Tag Archives: The Bowery Ballroom

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Two Nights of Dan Deacon

November 13th, 2012

Dan Deacon has long been interested in making music. He released his first two solo albums—on CD-R no less—while still in school at SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Music. Upon graduation he decamped for Baltimore and took up residence in an arts and music collective, and things really began to take off for him. In addition to some top-notch classical work, Deacon has been on a bit of a roll when it comes to electronic music, with three stellar albums in a row: Spiderman of the Rings in 2007, Bromst in 2009 and America, which came out this past summer. And all of that is great, because who doesn’t like to listen to quality records? But the recorded material is just a beginning, because for Dan Deacon it’s all about performing with a live band and a heavy dose of audience participation. He’s even got a free phone app that synchronizes all of the songs and turns them into the light show for a portion of his live sets. So do yourself a favor and get involved when Deacon plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night and then The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night.

(And about those shows, Deacon says: “I want to let you know that the proceeds from my upcoming 11/14 Music Hall of Williamsburg and 11/16 Bowery Ballroom shows will be donated to Sandy relief. Having grown up on Long Island, so much of my family and many of my close friends live in New York and New Jersey. I don’t feel right going there, playing these shows and not pitching in to help out with the recovery so I’m going to donate my fee for these two shows to the Red Cross and Occupy Sandy.”)

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Girl in a Coma Comes to The Bowery Ballroom

July 13th, 2012


Jenn Alva (bass) and Phanie Diaz (drums) were best friends with a common interest in Nirvana when they began making punk-tinged music together. But it didn’t completely click until they added Diaz’s younger sister, Nina (vocals and guitar). The trio, named for a Smiths’ tune, toiled away for several years without the attention they deserved until a chance meeting with Joan Jett. She signed Girl in a Coma (above, playing “Knocking on Your Door” for WNYC’s Live on Soundcheck) to her label, Blackheart Records, and their debut LP, Both Before I’m Gone, came out in 2007. The group has since toured with the likes of Social Distortion and Morrissey and released three more discs, including last year’s Exits and All the Rest. See them at The Bowery Ballroom next Wednesday, 7/18.

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From Your TV to the Lower East Side

June 17th, 2010

The Heavy – The Bowery Ballroom – June 16, 2010

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Sometimes you catch the buzz in time and sometimes it’s just too late. It was certainly the latter for me with the Heavy. The English quartet had a sold-out Bowery Ballroom crowd spilling out of the performance space Wednesday night. With a full suite of back-up singers and a horn section behind the band, frontman Kelvin Swaby powered a set that had one energy level, high, and one volume, loud. The weekly planner may have read Wednesday, but with a high-octane blend of soul, rock, ska and R&B, it certainly felt like Saturday night for all those inside.

Swaby was a force onstage, running the show like a rhetorical conversation with the audience, which he referred to lovingly as “NYC,” as if they were playing to the entire municipality. (“NYC, can we play some rock and roll?”) Those in the crowd obliged unconditionally: When asked to scream, they screamed. When asked to howl like wolves, they howled. When asked to throw their arms in the air, the arms went up. In turn they were rewarded with a full-fledged house party and, yes, even got to hear the Heavy’s as-seen-on-TV “that song” (“How You Like Me Now?”), which closed out the set. But midway through, when asked to jump up and down, to rage with the punk-soul hybrid pounding in the incense-tinged air and feed the band the same energy they were offering, the audience mostly waved their arms in a feigned jumping motion. I guess it was still Wednesday after all. —A. Stein

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A “Bizarro” Sunday

April 12th, 2010

The Wedding Present – The Bowery Ballroom – April 11, 2010

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The Wedding Present, the loud, jangly rock band that formed in the UK in the mid-’80s, took the stage last night at The Bowery Ballroom to perform their seminal 1989 album, Bizarro, in its entirety. Before launching into that material, the Wedding Present ran through a selection of more recent stuff, including some brand new songs, with the band’s good-humored frontman David Gedge almost apologetic in his assurance: “You will love them in three years.” Of course, the crowd was anything but uninterested, and songs like “Corduroy” and “I Lost the Monkey” were greeted with wild enthusiasm. That excitement later reached a fever pitch with the opening chords of “Brassneck,” Bizarro’s first track, while songs like “Kennedy,” “No” and “Take Me!” found many in the crowd manically pogo-ing and grinning at one another, seemingly under the spell of memories from the two decades since the album first came out.

At Bizarro’s halfway point, the band took a breather. As Gedge wiped the sweat from his face, he commented that Bizarro is “quite an intense LP.” Perhaps a bit of an understatement—it is a very intense LP, full of shifting dynamics and layers of lightening-fast guitar strumming. The Wedding Present did an admirable job of recreating the songs onstage, with Gedge’s pleading, heart-on-sleeve lyrics complemented by drummer Charlie Layton’s frenetic, powerful drumming. Though 20 years can feel like centuries in the ever-shifting world of popular music, the Wedding Present’s show was a testament to just how well Bizarro’s songs have endured, proving that this music sounds just as fresh and immediate as it was back in 1989. —Alena Kastin

Two Chances to See Sondre Lerche This Week

September 7th, 2009


Sondra Lerche’s major-label debut, Faces Down, came out seven years ago, when the Norwegian singer-songwriter-guitarist was just 19. Of course, by then, he’d already been playing the guitar for 11 years, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch. Nevertheless, he’s still pretty young. And as his musical interests have grown beyond the ’80s music he grew up on, like a-ha, to psychedelia, ’60s pop and other genres, Lerche’s albums have covered some surprising depth. His jazz-influenced Duper Sessions came out in 2006. And after touring with Elvis Costello and witnessing Costello’s energy and interaction with his band night after night, Lerche put out an album of quick-and-to-the-point, upbeat rock tunes, Phantom Punch, in 2007. (“These songs are cut to the bone, not a second longer than they have to be.”) Later that year, using a mix of old and new stuff, Lerche composed the soundtrack to the Steve Carell flick Dan in Real Life. His most recent album, Heartbeat Radio, comes out tomorrow. To celebrate, Sondre Lerche is playing tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom and on Wednesday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Go see him live!

(Check out Sondre Lerche, above, performing “To Be Surprised,” from the Dan in Real Life soundtrack, on Late Show with David Letterman, and, below, doing a brief interview and an acoustic performance for The New Yorker.)