Tag Archives: Kings Theatre


Bon Iver Close Out Epic New York Run at Music Hall of Williamsburg

December 15th, 2016

Bon Iver – Music Hall of Williamsburg – December 14, 2016

During a cold winter in a Wisconsin cabin, the first Bon Iver album, For Emma, Forever Ago, was written out of heartbreak—and the indie folklore remains forever in perpetuity. Although raved about in music critics’ circles, the band wasn’t well-known until winning the Best New Artist Grammy in 2012 for the self-titled sophomore effort. Even then, the public was uncertain who was in the band with tweets throughout the telecast wondering exactly who Bonnie Bear was. After a three-year hiatus, Bon Iver returned to headline the inaugural Eaux Claires Music Festival in frontman Justin Vernon’s hometown. This fall, the latest release, 22, A Million, welcomed a new era in the band’s evolution, moving away from the melancholic, acoustic crooning to heavily Auto-Tuned vocals against grainy synths leaving little resemblance to that emotionally cracked man in the cabin.

Over the past two weeks, the once unknown folk band has played sold-out shows across the New York City area from Hammerstein Ballroom and Capitol Theatre to Pioneer Works and Kings Theatre. The residency ended last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, blocks away from an in-store the band played almost a decade ago at the long-shuttered Sound Fix Records. The stage was set with gear trunks decorated with Eric Timothy Carlson’s artwork from the recent album and served as tables for laptops and synths.

Carlson’s graphics were projected throughout the entire set, offering a strange mix of numerology and lyrics. The opener, “22 (OVER S∞∞N),” echoed a familiar voice that sounded like Merrill Garbus (aka Tune-Yards), but Vernon’s foray into electronics has masked his vocal coherency. The frontman’s earlier work with the band Poliça can be heard in his delivery of “10 d E A T h b R E a s T,” where distorted percussions give way to shredding guitars. Midway through the show, Vernon confessed that it was great to be back “playing one of our favorite rooms.” In a charming moment, the sextet of backing horns, known lovingly as “Sad Sax of Shit,” accompanied the band on “8 (circle).” The evening was largely dedicated to the newer material, but Vernon offered a morsel of the past with an encore that included “Creature Fear.” —Sharlene Chiu


Beach House Make Themselves at Home at Kings Theatre

November 4th, 2016

Beach House – Kings Theatre – November 3, 2016

Beach House - Kings Theatre - November 3, 2016

With a wake of classic albums behind them (two in 2015), it’s hard to pinpoint any one period in Beach House’s history and call it their peak. Are we there now? Their show on Thursday at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn made for the case that we are, taking over the night with a full band firing on all cylinders. Things kicked off with the beautifully ethereal “Levitation,” an appropriate beginning: Let’s take you up on a journey into this wondrous universe this band’s built. “You should see there’s a place I want to take you/ When the train comes I will hold you,” sang Victoria Legrand.

There’s no better voice to float above their music than Legrand’s, with her chameleonic ability to stretch her voice as needed. For the fiery rendition of “Walk in the Park,” she worked her way up to a near scream for the final lines of “More, you want more, you tell me!” But rather than ending in a fade-out, the song finished by exploding into itself, a call for some universal goose bumps as Legrand’s voice hung in the echo. “Heart of Chambers,” off 2008’s Devotion, carried on like a shape-shifting ballad, benefiting from some added instrumentation to help the song wax and wane through its lovesick lines.

During “Space Song,” Beach House gloriously filled the moments between the synth arpeggiator, a perfect mix of organic meets the mechanical, while the simmering build of “Elegy to the Void” worked its way up to a stampede, with drums kicking and guitars screaming once the song ratcheted up to a sprint. Kings Theatre, in all its ornate grandeur, made for the perfect home for Beach House’s expansive sound to reverberate every which way. At the same time, their music lives in its own world, always reaching for the stars. Count yourself lucky to live there for one night. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com


