Tag Archives: Brooklyn Bowl

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A Celebration of the Rich Musical History of Memphis

February 12th, 2015

Take Me to the River – Brooklyn Bowl – February 11, 2015

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Last night Brooklyn Bowl hosted a celebration of the rich musical history of Memphis, Tenn., in conjunction with Take Me to the River, a new documentary that traces the roots of the incredible blues, soul and R&B that originated in the city and shows how new generations of artists are carrying on and reinventing this musical legacy. That legacy was on display last night, beginning with the Hi Rhythm Section—musicians who once backed Al Green among many others—performing as the house band for the night.

With expert style, the Hi Rythym Section treated the crowd to a wide range of Memphis music history, as a rotating cast of multigenerational performers took the stage. Otis Clay, who was celebrating his 73rd birthday, performed a soulful rendition of “Precious Precious,” while later Bobby Rush, in a crisp white suit, looking (and sounding) great at 81, performed the Stax Records hit “Push and Pull” alongside rapper Frayser Boy (of “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” fame). Later, William Bell worked his magic on a cover of “Knock on Wood” before enlisting rapper Al Kapone to help perform “I Forgot to Be Your Lover,” a smooth new song featured in the film. In addition to the foundational and contemporary Memphis performers who came together last night, the show featured some very up-and-coming young musicians from the Stax Records Academy, a music school that mentors and trains the next generation of Memphis musicians.

By night’s end, there was really only one natural choice for the finale: So all of the performers crowded onto the stage to collaborate on a rendition of the Al Green version of “Take Me to the River,” joined by Jerry Harrison, of Talking Heads (whose popular cover of the song is yet another example of the impact and power of Memphis music). It was a joyful, freewheeling, inclusive sing-along—a nice distillation of the spirit of Memphis, now and then. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

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Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – Brooklyn Bowl – February 7, 2015

February 9th, 2015

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – Brooklyn Bowl – February 7, 2015

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Greensky Bluegrass Use a Little Bit of Everything to Brooklyn

January 30th, 2015

Greensky Bluegrass – Brooklyn Bowl – January 29, 2015

(Photo: Chris Monaghan)

(Photo: Chris Monaghan)

“We’re a bluegrass band.” That’s what members of Greensky Bluegrass kept announcing between songs at last night’s sold-out show at Brooklyn Bowl. At first, I was like, “Duh, it’s in your name!” But after a few decidedly out-there jams, I finally picked up on the very bluegrass joke. They definitely have the proper instrumentation (banjo, guitar, dobro, mandolin, bass), and they can play comfortably in the genre—but Greensky Bluegrass were playing with a jam-band style in rock club beneath a light show suitable for an EDM show. (Yes, Greensky Bluegrass are one of the few bands I’ve seen bring their own lighting rig.)

The set began with a dobro-heavy “Just to Lie” that showed off their abilities in the standard-bluegrass region before quickly going off course into a darker, minor-key piece with the lights following suit. This led to some deep hallucinogenic jamming that featured excellent playing from each of the band’s instrumentalists, with multiple build-and-release moments that prompted a healthy “whoop” from the packed house. Twenty minutes later, the opening sequence finally came to a climactic end. The crowd and band now settled in, Greensky crafted a two-set show filled with genre-straddling songs and jams, deftly flipping between the more traditional and progressive and whatever it is that’s beyond that. The lights followed suit, zipping through all of the colors of the rainbow and beyond, sometimes in unexpected combinations—an apt visual metaphor for the music being made. NYC jam-guest extraordinaire Eric Krasno came out for the first-set-closing cover of Norton Buffalo’s “Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox,” a song made popular by Jerry Garcia but perfectly suited for a duel between dobro player Anders Beck and Krasno.

Things got even deeper during the second set, which opened with a dark, country-rock “Bring Out Your Dead.” The second guest of the night, Andy Falco of the Infamous Stringdusters, came out to help on Bill Monroe’s “Working on a Building,” yellow spotlights emanating from the stage like beams from the sun, before jamming out admirably on a David Grisman number. Throughout the second set, Greensky Bluegrass started in a place that felt recognizably connected to bluegrass but would then venture far into something different. The closing song was a prime example, the music dipped into an almost trance jam before returning to the theme and then running off again exploring in impressive fashion. The encore seemed designed to ground everyone again, Greensky calling out Krasno once more to help with a cover of the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider,” the crowd singing along at full volume, and the bluegrass band doing a pretty good Southern rock impression with a little help from their friend.—A. Stein | @Neddyo

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RJD2 – Brooklyn Bowl – January 13, 2015

January 14th, 2015

RJD2 - Brooklyn Bowl - January 13, 2015

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

(RJD2 plays Brooklyn Bowl again tonight.)

