Tag Archives: Arcade Fire


Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury Brings His Sam Patch Project to NYC

March 8th, 2017

Following Arcade Fire’s world tour in support of their fourth studio album, Reflektor, Tim Kingsbury—the band’s guitarist and bassist—launched a side project called Sam Patch. Inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Leonard Cohen and ABBA, Kingsbury released the debut Sam Patch album, Yeah You, and I (stream it below), last month. It’s “a winning, engaging solo project full of analog synths and killer hooks,” according to PopMatters. “The songs have an innocent directness that’s welcoming and refreshing.” Kingsbury recently launched a short North American tour in support of the new tunes, which brings Sam Patch (above, the album’s second single “Listening”) to Mercury Lounge on Friday night. New York City singer-songwriter Miles Francis opens the show.


Local Natives Make a Triumphant Return to Terminal 5

October 26th, 2016

Local Natives – Terminal 5 – October 25, 2016

Local Natives – Terminal 5 – October 25, 2016

(Local Natives play Terminal 5 again tonight.)

It’s been close to seven years since Gorilla Manor stamped Local Natives’ name into the indie-rock stratosphere with comparisons to Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire. Earlier this fall, they returned with their third studio full-length, Sunlit Youth. And as with previous albums, the songwriting was honed by the original trio of guitarist Taylor Rice, guitarist-keyboardist Kelcey Ayer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Hahn, but drummer Matt Frazier and bassist Nik Ewing also brought forward ideas. What formed was the cohesive record they featured at their show on Tuesday, the first of two nights at Terminal 5.

Rice, rocking a man bun, crooned on “Past Lives”—off the band’s latest—and the crowd really erupted for old fave “Wide Eyes,” the core trio’s vocals harmonizing in unison. Noting how long it had been since they’d been back in New York City, the band reminisced about their first local show at Pianos in 2009. Fans were starved for the West Coasters and Local Natives delivered, including past gem “Airplanes” as the room chanted the telling lyrics “I want you back.” Adding to the treasure trove, they dusted off “Camera Talk,” about which Rice confessed they “haven’t played in years.”

Although Nina Persson (the Cardigans) recorded “Dark Days” with the quintet, opener Charlotte Day Wilson happily filled in for her. Ayer and Rice remained alone onstage each haloed by a spotlight as they traded verses on the heartbreaking “Columbia.” With two weeks until Election Day, Rice offered hope in the midst of the chaos and encouraged attendees to vote, a perfect setup for “Fountain of Youth” and the uproarious cheers for the lyrics “I have waited so long, Mrs. President.” The evening concluded with the unraveling of Rice’s hair and a final descent into the crowd for “Sun Hands.” —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Mina J


Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld Tomorrow at The Bowery Ballroom

June 15th, 2015

Acclaimed saxophonist and composer Colin Stetson has toured with bands like Arcade Fire and Bon Iver, and he’s been making music on his own since 2008. Talented violinist Sarah Neufeld is a member of Bell Orchestre and has also done time with Arcade Fire. Stetson and Neufeld (above, their video for “The Rest of Us”) first began performing as a duo while touring together as soloists three years ago, playing a few songs together each night. The couple collaborated on a soundtrack, but this year they released their first full-length together, Never Were the Way She Was (stream it below). “Stetson and Neufeld position themselves outside the formal constraints of classical and jazz, but these musical traditions inform their work as much as any others,” according to PopMatters. “These two Constellation instrumentalists produced an organic work of seismic proportions, free of any sort of digital squeamishness…. What distinguishes this work with such limited personnel is the way both musicians explore the vast spatial capacities of their instruments. As with anything Stetson graces, his churning drones swallow you whole, but this time, he and Neufeld light a candle so you may discern the fine detail of your cavernous enclosure.” See them play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night. Ryan Sawyer opens the show. Doors are at 8, but there’s a preshow happy hour starting at 7 in the lower-level lounge.


Owen Pallett Brings New Music to The Bowery Ballroom

May 15th, 2014

Owen Pallett – The Bowery Ballroom – May 14, 2014

If you were swept away by the dreamy score of last year’s film Her, you should thank one Owen Pallett. The very talented Canadian composer earned an Oscar nomination for his efforts and follows that accolade with the upcoming release of his fourth studio album, In Conflict, due later this month. Although it was recorded in 2013, the release was delayed due to Pallett’s duties as the violinist for Arcade Fire’s Reflektor tour. We can forgive him for that. With his works largely composed with a violin into a loop pedal, a comparison to Andrew Bird is inevitable, however the detailed thesis for his latest work draws quite a distinction in subject matter. “The record is meant to approach ‘insanity’ in a positive way,” Pallett says in an official statement. “Depression, addiction, gender trouble and the creative state are presented as positive, loveable, empathetic ways of being. Not preferable, per se, but all as equal, valid positions that we experience, which make us human.”

