Tag Archives: Space at Westbury

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Preservation Hall Jazz Band Deliver a Taste of New Orleans

July 31st, 2017

Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Space at Westbury – July 28, 2017


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band means tradition so deeply felt that when you see and hear them in action, you’re reminded that even your most cinematic visions of New Orleans jazz pale in comparison. They’re what you feel like you want to remember—any more might complicate their down-home charm—and all while balancing virtuosic musical chops with big smiles and a well-honed feel for how to compose a show and keep an audience brimming. They’re showmen. They come across smooth, soulful and liberated. Laissez le bon temps rouler at the Space at Westbury or anywhere else they come to hang.

One of the less-discussed aspects of the current version of Pres Hall is how deftly bassist, tuba player and creative director Ben Jaffe has steered them into a modern era, with younger players gradually replacing the veterans in the road band. Along with Jaffe, the lineup features saxophonist Clint Maedgen, trombonist Ronell Johnson, trumpet player Branden Lewis, drummer Walter Harris and keyboardist Kyle Roussel. More than half of the touring group has come on over the last five years. The roots of Pres Hall are well preserved, but Jaffe and team have prevented the band from becoming a museum piece—quite the opposite, as evidenced by how hot they cook when they really get going. In recent years, they’ve collaborated everywhere, from TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek producing this year’s So It Is—astonishingly, the first Preservation Hall Jazz Band album of original music—to guest appearances with everyone from Dave Grohl and My Morning Jacket to Maren Morris and Beck. Their authentic vibe is deep and homey, and everyone wants a piece of it. And what’s more, the band’s infused that vibe into So It Is, which plays up the potent connections between Crescent City and Cuba.

On Friday night, they were equal parts Mardi Gras rave-up and Havana street scene, intermixing ageless NOLA classics like “Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing” with So It Is cuts like “Santiago” and “La Malanga.” The horn players took turns fronting the band, delivering sizzling solos, stoking the crowd, riding grooves that were straight-ahead, or slow-and-serpentine or viscous. If you were expecting a polite supper-club crowd clapping along to “Basin Street Blues,” you instead got pulsating jams—some downright ferocious, like late night at a Frenchmen Street club or, well, Preservation Hall itself. At the outset of the encore, Johnson and Jaffe paired off as a duo of ’bone and tuba for a sing-along “That Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.” And before that came an impassioned speech from Jaffe filled with childhood memories of family members on Long Island, but more important, a capture of what this band was, is and remains: “Those are real instruments played by real people, y’all.” As if we needed to be reminded. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Contest: Win Two Free Tickets to See Gogol Bordello on 12/29

December 22nd, 2016

Local gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have been driving concertgoers to the dance floor ever since forming on the Lower East Side at the turn of the century. They’ve remained busy over the years, recording—including 2013’s terrific Pura Vida Conspiracy (stream it below), which, according to PopMatters, “finds them at their most ragged and unhinged, the sound of collaborative anarchism distilled into its punchiest presentation yet”—and performing, with their upbeat, high-intensity shows becoming their calling card. Gogol Bordello (above, performing “Start Wearing Purple”) get the New Year started early, next Thursday at the Space at Westbury, with Low Cut Connie opening the show. And The House List is giving away two tickets. Want to go? 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 (Gogol Bordello, 12/29) and a brief message explaining why you think you should be there. The winner will be notified by next Wednesday. Good luck.

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Chris Robinson Brotherhood Take Their Time at the Space at Westbury

November 21st, 2016

Chris Robinson Brotherhood – the Space at Westbury – November 18, 2016

(Photo: Jay Blakesberg)

(Photo: Jay Blakesberg)


I’ve seen the Chris Robinson Brotherhood do their pie-eyed, soulful thing plenty now, and the word I keep going back to is unhurried, which doesn’t mean slow, for this band can cook up a good old rock and roll, blues or country racket when called for. But that does mean you go at their pace: a deliberate, expansive set or two of deeply fleshed out and not-a-little-cosmic Americana that insists you groove in its orbit or that you politely leave the rocket ship. It may not be for everybody, but in every year since the band’s 2011 inception, yielding to what the CRB does has been rewarding for the willing listener.

Robinson and his band of aces—guitarist Neal Casal, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Jeff Hill and drummer Tony Leone—throw back to a time when rock, blues, country and folk were painted with Day-Glo and didn’t mind a layer of stardust. Their music feels nostalgic but embraceable and honest. Those wistful moments that might sound sad or might sound accepting depend on how a guitar string is plucked, meshed with those more celebratory, up-tempo, let’s-kick-it type of songs. They can be short statements or long statements or really long statements, protracted with jam segments that can veer toward an ambient soundscape or burn with the gnarly guitars of a Tuesday night at the roadhouse.