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We’ve Got You Covered on New Year’s Eve

December 30th, 2014

The thing about New Year’s Eve is that it’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s expectations of what the night should be. When on the last night of the year you should think about yourself for once and do what you want to do. And if that’s going to see some terrific bands play live music, then good news, we’ve got you covered. PhilRAD (featuring Phil Lesh and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead) at the Capitol Theatre and the Hold Steady at Music Hall of Williamsburg are already sold out—although we’re giving away two tickets to the Hold Steady.

But don’t despair because: Mercury Lounge has local rockers Black Taxi, along with Little Racer and Brothertiger, at the early show, and Mr. Brownstone doing terrific covers of Guns N’ Roses at the late show. Deer Tick close out their six-night 10th-anniversary residency at Brooklyn Bowl doing a fan-selected set with special guest T. Hardy Morris (of Dead Confederate and Diamond Rugs fame). Playing on the big stage at Terminal 5, Erasure—joined by Book of Love and Alex English—finish their two-night run. Reunited after an eight-year hiatus, emo trio Rainer Maria headline The Bowery Ballroom, with Moss Icon and Petal opening. And following opening sets by Mail the Horse and Twain, Spirit Family Reunion will have everyone at Rough Trade NYC clapping and stomping along as we welcome in 2015.

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Deer Tick Don’t Need a Reason to Throw a Party

December 29th, 2014

Deer Tick – Brooklyn Bowl – December 28, 2014

Deer Tick – Brooklyn Bowl – December 28, 2014
If Deer Tick have proved anything over the past 10 years, it’s that they don’t need an excuse to celebrate: Their shows are always equal parts rock concert and private party. So when there really is a reason to throw a bash, like, say, their 10-year anniversary this month, well, they really go all out. Sunday night found them halfway into a six-night New Year’s run at Brooklyn Bowl, each date featuring special guests and album covers and plenty of surprises. Last night’s first set was Deer Tick’s take on Meet the Beatles, an interesting selection to say the least. Wearing matching custom bowling shirts commemorating the anniversary, they got things moving with spot-on renditions of the opening one-two of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” McCauley’s Providence, R.I., growl provided a Deer Tick warmth to the well-known songs. He joked that he would sing the Lennon parts, Ian O’Neil would sing the McCartney parts, but they had no George Harrison, so they invited the night’s first guest, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, to sing “Don’t Bother Me.” His manic presence on vocals loosened the band a little. Later the Felice Brothers’ James Felice played accordion to the same effect, punctuating a set that was equally fun for the band and packed house alike.

Following a short break, just McCauley and Goldsmith returned to play as “Little Brother,” performing material from the Middle Brother collaboration they were involved in a few years ago. The audience went quiet at once, savoring the special treat while the duet spun a stellar four-song mini-set that included “Daydreaming,” “Thanks for Nothing” and “Million Dollar Bill,” the stage dappled in colored lights adding to the special feeling in the room. By the time Deer Tick proper took the stage to play their own material, it felt like we’d already been treated to a celebration worthy of 10 years, but of course the guys had plenty more in the tank, pulling out rarities like “Hand in My Hand” and crowd-favorite sing-alongs like “Main Street,” which anchored the strongest stretch of the evening.

Just when things felt like they were winding down, Deer Tick brought out the Replacements’ Tommy Stinson to lead a couple of songs, including a barn-burning version of the Who’s “The Kids Are Alright” that had Dennis Ryan impressively going all Keith Moon behind the kit. It didn’t seem possible to top that, but Deer Tick had no problem trying, bringing about a dozen guests onstage, including Stinson, Goldsmith, Felice as well as Robert Ellis and opener Joe Fletcher, all in their own bowling shirts, I might add. They led the crowd in a rousing version of “Goodnight, Irene” that was appropriately epic to end a weeklong celebration. But it really only marked the midway point of the week and, who knows, maybe their career. But one thing’s for sure, Deer Tick are just getting started.
—A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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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