Tag Archives: Governors Ball


Courtney Barnett Makes the Best of a Rainy Night

June 6th, 2016

Courtney Barnett – Rough Trade NYC – June 5, 2016

Courtney Barnett Gov Ball NYC Rough Trade 2016 by Pip Cowley Day 2-6285
I’m not sure if the proper expression to capture the mood inside the club on Sunday night involved clouds and silver linings or making lemonade out of lemons, but for the lucky (and the wet) who got in, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was a free Courtney Barnett show at Rough Trade NYC. After a severe rainstorm shut down Governors Ball, the show was one of several hastily arranged performances around town—no one inside had woken up that morning planning to be there. Still, unsurprisingly, the room was packed elbow to elbow and the steamy warmth of the crowd fueled chants of “Courtney!” as the lights finally went down.

The performance unintentionally served as a nice spot-check on a career that has exploded exponentially. Absent the massive stage of a larger club or the expansive audience of a festival set, Barnett’s charm and talent were right there for the grabbing. Opening with “Dead Fox,” accompanied by an animated video in full Technicolor flickering behind the trio, the band found a glorious sludge of guitar, bass and drums while the audience started to percolate. “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” began with an appropriately drowsy mood with a rock-out that somewhat unsuspectingly crept up on the crowd. It was a good template for many of her songs, like “Out of the Woodwork”—and the show overall, which balanced expert, phrase-twisting poetry with audience-bouncing rock and roll, each piece building on the previous. The set bounced between songs from her Sometimes I Sit and Think album and the older double EP, plus a few from neither, providing a nice capsule of the Courtney Barnett sound to date. “Depreston” elicited a full-volume sing-along, a sweaty mass of voices nearly drowning out the band’s, but the song somehow never lost its emotional oomph. Less familiar but equally powerful was their cover of the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie,” featured on the recent Day of the Dead. As visions of highway-driving tunnel vision filled the screen, the trio filtered the old hippie screed through the Barnett sound: an excellent too-cool stoner blues.

Like the songs contained within, the show built to a fist-pumping rage, the closing section highlighted by “the hits,” like “Avant Gardner” and “Pedestrian at Best.” The room somehow felt even more packed as the band and audience unleashed their full, pent-up, rain-delayed power. Barnett and Co. closed with “Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party,” which somehow perfectly, inversely captured the spirit of this special Sunday night show. She claimed it was one of their “favorite shows ever,” which kind of felt like a pickup line, but coming from Barnett, I think most in the room believed her. The encore started with a bit of off-the-cuff goofing, Barnett starting and stopping almost a dozen different classic-rock riffs (think: “Stairway to Heaven,” “Wish You Were Here,” Nirvana), the band hopping in almost perfectly each time, and most in the crowd smiling and laughing imagining how great it would be if they really played any of them. Maybe next rainout they will, but instead the audience made do with the fun finish of “Pickles from the Jar,” getting their last bit of dancing in, the proper expression here involving hay and sunshine. —A. Stein |@Neddyo   

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com


Braids Take Late-Night Rough Trade NYC Crowd to the Cosmos

June 6th, 2016

Braids – Rough Trade NYC – June 3, 2016

Braids – Rough Trade NYC – June 3, 2016
After Governors Ball wound down at Randall’s Island, a generous turnout of night owls formed at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade NYC as Friday night turned into Saturday morning to be swept into the cosmos by the ambient dance rhythms of the Canadian trio Braids— everyone in the audience feeling like they were dreaming in the atmosphere of propulsive harmonics that’s become the band’s calling card. Even with the jackrabbit jungle beat that spurred their music, the effect was of gentle entrancement. Taylor Smith crafted a grand spaciousness from a small electronic sound box, giving singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston the surroundings for her voice to ascend.

Meanwhile the helicopter percussion of drummer Austin Tufts, who dived into every number like the anchor leg of a swim relay, lent the counterweight of structure and substance to the ethereality. Braids’ magnificent third album, Deep in the Iris—which won the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year—made up the core of their performance, with new songs off their just-released EP tucked in gently. Standell-Preston’s ivory-soft vocals flowed forth effortlessly, gracefully dancing around themselves in whimsical patterns. Wondrous tunes “Warm Like Summer” and “Taste” washed over the crowd like cresting waves, giving way to pockets of contemplative sprawl, landing in between songs.

