Tag Archives: Lower East Side

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Jonathan Richman Returns for Two Nights at The Bowery Ballroom

April 6th, 2017

Singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman took up the guitar at the age of 15 and was playing in public just a year later. He relocated from Boston to New York City in 1969, but his music didn’t get a lot of love, so he headed back north and formed the influential protopunk band the Modern Lovers. Wanting a quieter sound, Richman eventually turned the Modern Lovers into an acoustic group, most notable for their doo-wop sound and the funny lyrics that would remain a hallmark of his later solo work. Richman earned the most attention his career would get thanks to the Farrelly brothers featuring him and his music as a comedic Greek chorus in There’s Something About Mary. And although that flick came out nearly 20 years ago, punk-rock OG turned modern-day troubadour Richman (above, performing “When We Refuse to Suffer” and “That Summer Feeling”) remains as busy as ever. He’s currently touring with drummer Tommy Larkins, and together they play The Bowery Ballroom on Sunday and Monday.

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Active Bird Community Bring New Tunes to Mercury Lounge

April 5th, 2017

Tom D’Agustino (vocals and guitar), Zach Slater (bass) and Andrew Wolfson (guitar and vocals) formed the band Active Bird Community while still in middle school, back in 2005. They’ve since added Quinn McGovern (drums), and the Brooklyn garage-pop outfit’s become known for creating “freshness out of classic sounds,” according to Stereogum. Their second full-length, Stick Around (stream it below), came out in March. New Noise Magazine compares Active Bird Community (above, doing “Home” for Sofar Sounds) to Pavement and Ra Ra Riot, adding “While there’s post-punk underpinnings and plenty of melodic discord, the album is rooted in a strong garage-pop feel, where the apprehension of post-college life comes through the turbulent but tense harmony.” But don’t take their word—or ours—decide for yourself when Active Bird Community play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Gold Connections and Soccer Mommy open the show.

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Jain on 4/8

April 4th, 2017

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Her North American tour winding down, singer-songwriter Jain comes through New York City this week to play The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday. Both appearances sold out well in advance, but The House List is giving away two tickets to the Brooklyn show. Want to go but don’t have tickets of your own? Then try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Jain, 4/8) and a brief message explaining your favorite song on her debut album. Eddie Bruiser, who just listened to the LP all the way through, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Bombadil Bring New Music to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

April 4th, 2017

Influenced by Bolivian folk music—and formed more than a decade ago at Duke University—Bombadil make what AllMusic calls “both jolly and world-weary North Carolina–based indie rock with eclectic, mostly acoustic instruments.” And with a new lineup, multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Daniel Michalak, James Phillips and Stacy Harden released the band’s sixth album, Fences (stream it below), about a month ago. “Throughout, the limited instrument palette exposes songwriting full of charming melodies and gently frolicking rhythms, alongside expressions of deep affection and insecurity,” says AllMusic. “It’s a refreshingly direct presentation, and a set that makes one root for the characters as well as the band, who will hopefully stick around for more.” Catch Bombadil (above, the audio for “Not Those Kind of People”) tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Singer-songwriter Victoria Reed opens the show.

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Chicano Batman Make Good on Expectations at The Bowery Ballroom

April 3rd, 2017

Chicano Batman – The Bowery Ballroom – March 31, 2017‪‬

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Friday night at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom: The lights go down, the audience goes wild, music plays over the PA for a minute or two. Finally, the band appears, all dressed in identical suits. A bit dramatic, don’t you think? When that band is Chicano Batman, a Los Angeles quartet overflowing with energy and personality, it’s not clear that it’s dramatic enough. The four-piece and their music and the packed house were a clichéd melting pot, a bilingual diversity of sound and talent that bowled over the crowd from start to finish.‬

‪The set opened with “Angel Child,” off of the recently released Freedom Is Free. Backed by sequined singers from soulful opening act 79.5 (whose members rotated onto the stage all night), the band looked good and sounded even better. Within the first three songs, Chicano Batman had traversed as many styles, genres, tempos and deep strata of groove as could be dreamed up. Zappa-esque prog dropped into funk into soaring soul and then back again. The audience hollered an almost teenybopper scream of recognition and adulation at the start of each number, and song after song, the band made good on the expectation.

