Tag Archives: Lower East Side

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The Griswolds – The Bowery Ballroom – February 28, 2017

March 1st, 2017

The Griswolds - The Bowery Ballroom - February 28, 2017

Photos courtesy of Brian C. Reilly | www.briancreilly.com

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A Double Dose of Mike Doughty This Weekend

March 1st, 2017

Mike Doughty—who at one time worked the door at the Knitting Factory—fronted the NYC quartet Soul Coughing in the ’90s. But when they broke up in 2000, he decided to go it alone, releasing his first solo LP, Skittish (stream it below), which he’d actually recorded four years earlier. Doughty has been a busy man ever since, touring, putting out more albums and even finding time to become a blogger and author known for his sense of humor. Last October, Doughty (above, performing “Madeline and Nine” live at Paste Studio) released his ninth studio album—and 19th overall—The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns (stream it below), the first he’s recorded since leaving behind NYC for Memphis, Tenn. “Whether it be the influence of age, Memphis, or a musical phase, The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns finds a relatively more mature and steady Doughty, both in sound and tone, and it suits his often world-weary observational sketches,” according to AllMusic. The singer-songwriter is currently on the road with the biggest band he’s ever toured with: a cello/bass player, drums, a second guitarist, an organist, plus a backing vocalist. The show consists of basically live remixing. Using hand gestures, Doughty improvises changes in what the musicians in the band are doing—stopping, starting, getting louder or quieter, changing their parts, repeating their parts. The songs are Soul Coughing songs and Doughty solo songs, but none are ever performed the same way twice. Don’t miss Mike Doughty on Friday at Music Hall of Williamsburg and on Saturday at The Bowery Ballroom. Brooklyn six-piece Wheatus open both shows.

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Leif Vollebekk Investigates the Blank Spaces at Mercury Lounge

March 1st, 2017

Leif Vollebekk – Mercury Lounge – February 28, 2017

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Leif Vollebekk opened his performance at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday recalling an earlier trip to NYC when his show sold exactly one advanced ticket and was canceled. That seems highly unlikely to happen again as Vollebekk and his trio kept the roomful of paying customers rapt and enthusiastic for the better part of 80 minutes last night. The set opened with “Vancouver Time” off of his just-released-album, Twin Solitude. Backed by just a bassist and a drummer, the band playing together for the first time in a crowded Mercury Lounge, doing brand-new songs, you could forgive him for being a bit nervous, but Vollebekk sounded at ease, beginning on the electric piano, his words taking center stage from the start. Throughout the night there were almost too many great lyrics, each song crammed with several phrases you just wanted to write down. The opening number featured lovely imagery, like “buffalo clouds over the plain,” and real emotions, like “I’m only leaving because I can’t stay.”

Often when songwriters are capable of delivering lyrics like Vollebekk can, the tendency is to cram as many words into a line as possible. But he is the opposite: His songs are filled with pauses, the blank spaces allowing the words to linger and to let the music seep in to accentuate, drums and bass adding weight while Vollebekk added electric piano or guitar or harmonica. He was equally adept at filling the spaces between songs, joking around and drawing in the audience with his banter, endearing himself to the room. A riff about Neil Young’s tuning became an impromptu half cover of “Cowgirl in the Sand” that actually sounded like it might have legs for a bit.

The set was mostly anchored by the new material and was better for it. The theme of many of the songs seemed to be that of place, not just the settings—Vancouver, Michigan, Telluride, Colo.—but of the coming and going to each. In a way, it was road-trip music, not necessarily music for listening to in transit, but more about it, the gaps and empty spaces to fill with thoughts and images and music. Vollebekk sang the word “Telluride” almost like it was three—“Tell you right”—and on “Michigan,” he sang, “You and me, Robert, we ramble on,” which I want to believe is a Zeppelin reference as well as the snow piling up behind him in the rearview mirror. The trio encored with “Into the Ether,” Vollebekk picking up a violin to add some atmospheric loops, the spaces between lyrics filled to capacity, the room equally so. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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K.Flay – The Bowery Ballroom – February 27, 2017

February 28th, 2017

K.Flay - The Bowery Ballroom - February 27, 2017

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Begin Your Weekend with Dead Man Winter at The Bowery Ballroom

February 24th, 2017

Dave Simonett (vocals and guitar) helped launched the progressive-bluegrass string band Trampled by Turtles 14 years ago in Duluth, Minn. And while they’ve remained busy ever since, performing, recording and touring, Simonett formed another musical outfit, a sort-of country-rock side project, Dead Man Winter, in Minneapolis—at least temporarily leaving behind frenetic acoustic music for a more relaxed electric take. The group’s debut, Bright Lights (stream it below), came out in 2011. “Electrified guitars roar loudly over a whispering bluegrass, resulting in a sound that hits the ear like a corn-fed Black Crowes,” said Relix. Dead Man Winter (above, doing “Destroyer” for The Lowertown Line) returned this month with their sophomore long-player, the breakup-album Furnace (stream it below), which covers the end of Simonett’s marriage and the splintering of his family, delivered free of self-pity. “Furnace leaves ashes in its wake and cigarette-burn marks on your heart,” according to Paste. “But such heavy lyrical content doesn’t necessitate sad, smoldering music. Indeed, Furnace is steeped in rich folk-rock traditions…. It’s this kind of musical range and lyrical brutality that makes an artist—someone who can find, and then articulate, something beautiful in the wake of destruction.” Touring behind the new album, Dead Man Winter play The Bowery Ballroom tonight. Another Minnesotan, singer-songwriter John Mark Nelson, opens the show.

