Tag Archives: Town Hall

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An Evening with Sun Kil Moon Tomorrow Night at Town Hall

July 23rd, 2014

Singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek formed the dreamy, melancholic band Red House Painters 25 years ago in San Francisco. The group put out six full-length albums, but when a series of label mergers led to a three-year delay in the last one’s release, Kozelek began working on more accessible folk-influenced music under the name Sun Kil Moon (the name is a tribute to a South Korean boxer). The group’s first album, Ghosts of the Great Highway (stream it below), came out in 2003, earning comparisons to Neil Young. “His basic sound hasn’t changed much: Ghosts of the Great Highway still highlights Kozelek’s angst-ridden voice and his slow-flowing interplay of folky acoustic guitars and thick, scorching electric guitars,” per the A.V. Club, “but the album drops the abrasion level to near-zero.” And now 11 years later, with the release of the raw and personal Benji (stream it below), Kozelek (above, performing “Carissa”) is still getting just as much critical love: Pitchfork calls the album “astonishing,” while PopMatters opines, “One of modern music’s master storytellers has returned with the nostalgic and intensely personal Benji.” Do yourself a favor and head to Town Hall tomorrow night for an evening with Sun Kil Moon.

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Lake Street Dive Prove to Be Worthy of the Buzz at Bowery Ballroom

April 2nd, 2014

Lake Street Dive – The Bowery Ballroom – April 1, 2014

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I had never heard—or even heard ofLake Street Dive prior to their appearance at last September’s Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis at Town Hall, when their rousing performance of “You Go Down Smooth” had polite concertgoers stirring in their seats, excitedly whispering to one another. Rachael Price (vocals), Mike Calabrese (drums and vocals), Bridget Kearney (upright bass and vocals) and Mike Olson (guitar and vocals) met while studying jazz at music school in Boston. And while the band, which has since moved to Brooklyn, is certainly jazz-centered, their rock, pop and R&B influences are plainly noticeable. Something else obvious about Lake Street Dive is the considerable buzz behind them since the start of the year (a write-up in Rolling Stone, appearances on the The Colbert Report and Letterman, a Questlove shout-out, Price performing “The Star Spangled Banner” on House of Cards). And then suddenly this band that had been at it for nearly a decade was an overnight success.

Taking the stage last night at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom to the dulcet tones of “What’s New Pussycat,” the quartet launched into “Got Me Fooled,” off their 2010 self-titled album, and then “Stop Your Crying,” from the recently released Bad Self Portraits. “We can’t tell you how happy we are to be at home,” said Price to applause. And while she and her breathtaking vocals and commanding presence (she’d be at home on a Broadway stage) were front and center, each bandmate was given the chance to shine: Kearney’s upright-bass solos gave “Henriette” and “Bobby Tanqueray” a bit of a funky kick, Olson’s impressive trumpet work bolstered a lively, extended “Hello? Goodbye!” and “Neighbor Song,” and Calabrese’s feisty drumming and added vocals on “Seventeen” elicited cheers from most of the women in the room.

While their set, filled with plenty of four-part harmonies, mainly consisted of material from their two full-lengths, Lake Street Dive also played three new songs. About halfway through, Bad Self Portraits producer Sam Kassirer joined in on their breakthrough album’s title track and then stuck around for a few more tunes. They closed the show with the crowd-pleasing “You Go Down Smooth” before returning for a one-song encore, Hall & Oates’s “Rich Girl,” with the audience enthusiastically singing along. For now, Lake Street Dive should continue to soak up the valuable experience of playing night after night on the road because bigger rooms, bigger crowds and bigger things await. —R. Zizmor

 

 

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Rosanne Cash Plays Hometown Show at Town Hall Tonight

March 18th, 2014

She may be Johnny Cash’s daughter but the reason anyone knows Rosanne Cash’s name is because she’s prodigiously talented at singing and songwriting. She’s been a critical and commercial success for several decades, and while Cash is most known for country, her music also touches on blues, folk and rock. She’s recently released her first album of original songs in eight years—2009’s The List (stream it below), covered 12 country classics (pared down from a list of 100 essential songs her father had given her when she was 18). Her husband, singer-guitarist-producer John Leventhal, cowrote and produced the the new LP, The River & the Thread (stream it below), which arrived earlier this year to some considerable acclaim. Paste says, “It is a lovely quilt of musicality, braiding blues, folk, Appalachia, rock and old-timey country; this is balm for lost souls, alienated creatures seeking their core truths and intellectuals who love the cool mist of vespers in the hearts of people they may never encounter.” While the L.A. Times suggests “it’s an album we’ll be looking at in December when it’s time to single out the most powerful works of 2014.” Her tour in support of it brings Rosanne Cash (above, playing “The Sunken Lands” with Leventhal for KCRW FM) home to perform the album tonight at Town Hall.