Chicano Batman played almost all of the new album as well as favored material from their back catalog, each number leaping in multidimensional energy in the live show, as if the songs themselves yearned for the energy in the room. The politics were implicit, the new record’s title track feeling like an appropriate new national anthem, balancing pessimism and optimism with a serious backline-beat boogie. The encore began with a somewhat triumphant take on “This Land Is Your Land” before devolving into an anarchy of Spanish and English, of rock and funk and beyond, of a leaping quartet onstage and a roomful of fist-pumping, smiling, jumping dancers on the floor below. Never has a melting pot been so much fun. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Lambchop Paint a Pretty Picture at The Bowery Ballroom

March 31st, 2017

Lambchop – The Bowery Ballroom – March 30, 2017

Lambchop – The Bowery Ballroom – March 30, 2017
There’s a deep reverence fans have for Lambchop—you can hear it in the silence that takes over the audience right before the band begins to play. Last night at The Bowery Ballroom, this silence left nothing but the sounds of Delancey Street traffic and bartenders shaking up cocktails in the few seconds Lambchop’s music began to fill the void. Frontman Kurt Wagner treats his music the way a painter would: Each album is a chance for reinvention, with different media opening up the possibilities of what fills the canvas. For the latest Lambchop album, FLOTUS, the new medium is electronic beats and vocal effects, splintering Wagner’s gentle yet husky baritone voice into a full landscape of melody.

On the set-opening “NIV,” Wagner’s voice sounded almost alien, grounded only by the song’s gentle arpeggios. Taking a page out of the book of their friends in Yo La Tengo, Wagner knew that if he could milk the power out of a song’s quieter moments, it would only feel more powerful as the song grew louder. On “The Hustle,” this slow build from powerful soft to powerful loud happened slowly yet still managed to somehow catch concertgoers off guard. These new sounds they’re playing with at this point in their long career blow sonic possibilities wide open. “Directions to the Can” was almost like trip-hop and had Wagner full-out dancing by the track’s conclusion. “In Care of 8675309” featured a refrain that sounded like it was trying to break free from the song after each verse.

“This next song Kurt wrote while we were playing the last one,” said the always-wisecracking keyboardist Tony Crow as he introduced “The New Cobweb of Summer.” Crow’s stage banter is the stuff of legend, itself worth the price of admission. “It’s not as hard as it looks, Kurt. A lot of things are harder,” he added after Wagner introduced him, going on to list a series of activities that included kayaking and cooking. Lambchop finished with the delicately acoustic “My Blue Wave” and a gorgeous rendition of Prince’s “When You Were Mine,” the song sounding next to nothing like the original. Consider it a painter’s take on the landscape before him with the supplies at hand. Lucky for Lambchop fans, Wagner’s art supplies seem endless. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Don’t Miss Vera Blue at Tonight’s Early Show at Mercury Lounge

March 29th, 2017

Sydney singer-songwriter Celia Pavey broke into the mainstream in her native country as part of the 2013 season of The Voice Australia. And in addition to putting out folkish music under her own name, Pavey’s also known for her Vera Blue project, thanks to the release of the well-received EP Fingertips (stream it below) in 2016. “Vera Blue delivers a compelling blend of electro-pop and folk-pop,” according to Renowned for Sound. “Pavey has exhibited a burgeoning maturity and artistry, and it will be neither surprising nor disappointing to hear her voice with increasing frequency.” The easiest way to up your frequency of hearing her is to go see Vera Blue (above, performing “Hold” live in studio for Triple J) tonight at Mercury Lounge. Taryn Randall’s Cote opens the show.

