Tag Archives: Brooklyn Bowl
Action Bronson – Brooklyn Bowl – December 26, 2012
Some concerts leave you piecing them together afterward, asking yourself, “Did that really just happen?” And last night’s sold-out Action Bronson show at Brooklyn Bowl was definitely one of those shows. While dicey memories of the night before are often the result of something that starts with an A and ends in lcohol, in this instance it was a result of a night chock-full of WTF. So for certain legal purposes, let’s just say that we can neither confirm nor deny that the following happened last night, in chronological order:
- Action Bronson came onstage wearing the giant fur of some animal over his head, sort of replicating his outfit on the cover of his latest release, Rare Chandeliers.
- The show was temporarily stolen by Knicks guard J.R. Smith’s game-winning buzzer beater, which played on the televisions at the back of the venue.
- After four songs, Action Bronson came out with a Costco-sized bag of weed, taking it out by the handful and throwing it into the audience, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
- For those not close enough to be scrambling for the handouts, this gave them a moment to reflect on how Action Bronson looks a hell of a lot like a young Santa Claus.
- After handing out the entire bag, Action Bronson asked, “Who’s ready for a Jamaican dance battle for an ounce of weed?” (He then rolled back on his promise: “You ain’t ready for that yet.”)
- The night included many spontaneous presents, like T-shirts, vinyl and just about anything else the rapper could get his hands on. At one point Bronson asked, “Who wants a bottle of Dom Perignon?” and flipped a boxed bottle surprisingly far into the audience.
- He stormed through the entire crowd during one song, asking for “an old school rap circle” that never fully formed. So Action Bronson walked over to the bowling alley to see if he could rap and bowl at the same time. But judging from the lack of fanfare, it didn’t go too well.
- Rapper Styles P came out to spit a guest verse and do a killer rendition of Rick Ross’s “B.M.F.”
- Action Bronson thanked Styles P, smoking what I counted to be his third blunt of the show.
- The previously promised Jamaican dance battle finally took place. Action Bronson pulled up five or so fans to the packed stage. Things looked like a dead heat until a white girl in pink rocked what can only really be described as the Elaine Dance from Seinfeld. The rapper polled the crowd with this choice quote: “All right, stop. Who won the drugs?” (The white girl in pink did.)
- Action Bronson declared he was getting tired, and finished off the show spitting the final verses of “The Symbol” while walking up the stairs from the stage.
- No encore was needed or even asked for. —Dan Rickershauser
Robert Randoph & the Family Band – Brooklyn Bowl – November 20, 2012
You’d be hard pressed to find a more likeable act than Robert Randolph & the Family Band. It’s not just the fact that a large chunk of the group comes from the same family as the supremely talented pedal-steel guitarist—it’s that Randolph’s music is just so damn eclectic. In the artist notes on his Web site, Randolph called his latest record, We Walk This Road, “…a celebration of African-American music over the past 100 years….” In truth, it showcases his signature fusion of gospel, soul, funk and blues. But it’s clear that there’s a hefty helping of sonic diversity in the mix. Last night at Brooklyn Bowl, along with covers of songs by preeminent black artists like Bill Withers (“Use Me”) and Michael Jackson (“Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough”), the group jammed on selections from legendary white rockers like Bob Dylan (“Maggie’s Farm”) and Led Zeppelin (“Whole Lotta Love”).
To hammer in the point further, the band invited Marc Roberge, from frat-boy favorite O.A.R., to pop onstage for a few songs. It’s this ability to integrate a variety of musical influences that underscores Randolph’s likeability. The second—and equally important— piece of the puzzle is Randolph’s unbelievably energetic show. He slowly hooked in the crowd with his virtuosity, beginning the night teasing his signature licks by playing them in short bursts and then finishing up the set with prolonged, heavily climactic solos. “Can I get a witness!” he screamed to the delighted audience after one particularly uplifting jam.
