Tag Archives: Mike Benigno

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A Music Benefit for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU – Music Hall of Williamsburg – January 18, 2017

January 19th, 2017

Sharon Van Etten - Music Hall of Williamsburg - January 18, 2017

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Damien Jurado Mesmerizes The Bowery Ballroom on Sunday Night

November 7th, 2016

Damien Jurado – The Bowery Ballroom – November 6, 2016

Damien Jurado - The Bowery Ballroom - November 6, 2016
Somewhat quietly, Damien Jurado has put out some of the best albums (in my opinion) of the past few years, and just as quietly, he took the stage at The Bowery Ballroom on a somewhat quiet Sunday night to run through a bunch of his songs. This time around he was performing solo, just his voice and an acoustic guitar. But before he began playing, he told the crowd he was “very relaxed right now,” and that more or less set the stage for a mesmerizing set of music. The show went through several phases: The short opening portion, set off by “Working Titles,” with Jurado singing, “Many nights you would hide from the audience,” was very introductory. His mellow, deadpan chitchat evoked a slightly hipper Steven Wright as Jurado explained that he hadn’t put on his “show clothes,” looking quite indie folk in ripped jeans and a Sub Pop sweatshirt. The next section was punctuated by vivid colors from the overhead lights, each song gaining an aura from the hue—heavy orange adding a glow to “Kola” as Jurado evoked imagery of “your name across my smile,” and a cosmic blue for “On the Land Blues.”

As the crowd fell into a pensive silence, the music picked up a hallucinogenic halo, Jurado’s vocals hazy with a natural reverb and his guitar crackling with a percussive energy. “TAQOMA,” off his latest album, Visions of Us on the Land, basked in orange and lime green, a transporting psychedelic sunshine. For the next phase, Jurado pulled back, almost channeling an alternate universe Neil Young, the songs almost playing themselves, intense and at times personal. The crowd loosened up toward the latter part of the show, somewhat emboldened by the relaxed atmosphere and the honesty from the stage, and the final portion felt like a conversation between Jurado and the audience, an extended back and forth bounced from daylight savings to New York City to unique kid names to Seattle and maybe back again. A request for “Rachel and Cali” was quickly granted and proved to be a highlight bathed in pinks and blues. The encore included “Everything Trying” with another stunning image of “I’ll be Sailing on your deep blue eyes,” and Jurado responding once more, quietly exclaiming, “We’re all so weird, isn’t it great?” —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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The Jayhawks Sound Ageless at The Bowery Ballroom

June 16th, 2016

The Jayhawks – The Bowery Ballroom – June 15, 2016

The Jayhawks - The Bowery Ballroom - June 15, 2016
It’s inspiring that Gary Louris and the Jayhawks can still do this: hit that sweet spot where good-time rock and roll, sweet-and-sour folk and scuffed country are the same music and hold on that spot for the duration of an entire show. You find yourself embracing the voices, but it’s as much the vibe, too—those mesmerizing, Everlys-style harmonies laid on a Flying Burrito Brothers bed, but with the frayed edges of ’90s alt rock present to keep things from getting too comfortable. Louris himself—surrounded by a further-revised version of the band that includes Marc Perlman, Tim O’Reagan, Karen Grotberg and new guitarist Kraig Johnson—is making age work for him.

Louris’s singing sounds a bit more lived in, but as he and the band peeled off songs last night at The Bowery Ballroom like “Waiting for the Sun,” “Leaving the Monsters Behind” and “Stumbling Through the Dark”—the first three to begin a 25-song evening—it’s clear that he’s become the gritty veteran troubadour he could only nod toward when he was a much younger man. Even the Jayhawks classics, from “Blue,” and “Tomorrow the Green Grass” to set-closer “I’d Run Away,” have a more knowing, perhaps pragmatic tone than they once did, made that much more potent by the fact that the singer, 20 years or more later, now knows these things he thought to be evident, rather than speculated. Give Louris this, as well: That Jayhawks sound stayed remarkably consistent, right up through this year’s guitar-y, gently experimental Paging Mr. Proust, one of the band’s best albums.

