Tag Archives: the Roots

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Boston Calling: Summer Starts Tonight

May 23rd, 2014

Summer this year officially lasts from 6/21 to 9/21, but the summer season runs differently, bracketed by two fantastic Boston Calling festivals—over Memorial Day weekend and the weekend after Labor Day. This Saturday and Sunday are already sold out, but the good news is that this year Boston Calling packs in even more music and kicks off a night earlier, with a full-on folk attack beginning tonight at 6 p.m. with Jack Johnson, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Cass McCombs.

And as things begin winding down at beaches across the land, Boston Calling returns with another fantastic three days and nights of nonstop music in early September: the National, Neutral Milk Hotel and Future Islands on 9/5, Lorde, Childish Gambino, Girl Talk, Volcano Choir, the Hold Steady, Bleachers, Skey Ferreira, S. Carey and Clifflight on 9/6, and Nas, the Roots, the Replacements, Spoon, the 1975, Twenty One Pilots, Lake Street Dive, the War on Drugs, White Denim, San Fermin and Gentlemen Hall on 9/7.

(Take a look at last year’s inaugural Boston Calling, above.)

 

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Smooth Soul Singer Daley Plays Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 1st, 2014

Thanks to several singles and EPs, singer-songwriter Gareth Daley, performing as Daley, began gaining attention in his native England several years ago. And because of his red hair and love of R&B, he was often compared to Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall. But with the release of his debut full-length, Days & Nights (stream it below) in February, Daley (above, performing “Look Up” for Billboard) has begun to be recognized on his own merits. The soul singer collaborates with Pharrell Williams and the Roots on the new album, which AllMusic says, “courses through many moods and modes, yet it’s impressively unified…. Brilliantly put together, this must be one of 2014’s best debuts.” And he doesn’t just sound great on his recorded material—Daley happens to be an engaging, high-energy live performer. And he plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night.

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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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A Collaboration Grows in Brooklyn

June 19th, 2013

The Roots and Jim James – Prospect Park Bandshell – June 18, 2013


Let’s face it, musical collaborations rarely pan out. With too many artists pulling a song in too many directions, before you know it, you’ve got “We Are the World.” But if there’s one group that can make collaboration worthwhile, it’s the Roots. As the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, they’ve thrown their musical superpowers behind plenty of visiting musicians, with the end result almost always turning out exceptional. So how would a collaborative “State of the Union” show in Prospect Park turn out between the Roots and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, one of the greatest, soulful voices to come out of recent history? Is the answer so obvious that asking this rhetorical question seems silly?

The show kicked off promptly at 7 p.m. with James and his backing band. Despite the early start time and lousy weather, an impressive number of umbrella-wielding fans made it there on time. His set ran through most of his debut solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, before closing with Monsters of Folk songs “The Right Place” and “Changing World.” The Roots followed with a formidable set of their own as the rain began to clear, starting off rather appropriately with “Table of Contents (Parts 1 & 2),” which dissolved into a cover of “Jungle Boogie.” One song often bled into another, keeping the music flowing and energy levels high, with the band using the massive stage to run from side to side, keeping the crowd’s attention. There were a few pauses to showcase some serious musicianship, with Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson blowing through a vicious sousaphone solo (yes, these things exist). Brooklyn’s own Captain Kirk Douglas ripped through a Pete Frampton-esque talky guitar solo on “You Got Me.”

Jim James returned to the stage when the clock struck 10, kicking off things with the 2.0 version of Monsters of Folk’s “Dear God,” which originated from the band’s appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. This was followed by a trifecta of covers: Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” a superfunky rendition of Bill Withers’ “Use Me” and ending with John Lennon’s powerful “Instant Karma!” Were it not for the park’s hard stop time, the show probably could have gone on forever, as the Roots and James were certainly enjoying themselves. The best we can do for now is hope that these two musical forces meet again, some time sooner rather than later. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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The Roots and Jim James Team Up Tonight in Prospect Park

June 18th, 2013

The relationship between Jim James and the Roots goes back at least to November 2009, when the Philly hip-hop crew backed Monsters of Folk doing “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It went so well that when the Roots put out their next album, How I Got Over, the following year, it featured the My Morning Jacket frontman on “Dear God 2.0.” So when James released his first solo full-length, Regions of Light and God and Sound, earlier this year, it came as no surprise that not only did he promote it on Fallon’s show, but also the Roots backed him again—this time on a staggeringly terrific version of “A New Life,” above. (The tune didn’t just appeal to viewers: Questlove made James promise to play the song at the drummer’s future wedding.) And now, building on that, Jim James and the Roots team up for one evening
of collaborative performances tonight at the Prospect Park Bandshell to help support the free programming at Celebrate Brooklyn.

 

 

 

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Jim James Lights Up Webster Hall

April 30th, 2013

Jim James – Webster Hall – April 29, 2013


Jim James is a human sunset: the multihued snapshot-worthy phenomenon bridging day and night. So it made perfect sense that the stage backdrop for his way-sold-out Webster Hall show last night was an array of LEDs spoked like the rays of the sun as it passes over the horizon—and it even displayed the colors to match. Opening with “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.),” the lead track off his new Regions of Light and Sound of God album, James appropriately sang, “You need the dark as much as the sun” as his backing band laid down a vicious nighttime groove.

