Horns on Saturday, John Scofield, Jon Cleary and the Shady Horns on 3/18, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Russo, Jon Cleary and the Shady Horns on 3/19, DMC (of Run DMC), Talib Kweli, Alan Evans Trio and the Shady Horns on 3/20Marco Benevento, Roosevelt Collier, Sonya Kitchell and the Shady Horns on 3/21, and finally Bill Evans, Wolf! featuring Scott Metzger and the Shady Horns on 3/22.

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Cibo Matto – Brooklyn Bowl – March 8, 2014

March 10th, 2014

Cibo Matto - Brooklyn Bowl - March 8, 2014

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

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Shaggy – Brooklyn Bowl – February 25, 2014

February 26th, 2014

Shaggy - Brooklyn Bowl - February 25, 2014

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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The Soul Rebels Bring a Taste of NOLA to Brooklyn

February 18th, 2014

Soul Rebels – Brooklyn Bowl – February 14, 2014


While the NBA took over New Orleans this past weekend for its All-Star game, a few NOLA bands sought musical refuge in New York City, beginning with the Soul Rebels, playing the first of two shows at Brooklyn Bowl on Friday night. If you’ve never seen a Soul Rebels show before, there’s a long list of things that you’re missing out on. But in short, their energetic time-traveling mix of cover songs woven around their own music creates one hell of a two-hour dance party.

Blink and you might have missed any number of those excellent covers, which ranged
from Bobby Blue Band’s (and a touch of Jay-Z’s version) “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” and Hova’s own “Hard Knock Life” to Heavy D’s “Now That We Found Love” and “Nuttin’ but Love.” Later on, the encore skewed much newer, with Pharrell’s “Happy” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” getting the New Orleans brass treatment. The energy behind the multihorn take on these songs ran so high throughout the set that it made the idea of a DJ seem boring (although Questlove assumed his post after the show and made a musical counter-argument of his own).

The Soul Rebels’ breathless, nonstop mix of original, traditional and cover songs was backed by a collective energy that each band member helped sustain. With eight of them onstage on Friday, there was never a moment when the crowd wasn’t being prompted by
at least one Rebel, whether it was shouting Valentine’s Day–themed plaudits at them or goading them into letting loose. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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A Top Five Look Back at 2013

January 10th, 2014


Ten days into the New Year, The House List looks back at 2013 with some Top Five lists.

My Top Five Favorite Shows
1.
The Postal Service, Barclay Center, June 14
My decade-belated live date with the Postal Service finally culminated at Barclays Center, where rabid fans, like myself, roared as Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello hit the stage. As if acting out lyrics from “Nothing Better,” Gibbard and Jenny Lewis shimmied close for the duet. Old friends reunited onstage never felt so good.

2. Haim, Webster Hall, September 3
I was late to this bandwagon, as fellow House List contributor Alex Kapelman shortlisted Haim last year for his Top Five Bowery Presents Shows of the Year. I knew I was in for a good one when I could barely find a spot in the rafters to catch the three sisters, who charmed with their onstage banter and wicked musicianship

3. Jessie Ware, The Bowery Ballroom, January 17
Straight off her Jimmy Fallon taping backed by the Roots, the British songstress elated the crowd with her effortless, down-to-earth stage demeanor. Her star quickly rose with American audiences, as she sold out shows at Webster Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Irving Plaza throughout the year. I was glad to have caught her earlier in the more intimate venue.

4. Basia Bulat, Bowery Ballroom, November 23
I’ve been a fan of Basia Bulat since I heard her cover Sam Cooke’s “Touch the Hem of His Garment.” This show on a cold night wasn’t sold out, which made me a little sad since she’s quite the talent. But those who were there were enraptured by her prowess on autoharp to the point that you could hear a pin drop during her solos.

5. Daughter, Bowery Ballroom, April 30
Somehow Elena Tonra manages to disguise heartbreak behind soulful lyrics and melody. She has a knack for turning happy dance songs into somber endeavors. The band mashed-up Bon Iver and Hot Chip’s “Perth/Ready for the Floor” that evening. Check out Tonra’s somber retake of Daft Punk’s hit “Get Lucky” for further proof. —Sharlene Chiu

My Top Five Shows I Never Thought I Would See
1. Desaparecidos, Webster Hall, February 26

Desaparecidos (and really any Conor Oberst project) were my bread and butter back in the early aughts, and for a while they seemed to be a one-off, a politically minded side project firmly planted in the past. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the global state of affairs remains messed up enough for the band to regroup to write protest songs for a new decade. It was a nostalgic, sweaty and inspired performance.

2. Shuggie Otis, Music Hall of Williamsburg, April 19
Shuggie Otis began putting out music in the mid-’70s, followed by a long period of laying low. Content to groove along to songs like “Ice Cold Daydream” at home, I never really thought about the possibility of a Shuggie Otis tour in 2013. But when I found out, I was there. And “Ice Cold Daydream” is even better in person.