As it turns out, Randolph had no trouble doing that at all. Halfway through the set, one incredibly bold woman climbed onstage to display her dancing ability. (Quick note: She didn’t come anywhere close to vocalist Lenesha Randolph’s kinetic prowess.) And in a matter of seconds, 12 or so women were strutting their stuff in front of hundreds of delighted fans. After the song ended and people returned to the status quo, two of the interlopers planted big, grateful kisses on Randolph’s cheek. It was a fitting symbol of the crowd’s collective love for the band. —Alex Kapelman
Tags: Bill Withers, Bob Dylan, Brooklyn Bowl, Led Zeppelin, Lenesha Randolph, Marc Roberge, Michael Jackson, O.A.R., Review, Robert Randoplh, the Family Band, We Walk This Road
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White Denim – Brooklyn Bowl – August 14, 2012
One day last winter I discovered White Denim’s Last Day of Summer. I took to it immediately. It compelled me toward multiple replays and consumed my ears’ desires. But I felt a strange sense of guilt about only listening to this one band and a single album
for three straight months. What is it that made Last Day of Summer so appealing? Last night, at the second night of White Denim’s back-to-back stint at Brooklyn Bowl, I found myself revisiting this question, but on a broader scale: What is it that makes White Denim, live, so immensely enjoyable?
The facts of the band seem rather unremarkable: four guys from Austin, Texas, whose Wikipedia page reads like a grocery list of genres (dub, progressive rock, jazz). But, just as regional affiliation doesn’t explain much anymore (really, most bands are from the Internet), neither does genre name-checking. So I’ll spare you the use of cognitive shortcuts in the form of one-word musical-style descriptions. Instead, I’ll say that listening to White Denim live, I got the feeling they could do just about anything they want to musically. Not by means of programmed electronic wizardry or weird synthesizers, but by technical instrumentation and cunning. They could burst into an extended jam, as they did on “Drug,” or play close to the studio version, like their rendition of “Tony Fatti.”
Clear proof of their invincibility, for me, came late into the show, during a moment when lead singer and guitarist James Petralli came halfway across the stage to briefly confer with lead guitarist Austin Jenkins. Bassist Steve Terebecki and drummer Joshua Block kept plugging away, staying locked into a groove, punctuated by round bass notes. But at the end of the guitarists’ exchange, after whatever needed to be said was said, they parted and, looking over in separate directions, jumped right back into the rhythm, seamlessly. It was the kind of high-wire act where the audience is rapt by the danger while the performers calmly dazzle with their abilities—a tense moment that makes White Denim not your average jam band or any other kind. They are breathtakingly skilled, melodically sweet and deft to the point of fault. They are indescribably good and you’re lucky to have another chance to see them. —Jared Levy
A broke-down palace no more, the lovingly restored Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., reopens for business on 9/4 (the headliner will soon be announced). Built in 1926, the venue once hosted the biggest musical acts of the day. Names like the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead, who once played the Cap 16 times in just 12 months. But the place eventually became a catering hall and special-events facility. No longer. Live music is returning! It will have “the best sound, the best lights and the best video-projection technology of any theater anywhere. Our plan is to turn the knob to 11 in every way possible,” says Peter Shapiro of Brooklyn Bowl. The beloved bowling alley/restaurant/music venue again teams up with Blue Ribbon for food and The Bowery Presents to book the bands. And once again, the calendar is filled with big names, including four shows with the Roots in September, three My Morning Jacket dates in December and the likes of Galactic, Fiona Apple, Warren Haynes, Al Green and a whole lot more in between. Some shows are already on sale and others will be soon, so check the calendar so you don’t get left out.
Yonder Mountain String Band – Brooklyn Bowl – July 18, 2012
With its high wood-beam ceiling and rafters, there’s a certain barnlike quality to Brooklyn Bowl. So it was the perfect setting for last night’s sold-out Yonder Mountain String Band show, which felt like an old-fashioned barn dance. But just like the venue’s rustic look, don’t let the traditional bluegrass fool you: Yonder was full of modern-day twists and turns to keep a two-set, three-plus-hour show interesting. They opened with “New Horizons,” which, with lyrics about “the thunder and the lightning and the rain coming down,” was either a heady reference to the spectacular summer storm earlier in the day or an amazing coincidence. It started with a throwback-bluegrass feel, like the room was doused in old black and white. And like Dorothy’s traditional Kansas, the music somersaulted and spun until the audience wasn’t sure which way was up, before the tune finally landed in a long instrumental breakdown, blooming in full Technicolor.