They’re encyclopedic too, and that reach goes wide and deep. This two-setter at the Space at Westbury on Friday featured songs by Hoyt Axton (“Never Been to Spain”), Jackie Moore (“Precious Precious”), Bob Dylan (“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”) and New Riders of the Purple Sage (“Last Lonely Eagle”) tucked between CRB originals and songs from Robinson’s previous associations given new life by this band (“I Ain’t Hiding,” came from the Black Crowes while “Tumbleweed in Eden” and “Train Robbers” drew from the brief, turbulent life of Robinson’s 2002-2004 era band, New Earth Mud). None of those felt out of place, but rather they were bent to the groovy CRB m.o. such that a well-trodden tune like “Baby Blue” had a livelier, hootenanny feel than the regretful folk sound it’s most often associated with. Robinson was as ever the band’s centerpiece. He’s still the charismatic hippie-with-an-edge howler he always was leading the Crowes, and with Leone and Hill keeping things humming—and from veering off course—Casal and MacDougall become its painters, working with a significant range of tones and colors both earthy (Casal’s paint-peeler slide guitar) and spacey (MacDougall’s spattering psych-out effects).

Together, the fivesome offered a few hours of vignettes: the mournful then defiant narrator of “Train Robbers,” which began as spooky country before erupting into vocal howls and volcanic guitar, the vicious rock and roll of “I Ain’t Hiding” (“Ain’t your saint, ain’t your enemy/ I’m a long shadow on the highway”), the big dreams and tortured realities of “Forever as the Moon” and “Star or Stone,” plus the drunk-on-life rambling in “Rosalee,” which began and ended the second set as effectively one long sandwich. And if there’s a newer song from the band’s rapidly growing catalog that takes its place among its best and most complete statements, it’s “Narcissus Soaking Wet,” which on this tour has been a second-set showpiece, getting really cosmic and Dead-y, a lengthy tale of myth. It’s a song to get lost in from a band really good at making them. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Steve Vai – Town Hall – November 9, 2016

November 10th, 2016

Steve Vai - Town Hall - November 9, 2016
(Steve Vai plays the Space at Westbury on Saturday night.)

Photos courtesy of Marc Millman Photography | www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music

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Steve Vai Celebrates Anniversary with Pair of Local Shows

November 9th, 2016

When he was just 13, guitar-virtuoso Steve Vai began taking lessons from another New Yorker who would become known as a shredder, Joe Satriani. But Vai’s first foray into the professional music world was working with Frank Zappa when he was still just a teen. Of course, he’d go on to become what AllMusic calls “a fast-fingered guitar god who’s considered one of rock’s greatest musicians.” He’s since worked with a variety of bands and musicians and in array of genres, guested on countless albums, toured endlessly and even conducted master classes, all the while still finding time to do solo work. His most recent release, the adventurous Modern Primitive (stream it below), which Ultimate Guitar calls “simply stunning,” arrived earlier this year, as did a remastered 25th-anniversary edition of his breakthrough album, Passion & Warfare. And Vai (above, doing “Gravity Storm” live) celebrates the milestone with a pair of local shows, tonight at Town Hall and on Saturday at the Space at Westbury.

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Bruce Hornsby Comes to the Space at Westbury on Wednesday Night

August 29th, 2016

Over the course of a career that began in the ’80s—the single “The Way It Is” launching him into the mainstream—singer-songwriter and pianist Bruce Hornsby has been difficult to pin down, musically speaking. He’s dabbled in rock, blues, gospel, bluegrass, jazz, classical, Motown. And he’s done it alone, with various backing bands, alongside the Grateful Dead and with Ricky Skaggs. His most recent release, June’s Rehab Reunion (stream it below), was done with his current touring band, the Noisemakers. “It may be just a brief excursion in Bruce Hornsby’s ever growing and eclectic catalog,” says American Songwriter, “but the charming, completely unaffected Rehab Reunion feels like a natural, even logical road to take on a lifelong musical journey that has seldom been predictable.” And according to NPR Music, he “once again hits the sweet spot between joyful improv and immaculate songcraft.” Find out how the new songs sound live when his current tour brings Hornsby (above, performing “Cyclone”) to the Space at Westbury on Wednesday night. Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gill Landry opens the show.

