Tag Archives: Dave Sitek

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Preservation Hall Jazz Band Deliver a Taste of New Orleans

July 31st, 2017

Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Space at Westbury – July 28, 2017


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band means tradition so deeply felt that when you see and hear them in action, you’re reminded that even your most cinematic visions of New Orleans jazz pale in comparison. They’re what you feel like you want to remember—any more might complicate their down-home charm—and all while balancing virtuosic musical chops with big smiles and a well-honed feel for how to compose a show and keep an audience brimming. They’re showmen. They come across smooth, soulful and liberated. Laissez le bon temps rouler at the Space at Westbury or anywhere else they come to hang.

One of the less-discussed aspects of the current version of Pres Hall is how deftly bassist, tuba player and creative director Ben Jaffe has steered them into a modern era, with younger players gradually replacing the veterans in the road band. Along with Jaffe, the lineup features saxophonist Clint Maedgen, trombonist Ronell Johnson, trumpet player Branden Lewis, drummer Walter Harris and keyboardist Kyle Roussel. More than half of the touring group has come on over the last five years. The roots of Pres Hall are well preserved, but Jaffe and team have prevented the band from becoming a museum piece—quite the opposite, as evidenced by how hot they cook when they really get going. In recent years, they’ve collaborated everywhere, from TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek producing this year’s So It Is—astonishingly, the first Preservation Hall Jazz Band album of original music—to guest appearances with everyone from Dave Grohl and My Morning Jacket to Maren Morris and Beck. Their authentic vibe is deep and homey, and everyone wants a piece of it. And what’s more, the band’s infused that vibe into So It Is, which plays up the potent connections between Crescent City and Cuba.

On Friday night, they were equal parts Mardi Gras rave-up and Havana street scene, intermixing ageless NOLA classics like “Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing” with So It Is cuts like “Santiago” and “La Malanga.” The horn players took turns fronting the band, delivering sizzling solos, stoking the crowd, riding grooves that were straight-ahead, or slow-and-serpentine or viscous. If you were expecting a polite supper-club crowd clapping along to “Basin Street Blues,” you instead got pulsating jams—some downright ferocious, like late night at a Frenchmen Street club or, well, Preservation Hall itself. At the outset of the encore, Johnson and Jaffe paired off as a duo of ’bone and tuba for a sing-along “That Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.” And before that came an impassioned speech from Jaffe filled with childhood memories of family members on Long Island, but more important, a capture of what this band was, is and remains: “Those are real instruments played by real people, y’all.” As if we needed to be reminded. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Foals Play United Palace on Friday Night

November 1st, 2016

Formed in Oxford, England, more than a decade ago, FoalsYannis Philippakis (vocals and guitar), Jack Bevan (drums), Jimmy Smith (guitar, synths and vocals), Walter Gervers (bass and vocals) and Edwin Congreave (keys, synths and vocals)—are well-known for their unique mix of post-punk, dance music and New Wave. Following the release of several singles that earned them buzz-band status, Foals’ debut full-length, the melancholic Antitdotes (stream it above), produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, came out in 2008. AllMusic called it “not merely a lesson in post–New Wave noodling, but evidence of the power and excitement of the genre and music itself.” The band’s been busy recording and touring ever since. Their most recent full-length, What Went Down (stream it below), arrived last year, impressing the folks at Rolling Stone: “Their fourth and best album plays up a dark, bracing urgency.” And while their albums are terrific, Foals (above, doing “What Went Down” at this year’s Lollapalooza) are most known for their live performances. So go see them play United Palace on Friday night. Bear Hands and Kiev open the show.

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Two Nights of Holly Miranda’s Big Voice at Mercury Lounge

September 16th, 2015

Holly Miranda took to music early in life. She grew up singing in church, began taking piano lessons at the age of six and taught herself how to play guitar at just 14. So it should probably come as no surprise that she left Detroit behind for New York City once she was old enough to drive. She teamed up with Alex Lipsen more than a decade ago to form the four-piece the Jealous Girlfriends. But when that band went on hiatus, Miranda, known for her ethereal voice, decided to go it alone. Her first solo album, the Dave Sitek–produced The Magician’s Private Library (stream it below), came out in 2010, winning over critics. “This hypnotic debut suggests she might just be something of a sorcerer herself,” suggested NME. Miranda (above, doing “All I Want Is to Be Your Girl”) returned with her self-titled follow-up full-length (stream it below) earlier this year. AllMusic called it “an exercise in folk-influenced indie pop that succeeds as both soul-baring and ear candy.” Miranda returns to NYC this week for two shows at Mercury Lounge, early tomorrow and late on Friday.

