Tag Archives: Rolling Stones

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Smoky Troubadour Jolie Holland Plays Music Hall of Williamsburg

June 23rd, 2014

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jolie Holland grew up in Texas with an affinity for folk, blues, jazz, country and rock. Her debut studio album, Escondida (stream it below), arrived in 2004 and it did not go unnoticed. It was a blend of genres held together by Holland’s smoky vocals. AllMusic said the album gives listeners an “experience that is singular, startling and soulful.” Over the ensuing years, she continued to record, tour extensively and collaborate with others. But, inspired by the live-studio recordings by the likes of Neil Young, the Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground, Holland (above, her video for “Waiting for the Sun”) sought out a different sound on her newest full-length, Wine Dark Sea (stream it below), which came out last month. “The approach on this album is more about bandleading than anything else. On past albums, I couldn’t get people to do what I wanted them to do. More volume helped; getting more people onstage and not being polite,” she tells Mother Jones. Wine Dark Sea leans less on folk and country acoustics while embracing grungier guitars. Per AllMusic, “It’s a raw, often raucous presentation, balanced by Holland’s mature poetic vision and her continued exploration of American musical forms. She effortlessly links them, one source to another, as seemingly disparate performance styles are filtered through a universal language, the love song, and all 11 tracks here are just that.” See Jolie Holland play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Shy Hunters, a Brooklyn pop duo, open the show.

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The Black Lips and Natural Child Bring a One-Two Punch Not to Miss

April 15th, 2014

Four teenagers, singer-guitarist Cole Alexander, drummer Joe Bradley, guitarist Ben Eberbaugh and bassist Jared Swilley, bonded over a love of music and formed a band, the Black Lips, in the Atlanta suburbs about a decade-and-a-half ago. Their first couple of singles gained them some attention and their antics, both onstage and off, got them banned from several local venues. But the group persevered, getting past their shenanigans and lineup changes, including the death of Eberbaugh, who was killed by a drunk driver. Guitarist Ian Saint Pe replaced him, but that hasn’t affected the band’s sound or spirit. In fact, the Black Lips (above, playing “Family Tree” for Billboard.com) continue to put on spirited, high-energy live performances while still churning out superlative Southern-tinged garage punk, most recently on this year’s Under the Rainbow (stream it below). The Washington Post praises it, mentioning that it sounds “clearer, sparer and tighter than its previous efforts,” before going on to add that “the Black Lips continue to craft a sound that could well be the next incarnation of punk.”

The Black Lips are currently out on the road with another like-minded Burger Records group, Natural Child. After eating weed brownies, bassist Wes Taylor was inspired to call drummer Zack martin and guitarist Seth Murray, proclaiming that they should start a band and “make all our rock and roll dreams come true together.” And upon agreeing to record and tour often, that’s just what they did: The three proceeded to spend most of the following two years out on the road, which not only allowed them to hone their live show, but it also gave them plenty of time to work on material. Natural Child (above, doing “Saturday Night Blues” for Rollo & Grady Sessions) released For the Love of the Game (stream it below) and Hard in Heaven (stream it below) just six months apart in 2012. Each album was filled with what the band calls “songs about drugs and various other subjects, but mostly drugs,” while managing to sound like a cross between J. Roddy Walston & the Business and early-’70s Rolling Stones. But seeking a bigger sound, the Nashville, Tenn., trio blossomed into a quintet with the addition of Luke Schneider (pedal steel) and Benny Divine (multi-instrumentalist) on this year’s excellent Dancin’ with Wolves (stream it below). So do yourself a favor and go see two hard-working bands that rock, the Black Lips and Natural Child on Thursday night at Webster Hall.

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Cat Power Delivers Something Real and Honest at Music Hall

March 12th, 2014

Cat Power – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 11, 2014

cat-power---stefano-giovannini
It’s rare to find oneself in this situation at a show in New York City: the venue free of chatter, the rare glare of a cell phone utterly out of place, camera flashes overtly distracting and the brightest light onstage a candle lit by Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power. The first of last night’s two shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg, it was surprising how much ground Marshall covered, with tracks spanning her catalog. Beginning on guitar, she made quick work of a number of songs out of the gate, including the very raw “Hate” and a stripped- down cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” before settling onto the piano stool.

