Tag Archives: Chris Whitley


Courtesy Tier Put On a Commanding Show at Rough Trade NYC

August 17th, 2017

Courtesy Tier – Rough Trade NYC – August 16, 2017

(Photo: Daniel Cavazos)

How best to describe Brooklyn trio Courtesy Tier? Blues-adelic is probably a good place to start: These guys work up a woozy, potent racket that can veer Hendrix-ian or Zeppelin-esque and get plenty gnarly—but always in service of sturdy melodies. That they’ve been compared to bands like Meat Puppets, Morphine and Chris Whitley in his Rocket House era isn’t so much that they resemble any of them as much as they similarly put a bit of mess into familiar sounds, making them an acquired taste that, once acquired, feels eminently immediate, alive and embraceable.

Courtesy Tier have been kind of a shape-shifter, growing into what they’re supposed to be. Guitarist-ead vocalist Omer Leibovitz and drummer Layton Weedeman have been the guts of the band for about eight years, and in that time they’ve expanded to as many as six players and collapsed back down to a duo on more than one occasion. The lineup’s seemed to be fluid, but last year, Courtesy Tier settled into their current identity as a three-piece, with bassist Alex Picca aboard as a permanent third member. Out of that chrysalis came their first full-length album, the superb Everyone’s OK, much of which was the focus of their headlining spot last night at Rough Trade NYC.

Courtesy Tier played a commanding show, this night deftly organized around standouts like “Childish Blues,” with its slovenly, ’70s-blues-rock-meets-Nirvana vibe, “Cold,” more of a roiling rock and roller that builds to a shattering metallic guitar climax, and “When You Were Young,” an eased-into but still spiky groove more reminiscent of the pre-pop Black Keys. Courtesy Tier had new songs too, including a cover of Can’s “Vitamin C,” which wrapped a stabbing refrain of “You’re losing/ You’re losing/ You’re losing/ You’re losing/ Your vitamin C” in scuffed pop. It was another reminder that, at the intersection of guitar-heavy power-trio blues and a number of other potential jumping off points, they’re really on to something, without being too fussy about what to call it. It’s Brooklyn-y, in a good way, and perfect for these jittery times. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson




Go See Trixie Whitley Play Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

July 24th, 2015

The precocious singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Trixie Whitely has music in her blood. The daughter of blues rocker Chris Whitley, she began playing drums when she turned 10. She’d toured with theater companies, danced with a ballet troupe and been a rave DJ all before turning 20. But she’s been making a name for herself as a musician since releasing two EPs in 2008 and 2009, while still finding time to become a member of Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub. When not busy touring with them, she wrote and recorded her own solo full-length debut, Fourth Corner (stream it below), which arrived to praise in 2013, winning her comparisons to the Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom in the process. “Whitley creates a dark, nocturnal atmosphere, as if Fourth Corner was set during the wee hours at some smoky basement lounge. The milieu is fascinating and immersive, a perfect setting for her pipes,” according to Paste. And when Whitely (above, doing “Breathe You My Dreams” for the Bing Lounge) plays a hometown show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge, you can expect a full band and “a bunch of new music.”