There are many paths to Miracle Legion fandom. Perhaps you found them via ’80s college radio stations that featured the band’s jangly guitar rock on heavy rotation. Or better yet, you lived near their hometown of New Haven, Conn., close to their touring circuit and the college-radio airwaves repping Connecticut’s finest. Or maybe you found out about the group because of their involvement with the fantastic and criminally underrated ’90s Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete, in which former Miracle Legion members starred as the semifictional band Polaris and wrote the show’s theme song, “Hey Sandy.” Or maybe it was Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy’s solo work that he’s been putting out at a steady rate ever since. Maybe a random interview with Marc Maron plugging Mulcahy’s solo album Dear Mark J. Mulcahy made you do the research and realized all these projects were connected. There are hints that fans have been along for the journey all along: a successful 2015 Record Store Day release of The Adventures of Pete & Pete soundtrack followed by a Polaris tour. Now the original band that started it all is back on tour, for the first time this millennium, with a recently released live album, Annulment (stream it below). Expect some new fans to find them along the way and begin their own journey backward into an impressively consistent catalog of songwriting that’s stood the test of time. And be there when Miracle Legion (above, performing “Screamin’” live for Paste Studios two weeks ago), playing their final shows as a band, return to Manhattan for the first time in 20 years, tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. Singer-songwriter Elvis Perkins opens the show. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks
Tag Archives: Elvis Perkins
Elvis Perkins – Rough Trade NYC – April 20, 2015
It’s been a few years since Elvis Perkins headlined a show in New York City. He’s been off the radar for a while, gone so long, one might worry that people would forget about him. But in his case, absence only made the heart grow fonder as Perkins returned to the stage Monday night, performing for a sold-out Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn. He plays a unique, unpredictable style of folk anchored by superlative songwriting and a voice that’s difficult to forget. Besides, this is a guy who once led a Bowery Ballroom audience underground and across Delancey St. to jam out among the subway power washers. You don’t forget something like that.
Outside, a dense fog had penetrated the entire region, which brought an appropriately mysterious vibe to the music inside. And it was like Perkins—opening with “I Came for Fire,” off his new album, I Aubade—was summoning spirits, howling into the humid evening. He was joined in his séance by a range of instrumentation: Autoharp, pump organ, bass, analog synth, and later, drums and horns (by openers and former Perkins band members Kinsey and Wyndham) adding to his own guitar and harmonica. For the most part, these largely served to frame Perkins’ voice and lyrics, each syllable its own percolating entity seemingly independent of meter or verse. The audience was incredibly attentive, spellbound by the meandering new material, like “Gasolina” and “My 2$.”
Later on, Perkins worked some older material into the set, “Shampoo,” feeling wonderful and weird accompanied by trumpet, harmonica and pump organ, and “Doomsday,” adding to the just-a-little-dark mood. The set closed with “AM,” the band at full sextet and Perkins at his lyrically strongest. He left the stage leaving horns and harp and synth to twist a nifty outro jam before dissipating into nothing. Prior to sending the crowd outside into the fog, Perkins came back out for an encore highlighted by the show-closing “While You Were Sleeping,” the standout track from his Ash Wednesday album, each word condensing in the air until there was almost a moist cloud of lyrics floating through the room. Personally, it gave me some goose bumps I won’t soon forget. —A. Stein | @Neddyo
Bob Dylan made a name for himself as perhaps the greatest singer-songwriter of all time during the ’60s and ’70s. But to put it mildly, many think his output in the ’80s, after he’d briefly become a born-again Christian, not only pales in comparison, but it was actually his worst work overall. However the fact of the matter is the iconic ’60s- and ’70s-era Dylan outshines just about any other artist’s work in any other decade. And the truth is his seven albums in the ’80s actually do contain numerous gems. And to that end, ATO Records release the tribute album Bob Dylan in the ’80s: Volume One next Tuesday, filled with bands like Deer Tick, Langhorne Slim, Built to Spill, Blitzen Trapper, Lucius and plenty other talented musicians. And on Monday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, a terrific gathering of musicians—including Langhorne Slim, John McCauley and Ian O’Neil of Deer Tick, Elvis Perkins, Spirit Family Reunion, Dawn Landes, Yellowbirds, Hannah Cohen, members of Tea Leaf Green, plus special guests—play a record-release party.