Morrissey – Kings Theatre – September 24, 2016

September 26th, 2016

Morrissey - Kings Theatre - September 24, 2016

Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com


John Prine – Kings Theatre – April 8, 2016

April 11th, 2016

John Prine - Kings Theatre - April 8, 2016

Photos courtesy of Nick Delisi | www.nickdelisi.com


Two Chances to See Andrew Bird Live This Week

April 6th, 2016

Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird is as much known for his unique mix of jazz, folk, rock, and Gypsy and chamber music as he is for his classically trained violin skills. Bird (above, performing “Chemical Switches” for Prairie Home Companion) arrived on the scene as a solo artist with the release of his debut full-length, Music of Hair (stream it below), 20 years ago. And he’s remained busy ever since, appearing on a slew of other musicians’ albums while releasing more than 10 live albums, EPs and singles. His 10th solo full-length, Are You Serious (stream it here)—the first since getting married and becoming a father—came out last Friday. The LP features a duet with Fiona Apple and plenty of stellar Blake Mills guitar work. “Given Bird’s classical training and devotion to precision, his work has always had at least the potential to become bloodless and pale—the work of a perfectionist who agonizes over every note, only to let his busy brain mute his own beating heart,” according to NPR Music. “Instead, though, his writing keeps sounding warmer, sweeter, more thoughtful and approachable, while continuing to land lines that stick with you for days.” And with the new album, Bird’s just launched a big tour, which will take him across North America and Europe. But you won’t have to travel too far to see him this week because he comes our way to play Kings Theatre tomorrow and Terminal 5 on Friday. And, trust us, seeing him live will also stay with you for days.


Wilco Take Kings Theatre to Space on Friday Night

February 8th, 2016

Wilco – Kings Theatre – February 5, 2016

Wilco - Kings Theatre - February 5, 2016

Wilco should be feeling a whole lot of love from the Empire State this week because the band had one hell of a New York run last week, including four sold-out shows (two in Port Chester’s Capital Theatre, two in Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre) and a performance of  “Random Name Generator” on The Late Show with Stephen ColbertJeff Tweedy even lulled Colbert to sleep with a lullaby. Friday’s show at Kings Theatre was one part Star Wars, one part a selection of fan favorites and one part an acoustic encore, capped off with a moving sing-along tribute to David Bowie to close the inspired performance.

Star Wars, Wilco’s surprise 2015 release, has been crafted into live perfection at this point. The band’s performed the album in its entirety every night of the tour and added some welcomed embellishments to it. The angular riffs of album-opener “More” kicked off the night. “You Satellite” hit the high-water mark of intensity during this part of the set, swirling around an atmosphere of beautifully noisy guitar wails, complete with the band in front of a shape-shifting starry backdrop. It’s hard to understate just how central guitarist Nels Cline has become to Wilco’s live shows. Two moments in particular stuck out as unleash-the-Nels parts of the night, with searing guitar solos on “Impossible Germany” and “Art of Almost” lighting each song on fire.

Although Wilco found their groove long ago and now wholly own it, that doesn’t allow room for complacency. Instead, it seems to have just given them even more permission to rework their songs, revealing new ways to showcase their song craft. If there ever were a mission statement for the band, this has always been it, and as good of a reason as any to see them live again and again. This was especially on display during their acoustic encore, begun with the softly played “Misunderstood,” a song just as striking in its bare-bones form as it is in its noisier studio incarnation. There was something especially fun about the audience quietly and gently singing along to the usually loud and abrasive refrains of “I’d like to thank you all for nothing at all!” “I’m Always in Love” and the always-haunting “A Shot in the Arm” followed, before the show concluded with a beautiful moment, a cover of Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” made even more beautiful by the grandeur of Kings Theatre and every living soul in the venue singing along. What better way to end a night of the Star Wars tour than with a hat tip to an artist who spent his life pulling down songs from the cosmos. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Wilco on 2/6

February 2nd, 2016


Touring behind their ninth studio album, the acclaimed Star Wars, Wilco return to town this week to play four shows. And while each of them is already sold out, the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets to see Wilco on Friday night at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Don’t already have tickets of your own but still want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Wilco, 2/6) and a brief message explaining who you think will win the Super Bowl. Eddie Bruiser, who might be betting on the game, will notify the winner by Friday.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Sleater-Kinney on 12/15

December 8th, 2015


You know ’em, you love ’em—Sleater-Kinney are returning to New York City. Tickets are still available to see them at Kings Theatre on Saturday night and at Terminal 5 on Sunday night, but if you don’t already have tickets to see them next Tuesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, your best bet just might be to try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Sleater-Kinney, 12/15) and a brief message explaining your favorite tune of theirs. Eddie Bruiser, who can’t pick just one, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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One More Night with Garrison Keillor in Brooklyn

