Tag Archives: Brooklyn Bowl

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Khruangbin Get Spacey at Brooklyn Bowl on Wednesday Night

February 23rd, 2017

Khruangbin – Brooklyn Bowl – February 22, 2017

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NASA announced Wednesday that it had discovered seven new exoplanets, some of which could potentially sustain life. Is it a coincidence that on the very same day Khruangbin appeared in Brooklyn, laying down a set of their extraterrestrial grooves for a sold-out Brooklyn Bowl? Does seem suspicious. Looking otherworldly and playing music that might very well come from another solar system where love and peace reign supreme, the actually-from-Austin, Texas, trio were in fine form last night. From the opening slow funk of “August Twelve,” the crowd was locked in, beamed up into Khruangbin’s spaceship bathed in kaleidoscope hues, ready to be probed, prodded and fully funkified.

It’s no easy task to find a completely unoccupied space in the musical spectrum, but Khruangbin have always felt perfectly situated in a just-groovy-enough, not-too-loud/not-too-soft, not-too-fast/not-too-slow space that no one else seems to have discovered yet. On repeated trips back to New York City, each time hopping up a level in crowd size and intensity, the trio has found ways to shed their alien skin, revealing something more elaborate and exciting beneath. On Wednesday, guitarist Mike Speer was given room for hairier solos than the last few area gigs, drummer Donald Johnson Jr. and bassist Laura Lee showing tour-tested comfort in giving him full freedom to explore.

The set gained propulsive energy as it went along, mostly songs from their breakout album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, highlighted by the zigzag melodies of “People Everywhere (Still Alive)” and the out-of-plane weirdness of “Dern Kala.” In a room that can sometimes swallow the more subtle acts, Khruangbin were ferociously funky, overwhelming Brooklyn Bowl as if it were only a pit stop on the way to something bigger. Thankfully for the crowd, the band’s phasers were merely set to stun—because they might not be so lucky next time. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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The Hold Steady – Brooklyn Bowl – November 30, 2016

December 1st, 2016

The Hold Steady - Brooklyn Bowl - November 30, 2016

Photos courtesy of Pat Tabb | pattabb.com

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Three Chances to Catch Energetic Rockers Wild Adriatic Live in July

July 11th, 2016

Channeling ’60s and ’70s rockers like Led Zeppelin, Free and Humble Pie, Travis Gray (vocals and guitar), Rich Derbyshire (bass) and Mateo Vosganian (drums) formed Wild Adriatic five years ago in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. They’ve put out three EPs, and the soulful blues-rock trio’s debut long-player, Big Suspicious (stream it below), came out in 2014. This past spring, Wild Adriatic (above, doing “Mess Around,” and, below, performing a cover of “The Ocean”) released Live Volume One: No Way, Let’s Do It (stream it below), which expertly catches the band’s energetic stage performances. And now you’ve got three chances to experience them at their best, live: tomorrow at Mercury Lounge, on Wednesday at Garcia’s at the Capitol Theatre and next Friday opening for Galactic at Brooklyn Bowl.

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Three Chances to See Reggae Legends Steel Pulse This Week

April 12th, 2016

Rising up from Birmingham, England, protest-minded Steel Pulse have been known across the world for their take on roots, reggae and dub (not to mention jazz and Latin music) for more than 40 years. Their debut LP, Handsworth Revolution (stream it below)—named after the band’s hometown—arrived in 1978. According to AllMusic, it’s “about politics first and religion second, with a quick nod to the dance and another to the herb and not a single love lyric to be found anywhere. This gives the music a certain intellectual urgency, and the band’s instrumental virtuosity is impressive given its youth and relatively inexperience.” Their sixth studio full-length, Babylon the Bandit (stream it below), out in ’86, won the Best Reggae Album Grammy the following year, making Steel Pulse (above, performing “Steppin’ Out”) the only non-Jamaican act to win the award. Of course, the lineup has changed over the years but founding member David Hinds (vocals and guitar) remains onboard, joined by Selwyn Brown (keys and vocals), Sidney Mills (keys and vocals), Amlak Tafari (bass), Wayne Clarke (drums), Keysha McTaggart (vocals) and Jerry Johnson (sax). And, as ever, Steel Pulse remain an energetic live force, repping reggae everywhere they go. The band’s winding down a U.S. tour this week, and you can catch them tonight and tomorrow at Brooklyn Bowl and on Thursday at the Space at Westbury.

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A Double Psychedelic Shot of Melvin Seals and JGB This Weekend

March 3rd, 2016

Melvin Seals (vocals and organ) was already known as a talented performer, recording artist and producer before becoming a longtime member of the Jerry Garcia Band in 1980. But even with the iconic Grateful Dead frontman’s passing more than 20 years ago, Seals, Shirley Starks (vocals), Cheryl Rucker (vocals), Pete Lavezzoli (drums), Dave Hebert (guitar and vocals) and John-Paul McLean (bass) have much more than capably continued the band’s legacy as Melvin Seals and JGB (above, performing “Let It Rock”)—taking concertgoers on a psychedelic musical journey that includes rock, gospel, soul and R&B that’s never the same from night to night. And to that end, they’ll play two totally different shows on Friday night at the Capitol Theatre and then on Saturday at Brooklyn Bowl. All you’ve got to do is pick which to attend. You can’t go wrong.