That newer material—“Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces,” “Ace,” “Isabel’s Daughter”—nestles comfortably among the old, with fewer emotional triggers for a crowd weaned on classic-era Jayhawks albums like Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass, but in time, becoming of a piece with those decades-old tunes. Indeed, throughout this very sold-out show, Louris and Co. seemed to draw on as many Jayhawks flavors as possible to demonstrate the common thread, from “Tailspin,” which was served up roadhouse-Dylan style, almost a fist-pumper, to “Settled Down Like Rain,” which Louris delivered solo, plus “Tampa to Tulsa” and “Angelyne,” each with an assist from opening band Folk Uke. The Jayhawks—and Louris, personally—have been through a lot of changes since those heady days of Hollywood Town Hall. But shows like this one confirmed what we always suspected about the band back then: The Jayhawks’ sound is ageless, and their mission is a sure one, even as time marches on. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Michael Kiwanuka – Rough Trade NYC – April 3, 2016

April 4th, 2016

Michael Kiwanuka - Rough Trade NYC - April 3, 2016

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Dr. Dog – Terminal 5 – March 18, 2016

March 21st, 2016

Dr. Dog - Terminal 5 - March 18, 2016

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Rubblebucket – Brooklyn Bowl – January 9, 2016

January 11th, 2016

Rubblebucket - Brooklyn Bowl - January 9, 2016

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Aimee Mann – Music Hall of Williamsburg – December 12, 2015

December 14th, 2015

Aimee Mann - Music Hall of Williamsburg - December 12, 2015

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Okkervil River – The Bowery Ballroom – November 22, 2015

November 23rd, 2015

Okkervil River - The Bowery Ballroom - November 22, 2015

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Nick Jonas – Terminal 5 – September 9, 2015

September 10th, 2015

Nick Jonas - Terminal 5 - September 9, 2015

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – August 4, 2015

August 5th, 2015

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes - Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell - August 4, 2015

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

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Conor Oberst Entertains Music Hall of Williamsburg Late at Night

June 8th, 2015

Conor Oberst – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 6, 2015

Conor Oberst – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 6, 2015
“Who’s tired out there?” asked Conor Oberst from the stage of Music Hall of Williamsburg at around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, eliciting a hearty response from many in the sold-out crowd. “You and me both,” said the musician solemnly. Oberst and his band had indeed had a busy day, performing a set at Governors Ball earlier that evening and then taking the stage in Brooklyn around 12:30 in the morning, following a surprise set by Sharon Van Etten. And while the band may have felt a little worse for wear, they managed to summon some hidden energy reserves for a nearly two-hour show.

Oberst and his band highlighted material from his most recent record, 2014’s Upside Down Mountain, an album that highlights his evolution as a songwriter over the past several years, with much of the angst and anxiety that fueled his early work in Bright Eyes giving way to a more philosophical take on his place in world. Yet Oberst didn’t shy away from putting this evolution on display, with new songs like “Time Forgot,” “Double Life” and “Hundreds of Ways” taking their place alongside 2002’s “Laura Laurent” and “Lover I Don’t Have to Love.” And despite his fatigue, Oberst also didn’t shy away from some of his more aggressive numbers, pragmatically removing his hat so that he could bang his head around to “Governor’s Ball” and “Another Travelin’ Song,” taking several opportunities to stand precariously on the drum kit while singing and strumming.

A little past 2:00 a.m., the band and crowd were still going strong, and Oberst ended the night with another complementary juxtaposition of songs: the lovely ode to being young and lonely in New York City, “Lua”—nicely augmented with vocals by Larkin Poe and a trumpet solo from Nathaniel Walcott—followed by a jittery, rowdy rendition of Oberst’s passionate entreaty “I Don’t Want to Die (In the Hospital).” And with that, a good night’s sleep was well earned, for musicians and audience alike. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

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A Chronological Look Back at the Year in Photos

December 31st, 2014
February 6 - Blood Orange - Webster Hall (Photo by Gregg Greenwood)

February 6 – Blood Orange – Webster Hall (Photo by Gregg Greenwood)

Photos courtesy of Ahron R. Foster, Charles Steinberg, Gregg Greenwood, Jeremy Ross, Joe Papeo, Mike Benigno and Sean O’Kane

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A Chronological Look Back at the Year in Photos

December 27th, 2012

July 25, 2012 - Wilco - Terminal 5 (Photo by JC McIlwaine)

Photos courtesy of Ahron Foster, Alexis Maindrault, Brian C. Reilly, Charles Steinberg, Greg Aiello, Greg Notch, Gregg Greenwood, JC McIlwaine, Jeremy Ross, Joe Papeo, Mike Benigno, Michael Jurick, Mina K and Sean O’Kane