Tag Archives: Led Zeppelin


Ofenbach Close Out Tour on Saturday Night at Rough Trade NYC

December 13th, 2017

DJ-producers Dorian Lo and César de Rummel became fast friends in grade school and, influenced by such blues-rock acts as Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and the White Stripes, started a rock band in their early teens. But then upon becoming deeply interested in house music, the two formed the DJ duo Ofenbach three years ago in Paris, becoming known for mixing traditional rock with electronic pop. Their single “Be Mine” gained them attention across Europe and Asia in 2016, and this year Offenbach made some noise with their remix of Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” (above). Come dance to the music when their North American tour finishes on Saturday night at Rough Trade NYC. Brooklyn sample-based electronic trio Pool Cosby open the show.


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




Two Rowdy Nights of Clutch, Lucero and the Sword This Week

May 15th, 2017

Neil Fallon (vocals, guitar and keys), Jean-Paul Gaster (drums), Dan Maines (bass and vocals) and Tim Sult (guitar and vocals) formed Clutch more than 25 years ago in Germantown, Md. They gained a loyal following and an interest from several indie labels early on, thanks to their high-energy live shows and their own unique sound (think: the Venn diagram overlap of Led Zeppelin and Faith No More with a little bit of that go-go swing). But despite putting so much emphasis on the fiery stage performances they’re known for, Clutch (above, performing “Firebirds”) still spend a considerable amount of time in the studio recording new material, including their 11th full-length album, Psychic Warfare (stream it below), which came out two Octobers ago. “As the band members have grown together, they deliver—almost effortlessly—a most well-oiled machine. Psychic Warfare includes super-tight interplay, madcap (and thematically heady) lyrics and high-octane riffs that often translate with face-melting power in their live shows,” according to AllMusic. And in naming the long-player one of the 20 Best Metal Albums of 2015, Rolling Stone called it “a danger-fueled but stoner-friendly gem that reminds the listener of days where the hippie and biker culture intermingled in psychotic harmony.” Clutch come our way this week, accompanied by a pair of equally raucous acts—Memphis, Tenn., country-punk rockers Lucero and Austin, Texas, metal revivalists the Sword—for two shows, tonight at Brooklyn Steel and on Wednesday at the Capitol Theatre.


Leif Vollebekk Investigates the Blank Spaces at Mercury Lounge

March 1st, 2017

Leif Vollebekk – Mercury Lounge – February 28, 2017

Leif Vollebekk opened his performance at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday recalling an earlier trip to NYC when his show sold exactly one advanced ticket and was canceled. That seems highly unlikely to happen again as Vollebekk and his trio kept the roomful of paying customers rapt and enthusiastic for the better part of 80 minutes last night. The set opened with “Vancouver Time” off of his just-released-album, Twin Solitude. Backed by just a bassist and a drummer, the band playing together for the first time in a crowded Mercury Lounge, doing brand-new songs, you could forgive him for being a bit nervous, but Vollebekk sounded at ease, beginning on the electric piano, his words taking center stage from the start. Throughout the night there were almost too many great lyrics, each song crammed with several phrases you just wanted to write down. The opening number featured lovely imagery, like “buffalo clouds over the plain,” and real emotions, like “I’m only leaving because I can’t stay.”

Often when songwriters are capable of delivering lyrics like Vollebekk can, the tendency is to cram as many words into a line as possible. But he is the opposite: His songs are filled with pauses, the blank spaces allowing the words to linger and to let the music seep in to accentuate, drums and bass adding weight while Vollebekk added electric piano or guitar or harmonica. He was equally adept at filling the spaces between songs, joking around and drawing in the audience with his banter, endearing himself to the room. A riff about Neil Young’s tuning became an impromptu half cover of “Cowgirl in the Sand” that actually sounded like it might have legs for a bit.

The set was mostly anchored by the new material and was better for it. The theme of many of the songs seemed to be that of place, not just the settings—Vancouver, Michigan, Telluride, Colo.—but of the coming and going to each. In a way, it was road-trip music, not necessarily music for listening to in transit, but more about it, the gaps and empty spaces to fill with thoughts and images and music. Vollebekk sang the word “Telluride” almost like it was three—“Tell you right”—and on “Michigan,” he sang, “You and me, Robert, we ramble on,” which I want to believe is a Zeppelin reference as well as the snow piling up behind him in the rearview mirror. The trio encored with “Into the Ether,” Vollebekk picking up a violin to add some atmospheric loops, the spaces between lyrics filled to capacity, the room equally so. —A. Stein | @Neddyo


Power Trio Earthless Headline The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow Night