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The Lemon Twigs – The Bowery Ballroom – February 21, 2017

February 22nd, 2017

The Lemon Twigs – The Bowery Ballroom – February 21, 2017

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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Lisa Hannigan Makes a Triumphant Return at The Bowery Ballroom

February 21st, 2017

Lisa Hannigan – The Bowery Ballroom – February 20, 2017

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Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan has a way of wrapping you in a warm woolen blanket with delicate vocals that seem to embrace you in a loving hug. Often known for her backing vocals while touring in the past with Damien Rice, she has forged on to release three solo albums after an abrupt break from her former collaborator. Her previous album produced with the National’s Aaron Dessner, At Swim, arrived last summer following a long five-year hiatus. Needless to say, fans were excited for her return to New York City as she arrived at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night, midway through her U.S. tour.

The room came to a hush as Hannigan took to the stage crooning the ever-haunting “Ora.” Although she was sparse with banter throughout the evening, fans didn’t seem to mind as they happily soaked up her ethereal melodies. Opener Heather Woods Broderick added her vocals on “O Sleep,” stepping in for Ray Lamontagne. Hannigan mentioned how her video for “Undertow” was recently released and that in the filming she had to sing the song backward. The singer playfully proceeded to share her backward trill, before introducing a protest song, “Fall,” which was an appropriate addition to the events of Presidents’ Day.

The band exited, leaving the stage to the lass for the music-box plucks of “Little Bird” and the wanderlusting “Passenger.” Her lilting brogue rang true on “We, the Drowned,” as Hannigan pumped her harmonium with extra zeal. Stalwart fans were delighted by “Lille,” an oldie from her debut solo, Sea Sew. An encore opened with an a cappella version of “Anahorish” accompanied by Broderick and her bassist before the performance concluded with the pair of “Barton” and the uplifting “A Sail.” —Sharlene Chiu

 

 

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Tash Sultana – Mercury Lounge – February 15, 2017

February 16th, 2017

Tash Sultana - Mercury Lounge - February 15, 2017
(Tash Sultana’s show at Rough Trade NYC tomorrow is sold out, but she returns to NYC to play The Bowery Ballroom on 10/2 and Music Hall of Williamsburg on 10/3.)

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Common Kings Bring Brand-New Music to The Bowery Ballroom

February 14th, 2017

Inspired by R&B, soul and reggae—and their Polynesian roots—JR King (vocals), Taumata Grey (guitar), Ivan Kirimaua (bass) and Jerome Taito (drums) began jamming together a few years ago while attending Orange Coast College, which led to them later forming the pop-rock four-piece Common Kings in Orange County, Calif. After putting out several EPs and singles, their impressive debut full-length, the catchy, upbeat Lost in Paradise (stream it below), arrived earlier this month. And touring behind the new tunes, Common Kings (above, their official video for “Lost in Paradise”) play The Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night. Miami hip-hop group ¡Mayday! and big-wave surfer and reggae-pop singer-songwriter Makua Rothman open the show.

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Gang of Youths Kick Off February Residency on Monday Night

February 10th, 2017

Although they hail from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and the United States, Max Dunn (bass), Jung Kim (guitar and keys), David Le’aupepe (vocals and keys), Joji Malani (guitar) and Donnie Borzestowski (drums) formed the baroque-pop five-piece Gang of Youths five years ago in Sydney. Rolling Stone called their first full-length, The Positions (stream it below)—a vivid celebration of life following some seriously dark times—an “emotionally charged debut” and made comparisons to Kings of Leon and Bruce Springsteen. Last year, Gang of Youths (above, performing “Poison Drum” for World Cafe) returned with the EP Let Me Be Clear (stream it below). “The expectation of a sophomore slump can be enough by itself to throw off the career of the most promising bands, and it would have been easy for Gang of Youths to keep churning out string-tinged rock songs,” according to Sputnik Music. “Instead … they’ve shown an insatiable thirst to keep building and transforming their sound.” Find out how they sound live when Gang of Horses play Mercury Lounge on 2/13 and 2/20 and Rough Trade NYC on 2/27.