Many deft stretches of four-instrument interplay later, the group masterfully segued back into “New Horizons” as the dancing crowd gasped in awe and wildly cheered. From there the table was set for a show filled with a nice balance of straightforward bluegrass and more progressive excursions. Each member—Jeff Austin on mandolin, Adam Aijala on guitar, Ben Kaufmann on bass and Dave Johnston on banjo—took his turn in the spotlight, providing lead vocals, taking solos and spearheading the improvisation. They were four swimmers in a 4×400 medley relay, each bringing different skills and sounds to the mix. The first set ended strongly with Austin leading them into dark territory on “Follow Me Down to the Riverside,” which stretched out and skillfully came back.
The crowd barely thinned for the second set, which was much like the first, but with a rowdier band playing to a rowdier audience. Shorter, song-oriented material made way for long instrumental stretches. The highlight block was midway through with “Wind’s on Fire” going straight into a more Irish folkie kind of thing with “Cuckoo’s Nest” that disintegrated into a spacey duo jam between Austin and Aijala, disco lights providing an eternally spinning starry sky over the crowd. Eventually the circle was completed as, once again, the band showed extreme skill, hitting the return to “Wind’s on Fire” like a master craftsman hitting the proverbial nail on the head. As the clock hit midnight, the show came to an end, but Yonder Mountain left no doubt of a return to Brooklyn and, as Austin promised to the packed house, next time for “more than one night.” —A. Stein
Los Campesinos! – Brooklyn Bowl – June 23, 2012
Los Campesinos!, the septet from Cardiff, Wales, has had a rotating corral of young adults (whose members all take Campesinos as their surname) migrate in and out over the past few years. Nevertheless, at the band’s core is joyous indie pop that masks deep, melancholy lyrics. Playing material from their latest album, Hello Sadness, Los Campesinos!, anchored by frontman Gareth Campesinos, put on a high-energy show on Saturday night.
The large contingent of LC! fans were singing and dancing along from the opener, “By Your Hand.” The audience was treated to a timeline of the group’s catalog with “Romance Is Boring,” the title track from their previous album, “Death to Los Campesinos!” from Hold on Now, Youngster … and back to recent single and title track, “Hello Sadness.” Gareth introduced “Miserabilia” as a song about dying alone and with lyrics like, “Shout at the world because the world doesn’t love you/ Lower yourself because you know that you’ll have to,” there’s no doubt here about the misery.
Needless to say Los Campesinos! don’t do ballads: “We aren’t playing slow songs in case someone has a stroke,” Gareth informed the crowd before the band thundered into “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.” As the night neared the end, LC! played the infectious “You! Me! Dancing!” Despite the need to get on the road (the band had to get to Pittsburgh by 2:45 on Sunday afternoon to watch England play Italy in the European Cup), Los Campesinos! returned to the stage for an encore of “The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future” and “Baby I Got the Death Rattle.” No spares were had Saturday night at Brooklyn Bowl, only strikes into the hearts of the band’s fans. —Sharlene Chiu
Anders Osborne – Brooklyn Bowl – June 21, 2012
We’re certain it was Walt Whitman who said, “I contain multitudes” and not Anders Osborne and his “I am large” guitar, right? The way he played last night at Brooklyn Bowl, Osborne exhibited deep, multifaceted levels, a multitude of sounds and emotions that he was very willing to share with the crowd. The first two songs, including “Love Is Taking Its Toll,” were novels, epic novels, together zigzagging through several different sections and themes; each with its own guitar solo, each solo somehow containing multiple tones, like a schizophrenic conversation between Osborne and himself until 45 minutes had passed and the crowd was a sweaty mess.
As Osborne churned away like a crazed writer banging away at the typewriter, his bandmates—Carl Dufresne on bass and Eric Bolivar on drums—acted as the editors: the former adding punctuation marks to the prose, a comma here, an exclamation point there, and the other underlining, italicizing and occasionally bold-facing where appropriate. Then came the guests and the covers. They seemed to join the stage hand in hand, Noah’s Ark style, two by two to try their luck with the ferocious lion of Osborne’s guitar. There was a jubilant reggae version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” which brought out opener Billy Iuso, followed by an even weirder take on Dr. John’s already-weird-enough “I Walk on Guilded Splinters,” a depth-charge version of Little Feat’s “Spanish Moon” and a sing-along rendition of Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” while the stage was filled with guys on organ, harmonica and saxophone.