Faced with the sheen of the grand piano rather than the expectant faces of hundreds, Marshall eased in a bit and allowed her songs more room to roam. “Colors and the Kids” was delivered with some quick, playful jabs in the air, as if to agree with the sentiment she’d so soundly evoked. A number of stirring songs followed, including crowd favorite “The Greatest” and the shiver-inducing pair of “I Don’t Blame You” and “Maybe Not.” By this point Marshall seemed to have postponed any thought of those standing in line for the second show, single-mindedly focused on delivering for those standing before her. She took up her guitar again for her version of the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and then belted out “Metal Heart,” a tune that’s made its way onto two of her albums.

Alongside her obvious desire to deliver, there was an urgency to Marshall’s set, as if she had just one more chance to perform everything she ever wanted to play. Power ran down her set list between songs, looking for the next: “Played that … played that … don’t want to play that.” She checked off some more—“Naked if I Want To,” playful and pleading, and “Good Woman,” agonizing and burning, before it became clear we’d have to make room for those queued up outside. This seemed a real dilemma to Marshall, who appeared to feel she still owed us more. And so the first show ended with a quiet, sometimes-whispered back and forth with the audience, and a final acceptance of the close of the set. For all of her mixed feelings about the show, hopefully Chan Marshall left satisfied. There were a couple of technical issues that stalled the set at points, and there were moments when jitters nearly got the best of her. But those were just in keeping with what the audience had come to share in, something real and honest, something beautiful and vulnerable at the same time. —JC McIlwaine

 

 

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The Men Celebrate a New Album Tomorrow at The Bowery Ballroom

March 4th, 2014

They began making punk(-ish) music back in 2008, but with the release of New Moon (stream it below), last March, the Men moved in a different sonic direction: still tapping into feedback and distortion, but doing so over more classic-rock sounds, or what Allmusic calls “creating a sound akin to Dinosaur Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick.” But that was 12 whole months ago, an eternity to a prolific group like this Brooklyn five-piece. So, naturally, they return with the ambitious Tomorrow’s Hits (stream it below), their fifth album in five years, out today. This time, according to Rolling Stone, “the band reinvent themselves yet again as a slamming blue-eyed soul group.” “We had been kickin’ the horns idea around for a little while,” singer-guitarist Mark Perro told the magazine, “thinking about Fun House by the Stooges, Exile on Main Street by the Stones and all those old classics Stax and Motown records.” Band members—Perro, singer-guitarist Nick Chiericozzi, guitarist Kevin Faulkner, bassist Ben Greenberg and drummer Rich Samis— share singing duties, and while performing live, the guys in the Men (above, playing “Settle Me Down” for KEXP FM) occasionally get lost in a solo, with their back to the crowd, but it doesn’t mean they’ve lost focus. Instead, they’re just caught up in the music. Get caught up in the music yourself when the Men celebrate their new album tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom.

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Nick Waterhouse Brings His Vintage R&B to The Bowery Ballroom

February 26th, 2014

He may still be a young guy, but singer-songwriter Nick Waterhouse, who’s well versed in R&B, has an old soul with a touch of contemporary style. It’s no wonder he’s got such a vintage sound considering he records on analog equipment and open-reel tape machines. His debut album, Time’s All Gone (stream it below), came out in 2012, winning over critics and fans alike. The Independent went so far as to make comparisons to Sharon Jones, Amy Winehouse and even the Rolling Stones. Since then, he’s been busy crisscrossing North America and Europe—and appearing with Daryl Hall on Live from Daryl’s House—working on his high-energy live show. Speaking of which, Waterhouse (above, performing “This Is a Game” in studio for WFUV FM) plays The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow.

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A Galactic Party at Terminal 5

February 18th, 2014

Galactic – Terminal 5 – February 15, 2014

In what was a small New Orleans music coup this past weekend, Galactic mirrored what fellow NOLA funk and jazz rockers the Soul Rebels were doing at Brooklyn Bowl by having a party of their own at Terminal 5 on Saturday night. Breaking from their recent partnership with Living Colour’s Corey Glover, Galactic were instead joined for about half the set by 25-year-old Louisiana native Maggie Koerner, who quite simply blew away the audience. She initially made her mark during the band’s “You Don’t Know,” but it was later in the show when she sang the cover of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” that the crowd appeared truly floored and let out the biggest applause of the night.