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Rubblebucket – Brooklyn Bowl – January 9, 2016

January 11th, 2016

Rubblebucket - Brooklyn Bowl - January 9, 2016

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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You Don’t Have to Go to Chicago to See Dead 50 This Weekend

July 2nd, 2015

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This weekend, the “core four” remaining members of the Grateful DeadPhil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann—celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary—Dead 50—by performing together for the last time on 7/3, 7/4 and 7/5 at Soldier Field. The famed Chicago football stadium holds a special place in the hearts of Dead fans as it was the location of the very last Grateful Dead show with beloved frontman Jerry Garcia. Of course it wouldn’t be the Dead without a little help from their friends. So rather than going it alone, the “core four” are joined by Trey Anastasio on guitar, Bruce Hornsby on piano and Jeff Chimenti on keys. The Dead just played two additional shows over the weekend in Santa Clara, Calif., to pretty much universal acclaim. Per Billboard, “Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Arrives & Thrives with Trey Anastasio on the Side.” Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Times proclaimed, “Otherworldly? Yes. Worthy of praise? Most certainly. So expertly imagined as to suggest not just a reunion but a continuation, this was the Dead ideal, communal, filled with a generosity of spirit that united stage and seats.” This weekend will be one of the biggest musical reunions in the history of musical reunions, which, of course, means lots of people got shut out from attending. But no worries, because with the eyes of the world cast upon Chicago, you won’t miss a thing: All three shows will be simulcast in their entirety at Brooklyn Bowl, the Capitol Theatre and Bearsville Theater, and the last night will also be simulcast at the Space at Westbury.

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Two Chances to See Soul Asylum and the Meat Puppets

June 19th, 2015

More than three decades ago, Dave Pirner (vocals and guitar) formed Soul Asylum in Minneapolis. The band found modest success with their first five albums before blowing up big time and becoming alt-rock darlings with the release of 1992’s triple-platinum Grave Dancers Union (stream it below)—and its huge sing-along hits, “Runaway Train,” “Somebody to Shove” and “Black Gold.” Since then, although the lineup, still anchored by Pirner, has changed, Soul Asylum (above, performing “Black Gold” for Minnesota Public Radio 89.3 FM) have remained active, touring and recording. Their 10th full-length album, the well-received Delayed Reaction (stream it below), came out in 2012. Per the A.V. Club, “With Delayed Reaction, whatever lingering bewilderment and bitterness Pirner felt about success seems to have vanished. In its place is a classic Soul Asylum record: scrappy, aching and only a little worse for the wear.”

That the Meat Puppets are still around is something of a miracle. Brothers Curt (vocals and guitar) and Cris Kirkwood (bass) and Co. have been making their own brand of psychedelic- and roots-influenced punk for more than 35 years—with the occasional hiatus, breakup or prison stint getting in the way—inspiring and influencing the likes of bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pavement. Like their current tour mates, Soul Asylum, the Meat Puppets (below, doing “Plateau” live in the Bing Lounge) have also remained relevant by continuing to release new music, including their 14th LP, Rat Farm, out in 2013. “It’s dizzying psychedelic country in finest Meat Puppets tradition,” according to the Independent, “full of slightly off-centre harmonies in Grateful Dead manner, and plenty of Kirkwood’s swirling, trippy guitar.” Catch both bands tomorrow night at Brooklyn Bowl and on Monday at The Bowery Ballroom.

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Gene Ween Does Billy Joel – Brooklyn Bowl – May 28, 2015

May 29th, 2015

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Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com(Gene Ween Does Billy Joel again on Sunday at Brooklyn Bowl.)

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Dirty Dozen Brass Band – Brooklyn Bowl – May 22, 2015

May 26th, 2015

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Brooklyn Bowl - May 22, 2015

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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A Celebration of the Rich Musical History of Memphis

February 12th, 2015

Take Me to the River – Brooklyn Bowl – February 11, 2015

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Last night Brooklyn Bowl hosted a celebration of the rich musical history of Memphis, Tenn., in conjunction with Take Me to the River, a new documentary that traces the roots of the incredible blues, soul and R&B that originated in the city and shows how new generations of artists are carrying on and reinventing this musical legacy. That legacy was on display last night, beginning with the Hi Rhythm Section—musicians who once backed Al Green among many others—performing as the house band for the night.

