Tag Archives: Rumsey Playfield

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Broken Bells Make Memories at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

September 29th, 2014

Broken Bells – Rumsey Playfield – September 26, 2014

Broken Bells – Rumsey Playfield – September 26, 2014
What began as a notable collaboration has morphed into a true band, as Broken Bells showed a packed Rumsey Playfield on Friday night. With two LPs, the band—comprised mainly of Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse, one half of Gnarls Barkley) and James Mercer (the Shins—already has grown a fan base that didn’t spend the night shouting requests for songs that didn’t belong to Broken Bells. Musically, the biggest sign they’ve done something really right might just be that Mercer’s voice, unmistakably the most identifiable part of the Shins’ sound, easily blends into the cool and moody rock that they’re now known for. Rather than this being some side project, Broken Bells have had remarkable shows of their own without needing to be qualified as “that guy’s other band.”

For more than an hour, Broken Bells bounced between material from this year’s After the Disco and their 2010 self-titled debut in front of a circular screen filled with images like starry expanses and tunnels of colored light. And whether he was on the slick white keyboards or banging away at the drums, Burton, his head hung low, was a wonder to watch, fully concentrated but loose enough to groove. Dance-y tracks like “Holding On for Life” contrasted well with the likes of “Perfect World” and its spacier jams. And often Broken Bells met somewhere in the middle, with songs like “The Ghost Inside.” Right before the show ended and everyone in Central Park split off in different directions to finish their Fridays elsewhere, the band let loose a dozen giant glowing orbs, giving the crowd one more Broken Bells memory. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesolivierphoto.com

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Broken Bells Play Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Friday Night

September 24th, 2014

Brian Burton—aka Danger Mouse—was already renowned for his considerable production work and being one half of Gnarls Barkley, and James Mercer was best known for fronting the Shins when the two combined forces to form Broken Bells in 2010. In calling their self-titled debut album (stream it below) “a sweet ’n’ sour and head-spinningly trippy set,” BBC Music declared, “Rarely have such brooding sentiments sounded so alluring.” And while some thought this would only be a one-off, Burton and Mercer remained true to their word about forming a band rather than making an album together just once. In fact they returned this past winter with their sophomore effort, After the Disco (stream it below). Spin mentioned “the idea of Broken Bells as a partnership built on the past’s vision of the future” and also called it “the rare, superior sequel—think Toy Story 2.” And although Broken Bells (above, doing “Perfect World” on Live on Letterman) record as a duo, they perform live as a full band. Go see them outside on Friday night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser opens the show.

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Portugal. The Man and Grouplove Close Out Tour in Central Park

September 17th, 2014

Portugal. The Man/Grouplove – Rumsey Playfield – September 16, 2014

Portugal. The Man – Rumsey Playfield – September 16, 2014

Portugal. The Man

Midway through their set at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Tuesday—the closing night of the Honda Civic TourGrouplove’s Hannah Hooper declared that the tour was all about “making art.” As incongruous as that may sound, the show was one of those rare instances where live rock and roll was elevated to an art form: the music, the lights, the visuals and the crowd interaction. The pairing of Grouplove with Portugal. The Man was an inspired billing, each band bringing a different aesthetic and energy to the performance, and both inspiring a whole lot of singing along, clapping along, waving arms along, pretty much everything along.

After a big-sound set from Typhoon, Grouplove entered amidst a cloud of smoke and a haze of hip-hop over the PA. Their set was 70 minutes of cathartic, jubilant bounce, beginning with the opening “I’m with You” and its sing-along-ready ah ah ahs and oh oh ohs. The audience was in it from the start. Grouplove’s free-form sing-along contrasted with the visuals, which had a sleek, modern feel, colorful geometric rectangles or simulated multihued television static danced on the large-screen backdrop while the audience danced in front. Everyone loves a hit, and Grouplove played plenty of them, highlighted by the ecstatic groover “Tongue Tied.” The set peaked with the couplet of “Slow” and “Borderlines and Aliens,” and particularly the space in between the two, where lights, the band’s movement and the pulsing drums worked together as one entity, eventually releasing into a wild guitar jam. After a rousing “Colours” to close their part of the show, the band returned for a rare mid-show encore, bringing along members of Portugal. The Man for a crowd-riling version of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” everyone screaming the classic lyrics. Any other night it would have been the ultimate sing-along, but there was more to come.

