Tag Archives: Music Hall of Williamsburg

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Generationals – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 25, 2017

April 26th, 2017

Generationals - Music Hall of Williamsburg - April 25, 2017

Photos courtesy of Annie Kane | anniekane.work

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Ra Ra Riot – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 22, 2017

April 24th, 2017

Ra Ra Riot - Music Hall of Williamsburg - April 22, 2017

Photos courtesy of Annie Kane | anniekane.work

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Surfer Blood Bring New Music to Music Hall of Williamsburg Thursday

April 17th, 2017

Bands get formed for all kinds of reasons, but those who started Surfer Blood did it to play music as much as possible—to record an album and tour nonstop. They made a name for themselves, locally at least, during CMJ Music Marathon 2009, and then even more so with the arrival of their well-received debut, Astro Coast (stream it below), in 2010. The band “has become a standard bearer of the wi-fi lo-fi era in short order,” proclaimed PopMatters. “The highest praise you can give an album like Astro Coast is that it sounds like something completely familiar that you haven’t heard before.” Surfer Blood (above, doing “Six Flags in F or G” for KEXP FM) have remained busy touring and recording ever since. And although group has dealt with death and lineup changes, they continue to persevere. Their fourth studio album, Snowdonia (stream it below), came out this past February. “There’s a clear sense of melancholy and yearning, but there’s also optimism spilling out from the edges,” according to the Line of Best Fit. “Grief and hardship have changed Surfer Blood, there’s no denying that. But they deserve praise for making a record that still has its own joie de vivre and doesn’t completely overhaul the alphabet that has made the band a success in the first place.” See them on Thursday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Brooklyn trio Lazyeyes open the show.

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Get a Dose of String Music with Mipso at Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 17th, 2017

Jacob Sharp (mandolin and vocals) and Joseph Terrell (guitar and vocals) first teamed up musically while students at UNC-Chapel Hill. Wanting to form a band focusing on bluegrass and Appalachian folk, they added Wood Robinson (bass and vocals), and two became three. With their sound still evolving, a couple of years ago, Mipso (above, performing “Coming Down the Mountain” for 89.3 FM the Current) blossomed from a trio into a quartet with the addition of Libby Rodenbough (fiddle and vocals). Their fourth LP, Coming Down the Mountain (stream it below), was released just a few weeks ago. Roots-music journal No Depression says it’s “an album of 10 tunes that explore that tender spot just past the midpoint of your 20s, where the band now resides, when you’re taking stock of the past while looking to the future. Just as in that stage of life, the album exudes a sense of wistfulness among moments of joy, a few worries amid youthful confidence. Some regrets mingle with a wide-open view of the future.” Now touring behind their new material, Mipso play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday night, and the like-minded 10 String Symphony open the show.

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Spafford’s Hot Streak Continues at Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 14th, 2017

Spafford – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 13, 2017

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The jam-band scene is a happy-eyed, self-sustaining beast: Young bands grow to become veteran and vanguard bands—just as they did a generation earlier in the post–Grateful Dead afterglow—and then do their part to support the next generation of improvisers and torchbearers. Fans do the same: Word of mouth does wonders for long-term support of a fledgling jam band like in no other pocket of the music scene, especially as buzz builds and what was seemingly moments ago a regional favorite is now a headliner with national buzz, collecting believers left and right.

And so, as of April 2017, goes Spafford, the Arizona-based four-piece on a true hot streak, coming off a summer tour opening for Umphrey’s McGee, and now, as evidenced by a slam-bang show last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, well worthy of the spot atop bills. Despite mounting their first national tour less than a year ago, Spafford are a band with “future vanguard” written all over them. They played until well after midnight: two sets of shape-shifting, rigorously funky groove music that hit all the hallmarks—segues, guests (what up, Todd Stoops!), well-chosen covers that added but didn’t dominate, plus lengthy, unhurried workouts on songs with names like “Slip and Squander,” “Electric Taco Stand” and “In the Eyes of Thieves,” that last one a hot groover that emerged from a spookily psychedelic place and built to peak after hammering peak with screaming guitar.