With expert style, the Hi Rythym Section treated the crowd to a wide range of Memphis music history, as a rotating cast of multigenerational performers took the stage. Otis Clay, who was celebrating his 73rd birthday, performed a soulful rendition of “Precious Precious,” while later Bobby Rush, in a crisp white suit, looking (and sounding) great at 81, performed the Stax Records hit “Push and Pull” alongside rapper Frayser Boy (of “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” fame). Later, William Bell worked his magic on a cover of “Knock on Wood” before enlisting rapper Al Kapone to help perform “I Forgot to Be Your Lover,” a smooth new song featured in the film. In addition to the foundational and contemporary Memphis performers who came together last night, the show featured some very up-and-coming young musicians from the Stax Records Academy, a music school that mentors and trains the next generation of Memphis musicians.

By night’s end, there was really only one natural choice for the finale: So all of the performers crowded onto the stage to collaborate on a rendition of the Al Green version of “Take Me to the River,” joined by Jerry Harrison, of Talking Heads (whose popular cover of the song is yet another example of the impact and power of Memphis music). It was a joyful, freewheeling, inclusive sing-along—a nice distillation of the spirit of Memphis, now and then. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

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Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – Brooklyn Bowl – February 7, 2015

February 9th, 2015

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – Brooklyn Bowl – February 7, 2015

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Greensky Bluegrass Use a Little Bit of Everything to Brooklyn

January 30th, 2015

Greensky Bluegrass – Brooklyn Bowl – January 29, 2015

(Photo: Chris Monaghan)

(Photo: Chris Monaghan)

“We’re a bluegrass band.” That’s what members of Greensky Bluegrass kept announcing between songs at last night’s sold-out show at Brooklyn Bowl. At first, I was like, “Duh, it’s in your name!” But after a few decidedly out-there jams, I finally picked up on the very bluegrass joke. They definitely have the proper instrumentation (banjo, guitar, dobro, mandolin, bass), and they can play comfortably in the genre—but Greensky Bluegrass were playing with a jam-band style in rock club beneath a light show suitable for an EDM show. (Yes, Greensky Bluegrass are one of the few bands I’ve seen bring their own lighting rig.)

The set began with a dobro-heavy “Just to Lie” that showed off their abilities in the standard-bluegrass region before quickly going off course into a darker, minor-key piece with the lights following suit. This led to some deep hallucinogenic jamming that featured excellent playing from each of the band’s instrumentalists, with multiple build-and-release moments that prompted a healthy “whoop” from the packed house. Twenty minutes later, the opening sequence finally came to a climactic end. The crowd and band now settled in, Greensky crafted a two-set show filled with genre-straddling songs and jams, deftly flipping between the more traditional and progressive and whatever it is that’s beyond that. The lights followed suit, zipping through all of the colors of the rainbow and beyond, sometimes in unexpected combinations—an apt visual metaphor for the music being made. NYC jam-guest extraordinaire Eric Krasno came out for the first-set-closing cover of Norton Buffalo’s “Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox,” a song made popular by Jerry Garcia but perfectly suited for a duel between dobro player Anders Beck and Krasno.

Things got even deeper during the second set, which opened with a dark, country-rock “Bring Out Your Dead.” The second guest of the night, Andy Falco of the Infamous Stringdusters, came out to help on Bill Monroe’s “Working on a Building,” yellow spotlights emanating from the stage like beams from the sun, before jamming out admirably on a David Grisman number. Throughout the second set, Greensky Bluegrass started in a place that felt recognizably connected to bluegrass but would then venture far into something different. The closing song was a prime example, the music dipped into an almost trance jam before returning to the theme and then running off again exploring in impressive fashion. The encore seemed designed to ground everyone again, Greensky calling out Krasno once more to help with a cover of the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider,” the crowd singing along at full volume, and the bluegrass band doing a pretty good Southern rock impression with a little help from their friend.—A. Stein | @Neddyo

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RJD2 – Brooklyn Bowl – January 13, 2015

January 14th, 2015

RJD2 - Brooklyn Bowl - January 13, 2015

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

(RJD2 plays Brooklyn Bowl again tonight.)

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We’ve Got You Covered on New Year’s Eve

December 30th, 2014

The thing about New Year’s Eve is that it’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s expectations of what the night should be. When on the last night of the year you should think about yourself for once and do what you want to do. And if that’s going to see some terrific bands play live music, then good news, we’ve got you covered. PhilRAD (featuring Phil Lesh and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead) at the Capitol Theatre and the Hold Steady at Music Hall of Williamsburg are already sold out—although we’re giving away two tickets to the Hold Steady.

But don’t despair because: Mercury Lounge has local rockers Black Taxi, along with Little Racer and Brothertiger, at the early show, and Mr. Brownstone doing terrific covers of Guns N’ Roses at the late show. Deer Tick close out their six-night 10th-anniversary residency at Brooklyn Bowl doing a fan-selected set with special guest T. Hardy Morris (of Dead Confederate and Diamond Rugs fame). Playing on the big stage at Terminal 5, Erasure—joined by Book of Love and Alex English—finish their two-night run. Reunited after an eight-year hiatus, emo trio Rainer Maria headline The Bowery Ballroom, with Moss Icon and Petal opening. And following opening sets by Mail the Horse and Twain, Spirit Family Reunion will have everyone at Rough Trade NYC clapping and stomping along as we welcome in 2015.