Tag Archives: Damien Rice

cat_preview

James Vincent McMorrow Brings Brand-New Tunes to Brooklyn Steel

June 13th, 2017

There’s something about Ireland that breeds singer-songwriters, like Damien Rice, Villagers and Hozier. Enter James Vincent McMorrow. Having only picked up a guitar at the age of 19, the late boomer quickly tried to master other instruments in order to create richer layers of composition. Like a Celtic Bon Iver, he trapped himself in a house on an Irish coast to produce his 2010 debut, Early in the Morning (stream it below). McMorrow didn’t return with the follow-up, Post Tropical (stream it below), which shined more on his R&B and soul influences rather than folk music, for nearly four years. But he’s been downright prolific ever since. In fact McMorrow’s fourth full-length—and third in four years—True Care (stream it below), suddenly arrived just a few weeks ago. The Irish Times says, “McMorrow presents 15 new tunes that further consolidate his position as a songwriter of meaningful, depth-charged soul music.” While the Irish Examiner calls the album “a sublime, abstracted gift that keeps on giving.” And having just kicked off a North American tour in support of the new LP, McMorrow (above, performing “Get Low,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and, below, covering “Purple Rain”) returns to NYC to play Brooklyn Steel on Thursday night. —Sharlene Chiu

cat_reviews

Lisa Hannigan Makes a Triumphant Return at The Bowery Ballroom

February 21st, 2017

Lisa Hannigan – The Bowery Ballroom – February 20, 2017

LISA-HANNIGAN(c)Rich-Gilligan-img_8067-1_web
Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan has a way of wrapping you in a warm woolen blanket with delicate vocals that seem to embrace you in a loving hug. Often known for her backing vocals while touring in the past with Damien Rice, she has forged on to release three solo albums after an abrupt break from her former collaborator. Her previous album produced with the National’s Aaron Dessner, At Swim, arrived last summer following a long five-year hiatus. Needless to say, fans were excited for her return to New York City as she arrived at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night, midway through her U.S. tour.

The room came to a hush as Hannigan took to the stage crooning the ever-haunting “Ora.” Although she was sparse with banter throughout the evening, fans didn’t seem to mind as they happily soaked up her ethereal melodies. Opener Heather Woods Broderick added her vocals on “O Sleep,” stepping in for Ray Lamontagne. Hannigan mentioned how her video for “Undertow” was recently released and that in the filming she had to sing the song backward. The singer playfully proceeded to share her backward trill, before introducing a protest song, “Fall,” which was an appropriate addition to the events of Presidents’ Day.

The band exited, leaving the stage to the lass for the music-box plucks of “Little Bird” and the wanderlusting “Passenger.” Her lilting brogue rang true on “We, the Drowned,” as Hannigan pumped her harmonium with extra zeal. Stalwart fans were delighted by “Lille,” an oldie from her debut solo, Sea Sew. An encore opened with an a cappella version of “Anahorish” accompanied by Broderick and her bassist before the performance concluded with the pair of “Barton” and the uplifting “A Sail.” —Sharlene Chiu

 

 

cat_preview

Rodrigo y Gabriela Return to Play the Capitol Theatre on Friday

June 17th, 2015

When Rodrigo Sanchez (lead guitar) and Gabriela Quintero (rhythm guitar) met as teenagers in Mexico City, they discovered a mutual musical taste and formed the thrash-metal band Tierra Acida. When that ultimately didn’t pan out (they recorded music that was never released), the duo began to learn different guitar styles, taking a liking to fast, rhythmic acoustic guitars. Finding the Americas stifling, they set out for Europe, landing in Dublin, where Rodrigo y Gabriela honed their fast and lively acoustic sound (incorporating some Zeppelin and Metallica along the way) in pubs and on streets. Then one-time busker Damien Rice asked them to tour with him and things took off from there. Ever since, Rodrigo y Gabriela (above, performing “Soundmaker” for KEXP FM) have been mashing up rock, classical, Latin, world music and heavy metal into their own unique sound over the course of several acclaimed live albums and studio full-lengths. The most recent of which, 9 Dead Alive (stream it below), just came out today. The new tunes eschew some of the pair’s Latin influences in favor of straight-ahead (acoustic) rock. According to AllMusic, “There isn’t a dull moment in these 41 minutes.” And furthermore, “This album evidences an expanded creative reach for the pair, even as it reengages the sharp edges they displayed on earlier recordings.” Catch Rodrigo y Gabriela on Friday night at the Capitol Theatre. Soul-folk duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear open.

cat_reviews

Damien Rice’s Triumphant Return at the Beacon Theatre

April 6th, 2015

Damien Rice – Beacon Theatre – April 4, 2015

damien_rice
It’s been a very long eight years without Damien Rice’s moody, heart-aching ballads. And there’s something to be said about stretches of absence that perpetrate a yearning desire for an artist’s new material. Rice isn’t the kind of guy who’s rolling in the green, but rather he’s the type of guy who moves from his native Ireland to Iceland to renew his love for making music. Finally, back with his long-anticipated third studio album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, he’s embarked on a tour minus his longtime collaborator, Lisa Hannigan, who’s set off on her own solo effort. And for this longstanding fan, it was hard news to take as the two truly complemented each other, but Rice’s headlining set at a sold-out Beacon Theatre on Saturday night provided a bittersweet reprieve.

