Tag Archives: Joseph D’Agostino


Speedy Ortiz Sell Out The Bowery Ballroom

April 27th, 2015

Speedy Ortiz – The Bowery Ballroom – April 25, 2015

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

Without stepping into an easy band-name pun, it’s recently been a remarkably quick rise to indie-rock stardom for the Massachusetts four-piece Speedy Ortiz. After passing through The Bowery Ballroom as the opener several times over the past few years, Speedy Ortiz sold out the venerable venue on Saturday night as the headliner—and fresh off the heels of their sophomore LP release, Foil Deer. The room felt packed to its gills even before the first band hit the stage, fellow Bay Staters and shrill rockers Krill, who did a killer (Kriller?) set of their own. Amongst the sea of Speedy fans (can we call them Speedsters?) was a who’s who of indie-rock royalty, including Dylan Baldi, lead man of Cloud Nothings (and significant other to Speedy Ortiz lead woman Sadie Dupuis), and Joseph D’Agostino of Cymbals Eat Guitar. Mitski Miyawaki of the second opener, appropriately named Mitski, after mentioning an earlier phone call from her mom, had the audience chew on the fact that we all had someone guide us through “helpless baby years,” and that someone out there fended for all of us at one point. Dupuis followed up on this sentiment, dedicating the night to her own father, a fellow New Yorker and rock royalty in his own right, who had passed away earlier this spring.

Speedy’s set drew heavily from Foil Deer, beginning the show with the LP’s first two singles, “The Graduates” and “Raising the Skate.” “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss,” sang Dupuis on the latter, an appropriate proclamation on a night that felt something like a victory lap for the band. Dupuis crafts sharp, witty songs—with a background in poetry, she writes some of the best lyrics in rock right now. But if her words offered bite, the guitar riffs left the sting. The lyrics felt at the forefront in part because the guitars gave them punch, both Dupuis’ own and those from fellow riffster Devin McKnight, sporting an epic head of hair, backlit throughout the night by the neon stage lights. The raw energy made for a fast-moving set. The band, deciding planned encores were cheesy, announced what would be considered their encore and plowed right on through it to the end of their show. And to paraphrase Ferris Bueller, Speedy Ortiz sets move pretty fast. If you don’t stop and listen to the music once in a while, you could miss it. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks


Music of a Bygone Era

June 8th, 2012

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Mercury Lounge – June 7, 2012

The guys in Unknown Mortal Orchestra aren’t a chatty bunch: They said more on Twitter before the show than during their set last night at Mercury Lounge. Save for a couple “thanks” and a promo for another show, it was all business. And for UMO, business is orienting dense psychedelic rock for an authentic live experience—recreating the highly effected sounds on their first and only album, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. It takes work, but they’ve intently dedicated themselves to the task.

Lead singer Ruban Nielson is at the center of the three-piece band. His demos spawned UMO. And, live, his noise making is noticeably the most captivating element. Although it was nearly impossible to parse his actual singing voice from swaths of feedback and echo, it was fun to get lost in the sound. The lyrics usually complemented the melody, so distinguishing the verses to “Ffunny Ffrends” wasn’t necessary to enjoy the song’s giddy feeling. It was also in the moments when things felt like they’d fall apart—the drums and bass slipping in and out of time signature on “Strangers Are Strange” and “Thought Ballune”—when the band seemed most comfortable.

For the most part, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s songs hit somewhere in between Beatles psychedelia and Hendrix rock. It is the music of a bygone era, but classic-rock revivalism is on the rise. As witnessed by the attendance of Joseph D’Agostino and Jonny Rogoff, the lead singer of Cymbals Eat Guitars and the drummer for Yuck, respectively. They, too, came to support the community: one that speaks quietly and carries loud guitars. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com