Tag Archives: Mick Jagger


Still They Rise

June 10th, 2014

The Preatures – The Bowery Ballroom – June 9, 2014

The Preatures – The Bowery Ballroom – June 9, 2014
Taking a break from recording their new album, the Preatures traveled all the way from Australia to kick off a summer tour that will undoubtedly build on the buzz they began generating in the last year. And while half of the sold-out crowd last night at The Bowery Ballroom was apparently still nursing Governors Ball hangovers (discussions of which weekend set was the best and tales of festival survival were abound), the room’s energy level was on high for the quintet’s killer set.

Plenty of comparisons have been (and will be drawn) between singer Isabella “Izzi” Manfredi and other powerful band leaders, like Mick Jagger or Chrissie Hynde, but the truth is that she’s already carved her own unique space. Manfredi’s versatile, unwavering voice is strong on steamy, slow affairs like the moody keyboard ballad “Two Tone Melody,” but she can also wrap those notes in some high-energy shouts and wails on songs like the ’80s dance rock-ish “Is This How You Feel.” Meanwhile, the other band members around her have crafted an excellent, tight sound that, like Manfredi’s voice, is supremely versatile. Gideon Bensen’s smooth voice backs Manfredi’s well, and Jack Moffitt’s effortless lead guitar is a marvel on its own.

Compared to their Mercury Lounge show this past March, there was even more recognition from audience members, and those who didn’t already know the Preatures were shouting for more by the end of the short set. Although still a fairly new band, the Preatures seem to have just about everything that would indicate their successful rise is a long way from stopping, and last night’s set proved to be no different. Although fans were still asking for more following the show’s conclusion, they were out early enough to do what so many New Yorkers are using this week for after this festival weekend: to catch up on some sleep. But chances are they’ll be dreaming of the Preatures. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


Eleanor Friedberger Closes Out Tour at Music Hall of Williamsburg

July 1st, 2013

Eleanor Friedberger – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 28, 2013

In the Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger’s band with her brother, Matthew, the singer delivered lyrics like abstract puzzles, little ciphers of intricate and, at times, inscrutable language. But in her solo work, her lyrics have taken a more straightforward narrative direction, as evidenced in her new album, the aptly titled Personal Record. Friedberger and her band performed their final show of a cross-country tour at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night, which also included the debut screening of She’s a Mirror, an abstract, comedic short film inspired by her song of the same name, which Friedberger made with director Joe DeNardo.

After appearing on celluloid, Friedberger soon materialized in the flesh, where she seemed to relish performing her new songs, which cover a range of emotions and styles. She was just as comfortable while unself-consciously bouncing around singing the jaunty “Staring at the Sun” and “My Own World,” as she was during a spare, solo rendition of the existential number “I Am the Past.” Of course, the rapid-fire approach to singing that Friedberger perfected in the Fiery Furnaces still came into play during the wordy verses on songs like “Early Earthquake” and  “Roosevelt Island.” She’s an assertive performer, and at times, like during her rendition of the excellent “Other Boys,” the singer had a subtle swagger not unlike a mellow version of a young Mick Jagger (her fringe haircut only adds to the comparison.)

For the last song of the night, Friedberger and her band tore into “My Mistakes,” the opening cut from her 2011 album, Last Summer, laced with a contagious keyboard riff and underscored by saxophone. “I thought I’d learn from my mistakes,” intoned Friedberger, though with a prevailing sense of comic detachment rather than regret. This seems to be a fitting attitude for Friedberger, whose solo career has demonstrated willingness to explore and experiment in her art without insecurity. With that, she jumped down into crowd for an impromptu dance party, and the band played on. —Alena Kastin





Two Bands Worthy of the Hype

March 1st, 2013

Unknown Mortal Orchestra/Foxygen – The Bowery Ballroom – February 28, 2013

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The first time I saw Unknown Mortal Orchestra (or UMO) a couple years back, they were a support act you could just tell wouldn’t be an opener for too much longer. So it felt like no coincidence that their big sold-out headlining show last night at The Bowery Ballroom would feature an opening band riding an acclaimed debut album and the justified hype to sold-out headlining gigs of their own before too long. That band, Foxygen, took the stage in a blaze of manic energy and echo-reverb ooh la la’s, twitching their way through pretty much all of their new We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic album. Those recorded tracks come off as retrofitted rock gems, but live they were a delightfully jagged and ragged set. Untethered from the studio, the sound felt like 1960s rock and roll in a blender: a juicy cocktail of Jagger’s vocals, McCartney’s bass, Morrison’s lithe, wild-eyed stage presence, the Who’s bombastic energy, an occasional dash of Dylan’s off-kilter harmonica, topped off with Neil Young’s hat. It was a delicious brew that the expectant crowd guzzled down happily, highlighted by whiplash versions of “On Blue Mountain” and “No Destruction.”

