Tag Archives: Dan Auerbach


Old Friends in a New Band at Mercury Lounge

June 4th, 2014

Spanish Gold – Mercury Lounge – June 3, 2014

Spanish Gold – Mercury Lounge – June 3, 2014
As a freelancer, you’re constantly answering questions like “Where are you working now?” and “What’s next?”—or even “How do you keep all that straight?” These questions are something I’d imagine Spanish Gold’s Dante Schwebel and Patrick Hallahan are also used to answering, considering they’ve been a part of a number of different bands over the past few years, all which led them here.

Schwebel bounced around the country with Texas rockers Hacienda for a few years, recently opened for Pink with City and Colour, and he also toured as Dan Auerbach’s lead guitarist (a tour that stopped at Webster Hall in 2009). Hallahan, who is better known for his role as My Morning Jacket’s rhythm keeper, manned drums and percussion on that tour. The two added another killer lead guitarist in Adrian Quesada, plus a bassist and two singers (one on keys, one on percussion), and voilà: Spanish Gold.

Last night, the experienced musicians sounded far better than a new band normally does, and the Southwestern-rock sound had Mercury Lounge in party mode from the first song to the last, a surprising yet remarkable cover of Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison.” (Schwebel joked that since they had run out of songs to play they might as well do something with some “funk.”) The room was just about completely full for the late-night set thanks in part to the band’s origin story, but they all certainly seemed happy to keep jamming in this current arrangement for a while to come. If not, at least we’ll know it won’t be long before we get to see the members of Spanish Gold rock out as something else. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


Hanni El Khatib Brings Bluesy Garage Rock to The Bowery Ballroom

October 9th, 2013

Hanni El Khatib grew up obsessed with skateboarding and ’50s and ’60s pop culture, which led to a keen interest in the blues and garage rock of that time. As a talented one-man band, the multi-instrumentalist writes, produces and sings his own songs—although he performs live with a full band. But before he’d released anything beyond a pair of singles, an opening slot for Florence and the Machine and appearances at SXSW and Bonnaroo earned him some buzz. The raves continued with the release of Will the Guns Come Out in 2011. El Khatib (above, performing “You Rascal You” live in studio for KEXP FM) returned earlier this year with his second LP, the well-received, Dan Auerbach–produced Head in the Dirt (stream it below). And you can kick off your weekend with some grimy, garage-rock blues when Hanni El Khatib takes the stage at The Bowery Ballroom on Friday. Get there early enough to check out openers Bass Drum of Death.

Congratulations to the Winners

February 11th, 2013

The Bowery Presents extends warm congratulations to every 2013 Grammy winner (and nominee). And if you take a look at those who took home awards, it’s like a who’s who list of acts that have recently played our venues, including:

the Black Keys: Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album
Gotye: Record of the Year (featuring Kimbra), Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (featuring Kimbra), Best Alternative Music Album
fun.: Song of the Year (featuring Janelle Monáe), Best New Artist
Skrillex (featuring Sirah): Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album
Frank Ocean: Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (Kanye West and Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean and the-Dream)
Mumford & Sons
: Album of the Year
Adele: Best Solo Pop Performance
Bonnie Raitt: Best Americana Album
Dan Auerbach: Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Miguel: Best R&B Song
Kelly Clarkson: Best Pop Vocal Album
the Civil Wars (and Taylor Swift): Best Song Written for Visual Media
Halestorm: Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance



The Growlers Play Music Hall of Williamsburg Tomorrow Night

October 10th, 2012

Brooks Nielsen (vocals), Anthony Braun Perry (bass), Scott Montoya (drums), Kyle Straka (keyboards, guitar) and Matt Taylor (lead guitar) formed the Growlers in 2006, playing their own version of slowed-down psychedelic surf pop. Their first two albums—2009’s Are You in or Are You Out? and 2010’s Hot Tropics—dealt with themes of death, but the Orange County, Calif., five-piece’s third LP, Hung at Heart, due out next month, is a less somber affair: “There is a lot of everything,” says Nielsen, “but definitely more happy songs and love songs.” The album was produced by Dan Auerbach in his Nashville studio. And the Growlers (above, doing “Acid Rain” for Dickies Sounds) play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night.