A quick breather later, Portugal. The Man returned and picked up right where Grouplove left off, with another classic-rock along, covering a verse and a chorus or two of Pink Floyd’s anthemic “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” before quickly kicking into their own “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” Their aesthetic was more bright-eyed psychedelic, like crawling into a living version of frontman John Gourley’s bizarre drawings. That is until the lasers came out, transforming Rumsey Playfield into an alien planet, with Portugal. The Man’s music as a galactic soundtrack. The band was in top form, looping verses of multiple songs into coherent medleys, stretching others, like “All Your Light,” into prog-rock freak-outs and dropping snippets of perfectly placed covers throughout. This was live music as art form, the audience digging every moment and singing from beginning to end. Like Grouplove had done, the band saved the biggest moment for their encore, which began with their slow-build rager “Sleep Forever” and ended with all of Grouplove and Typhoon onstage—horns, strings and all—for the second ultimate sing-along of the night, everyone belting out the coda to “Hey Jude”: the final touch on a work of art. —A .Stein

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Chromeo Bring Their Dance Party to Central Park

September 15th, 2014

Chromeo – Rumsey Playfield – September 12, 2014

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(Photo: Timothy Saccenti)

As summer winds down there are only a few remaining outdoor shows around the city, and, fortunately, Chromeo’s appearance at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Friday night was one of them. The dance-pop duo’s set not only kick-started the weekend for a few thousand fans, but it also helped close out a season. The band proved again that Chromeo as a whole are more than the sum of their parts. Look too closely and you’ll see David Macklovitch tapping at a keyboard and easing his way through guitar solos, or Patrick Gemayel occasionally crashing a cymbal or cowbell with a drumstick. But focus less on the details and let loose a little and suddenly you see Dave 1 and P-Thugg orchestrating one hell of a dance party.

All those little things, like handclaps timed to strobe lights, escalated the atmosphere surrounding the hook-filled jams Chromeo so adeptly make. The set was filled with a range of their songs, from the pounding dance beats of “Sexy Socialite” to “Momma’s Boy,” a sweet blend of electronic sound straight out of ELO mixed with guitar that would make the CarsRic Ocasek proud. And regardless of whether they’d seen Chromeo prior to Friday, everyone at Rumsey Playfield ended up hearing something they could enjoy, which always makes for a fun night. —Sean O’Kane

 

 

 

 

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Spoon Make a Beautiful Night in Central Park Even Better

September 11th, 2014

Spoon – Rumsey Playfield – September 10, 2014

Spoon – Rumsey Playfield – September 10, 2014
Last night was perfect to see music outdoors, the temperature was just right and the conditions were breezy, not blustery. The same could be said for Spoon, the Austin, Texas, five-piece that made high-level rock and roll look easy with little bluster at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. With equal parts grit in his guitar and his voice, Britt Daniel kicked off things with “Knock Knock Knock,” off Spoon’s newest release, They Want My Soul. The crowd was a catchall mix of types: boozy college girls, graying rockers, new parents enjoying a night out, giddy Spoon geeks with tour T-shirts and a running set list on their phones, and everything in between. The career-spanning set appealed to them all, each song drawing excited reactions and sing-alongs from at least one or two happy fans.

The show hit its stride early with the clavinet-heavy groover “Small Stakes,” off 2002’s Kill the Moonlight, and “Inside Out” and its ethereal three-keyboard breakdown. The stage was set up with large white-sheet panels that filled with light and shadows. Each song was enhanced with its own color palette, the mood running through a rock and roll rainbow of sorts. So there was “Who Makes Your Money” in mellow pink with a matching bass riff and ripping guitar; summer-sun orange for “Rhthm and Soul,” a muted purple-orange mix for the chunky guitar-and-piano voodoo rock of “My Mathematical Mind”; and a particularly saucy guitar jam in green for “Got Nuffin.”