Donning a floral polyester shirt last night, the Canuck opened with “Midnight Directives,” from 2010’s Heartland, to a nearly sold-out Bowery Ballroom, which included Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange and Lightspeed Champion). Pallett had a little false start before “Scandal at the Parkade” and exclaimed, “I’ve lost my mojo and can’t play anymore.” Despite little hiccups, there was no doubting the talent onstage. Pallett dismissed his band as he continued solo, digging deep into his Final Fantasy days for “That’s When the Audience Died,” while the “bummer jam of the night” clearly was “The Passions.” The band returned to rejuvenate the stage with fan favorites “This Is the Dream of Win and Regine” and “The Great Elsewhere.”

Pallett encored with the pair of “Song for Five and Six” and “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt,” but he didn’t really show all his tricks until the second and final encore. Earlier in the set, he denounced covers as “so 2004,” saying that he stopped playing them. But while bantering with fans about the final song, rumblings of Tori Amos arose, and he said he’d need to work it out. Pallett attempted “Pretty Good Year” only to give up and conclude the evening with a cover of Joanna Newsome’s “Peach Plum Pear. Trading harp plucks for violin plucks, the evening ended successfully and without conflict. —Sharlene Chiu




Typhoon Bring Their Big, Joyous Sound to Webster Hall Tomorrow

March 26th, 2014

The orchestral-rock group Typhoon has a big sound matched by a big lineup. Kyle Morton (vocals and guitar), Alex Fitch (drums and vocals), Tyler Ferrin (horns and vocals), Devin Gallagher (ukulele and vocals), Dave Hall (guitar and vocals), Pieter Hilton (drums and vocals), Jen Hufnagel (violin and vocals), Ryan McAlpin (trumpet and vocals), Shannon Steele (violin and vocals), Eric Stipe (trumpet and vocals) and Toby Tanabe (bass and vocals) make crescendo-building anthemic music reminiscent of bands like Arcade Fire and Frightened Rabbit. Typhoon (above, playing “Young Fathers” for WGBH) have put
out a pair of EPs and a pair of LPs, including, White Lighter (stream it below), released
last fall. AllMusic weighed in: “Morton and company take frequent leaps of faith, punching holes in the indie-pop template with enough melodic left turns, odd time signatures and complex breakdowns to lure a few unsuspecting prog-rock fans into the fold. That said,
this is fist-pumping, NPR-loving, heartfelt arena pop through and through, with highlights arriving via immaculately crafted mini-epics.” Find yourself singing along when this Portland, Ore., music collective plays Webster Hall tomorrow night.


Some Kind of Wonderful

February 10th, 2014

San Fermin – The Bowery Ballroom – February 7, 2014

Choosing to begin their sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night with “Renaissance,” the emotive, slow-building piece that opens San Fermin’s self-titled debut album, was a sly move. As on the LP, the song was a lovely invitation, a restrained and appealing melody that entices you to listen more, yet only hints at the sonic range and variety that simmers beneath the chamber-pop surface. By the time the heavy horns and brash vocal harmonies kick in on the album’s following song, “Crueler Kind,” it feels like something of a wonderful surprise—a treat that also played to great effect during the show.

Among the eight musicians crowded onstage—two lead singers, a singer-violinist, a three-person horn section, a drummer and guitarist—Ellis Ludwig-Leone, the composer, songwriter and general mastermind of San Fermin, stood modestly behind a keyboard off to the side. He crafted each song on his own, eventually fleshing out his compositions with vocalists and additional musicians, an approach befitting his classical music background. The precision and craft of Ludwig-Leone’s songs are apparent throughout, particularly on songs like “Sonsick” and “Torero.” The band did his vision justice, performing with preciseness and skill, while lead vocalists Allen Tate and Rae Cassidy took care to treat their parts with meticulous attention and deliberate timing, bringing the appropriate emotion to lyrics brimming with detail and nostalgia.