August 5th, 2015

Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion – Kings Theatre – August 4, 2015

In anticipation of stepping down as the host of the long-running popular public-radio variety show A Prairie Home Companion next year, Garrison Keillor and his band rolled into Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre last night. As part of their America the Beautiful tour, Keillor treated the crowd to a night of his signature stories and songs, spryly mixing in some Brooklyn-centric jokes and references alongside classic features like his fictitious News from Lake Wobegon. “Brooklyn, for better or worse, has become hip,” commented Keillor as the night began, going on to decry the rising costs of rent (and coffee) and continuing to remark, “So we come as an antidote.”

With his dry humor as a through line, Keillor reminisced about his first trip to Brooklyn, with his father in 1953, and later wondered aloud whether there are garages in Brooklyn. (“In Bay Ridge!” shouted an audience member.) Keillor and his band also wove in a variety of songs throughout the evening, including the gospel piece “Lead Me to the Rock” and folk songs like “The Cheapest Kind” and “Red River Valley.” The audience was especially delighted by the appearance of Keillor’s character Guy Noir, a riff on hard-boiled private detectives (and a staple of the radio show), which last night took aim at the recent controversy of the Minnesota dentist who paid to hunt an African lion.

Fred Newman, whose impressive vocal sound effects are another classic element of A Prairie Home Companion, was also on hand, replicating everything from dolphin calls to exploding buildings to a very realistic rendition of screeching subway brakes—all with nothing more than his own pipes. Although Keillor shared some poignant reflections on his life and career trajectory amid the jokes and music, the tone of this self-described farewell tour was celebratory and lighthearted, the sense of a skilled performer and storyteller enjoying the chance to present his show to the community of fans he has built, while looking forward to the future. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK


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


The Pixies and the Transporting Power of Music at the Beacon Theatre

May 27th, 2015

Pixies – Beacon Theatre – May 26, 2015

The settings in which we experience music can enhance and shape its impact. Listening then becomes a whole-body, visceral involvement, calling on all the senses. The places where we listen—cars, bedrooms, chambers of performance—affect the atmosphere and provide the scenic backdrop for our dances. Putting on the Pixies can provoke the kind of primal physical abandon normally associated with basements, backyard keggers and beach partying, so when this legendary band took the stage of the hallowed and glorious Beacon Theatre on Tuesday night, the reverence of the landmark space temporarily contained the energy that felt at some point would have to spill out into the aisles. Lunging in with the anguished surf ’n’ turf punk rock that is exclusively theirs, Pixies abruptly ignited the collective mood of anticipation, transforming the famed venue into a ceremonial grounds for their historic catalog. The assembly of avid “lifer” fans mixed with the new generation, sharing in common the appreciation of rock mastery and the gravitation to a kind of music that has served to channel the band’s vital restlessness.

Taking full advantage of impassioned company and the savory acoustics of the space, Pixies played a comprehensive set of a vast scope of work, weaving in and out of timeless classics and lesser known B-sides and current releases. Not content to rest on their laurels, they leaned into new and unusual material with the giddiness of a high school band at their first talent show, then pivoted into oldie-goodies, turning spectator intrigue into frenzied sing-alongs. All of it was presented with the dramatic arc of a rock opera. “Wave of Mutilation” ascended deliberately and hovered, with Frank Black’s voice crawling through Paz Lenchantin’s deep, muddy basslines. Then seizing on the hypnotic mood, Pixies grabbed the crowd by the necktie with the raucous anthems “Break My Body” and “The Holiday Song.” Lenchantin drove numbers like “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Velouria,” spookily mimicking former bassist Kim Deal with her playing and support vocals, while David Lovering’s flawless percussive churning intertwined with Joey Santiago’s standout guitar fluency on heavyweights like “Debaser” and “Bone Machine.” All throughout, Black’s unmistakable voice, which has remained as vibrant and true as it was on their earliest recordings, poured over the music like molasses. Pulling it all together like the firebrand lead he’s always been, Black added color and peaks at all the right moments with his quirky hoots and zany chirping.

