Tag Archives: Prospect Park
Planetarium – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – July 18, 2017
Upon reflection, I can’t say that I’ve ever before seen a concert for one album that was recomposed from original concert performances. Planetarium is this year’s grand, ambitious concept album that originated years ago when contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly was commissioned by Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven to create a performance piece. With the cosmos as his muse, Muhly recruited friends and contemporaries Sufjan Stevens, the National’s Bryce Dessner and the multidimensional James McAlister to bring an ode to the universe to life. Those live performances were unearthed and reconstructed in studio and are now returning to their point of genesis as a monumental set of live renditions played in a small run of special engagements.
Last night, the unexpected quartet, backed by brass and string sections, unleashed Planetarium before an awestruck turnout at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Special engagements call for special venues and the always enchanting Bandshell’s open natural amphitheater space, nestled among grand old trees, was the obvious home for a performance that needed the freedom to spread into the atmosphere. For this manifestation of universal magnificence here were the fearless voyagers, each a conduit of the sonic forces that merged into a glorious big bang. Their express mission was to widen scope and to inspire earthbound beings to expand perspective at all opportunities.
On this tour through the planets of our solar system, Stevens, doused in glitter to symbolize the infinitum is stars, served as the quintessential vocal guide. After floating in on piano keys from the heavens as an introduction to “Neptune,” he took a moment to welcome everyone with a few words on the significance of their musical observance of the universe. “We must remind ourselves that the universe holds an abundance of truth and purity, dignity and light … let us all remember that.” Joining Stevens, Muhly sat behind his grand piano like the captain at a spaceship’s control deck, his role to lend a limitless depth of field. McAlister, the percussive wizard, sat at his expanded drum set, gracefully keeping time in a timeless medium and adding flourishes of cymbal when needed. All the while, Dessner, armed with his trusted guitar, provided masterful manipulation of guitar strings issuing forth as a million beams of light, adding the particulate matter to the grand tapestry. In the beginning, there was sound, glorious and immeasurable—and artistically reinterpreted by this group of talented musicians, it was a singular and magical thing to behold. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly
Tags: Brooklyn, Bryce Dessner, Celebrate Brooklyn, Charles Steinberg, James McAlister, Live Music, Music, Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, National, New York City, Nico Muhly, Planetarium, Prospect Park, Prospect Park Bandshell, Sufjan Stevens
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What a thrilling ride it’s been to watch Conor Oberst (above, performing “Tachycardia” at the Sydney Opera House) grow up. Beginning his insanely prolific singer-songwriter career, as Bright Eyes, at the ripe age of 13, Oberst’s releases have tested the limits of multiple genres (check out his politically charged punk band Desaparecidos if you need proof) all while strengthening his skills as one of the best lyricists of the past 20 years. And while it might be lazy to throw out the Dylan comparisons, hey, they both grew up in the Midwest. There must be something in the water? Oberst has put out records in the past under his own name accompanied by the Mystic Valley Band, but his 2008 eponymous album (stream it below) was truly his first solo venture. Last year’s Ruminations (stream it below) went further down that path as he stripped down his songs to their ribcages with only Oberst playing guitar, piano and the occasional harmonica. He later released a full-band companion version of that album titled Salutations with Catskill Mountains’ favorite sons the Felice Brothers acting as his backing band. Oberst and the Felice Brothers will bring songs from his entire career to the Prospect Park Bandshell on Thursday for an electrifying night of music. Philly rock royalty Hop Along and Brooklyn’s own Big Thief will open. Show up early so you don’t miss these two great bands for what will be one of the most stacked bills of the summer. —Pat King | @MrPatKing
Tags: Big Thief, Bob Dylan, Brooklyn, Celebrate Brooklyn Conor Oberst, Desparecidos, Felice Brothers, Hop Along, Live Music, Music, Mystic Valley Band, New York City, Pat King, Prospect Park, Prospect Park Bandshell, Ruminations, Salutations
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Tags: Brooklyn, Casey Foubert, Celebrate Brooklyn, Charles Steinberg, Heartworms, James Mercer, Jon Scortland, Live Music, Mark Watrous, Music, New York City, Patti King, Photos, Prospect Park, Shins, Yuuki Matthews
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Hot Chip – Terminal 5 – July 20, 2012
Electronic dance music is experiencing a renaissance right now, and the London-based band Hot Chip is somewhere down one of the paths in this explosion of creative talent that’s pushing the genre in a thousand different directions. Never mind that half the band could double as high school chemistry teachers, their pioneering take on the world of electronic sound is unique in an otherwise cluttered genre. The group topped off a three-day stint here in New York City by playing a sold-out show at Terminal 5 on Friday. (On Wednesday they played a show in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park followed on Thursday by a terrific performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.)
Things kicked off with “Motion Sickness,” from their latest album, In Our Heads, a slow-building song that piled so many Talking Heads-esque polyrhythms onto one another that it almost hit a saturation point by the end. Just about every song they played was so beat driven that dancing became an involuntary reaction. Even “Boy From School,” one of their more somber recorded songs, was kicked up a few notches live, making it irresistibly dance-y. “Don’t Deny Your Heart” sounded like it was constructed entirely out of the greatest synth sounds of the late ’70s or early ’80s, a time when electronic music was restricted to the seldom few geeks who could control the not so user-friendly machines that manufactured electronic noises (people who, more often than not, also looked like high school chemistry teachers).
Hot Chip’s performance was also playful in terms of the audience’s expectations. Some of the best moments were interludes that popped up seemingly out of nowhere only to disappear without a trace after a few seconds. Such aural teases made for an engaging listening experience that’s unusual in dance music, which is otherwise known for its escapist quality. LCD Soundsystem taught the world it was possible to simultaneously be experimental, crowd-pleasing and catchy as hell. And Hot Chip is moving full speed ahead with that tradition. When singer Alexis Taylor sings, “The joy of repetition really is in you,” in “Over and Over,” to a sea of dancing bodies, it was more like an astute observation than a lyric. They’re on to something, but they already seem to know that. And whatever that something is, New York City can’t to get enough of it. —Dan Rickershauser
Tags: Alexis Taylor, Hot Chip, In Our Heads, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, LCD Soundsystem, Photos, Prospect Park, Review, Talking Heads, Terminal 5
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