Two solo musicians best known for working with NYC trios, Sam Evian and Luke Temple, play the early show at Mercury Lounge tonight. Evian (stream his “Cherry Tree,” below), whose name is actually Sam Owens, is one-third of Brooklyn’s Celestial Shore, and Temple (above, doing an acoustic version of “Katie”) is part of Here We Go Magic.
Tag Archives: Luke Temple
Mike Gordon – Capitol Theatre – June 27, 2015
With much of the jam world’s eyes focused on Santa Clara, Calif., on Saturday night, a Mike Gordon show at the Capitol Theatre somehow felt a little bit under the radar, if that’s possible. Returning to the historic venue for the first time since Phish played there in 1992, Gordon and his revamped band gave the jubilant crowd plenty to keep them occupied with two stellar sets of jam-friendly music. After a warm-up opening of “Long Black Line,” the bassist led the band through a highlight-reel first set featuring standout versions of Gordon originals “Andelman’s Yard” and “Horizon Line,” the Phish rarity “Spock’s Brain” and two covers turned inside out. With the addition of Robert Walter on keyboards and John Morgan Kimock on drums, the band felt less like a spin-off side project and more like a high-quality jam-band hybrid: Walter utilizing his innate sense of the groove to get the crowd dancing, Kimock adding a daring ability to both follow and lead through uncharted passageways, Scott Murawski displaying a veteran hand on lead guitar and Gordon adding his unique Mike Gordon–ness to the low end.
While the Cap’s standard light projections often keep the crowd staring at the walls, Gordon’s stage production was an immersive trip on its own, perfectly enhancing the music. While the band took left turn upon left turn in “Andelman’s,” the lights paired colors in equally interesting combinations. During a space-funk version of Fiona Apple’s “Sleep to Dream,” a geometry lesson of shapes illuminated the band, adding cosmic effects while the audience’s front row played sound effects on a giant interactive “keyboard” at the front of the stage. When the band seemed to hit a particularly ecstatic climax in a jam, LEDs in Murawski’s and Gordon’s guitars lit up like the metaphoric light bulb signaling a Eureka! moment inside your mind. Toward the end of the first set, Gordon took his group and audience deep into the Flaming Lips’ “Are You a Hypnotist?” while tie-dyed fractal tunnels appeared on the backdrops, providing a mass hallucination just in case.
After a short break, Gordon and company returned for a second set that opened with a dark “Surface” and followed a set-list script but seemed to spend more time meandering and exploring through high-level jamming. The band flexed their collective muscles through multiple levels of improv, awakening all sorts of ghosts in the Cap’s walls. Late in the evening, Luke Temple made a surprise appearance, adding indie credentials by singing along to Gordon’s cover of his Here We Go Magic tune “How Do I Know,” which pushed the show over the top, if it truly needed the extra boost. Temple returned during the encore for his “Make Up Your Mind,” Gordon and Co. perfectly at ease playing backing band, adding a groovy oomph and maybe helping earn a few new Here We Go Magic fans along the way. The night-ending “Sugar Shack” felt superfluous after the preceding show, but Murawski’s lighthearted playing provided a welcome return to ground for the crowd.
—A. Stein | @Neddyo
Tags: A. Stein, Capitol Theatre, Fiona Apple, Flaming Lips, Here We Go Magic, John Morgan Kimock, Luke Temple, Mike Gordon, Review, Robert Walter, Scott Murawski
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The Landlady Holiday Spectacular – Mercury Lounge – December 8, 2014
I walked into Mercury Lounge last night to a festive holiday party already in progress. There were blinking lights, multiple trees and decorations throughout the room, a jar labeled FREE CANDY offered candy canes, and Santa Claus had just hopped off the stage to lead the room in “Silent Night.” Far be it from me to call Santa a liar, but the Landlady Holiday Spectacular would turn out to be anything but a silent night. In fact, with a makeshift second stage set up on the side of the room, there was almost no pause in the music for three-and-a-half hours, with brass bands big and small to indie-rock quartets to bluegrass trios, folk duos, large Afrobeat ensembles and almost anything else you could imagine. The sets were quick: two to four songs each, so if you didn’t like what you were hearing, you didn’t have to wait long, but that was rarely the case. It would take too long to even try to list the proceedings, probably about a dozen bands played in all, but there were Zula mixing Latin rhythms in an indie rock thing, the Westerlies adding Christmas songs to originals arranged for two trombones and a trumpet, the avant drum-and-guitar duo Star Rover expertly going post-post-rock, and Zongo Junction getting everyone boogieing down with their big, funky Afrobeat.
The audience constantly rotated between the front and the side, where little impromptu groups would spring up in between the more established ones, like when Rubblebucket’s Kal Traver joined the man of the hour, Adam Schatz, on a nice bluesy sax-and-vocals duet. Although the room was full, at times it felt like there were more musicians in the crowd than paying customers, a constant stream of saxophones and guitars fighting their way one of the stages. If this party were a movie, Schatz, who amazingly made the evening work while sitting in on sax with almost everyone, would’ve filled the director, producer and lead-actor roles. Still, by the time his band, Landlady, took the stage there was a risk that it would be anticlimactic after all that had already come. Not to worry, there wasn’t a chance of that happening. They opened with “Under the Yard,” off their new album, Upright Behavior, and raised the energy a few notches, mixing harmonies and offbeat rhythms with Schatz’s unique songwriting. The music was a groovy, progressive New Wave, a Talking Heads for the 21st century, with Schatz gesticulating lovingly at the front on keyboards. But even as he led Landlady through their repertoire—the title track and “Dying Day” were early set highlights—he was directing the show, prompting a horn section on the side stage to enter the fray at just the right moment.