The rest of the show was essentially a live version of the album, a set that felt broken into a few smaller parts. The opening number coupled with the heavy keys-and-bass “Know Til Now” represented James’s “Don’t worry, Webster Hall, I brought my own disco” portion of the night, the audience matching the energy from the stage as best they could. Next was a quieter, more acoustic section, marked by the beautiful instrumental “Exploding” followed by the pretty-melody section highlighted by “Of the Mother Again,” the lights flipping between sky blue and cloud white while a very funky extended Rhodes vamp churned the crowd. The set closed with a dark last-purple-throes-of-daylight pairing, headed by “All Is Forgiven,” with a constant swell of bass guitar and a marked rise in intensity that was stretched out into wonderful, mysterious-shroud territory.

Throughout, James’s presence was the focus. His activity was like an ’80s movie montage of motion, touching the extended fingers of those in the front row with his own, like E.T. with a cosmic cure-all, dancing away like an extra in Footloose with uninhibited glee and even doing some sort of mutation of Daniel LaRusso’s crane technique. Still, when it came down to it, his band carried the show. Whether it was an early set drum solo, full-groove keyboard playing, heavy guitar distortion or the constant funky bass, members of the audience were constantly craning their necks to see who was playing what and from where which sound was coming. As they followed James through a five-song, B-sides and rarities kind of encore that included “His Master’s Voice” and “The Right Place” off the Monsters of Folk album, it seemed this band needed their own name, an identity of their own. I think Jim James and the Sunsets has a nice ring to it. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

(Jim James and the Roots play Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park on 6/18, and My Morning Jacket, Wilco and Bob Dylan play Pier A in Hoboken, N.J., on 7/26.)

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Jim James on 4/29

April 23rd, 2013

1

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James comes to Webster Hall next Monday in support of his terrific solo full-length, Regions of Light and Sound of God. The show sold out quickly, as expected (although you can see him alongside the Roots at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park on 6/18), but The House List is giving away two tickets. Want ’em? Then 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 (Jim james, 4/29) and a brief message explaining your favorite tune on the new album. Eddie Bruiser, who will neither confirm nor deny he was onstage for this performance, will notify the winner by Friday.

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A Good Night at The Bowery Ballroom

January 18th, 2013

Jessie Ware – The Bowery Ballroom – January 17, 2013


Having gotten herself on a few end-of-year lists, British songstress Jessie Ware definitely had a good 2012, and this year is already shaping up to be great. Some may already be familiar with her vocals, which have graced several SBTRKT tracks. Her debut album, Devotion, has been described by BBC Music’s Mike Driver as “the sort of sophisticated, soulful pop record that comes along all too rarely, a collection that never hides the heart on its sleeve. Down-tempo it may be, but no listener will come away downcast.” And there was certainly exuberance in the air last night at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom.

Out of darkness and clad in all black, Ware stepped onto the stage purring the lyrics to “Devotion.” Upon the song’s conclusion, the Brit doled out high fives to the front row and exclaimed, “It’s going to be a good night.” Indeed it was as she had the crowd grooving to “Night Light” and “110%.” Covering most of the material from her album, Ware peppered her set with quite a few memorable covers, including “Say It,” a collaboration with the Japanese duo BenZel on a Brownstone hit, plus Bobby Caldwell’s 1978 R&B single “What You Won’t Do for Love.” She even threw in a little of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” as an interlude on her song “No to Love.”

Halfway through the set, Ware cheekily dedicated “Sweet Talk” to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s unborn child. Her infectious banter with the rabid fans in the front row garnered her flowers from one admirer. After taking off her jacket for “Swan Song,” she became reflective about “Taking in Water,” which almost didn’t make the album, but Ware was glad it did as it was written for her brother. The singer-songwriter described what a pleasure it was to be accompanied by the Roots at a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Her mom, she revealed, was quite impressed by the drummer. Yeah, Questlove is pretty legit. Needless to say, Ware saved her hit single, “Wildest Moments,” for the end of the set. She was adamant about not playing an encore, leaving the audience with “Running.” There was no race to the exit as the house lights flipped on, but rather a lingering of folks soaking up every last bit of the evening. —Sharlene Chiu

 

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The Roots/Bob Weir – The Capitol Theatre – September 7, 2012

September 10th, 2012

This show was a benefit for HeadCount.

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com

(See the Roots play the Capitol Theatre three more Fridays this month: with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on 9/14, with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on 9/21, and on 9/28.)

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The Cap Is Officially Back

August 6th, 2012

A broke-down palace no more, the lovingly restored Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., reopens for business on 9/4 (the headliner will soon be announced). Built in 1926, the venue once hosted the biggest musical acts of the day. Names like the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead, who once played the Cap 16 times in just 12 months. But the place eventually became a catering hall and special-events facility. No longer. Live music is returning! It will have “the best sound, the best lights and the best video-projection technology of any theater anywhere. Our plan is to turn the knob to 11 in every way possible,” says Peter Shapiro of Brooklyn Bowl. The beloved bowling alley/restaurant/music venue again teams up with Blue Ribbon for food and The Bowery Presents to book the bands. And once again, the calendar is filled with big names, including four shows with the Roots in September, three My Morning Jacket dates in December and the likes of Galactic, Fiona Apple, Warren Haynes, Al Green and a whole lot more in between. Some shows are already on sale and others will be soon, so check the calendar so you don’t get left out.

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John Legend and the Roots – Terminal 5 – September 23, 2010

September 24th, 2010

John Legend and the Roots - Terminal 5 - September 23, 2010

Photos courtesy of Andy Keilen | spartanmarchingband.smugmug.com/Music