Tag Archives: Photos

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Sleater-Kinney Make a Triumphant Return to New York City

February 27th, 2015

Sleater-Kinney – Terminal 5 – February 26, 2015

Sleater-Kinney – Terminal 5 – February 26, 2015
Midway through Sleater-Kinney’s sold-out show last night at Terminal 5, drummer Janet Weiss pounded out the intro to “Entertain,” a song from the group’s seventh LP, the 2005 record The Woods, and the energy that had been pulsing and bubbling throughout the crowd surged to its highest point yet. Perhaps this overwhelming response was something of a collective sigh of relief, for until Sleater-Kinney’s recent reunion and the release of a new album, No Cities to Love, it seemed that The Woods might be the band’s final musical statement. And yet fortunately, here we all were. Of course, there’s also the fact that it’s just a really fantastic song—catchy, sharp, imbued with a sense of immediacy—the quintessential Sleater-Kinney sound.

Throughout the show, Weiss, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker treated the audience to older favorites like “Oh!,” “Get Up,” “Youth Decay,” “The End of You” and “What’s Mine Is Yours” (complete with windmill guitar strums by Brownstein). Songs from Sleater-Kinney’s excellent new album were also well represented, and witnessing them perform numbers like “Bury Our Friends” and “No Anthems,” it’s clear that the passion and conviction that drove their previous output is still fueling the jagged guitar lines, driving drums and sing-shout vocals.

Sleater-Kinney have also always been driven by their dedication to political and feminist issues, and during the band’s encore, Tucker thanked Planned Parenthood, which has partnered with the trio to provide outreach and information to concertgoers for the duration of their tour. “Reproductive health is just a part of … health. And quite frankly, we are tired of asking for it,” proclaimed Tucker. With that, the band ripped into new song “Gimme Love,” which was quite fitting as New York City definitely had lot of love for Sleater-Kinney last night. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com

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They Might Be Giants Take a Look Back and a Peak Ahead

February 23rd, 2015

They Might Be Giants – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 22, 2015

They Might Be Giants – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 22, 2015
While millions tuned into the Oscars last night to see whether a movie about an aging actor would defeat a film that took place over the course of 12 years, They Might Be Giants, a project that demands its own meditation on mortality and the march of linear time, took the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg to play their debut album. Part of a string of shows at Music Hall that will see the band celebrate the 25th anniversary of their seminal record, Flood, next month, TMBG, as they’re fondly abbreviated, navigate their third decade as a project with the aplomb of the Original Gangsters of Brooklyn. But the two Johns—Flansburgh and Linnell—that still comprise the genesis and 30 years of enjoyable musical entropy of the band, remain as sharp in their arrangements and as quirky as ever. If the night promised a return to the 1986 self-titled record, this wouldn’t be the bildungsroman narrative of Boyhood or the middle-aged redemption tale of Birdman. The amazing thing about the Giants is how little they’ve changed since the Reagan administration.

John Flansburgh opened with the band’s requisite dry humor, quipping, “This room smells great … I’ve been on uptown buses, and this beats all of them.” The show itself, billed as the band playing their first LP, quickly wasn’t about that at all, Flansburgh again wryly noting, “We’ll be playing our first record, but out of order and with other songs in between.” Trust TMBG to playfully subvert their own premise. They opened with three cuts in a row off They Might Be Giants, “Chess Piece Face,” “I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die” and “Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head,” before mixing in such recent favorites as “Dr. Worm” and “Man, It’s So Loud in Here,” plus yet-to-be-released material, like “Let Me Tell You About My Operation” and “Music Jail, Part 1 and 2.” The crowd, reacting more feverishly to the older numbers, sang along, a mutual memory machine for those who knew all the words and one of the most prodigious acts in rock history remembering some of their oldest songs. Even the rapid-fire lyrics of “Rhythm Section Want Ad” and “Everything Is Right Is Wrong Again” clearly emerged from the band and their fans.