Of course, with so many friends in the house, you had to expect even more collaborations, guests and permutations, and Schatz quickly ceded the stage to Jared Samuel (leading the band in a nice cover of George Harrison’s “Awaiting on You All”), Sam Cohen, Xenia Rubinos and Luke Temple. This highlight stretch turned Landlady into an expert house band primed for late-night talk shows, slipping between genres as easily as flipping through LPs at the record store. As if to punctuate the point, Landlady invited pretty much everyone onstage for a closing climactic one-two punch of covers by Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” and Funkadelic’s “I Got a Thing.” With horns, guitars, drums and what seemed like the whole room singing along, spectacular doesn’t even begin to describe the festivities. It should also be noted that the whole night was a benefit for the Bushwick School of Music, which provides music education to kids who wouldn’t otherwise receive it in school. It was a worthy cause, indeed. Guys like Adam Schatz just don’t appear beneath the Christmas tree, you know. —A Stein | @Neddyo
Tags: Adam Schatz, Bushwick School of Music, Funkadelic, George Harrison, Jared Samuel, Kal Traver, Landlady, Lou Reed, Luke Temple, Mercury Lounge, Review, Rubblebucket, Sam Cohen, Star Rover, Talking Heads, the Westerlies, Upright Behavior, Xenia Rubinos, Zongo Junction, Zula
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Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Steve Marion had been in other bands when one day he decided to record his own material at home. It eventually became the first Delicate Steve album, Wondervisions (stream it below). Released by David Byrne’s label, Luaka Bop, in 2011, the LP earned Marion comparisons to Pavement, Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors. In a glowing review, PopMusic declared that the album “treads beautifully this line between meaningless emotion and unfeeling precision…. The precise subject of these visions is hard to say—it is, quite simply, the kind of thing you do not describe with words.” The next year, Delicate Steve (above, performing “Afria Talks to You”) put out their follow-up, Positive Force (stream it below). And again critics and fans alike were impressed. Paste rang in: “What’s notable about Delicate Steve is not necessarily guitarist Steve Marion’s apt electronic contribution, but his songwriting and reference to earlier musicality that could be easily overlooked. Delicate Steve understands and is equally intrigued by what you can do with a great vintage synthesizer, but his George Harrison/Eric Clapton-esque guitar melodies are what make this album worth listening to.” See Delicate Steve play the late show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. And don’t miss the opener, singer-songwriter Luke Temple (of Here We Go Magic).
Tags: David Byrne, Delicate Steve, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Here We Go Magic, Luaka Bop, Luke Temple, Mercury Lounge, Preview, Steve Marion, Wondervisions
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Here We Go Magic – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 19, 2012
In an increasingly more crowded Brooklyn landscape, where it its inhabitants stumble over themselves to be cool, Here We Go Magic has settled into the mix and established credibility in an unassuming way. The danger with wanting to stand out and be noticed is that all too often the focus lands on style and image rather than on substance. But Here We Go Magic has recognized this pitfall, which is precisely what makes them cool. Essentially, they have quietly matured into a band that understands that you can’t try too hard.
This is not to say that Here We Go Magic has emerged from the Brooklyn music scene, where they formed in 2008, without hard work. To be sure, you can’t acquire the production services of Nigel Godrich, the man behind Radiohead, without being dedicated and serious about making great music. The Godrich-produced A Different Ship is one of the best albums of the year, and a reflection of Magic’s quiet confidence in the record was put forth last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, when it was played in its entirety. Feeling right at home on their native turf, the band strode onstage with the nonchalance of a group about to rehearse rather than perform.
The approach didn’t hinder them one bit as they barely missed a beat in a set that toed the line between loose freedom and honed execution. The beauty of Here We Go Magic’s most recent music lies in its restraint, and this quality, in both substance and delivery, lured the room gradually into warm appreciation of what they were hearing. Band founder, Luke Temple, eased into each song, sharing the stage presence and vocal duties with his mates, embodying the invaluable attitude that develops with experience: Real coolness is not about force-feeding and shouting what you have to offer, but rather genuinely going about your business and humbly appreciating when others take notice of your worth. Here We Go Magic gets this. Upon leaving the show with a smile and a nod, I noticed that the new album was being offered at the merchandise table in old-school cassette format, and I immediately thought to myself, “Now that’s cool.” —Charles Steinberg
Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic began as a one-man band when singer-songwriter Luke Temple recorded a bunch of material at home on a four-track recorder over the course of two months. Those songs went on to become the well-received Here We Go Magic. But sometimes it’s more fun to do things with friends, so Temple added Michael Bloch on guitar, Peter Hale on drums, Kristina Lieberson on keys and Jennifer Turner on bass, and Here We Go Magic was suddenly a five-piece with a bigger, deeper sound. Since then, the group has played big festivals, like Bonnaroo and Glastonbury, and released more material: Pigeons in 2010, The January EP last year and the critically acclaimed A Different Ship (stream two songs from the album below) this past May. And before heading to Australia and then Europe, Here We Go Magic (above, doing “Make Up Your Mind” at this year’s Bonnaroo) plays a hometown show tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Tags: A Different Ship, Here We Go Magic, Jennifer Turner, Kristina Lieberson, Luke Temple, Michael Bloch, Peter Hale, Pigeons, Preview, The January EP, Video
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