Daniel switched to an acoustic guitar for a couple of highlights, including the set-closing “Black Like Me,” which began with no color at all, murky shadows on the panels until a high-energy bridge in white, a mirrored pyramid suspended above the stage became a primitive disco ball as the audience sang, “Yeah!” along with the band. The three-song encore was, as it should be, highlighted by the hits everyone wanted to hear: “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb” in cherry red (natch) and a big, sing-along “The Underdog” in pretty much every color of the rainbow. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyphotography.tumblr.com

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Spoon Return to Play Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

September 9th, 2014

After releasing Girls Can Tell (stream it below) and Kill the Moonlight (stream it below) in consecutive years around the turn of the century, Spoon made the transition from underrated band to one of the bigger names in all of alternative rock, thanks to what AllMusic calls “a heady blend of precision punk and serpentine classic rock.” Their seventh album, the excellent Transference (stream it below), came out in 2010—Spoon have since blossomed from a four-piece into a five-piece with Alex Fischel (keys and guitar) joining Britt Daniel (vocals and guitar), Jim Eno (drums), Eric Harvey (keys and vocals) and Rob Pope (bass and vocals)—so it’s safe to say fans have been patiently awaiting the Austin, Texas, group’s latest effort, They Want My Soul (stream it below), which came out last month to some considerable acclaim. Rolling Stone called the album “an immediate grabber on par with the group’s best work to date” and added that the band has “always done surprisingly well on their own terms, in their own world. And that world sounds bigger and brighter than ever.” Spoon (above, performing “Inside Out” last night on Late Show with David Letterman) bring their engaging live show to New York City tomorrow night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Arrive early to see !!! and Operators.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Chromeo on 9/12

September 9th, 2014

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Chromeo play Rumsey Field in Central Park on Friday, and this late-summer show is already sold out. That last part is the bad news. But the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets. So if you want to go, try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Chromeo, 9/12) and a brief message explaining why you deserve to see the lords of funk for free. Eddie Bruiser, a fan of both Chromeo and Central Park, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Danny Brown – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 8, 2014

April 9th, 2014

Danny Brown - Music Hall of Williamsburg - April8, 2014

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com

(Danny Brown opens for the Neighbourhood at Rumsey Playfield on 5/20.)

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Crooning in Central Park on the Last Summer Sunday

September 16th, 2013

Alt-J/Lord Huron – Rumsey Playfield – September 15, 2013


Late-summer breezes swept over Rumsey Playfield in Central Park last night as a sold-out crowd gathered to hear music by two remarkable sets of musicians. Lord Huron, an indie folk-rock band with rich soundscapes that really belong in an outdoor setting, performed first. Frontman Ben Schneider complimented the venue: “It feels real good to be back in New York on a night like this. It really is beautiful here.” Songs from the band’s debut full-length album, Lonesome Dreams, and their two previous EPs rang out as the light of day drained from the park. A gauzy backdrop of mountaintops was backlit in sunset colors for the duration of the set, giving Lord Huron’s music a palpable glow.

After a brief intermission, the grinning gentlemen of Alt-J took the fog-filled stage and launched straight into their set without saying a word. When I saw them play a much smaller New York City venue a year ago, they radiated a unique, infectious vibe and their music stayed with me for days afterward. The band’s trademark sound, which is characterized by perplexing arrangements and frequent a cappella harmonies, is somewhat complicated to reproduce in a live setting. Despite the difficulty, Alt-J strive to recreate their songs live in a way that gets the entire crowd to lean forward and sing along. While their repertoire is still relatively small, they make up for the brevity of their performance with sheer clarity in their delivery of the songs. The set was constructed around An Awesome Wave, last year’s debut album that’s garnered the quartet abundant praise, including the 2012 Mercury Prize.

Opening with “Intro,” their LP’s lead track, seemed fitting due to its name, although it was a bold move due to the deeply subdued elements of the instrumental song. When Alt-J launched into an especially beat-heavy version of “Fitzpleasure,” any worries I had that this show would be too quiet went out the window. “Bloodflood” came next and the set began to simulate the ebb and flow of the tide. “Buffalo” and “Something Good” soared with hushed vocals, agile guitar and constrained drum beats. “Tessellate” was an invitation to start dancing and sing along to the sultry lyrics and Jon Newman’s coarse voice. “Matilda” and “Dissolve Me” came next, each telling a story of unconditional love. “Hand-Made” slipped into a fine-drawn a cappella cover of College’s “A Real Hero.” “Taro” rounded out the set, and “Ms” and crowd-favorite “Breezeblocks” provided the encore. While the night of music was short, I’m sure everyone left feeling lucky to have spent one of the last days of summer swaying to music from some of the indie scene’s most talented crooners. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Alt-J

September 10th, 2013

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Thanks to their Mercury Award–winning debut album, An Awesome Wave, Alt-J quickly became very popular. So when the U.K. quartet announced their current North American tour—which brings them to town for a couple of weekend shows, on Saturday at Hammerstein Ballroom and on Sunday at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park—tickets went fast. But you’ve still got another chance because The House List is giving away two tickets to Sunday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Alt-J, 9/15) and a brief message explaining what you most like about Alt-J. Eddie Bruiser, who would sincerely like to know, will notify the winner by Friday.