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Band of Horses – Town Hall – February 28, 2014

March 3rd, 2014

Band of Horses - Town Hall - February 28, 2014

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Band of Horses on 2/28

February 25th, 2014

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On the heels of releasing Acoustic at the Ryman earlier this month, Band of Horses arrive in New York City this week for a sold-out acoustic performance at Town Hall on Friday. And The House List just so happens to be giving away two tickets. So if you don’t already have any, try to Grow a Pair for FREE. 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 (Band of Horses, 2/28) and a brief message explaining why you want to see the reverb-loving five-piece unplugged. Eddie Bruiser, a fan since Everything All the Time, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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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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Steve Earle – Town Hall – November 2, 2013

November 4th, 2013


Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Do Not Miss Steve Earle Tomorrow Night at Town Hall

November 1st, 2013

Music legend Steve Earle is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. He was first introduced to many as the character Walon on The Wire, the kind-hearted sponsor seeing Bubbles through rehab. More recently he was the street performer Harley on the New Orleans–based, post-Katrina Treme. In the mid- to late ’80s, he was a country rocker getting a taste of mainstream success. In the ’90s, he battled his way through drug addiction, becoming stronger in the process, and put out some of the best music of his life—moving much closer to the folk-rock singer-songwriter realm, penning songs designed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Earle’s never shied away from politics, taking on all kinds of activist roles. With his heart on his sleeve, Earle’s an easy guy to like, and through all these chapters of his life, he’s built an interesting persona. The Steve Earle of today is one happy fellow. It shows onstage, playing with the Dukes, and he’ll be the first to admit it: “This is the best band I have ever had.” See for yourself when Steve Earle (above, performing “This City” for Studio Q) and the Dukes play Town Hall tomorrow night. —Dan Rickershauser

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The Waterboys – Town Hall – March 20, 2013

March 21st, 2013


Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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An American Premiere at Town Hall with the Waterboys

March 15th, 2013

Mike Scott formed the Waterboys in early ’80s London. The Celtic rockers’ eponymous debut LP arrived in 1983. And from then on, the band’s lineup consisted of the singer-songwriter and a rotating group of talented musicians (primarily from the UK). And while Scott records music solo and as the Waterboys, he says there’s “no difference between Mike Scott and the Waterboys. They both mean the same thing. They mean myself and whoever are my current traveling musical companions.” To that end, Scott’s been a joined onstage by more than 50 member of the Waterboys. The band has 10 studio albums, and the most recent—out elsewhere in 2011 but not here until 3/26—An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, just might be the most ambitious. Scott had long been interested in W. B. Yeats, so he set music to the famed poet’s work. And if that initially seems strange to you, it didn’t to Scott. Instead, he thought the poems were “a great unused set of fucking rock and roll lyrics.” There are 14 songs on the album, but the Waterboys (above, doing “Everybody Takes a Tumble”) initially began with 20, playing them for audiences before heading to the studio. In labeling one of those shows “epic,” The Guardian says, “Scott’s confidence in these songs is not misplaced.” Which is precisely why he and the Waterboys will perform An Appointment with Mr. Yeats in its American premiere next Wednesday at Town Hall.

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From Quiet to Loud and Everywhere in Between

February 19th, 2013

Yo La Tengo – Town Hall – February 16, 2013


There’s something wonderfully peculiar about a Yo La Tengo concert split between two sets, one quieter and one louder. Taking the stage in front of cartoonish cutouts of three trees and before a sold-out audience, they kicked off their softer set with an acoustic version of “Ohm,” the first single off the recently released Fade. The song was played so softly that the audience’s excited “Oh, shit, they’re finally onstage and playing this song” applause came to a uniform halt when everyone realized “Oh, shit, I can’t hear this amazing song through our applause because they’re playing it so quietly.”

As soft as it was, Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew’s voices blended together so well that it was nearly impossible to tell them apart. Kaplan’s singing on the acoustic rendition of “The Point of It” had dynamics turned upside down, singing so softly at times that it was barely there at all, as if to showcase the intensity of the expression through its own fragility. If the first half of the show demanded everyone listen closely, the second half was the payoff. Yo La Tengo brought out on an array of electric guitars, switching back and forth between new songs off Fade and older favorites. This old-song-new-song juxtaposition made it clear that the material off this latest album has already begun to sound as classic as old YLT favorites like “Tom Courtenay” and “Deeper Into Movies.”

The second set reached its pinnacle with a much louder version of “Ohm.” Hearing the song twice in such different variations made it seem the theme song of the night. Despite Kaplan wailing away on his guitar, at times looking like he was trying to strangle the instrument to death, the feedback screams that came out of it never felt abrasive. It was like all that noise needed to be there, a deliberately dissonant reaction to the song’s irresistible melody that felt missing when it was played the first time around. There may be no better band at forcing the harsh rock noise against timelessly gorgeous pop melodies. They’re usually blended together so well by the band that it takes splitting these two worlds to make them noticeable at all. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Stephanie F. Black | www.flickr.com/photos/blackfrances

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Sharon Van Etten – Town Hall – November 15, 2012

November 16th, 2012

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com

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Sharon Van Etten and Friends Play Town Hall Tomorrow Night

November 14th, 2012

Like many before her, Sharon Van Etten came to New York City from New Jersey in order to make music. And despite her East Coast upbringing, Van Etten sings of Middle American—universal, even—themes, but she does so in her uniquely powerful voice. The talented singer-songwriter has put out three folkie albums, including this year’s acclaimed Tramp, which Rolling Stone says “plays like a female version of Beck’s Sea Change.” The album was a bit of an all-star affair, with appearances by the National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and a host of others. And when Van Etten (above, doing “Give Out” for Minnesota Public Radio) plays Town Hall tomorrow night, she’ll be joined by Aaron Dessner and Wasner, plus Thurston Moore, John Moloney, the Antlers’ Peter Silberman and Megafaun’s Brad Cook.

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Beth Orton – Town Hall – October 4, 2012

October 5th, 2012


Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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The Tallest Man on Earth – Town Hall – June 20, 2012

June 21st, 2012


Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com