If Foxygen offered a look back for Unknown Mortal Orchestra, UMO returned the favor. Riding on a next-step sophomore album, simply titled II, the Portland, Ore., trio crackled with the confident, cohesive energy of a band in control. On paper, UMO are a standard power trio—guitar, bass and drums—but their sound has a subtle surrealistic edge. This is a power trio as painted by Salvador Dali, melting over the limbs of trees and walls in a distorted reality. They opened with a splash of older material, centered on the catchy, off-center “Thought Ballune,” every bit of music crunched through just the right amount of distortion. From there, they unveiled track after track from the new album, the heavy-hitter middle section of the show characterized by a nonstop, groove-rock bass playing from Jake Portrait, which propelled along each tune. Frontman Ruban Nielson, looking downright wizardlike in poncho and hat, took over from there, leading the band through the set’s final third, which seemed to get better with each passing riff. Centered on a surprising sing-along version of “From the Sun,” Nielson fit powerful guitar solos into perfectly orchestrated pieces, with each sound from the pummeling drumming of Riley Geare to Nielson’s vocals locked into place. That tune relented into a wonderful Frank Zappa section, which kept at it through the remainder: The band sounding as if Zappa were leading Zeppelin as a power trio through an updated psychedelic catalog.

While the late-night packed crowd thinned out a bit around midnight, those who remained to the end seemed to hear pretty much everything from both albums by the end of the night, from the just-weird-enough “Ffunny Ffriends,” off the self-titled debut to the soulful “So Good at Being in Trouble,” off II. I was struck by how much better the already-darn-good band had gotten since that opening hit, getting me to already contemplate their next time through town, as well as what the future brings for Foxygen. And of course, most important, who will be opening for them when they’re playing their big sold-out headlining show. —A. Stein


Passion Pit Defy the Odds

February 11th, 2013

Passion Pit – Madison Square Garden – February 8, 2013

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night prevents a proper concertgoer from heading out to see his or her favorite band play a live show. The harsh element on Friday night was a blizzard, but it was matched by an equally momentous event: Passion Pit at a packed Madison Square Garden. And thousands of fans braved the weather and trudged through the snow en masse, chapped lips and soggy socks be damned. They were met onstage by a mirror image of themselves. Michael Angelakos, the main force behind Passion Pit, had a score to settle, and he wasn’t going to let anything slow him down. “About seven months ago, they told me we would never tour again,” he announced defiantly early in the set. “And now we’re in Madison Square Garden.” They obviously were dead wrong—and continue to be more wrong than they could have possibly imagined. Passion Pit filled the Garden, and they did so with the aplomb and sizzle of a veteran band seasoned on the arena circuit.

Looking sharp in a black, slim-fit suit and feeling daring (did I spot brown shoes and matching tie?), Angelakos navigated the stage like a young Mick Jagger while doling out hit after hit. Even though they just released their sophomore LP, Gossamer, Passion Pit favored cuts from Manners, the 2010 album that launched the band to indie stardom. I didn’t keep score, but I’m fairly certain they played the entirety of that record. It was the right move, as the crowd sang along deliriously to Angelakos’s sneakily catchy hooks from favorites like “Little Secrets” (“Higher and higher and higher / Higher and higher and higher”) and “The Reeling” (“Oh noooooooo / Oh nooooooooo”). Of course, “Sleepyhead,” which Passion Pit played as their short and sweet encore, was the standout of the album and the night, catapulting thousands of smiling fans into the air. If any of Angelakos’s doubters were in the crowd on Friday, a screaming and undulating Garden would have persuaded them of their folly: Passion Pit are absolutely an arena band, and their career is just beginning. —Alex Kapelman

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com


Hospitality Leaves Them Smiling

January 11th, 2013

Hospitality – The Bowery Ballroom – January 10, 2013

Seeing some things onstage just make me smile, like a light blue Fender guitar or a Paul McCartney–style Hofner bass. Hospitality sported both of those things and more last night at their Bowery Ballroom gig that was originally scheduled for the week after Hurricane Sandy, but mostly it was the music that had me and the better-late-than-never audience smiling from ear to ear. Drawing largely from their self-titled full-length debut , the quartet was immediately at ease in their own music. Lead singer Amber Papini (she of blue guitar fame) has a distinctive voice that characterizes the sound—a sort of female David Byrne that’s part sweet, part quirky.

The album material was strong. “Eighth Avenue,” “Friends of Friends” and “Betty Wang” were clear highlights of the early set. Listening to the album, you get the sense that Hospitality is a sound: a happy, breezy, intelligent indie pop. But watching it unfold in real time onstage, it was clear that Hospitality is a band—Papini on guitar and vocals, Nathan Michel on drums, Brian Betancourt on bass and David Christian on lead guitar—that is sneaky talented and operating perfectly within their comfort zone. Listening to them interact with one another through tempo shifts, thematic curvatures and well-constructed peak-to-valley compositions was listening to a high-end jazz combo that happens to play highly listenable, groovy pop music.

Each member displayed impeccable chops and interacted fully with the others to bring out a lush, bouncy sound on every song. The group’s strengths became clear in the new material, which had a distinctly heavier and more rock and roll edge to it, a clear break from the stuff off the album. One was a perfect Jagger-less Rolling Stones knockoff. But whether playing old or new songs, they were fully in their range, like a bird hopping out of a nest fully confident it can fly safely to its next landing spot. Hospitality made it look easy, which was plenty to smile about. —A. Stein

(Watch Hospitality perform “The Birthday” exclusively for The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube and discuss why music is necessary.)