December 12th, 2016

Influenced by krautrock, Japanese psychedelia and heavier rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Isaiah Mitchell (guitar), Mike Eginton (bass) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums) formed the (primarily) instrumental power trio Earthless (above, performing “Uluru Rock” earlier this year) a decade-and-a-half ago in San Diego. Their most recent release, Acid Crusher/Mount Swan (stream it below), came out earlier this year. “Forget traditional structure, the verse-chorus-riff stuff that your parents instilled in you. Forget the jams the Grateful Dead laid out or the way the Allmans did witchy stuff over at the Fillmore. Forget the way that Can could take you deep inside the music. Forget all that and then brace yourself when it kicks in overtime via your genetic memory. It’s like déjà vu all over again,” raves PopMatters. “Earthless is stoned. Immaculate.” And they are currently working their way up the East Coast to play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night. Psychedelic five-piece Ruby the Hatchet open the show.


A Rejuvenated Jonathan Tyler Plays Mercury Lounge on Saturday Night

November 3rd, 2016

Influenced by the likes of Led Zeppelin and the Black Crowes, Jonathan Tyler formed Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights nine years ago in Dallas. The good-times band won over critics and fans alike, but sometimes even when things look like they’re going great from the outside, on the inside everything’s gone to hell. A lawsuit about the name plus fights with Atlantic Records led to alcohol problems: “I was drinking myself into oblivion all the time because I was so frustrated with life in general,” Tyler told Rolling Stone. “And I thought, at a certain point, something’s gotta give. I’m going to end up killing myself, or something really bad will happen.” Fortunately, this was not the case. The singer-songwriter decamped to Los Angeles and began playing shows to pay for studio time. What resulted is last year’s Holy Smokes (stream it below), “a set of songs that, at times can even ring as joyful, touching a whole trajectory of the American musical tradition from Howlin’ Wolf to the Allman Brothers to Pink Floyd,” raved Rolling Stone. “It’s clear that if there’s one person most excited about the revival of Jonathan Tyler, it’s Tyler himself. Holy Smokes is more than just the album title, it’s an exclamation.” See him Saturday night at Mercury Lounge. Philly duo the Dove and the Wolf open the show.


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.


Aubrie Sellers Celebrates New Album Tonight at Mercury Lounge

January 27th, 2016

As the daughter of country star Lee Ann Womack and songwriter Jason Sellers, Nashville garage-country singer Aubrie Sellers—inspired equally by the likes of Led Zeppelin and Ralph Stanley—grew up surrounded by music. And despite her famous parents, Sellers is making a name for herself with her own songs. Sellers’ debut album, New City Blues (stream it here), comes out on Friday. NPR Music proclaims, “It’s plainly the work of an artist who’s determined to construct a riveting identity for herself.” AbsolutePunk dubs the LP “an early Album of the Year candidate” and mentions that “this record is an edgy twist on the normal Nashville fare.” And to celebrate the album’s release, Sellers (above, performing “Liar Liar” in studio for KOKE FM) plays Mercury Lounge tonight.


Heartless Bastards Get Right to the Point at Music Hall of Williamsburg

September 15th, 2015

Heartless Bastards – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 14, 2015

Heartless Bastards – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 14, 2015
Sometimes you go see Heartless Bastards and the whole set builds toward “The Mountain,” the ecstatic, climactic title track from their 2009 release, and sometimes they just cut to the chase and open the show with it. And last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg was an example of the latter, Erika Wennerstrom feeling it from the get-go while bassist Jesse Ebaugh riled up the crowd with a pedal-steel-guitar solo. It was a harbinger of things to come as the crowd settled in for a long night of high-test rock and roll. In the opening one-two-three punch-up, “Got to Have Rock and Roll” displayed the Bastards’ full arsenal: Wennerstrom’s soul-shaking vocals, Ebaugh’s deep-tissue bass playing, Mark Nathan’s shattering guitar and Dave Colvin’s unrelenting drumming.

From there, the first half of the set showed off the band’s deeply emotive playing. Sure, they rocked out aplenty, but the song selection seemed to go straight for the audience’s heart. “Skin and Bone,” from 2012’s Arrow, was a representative highlight, Colvin’s melodic playing with Wennerstrom’s acoustic guitar and overpowering voice were a perfectly resonant blend. “Pocket Full of Thirst,” from their newest LP, Restless Ones, was another powerful shock of feeling, Wennerstrom singing, “Let the walls come down so I can be found” like words coming from someplace real inside of her. So often it felt less like singing and more like channeling—delivering the music like another instrument alongside the ripping guitar solos and free-flowing bass. Halfway through, Heartless Bastards flipped the script from slow burn to full-fledged rockers. “Down in the Canyon” paired with “Hold Your Head High” for the body-bruising portion of the night, Nathan, Colvin and Ebaugh forming the handle, head and face of a hammer that pounded away at full strength.