Beginning the show literally on his knees, Rice opened with an acoustic rendition of “My Favourite Faded Fantasy” before taking his place behind the microphone for “9 Crimes.” The set interweaved his last album with treasured fan favorites. And thanks to his Irish brogue, women in the balcony requested he take of his shirt, but Rice playfully responded by serenading them with “It Takes a Lot to Know a Man” instead. I’m sure another gent in the audience, Mr. Jon Bon Jovi, appreciated the ploy. As if that weren’t cheeky enough, Rice requested some wine only to raise his glass while commencing with an old favorite, “Cheers.” From lyrics to personal reflections, he philosophized throughout the night about the driving theme in his songs—love. It takes a lot for a solo artist to command a stage like the Beacon, but Rice made it seem effortless as he rode old tunes to new and imaginative heights. That was especially true for “I Remember,” when he had to make up for the missing duality of Hannigan’s chilly work, which was acknowledged by an outspoken fan who yelled, “Where’s Lisa?”

With the performance drawing to a close, Rice returned for an encore with a harmonium-accompanied version of “Long Long Way,” a rollicking “Volcano” and “The Greatest Bastard.” Introducing his fellow countryman with sentimental stories about seeing him as a teenager, Glen Hansard took the stage unprepared but still managed a flawless take of “High Hope.” To cap off the night, the two covered Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2,” a location-appropriate nod to the Big Apple and its history of folk singer-songwriters. —Sharlene Chiu

cat_preview

Three Nights of Acclaimed Guitar Duo Rodrigo y Gabriela

April 29th, 2014

When Rodrigo Sanchez (lead guitar) and Gabriela Quintero (rhythm guitar) met as teenagers in Mexico City, they discovered a mutual musical taste and formed the thrash-metal band Tierra Acida. When that ultimately didn’t pan out (they recorded music that was never released), the duo began to learn different guitar styles, taking a liking to fast, rhythmic acoustic guitars. Finding the Americas stifling, they set out for Europe, landing in Dublin, where Rodrigo y Gabriela honed their fast and lively acoustic sound (incorporating some Zeppelin and Metallica along the way) in pubs and on streets. Then one-time busker Damien Rice asked them to tour with him and things eventually took off. Ever since, Rodrigo y Gabriela (above, performing “Somnium” and “Torito”) have been mashing up rock, classical, Latin, world music and heavy metal into their own unique sound over the course of several acclaimed live albums and studio full-lengths. The most recent of which, 9 Dead Alive (stream it below), just came out today. The new tunes eschew some of the pair’s Latin influences in favor of straight-ahead (acoustic) rock. According to AllMusic, “There isn’t a dull moment in these 41 minutes.” And furthermore, “This album evidences an expanded creative reach for the pair, even as it reengages the sharp edges they displayed on earlier recordings.” Rodrigo y Gabriela celebrate the new release with three nights at the Beacon Theatre, Thursday, Friday (sold out) and Saturday.

cat_preview

James Vincent McMorrow Closes East Coast Swing in Williamsburg

April 14th, 2014

James Vincent McMorrow – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 11, 2014

James Vincent McMorrow – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 11, 2014
There is something about Ireland that breeds singer-songwriters, like Damien Rice, Villagers and the recent buzz-worthy Hozier. Enter James Vincent McMorrow. Having only picked up a guitar at the age of 19, the late boomer quickly tried to master other instruments in order to create richer layers of composition. Like a Celtic Bon Iver, McMorrow trapped himself in a house on an Irish coast to produce his 2010 debut, Early in the Morning. He recently returned to the limelight with his follow-up, Post Tropical, which dropped earlier this year. Although he’s categorized as a folk singer, McMorrow’s sophomore effort definitely shines more on the R&B and soul influences in his music.

On Friday, playing the second of two sold-out New York City shows (the first at The Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday), the Irishman descended onstage at Music Hall of Williamsburg to riotous cheers that never really let up all night. Between “Hear the Noise That Moves So Soft and Low” and “Glacier,” the crowd chatter came to a fever pitch before hushing sounds echoed throughout the venue for McMorrow’s distinct high-pitched falsetto to ring clear. Conversation ebbed and flowed between songs, which continued with the singer-songwriter appropriately bathed in red lights for “Red Dust.” He didn’t address fans until halfway into his set, expressing his thankfulness to close out his amazing American tour in Brooklyn.

The fans couldn’t hold in their appreciation, shouting out, ”Sing it” and “Come on, Ireland” during songs. Concertgoers clapped along to “We Don’t Eat” and joined in to sing the chorus, “That we don’t eat until your father’s at the table/ We don’t drink until the devil’s turned to dust.” At times the outbursts interfered with the performance, like when McMorrow performed the D’Angelo-inspired “Cavalier.” It could have been a special moment when silence would have elevated the song, but the spell was broken time and again. Nevertheless, McMorrow performed a rare solo cover of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love.” And following a brief exit, he returned for a two-song encore: “And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop” and “If I Had a Boat.” —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com