People have grabbed on to Spafford early because there’s a lot to grab. I liked the patient builds and forward-looking improvisations, which didn’t feel like extended vamps—didn’t revel in ambient noise—and seemed to have a destination in mind even as they slowly unfolded. “America,” a chugging, panoramic road trip, was a great example. I liked their Dead cover, “Feel Like a Stranger,” soaked in keys and perfect for who the band is. I liked the filthy disco of “Ain’t That Wrong,” with Stoops spider-handing the keys. I liked “Beautiful Day,” an anthemic stroll that hit somewhere among Phish, Ben Harper and Bill Withers. It segued into “Leave the Light On” to close the second set—lilting, a little tentative, and then building into one more jammy release. I like that these guys trust one another and can demonstrate, astonishingly well sometimes, a deeply connected understanding of where they want to take a song, instead of just surrounding the guitar player and letting him cut loose every four minutes.—Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Another Chance to See Big Wild Live in New York City

April 12th, 2017

Composer, DJ, engineer and producer Jackson Stell has been making hip-hop-influenced beats since his teenage years in Massachusetts, but he didn’t begin doing it under the name Big Wild until he’d relocated to the sunny climes of the Golden State in his twenties. Things began to take off for him once in Los Angeles—thanks to the release of several well-received singles—and the electronic musician toured with the likes of Odesza, Tycho, Pretty Lights and Bassnectar. Earlier this year, Big Wild (above, his video for “Aftergold”) released his first EP, Invincible (stream it below). “Critics have been lauding title track and first single ‘Invincible’ as being distinctly his own: lush and soaring, lithe chimes crowded out by fat brass on the chorus, hits of keys and burgeoning strings filling the in-between and the punch of Ida Hawk’s vocals atop it all,” according to Exclaim. “The track is good—really good—but second single ‘I Just Wanna’ throws down like no other, its slow, thick beat, chopped, repetitive vocals, blown-out synth breakdown and piano flourishes making it impossible to overlook.” So don’t overlook Big Wild when he plays The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night. Tennyson and IHF (Imagined Herbal Flowers) open the show. (Saturday’s appearance at Music Hall of Williamsburg is already sold out.)

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Jain on 4/8

April 4th, 2017

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Her North American tour winding down, singer-songwriter Jain comes through New York City this week to play The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday. Both appearances sold out well in advance, but The House List is giving away two tickets to the Brooklyn show. Want to go but don’t have tickets of your own? Then try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Jain, 4/8) and a brief message explaining your favorite song on her debut album. Eddie Bruiser, who just listened to the LP all the way through, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Two Nights of Crystal Fighters at Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 3rd, 2017

Sebastian Pringle (vocals and guitar) and Gilbert Vierich (electronics, guitar and percussion) knew each other from way back. The latter separately met Graham Dickson (guitar and txalaparta), and once he moved to London, the three of them began to make music together, experimenting with different genres, from lo-fi R&B to metal and synth music. But then (now former member) Laure Stockley visited her reclusive grandfather’s Basque country home and discovered an unfinished opera with a section that roughly translates to Crystal Fighters. The opera opened the group to new ideas and the world of Basque folk music. Soon enough, Crystal Fighters had a new folktronic sound combining Spanish folk instruments with heavy synths, booming bass and drum loops. Their third full-length, Everything Is My Family (stream it below), came out last fall. “Crystal Fighters are an eclectic bunch, and their third record—opening with a multilingual spoken-word track—is predictably bonkers and brilliant,” raved the Line of Best Fit. “Crystal Fighters have matured from the erratic mania of their youth into a band whose distinctive sound now has direction and purpose, and what a joyful purpose it is.” Winding down an American tour, Crystal Fighters play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday and Thursday. L.A. synth-pop band Machineheart open both shows.

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Catch Weyes Blood Tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg