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Kick Off Your Weekend with the Wailers at the Space at Westbury

August 11th, 2016

Despite beloved reggae icon Bob Marley’s passing 35 years ago, his backing band, the Wailers, continue to keep his music and spirit alive. Led by Marley’s right-hand man and coproducer, Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass), the Wailers—rounded out by Aston Barrett Jr. (organ), Dwayne Anglin (vocals), Joshua Barrett (vocals), Cegee Victory (vocals), Audley Chisholm (guitar and vocals), Melvin Glover (guitar), Chaka Taylor (keys) and Anthony “Benbow” Creary (drums)—play music from across Marley and the Wailers’ extensive discography. And while they perform all across the world, you won’t have to travel too far to see the Wailers (above, doing “Is This Love” two years ago at Glastonbury) when they play the Space at Westbury tomorrow night. Plus, as an added bonus, they return to open for UB40 at Terminal 5 on 8/23.

The Space at Westbury Welcomes Guster Tomorrow Night

June 14th, 2016

Ryan Miller (vocals and multiple instruments), Adam Gardner (multiple instruments and vocals) and Brian Rosenworcel (drums) met at orientation in August of 1991 prior to their freshman year at Tufts University. Within a couple of months they were playing live as a trio. Two albums followed, but it was Guster’s third disc, Lost and Gone Forever, that gained them some considerable attention. Since then, Luke Reynolds (multiple instruments and backing vocals) has joined the band as they continue to play high-octane live shows filled with upbeat music. The personable, fan-friendly road warriors (above, performing “Hang On” for AudiotreeTV) put out their seventh studio LP, Evermotion (stream it below), last year. It was their first album in half a decade, but PopMatters opined that what “results is a fine reminder that quality over quantity is a goal worth striving for.” And furthermore, “Guster took a chance this time out, and it paid off.” Back out on the road, Guster (above, performing “Hang On” for Audiotree Live) play the Space at Westbury tomorrow night. And as an added bonus, Marco Benevento opens the show.

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Three Chances to See Reggae Legends Steel Pulse This Week

April 12th, 2016

Rising up from Birmingham, England, protest-minded Steel Pulse have been known across the world for their take on roots, reggae and dub (not to mention jazz and Latin music) for more than 40 years. Their debut LP, Handsworth Revolution (stream it below)—named after the band’s hometown—arrived in 1978. According to AllMusic, it’s “about politics first and religion second, with a quick nod to the dance and another to the herb and not a single love lyric to be found anywhere. This gives the music a certain intellectual urgency, and the band’s instrumental virtuosity is impressive given its youth and relatively inexperience.” Their sixth studio full-length, Babylon the Bandit (stream it below), out in ’86, won the Best Reggae Album Grammy the following year, making Steel Pulse (above, performing “Steppin’ Out”) the only non-Jamaican act to win the award. Of course, the lineup has changed over the years but founding member David Hinds (vocals and guitar) remains onboard, joined by Selwyn Brown (keys and vocals), Sidney Mills (keys and vocals), Amlak Tafari (bass), Wayne Clarke (drums), Keysha McTaggart (vocals) and Jerry Johnson (sax). And, as ever, Steel Pulse remain an energetic live force, repping reggae everywhere they go. The band’s winding down a U.S. tour this week, and you can catch them tonight and tomorrow at Brooklyn Bowl and on Thursday at the Space at Westbury.

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Get Your Weekend Started with Joss Stone at the Space at Westbury

March 17th, 2016

At just 16, Joss Stone (above, covering Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song”), and her big, soulful voice, first rose to fame with the release of her debut LP, The Soul Sessions (stream it below)—reinterpretations of classic soul songs—in 2003, earning her heady comparisons to Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin in the process. The award-winning singer has remained in the public eye ever since, appearing in films and TV shows and releasing six more studio albums, three EPs and a host of singles. Her most recent LP, Water for Your Soul (stream it below), came out last summer, impressing the folks at Paste, who call her a “modern queen of the timeless old-school soul,” adding that she “walks a tightrope between real-world consciousness and Hacky Sack hippie oblivious. But throughout, Stone maintains her soulful vocals without resorting to diva histrionics.” A consummate performer, Joss Stone plays the Space at Westbury tomorrow night.

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Miguel Bares His Individual Spirit at the Space at Westbury

August 10th, 2015

Miguel – the Space at Westbury – August 7, 2015

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In a recent short documentary produced by Yours Truly, R&B superstar Miguel revealed his struggles as a young artist navigating the music industry. He spoke about his material being shelved early on in his career because folks just weren’t ready for his sound as the ebb and flow of popular music tastes fluctuated. How times have changed—and the proud L.A. singer released his third album, Wildheart, in late June to universal acclaim. After sold-out shows at Terminal 5 and The Bowery Ballroom, Miguel headed to his last New York stop, out in Long Island at the Space at Westbury on Friday night.