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Hayley Kiyoko – The Bowery Ballroom – March 27, 2017

March 28th, 2017

Hayley Kiyoko - The Bowery Ballroom - March 27, 2017

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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The Regrettes Come to the Lower East Side and Williamsburg

March 24th, 2017

Lydia Night (vocals), Genessa Gariano (guitar), Sage Nicole (bass) and Maxx Morando (drums) formed the energetic punk-rock quartet the Regrettes a little more than a year ago in Los Angeles, and earlier this year, the band’s first full-length studio album, Feel Your Feelings Fool! (stream it below)—influenced by ’50s rockers like Buddy Holly and the Ronettes—arrived on Warner Bros. Records. According to Teen Vogue, “Their music sounds like a lively blend of lo-fi surf rock meets the Strokes with a strong female lead.” And per AllMusic, “The Regrettes thread feminism, sneering angst and ecstasy. All these intertwined emotions give the album an emotional punch that complements its musical rush, a confluence of nervy energy that could easily be interpreted as a reflection of the Regrettes’ youth. Perhaps the quartet members are all in their teens but they’re preternaturally gifted as musicians, so Feel Your Feelings Fool! offers the best of both worlds: craft that endures combined with boundless excitement.” You’ve got two chances to catch the Regrettes (above, doing “A Living Human Girl” for Jam in the Van) locally, tonight at Mercury Lounge and on Monday night at Rough Trade NYC.

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A Double Dose of Alex Lahey in New York City This Weekend

March 24th, 2017

Alex Lahey, a favorite of Australia’s influential Triple J radio, finds songwriting cathartic: “I’m not a runner at all, but I can imagine it is a really similar experience to someone that enjoys running. It’s challenging, but it’s rewarding, and there are probably a lot of endorphins at the end. I imagine it’s something like that. It’s really challenging, but it’s a challenge that I’m willing to accept.” Before it was rereleased on Dead Oceans earlier this year, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter and guitarist self-released her debut EP, B-Grade University (stream it below), last summer. In naming the Melbourne, Australia, native an Artist to Watch, Stereogum proclaimed, “Lahey charges full-speed ahead into explorations of post-collegiate career anxiety (‘Ivy League’), blissful romantic fixation (‘Wes Anderson’), and youthful indiscretions (‘Let’s Go Out’) among other adventures.” She’s even since more recently made a name for herself with several buzzed-about sets at this year’s SXSW, and now Lahey (above, doing “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me” for Balcony TV) is amidst a swing up the East Coast, which brings her to Rough Trade NYC tonight and Mercury Lounge tomorrow.

 

 

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Kick Off the Weekend with Noam Pikelny at The Bowery Ballroom

March 22nd, 2017

Call him “Pickles” or call him the banjo player from the Punch Brothers or maybe the inaugural winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2010 or any number of superlatives he’s garnered over the years. Or maybe just call him Noam Pikelny. Whatever name you choose, no matter, the banjo player extraordinaire is sure to entertain and inspire. He’s just put out his first truly solo debut on Rounder Records, Universal Favorite (stream it below), a totally unaccompanied and honest record. Pikelny (above, performing “Redbud” for Fretboard Journal) plays The Bowery Ballroom on Friday (with limited seating available, first come, first served), expect originals and covers, bluegrass instrumentals and yes, some singing; some top-notch deadpan comedy and banjo playing that, by any other name, would sound as sweet. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Don’t Miss José James This Thursday at The Bowery Ballroom

March 21st, 2017

“A jazz singer for the hip-hop generation, New York City–based vocalist José James has combined jazz, soul, drum ’n’ bass and spoken word into his own unique brand of vocal jazz,” according to AllMusic. Known equally for his acclaimed recorded work as he is for his fiery live performances, James (above, the video for “Always There”) released his most recent LP, the aptly named Love in a Time of Madness (stream it below), earlier this year. “On his fourth album for the Blue Note label, James deftly underlines jazz’s flexibility in relation to new pop trends, the way Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis did in the past,” says Pitchfork. Making his last East Coast appearance—before heading across the country and then on to Europe—José James plays The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday night. His band includes drummer, producer, composer and songwriter Nate Smith, and local versatile musician Corey King opens the show.

