Influenced by bluegrass, country, pop, rock and soul, New Zealand singer-songwriter Marlon Williams (above, performing “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore” live on KCRW FM) has been making dark, atmospheric Americana music as a genre-spanning solo artist since his self-titled debut LP (stream it below) arrived two winters ago. “The national acclaim he’s had is hardly surprising: It only takes a split-second to be won over by the power of his unusually well-crafted country voice. He recalls the likes of Elvis, and Willie Nelson and Neil Young without aping any of them,” raved Drowned in Sound. While Paste added: “The fact that this record was made in the Aughts and not in the ’60s is mind-boggling. Williams’ voice may as well have time-traveled and spent an extended vacation with classic rock’s finest. It’s an album that leaves you wanting another nine songs so you can hear the end of the ‘story.’” Following a breakup, he returned last month with his second solo studio album, Make Way for Love (stream it below). “Williams explores the full gamut of emotions, and that rich and resonant voice is the perfect vehicle,” said Exclaim. “The result is a stunning work that will draw you back to repeated, if oft intense, listening.” The people at American Songwriter were also impressed: “It’s a bold, eclectic and audacious approach to the bulging catalog of breakup ruminations; one that emerges from the crowded field and shows Marlon Williams’ talents are just beginning to blossom.” In mid-tour form, he rolls into Brooklyn to play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Another New Zealand singer-songwriter, Tiny Ruins, opens the show. (Marlon Williams also opens for Brandi Carlile at the Beacon Theatre 4/5-7.)
Tag Archives: Elvis Presley
Lucius – Town Hall – March 22, 2018
Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the band Lucius struck quite an arresting image onstage at Town Hall during last night’s sold-out show, with their matching platinum-blonde wigs aglow under a large, color-changing neon sign bearing the band’s name. Incredible aesthetics aside, Lucius’ real impact comes the moment that Wolfe and Laessing begin to sing. As they stepped up to a shared microphone center stage to perform their first song, “Go Home,” they immediately created a sense of intimacy within the large concert hall.
That sense of intimacy is a key element to the band’s new record, Nudes, featuring acoustic and reimagined versions of songs from their catalog, along with some covers, which the musicians recorded with the goal of drawing listeners in and furthering the connection between the artist and listener. Last night, songs like “Tempest,” “Right Down the Line” and “Turn It Around,” were adorned by nothing more than acoustic guitars and drums, with Wolfe and Laessig’s unison vocals and harmonies soaring throughout the room. Cover songs were also prominently featured in the set list, including a sweet version of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” plus the Kinks’ “Strangers” and Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You in the End,” which the band blended into a rendition of their own “Two of Us on the Run.”
It was clear that the commitment to creating a connection with the audience was foremost on the band’s mind, and Wolfe and Laessig also devoted several minutes during the show to speak frankly to the crowd, expressing their gratitude, reflecting on the importance of their collaboration in their career as a band, and sharing some personal experiences, both happy and sad, that had recently touched their lives. By night’s end, Lucius seemed to have achieved their goal—delivering an impactful performance in sound, style and sentiment. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK
The Killers – Barclays Center – January 9, 2018
Longevity in the music industry isn’t guaranteed, nor is a song that stays on the charts 13 years after its release. The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” was the track that remained on the U.K. charts, and Noisy hypothesized a few theories why that might have been. It’s no surprise that frontman Brandon Flowers cited the U.K. as what broke their band during a time when the Strokes and the White Stripes ruled America. After more than 15 years of music together, the Las Vegas band released their fifth album, Wonderful Wonderful, last year to the glee of longtime fans. With guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer taking time off touring for family and to finish up college, longtime collaborators guitarist Ted Sablay and bassist Jake Blanton entered the lineup in their stead. Despite the change to the original quartet, the Killers didn’t skip a beat at a sold-out Barclay Center last night.
The stage converted into mirrored pyramid screens resembling an open shell perfectly displaying the band for the opener, the new LP’s title song. The staging played a big part in the performance with pink confetti showering the crowd during “The Man,” as old-timey neon Vegas signage projected in the backdrop. Flowers seamlessly weaved old favorites “Somebody Told Me” and “Smile Like You Mean It” among more recent hits “Run for Cover” and “Shot at the Night.” He reminisced on the passing of the 10th anniversary of Sam’s Town, in which the Killers played to 1,500 people at the hotel/casino that provided the album’s name. The quartet covered Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet” as an interlude before the appropriately paired “Runaways.”
Throughout the show, I marveled at hit after hit, especially my favorite, “All These Things That I’ve Done,” which I dare anyone to not chime in on the infectious chorus, “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier.” Flowers returned to the stage having changed into a gold suit and matching boots, as if channeling Elvis himself. With a recorded opening monologue by Woody Harrelson, the ageless singer climbed the stairs encoring with the downtown romp “The Calling.” It would not end there, rather deep cut “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” and the rousing “When You Were Young” were played before the closing song. You guessed it: the hit that managed to top the charts for over a decade. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Barclays Center, Brandon Flowers, Brooklyn, Dave Keuning, Dire Straits, Elvis Presley, Jake Blanton, Killers, Mark Stoermer, New York City, Review, Sam’s Town, Sharlene Chiu, Strokes, Ted Sablay, White Stripes, Wonderful Wonderful, Woody Harrelson
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