The Wind and Rain Are No Match for the Soulful Michael Kiwanuka

September 19th, 2012

Michael Kiwanuka – Webster Hall – September 18, 2012

Throwback is the perfect definition for British soul artist Michael Kiwanuka, who has cited influences from Bill Withers to Otis Redding. His delicate guitar strums brightened a rather stormy Tuesday evening and for the Webster Hall crowd that braved the rain and wind, Kiwanuka was in fine form. Stepping onstage, he welcomed the audience with “I’ll Get Along” and followed up with “Tell Me a Tale,” which he described “as a tune you might know.” Taking up his acoustic guitar for the latter, the rhythm section came in with a percussion-heavy interlude. Kiwanuka played largely from his debut album, Home Again, enamoring his fans with “Bones.” The single is a gospel-y, upbeat tune with underhanded morose lyrics—truly a sad-song-makes-me-happy tune.

At the middle of his set, Kiwanuka drew attention to the night’s date, the anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death. As a dedication, he covered “May This Be Love (Waterfall)” with his guitarist in character, donning a feather necklace and fringed guitar strap. Trading in the electric for the acoustic, the singer-songwriter played recent single “I’m Getting Ready” and stripped down the band to just his bassist, Pete Randall, for “Rest,” a country-twinged, heartache-y song showcasing Kiwanuka’s vocals. And although “Home Again” had some ringing feedback, he mollified it with soothing lyrics: “Movin’ on / So I’ll close my eyes / Won’t look behind.”

The end of the evening really brought out Kiwanuka’s gems with a new song, “If You Dare,” reminiscent of the Temptations’ downtempo swagger mixed with the first few chords of Redding’s “Sittin’ On (The Dock of the Bay).” Coincidentally (or not), he continued with a cover of Redding’s “I Don’t Know.” The audience joined in, clapping and singing along, “I just don’t know oh oh.” For the encore, Kiwanuka and Randall concluded the evening with “Lasan,” originally a collaboration with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Kiwanuka hoped it would send the onlookers “softly and soulfully into the night.” It certainly did. —Sharlene Chiu

(Michael Kiwanuka plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday.)

The Bowery Presents Live Features Hacienda

June 5th, 2012

Hacienda—three Villanueva brothers (Rene, on bass and vocals, Abraham, on piano and vocals, and Jaime, on drums and vocals) and one Schwebel cousin (Dante, on guitar and vocals)—caught an early break when Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys got a hold of their six-song demo. One thing led to another and eventually the band finished an album at his studio. Auerbach enjoyed working with them so much that he had them (along with My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan) back him on his Keep It Hid tour. As the four-piece has gained wider exposure, they’ve opened for the likes of the Black Keys, My Morning Jacket and Dr. Dog. And now Hacienda and Auerbach have again combined forces. He produced and cowrote their upcoming album, Shakedown. And as today’s featured band on The Bowery Presents Live, they perform one of the new disc’s tracks, “Savage,” in the kitchen at Terminal 5, and discuss nonstop touring and making music with Auerbach. For more videos like this and live-streamed shows, cool performances and intimate interviews, make sure you subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live.


Dan Auerbach Rocks Webster Hall

November 12th, 2009

Dan Auerbach – Webster Hall – November 11, 2009

Dan Auerbach - Webster Hall - November 11, 2009
Just as Jack White has done work outside of the White Stripes, first with the Raconteurs and now the Dead Weather, Dan Auerbach, one half of the power-blues machine that is the Black Keys, also fronts a second band with a bigger sound. His backing band, the Fast Five, is made up of the San Antonio rock group Hacienda—Antonio Abraham Villanueva on keys, Dante Schwebel on guitar, Jaime Villanueva on drums and Rene Villanueva on bass—plus My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan on drums and percussion. (Hallahan, eyes closed and mouth open, played the maracas and the triangle with the unrestrained mirth of a small child.)

Last night at a crowded Webster Hall, Auerbach and Co. made their way through Auerbach’s solo album, Keep It Hid, released in February, plus a few other songs, including a cover of Rocking Horse’s “Oh Carol.” The show began with some relatively quiet harmonizing before kicking into a higher, louder gear. They played more than an hour of a winning combo of gritty blues and dirty rock and roll, including “My Last Mistake,” “Money and Trouble” and “When the Night Comes.”

The encore began with Rene Villanueva, whose bass thumped ferociously all night, laying down a dancing bassline. As the audience enthusiastically clapped along, the band shifted into a tight blues riff that blew up into raging mayhem. When the song ended, just Auerbach remained onstage. “Thank you for coming out tonight,” he said before launching into the last song, “Goin’ Home.” The line “be thankful for all you got” drew cheers and applause. And then he finished with “So long/ I’m going/ I’m going home,” and then the crowd went wild and the stage went dark. —R. Zizmor

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com