3. The Flamin’ Groovies, The Bowery Ballroom, July 6
Instead of discovering the Flamin’ Groovies in a smoky San Fran club in the ’60s, I was introduced to their catchy psychedelia on a Nuggets compilation more than 30 years later. Who’d have thought they’d still be going strong in 2013 and that I’d be dancing right alongside some old school fans at this fun summer show.

4.  John Prine, Beacon Theatre, September 26
John Prine has been active since the early ’70s, but unlike Shuggie Otis, he never really went away, writing and recording songs at a steady pace throughout the years. But I still always thought of him as an artist too legendary for me to see in person—or that tickets would be too out of reach. But John Prine put on an amazing show, highlighting his singular skills as a songwriter and storyteller.

5. The Julie Ruin, Music Hall of Williamsburg, October 25
I was late to the party for the original riot-grrl movement, but I became an admirer of Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna during her time in Le Tigre. She’s dealt with some debilitating health issues in the past few years, but I had no doubt she’d continue to make art and music. So I was happy to learn of her latest project, the Julie Ruin, and her energetic show did not disappoint. —Alena Kastin

My Top Five Shows
1. Yo La Tengo, Town Hall, February 16

I don’t like to pick a favorite, but my last.fm account tells me I’ve listened to Yo La Tengo more than any other band since 2007. At Town Hall, they performed an acoustic set and an electronic one, doing two versions of “Ohm,” my favorite song of the year. And then I ran into Tim Heidecker from Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job! Had the Red Sox not won the World Series, this would’ve been my favorite night of the year.

2. Killer Mike/El-P, Webster Hall, August 14
I don’t care what anyone says: The best two rap albums of 2012 came from Killer Mike and El-P. And in 2013 they topped them, coming together as one entity, Run the Jewels. The night included a set from El-P, a set from Killer Mike and a combined set with both. El-P’s ingenious production plus Killer “I bleed charisma” Mike equals one concert I will never forget.

3. Foxygen, The Bowery Ballroom, October 21
With Foxygen it occasionally feels like shit could fall apart at any moment. And sometimes it does. But when their shows don’t come unhinged they deliver that sweet thrill of relief, like narrowly avoiding a car crash. And on this Halloween-themed night, the band made a weird show even weirder with homemade costumes and pseudo spooky vibes.

4. Steve Earle, Music Hall of Williamsburg, May 8
You can just tell some people are genuine, and Steve Earle is certainly one of them. Forever wearing his heart on his sleeve, that same energy bleeds right into his music, which he played alongside what he’s calling “the best band he’s ever had.”

5. Meat Puppets, Mercury Lounge, April 4
Not only are the Meat Puppets still kicking (after living through some serious shit), but also they’re thriving. And as much as I respect their legacy, seeing them play for more than two hours with the intensity you’d expect of a band 20 years their junior makes me respect them that much more. Long live the puppets of meat! —Dan Rickershauser

My Top Five Shows
1. Dessa, Union Hall, May 5

There are few performers I feel can move mountains with their vocal chords, and Dessa is one of them. This performance was an eruption of defiant lyrics and bold beats. A sizable crowd of young girls knew all of her lyrics, giving the show a chant-like feel. The only female member of Minnesota’s Doomtree collective practically vibrates with energy, and it’s completely contagious.

2. Kishi Bashi, Irving Plaza, September 12
Kishi Bashi sounds even better live than he does recorded. And he delivered a dazzling set with profuse vocal looping and an excellent backing band. Kauro Ishibashi has a supercharged, effusive aura, and his music embodies that persona. This set took a rowdy turn that involved crowd surfing, strobe lights and an outright jam session.

3. Panama Wedding, CMJ Music Marathon
I happened upon newcomers Panama Wedding three different times during CMJ: Initially, opening for NONONO at Mercury Lounge on the first night. Since the band had only released one song, “All of the People,” I was eager to see what would unfold onstage. Their set was so tight that I caught the fantastical pop group the following night at Pianos and then again at a showcase at Santos Party House.

4. You Won’t, Rockwood Music Hall, October 30
The live iteration of You Won’t is a spectacle to behold. I watched eagerly as Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri wielded a slew of instruments with ease, quickly fascinating the audience. The duo took their jaunty music into the audience a couple of times to break the barrier and enlisted some extra vocal support by encouraging us to all to sing along.

5. James Blake, Terminal 5, November 6
In this spellbinding live performance, complete with plenty of vocal looping and haunting electronica, James Blake made a cavernous room filled with people feel intimate. And that he’s such a dapper-looking fellow only helps boost his appeal. I’m still transfixed by this performance nearly two months later. James Blake’s music has some serious lasting effects. —Schuyler Rooth

My Top Five Shows with Regard to Lights, Visuals and Production
1. Umphrey’s McGee, Brooklyn Bowl, January 20

Kick-ass creative lighting
and Brooklyn Bowl don’t usually go hand in hand, but Umphrey’s McGee lighting guru Jefferson Waful turned the room into a thing of beauty.

2. Föllakzoid/Holydrug Couple, Mercury Lounge, March 21
What better way to enjoy some old school psychedelic music than with some old school liquid projections courtesy of Drippy Eye.

