Tag Archives: Radio City Music Hall
She is a legend, an icon—an electrifying talent with one of the most famous voices ever recorded—and she was even in The Blues Brothers. She is the Queen of Soul. She is, obviously, Aretha Franklin. You could reel off the number of awards and honors she’s won and list all of her No. 1 singles. But the thing is, for some people there’s a very clear thing they should do in life: Mark Wahlberg was not supposed to rap. Michael Jordan was not supposed to play baseball. But Aretha Franklin was supposed to sing. And, thankfully, she’s still doing it six decades later. So do yourself a favor and go see an honest-to-goodness legend performing live at the plushest room in town, Radio City Music Hall, on Saturday night and Sunday night as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival.
Neko Case – Radio City Music Hall – September 26, 2013
Onstage last night at Radio City Music Hall, Neko Case and her band performed in front of a backdrop depicting a surreal seascape, with the outlines of eerie eels swimming among a barrage of sharp objects: scissors, swords and axes. The eels also surround Case on the cover of her latest album, The Worse Things Get the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight the More I Love You, and are perhaps an appropriate visual representation of the album’s fearless, highly personal songs—lurking in the deep waters of the singer’s darker moments and experiences with grief, depression and childhood traumas.
The intense subject matter of songs like “Bracing for Sunday,” “Night Still Comes,” “Wild Creatures” and “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu” (particularly powerful and sad, which Case and longtime backup vocalist Kelly Hogan performed in stark a cappella) stood in contrast to Case’s easy charisma and sense of humor throughout the performance. It’s the ability to contain and convey these disparate emotions and moods in her music that makes the singer-songwriter such a compelling artist, able to craft a truly ominous atmosphere during songs like “Deep Red Bells” and “Red Tide,” and a tone of wistful nostalgia in the performance of “Set Out Running,” “Hold On, Hold On” and “That Teenage Feeling.”
For the final song of the evening, Case invited opener AC Newman (whom she also performs with in the New Pornographers) and his bandmates onstage to perform “Ragtime.” “It’s our happiest song,” noted Case. Indeed, the tune was joyful, its upbeat tempo punctuated by bells and tambourine jingles and with a catchy, sing-along chorus. Despite the presence of those looming sea creatures (and all they may represent) atop the stage, Neko Case ended the night on a triumphant, optimistic note. —Alena Kastin
Tags: AC Newman, Kelly Hogan, Neko Case, Radio City Music Hall, Review, the New Pornographers, The Worse Things Get the Harder I Fight the Harder I Fight the More I Love You
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Smoky-voiced singer-songwriter Neko Case was first introduced to the world as part of the Canadian indie group the New Pornographers. She began releasing highly regarded solo material—first as Neko Case with Her Boyfriends and then solely under her own name—in 1997, making a winning mix of alt-country originals and covers and earning a reputation as an energetic live performer. Her most recent effort, The Worse Things Get the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight the More I Love You (stream it below), came out earlier this month. NME calls it a “gorgeously full offering” and “typically sumptuous and lusciously heart-rending.” And the best part is that Neko Case (above, performing “Night Still Comes” for Studio Q) will play cuts from the new album at the plushest room in town, tonight at Radio City Music Hall—and New Pornographers frontman AC Newman opens.
Tags: Neko Case, Neko Case with Her Boyfriends, Preview, Radio City Music Hall, the New Pornographers, The Worse Things Get the Harder I Fight the Harder I Fight the More I Love You, Video
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The xx – Radio City Music Hall – September 23, 2013
The xx have managed to bypass any questions of a sophomore slump with their follow-up album, Coexist. Not much has changed with their overall sound, and fans are still enamored by their songs. The trio quietly fills atmospheres with a serenity that manages to encapsulate the attention of an entire audience. Their first gig at a sold-out Radio City Music Hall last night wouldn’t be any different. The delicate male-and-female vocals of Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft effortlessly wove against the vast, ornate backdrop of the famed New York City establishment.
