Tag Archives: Eric Harvey

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Hamilton Leithauser’s Remarkable Friday Night in Williamsburg

February 27th, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2017
Call it New York City’s other sold-out Hamilton show, although this one showcases not a rapping founding father but one of the best voices in rock right now, the strained high range of Hamilton Leithauser’s, which will catch you off guard with its sheer power. “I use the same voice I always had,” he belted out in the closing lines of “Sick as a Dog,” the opener on Friday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was the first display of his voice in full force, firing off like the starting pistol for a remarkable night of music, the second of three local sold-out shows. Multi-instrumentalist and collaborator Rostam Batmanglij, Eric Harvey of Spoon, Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson of White Rabbits—whom Leithauser had met touring over the years with his previous band, the Walkmen—joined the frontman.

They sounded like they’ve been playing together forever, a band perfectly suited for Leithauser and Batmanglij’s bluesy rock songs that fit perfectly well within the American songwriting canon. “If the man that you need honestly wasn’t me, tell me honey who could that be?” sang Leithauser in a desperate pleading voice over a wavering organ. With its lush sound, his 12-string took the slow-building “In a Black Out” from simmer to a boil and back to a simmer. He told the audience a story about attending a wedding where the father of the bride made a toast and broke out into “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Apparently an awkward affair for everyone else at the wedding, Leithauser fell for the guy in the moment, writing the tender song “The Bride’s Dad” from the father’s perspective. Knowing the song’s background set an incredibly vivid scene of the affair.

The catchy “1,000 Times” followed with hundreds of voices joining in for the chorus. Free-jazz saxophone and Batmanglij’s piano rambling like a rolling river closed out the set with “Rough Going (I Won’t Let Up).” Leithauser’s wife, Anna Stumpf, and the opener, Lucy Dacus, came out for an encore performance of the dreamy “1959.” If the Walkmen were the first act of Leithauser’s career, this collaboration is a hell of a second act, one that shouldn’t see a curtain call anytime soon. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com

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Spoon Sound Right at Home at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn

June 17th, 2015

Spoon – Kings Theatre – June 16, 2015

Spoon – Kings Theatre – June 16, 2015
It was a study in contrasts last night as the beautifully restored Kings Theatre in Brooklyn hosted the Austin, Texas, five-piece Spoon. One of the borough’s most ornate, intricately decorated performance venues showcased a band with a knack for the minimal. Spoon’s crisp, neat compositions sounded right at home in the grand concert hall, beginning with “Rent I Pay” and “Knock Knock Knock,” from their recent album, They Want My Soul.

While they have made this their specialty for years, on their new recordings, Spoon have grown even more adept at crafting catchy songs with hidden complexity, as evidenced by their performance of numbers from early in their catalog, like “The Way We Get By,” from 2002’s Kill the Moonlight, and “Fitted Shirt” and “Anything You Want,” off 2011’s Girls Can Tell, each song appealing and spare.

Spoon’s performance style has an overall attention to detail, highlighted last night by frontman Britt Daniel’s perfectly timed jump at the end of “Small Stakes,” drummer Jim Eno’s crisp and precise percussion at the beginning of “Don’t You Evah,” the interweaving call-and-response style chorus at the end of “I Turn My Camera On,” and the acoustic guitar’s soft tone on the gentle “I Summon You.” And by the end of the night, it was obvious that the band and the venue have something in common after all: an abundance of details and flourishes in both decor and in music, with some just more overt than others. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

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Spoon Return to Play Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

September 9th, 2014

After releasing Girls Can Tell (stream it below) and Kill the Moonlight (stream it below) in consecutive years around the turn of the century, Spoon made the transition from underrated band to one of the bigger names in all of alternative rock, thanks to what AllMusic calls “a heady blend of precision punk and serpentine classic rock.” Their seventh album, the excellent Transference (stream it below), came out in 2010—Spoon have since blossomed from a four-piece into a five-piece with Alex Fischel (keys and guitar) joining Britt Daniel (vocals and guitar), Jim Eno (drums), Eric Harvey (keys and vocals) and Rob Pope (bass and vocals)—so it’s safe to say fans have been patiently awaiting the Austin, Texas, group’s latest effort, They Want My Soul (stream it below), which came out last month to some considerable acclaim. Rolling Stone called the album “an immediate grabber on par with the group’s best work to date” and added that the band has “always done surprisingly well on their own terms, in their own world. And that world sounds bigger and brighter than ever.” Spoon (above, performing “Inside Out” last night on Late Show with David Letterman) bring their engaging live show to New York City tomorrow night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Arrive early to see !!! and Operators.