The soft blankets of interlude invoked reflection, before taking off again into the next swirl of rhythmic bliss. Braids fostered an atmosphere of dreamlike levitation in the room, one that suited the late hour. It beckoned the memories of the opening scene of Peter Pan, with the children being told that all it takes to fly is a little imagination. Braids opened that realm of dreaming to the listener and sent a roomful of fans floating off to the stars on Friday night. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com


Conor Oberst Entertains Music Hall of Williamsburg Late at Night

June 8th, 2015

Conor Oberst – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 6, 2015

Conor Oberst – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 6, 2015
“Who’s tired out there?” asked Conor Oberst from the stage of Music Hall of Williamsburg at around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, eliciting a hearty response from many in the sold-out crowd. “You and me both,” said the musician solemnly. Oberst and his band had indeed had a busy day, performing a set at Governors Ball earlier that evening and then taking the stage in Brooklyn around 12:30 in the morning, following a surprise set by Sharon Van Etten. And while the band may have felt a little worse for wear, they managed to summon some hidden energy reserves for a nearly two-hour show.

Oberst and his band highlighted material from his most recent record, 2014’s Upside Down Mountain, an album that highlights his evolution as a songwriter over the past several years, with much of the angst and anxiety that fueled his early work in Bright Eyes giving way to a more philosophical take on his place in world. Yet Oberst didn’t shy away from putting this evolution on display, with new songs like “Time Forgot,” “Double Life” and “Hundreds of Ways” taking their place alongside 2002’s “Laura Laurent” and “Lover I Don’t Have to Love.” And despite his fatigue, Oberst also didn’t shy away from some of his more aggressive numbers, pragmatically removing his hat so that he could bang his head around to “Governor’s Ball” and “Another Travelin’ Song,” taking several opportunities to stand precariously on the drum kit while singing and strumming.

A little past 2:00 a.m., the band and crowd were still going strong, and Oberst ended the night with another complementary juxtaposition of songs: the lovely ode to being young and lonely in New York City, “Lua”—nicely augmented with vocals by Larkin Poe and a trumpet solo from Nathaniel Walcott—followed by a jittery, rowdy rendition of Oberst’s passionate entreaty “I Don’t Want to Die (In the Hospital).” And with that, a good night’s sleep was well earned, for musicians and audience alike. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com


Chromeo – Apollo Theater – June 4, 2015

June 5th, 2015

Chromeo - Apollo Theater - June 4, 2015

Photos courtesy of Brian C. Reilly | www.briancreilly.com


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Conor Oberst on 6/6

June 2nd, 2015


Talented singer-songwriter Conor Oberst is known for his work in bands like Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos and Monsters of Folk, but this week he kicks off a short spring solo tour that brings him to Music Hall of Williamsburg late on Saturday night. The show, presented by Governors Ball, quickly sold out, but The House List is giving away two tickets. Don’t have any but still want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Conor Oberst, 6/6) and a brief message describing your most favorite thing about June. Eddie Bruiser, who could use some convincing, will notify the winner by Friday.

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Still They Rise

June 10th, 2014

The Preatures – The Bowery Ballroom – June 9, 2014

The Preatures – The Bowery Ballroom – June 9, 2014
Taking a break from recording their new album, the Preatures traveled all the way from Australia to kick off a summer tour that will undoubtedly build on the buzz they began generating in the last year. And while half of the sold-out crowd last night at The Bowery Ballroom was apparently still nursing Governors Ball hangovers (discussions of which weekend set was the best and tales of festival survival were abound), the room’s energy level was on high for the quintet’s killer set.

Plenty of comparisons have been (and will be drawn) between singer Isabella “Izzi” Manfredi and other powerful band leaders, like Mick Jagger or Chrissie Hynde, but the truth is that she’s already carved her own unique space. Manfredi’s versatile, unwavering voice is strong on steamy, slow affairs like the moody keyboard ballad “Two Tone Melody,” but she can also wrap those notes in some high-energy shouts and wails on songs like the ’80s dance rock-ish “Is This How You Feel.” Meanwhile, the other band members around her have crafted an excellent, tight sound that, like Manfredi’s voice, is supremely versatile. Gideon Bensen’s smooth voice backs Manfredi’s well, and Jack Moffitt’s effortless lead guitar is a marvel on its own.

Compared to their Mercury Lounge show this past March, there was even more recognition from audience members, and those who didn’t already know the Preatures were shouting for more by the end of the short set. Although still a fairly new band, the Preatures seem to have just about everything that would indicate their successful rise is a long way from stopping, and last night’s set proved to be no different. Although fans were still asking for more following the show’s conclusion, they were out early enough to do what so many New Yorkers are using this week for after this festival weekend: to catch up on some sleep. But chances are they’ll be dreaming of the Preatures. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com