By the time “Gouge Away” crept in with an extended-bassline intro and escalated into its deviously enabling chorus, Pixies were in full bash-out mode, playing with a purpose and zeal, proving that they’re anything but a band of yesteryear, reliving former glory. And ultimately, those in the Beacon audience had left their seats and spilled into the aisles, lending to the atmosphere that transcended the ornate walls, making it feel like the whole room had been whisked from its Upper West Side locale to a moonlit rager on the beach. It sure is magnificent when music can do that. —Charles Steinberg

(Pixies play Kings Theatre tomorrow night.)


Three Chances to See Pixies Performing Live in NYC This Week

May 26th, 2015

With interruptions and turbulence a regularity throughout the Pixies’ nearly 30-year history, the group has reunited to tour in recent years, reinforcing their influence and affirming their legacy. Not much has changed in their approach to playing their visceral and bizarrely seductive collection of punky, surf-rock hits since their mid-’80s beginnings. The raw, scraped-knee energy is still intact, and so are frontman Black Francis’s agonized vocals, which spar with and then soften to linger over Joey Santiago’s shrill guitar textures. Drummer David Lovering still reliably supplies the amplification, together with new bass player Paz Lenchantin, who has slid in seamlessly. They eschew aura and flair, and, of course, the no-nonsense attitude and restrained angst still remain central. Touring behind their fifth studio full-length (and first in 23 years), 2014’s Indie Cindy (stream it below), Pixies (above, performing “Green and Blues” for KEXP FM) return to New York City to play three shows this week: tonight and tomorrow at the Beacon Theatre and on Thursday at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Talented singer-songwriter John Grant opens each night. —Charles Steinberg


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.)


Double Your Pleasure with TV on the Radio Twice This Week

May 19th, 2015

Three years ago, TV on the Radio experienced incredibly happy and sad milestones just nine days apart, when they put out their fourth full-length, Nine Types of Light (stream it below), not even two weeks before bassist Gerard Smith succumbed to lung cancer. But the beloved hometown band has been back in a big way, busily touring and promoting their fifth album, Seeds (stream it below), since its release last fall. The LP explores a different sound. “Their old experimental noises have now taken a back seat to 4/4 beats, jangling guitars, punky power chords and immediate dance grooves,” per the Guardian. “A band emerging from the darkness to throw open the curtains.” Of course despite a different recorded sonic direction, TV on the Radio (above, doing “Happy Idiot” for KCRW FM) are still a band that brings it live every night. And you’ve got two chances to see them this week, tomorrow night at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn and on Thursday at Terminal 5.


Passion Pit Delight Kings Theatre Crowd with New Music

May 12th, 2015

Passion Pit – Kings Theatre – May 11, 2015

Passion Pit - Kings Theater - May 11, 2015
The indie-tronica band Passion Pit lends themselves well to wide open spaces where their whizzy tunes and falsetto vocals have no limits. So the recently restored Kings Theatre in Brooklyn seemed to be any interesting choice of venue for these festival favorites. Lead singer Michael Angelakos has described the group’s music as “kind of melodramatic and deals with these very heavy issues with really happy music. So there’s a juxtaposition.” The opposing blend of somber lyrics against poppy music doesn’t stray far from Angelakos’s personal battles with bipolar disorder. On their recent release, Kindred, the first track, “Lifted Up (1985),” is dedicated to Angelakos’s wife and continues the narrative of personal battles against beating synths.

On a Monday evening no less, a sold-out Kings Theatre carried swirling falsettos into the depths of the balcony. The first five rows were seemingly removed to create standing room for revelers, who erupted as Angelakos, clad in a baseball cap and a blazer covering a plaid shirt, stepped onstage. The lasers were summoned to full blast for the aforementioned lead track and remained to illuminate the ornate ceiling of the French Baroque venue throughout the night. Angelakos quickly shed his blazer for the groovy “Where the Sky Hangs,” having built up a sweat working the stage end to end.

The band swayed from high-energy “Five Foot Ten” to the downtempo “Look Like Rain” and R&B-tinged “Constant Conversations.” Saving the best for last, a tried-and-true trio of “The Reeling,” “Carried Away” and “Take a Walk” ended the set amongst the soon-to-be future favorite, “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go).” Adding a little extra for the evening, the group returned to encore with “Cuddle Fuddle,” previously never before played live, and the inevitable closer, “Sleepyhead.” Fans flowed out of the theater into the balmy night elated from the seasonable weather paired perfectly with a summery, uplifting soundtrack. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com