Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

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Kishi Bashi Provides a Jolt to the Senses at The Bowery Ballroom

June 5th, 2014

Kishi Bashi – The Bowery Ballroom – June 4, 2014

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Spirits were high at The Bowery Ballroom as last night’s bill consisted of the supremely talented Kishi Bashi and rollicking supporters Buried Beds—each band worthy of the sold-out crowd’s exuberance. Buried Beds quickly proved their worth, crafting lush, orchestral music with a light-pop sheen. “Stars” and “1000 Acres,” off their most recent album, In Spirit, stood out as crowd favorites.

As the lights dimmed, the audience drew closer to the fog-shrouded stage, anticipating a dramatic performance. And clad in a dapper outfit complete with one of his signature bowties, K. Ishibashi and his band wasted no time in setting their trademark looping into motion. At the start, he beckoned everyone to clap along to a superpowered rendition of “Philosophize in It! Chemicalize with It,” and as the band kicked each successive song into top gear to a dizzying effect, the crowd kept on clapping throughout the night. Casual stage banter punctuated the performance, as did darting projections and a surprise performance by local contortionist-dancer Amazing Amy.

A masterful lyricist, Kishi Bashi seems to embody every word he sings, from the eerie words of “Beat the Bright Out of Me” to the whimsical verses of “The Ballad of Mr. Steak” to the introspective colloquy of “Bittersweet Genesis for Him and Her.” Kishi Bashi established a tradition of delayed gratification for the audience, playing hefty, largely improvised introductions and then launching full throttle into each song. The whole performance was a jolt to the senses, climbing quickly and deftly to quite a few poignant emotional precipices. The encore, complete with a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” and Ishibashi crowd-surfing while eating a banana, didn’t disappoint. But his earnest lyrics in one of the night’s earlier songs—“Manchester”—summed up my post-concert mood perfectly: “I haven’t felt this alive in a long time.” —Schuyler Rooth

(Tonight’s Kishi Bashi show at Music Hall of Williamsburg is sold out.)

 

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Mikal Cronin Headlines a Terrific Bill at Webster Hall Tomorrow

December 10th, 2013

If you’ve ever listened to the Ty Segall Band then you’ve also heard Mikal Cronin. For years as their bassist, he’s been the impetus for the poppier side of that group, balancing out Ty Segall’s Lennon as the band’s McCartney. But with the release of his second full-length, the much-acclaimed MCII (stream it below), this past spring, Cronin’s now making a name for himself, thanks to his genius at taking a hook and injecting it with a shot of rock and roll steroids, but not before building up some anticipation. He takes two worlds usually foreign to each other and marries them. It’s punk rock with a sunny California twist—perfect pop songs drowned in distorted guitar fuzz, earworm melodies with more and more energy thrown behind them until they almost reach their breaking point. Catch Cronin (above, performing “Shout It Out” in studio for KEXP FM) with a jam-packed lineup, including the Entrance Band, a special guest and House List favorites Nude Beach, tomorrow night at Webster Hall. —Dan Rickershauser

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Tie-Dyed Punk at The Bowery Ballroom

June 21st, 2013

Mikal Cronin – The Bowery Ballroom – June 20, 2013


If you’ve ever listened to the Ty Segall Band then you’ve also heard Mikal Cronin. For years as their bassist, he’s been the impetus for the poppier side of that group, balancing out Ty Segall’s Lennon as the band’s McCartney. But with the recent release of his second full-length, the much-acclaimed MCII, Cronin’s now making a name for himself, selling out The Bowery Ballroom last night with one of the most buzzed-about shows of the week.

Cronin is a genius at taking a hook and injecting it with a shot of rock and roll steroids, but not before building up some anticipation. He proved this within his very first song of the set, “Is It Alright,” starting off things with a falsetto coo before letting a smack of the snare drum blast the song out into the hard-rock stratosphere. He takes two worlds usually foreign to each other and marries them. It’s punk rock with a sunny California twist—perfect pop songs drowned in distorted guitar fuzz, earworm melodies with more and more energy thrown behind them until they almost reach their breaking point.

Even his appearance represented these usually contrarian worlds, wearing a tie-dyed shirt as he played what’s essential punk music. While Cronin rocked out hard enough to break three strings off his 12-string, the real fire-starting guitar solos came from Chad Ubovich, throwing an especially impressive one at the end of “Am I Wrong” and a few times in other songs when the music called for someone to bring the pedal an inch closer to the metal. Without a usable guitar to finish the show,  Cronin borrowed one from Shannon and the Clams guitarist Cody Blanchard to play the encore. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici | petersenzamici.com

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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

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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.)