As Kanye West’s “All Day Nigga” played, the lights dipped low, members of Miguel’s band, all in white, filed in, and the man of the evening topped off the lineup in a white leather jacket with feather-fringed sleeves. Although “A Beautiful Exit” intro’d the set, the song would return throughout the evening as a transitional interlude. The band kicked up the tempo with Kaleidoscope Dream’s “The Thrill,”  and Miguel’s gyrating on old fave “Sure Thing” had female fans immediately screaming. The night felt like a scene from Magic Mike XXL, as a mostly topless Miguel had the ladies in the palm of his hand. After a quick costume change into a “Wildheart” tank, he soon stripped off that, saying he was “sweating up a storm” because of all the “hot ladies” in the room. Cue tank soaked in the heartthrob’s sweat chucked into the crowd.

To counterpoint the steamy antics, Miguel spoke openly about the album’s inspiration, citing individuality as the core of being wild hearts. After a soulful rendition of “Leaves,”  he continued to preach. “Normality is subjective and not our job to conform. It is a plague on society,” he said. “Limiting individuals to dream outside of the box.” Offering a window into the creative process of “What’s Normal Anyway?,” the Angeleno shared his experiences growing up as a mixed-race youth and feeling pulled to pick a tribe. His music represented his varied background from the salsa-like rhythms on “Waves” to a mini cover of 2Pac’s “I Get Around” into “Do You.” Miguel jumped into the masses crowd-surfing to the jubilation of his admirers. (No injuries on these attempts unlike at the Billboard Music Awards.) An encore trio of tunes included summer-hit “Coffee,” a mash-up of “How Many Drinks?” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank),” and the always favored “Adorn” to end the night. The sound went out momentarily on the mash-up, but Miguel didn’t skip a beat, continuing without amplification as audience members quickly joined in on the chorus. His inability to stop even during technical snafus only highlighted the artist’s persistence and true individual spirit. A wild heart all the way. —Sharlene Chiu

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You Don’t Have to Go to Chicago to See Dead 50 This Weekend

July 2nd, 2015

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This weekend, the “core four” remaining members of the Grateful DeadPhil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann—celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary—Dead 50—by performing together for the last time on 7/3, 7/4 and 7/5 at Soldier Field. The famed Chicago football stadium holds a special place in the hearts of Dead fans as it was the location of the very last Grateful Dead show with beloved frontman Jerry Garcia. Of course it wouldn’t be the Dead without a little help from their friends. So rather than going it alone, the “core four” are joined by Trey Anastasio on guitar, Bruce Hornsby on piano and Jeff Chimenti on keys. The Dead just played two additional shows over the weekend in Santa Clara, Calif., to pretty much universal acclaim. Per Billboard, “Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Arrives & Thrives with Trey Anastasio on the Side.” Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Times proclaimed, “Otherworldly? Yes. Worthy of praise? Most certainly. So expertly imagined as to suggest not just a reunion but a continuation, this was the Dead ideal, communal, filled with a generosity of spirit that united stage and seats.” This weekend will be one of the biggest musical reunions in the history of musical reunions, which, of course, means lots of people got shut out from attending. But no worries, because with the eyes of the world cast upon Chicago, you won’t miss a thing: All three shows will be simulcast in their entirety at Brooklyn Bowl, the Capitol Theatre and Bearsville Theater, and the last night will also be simulcast at the Space at Westbury.

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Two Nights of Jason Isbell and Craig Finn This Week

May 19th, 2015

For many, Jason Isbell first rose to fame during his six-year tenure as lead guitarist in Drive-By Truckers. And although he initially went solo with the release of the bluesy, punk-tinged Sirens of the Ditch (stream it below) in 2007, Isbell (above, performing “Cover Me Up” for Austin City Limits) really broke through into the mainstream with his fourth solo album, the universally acclaimed Southeastern (stream it below), done without his backing band, the 400 Unit, out in 2013. “Listeners are able to hear an unfiltered representation of this Alabamaian prodigy, and the results are so stellar it’s not hyperbole to say that he could be his generation’s answer to Steve Earle,” gushed A.V. Club. His next album, Something More Than Free, lands in July, but you can hear a single from it now.

