Tag Archives: Beyoncé


Margaret Glaspy Gets Earnest at a Sold-Out Bowery Ballroom

February 17th, 2017

Margaret Glasper – The Bowery Ballroom – February 16, 2017

The cold and wind in New York City was pretty insufferable last night. But lucky for me, I got to slip into The Bowery Ballroom and join a sold-out crowd for the brilliant Margaret Glaspy and the dynamos of Cuddle Magic, a chamber-pop group whose members have some impressive names on their résumés (Beyoncé, Amanda Palmer and Okkervil River). The six-piece took the stage first and launched into a set of songs from their brand new album, Ashes/Axis. Layered synths, staccato beats and exquisite vocals make it a great listen. The bandmates hopped down into the crowd and went acoustic for part of the set amidst their beaming audience. They also used the night as an opportunity to film a music video for “Kiss You”—there was a kissing booth set up downstairs and everyone was encouraged to slide on in for a cameo. Speaking of cameos, Glaspy briefly joined them onstage for a song they wrote together.

The headliner and her band made their way onstage next for a first-rate set of songs from her critically acclaimed full-length, Emotions & Math. Glaspy’s sultry voice could make any space intimate. She’s magnetic and it seemed impossible to not take a few steps forward to soak in every one of her nostalgic lyrics and jagged guitar riffs. Highlights included “Somebody to Anybody,” a cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” and a soulful rendition of Lucinda Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor.” Glaspy brought out friend and collaborator Julian Lage to add to the guitar magic with a couple of exceptional solos. There’s affection, hurt and pride in her music, and she scrutinizes the highs and lows of love and heartbreak in a jaunty, approachable way. There’s no limit to this type of exploration, as musicians have proved to us for years. Here’s hoping Glaspy keeps on bringing us her earnest, gorgeous take on the matter. —Schuyler Rooth | @SchuylerSpeak




A Wednesday Dance Party with Pomplamoose at The Bowery Ballroom

September 25th, 2014

Pomplamoose – The Bowery Ballroom – September 24, 2014

There is an art to covers—a balancing act, if you will, between reinvention and cheesy imitation. The Californian couple of Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, aka Pomplamoose, have tackled a slew of artists ranging from Beyoncé to Eden Ahbez and have garnered a large fan base from their YouTube videos. It’s difficult to pin down the duo to a genre, as the two float between pop, jazz, blues, punk and folk. Whether doing covers or their own original songs, the pair infuses jauntiness to every melody they tackle. In front of a sold-out crowd at The Bowery Ballroom last night, Conte and Dawn kicked off the night fittingly with the introductory “Hey, It’s Pomplamoose.” Dawn announced the night would be a dance party as she barreled into Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” For the doo-wop sway of “Bust Your Knee Caps,” references to the Italian mafia rang through the lyrics but the bouncy cadence had the fans singing the chorus to the end of the ditty.

The evening turned toward covers from a “Lorde 2Pac Beck Mashup” to Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy,” after which the backing band exited to leave the couple front and center. While Dawn attended to some battery issues with her earpiece, Conte proceeded to entertain the crowd with stories from their tour. As they ad-libbed through the technical hiccup, their personalities shined through. Fueled by a crowdsourcing engine Patreon, Pomplamoose aren’t signed to a label, and they produce largely through funds from their patrons, a few in attendance last night. Some covers (Mark Owen’s “Makin’ Out” and Pat Ballard’s “Mister Sandman”) hit stronger than others (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and the Beatles’ “Come Together”).

Dawn’s playful vocals shown through on “If You Think You Need Some Lovin’” and telegraphed a resemblance to Feist and Inara George of the Bird and the Bee. Conte playfully called for a James Brown “hit me” moment egging on the band to “Another Day.” He continued the frivolity on “Get That Body Back” by asking the audience to part ways to create a circle that he proceeded to occupy by “going crazy” in and recruiting fan upon fan to join him. To top it off, both Conte and Dawn stage dived and crowd surfed before ending the set with the timely cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” Returning to the stage, Pomplamoose encored with “Centrifuge,” while an accordion was being located. That fine instrument would put the icing on the cake for the evening as Dawn lulled the crowd with Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.” —Sharlene Chiu

 (Pomplamoose play Music Hall of Williambsurg tonight.)


Ryan Leslie Keeps It Local Tomorrow at The Bowery Ballroom

August 19th, 2014

Don’t take this the wrong way, but Ryan Leslie is smarter than you are. He aced the SATs, getting a perfect score, when he was just 14 and then graduated from Harvard at 19. The oh, so talented Leslie has since gone on to become a successful producer, rapper, singer, multi-instrumentalist (all documented on his YouTube channel) and businessman. He’s written and produced for Beyoncé, Britney Spears and New Edition while still finding time to put out a few of his own singles and mixtapes. As if he weren’t busy enough with that, Leslie has also released four albums. And while the first two were much more influenced by R&B, on his third effort, 2012’s Les Is More (stream it below), and last year’s Black Mozart, Leslie (above, performing “Ups and Downs” live in studio for Sway in the Morning) dives into the rap world alongside notable guests like Kanye West. See him play a hometown show tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom.


Grouplove Let Loose at Terminal 5

March 27th, 2014

Grouplove – Terminal 5 – March 26, 2014

Grouplove - Terminal 5 – March 26, 2014
Last time Grouplove played Terminal 5, this city (and much of the East Coast) was still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, something that informed how the band approached their set that night—and it was even worthy of a mention from lead singer Christian Zucconi during their show last night. But this time around the band, unburdened from the task of assuaging the fears and pains of the community they were playing for, let loose a little more and showed why they’ve become one of the hottest tickets around.

The California band is certainly one you’ve heard if not one you’ve heard of, as both of their albums are filled with songs that have been licensed for everything from beer commercials to Girls promos. Their West Coast roots influence their often airy, sunshine-ready rock sound, equally matched by a relentless momentum provided by heavily present (and catchy on their own) basslines and backed by thumping drums along an always danceable beat. Plus there are three- and four-part harmonies, and while each band member carries a seemingly endless amount of energy to expend during a set, Grouplove’s main draw is the back-and-forth vocals between Zucconi and Hannah Hooper.

Upbeat is almost a limiting word when it comes to describing Grouplove’s music, as songs like “I’m with You” and “Shark Attack” (both fan favorites) are more four- and five-minute parties unto themselves, as opposed to just upbeat songs. But thanks to their wild, genre-bending sound, the band can veer in other directions too, like taking the stage to Kanye and GOOD Music’s “Mercy,” or knocking a cover of Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love” clear out of the park (with Zucconi, not just Hooper, hitting Queen B’s notes). “What a surprise, New York’s the best night of tour,” said drummer Ryan Rabin late in the set, met by the roar of the sold-out crowd. That’s a comment we get a lot in this town, but last night, he was probably right. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

(Grouplove play Terminal 5 again tonight.)