Galactic played so tightly that even during their vocal-less jams they never needed to watch one another to stay in lockstep with the beat, a sign of just how good they are as individual musicians and as a collective. Instead, they often turned straight out toward the crowd, lining up like a firing squad and letting loose a barrage of blue notes, mind-spinning solos and loud-as-hell choruses. For heady-music appreciators, this was the band to see on Saturday night, not just for Galactic’s skills but because they will move a set in any direction they see fit.

While Galactic often feature a vocalist, they are just as happy to steer the set into an instrumental song like “Balkan Wedding,” a track with an epic, moody organ solo that would be a hard sell to a more popular-music-oriented crowd. But they also know how to please a crowd of any size and makeup, so when the encore came around, Koerner rejoined the band for the show’s final original tune, “Heart of Steel” before ending the night with a rafters-shaking rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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A Top Five Look Back at 2013

January 10th, 2014


Ten days into the New Year, The House List looks back at 2013 with some Top Five lists.

My Top Five Favorite Shows
1.
The Postal Service, Barclay Center, June 14
My decade-belated live date with the Postal Service finally culminated at Barclays Center, where rabid fans, like myself, roared as Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello hit the stage. As if acting out lyrics from “Nothing Better,” Gibbard and Jenny Lewis shimmied close for the duet. Old friends reunited onstage never felt so good.

2. Haim, Webster Hall, September 3
I was late to this bandwagon, as fellow House List contributor Alex Kapelman shortlisted Haim last year for his Top Five Bowery Presents Shows of the Year. I knew I was in for a good one when I could barely find a spot in the rafters to catch the three sisters, who charmed with their onstage banter and wicked musicianship

3. Jessie Ware, The Bowery Ballroom, January 17
Straight off her Jimmy Fallon taping backed by the Roots, the British songstress elated the crowd with her effortless, down-to-earth stage demeanor. Her star quickly rose with American audiences, as she sold out shows at Webster Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Irving Plaza throughout the year. I was glad to have caught her earlier in the more intimate venue.

4. Basia Bulat, Bowery Ballroom, November 23
I’ve been a fan of Basia Bulat since I heard her cover Sam Cooke’s “Touch the Hem of His Garment.” This show on a cold night wasn’t sold out, which made me a little sad since she’s quite the talent. But those who were there were enraptured by her prowess on autoharp to the point that you could hear a pin drop during her solos.

5. Daughter, Bowery Ballroom, April 30
Somehow Elena Tonra manages to disguise heartbreak behind soulful lyrics and melody. She has a knack for turning happy dance songs into somber endeavors. The band mashed-up Bon Iver and Hot Chip’s “Perth/Ready for the Floor” that evening. Check out Tonra’s somber retake of Daft Punk’s hit “Get Lucky” for further proof. —Sharlene Chiu

My Top Five Shows I Never Thought I Would See
1. Desaparecidos, Webster Hall, February 26

Desaparecidos (and really any Conor Oberst project) were my bread and butter back in the early aughts, and for a while they seemed to be a one-off, a politically minded side project firmly planted in the past. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the global state of affairs remains messed up enough for the band to regroup to write protest songs for a new decade. It was a nostalgic, sweaty and inspired performance.

2. Shuggie Otis, Music Hall of Williamsburg, April 19
Shuggie Otis began putting out music in the mid-’70s, followed by a long period of laying low. Content to groove along to songs like “Ice Cold Daydream” at home, I never really thought about the possibility of a Shuggie Otis tour in 2013. But when I found out, I was there. And “Ice Cold Daydream” is even better in person.

3. The Flamin’ Groovies, The Bowery Ballroom, July 6
Instead of discovering the Flamin’ Groovies in a smoky San Fran club in the ’60s, I was introduced to their catchy psychedelia on a Nuggets compilation more than 30 years later. Who’d have thought they’d still be going strong in 2013 and that I’d be dancing right alongside some old school fans at this fun summer show.

4.  John Prine, Beacon Theatre, September 26
John Prine has been active since the early ’70s, but unlike Shuggie Otis, he never really went away, writing and recording songs at a steady pace throughout the years. But I still always thought of him as an artist too legendary for me to see in person—or that tickets would be too out of reach. But John Prine put on an amazing show, highlighting his singular skills as a songwriter and storyteller.