Tags: Bob Dylan, Dawn Landes, Deer Tick, Elvis Perkins, Hannah Cohen, Ian O’Neil, John McCauley, Langhorne Slim, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Preview, Spirit Family Reunion, Tea Leaf Green, Video, Yellowbirds
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Dylan Fest – The Bowery Ballroom – November 12, 2013
I don’t care who you are or what you listen to, everyone has a favorite Bob Dylan song. And if you were at last night’s sold-out Dylan Fest at The Bowery Ballroom—the second of two—there was a good chance you heard yours … and a good chance you didn’t. Close to two-thirds of the way through the show, about the time when Patrick Carney was on drums behind Lukas Haas, it became clear that at the rate the vocalists were rotating across the stage singing one Dylan song after another that it would take about a week to play all of the classic canon.
No matter, what we did get to hear was great. The constant stream of guests made the show fun, while the ready-for-anything Cabin Down Below Band made the show good. We got bluesy rocking Dylan, country Dylan, angry Dylan, sweet Dylan, sing-along Dylan (Mikki James on “Tangled Up in Blue”), sexy Dylan (Karen Elson going dark and slinky on “Cold Irons Bound”) and even some funky Dylan (Meshell Ndegeocello and Doyle Bramhall II fronting a great “Maggie’s Farm”). The pace was fast and furious and a hoot with a bottle of show-sponsor Jameson making the rounds and the production staff doing almost as remarkable of a job as the performers.
Take your choice of highlights, each performer seemed to pick the perfect song to cover: Norah Jones crooning “Just Like a Woman,” Ruby Amanfu and her wowza! vocals backed beautifully by bass, drums and pedal steel on “Not Dark Yet,” Jason Isbell and his wife, Amanda Shires, playing a stunning “Lay Lady Lay” and, my personal favorite, Elvis Perkins singing “Motorpsycho Nightmare,” the full band coming to a head, Perkins not missing a beat while he slyly sang the lyric “lookin’ just like Tony Perkins.” Random pockets of the crowd would ignite as their favorite song would begin, singing along to Dylan both well known and obscure. After Erika Wennerstrom and house bassist Austin Scaggs riled up the crowd with a sing-along “Like a Rolling Stone,” the night fittingly ended with “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” with a certainly fire-code-flaunting crowd of pretty much every musician onstage at once. They might not have made it to every great Dylan song, but, damn, they had a lot of fun trying. —A. Stein
(All ticket proceeds from both shows goes to Sweet Relief. Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability or age-related problems.)
Tags: Amanda Shires, Austin Scaggs, Bob Dylan, Bowery Ballroom, Cabin Down Below Band, Craig Finn, Dhani Harrison, Doyle Bramhall II, Dylan Fest, Elvis Perkins, Erika Wennerstrom, Jameson, Jason Isbell, Jesse Malin, Karen Elson, Lukas Haas, Meshell Ndegeocello, Mikki James, Norah Jones, Patrick Carney, Photos, Review, Ruby Amanfu, Sweet Relief
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Chances are you’ve already seen Diamond Doves before and didn’t even know it. Maybe it was when they were Elvis Perkins’ bitchin’, bendable backing band, In Dearland. Or maybe it was as the special-guest horn section for My Morning Jacket or Bon Iver (amongst others) … or opening for Marco Benevento or the Felice Brothers. Not an accident that these guys are called upon to play with the best, but they’re much more than just someone else’s horn section. On their own, they’re a fully hyphenated folk-psych-rock multi-instrumentalist trio, equal parts the Beatles and the Band. They top a jam-packed bill, including Brooklyn’s Caged Animals, tonight at Mercury Lounge. —A. Stein
Tags: Bon Iver, Caged Animals, Diamond Doves, Elvis Perkins, Felice Brothers, Marco Benevento, Mercury Lounge, My Morning Jacket, Preview, the Band, the Beatles, Video
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