Tag Archives: Carnegie Hall

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Simply Magnificent

November 27th, 2012

Ray LaMontagne – Carnegie Hall – November 26, 2012


It’s impossible to define who Ray LaMontagne is without mentioning his voice in the first sentence. It’s what makes his music so recognizable. It’s the first thing most listeners fall in love with, and it’s what makes his songs so wonderfully enchanting. It’s as though all the edges of his voice have been sandpapered down smooth. That all of his songs are expressed through this rustic and raspy singing voice somehow makes them sound all the sweeter, more sincere. It also fills a space like Carnegie Hall beautifully.

Performing for a sold-out audience in the biggest city in the country, LaMontagne started off things with “New York City’s Killing Me,” a folksy damning of the sometimes callousness of the giant city we call home. It was a perfect way to transition the audience from the noisy world outside Carnegie Hall into the hushed tenderness of LaMontagne’s music. With just an acoustic guitar and backing bassist, this tour marks the first time in a while that LaMontagne’s been without his band, the Pariah Dogs. The stripped-down versions of his songs, both old and new, allowed for the few elements holding together the music to fill the hall. Despite minimalist sound, the show swung to both sides of the dynamics spectrum: Quieter songs like “Sarah” sounded like they were sung as a whisper, like LaMontagne was letting in the audience on a delicate secret. The way such gentle songs contrasted to louder moments, like the pleas in “Trouble,” made such songs sound like the work of another artist entirely.

Last night’s show came with some surprises. LaMontagne played an unreleased song from his first record, Trouble, a self-described Western epic inspired by the late Townes Van Zandt’s “Poncho & Lefty.” For the second half, LaMontagne brought out a special guest, Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, whose high harmonies floated majestically above LaMontagne’s own voice. Someone in the audience actually shouted “Freebird!” when LaMontagne stepped out for his encore, to which he responded while laughing: “In these hallowed halls some motherfucker yells ‘Freebird.’” He didn’t play the tune, but just about every other song of his was covered, and magnificently at that. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com

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A Legend Says Goodbye in a Legendary Place

October 12th, 2012

Glen Campbell is a legend. Sure, he’s an icon of country music, which he began making almost 55 years ago, but in releasing more than 70 albums, he’s also covered a wide musical terrain, including folk, gospel and rock. He’s known for hits like “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and he even found time to star alongside John Wayne in True Grit. And now after all those years on the road, Campbell (above, performing “Try a Little Kindness”) is on his Goodbye Tour. See him live one more time tomorrow night at Carnegie Hall.

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Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Carnegie Hall – January 7, 2012

January 9th, 2012


Photos courtesy of Michael Jurick | music.jurick.net

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Joanna Newsom – Carnegie Hall – November 23, 2010

November 24th, 2010

Joanna Newsom - Carnegie Hall - November 23, 2010

Photos courtesy of Mina K

The Courteeners – Mercury Lounge – March 17, 2009

March 18th, 2009

the-courteenersWith a simple “Hey, New York, good evening,” the Courteeners launched into a quick, energetic set last night at the Mercury Lounge. While the room was a fairly even male-female split, the ladies remained the vocal majority throughout—drunk, perhaps, on a combination of St. Patrick’s Day revelry and singer-guitarist Liam Fray’s smooth voice and considerable charm. Although they haven’t even played together for three full years, the Courteeners have a surprisingly polished sound.

The band, in the playful, creative space between releasing its debut album, St. Jude, and readying the next one, played to its strengths, much to the delight of the adoring crowd. Audience members sang along excitedly—and, at times, did all of the singing. And on songs like “Tear Me Apart” (a new one) and “Not Nineteen Forever,” enthusiastic concertgoers pogoed up and down happily. But it was the last song, a cover of fellow Mancunian band James’ “Tomorrow” that really whipped people into a frenzy. As the set came to a close, the warm room was filled with sweaty, smiling faces. And from the back of the room, a girl remarked, “It smells like English people in here.”

That English smell is sure to continue as these four lads from Manchester open for (noted Courteeners fan) Morrissey at The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday, March 21st, Webster Hall on Tuesday, March 25th and Carnegie Hall on Thursday, March 26th. —R. Zizmor