Tag Archives: Brooklyn

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Sylvan Esso Triumphantly Return to Celebrate Brooklyn

July 27th, 2017

Sylvan Esso – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – July 26, 2017


(Sylvan Esso play My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday on 3/2-6.)

Killer squirrels be damned, last night Sylvan Esso returned to Prospect Park, almost two years to the day since they’d last performed there. Not even signs around the park warning of our now infamous and unusually aggressive squirrel with a taste for human flesh could tamp down the mood of an otherwise beautiful night for music. “We had a lovely weekend in your city. Last night we saw Phish. It was my first time,” said singer Amelia Meath. “And my 22nd,” added Sylvan Esso producer and beat-master Nick Sanborn. “I get it, I got it, I got it. I think I got it,” said Meath, referring to the Phish “thing.”

For anyone unfamiliar with a Sylvan Esso live show, it’s important to note that Meath can fucking dance. “Man, she’s GOING for it,” said a woman next to me two songs into the set. Slithering, snaking her body through a web of beats, whipping around a ponytail, Meath can make a big stage seem somehow not big enough for two people: They own it. Outdoor shows can make everything seem bigger, but providing the backdrop for this dance-y performance mutated their bedroom pop songs into downright pop anthems—and they’re pop anthems the world seems to need right now.

“This song is about feeling good and making yourself feel good. Whether it’s in your own skin or your mother-fucking country, we stand with you everyday,” said Meath introducing “Dress.” Something about this musical duo has made sense from Day One. Meath’s silky smooth voice contrasts beautifully against Sanborn’s choppy, scattered beats. “Signal,” maybe the craziest beat of any of their songs, had Meath’s voice split into octaves harmonizing with itself. Their megahit, “Coffee,” came out as the mid-set stimulant, complete with “get up, get down” sing-alongs. Just two albums in and Sylvan Esso already have an impressive roster of insanely catchy songs, like “Just Dancing,” “Hey Mami” and “H.S.K.T.” The twosome closed the set with their first single off their second album, “Radio.” It’s a huge amount of pop songs to be written by a duo. Most other pop acts get, at best, a few singles off each album, worked many times over by massive teams of the world’s most renowned producers in music. But Sylan Esso are a David in a world of pop Goliaths, and Goddamn can that David dance. —Dan Rickershauser |@D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

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The Kills – Brooklyn Steel – July 21, 2017

July 24th, 2017


Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Ride – Brooklyn Steel – July 21, 2017

July 21st, 2017


Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com

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Conor Oberst – Celebrate Brooklyn – July 20, 2017

July 21st, 2017


Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Nas – Brooklyn Steel – July 19, 2017

July 20th, 2017


Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Planetarium’s Wondrous Aural Expansion at Celebrate Brooklyn

July 19th, 2017

Planetarium – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – July 18, 2017


Upon reflection, I can’t say that I’ve ever before seen a concert for one album that was recomposed from original concert performances. Planetarium is this year’s grand, ambitious concept album that originated years ago when contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly was commissioned by Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven to create a performance piece. With the cosmos as his muse, Muhly recruited friends and contemporaries Sufjan Stevens, the National’s Bryce Dessner and the multidimensional James McAlister to bring an ode to the universe to life. Those live performances were unearthed and reconstructed in studio and are now returning to their point of genesis as a monumental set of live renditions played in a small run of special engagements.

Last night, the unexpected quartet, backed by brass and string sections, unleashed Planetarium before an awestruck turnout at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Special engagements call for special venues and the always enchanting Bandshell’s open natural amphitheater space, nestled among grand old trees, was the obvious home for a performance that needed the freedom to spread into the atmosphere. For this manifestation of universal magnificence here were the fearless voyagers, each a conduit of the sonic forces that merged into a glorious big bang. Their express mission was to widen scope and to inspire earthbound beings to expand perspective at all opportunities.

