Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge
Husband-and-wife rockers Mates of State come to Mercury Lounge to play twice this Friday. Tickets still remain for the late show, but if you got shut of the early show, try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List. 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 (Mates of State, 12/19) and a brief message explaining why early shows are better than late ones. Eddie Bruiser, who needs some convincing, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.
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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Will Johnson, equally talented and prolific, is a busy man. He’s been a member of several bands and has recorded on his own, which is why he formed Centro-matic as a solo project back in 1995. But after releasing a few singles, the project blossomed into a full-time band two years later, when Scott Danbom (cello, violin), Mark Hedman (bass) and Matt Pence (drums) came aboard. And ever since the North Texas four-piece has been extremely busy, touring extensively—bringing catchy alt-country and jangly rock that’s often compared to Neil Young and Crazy Horse across North America and Europe—and recording seven EPs and 11 LPs, including this year’s highly regarded Take Pride in Your Long Odds (stream it below). “Fast forward nearly two decades since the auspicious solo project that was Johnson’s apprenticeship mining Robert Pollard-esque lyrics and lo-fi recording techniques to today’s Take Pride in Your Long Odds,” said PopMatters, “and you’ll find a band with honed instincts still operating with reckless abandon.” And while Centro-matic (above, performing “Reset Anytime” for KXT FM) are out on the road in support of their new album and in as fine form as ever, it turns out that this is also a farewell tour. According to Johnson, “I can write with no hint of drama that our December tour will be the last Centro-matic tour for the indefinite and foreseeable future. For a handful of reasons, the time finally feels right to celebrate the existence of this thing, then let it rest.” But before they’re gone for good, you’ve got two chances to say goodbye, on Thursday at Rough Trade NYC and on Friday at Mercury Lounge.
Tags: Centro-matic, Mark Hedman, matt Pence, Mercury Lounge, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Preivew, Rough Trade NYC, Scott Danbom, Take Pride in Your Long Odds, Video, Will Johnson
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Kristian Bell (vocals and guitar), Gianni Honey (drums) and Daniel Rumsey (bass and vocals) have been making doomy yet infectious music as the Wytches for three years. Based on the south coast of England, the surf-psych trio began to gain a following in the U.K.—including shout-outs from the Guardian and NME—thanks in part to the release of their debut single, “Digsaw,” an EP and because of their mesmerizing live shows. Their impressive debut full-length, Annabel Dream Reader, came out this past August, and NME made comparisons to Nirvana and Black Sabbath while mentioning “exceptional songs full of both melody and menace.” The Wytches (above, doing “Darker,” live in studio for WFUV FM) have been traveling the country in support of their new album, and that tour ends in New York City tonight at the early show at Mercury Lounge. A pair of Brooklyn bands, neo noir punk trio Lodro and doo-wop garage quartet the Teen Age, open the show.
Tags: Annabel Dream Reader, Black Sabbath, Daniel Rumsey, Gianni Honey, Kristian Bell, Lodro, Mercury Lounge, Nirvana, Preview, the Teen Age, Video, Wytches
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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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Caroline Smith (vocals and guitar) leads the Minneapolis folk band Caroline Smith and the Good Nights. But after releasing a few well-regarded albums, she decided to go solo, in name at least—she’s still joined by Arlen Peiffer (drums) and Jesse Schuster (bass), and also performs live with additional vocalists, keyboardists and guitarists. The soul- and R&B-inflected Half About Being a Woman (stream it below), which showcases Smith’s big voice, came out last year. But her new music all comes together live, and you can see Caroline Smith (above, performing “Half About Being a Woman” for Audiotree Live) tonight at the late show at Mercury Lounge. Arrive early for the psych-pop band Lip Talk.
Caroline Rose grew up in an East Coast seaside town with a restless spirit, which perhaps led to her feeling comfortable on the road. But traveling across the country wasn’t just good for her soul, it’s also helped form her music. Mining the rich terrain of rockabilly, blues and country, Rose’s 2014 release, I Will Not Be Afraid (stream it below), impresses upon its very first listen. “Along with her powerful, smoky and soulful voice, Rose’s songs are bursting with personality,” according to Glide Magazine. “Her range is wide here, and it does not go unnoticed. She injects a sense of humor into her singing, utilizing her voice to its full potential.” Rose (above, doing “America Religious” for Ear Candy) records and performs with multi-instrumentalist Jer Coons, guitarist Brett Lanier and bassist Pat Melvin, and you can see them live tonight at Mercury Lounge. Wild Leaves, a psych-folk five-piece, open the show.