The set continued to build with one sweaty burner after another, finally finishing with “Parted Ways,” which featured the end-all climactic spaz-out jam of the night, the audience clearly forgetting it was only Monday and cheering for more. For the encore, Heartless Bastards returned to The Mountain with “Nothing Seems the Same,” Wennerstrom and the group channeling Zeppelin with some hard-core blues jamming, everyone crowding around the bass drum, lit by a single bulb from below looking about as bad to the bone as they were playing. The group built up a reverberating, looping wall of feedback as they left the stage one by one, leaving Wennerstrom in a spotlight channeling the lyrics to “Tristessa,” each word echoing through the room and into the ears of the crowd. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Chales Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com


Rodrigo y Gabriela Return to Play the Capitol Theatre on Friday

June 17th, 2015

When Rodrigo Sanchez (lead guitar) and Gabriela Quintero (rhythm guitar) met as teenagers in Mexico City, they discovered a mutual musical taste and formed the thrash-metal band Tierra Acida. When that ultimately didn’t pan out (they recorded music that was never released), the duo began to learn different guitar styles, taking a liking to fast, rhythmic acoustic guitars. Finding the Americas stifling, they set out for Europe, landing in Dublin, where Rodrigo y Gabriela honed their fast and lively acoustic sound (incorporating some Zeppelin and Metallica along the way) in pubs and on streets. Then one-time busker Damien Rice asked them to tour with him and things took off from there. Ever since, Rodrigo y Gabriela (above, performing “Soundmaker” for KEXP FM) have been mashing up rock, classical, Latin, world music and heavy metal into their own unique sound over the course of several acclaimed live albums and studio full-lengths. The most recent of which, 9 Dead Alive (stream it below), just came out today. The new tunes eschew some of the pair’s Latin influences in favor of straight-ahead (acoustic) rock. According to AllMusic, “There isn’t a dull moment in these 41 minutes.” And furthermore, “This album evidences an expanded creative reach for the pair, even as it reengages the sharp edges they displayed on earlier recordings.” Catch Rodrigo y Gabriela on Friday night at the Capitol Theatre. Soul-folk duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear open.


Two Chances Next Week to See Songhoy Blues, a Band Not to Miss

June 12th, 2015

With armed jihadists in the northern region of Mali, Oumar Touré, Allou Touré and Garba Touré sought refuge in the southern town of Bamako. Eventually they met Nat Dembele and decided to channel their interest in classic rock, hip-hop and R&B into their feelings about the displacement of their culture and their people, the Songhoy. So they took the name Songhoy Blues and began playing what Billboard calls guitar-driven music that “connects the trance-inducing traditions of their African music ancestry with flavors employed by the Black Keys, reggae and funk artists and, back in the day, Led Zeppelin.” Produced by Amadou & Mariam manager Marc-Antoiune Moreau and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’s Nick Zinner, their acclaimed debut album, Music in Exile (stream it below), came out this past winter. And NME calls Songhoy Blues (above, doing “Soubour”) a “righteous four-piece that even militants couldn’t silence” and the LP “a masterpiece of desert blues; blending American guitar licks with Malian groove.” They’re currently winding down a U.S. tour, but before they head to Europe, you can catch Songhoy Blues on Monday at Rough Trade NYC and on Tuesday at Mercury Lounge.


The London Souls Celebrate New Music at The Bowery Ballroom

April 8th, 2015

The London Souls – The Bowery Ballroom – April 7, 2015

The London Souls – The Bowery Ballroom – April 7, 2015
The London Souls used to be a trio, so I have to admit I was a little nervous when they showed up to The Bowery Ballroom last night without a bassist. But the duo put on a set massive enough that you could have sworn you were watching them at a summer festival. The hometown show was in celebration of the long-awaited release of the band’s second LP, Here Come the Girls, an album that was written years ago but was delayed as singer and guitarist Tash Neal fought back from a near-fatal car accident.

Neal isn’t the still, silent type, like Gary Clark Jr. He emotes as he plays—every note Neal sang or strummed was accompanied by a lip curl, a head shake or an eyebrow raise. His body swayed with each bent string or blue note. It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel the emotion behind the music rather than interpreting it in your mind. Chris St. Hilaire’s drumming was sort of the opposite of that, machine-like and furious but a loose style that doesn’t sacrifice precision. He almost didn’t move above his shoulders—if your view was blocked, he could have been typing an essay or knitting a scarf for all you knew. But from the shoulders down, he was a blur of sticks, wrists and elbows.