March 30th, 2017

Natalie Mering’s arresting voice doesn’t sound as if it’s emanating from a person as much as from a lineage. As Weyes Blood, she even looks the part of the “atemporal” enchantress—to use the description of her record label, Mexican Summer—whose songwriting has an “ancient resonance,” almost as if she were passed into this time through the wardrobe door. And there’s as pretty of a sadness you’d ever want to hear generating her songs. Something transformative took hold of her sound on last year’s exquisite Front Row Seat to Earth (stream it below), her second proper Weyes Blood full-length. Reiterations of Judy Collins, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell were elevated to a contemporary clarity, as if their classic folk songs of longing had undergone inventive remastering. On the closing of “Be Free” (above, performed live for Issue magazine) the eerie and delicate lift of Mering’s voice in slow waltzing lockstep with forlorn trombones makes you want to give her a grateful hug. And when “Generation Why” transforms from a somber piece of folk into a rising futuristic star with undercurrents of Enya and Giorgio Moroder and Klaus Doldinger, there’s a realization of being in the presence of something beautifully strange. Mering cherishes the art form while seizing it for her own design. Along with her latest recordings with Ariel Pink (including Myths 002, stream it below) to add to her discography, Weyes Blood has plenty to draw from for prime performances that may exist only in the timeless vacuum of Mering’s exposition, to which she has extended invitation. Essentially, it’s those artists like Weyes Blood who keep the lifeblood of alternative music pumping, so it hovers in mist over the high frequency electric bandwidth of excess, just above the glow of the streetlight, which is comforting to know. Walk into the dark of a park and you can reach up and touch it. And you can do the same when Weyes Blood plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight. Big-voiced singer-songwriter and guitarist Julie Byrne opens the show. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Jens Lekman on 3/18

March 14th, 2017

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Jens Lekman is known across the world for keen pop hooks and a witty sense of humor. With a new album out, Life Will See You Now, the Swedish singer-songwriter has been back on our shores traveling the country, and his tour closes with three shows in NYC. A few tickets still remain for next Monday’s solo show at Rough Trade NYC, but his appearances at The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday are already sold out. That’s the bad news. However, the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets to see Jens Lekman on Saturday at The Bowery Ballroom. Want to get in on the fun but got shut out of tickets? Try to Grow a Pair of them. 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 (Jens Lekman, 3/18) and your favorite thing about Swedish music. Eddie Bruiser, a fan of Scandinavian rock, will notify the winner by Friday. Lycka till.

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The Staves Build Bridges at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday

March 13th, 2017

The Staves – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 10, 2017

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As youngsters in England, Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor learned guitar from their father and sang heavy folk melodies at the local pub, which has bloomed into something bigger. Their sweet sisterly harmonies have earned the Staves opening slots for the Civil Wars, Bon Iver and Florence and the Machine. The siblings formed such a strong friendship with Justin Vernon that the Bon Iver frontman produced their last album, If I Was. Playing at Music Hall of Williamsburg Friday night, the first of two sold-out weekend shows in Brooklyn, the sisters were a lovely respite after the morning’s snowfall. Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” introduced the ladies—and drummer Dave Power—to the stage. The show began with Camilla on ukulele for “Blood I Bled,” while Jessica, on guitar, and Emily, behind keys, offered backing vocals.

Opener Mikaela Davis added harp on the breakup song “No Me, No You, No More” as Jessica’s elfin vocals rang across the room. Midway through the set, when Emily and Camilla needed to swap stage positions, Jessica stalled with some light conversation about Gilmore Girls, which the band had been watching on the bus. This sent the crowd into a tizzy with shouts of “Team Jess,” but it was the sisters’ critical takes on the character Rory as “a nause” (an English term of annoyance) that elicited cheers. Vernon’s influences were obvious once everyone was in the right place and Camilla created an echo chamber with a series of vocal loops on “Train Tracks,” similar to those on Bon Iver songs. The skip-hop cadence of “Black & White” perked up fans and grew for the anthemic “Tired as Fuck” as crowd members clapped along to Camilla’s languid delivery. An encore was inevitable and Davis returned again for a dreaming acoustic cover of Sufjan Steven’s “Chicago.” Jessica prefaced the final song, “Mexico,” with “Don’t build walls, let’s build bridges.” —Sharlene Chiu

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Nikki Lane Brings New Music to Music Hall of Williamsburg

February 28th, 2017

When it comes to talented singer-songwriter Nikki Lane, AllMusic says it best: “Nikki Lane reinvents the nostalgic sounds of 1960s country music for a modern audience, mixing Southern twang with lush orchestral arrangements and the occasional pop/rock hook.” She dropped out of high school in South Carolina before hightailing it to Los Angeles to work as a fashion designer. Later, she moved to New York City where she began making acoustic country songs following a bad breakup, before ultimately settling in Nashville, where her career would eventually take off. Her first full-length, Walk of Shame (stream it below), came out in 2011, earning her comparisons to Wanda Jackson and Neko Case. All or Nothin’ (stream it below), produced by the Black KeysDan Auerbach, followed in 2014. “If Lana Del Rey had pores, bodily fluids or even the rare hair out of place, she might be Nikki Lane, the East Nashville firebrand who understands sangfroid is a lot more explosive when you roughen up the edges and throw down a gauntlet,” raved Paste. Lane (above, performing “Jackpot” live in studio for WRLT FM) returned with her third full-length, Highway Queen (stream it below), just a couple of weeks ago. “Three albums into her career, Lane remains true to her vision of classic country by way of alt-rock—a pigeonhole she seems happy to inhabit,” according to Exclaim. “This is her best album yet.” Find out how it sounds live when Nikki Lane plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thursday night. A pair of singer-songwriters, Brent Cobb and Jonathan Tyler, open the show.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Grandaddy on 3/2