5. The Julie Ruin, Music Hall of Williamsburg, October 25
I was late to the party for the original riot-grrl movement, but I became an admirer of Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna during her time in Le Tigre. She’s dealt with some debilitating health issues in the past few years, but I had no doubt she’d continue to make art and music. So I was happy to learn of her latest project, the Julie Ruin, and her energetic show did not disappoint. —Alena Kastin

My Top Five Shows
1. Yo La Tengo, Town Hall, February 16

I don’t like to pick a favorite, but my last.fm account tells me I’ve listened to Yo La Tengo more than any other band since 2007. At Town Hall, they performed an acoustic set and an electronic one, doing two versions of “Ohm,” my favorite song of the year. And then I ran into Tim Heidecker from Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job! Had the Red Sox not won the World Series, this would’ve been my favorite night of the year.

2. Killer Mike/El-P, Webster Hall, August 14
I don’t care what anyone says: The best two rap albums of 2012 came from Killer Mike and El-P. And in 2013 they topped them, coming together as one entity, Run the Jewels. The night included a set from El-P, a set from Killer Mike and a combined set with both. El-P’s ingenious production plus Killer “I bleed charisma” Mike equals one concert I will never forget.

3. Foxygen, The Bowery Ballroom, October 21
With Foxygen it occasionally feels like shit could fall apart at any moment. And sometimes it does. But when their shows don’t come unhinged they deliver that sweet thrill of relief, like narrowly avoiding a car crash. And on this Halloween-themed night, the band made a weird show even weirder with homemade costumes and pseudo spooky vibes.

4. Steve Earle, Music Hall of Williamsburg, May 8
You can just tell some people are genuine, and Steve Earle is certainly one of them. Forever wearing his heart on his sleeve, that same energy bleeds right into his music, which he played alongside what he’s calling “the best band he’s ever had.”

5. Meat Puppets, Mercury Lounge, April 4
Not only are the Meat Puppets still kicking (after living through some serious shit), but also they’re thriving. And as much as I respect their legacy, seeing them play for more than two hours with the intensity you’d expect of a band 20 years their junior makes me respect them that much more. Long live the puppets of meat! —Dan Rickershauser

My Top Five Shows
1. Dessa, Union Hall, May 5

There are few performers I feel can move mountains with their vocal chords, and Dessa is one of them. This performance was an eruption of defiant lyrics and bold beats. A sizable crowd of young girls knew all of her lyrics, giving the show a chant-like feel. The only female member of Minnesota’s Doomtree collective practically vibrates with energy, and it’s completely contagious.

2. Kishi Bashi, Irving Plaza, September 12
Kishi Bashi sounds even better live than he does recorded. And he delivered a dazzling set with profuse vocal looping and an excellent backing band. Kauro Ishibashi has a supercharged, effusive aura, and his music embodies that persona. This set took a rowdy turn that involved crowd surfing, strobe lights and an outright jam session.

3. Panama Wedding, CMJ Music Marathon
I happened upon newcomers Panama Wedding three different times during CMJ: Initially, opening for NONONO at Mercury Lounge on the first night. Since the band had only released one song, “All of the People,” I was eager to see what would unfold onstage. Their set was so tight that I caught the fantastical pop group the following night at Pianos and then again at a showcase at Santos Party House.

4. You Won’t, Rockwood Music Hall, October 30
The live iteration of You Won’t is a spectacle to behold. I watched eagerly as Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri wielded a slew of instruments with ease, quickly fascinating the audience. The duo took their jaunty music into the audience a couple of times to break the barrier and enlisted some extra vocal support by encouraging us to all to sing along.

5. James Blake, Terminal 5, November 6
In this spellbinding live performance, complete with plenty of vocal looping and haunting electronica, James Blake made a cavernous room filled with people feel intimate. And that he’s such a dapper-looking fellow only helps boost his appeal. I’m still transfixed by this performance nearly two months later. James Blake’s music has some serious lasting effects. —Schuyler Rooth

My Top Five Shows with Regard to Lights, Visuals and Production
1. Umphrey’s McGee, Brooklyn Bowl, January 20

Kick-ass creative lighting
and Brooklyn Bowl don’t usually go hand in hand, but Umphrey’s McGee lighting guru Jefferson Waful turned the room into a thing of beauty.