St. Hilaire struck his drum set hard enough that it sounded like we were listening to a rhythm from a different decade. It was proof that his drumming is the reason (as much, if not more than Neal’s abilities) that the band draws comparisons to Zeppelin, Cream and the Experience. That’s just a few ways of saying that even as a duo, the London Souls still rock harder than most bands you hear. Their now more unapologetic sound is tailor-made for their louder tracks, like “Steady Are You Ready,” but even their more melodic tunes, like “When I’m With You,” still hold up. The duo might sound a little cleaner when they’re accompanied by a third musician onstage, but a clean sound is overrated. Two is all they need. —Sean O’Kane | @Sokane1

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com


The London Souls Celebrate a New Album at The Bowery Ballroom

April 6th, 2015

The guys in the London Souls—Tash Neal (vocals and guitar), whom Okayplayer says channels “both Jimmy Page and the gypsy verve of Django Reinhardt,” and Chris St. Hilaire (drums and vocals)—felt comfortable playing together the very first time they did so. It also happened to be the first time they had met each other. No matter, they’ve been channeling their shared love of classic bands like Cream, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin into their own hard-driving rock with layered vocals ever since. Their newest full-length, Here Come the Girls (stream it below), comes out tomorrow. According to AllMusic, it “features 13 tracks of driving rock, stomping blues and the occasional folky jingle. There’s distorted guitars, upbeat ukulele and drums that aren’t in a rush to get to their destination, combined with vocals that alternately ache and roar.” The London Souls celebrate its arrival with a hometown album-release party tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. Brooklyn rock five-piece the Skins open the show.


Alt-J Sell Out Madison Square Garden and Win Over New York City

March 31st, 2015

Alt-J – Madison Square Garden – March 30, 2015

Alt-J – Madison Square Garden – March 30, 2015
Conquering the shores of America has never been easy for most British bands. Sure there are the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead, to name a few, but on the whole, it’s not a simple feat. And now, Alt-J have not only conquered the States but they’ve also played the legendary Madison Square Garden. NPR has lauded the band with high praise: “No one else is making music like this. This is an original, innovative band with a brilliant present and a brighter future.” And with only two albums to their name, the four-piece—including Cameron Knight, who’s replaced one of the founding members, Gwil Sainsbury, on bass and sampler—conquered a sold-out MSG last night.

I’ve often shied away from arena shows, longing for the ambience of a smaller, more intimate venue, but I wouldn’t let myself miss another chance to see Alt-J live. The crowd rumbled into applause and cheers as the house lights dimmed to welcome the quartet to a backlit stage. Lead vocalist Joe Newman creeped into “Hunger of the Pine” to kick off the set, however the performance was largely a trip down memory lane with the bulk of the set list comprised of material from their debut album, An Awesome Wave, and fans joined in to sing along to favorites “Fitzpleasure” and “Matilda.”

Leaving the music to speak for them, Alt-J didn’t utter much more than a few thank-yous and some genuine appreciation to be in New York City, playingt their biggest local venue to date. And as a nod to their own hometown, the band pulled out “a really old song,” “Leon,” from their Leeds days. Newman’s and keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton’s choral-like vocals rang across the cavernous building as drummer Thom Green pounded the skins, particularly shining on the encore’s closing song, “Breezeblocks.”

Despite my qualms about seeing Alt-J in such a large venue, their music seemed to transcend space, transporting me back to my days of hitting festivals in the UK while still enclosed in hallowed MSG. I couldn’t help but join in for the final serenade of “Please don’t go, please don’t go, I love you so, I love you so” because the audience and I didn’t want the show to end. The lads from Leeds have certainly won over New York City, if not America. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com


Wardell Celebrate a New Release Tonight at Mercury Lounge

February 11th, 2015

Brother and sister Theo (a onetime House List writer) and Sasha Spielberg began making music as Wardell several years ago in Los Angeles. Influenced by the disparate likes of Led Zeppelin, Fiona Apple, the Strokes and Joni Mitchell, the bicoastal (he in New York City, she in L.A.) indie-folk duo put out their aptly named debut EP, Brother/Sister (stream it below), in 2013, with Sasha on vocals and Theo handling the instrumentation. Afterward, they really began to work on their sound while performing live, including a plum gig opening for Vampire Weekend and Haim at last year’s SXSW. Today, Wardell (above, doing “Funny Thing” and “Love/Idleness”) see the release of their debut full-length, the charmingly easygoing Love/Idleness (stream it below). And they celebrate its release tonight at Mercury Lounge. Bushwick dream-pop four-piece Arc Waves open the show.