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Jens Lekman Offers an Antidote to NYC’s Winter on Saturday night

March 20th, 2017

Jens Lekman – The Bowery Ballroom – March 18, 2017

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)


(Jens Lekman performs live at Rough Trade NYC tonight.)

Given New York City’s week of Swedish weather, with gray days and precipitation falling within the never land between rain and snow, it must have felt like home for one of Sweden’s great pop troubadours, Jens Lekman, who, before returning to Europe, ruled the weekend here in the city, playing The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday—plus he’s at Rough Trade Trade NYC tonight. His Saturday show began with just him and an acoustic guitar, performing “To Know Your Mission” and “Evening Prayer,” off his latest album, the fantastic and much-acclaimed Life Will See You Now. The latter track was particularly Jens-ian, a tender yet optimistically upbeat tune about worrying and carrying for a friend going through chemotherapy.

“Who here is seeing Jens Lekman for the first time tonight?” asked Lekman to a handful of cheers. Going back all the way, he then went through every one of his local shows, even asking who was at his 2005 Mercury Lounge appearance. “I like growing older with you guys. I want this thing to last forever,” he said. The rest of the band then joined him onstage for “What’s That Perfume That You Where?” about memories triggered by a scent. After an amp malfunction that cut the song short, Lekman began again, playing through on acoustic guitar, somehow sounding even better the second time around: Nothing can hold back those danceable Lekman grooves. There’s a heartfelt warmth to his music that even permeated how he performed. For the end of “The Opposite of Hallelujah,” Lekman pantomimed the xylophone notes in front of him like falling snowflakes.

He introduced “I Know What Love Isn’t” as something he wrote during a cynical time of his life, but even this song brought forth a sense of cheeriness. Perhaps cynical New Yorkers have our taste for cynicism skewed too far to recognize the finer nuances of Scandinavian cynicism. Lekman introduced “Dandelion Seed” as the last song, realizing as he said it that the audience wouldn’t let things end there. The band returned for Lekman classics “Maple Leaves” and “A Postcard to Nina.” And when even that wasn’t enough, the affable performer returned solo yet again for “I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots” and “Pocketful of Money.” “I’ll come runnin’ with a heart on fire,” sang the packed crowd with Lekman repeating the chorus over the audience, delivered like a high-pitched plea. There’s no better antidote to the dregs of a New York City winter than huge moments like these. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nricks

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Aquilo Bring Acclaimed New Music to The Bowery Ballroom Monday

March 17th, 2017

Four years ago, in northwest England, Ben Fletcher and Tom Higham teamed up to make atmospheric, melancholy down-tempo electronic pop songs about heartbreak, loss and regret as the band Aquilo. After releasing a series of singles and EPs, the duo’s first studio full-length, Silhouettes (stream it below), arrived this past January. “It’s a work of art sewn together with a mesmerizing voice, a vocal that stops you in your tracks and forces you to listen,” according to Clash. “Crafted to perfection, Silhouettes is outstanding in its audible beauty.” And after a couple of American shows in Los Angeles and at SXSW, Aquilo (above, performing “Sorry”) play The Bowery Ballroom on Monday night.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Jens Lekman on 3/18

March 14th, 2017

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Jens Lekman is known across the world for keen pop hooks and a witty sense of humor. With a new album out, Life Will See You Now, the Swedish singer-songwriter has been back on our shores traveling the country, and his tour closes with three shows in NYC. A few tickets still remain for next Monday’s solo show at Rough Trade NYC, but his appearances at The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday are already sold out. That’s the bad news. However, the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets to see Jens Lekman on Saturday at The Bowery Ballroom. Want to get in on the fun but got shut out of tickets? Try to Grow a Pair of them. 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 (Jens Lekman, 3/18) and your favorite thing about Swedish music. Eddie Bruiser, a fan of Scandinavian rock, will notify the winner by Friday. Lycka till.

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