The high level of musicianship and focus on display doesn’t mean it was a staid, serious affair: No, the band was clearly having fun, nearly reaching Arcade Fire levels of energy, most notably on their unpredictable and impressive reimagining of the Strokes’ “Heart in a Cage” and during the debut performance of the dark and appealing new tune, “Parasite.” By the time Ludwig-Leone announced the last song of the night, there was audible booing from the fired-up crowd. But with a band concept built on incorporating fresh sounds and ideas, it’s likely that San Fermin will be back soon, continuing to delight and surprise. —Alena Kastin


Ra Ra Riot Play Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

October 8th, 2013

Ra Ra Riot originally came together in 2006 to play house parties around Syracuse University, which the band’s members attended. From the outset, they had a unique sound, deftly combining indie-rock sensibilities with chamber pop, even employing a violin. They’d relocated to New York City by the time their debut LP, The Rhumb Line, arrived in 2008 to a fair amount of acclaim. According to Rolling Stone, the group combined “Arcade Fire’s orchestral reveries with Vampire Weekend’s pop sensibility for an album that’s both effervescent and heartbreaking.” On their third full-length, this year’s Beta Love (stream it below), frontman Wes Miles, drummer Kenny Bernard, guitarist Milo Bonacci, bassist Mathieu Santos and violinist Rebecca Zeller moved in a slightly different direction, making a more electronic, synths-heavy album, about which Consequence of Sound reports: “Ra Ra Riot is ready to dance. Really dance.” And you can dance, too, when you catch Ra Ra Riot (above, performing “Beta Love” at Music Hall of Williamsburg for The Bowery Presents Live) tomorrow night at Terminal 5.


Australian Psych-Pop Quartet Plays Mercury Lounge Tonight

August 5th, 2013

They all grew up in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. And like so many before them, Alister Wright (vocals and guitar), Jeremy Kelshaw (bass and vocals), Heide Lenffer (keys and vocals) and Ulrich Lenffer (drums) came together to compete in a Battle of the Bands in school. But unlike scores of others, this psych-pop quartet stuck together and became the band Cloud Control, playing with the likes of the Arcade Fire, Weezer and Vampire Weekend, and releasing a much-heralded debut album, Bliss Release—which Pitchfork noted it for its “Tame Impala-meets-Fleet Foxes vibe”—that generated a fair amount of acclaim and won Cloud Control (above, performing “This Is What I Said” on MoshCam) the prestigious Australian Music Prize in 2011. Their much-anticipated follow-up full-length, Dream Cave, arrives next month, but there’s a good chance you can hear some of the new tunes tonight at Mercury Lounge.


Snowden Play the Late Show Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

February 22nd, 2013

It began, quite literally, as a bedroom project for Jordan Jeffares. After recording demos in his Atlanta bedroom, he met other musicians who would help him breathe life into Snowden. They self-released a self-titled EP in 2005, and some of its songs then appeared on their debut LP, Anti-Anti, the following year. Their sound quickly earned them comparisons to moody NYC bands like Interpol and the Strokes—at one point the oft-traveled band was even based here—and tours with the likes of Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Snowden (above, doing “Anti-Anti” for Fearless Music) have stayed busy on the road and releasing live DVDs and EPs, and they’re finally putting out their second album, No One in Control, in May (stream one of its singles, “Keep Quiet” below). But first, they play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night.


Influential Label Showcases Talent

October 19th, 2012

Merge Records Showcase – Mercury Lounge – October 18, 2012

Mount Moriah (Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

One could argue that no other independent label from the past 20 years has released as many instant classics as Merge Records. After all, they gave the OK for the Magnetic Fields to put out a three-album collection of 69 love songs, they introduced bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Arcade Fire to the world and they gave a rock act by the name of Spoon a second chance. So it’s safe to say that Merge is on a bit of a hot streak that might not be cooling off anytime soon. While any given day of the CMJ Music Marathon is a somewhat frantic race to absorb as much great music as possible, last night’s Merge showcase at Mercury Lounge, spanning almost seven hours and six different acts, was something of a cruel temptation and a great excuse for ruining the following workday by staying out past 2 a.m.

“It’s kind of hard to follow your label boss, though I’m sure he’d hate to be called that,” said Eleanor Friedberger, taking the stage after a set from Superchunk frontman and Merge Records cofounder Mac McCaughan. Friedberger played a solo acoustic set with some “in the works” new material that could come out early next year. She was followed by a searing set from Mount Moriah. “We’re Mount Moriah. We’re from Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we’re really excited to put some records out on Merge,” said lead singer Heather McEntire. The set sampled songs off their self-titled debut, as well as some new tunes from their upcoming album. The band’s sound is familiar yet unique, a strange combination of all genres Americana (blues, rock, country, soul, gospel).