PUP/Chumped – Mercury Lounge – November 7, 2014
Two of the best young bands in the punk scene tore up Mercury Lounge at Friday night’s late show. It was the second-to-last date of a tour that has taken what were separately two already must-see acts and turned them into a double bill that fans will talk about for years. Chumped—a Brooklyn pop-punk group playing to many hometown fans, family members and friends, who couldn’t stop hurling empty beer cans and plastic cups onstage— performed first. According to the four-piece, it was the their biggest show to date. They ripped through a huge chunk of their growing discography and delighted the crowd with their loud and speedy (yet still melodic) sound. Chumped moved at such a quick pace that fans couldn’t help but move along to it, smiling all the way. Luckily for New Yorkers, the band has an LP about to be released, so they will be easy to find in the coming months. But on Friday, their fast and furious set was the perfect primer for the mayhem that followed.
If Chumped are made for dancing, PUP are made for moshing. “It’s easy to like New York but it’s not easy to like shows in New York,” said singer Stefan Babcock midway through the set. “But you guys made it easy.” That’s probably because no one in the crowd stopped shouting every lyric right back at the Canadian indie-punk band. For an hour, they were no longer a four-piece because the entire room became PUP. Babcock was sweetly engaging when the band wasn’t shredding, but during songs he furiously paced the stage like a lion waiting to roar. Every time he returned to the microphone, lyrics were sung with an incredible force and were always backed by the synchronized thrashing of his bandmates.
PUP’s sound ranges from pure shout-along songs like “Guilt Trip” (perhaps the first song I’ve ever heard people shout “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6” along to, thanks to its time signature) to “Yukon,” a moody tune that seethes during each verse before it explodes into the chorus. Regardless of tempo, audience members and the band fed off one another’s wild behavior. Fans crowd surfed, so Babcock did the same. Fans shouted as they leaned over the stage, Babcock and the band got right back in their faces. All this resulted in one hell of a messy conclusion just as PUP covered the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” and Babcock was once again hoisted above the crowd, a fitting end to the band’s first-ever sold-out headlining show in New York City—but most certainly not the last. —Sean O’Kane
Restorations—Jon Loudon (vocals and guitar), Ben Pierce (keys, guitar and vocals), Carlin Brown (drums), Dan Zimmerman (bass and vocals) and Dave Klyman (guitar and vocals)—have been making music at the intersection of Americana, folk, anthemic punk and post-rock since forming in 2008. The Philly quintet (above, performing “Separate Songs” live for Little Elephant) has released several singles, EPs and full-lengths, the most recent of which, LP3 (stream it below), arrived last week. Consequence of Sound says, “Restorations may deal in the currency of nostalgia, but they’ll never be confused for a nostalgia act.” The blog also notes “the album’s soaring, stadium-ready melodies,” and declares, “Restorations is a band that indeed seems to believe in everything: the raw gut-punch of punk, the catharsis and euphoria of stadium rock, the necessity of looking backward and moving forward. In the hands of inferior musicians, that commitment to indulging all these beliefs would result in disaster. Here, it makes for one hell of a ride.” Get onboard tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Comedian Joe Sib opens the show.
Avi Zahner-Isenberg (vocals and guitar) was still just in high school when he began writing original songs at home. Not even a year later, he’d teamed up with Rebecca Coleman (keys), Arin Fazio (bass) and Sheridan Riley (drums) to form Avi Buffalo. Their first album, a self-titled affair (stream it below), arrived in 2010. AllMusic noted the frontman’s “wiry falsetto and inherent knack for pairing pop hooks with handclaps” and suggested the LP “may be quirky, but it’s a little sinister too, boasting a heavy dose of arty melancholy and subversive, faux-twee indie pop.” The Long Beach, Calif., four-piece toured the country and Europe in support of Avi Buffalo and afterward, Zahner-Isenberg decided the band should take a break. During that time, he produced tracks for friends before eventually beginning to work on new Avi Buffalo tunes. When that finally happened, the band’s lineup changed with Doug Brown (bass) and Anthony Vezirian (keys) joining the frontman and Riley. Their second full-length album, At Best Cuckold (stream it below), came out this past September. NME proclaimed, “The Californian eccentric’s second album is full of glorious madness” in a glowing review. And they “have returned with an album that skirts close to perfection in its 35 minutes of glorious madness and transcendent, George Harrison–like guitar solos. Welcome Avi Buffalo back into your life now.” In fact, you can welcome them in person when they play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night.