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P.O.S Brings New Music to Rough Trade NYC and Mercury Lounge

February 6th, 2017

Rapper, singer, self-taught multi-instrumentalist and producer Stefon Alexander has been doing business as the punk-influenced underground hip-hop artist P.O.S in Minneapolis since around the turn of the century. He’s one of the founding members of hip-hop collective Doomtree, while also finding time to be part of a punk band, Building Better Bombs, and another Twin Cities collective, indie rockers Gayngs. Fortunately, P.O.S (above, performing “Sleepdrone” live in studio for KEXP FM) continues to do solo work. His fifth full-length studio album, Chill, Dummy (stream it below), which features guest vocals by Justin Vernon, came out at the end of January. A.V. Club calls it “a record about surviving, living and battling for every little thing you’ve got—something P.O.S knows his fair share about.” And Pitchfork says Alexander “is still all about his consciousness, and usefully motivated by anger. But on Chill, Dummy, he embraces a freed-up feel, with some grooves you might hear in a club.” Now out on the road, the lyrical bomb-thrower plays Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night and Mercury Lounge on Wednesday. Rappers Ceschi Ramos and Transit22 open both shows.

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Icelandic Singer-Songwriter Ólöf Arnalds Plays Mercury Lounge

February 3rd, 2017

Despite her instrumental prowess—classically trained on violin and viola and self-taught on guitar and charangoÓlöf Arnalds’ calling card is her crystalline voice. She was already fairly well-known in Iceland’s music scene by the time her debut solo release, Við Og Við (stream it below), arrived in 2007, going on to win Record of the Year and Best Alternative Album at the Icelandic Music Awards. When the LP came out in the U.S. three years later, Paste declared, “Earnest, heartfelt declarations of love are a welcome change from the too-cool posturing of so much of today’s popular music. Familial affection will never go out of style; neither will deftly plucked stringed instruments, subtle orchestral swells and a songbird lilt this impossibly lovely.” The singer-songwriter has since toured with the likes of Björk, Jonathan Richman and Dirty Projectors and released several more EPs and full-players, including 2014’s Palme (stream it below). It’s “as pure as powdered snow, yet bubbling over with fairy mischief,” proclaimed AllMusic. Arnalds (above, performing an Icelandic version of “Turtledove” for the Line of Best Fit and, below, covering “Mr. Tambourine Man”) “is a weaver of ephemera, and with each new collection of music, she both defines herself and furthers her own mythology, a mythology that’s wholly intertwined with the lore of her Nordic homeland.” See her play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Alternative-folk trio Cold Weather Company open the show.

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Bear’s Den Leave Them Wanting More at The Bowery Ballroom

February 2nd, 2017

Bear’s Den – The Bowery Ballroom – February 1, 2017

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The British folk rock band Bear’s Den wrap gorgeous compositions with a searing banjo ribbon. It’s not a surprise that they supported fellow countrymen Mumford & Sons, as both share similar musical sensibilities. They’re also no strangers to road-tripping across America, having jumped in a Volkswagen Campervan to tour with Ben Howard, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Staves in 2014. In support of their sophomore release, Red Earth & Pouring Rain, the lads played to a sold-out Bowery Ballroom on a crisp Wednesday night. The balcony was overflowing with spectators, as folks could barely get on the floor. Although the evening featured songs from the recent release, special attention was paid to the faithful when the rarely sung and mostly back-cataloged “Sophie” was played acoustically as the audience came to a hauling silence.

Band leader Andrew Davie admitted it was likely their “second-oldest song,” and fans, new and old, were grateful. They erupted for “When You Break,” a favorite from Bear’s Den debut, Islands. A pause in the set carved time for guitarist Christof to make his traditional bottle-flip attempt. The suspense was thick as the water bottle flew in the air, and Davie bear-hugged his bandmate upon success before wailing the sea shanty “Auld Wives.” Christof strapped on the banjo for another favorite, “Above the Clouds of Pompeii,” as clapping hands and stomping feet revved up the band before they exited the stage.

There was little doubt they would not return for an encore, and they did with horn accompaniment for “Napoleon.” Davie, bassist Kevin Jones and Christof made their way into the crowd with only instruments on an acoustic rendition of “Gabriel.” Back onstage, Davie explained that throughout their tour they have been playing covers that were of local artists or about the city they were in. Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” checked off both those requirements. The evening wrapped up with the anthemic “Agape,” which was a fitting soundtrack to lead folks into the night and onto a new day. —Sharlene Chiu

 

 

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Maren Morris on 2/2

January 31st, 2017

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Acclaimed country singer Maren Morris plays The Bowery Ballroom twice on Thursday night, early and late. Both appearances are sold out, but The House List is giving away two tickets to the show of the winner’s choice. Don’t have tickets and want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. 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 (Maren Morris—choose early or late) and a brief message explaining why you’re happy for February’s arrival. Eddie Bruiser, who’s no fan of January, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.

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Black Tiger Sex Machine – The Bowery Ballroom – January 27, 2017

January 30th, 2017

Black Tiger Sex Machine - The Bowery Ballroom - January 27, 2017

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com