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TV on the Radio Light Up Kings Theatre

May 21st, 2015

TV on the Radio – Kings Theatre – May 20, 2015

(Photo: Charles Steinberg)

(Photo: Charles Steinberg)

For all of their prowess and earned accolades, TV on the Radio have always come across as a neighborhood band, the kind you’d see watching a Knicks game at local bar, coming up with their songs. It’s because of their familiarity and accessibility that you feel closer to them when they perform, and this mood was apparent last night at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre, a place that reinforces the intimacy of sharing song and expression. “Thank you very much for coming to this beautiful fucking theater,” said frontman Tunde Adebimpe, “It’s very nice to be home.” The band had been relatively quiet the past three years, turning inward and out of sight to process the passing of bassist Gerard Smith, but they have been eager to tour behind their newest record, Seeds, and this enthusiasm was felt from the start.

The first block of the show was almost entirely dedicated to flaunting their new work, but the introduction of “Young Liars,” rolling in gradually with the meditative sprawl that brought to mind Talk Talk or Yo La Tengo then building to exultation, let concertgoers know how far this group has come. Adibempe’s vocal refrain of “Thank you for taking my hand” absorbed all in attendance. Through lyrics that have always revealed a search to measure and understand the fluctuation of emotions connected to modern romance and meaningful rumination, Adebimpe is able to sound vulnerable without sounding soft. You can hear the seasoning of the soul that comes with experience of tangled relationships, and while he may have been hurt, he ain’t no punk, able to resurface and revisit his past through music that carries the tonal gravity substantive enough to meet the profundity of his offerings of existential observation.

The thing about live performance is that the room is open to be filled as much as the band can push out. Songs can be expanded on parts that are contained in a recording, and new tempos can be assigned to make tunes more suitable for live format—“Careful You” and “DLZ” were such examples, the latter rocked out in a manner that recalled Living Colour. The intention of Seeds was to make you want to sing along, and that took on a particular significance in TV on the Radio’s hometown. The songs echoed and resonated. With much of the new material covered, “Wolf Like Me” brought a howling response from the audience. The classic “A Method” began like a baseball-stadium organist made to play at gunpoint, and the home team, TVOTR, was joined onstage by opening act Bo Ningen, with everyone banging on anything they could find, bottles, loose cymbals, all pulsing against the venue’s walls. Witnessing TV on the Radio on the Kings Theatre stage last night, still united and in sync after more than a decade of comings and goings of countless other rock-fusion groups, brought both warmth and chills, and the triumphant feeling that some bands will always be there with us, right around the corner. —Charles Steinberg

(TV on the Radio play Terminal 5 tonight.)

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TV on the Radio End Tour at Home at Music Hall of Williamsburg

November 24th, 2014

TV on the Radio – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 22, 2014

TV on the Radio – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 22, 2014
There was a time when Williamsburg was still an affordable place to live, before New York City’s music scene exploded with a handful of bands that would go on to define indie-rock music at the turn of the millennium—the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol and TV on the Radio. That last group had their gestation period take place in Williamsburg, so it makes sense that they’d wrap up their latest tour in their home base. Still absolutely adored here, the band easily sold out three local shows (plus a free in-store appearance at Rough Trade NYC), with their final appearance taking place at a packed Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night. The performance kicked off with one of TV on the Radio’s very first songs, an unraveling expansive soundscape that slowly evolved its way toward the introductory vocal coos of “Young Liars.” Its energy notched up incrementally until dissipating into the taut funkiness of “Golden Age.”

Singer Tunde Adebimpe was a stage-performing spectacle. Whichever hand wasn’t holding his microphone was almost always miming out the song, sometimes reaching out to the audience as if to lend them a hand into the tune. “The age of miracles/ The age of sound/ Well there’s a Golden Age/ Comin’ round, comin’ round, comin’ round,” Adebimpe sang in “Golden Age,” spiraling his hand in the air before extending it out to the audience: Grab my hand, hop on board and let’s check it out. Then there was the near constant harmonizing with Kyp Malone, and if there’s one thing that’s instantly recognizable as TV on the Radio, it’s the two of them singing together, with Malone always several octaves higher in the highest of falsettos. It splits the expressive possibilities of their songs in half, and in it’s best moments the two of them sing the same lyrics with different emotions. On “Careful You,” off their new album, Seeds, one seems to be singing a statement and the other a plea.