Singer-songwriter Craig Finn has been the frontman of the swaggering Hold Steady for more than a decade. And while the band is rightfully known for their literate songs and energetic live shows, Finn (below, doing “Jackson” for KCMP FM) has still found time to do some solo work— performing and recording music. His well-received full-length, Clear Heart Full Eyes (stream it below), arrived in 2012 to plenty of love. The LP “finds the songwriter looking for a change of sonic scenery that feels more like a vacation from his other work than a departure, with the singer maintaining his identity as a songwriter as he adapts to a more distinctly country sound,” according to AllMusic. Don’t miss Jason Isbell and Craig Finn tonight at the Space at Westbury and tomorrow at the Capitol Theatre.

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Steve Winwood Prove He’s as Relevant as Ever at Space at Westbury

April 24th, 2015

Steve Winwood – the Space at Westbury – April 23, 2015

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“He’s still got it!” You hear people say that all the time, but so often it’s nothing more than wishful thinking or wistful nostalgia. But when everyone at the Space at Westbury had that thought last night, it was because it was as true as ever for Steve Winwood. With a groovy organ and an Afrobeat feel from his stellar rhythm section, he opened the show with the Spencer Davis Group hit “I’m a Man.” There’s old school and there’s old old school, and the 1967 classic is in the latter category. You have to wonder how many times Winwood has sung the song. Yet, in what would be the prevailing mood of the set, he made it feel as relevant as ever, making it sound like it was the best version ever.

From the opening tune through the end of the encore, the performance was like a long drive on a beautiful night with the radio set to the classic-rock station and every song that comes up is even more of a favorite than the previous one. Winwood described the set list as “predominantly vintage,” and he didn’t hold back on the hits. “Can’t Find My Way Home,” played early on, delighted the sold-out crowd, Winwood’s strong vocals transcending the inevitable sing-along and phone videos to provide a chills-inducing moment. The show’s centerpiece featured a powerful triplet of “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys,” “Glad” and “Light Up or Leave Me Alone.” “Low Spark” was naturally long with a meaty guitar solo and maybe a touch of irony in the lyric “the man in the suit has just bought a new car with the profits he made on your dreams” sung to a room with at least a couple of guys wearing suits (who may or may not have just gotten new cars). The instrumental “Glad” didn’t show its age at all, still feeling fresh and exploratory with a nice moody outro section centered on the organ, flute and congas. “Light Up” was the big, long rocker of the night with solos abound for everyone—pure, classic, good-as-it-gets rock and roll.

Throughout the show, Winwood elevated the time-tested material: His voice sounding unchanged by the decades, and his excellent organ and guitar playing showing plenty of kick. Winwood’s band was equal to the task, keeping the spirit of nostalgia in the material while bringing new sounds into the mix. The all-killer-no-filler set finished with perhaps the most audience-pleasing song of the night, Winwood’s merely old school ’80s hit “Higher Love,” which had many in the place feeling three decades younger, for sure. And while the whole set had the “big guns” feel of an encore, Winwood did have a couple of rounds left in the chamber after a well-earned ovation from the crowd. He displayed his guitar-rocking skills on “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” with what felt like three distinct show-stopping solos. But before the fuzz faded, Winwood returned to his organ and returned to where it all began—not just the show, but his career altogether—leading the band in a rousing version of “Gimme Some Lovin’,” everyone in the room thinking, “So glad we made it.” —A. Stein | @Neddyo

(Steve Winwood plays the Capitol Theatre tonight and tomorrow and State Theatre on Monday.)

 

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Three Nights of Gov’t Mule with John Scofield Coming Our Way

March 6th, 2015

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Warren Haynes is one of the hardest working musicians in show business. He’s been a solo performer in addition to his work with a variety of groups, including the Dickey Betts Band, the Allman Brothers Band, the Dead and, of course, Gov’t Mule, the blues-rock power trio he founded with bassist Allen Woody and drummer Matt Abts back in 1994. Following Woody’s tragic death in 2000, the band used a rotating group of bassists (including Andy Hess for five years) before settling in as a four-piece with keyboardist Danny Louis and bassist Jorgen Carlsson. In 2014, Gov’t Mule kicked off a 20th-anniversary celebration with a series of live recordings highlighting their impressive two decades of work. The most recent archival release, the stellar Sco-Mule (stream it above), out earlier this year, was recorded at two 1999 shows in Atlanta that featured dazzling jazz-rock guitarist John Scofield. And while the album is terrific, Scofield and the Mule have hit the road together bringing their cool, unique live sound to the masses. Their tour is now winding down, but you can still catch them on Sunday at the Space at Westbury and then their two final shows, next Friday and Saturday at the Capitol Theatre.