February 28th, 2017

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Don’t call it a comeback, but this Friday, Central California space rockers Grandaddy return with their first new album in more than a decade. And ahead of its arrival, the five-piece comes to New York City this week to play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow and to double down at Rough Trade NYC with an in-store appearance on Thursday with a sold-out full show later that night. The House List is giving away two tickets to Grandaddy’s sold-out Thursday appearance. And if you don’t already have tickets of your own, try to Grow a Pair of them. It’s easy: 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 (Grandaddy, 3/2) and a brief message explaining your favorite song off Last Place. Eddie Bruiser, a Grandaddy fan from way back, will notify the winner by Thursday.

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The Dig Charm Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday Night

February 27th, 2017

The Dig – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 25, 2017

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The Dig have been making a name for themselves in the New York City music scene for more than five years, and Saturday’s performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg was proof of why—the band closing the show with disco lights and a wildly excited crowd. With their addictive shoegaze rock, the Dig had everyone in the audience smiling and dancing along. The local quartet has been touring in support of their recent release, Bloodshot Toyko, a bewitching album that hooks in listeners from beginning to end.

Thanks to their melting pot of sounds—deftly mixing garage punk, shoegaze lyrics and alt-rock vibes—the Dig have, unsurprisingly, toured with some big names like the Lumineers and Portugal. The Man. On Saturday night, they rocked across the stage and filled the Brooklyn venue with reverberating bass and drums, also playing material from their You & I EP. The Dig’s vocalist and bassist, Emile Mosseri, displayed an impressive vocal range, going from slow and soft to high and captivating. By keeping the show upbeat, taking selfies with fans while playing and using a disco ball to beautifully light the floor, the Dig kept things interestingthey never disappoint. —Karen Silva | @ClassicKaren

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Hamilton Leithauser’s Remarkable Friday Night in Williamsburg

February 27th, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2017
Call it New York City’s other sold-out Hamilton show, although this one showcases not a rapping founding father but one of the best voices in rock right now, the strained high range of Hamilton Leithauser’s, which will catch you off guard with its sheer power. “I use the same voice I always had,” he belted out in the closing lines of “Sick as a Dog,” the opener on Friday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was the first display of his voice in full force, firing off like the starting pistol for a remarkable night of music, the second of three local sold-out shows. Multi-instrumentalist and collaborator Rostam Batmanglij, Eric Harvey of Spoon, Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson of White Rabbits—whom Leithauser had met touring over the years with his previous band, the Walkmen—joined the frontman.

They sounded like they’ve been playing together forever, a band perfectly suited for Leithauser and Batmanglij’s bluesy rock songs that fit perfectly well within the American songwriting canon. “If the man that you need honestly wasn’t me, tell me honey who could that be?” sang Leithauser in a desperate pleading voice over a wavering organ. With its lush sound, his 12-string took the slow-building “In a Black Out” from simmer to a boil and back to a simmer. He told the audience a story about attending a wedding where the father of the bride made a toast and broke out into “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Apparently an awkward affair for everyone else at the wedding, Leithauser fell for the guy in the moment, writing the tender song “The Bride’s Dad” from the father’s perspective. Knowing the song’s background set an incredibly vivid scene of the affair.

The catchy “1,000 Times” followed with hundreds of voices joining in for the chorus. Free-jazz saxophone and Batmanglij’s piano rambling like a rolling river closed out the set with “Rough Going (I Won’t Let Up).” Leithauser’s wife, Anna Stumpf, and the opener, Lucy Dacus, came out for an encore performance of the dreamy “1959.” If the Walkmen were the first act of Leithauser’s career, this collaboration is a hell of a second act, one that shouldn’t see a curtain call anytime soon. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com