After playing the club-music send-up, “Man, It’s So Loud in Here,” Flansburgh remarked that the 2001 composition was from the “middle of our career.” Linnell looked askance at his bandmate just for a moment, before correcting, “I think we’re in the middle right now.” While the implication of another 30 years of making hyperliterate, genre-bending pop would wait on the march of time, the Giants launched into “Absolutely Bill’s Mood,” a song they wrote in 1985. Birdman won the Oscar for Best Picture an hour or so after this brief but telling moment, but it was TMBG who looked and sounded undaunted and enlivened staring into their past and unfolding future. —Geoff Nelson | @32feet

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

(See They Might Be Giants at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 4/26 and then again on 5/31.)

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Helmet – The Bowery Ballroom – February 18, 2015

February 19th, 2015

Helmet - The Bowery Ballroom - February 18, 2015

Photos courtesy of Brian C. Reilly | www.briancreilly.com

(Grow a Pair of tickets to Saturday’s sold-out Helmet show at The Bowery Ballroom.)

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Sharon Van Etten Captivates the Hometown Crowd at Warsaw

February 19th, 2015

Sharon Van Etten – Warsaw – February 18, 2015

Sharon Van Etten – Warsaw – February 18, 2015
Sharon Van Etten is known and appreciated for her powerful voice and ability to craft evocative and often haunting songs like “Your Love Is Killing Me,” a blunt title with equally disquieting lyrics. So, it can be a illuminating experience to witness the author of such bleak sentiments in a live setting—as a sold-out crowd did last night at Warsaw—and realize that Van Etten also happens to be quite funny, self-deprecating and downright cheerful, even while singing lines like “I wanted to try for you/ Wanted to die for you/ Dramatic things” from “Leonard.”

The act of performing may be therapeutic, but it’s also clearly just a lot of fun for Van Etten, and she gave her hometown Brooklyn crowd a set that touched on material from her most recent album, Are We There, like “Tarifa,” “Taking Chances” and “Break Me,” as well as numbers from records both previous and forthcoming, “Love More,” “I Don’t Want to Let You Down,” plus even a lovely cover of Damien Jurado’s “Museum of Flight.” (“To those of you who know this song, air high five!”) Van Etten’s vocals were beautifully complemented by backup singer Heather Woods Broderick and rounded out with instrumentation that included flourishes of saxophone and harmonium.

The night’s final song began with a false start due to a guitar-tuning snafu, after which Van Etten charmingly poked fun at herself, and upon regaining composure (and finding the right key), the singer-songwriter and her band proceeded to play a searing version of “Serpents,” perhaps the set’s most intense and raw song. For her part, Van Etten seemed at home making lighthearted banter with the crowd and with the visceral bite of the song, while the audience was simply captivated by it all. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

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Leon Bridges Brings Raw, Timeless Soul to Mercury Lounge

February 18th, 2015

Leon Bridges – Mercury Lounge – February 17, 2015

Leon Bridges – Mercury Lounge – February 17, 2015
On the strength of just two songs—produced by White Denim guitarist Austin Jenkins and drummer Josh Block—posted to his Soundcloud, Leon Bridges announced his considerable talents to the world a few months back. Not much was known about him beyond his name and that he hailed from Fort Worth, Texas—and oh, yeah, his gospel-meets-soul vocals reminiscent of Sam Cooke’s. And from there things began to build. Bridges was signed to Columbia Records (a full-length album is due later this year), and he further made a name for himself performing alongside much bigger acts at a Nina Simone tribute at Sundance last month. This week he arrived in New York City for a pair of dates supporting Sharon Van Etten at Warsaw, plus his very own headlining show at Mercury Lounge last night, which sold out well in advance.

Bridges took the stage, stylishly dressed to match his timeless sound, modern while evoking the past, joined by Jenkins and Block, plus another guitarist, a bassist and a sax player, all dressed in suits, and two backing singers in dresses. It’s probably safe to assume that the majority of the people in the room only knew, at best, two songs. And the eight-piece kicked off the set with one of them, “Better Man.” Bridges is still relatively new to touring and performing—he didn’t even introduce the band—so he didn’t chat too much between songs, although he did say, “This next one’s dedicated to Rosario Dawson” before they launched into “Brown Skin Girl.”