2. Föllakzoid/Holydrug Couple, Mercury Lounge, March 21
What better way to enjoy some old school psychedelic music than with some old school liquid projections courtesy of Drippy Eye.

3. Plaza: Portugal. The Man, Irving Plaza, May 20
Freakin’ lasers!

4. The Flaming Lips/Tame Impala, Terminal 5, October 1
It was almost as fascinating to watch the Lips’ spectacle getting set up as it was to see it in action—confetti, strobes, LEDs and, well, pretty much everything. And Tame Impala’s projections were no slouch either.

5. Phish, Atlantic City Boardwalk, October 31, November 2
Phish’s fall tour found lighting director Chris Kuroda playing the Willy Wonka of eye candy all over the East Coast. —A. Stein

My Top Five Albums
1. Phosphorescent, Muchacho
I’d only seen Phosphorescent once before listening to Muchacho for the first time. And while much of Matthew Houck’s previous work is country-tinged (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this album, ostensibly about a breakup, covers more territory, from the meditative sounds of “Sun, Arise (An Invocation, an Introduction)” and “Sun’s Arising (A Koan, an Exit)” to the jammy, driving “Ride On/Right On” to softer fare, like “Muchacho’s Tune,” all centered on Houck’s evocative voice. I still can’t stop listening to it.

2. Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen’s third full-length, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, comes off as a loving mash note to ’70s rock. You’ll hear bits of the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and David Bowie, but the album expertly manages to sound like something whole and new rather than something derivative.

3. White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade
Upon the first couple of listens, I found White Denim’s latest, Corsicana Lemonade, to be too singer-songwriter-y, but I continued to give it a chance, and it opened up to something much bigger, with genre-hopping songs like “Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)” and “Pretty Green”—not to mention some searing guitar parts—grabbing me by the throat.

4. Futurebirds, Baba Yaga
Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about Futurebirds, out of Athens, Ga., before writing a preview of their late-May show at The Bowery Ballroom. But while listening to their second LP, Baba Yaga, as I wrote, I became totally enamored of the album—half twangy Southern rock and half spacey reverb.

 5. Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze
I love Kurt Vile’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze so much, that I can’t believe it’s only No. 5. Labeling it stoner rock, as many have done, is lazy. Although I supposed me calling it laid-back rock isn’t any better. But the fact of the matter is there might not ever be a better album to listen to while walking the streets of New York City with headphones in your ears. —R. Zizmor

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Shuggie Otis Comes to Brooklyn Tomorrow Night

April 18th, 2013

Like so many of us, much of Johnny Alexander Veliotes Jr. stems from his parents. His prodigious musical chops were passed down from his dad, R&B pioneer Johnny Otis, and his nickname—short for sugar—came courtesy of his mom. Because without them, the world wouldn’t know of Shuggie Otis. A precocious child, he first appeared on an album when he was just 15, which would be a pretty big deal for most kids. But then the next year, 1969, his debut album, Here Comes Shuggie Otis, arrived. Freedom Flight, led by “Ice Cold Daydream” and “Strawberry Letter 23,” followed in 1971. The latter song became known the world over several years later thanks to the Quincy Jones–produced version done by the Brothers Johnson. Otis would then spend three years writing, arranging, producing and recording the soul, funk and psychedelic cult classic Inspiration Information, out in 1974. And then: poof. That was it. Despite overtures from the likes of Jones, the Rolling Stones and Billy Preston, Otis declined to tour or put out any more new music—other than working as a sideman—and eventually his recording contract was nullified. But, fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Because two days ago Inspiration Information was reissued alongside Wings of Love (stream both below), comprised of unreleased material dating back to 1975. And while that’s great news, the absolute best part of this is that you can see Shuggie Otis tomorrow night at Music Hall of Williamsburg— and you can try to win two tickets.