It makes sense that as of September they’re sharing a label with acts like Lambchop, self-proclaimed “Nashville’s most fuckedup country band.” Between Mount Moriah and another recent Merge signee (and show opener), William Tyler, it will be interesting to see if the label can continue to push the boundaries of country music, bringing this strange new iteration of the genre to music fans usually repulsed by the word country. “We’ve been listening to a lot of the Allman Brothers Band—I don’t know if you could tell,” said McEntire after firing through a particularly bluesy-rock new song. You could tell, but this was a very good thing. If the past is any indicator, 2013 should be a huge year for some or even all of these bands. And if the performances last night are any indicator, it probably will be. —Dan Rickershauser


A Fire in the Garden

August 6th, 2010

Arcade Fire – Madison Square Garden – August 5, 2010

(Photo: Mina K)

(Photo: Mina K)

Both physically and symbolically, Madison Square Garden represents the center of entertainment in New York City. Elongated posters of iconic images remind visitors of the venue’s historic past in sports, music and, yes, the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. By the shear force of its name, MSG amplifies all events it houses. So when Arcade Fire booked not one but two headlining dates this August, expectations abounded.

The Canada-based indie-rock band is responsible for two outstanding records, Funeral and Neon Bible, and they released their third album, The Suburbs, this week. While this is a relatively small discography for a band scheduled to sell out “the World’s Most Famous Arena,” songs like “Wake Up” have permeated the mainstream. On Thursday night against any and all doubts, Arcade Fire delivered an unforgettable performance.

Supported by openers Owen Pallett and indie-rock veterans Spoon, Arcade Fire filled the venue with their triumphant songs, boundless energy and wholly transfixed fans. All nine members of the touring band dressed like an advertisement for individuality. In addition to frontman Win Butler’s fawned-over-on-the-Internet haircut, Régine Chassagne wore a sequined dress and Richard Reed Parry seemed to have found one of David Bowie’s vintage jumpsuits. Their appearance, as well as Terry Gilliam’s simultaneous live Webcast, acted as a show within a show. This, however, was secondary to the group’s incredible renditions of anthems “Rebellion (Lies),” “Keep the Car Running” and “Intervention.” There was an urgency and awareness to their performance, which truly connected with the audience. At the end of their encore featuring “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” it strangely felt as if MSG wasn’t big enough for Arcade Fire. —Jared Levy

(Check out highlights of this show here.)


Arcade Fire on 8/5: Tickets Are Still Available! Be a Part of History!

August 3rd, 2010

Tomorrow’s Arcade Fire show at Madison Square Garden is sold out, but tickets remain for Thursday’s show. And you can help make music history because this Thursday marks the launch of UNSTAGED, an original live-music series from American Express. There will be a high- quality music stream, but there’s also much more because UNSTAGED will connect the online audience to the live show in some pretty interesting ways: You’ll be able to choose your camera angles, vote on songs and take part in digital “happenings,” which will connect the fans and the artist through creative ways.

The series kicks off this Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with a live stream of Arcade Fire directed by none other than Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and, of course, the American guy in Monty Python). Learn more at http://youtube.com/ArcadeFireVevo. Sounds pretty cool, right? And not to get all Ron Popeil on you, but wait, there’s more:

“SHARE YOUR SUBURBS” PHOTO PROJECT Be part of the show. In support of Arcade Fire’s new album, The Suburbs, out today, everyone (including you) can upload pictures of their suburbs—front porches, back roads, empty parking lots, you name it. The band will feature their favorite submissions onstage during their live performance. Share Your Suburb here.

“ASK ARCADE FIRE” TWEET Q&A Have some burning questions for Arcade Fire? Tweet the band using the hash tag #amexarcadefire and they’ll respond during a special preshow Q&A before their performance.

Submit photos and questions to the band by 10 a.m. tomorrow for your chance to be part of this unique experience, and remember tickets are still available for the 8/5 show.


See Arcade Fire in Person or on Your Computer

July 21st, 2010

Arcade Fire sent over this trailer for their upcoming YouTube live stream of their August 5th show at Madison Square Garden as part of the AmEx Unstaged series. It’s an extravagant production for such a short clip, featuring sparklers, Win and Regine puppets and most important, part of the song “Rococo,” from the band’s upcoming album, The Suburbs. Arcade Fire also plays the Garden on August 4th.