On this tour through the planets of our solar system, Stevens, doused in glitter to symbolize the infinitum is stars, served as the quintessential vocal guide. After floating in on piano keys from the heavens as an introduction to “Neptune,” he took a moment to welcome everyone with a few words on the significance of their musical observance of the universe. “We must remind ourselves that the universe holds an abundance of truth and purity, dignity and light … let us all remember that.” Joining Stevens, Muhly sat behind his grand piano like the captain at a spaceship’s control deck, his role to lend a limitless depth of field. McAlister, the percussive wizard, sat at his expanded drum set, gracefully keeping time in a timeless medium and adding flourishes of cymbal when needed. All the while, Dessner, armed with his trusted guitar, provided masterful manipulation of guitar strings issuing forth as a million beams of light, adding the particulate matter to the grand tapestry. In the beginning, there was sound, glorious and immeasurable—and artistically reinterpreted by this group of talented musicians, it was a singular and magical thing to behold. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

 

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Warpaint – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 18, 2017

July 19th, 2017


Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com

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Conor Oberst Headlines Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park

July 18th, 2017

What a thrilling ride it’s been to watch Conor Oberst (above, performing “Tachycardia” at the Sydney Opera House) grow up. Beginning his insanely prolific singer-songwriter career, as Bright Eyes, at the ripe age of 13, Oberst’s releases have tested the limits of multiple genres (check out his politically charged punk band Desaparecidos if you need proof) all while strengthening his skills as one of the best lyricists of the past 20 years. And while it might be lazy to throw out the Dylan comparisons, hey, they both grew up in the Midwest. There must be something in the water? Oberst has put out records in the past under his own name accompanied by the Mystic Valley Band, but his 2008 eponymous album (stream it below) was truly his first solo venture. Last year’s Ruminations (stream it below) went further down that path as he stripped down his songs to their ribcages with only Oberst playing guitar, piano and the occasional harmonica. He later released a full-band companion version of that album titled Salutations with Catskill Mountains’ favorite sons the Felice Brothers acting as his backing band. Oberst and the Felice Brothers will bring songs from his entire career to the Prospect Park Bandshell on Thursday for an electrifying night of music. Philly rock royalty Hop Along and Brooklyn’s own Big Thief will open. Show up early so you don’t miss these two great bands for what will be one of the most stacked bills of the summer. —Pat King | @MrPatKing

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A Double Dose of Pokey LaFarge in New York City This Week

July 11th, 2017

Pokey LaFarge, born Andrew Heissler, is what you might call an old soul. You could imagine him, plucking away with that whipcrack band, at the Cotton Club or some other bygone temple of ancient, potent music, stirring up impure thoughts and a hankering for more gin or whiskey. He’s on tour again, this time behind Manic Revelations (stream it below), which fleshes out his sepia-toned blues, rockabilly and Western swing with Memphis soul and gospel elements, complete with horns—and a framing of current political themes. The first place to start is “Riot in the Streets,” which the New York Times was right in calling “like an explanation of now, delivered in an ancient language.” A St. Louis native, LaFarge (above, performing “Bad Dreams” for KCMP FM) addresses the death of Michael Brown, police victimization and media bias. “What I wanted to convey was the desperation people feel when they have been pushed to brink,” he told the Huffington Post in May. “No more talking. No more waiting. No more silence. Sometimes you have to fight.” You get him twice this week: Wednesday at The Bowery Ballroom and Thursday at Rough Trade NYC. And you can expect a healthy focus on the 10 outstanding Manic tracks with a judicious sampling of material going back to his 2006 debut. His band is the South City Three, including bass, harmonica, electric guitar, drums, clarinet, sax and trumpet, with a few other variables as they see fit. Go from there and relish the retro flavor. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

 

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Paperwhite – Rough Trade NYC – July 7, 2017

July 10th, 2017


Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Arca & Jesse Kanda Live – Brooklyn Steel – July 6, 2017

July 7th, 2017


Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com

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A Bright Light Bright Light Dance Party at Music Hall of Williamsburg

July 5th, 2017

London-based Welsh singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rod Thomas has been combining electronics, disco, synth pop and house music into his own unique sound as Bright Light Bright Light since 2010, moving people to the dance floor on both sides of the Atlantic ever since. In the process, Thomas has garnered the attention of Elton John, Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters) and Alan Cumming, each of whom appeared on the most recent Bright Light Bright Light album, last year’s Choreography (stream it below), which AllMusic called “Thomas’s biggest, boldest and most personal statement to date, it was a bright, Technicolor pop record inspired by his love of the music and movies of the ’80s and ’90s.” Find out why the Rocket Man is such a fan when Bright Light Bright Light (above, performing “All in the Name” with Elton John on The Graham Norton Show) plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night. NYC’s Ariana and the Rose open the show.

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Aimee Mann – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 26, 2017

June 27th, 2017


Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Portugal. The Man – Rough Trade NYC – June 20, 2017

June 21st, 2017


Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

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The Shins – Celebrate Brooklyn – June 15, 2017

June 16th, 2017


Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com