As floodlights blinded the audience, the black-clad trio took their places onstage setting off the evening with “Try.” Fans quickly rose for “Heart Skipped a Beat,” a favorite from the British three-piece’s debut album, xx. Another track from it, “Crystalised,” was reimagined with the delivery slowly dragged out for added drama. The night really took a turn as beats master Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx) intertwined his own song “Far Nearer” with “Reunion.” From behind his MPC, the intro of delicately rattling steel drums climaxed into a series of double and triple beats, moving onlookers to dance among the velvet-upholstered seats. Smith continued his reign, undoubtedly breathing new life into familiar tune “Shelter.” With a crazy level of layered thump, Radio City became a nightclub sporting rays of lasers.
With little talk between songs, Sim’s few words describing the experience of playing the hallowed hall as “surreal” resonated with fans. “An incredible moment for us. This was just something we started as a hobby in our bedroom.” Nearing the end of the set, the audience joined in to sing, “I can’t give it up” on “Infinity.” Not to leave the crowd wanting more, the trio returned to encore with “Intro” and “Angels.” The latter fittingly closed the night with lyrics “Being as in love with you as I am/ Being as in love, love, love”—to which, Sim made a heart shape with his hands as he exited the stage. The love was, needless to say, mutual. —Sharlene Chiu
Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com
Dispatch’s high-energy performance at Radio City Music Hall on 10/5 was broadcast worldwide, live in HD, on The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/thebowerypresents. Now you can catch highlights of the fantastic 135-minute show by watching “The General,” above, and checking out seven other great songs from this playlist.
With the recently released Circles Around the Sun (stream it below), their first new LP in more than a decade, acclaimed roots-rockers Dispatch (above, reflecting on their journey to Radio City) stream live from Radio City Music Hall on The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube at 9 p.m. EDT tonight. Tune in to http://youtube.com/thebowerypresents to watch the show and to partake in an interactive chat.
The New England trio also did an exclusive performance of “Get Ready Boy” and told us about their favorite videos. And if that weren’t enough, our good friends at bonnaroo365 have a great Fun with Dispatch! playlist you shouldn’t miss.
Bon Iver’s fantastic performance at Radio City Music Hall on 9/21, the third of the band’s four-night run at the legendary venue, was broadcast worldwide, live in HD, on The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/thebowerypresents. Relive the great show by watching “Woods,” above, and checking out seven other great songs from this playlist: http://tbp.im/SUE3vo.
Grizzly Bear – Radio City Music Hall – September 24, 2012
“This is surreal,” commented Ed Droste of Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear last night as he took in the view from the stage of Radio City Music Hall, a massive crowd filling the seats of the historic theater. “This is absolutely crazy. It makes me think back to our first show at [Brooklyn bar] Zebulon in 2004,” he remarked, seeming both awestruck and humbled. Indeed, last night’s performance was the local band’s biggest hometown show in their career, plus it was an opportunity to perform material from their new album, Shields, and the magnitude of the occasion was not lost on Grizzly Bear. Droste even announced that his 91-year-old grandmother had flown in for the show, her first time seeing the band.
Opening with Shields’ “Speak in Rounds” and “Sleeping Ute,” Grizzly Bear’s signature vocal harmonies and mastery of precise, dynamic instrumentation were on full display, complemented by the gentle rise and fall of a backdrop of glowing lights, reminiscent of abstract jack-o’-lanterns. Although Shields’ musical aesthetic fit in naturally with Grizzly Bear’s catalog—plenty of shimmering guitar lines and intricately crafted melodies—songs like “Yet Again” and “A Simple Answer” pack a stronger punch than we’ve previously heard from them. It seems Grizzly Bear’s sound has grown in time with the increasing scale of their concert venues. Fans may never have expected dizzying strobe lights to perfectly punctuate a Grizzly Bear song, but it happened, and it worked
In contrast, mellower favorites like “Cheerleader,” “Ready, Able” and “Foreground,” from 2009’s Veckatimest, held their own on the large stage as well. The band maintained this tranquil thread for the show’s encore, beginning with the understated “Knife” (noting that it was the first song they ever wrote together), and ending with a simple acoustic version of “All We Ask,” which highlighted the subtle interplay of their voices. Although Grizzly Bear proved they have mastered the art of the large-scale show, as they played this final song, the stage nearly dark, they were able to replicate a sense of intimacy akin to their modest roots, back in those Brooklyn-bar days. —Alena Kastin
Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesolivierphoto.com