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Despite Major Changes, the Black Crowes Are Having Fun

April 8th, 2013

The Black Crowes – Terminal 5 – April 6, 2013


The Black Crowes first gained fame with their debut album, Shake Your Money Maker, but 23 years later, only three original members remain: frontman Chris Robinson, his brother, rhythm guitarist Rich Robinson, and drummer Steve Gorman. Bassist Sven Pipien has been with the band since the late ’90s (minus a few years), and keyboardist Adam MacDougall came onboard in 2007. As for lead guitar, first there was Jeff Cease, and then for a long time there was Marc “Fucking” Ford. His and Rich’s guitar pairing would define the band’s sound. But then Ford was replaced by Audley Freed, who remained until the group’s first hiatus. When the Crowes returned, Ford was again playing lead—until he wasn’t and Paul Stacey was. And then he wasn’t and Luther Dickinson was. Dickinson returned the band to the twang-y Southern-rock sound of Ford’s heyday, and by the time fans finally grew accustomed to this version of the Crowes, you guessed it, they went on hiatus again.

So when word broke that they’d be touring again, with Jackie Greene as lead guitarist, the news was met with trepidation. But over the course of four shows last week—two each at the Capitol Theatre and Terminal 5—the newest edition of the Black Crowes allayed the fears of any doubters. Turns out, Greene is almost a perfect fit, as the band has bloomed sonically from the bluesy Southern rock they’d first become known for into a patchwork Americana sound studded with folk, rock, gospel and soul. It’s as if they’d traded in their Stones’, Faces’and Allmans’ albums for the Band’s, Mad Dogs & Englishmen and the Rolling Thunder Revue.

On Saturday night at Terminal 5, Greene’s mandolin on “She Talks to Angels” and banjo on “Whoa Mule” helped breathe new life into those songs, and his guitar work on “Sister Luck” was particularly fiery. Greene’s presence allowed Rich to play slide and take on more lead duties, like in terrific renditions of “Thorn in My Pride” and “Wiser Time,” with the two epically engaging each other from across the stage while everyone else took a step back. Of course, it’s not just about the new guitarist. The Crowes have reinterpreted some older material, like Chris’s staccato gospel breakdowns in the middle of “Remedy” (and in “My Morning Song” on prior nights). And the other drastic change was the lack of backing singers, two strong female voices replaced by four- and five-part harmonies.

But it wasn’t just about what was heard—because what was seen proved to be just as important, which in this case, was a band having a good time. There were smiles across the stage, and no one seemed to be enjoying himself more than Chris, whether happily introducing the night’s third song, “Feelin’ Alright,” with “Saturday night in the big city, man,” or inspiring some of the night’s biggest applause with harmonica-led jams, his playful dancing and joy were infectious, spreading across the stage and the room. And following a strong show filled with early material, covers and rarely played numbers, like “Title Song,” plus a three-song encore, the Black Crowes lingered onstage hugging one another, smiling widely and taking in the adulation. —R. Zizmor

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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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.)

 

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A Band Not to Miss Plays The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday

August 14th, 2012


First there was the Allman Brothers Band. Then guitarist Warren Haynes and Allen Woody spun off to create the power trio Gov’t Mule. And now that group’s drummer, Matt Abts, and current bassist, Jorgen Carlsson, have teamed up with multi-instrumentalist and singer T-Bone Andersson to form the fantastically named Planet of the Abts. The threesome put out a self-titled album last year (stream it here) filled with originals and updated takes on the likes of the Stones’ “Off the Hook.” Listening to the LP, according to jambands.com, is like “crash-landing right in the middle of some amazingly wild-ass rhythm-infested cartoon world … except the band is very much real—and they happen to be very serious about making music.” But, of course, this music is even better live, and you can experience it that way when Planet of the Abts (above, doing “Anything You Want It to Be” at TRI Studios) plays The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday night.

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Something Not to Miss

February 2nd, 2012

The Rolling StonesSticky Fingers is inarguably one of the greatest albums of all time. Released between two other epic discs, Let It Bleed and Exile on Main St., this record found the Stones doing much of the recording at Muscle Shoals and had them working alongside supremely talented musicians like Ry Cooder, Jim Dickinson, Billy Preston and Pete Townshend. The album is nine amazing originals and one fantastic cover. And it clearly took a lot of people to make. Which is why jam-funk outfit Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will play Sticky Fingers in its entirety with a group of friends, including bearded guitar virtuoso Anders Osborne (from New Orleans by way of Sweden). Watch them, above, playing “Sway,” and then for the love of God go see them next Wednesday at Webster Hall.