Tag Archives: Trouble


A Hospitality Homecoming at Music Hall of Williamsburg

March 3rd, 2014

Hospitality – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 1, 2014

Hospitality, the Brooklyn-based trio of Amber Papini (guitar, vocals), Brian Betancourt (bass) and Nathan Michel (drums), have returned to the limelight with their sophomore effort, Trouble. After garnering healthy reviews for their self-titled debut, the band’s follow-up introduces an edgier sound that evolves from quieter bedroom recordings to rocking rhythms peppered with atmospheric synths. Described by their label, Merge Records: “If you listen closely, you can hear a band pushing against their own boundaries and limitations until they find the very air around them subtly but perceptibly changed.”

For Hospitality’s homecoming show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday, Papini and gang played largely from Trouble but didn’t forget the gems from their back catalog. With the addition of a new drummer, David Christian, Michel stretched his prowess beyond drums, shuffling among guitar, keys and fingerboard synths. His mastery of the guitar was highlighted nicely in a solo section on “Nightingale.” And fans cheered for a pair of oldies but goodies, “Friends of Friends” and “The Birthday,” while the heavy-on-the-dance-beats “Rockets and Jets” had the crowd bopping up and down.

To settle down things, the lullabylike “Sullivan” gently oohed and ahhed the room to sweet contentment before the bubbly “8th Avenue” brightened the mood. That second song particularly resembled the sound of label-mates Camera Obscura, despite Papini’s voice being marred by a cold she’d been fighting. Not to let that interfere with the show, she soothed her vocal cords with a mug of a mysterious elixir. The latter half of the show was filled with plenty more from the new album, including “Going Out,” “Inauguration,” “Last Words” and the first single, “I Miss Your Bones.” Not to leave fans unsatisfied, the quartet returned to encore with “Betty Wang.” —Sharlene Chiu


Webster Hall Welcomes Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaur Tomorrow

December 12th, 2012

There’s no doubting Orlando Higginbottom’s musical background. He’s been a music teacher, his father is the choir conductor at University of Oxford, and he grew up listening to classical music. “I thought Mozart was really cool. I had a book, an A to Z of composers, that I read every night. They were like rock and roll stars to me.” But then as a teen, his tastes began to change, leaning more toward party music. Higginbottom has since gone on to do remixes for the likes of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, but he’s more recently become known for his own solo project, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. His sound rests in the Venn diagram overlap of pop, electronica, house and rave music, and his debut album, Trouble, led by first single “Garden,” was met with acclaim and commercial success. But, really, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaur (above, doing “Household Goods” at this year’s Bestival on the Isle of Wight) makes music to move you, which you can do live and in person, tomorrow night at Webster Hall.


Simply Magnificent

November 27th, 2012

Ray LaMontagne – Carnegie Hall – November 26, 2012

It’s impossible to define who Ray LaMontagne is without mentioning his voice in the first sentence. It’s what makes his music so recognizable. It’s the first thing most listeners fall in love with, and it’s what makes his songs so wonderfully enchanting. It’s as though all the edges of his voice have been sandpapered down smooth. That all of his songs are expressed through this rustic and raspy singing voice somehow makes them sound all the sweeter, more sincere. It also fills a space like Carnegie Hall beautifully.

Performing for a sold-out audience in the biggest city in the country, LaMontagne started off things with “New York City’s Killing Me,” a folksy damning of the sometimes callousness of the giant city we call home. It was a perfect way to transition the audience from the noisy world outside Carnegie Hall into the hushed tenderness of LaMontagne’s music. With just an acoustic guitar and backing bassist, this tour marks the first time in a while that LaMontagne’s been without his band, the Pariah Dogs. The stripped-down versions of his songs, both old and new, allowed for the few elements holding together the music to fill the hall. Despite minimalist sound, the show swung to both sides of the dynamics spectrum: Quieter songs like “Sarah” sounded like they were sung as a whisper, like LaMontagne was letting in the audience on a delicate secret. The way such gentle songs contrasted to louder moments, like the pleas in “Trouble,” made such songs sound like the work of another artist entirely.

Last night’s show came with some surprises. LaMontagne played an unreleased song from his first record, Trouble, a self-described Western epic inspired by the late Townes Van Zandt’s “Poncho & Lefty.” For the second half, LaMontagne brought out a special guest, Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, whose high harmonies floated majestically above LaMontagne’s own voice. Someone in the audience actually shouted “Freebird!” when LaMontagne stepped out for his encore, to which he responded while laughing: “In these hallowed halls some motherfucker yells ‘Freebird.’” He didn’t play the tune, but just about every other song of his was covered, and magnificently at that. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com