Tags: Anthony Vezirian, Arin Fazio, At Best Cuckold, Avi Buffalo, Avi Zahner-Isenberg, Doug Brown, George Harrison, Mercury Lounge, Preview, Rebecca Coleman, Sheridan Riley, Video
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Ex Hex – Mercury Lounge – November 2, 2014
Ex Hex took to the stage at Mercury Lounge on a cold and blustery New York City Marathon Sunday evening, where at least one attendee displayed his race-finishing medal along with a whiskey and Coke. It turns out a marathon wasn’t a bad visual metaphor for independent-rock endurance racer Mary Timony, a purveyor of catchy garage rock since the 1990s, and her latest project, Ex Hex. Timony’s latest band articulated something beyond the well-worn loneliness of a long distance runner.
Playing songs from their appropriately titled debut LP, Rips, Ex Hex showed no signs of wearing out. Instead, the Thin Lizzy drums and guitar riffs settled the three-piece into a place that sounded newly generative and well-worn. The band had finished their sound check to the pounding sound of Kanye West’s “Hold My Liquor,” but “Don’t let me get in my zone/ I’m already in my zone” might have been better entrance music for a trio so steeped in both the present and the past. Dressed in black, Ex Hex opened with “Waterfall” before moving through “Don’t Wanna Lose” and “How You Got That Girl.” The sold-out crowd shuffled and bounced to match the down-stroke guitars coming from the stage.
Ex Hex—also the name of one of Timony’s solo albums in one of those meta moments where the art and the artist grow increasingly more intertwined—sat their best song, “Hot and Cold,” in the middle of the set. Despite the blowing waste outside on Houston St., or the hours-earlier struggles of runners on the Verrazano or Queensboro Bridges, Ex Hex suggested something different about temperature and age. Timony sang, “I cannot see through your disguise,” and then the intentional dissociation: “So young, so old.” The band’s set headed for its conclusion, a mixture of the aged and contemporary, and for the moment, with the chunky guitars and Ex Hex’s big hooks, we were all finishers.
Lo-Fang – Mercury Lounge – November 1, 2014
The classically trained singer-songwriter Matthew Hemerlein produces lush soundtrack-worthy music under the moniker Lo-Fang. Most recently, he had been tapped to perform his cover of the Grease favorite “You’re the One That I Want” in a Chanel No. 5 short film starring supermodel Gisele Bündchen and directed by Academy Award–winning Baz Luhrmann. Not bad company to keep. With a slew of influences from R&B to electronica, it should be noa surprise that Hemerlein’s debut album, Blue Film, was written over a three-year globetrotting journey across Cambodia, London, Nashville, Tokyo and Bali. After making his New York City debut at Mercury Lounge earlier this year, the L.A.-based producer returned to the venue for a sold-out performance on Saturday night.
Those in the crowd waited in the chilly rain but were quickly heated up by the singer’s theatrics. Opening with “Silver,” from his newly released Every Night mixtape, Hemerlein literally kicked off his shoes to work his magic not only on the violin but also on the multitude of pedals beneath his feet. The ladies front and center were in for a treat as Hemerlein lunged closer for the throbbing “Light Year.” Wooing the opposite sex further, Hemerlein covered BOY’s “Boris,” serenading, “You owe me/ Your lips I’m gonna give tips/ And I heard your boyfriend is out of town?” Plenty of his admirers would have happily run away with him. On the title track, he even broke out some push-ups to work out his guns for further flexing throughout the evening. With Lo-Fang’s dramatics checked, his classical training shown through on “#88” as he lithely wove Andrew Bird–like violin plucks into his falsetto.
Nearing the end of the set, Hemerlein returned down the path of seduction for “When We’re Fire,” as his gyrations, straight out of Magic Mike, would make Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey blush. And when this reviewer was mistakenly taking notes, the singer cheekily reprimanded me by pocketing my phone. Boy wants all eyes on him. Lesson learned. To punctuate the evening, Lo-Fang dug deep into the late ’90s with Ginuwine’s “Pony” for a fitting final fling. But despite his female admirers’ desire for more, they were left hot and bothered into the crisp evening air. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Andrew Bird, Baz Lurhmann, Blue Film, Boy, Channing Tatum, Every Night, Ginuwine, Gisele Bündchen, Lo-Fang, Matthew Hemerlein, Matthew McConaughey, Mercury Lounge, Photos, Review
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