But the beaming, leonine Osborne saved the best for last: The ecstatic crowd was treated to an encore of a semi-acoustic “Tracking My Roots” and a great version of the Grateful Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower.” Watching Osborne wrap up another depth-defying NYC show, continuing an amazing rebirth, resurgence and reinvention, emptying his heart over and over for the family-like crowd, Whitman’s words return: “I celebrate myself, and sing myself.” —A. Stein
Just as Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon once recorded lo-fi four-track songs in Wisconsin, Yellow Ostrich’s Alex Schaaf did just the same while in college there. Upon relocating to New York City he made even more music, self-releasing much of it for free. And then the band expanded in size, thanks to the addition of multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez and drummer Michael Tapper, and sonically, with the trio moving from moody solo music toward the full sound of a legitimate rock band, evidenced by their new album, Strange Land. As today’s featured band on The Bowery Presents Live, they perform one of its songs, “Marathon Runner,” in a Brooklyn set-design shop. Plus they talk about how they met, melding their influences into one sound and using music to connect with others. For more videos like this and live-streamed shows, cool performances and intimate interviews, make sure you subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live.
Tags: Alex Schaaf, Bon Iver, Brooklyn Bowl, Jon Natchez, Justin Vernon, Los Campesinos!, Michael Tapper, Strange Land, The Bowery Presents Live, Video, Yellow Ostrich
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J. Roddy Walston and the Business > Lucero > Portugal. The Man > the Greyboy Allstars – Webster Hall > Music Hall of Williamsburg > Brooklyn Bowl – April 20, 2012
Just like farmers do with their crops, I rotate my vices. And so although 4/20 is a smoker’s holiday, since I’d just returned to drinking after some time off, I needed to build up my brown-liquor tolerance in preparation for Jazz Fest, two weeks away. So I grabbed a team of idiots and headed out to see four bands at three venues in two boroughs in one night. J. Roddy Walston and the Business got things started at Webster Hall with “Don’t Break the Needle.” The boisterous crowd, which steadily grew throughout the set, throatily sang along from the get-go. It was hard to believe it was only 7:30 on a Friday, but the Baltimore-based band continued with the pedal to the metal, pumping out bluesy rock and roll for nearly an hour, the perfect way to begin our mission.
Next came the country-punk-rock mashup of headliner Lucero. I’m a big fan of their latest album, Women & Work, so I welcomed the chance to finally hear some of the new songs, like “On My Way Downtown,” “It May Be too Late” and “Juniper,” fleshed out live. Lucero was in fine form and singer Ben Nichols’ gravelly, whiskey-soaked voice was as evocative as ever. Having toured together before, these bands are perfect complements and seem, musically, to be two peas in a pod. It was a great one-two punch of party music. But with Webster Hall making the early changeover to club night, we headed to the L to go to Williamsburg for two more shows.
Since I first saw them at Bonnaroo in 2008, Portugal. The Man has steadily gained in popularity and gone through a number of changes. They rarely have the same look—or even lineup—on consecutive tours. But no matter, because their sound remains unaffected. At Music Hall of Williamsburg, frontman John Gourley was no longer front and center, instead positioned all the way to the left, sort of standing sideways. The band covered a fair amount of the The Satanic Satanist and In the Mountain in the Cloud albums. And again, the crowd loudly sang along, especially on “People Say” and the Beatles covers “Helter Skelter” and “Hey Jude.” While the show was sponsored by Jägermeister, the exploratory jams combined perfectly with my now-Jameson-addled head.
The music progressively grew jammier each stop along the way, which worked out well, as our diminishing communication skills had basically become nothing more than head nods and hand signals by the time we reached Brooklyn Bowl for the Greyboy Allstars. And it was refreshing to know after nearly 20 years, this funk-jazz conglomerate is still laying it down. We arrived for part of the third set, which consisted of a fair amount of Michael Jackson teases (if not whole covers). Altogether it was a night of running into old friends while managing to make some new ones, an unlimited amount of hearty “to Levon!” toasts, plus some good old-fashioned drinking in the street and smoking in a cab. It was the perfect warm-up. New Orleans awaits. —R. Zizmor
Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com
Tags: Aaron Redfield, Ben Nichols, Brooklyn Bowl, Chris Stillwell, Elgin Park, Greyboy Allstars, In the Mountain in the Cloud, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, John Gourley, Karl Denson, Lucero, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Photos, Portugal. The Man, Review, Robert Walter, The Satanic Satanist, Webster Hall, Women & Work
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