3. Plaza: Portugal. The Man, Irving Plaza, May 20
Freakin’ lasers!

4. The Flaming Lips/Tame Impala, Terminal 5, October 1
It was almost as fascinating to watch the Lips’ spectacle getting set up as it was to see it in action—confetti, strobes, LEDs and, well, pretty much everything. And Tame Impala’s projections were no slouch either.

5. Phish, Atlantic City Boardwalk, October 31, November 2
Phish’s fall tour found lighting director Chris Kuroda playing the Willy Wonka of eye candy all over the East Coast. —A. Stein

My Top Five Albums
1. Phosphorescent, Muchacho
I’d only seen Phosphorescent once before listening to Muchacho for the first time. And while much of Matthew Houck’s previous work is country-tinged (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this album, ostensibly about a breakup, covers more territory, from the meditative sounds of “Sun, Arise (An Invocation, an Introduction)” and “Sun’s Arising (A Koan, an Exit)” to the jammy, driving “Ride On/Right On” to softer fare, like “Muchacho’s Tune,” all centered on Houck’s evocative voice. I still can’t stop listening to it.

2. Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen’s third full-length, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, comes off as a loving mash note to ’70s rock. You’ll hear bits of the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and David Bowie, but the album expertly manages to sound like something whole and new rather than something derivative.

3. White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade
Upon the first couple of listens, I found White Denim’s latest, Corsicana Lemonade, to be too singer-songwriter-y, but I continued to give it a chance, and it opened up to something much bigger, with genre-hopping songs like “Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)” and “Pretty Green”—not to mention some searing guitar parts—grabbing me by the throat.

4. Futurebirds, Baba Yaga
Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about Futurebirds, out of Athens, Ga., before writing a preview of their late-May show at The Bowery Ballroom. But while listening to their second LP, Baba Yaga, as I wrote, I became totally enamored of the album—half twangy Southern rock and half spacey reverb.

 5. Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze
I love Kurt Vile’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze so much, that I can’t believe it’s only No. 5. Labeling it stoner rock, as many have done, is lazy. Although I supposed me calling it laid-back rock isn’t any better. But the fact of the matter is there might not ever be a better album to listen to while walking the streets of New York City with headphones in your ears. —R. Zizmor

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Joe Russo’s Almost Dead: The Legend Grows

December 30th, 2013

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead – the Capitol Theatre – December 27, 2013

(Photo: Scott Harris)

Last January, NYC drummer Joe Russo gathered some of his best friends for a one-off night of Grateful Dead music at Brooklyn Bowl. It seemed like a lark: buddies riffing on Dead tunes. But it just so happens that Russo’s friends—Tom Hamilton, Scott Metzger, Marco Benevento and Dave Dreiwitz—are also some of the best musicians in the city, and the gig, billed as Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, became the stuff of legend before you could say, “What a long strange trip it’s been.” Naturally, an encore performance was in order, and the long-awaited second gig on the much grander, steeped-in-Dead-history stage of the Capitol Theatre took place on Friday night. Expectations were obviously higher, but in the end, I think, the legend only grew.

It seems impossible to say this, considering that the raison d’être of the Grateful Dead canon is loose improvisation and noodling jams, but JRAD stretched and explored the repertoire like few have. The marathon two-set show stripped off layers and layers of old fraying wallpaper from the catalog, sandpapered through coats of paint and found the raw surface of the music. From the ripping, rocking opening couplet of “Cream Puff War” > “Truckin’” to the lilting melody of “Row Jimmy” to the split-level groove of “Shakedown Street,” JRAD proved to be expert innovators. With these guys, familiarity breeds content: They’ve played countless gigs together in various permutations and it showed as jams zigzagged across multiple themes with ease. From behind the kit, Russo controlled the action, pushing and pulling his pals in various directions, letting things drift into uncharted waters and then bringing back the energy into focus. Hamilton shone on guitar and lead vocals, charging through jams and singing with a comfortable confidence.

Of course any Deadhead worthy of the tie-dye on his back knows the real action is in the second set. JRAD did not disappoint, opening with a racing wet-noodle jam before breaking into the fan-favorite pairing of “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire on the Mountain.” Dreiwitz bounded through the bass parts here, one foot in Phil Lesh’s shoes, the other firmly anchored in his more familiar, ragged rock-out roots. Metzger, Hamilton and Benevento were mouse, cat and dog, chasing one another through multiple levels of jamming, half homage, half sledgehammer. The set was one jaw-dropping jam after another, peaking with an ambitious rendering of the full “Terrapin Station” suite. With classic skeleton-and-roses iconography spiraling across the Cap’s ceiling, the band raised “just some friends hanging out” to an art form, perfectly hitting every subtle change and movement of the suite while still taking it to new, exciting places. Just like the Dead would’ve done after a superlative show like that, JRAD encored with the heartfelt harmonies of “Brokedown Palace,” Russo and Co. proving they can match the soulful depths of the source material as well as the ecstatic peaks. And as they wished the audience a “fare you well,” we could only guess when these pals would get together next, hoping they’d be kind enough to invite the rest of us. —A. Stein