Tag Archives: U2

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Brooklyn’s Milagres Celebrate New Album at The Bowery Ballroom

April 9th, 2014

Kyle Wilson (vocals and guitar), Fraser McCulloch (bass, keys and vocals) and Eric Schwortz (guitar, percussion and vocals) met at NYU and later teamed up with Steven Leventhal (drums) and Chris Brazee (keys) to form Milagres. Following a mountain-climbing accident, a bed-ridden Wilson penned many of the tunes that would comprise 2011’s Glowing Mouth (stream it below), labeled “a polished, well-arranged album that could find a happy home in countless actions” and “a fully formed, wholly enjoyable collection that sounds more like a matured fourth effort than an initial attempt at a long-player” by BBC Music. Since then, Schwortz has departed and Leventhal was replaced b Paul Payabyab. Milagres (above, performing “Letterbomb” in studio for WFUV FM) have now returned with their follow-up, Violent Light (stream it below), out earlier this year, about which AllMusic says, “They have a big sound and reach for the same stars as stadium-filling veterans like Coldplay and U2, while still retaining their independent sense of artistry. If greater success follows them, treading that line between creativity and audience demand will become harder to do, but for now, Milagres have succeeded in making a unique and ultimately appealing record.” The Brooklyn band returns home from the road to celebrate their new album’s release tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. Conveyor and Leisure Cruise open the show.

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Trombone Shorty Knows What the Crowd Wants

December 10th, 2012

Trombone Shorty – Terminal 5 – December 8, 2012


Trombone Shorty, aka Troy Andrews, has a reputation as an electric performer. And why shouldn’t he? Andrews hails from New Orleans, where his grandfather, Jesse Hill, played with such legends as Professor Longhair and Huey “Piano” Smith. His older brother, James Andrews, is an accomplished trumpet player who has gigged with the likes of Quincy JonesDizzy Gillespie and Dr. John. Shorty, for his part, impressed at an early age. At six years old, he was leading his own band, and in his late teens and early twenties he had already performed with Lenny KravitzGreen Day and U2. He’s also made cameos on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and, of course, HBO’s Treme, which chronicles post-Katrina New Orleans.

But a solid résumé means nothing without an equally solid performance, and Trombone Shorty blew this criterion out of the water on Saturday night at Terminal 5. From the very first note, Andrews and his band, Orleans Avenue, sounded tight, funky and heavy all at once. Each player throughout the night demonstrated his overwhelming chops. Pete Murano absolutely shredded on guitar, displaying an incredible proficiency within range of styles from funk to jazz to metal, and “Uncle” Dan Oestreicher shined on a cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom.” Andrews, though, is a wizard onstage, audibly and visually. He switched with ease between trombone and trumpet, absolutely destroying every song in his path. He also made sure all eyes were on him, often throwing his arms in the air like Maximus in Gladiator. In truth, we were quite entertained.

It’s entirely clear that Andrews knows exactly what the crowd wants. He teased and covered eclectic songs like “Minnie the Moocher” and “I Got a Woman.” The band expertly weaved through a hip-hop medley of “Slow Motion,” “Shake Ya Ass,” “Let Me Clear My Throat” and “Give It Away” to choreographed stepping, complete with head whipping, which the crowd aptly mimicked. When the group was called back for an encore, they played New Orleans favorites “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Treme Song.” “Who dat!” he screamed as the New Orleans–tinged audience responded with their hometown’s unofficial cheer. On the very last tune, everyone switched instruments and played something ostensibly outside of their comfort zone: Andrews moved to drums, Murano blew a sax, bassist Mike Ballard picked up the trumpet and so on. It was as if they needed to prove to us that, without a doubt, they could do anything. That wasn’t necessary, though. They had already done more than enough to satisfy. —Alex Kapelman

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Dr. Dog, Predictably Excellent

September 21st, 2012

Dr. Dog – Rumsey Playfield – September 20, 2012


Dependability is an underrated virtue for a rock band, almost necessarily so. It’s easy to take for granted when a group consistently performs excellently. There are the notable exceptions—Bruce Springsteen, U2 and, increasingly so, the Flaming Lips—but for the most part, the bands that trot out day by day to entertain with predictable flair are seen as owing something, rather than appreciated for their reliability. Still, every night can feel special in its own way, and last night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, Dr. Dog, one of rock’s soon-to-be steady hands, played a strong set of favorites as well as providing some signature moments.

Dr. Dog is Philadelphia’s most notable indie-rock band, comprised of Toby Leaman (bass guitar and lead vocals), Scott McMicken (lead guitar and lead vocals), Frank McElroy (rhythm guitar), Zach Miller (keyboard) and Eric Slick (drums). Over the course of seven albums, most recently Be the Void, they have created and perfected a sound that borrows familiar classic-rock elements, such as the Beatles’ and Beach Boys’ harmonies and pop maximalism, in addition to adding their own unique touch. The vocal interplay between Leaman and McMicken is thrilling: Leaman growls and yells while McMicken exercises his falsetto. And with a growing catalog of favorites, the group is able to play extended crowd-pleasing shows.

On Thursday night, Dr. Dog began with Shame, Shame’s “Shadow People.” They played behind an altered American flag with neon colors and only three stars (the symbolism escaped me). Quickly, they settled into the pattern of slow opening verses leading to huge climactic choruses, with harmonized oohs and aahs. Some cute touches were added to “I Only Wear Blue” and “The Old Days” when an electronic effect such as a horse nay and hand claps were added. But the big and memorable moment came when Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez stumbled onto the stage during “Worst Trip.” With a shaker in hand, he jumped around and eventually made his way atop Leaman’s shoulders for the end of the song. And as the bassist, somewhat startled, explained, the two groups have been touring for a while. Another example of how, even after so long, the expected can produce the expected. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com