The second tune everyone seemed to know, “Coming Home,” had the swaying crowd singing along. Bridges gave others their own moments to shine, especially Block, who, resembling a young Levon Helm, held together everything over the course of the 50-minute performance. The stage cleared after the 12th song, but after some hearty applause, Bridges returned on guitar backed by just the two singers for a gorgeous “River,” eliciting some of the loudest crowd response of the night and smiles across the packed room. It was the perfect musical antidote to the cold, snowy night. The singer-songwriter is still raw, he’s not even six months removed from bussing tables, but big things await Leon Bridges.
—R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog


Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Ms. Lauryn Hill – Rough Trade NYC – February 17, 2015

February 18th, 2015

Ms. Lauryn Hill - Rough Trade NYC - February 17, 2015

Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin | distortionpix.com

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Theophilus London – The Bowery Ballroom – February 16, 2015

February 17th, 2015

Theophilus London - The Bowery Ballroom - February 16, 2015

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

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Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Music Hall – February 14, 2015

February 16th, 2015

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Music Hall of Williamsburg - February 14, 2015

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Father John Misty Delivers at Rough Trade NYC

February 13th, 2015

Father John Misty – Rough Trade NYC – February 12, 2015

Father John Misty – Rough Trade NYC – February 12, 2015
Because his larger-than-life persona isn’t well suited for paraphrasing, it seems the only way to write about Father John Misty is in long form. And while it might be impossible, here’s an attempt: Father John Misty, real name Joshua Tillman, was raised in a strict ultra-Christian household in Maryland, left it behind for Seattle, worked menial jobs, wrote songs as J. Tillman, started drumming for Fleet Foxes, went to California and ate some mushrooms, had a revelation, moved to L.A., traded the name J. Tillman for Father John Misty, wrote a killer album, married a photographer who has a sweet Tumblr, bought a house in New Orleans, won over David Letterman, wrote another killer album, trolled the Internet with an intentionally shit-quality stream of it via a make-believe streaming service. And as tempting as it is to go into further detail about any of these things, we need to save some real estate here to talk about his performance last night at Rough Trade NYC.

Father John Misty knows how to perform. He’s the craftsman of tunes grandiose in theme, scope and sound, and it takes a grand performer to own them onstage. Father John Misty and company came out with musical guns blazing, performing “I Love You, Honeybear,” blowing through every single page in the Key to Great Rock Performances playbook, all within the first song: Standing on top of the bass drum, holding the microphone stand over his head, walking out into the audience, snaking his way back up onstage, twirling once around the microphone stand. It’s worth noting that Tillman’s a lanky six feet, which adds drama to his every move. Standing on the bass drum, he was eye level with the balcony, an imposing presence dominating the small venue.

“We have gathered here today in this place of commerce,” said Father John Misty. His performance hit just about every song he’s recorded, each featuring its own theatrics. For the bridge of “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow,” Tillman threw back his head like his own song had shot him, falling to his knees and hitting the floor. “Funtimes in Babylon” came with a gorgeous tinge of country, peppered with a meandering slide guitar. At some point, stage banter became a free-flowing Q&A session before Father John Misty walked out into the audience, hugging people one at a time during the set-ending “Holy Shit.” For the encore, the audience covered the canned laughter at the “punch lines” of “Bored in the U.S.A.” And Tillman sang, “I never liked the name Joshua, I got tired of J,” on the night’s final song, “Everyman Needs a Companion.” But as it turns out, no one is tiring of Father John Misty. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

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The Districts – The Bowery Ballroom – February 10, 2015

February 11th, 2015

The Districts - The Bowery Ballroom - February 10, 2015

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

(The Districts play Rough Trade NYC on 3/28.)

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Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – Brooklyn Bowl – February 7, 2015

February 9th, 2015

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – Brooklyn Bowl – February 7, 2015

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Frontier Ruckus – Mercury Lounge – January 30, 2015

February 2nd, 2015

Frontier Ruckus - Mercury Lounge - January 30, 2015

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Pearl and the Beard – Rough Trade NYC – January 29, 2015

January 30th, 2015

Pearl and the Beard - Rough Trade NYC - January 29, 2015

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

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Death Cab for Cutie – Music Hall of Williamsburg – January 28, 2015

January 29th, 2015

Death Cab for Cutie - Music Hall of Williamsburg - January 28, 2015


Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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London Grammar – Terminal 5 – January 28 – 2015

January 29th, 2015

London Grammar - Terminal 5 - January 28, 2015

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com