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A Beautiful Voice Rises Above the Rain

August 29th, 2013

Emeli Sandé – Rumsey Playfield – August 28, 2013


Over the weekend, I was at an MTV Video Music Awards viewing party and shouted, “It’s Emeli Sandé” as she came out to present alongside Adam Lambert, and several people asked, “Who?” Needless to say, Sandé isn’t a household name here yet, but she’s not far from making a name for herself on American shores, having already nabbed an invite to the White House in May. She played for the President at an award ceremony honoring Carole King. It was fitting for Sandé to join the famed songwriter, as she has written songs for some of the brightest U.K. stars, including Cheryl Cole, Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle.

Last night at Rumsey Playfield, the air was sticky with humidity building from threats of thunderstorms. A few in the crowd donned plastic ponchos amongst a sprinkling of opened umbrellas. As a black backdrop with Sandé’s name rose, onlookers erupted for the main attraction of the night. Perched behind a piano, the songstress began her set with “Daddy,” followed it with “Heaven,” which she dedicated to “those with good intentions.” The Scot was thankful for fans braving the rain to see her and promptly transported them to a Caribbean island with the dancehall swagger of “Where I Sleep.” Other highlights included the debut of a new song, “Who Needs the World,” and a special stripped-down version of “Suitcase,” accompanied by minimal basslines, allowing her soprano vocals to ring clearly through the trees of Central Park.

The second half of the set was allocated for fan favorites, like “My Kind of Love,” “Clown” and “Read All About It, Pt. III.” She performed the latter at the closing ceremony of last year’s Summer Olympics in London. Sandé concluded the main set with “Lifted” and “Wonder,” a pair of Naughty Boy songs in which she’s featured. There was no doubt Sandé would return for an encore, offering a playful twist on the bridge for “Maybe”: “Maybe it’s time to go New York City. But I just I don’t know.” To top off the night in fashion, the audience joined in on the chorus for “Next to Me.” As if a choir in a chapel, the crowd began clapping and singing in unison—all for the Church of Sandé. Amen! —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Catch Emeli Sandé Tonight at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

August 28th, 2013

Before she got famous on her own, Emeli Sandé became known for her work with others— appearing on albums for the likes of Chipmunk, Tinie Tempah and Professor Green, and writing for musicians like Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Susan Boyle. But after the release of her debut album, last year’s Our Version of Events (stream it below), the Scottish singer-songwriter’s terrific voice and fantastic songwriting became her calling cards. Allmusic praised the R&B-pop-and-soul-filled album: “Many call the 24-year old starlet a jack-of-all-trades, and after listening to her full-length debut, it’s easy to understand why. Events skip from genre to genre breezily, often being carried by Sandé’s piercing voice.” That voice gained her even more attention when Sandé (above, doing “Clown” and “Next to Me” at this year’s Brit Awards) performed at the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2012 Summer Olympics. And you can see her—along with the electronic-music quartet Rudimentaltonight at Rumsey Playfield.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Lord Huron on 6/21

June 18th, 2013

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Whenever Lord Huron come to town it seems like tickets are tough to come by, which is again the case with Friday’s sold-out show at Webster Hall—which also happens to be the first day of summer. The good news, however, is that despite tickets going fast, The House List is giving away two of them. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Lord Huron, 6/21) and a brief message explaining your best tip for spending the summer in New York City. Eddie Bruiser, who could always use a few good ideas, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

(Lord Huron open for Alt-J at Rumsey Playfield on 9/15.)

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Marina and the Diamonds – Rumsey Playfield – May 29, 2013

May 30th, 2013


Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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The Avett Brothers – Rumsey Playfield – September 24, 2012

September 25th, 2012


Photo courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com