The older numbers had a more abrasive edge than the newer ones. “I Was a Lover,” with all its jittery, stuttering rhythm, encapsulates the Bush-era anxieties of the mid-’00s as well as any other song of that time. On “Wolf Like Me,” the band made things as loud as possible. Dave Sitek even brought out a four-foot wind chime, rattling the hell out of it as the song finished. Contrast that with the new tune that followed, “Trouble,” and its reassurances in the chorus of “‘Everything’s gonna be OK/ Oh, I keep telling myself, ‘Don’t worry, be happy’/ Oh, you keep telling yourself.” TV on the Radio’s encore kicked off with “Forgotten,” off Nine Types of Light, Adebimpe leading the audience in chanting, “Light,” to combat life’s darkness. The set closed with “Staring at the Sun,” their first single, the perfect finish to a tour-ending show in their hometown, where once upon a time it had all begun. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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A Celebration Record-Release Party at Mercury Lounge

September 25th, 2014

Married couple Katrina Ford (vocals and percussion) and Sean Antanaitis (multiple instruments) began making music together in Ann Arbor, Mich., before trying out Chicago and then New Orleans prior to settling into Baltimore’s rich local music scene. Once there, they teamed up with David Bergander (drums) to form Celebration—Tony Drummond (keys), Tommy Rouse (guitar) and Walker Teret (bass) have since joined the band. The group’s brooding self-titled debut album, produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, came out in 2005. AllMusic weighed in: “Theatrical and heartfelt, Celebration is a fully realized debut that promises even better things to come.” Last month the six-piece (above, doing “Tomorrow’s Here Today” for WTMD FM) released their fourth studio LP, Albumin (stream it below), filled with psychedelic rock and soul. AllMusic said, “They take their massive sound in directions that show they can do much more than glowering post-punk and glowing dream pop.” Join the party when Celebration, well, celebrate the new album’s release tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Keeping it in Charm City, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat opens the show with a heavy dose of drum, bass and reverb.

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Two Big Local Bands Take the Stage at Barclays Center

September 19th, 2013

Earlier this year, art-punk trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs—frontwoman Karen O, drummer Brian Chase and guitarist Nick Zinner—released their fourth full-length, Mosquito (stream it below). The album includes production work from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek among others, and in praising it, the A.V. Club says the album “takes a much more open-ended, and less studied, approach to Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ electric eccentricity.” Of course, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (above, performing “Sacrilege” on Late Show with David Letterman) are most known for the fiery live performances, and you can see these hometown musical heroes tonight at Barclays Center. But do yourself a favor and get there early enough to see Har Mar Superstar.

Another big local band, Vampire Weekend—college buddies Ezra Koenig (vocals and guitar), Chris Baio (bass and vocals), Rostam Batmanglij (keys and vocals) and Chris Tomson (drums)—also put out an acclaimed new album this year, Modern Vampires of the City (stream it below). The band’s much-praised third LP is a bit of a departure, abandoning the post-college themes of their previous work, but gaining plaudits in the process, with Rolling Stone winningly comparing the quartet’s new tunes to Paul Simon and Tom Petty. But, like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend (above, doing “Diane Young” on Saturday Night Live) are best experienced live. And alongside Solange and Sky Ferreira, they play Barclays Center tomorrow night.

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The Rain Can’t Put a Damper on TV on the Radio’s Central Park Show

June 8th, 2009

TV on the Radio/Dirty Projectors – SummerStage – June 5, 2009

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio

Friday night, despite the inclement weather, Dirty Projectors and TV on the Radio played to a faithful crowd of rain-soaked onlookers at SummerStage. Although their two monikers suggest technical difficulty, the show went off almost without a hitch. Led by Dave Longstreth, Dirty Projectors, the constantly fluctuating outfit, has hit its stride in its current formation, churning out tunes that shuttle from a cappella to free jazz to afrobeat without missing a step. The group’s X-factor lies in the vocal contributions from Angel Deradoorian, Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle. Their tight, otherworldly harmonies had no trouble rising above Longstreth’s Graceland riffs and Brian McOmber’s erratic drum beats. The set included several cuts from the upcoming Bitte Orca, out tomorrow. Highlights included the new and stellar “Cannibal Resource” and “Stillness Is the Move.”

TV on the Radio began its set just as the last sun rays filtered through the Western skyline. The band launched into an hour-long set, opening with “Love Dog,” while front man Tunde Adebimpe split his time between dancing a samba-like rhythm and manning the loop pedals. As the technologically synesthetic name suggests, TVOTR does not constrain itself to conventional instrumentation. For much of the set, guitarist Dave Sitek played with chimes hung from the tuning peg of his high-E string, occasionally colliding them with Jaleel Bunton’s cymbals. The band played cuts from its three studio albums, evenly dividing the material among each. The show ended with a spectacular rendition of Return to Cookie Mountain’s “A Method.” Adebimpe banged on a cymbal plucked from Bunton’s drum set while Sitek thumped on a drum with two shakers, sending rainwater flying. As the last electronic bursts fizzled, Adebimpe voiced a thank you to New York City with a shout-out to Brooklyn in particular. —Theo Spielberg