Tag Archives: Madison Square Garden

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RAQ Play Late After Phish at Mercury Lounge on Friday and Saturday

July 20th, 2017

The guys in RAQJay Burwick (bass and vocals), Chris Michetti (guitar and vocals), Todd Stoops (keys and vocals) and Scotty Zwang (drums)—formed the experimental, improvisational jam band in Burlington, Vt., at the turn of the century. They’ve been winning over fans ever since thanks to their complex song structures and quirky-yet-accessible lyrics. And with Phish kicking off 13 dates at Madison Square Garden beginning tomorrow night, RAQ (above, doing “Beauregard”) will be handling late-night duties on Friday and then again on Saturday at Mercury Lounge.

 

 

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The Lumineers – Madison Square Garden – February 2, 2017

February 3rd, 2017

The Lumineers - Madison Square Garden - February 2, 2017

Photos courtesy of Marc Millman Photography | www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music

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Temple of the Dog – Madison Square Garden – November 7, 2016

November 8th, 2016

Temple of the Dog - Madison Square Garden - November 7, 2016

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Tegan and Sara – Theater at MSG – November 4, 2016

November 7th, 2016

Tegan and Sara - Theater at Madison Square Garden - November 4, 2016

Photos courtesy of Mina J

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Tegan and Sara Play the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Friday

November 2nd, 2016

Calgary, Alta., twin Quin sisters Tegan and Sara have been making music together professionally for more than two decades. Their first full-length, Under Feet Like Ours (stream it below), came out in 1999 when they were still in their teens. “Tegan and Sara are the real deal, not another Ani Difranco pretender trying to be political by writing songs about freedom,” according to Exclaim. “The evidence in hand, their debut album, shows an emotional and musical progression quite remarkable for their age, as if they’ve managed in one go to shake out the cobwebs of their folk/rock roots, and their Lilith Fair/Indigo Girls tendencies, and are merging fully formed, ready to take the next step.” And in the ensuing years, Tegan and Sara (above, performing “Boyfriend” live in studio for KCMP FM the Current) have changed their sound and taken that next step from niche singer-songwriters to mainstream-pop success. Their eighth studio release, this year’s Love You to Death (stream it below), is “an album packed with shimmering highlights,” according to NME. “This is pop music that is all heart all the time, and for that, the sisters deserve every accolade that comes their way,” per AllMusic. It just so happens that they’re coming our way this week to play the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Friday. And as an added bonus, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Torres opens the show.

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Fantastic Negrito Plays the Early Show at Mercury Lounge on Sunday

October 7th, 2016

Singer-songwriter Xavier Dphrepaulezz was born in Massachusetts, but it wasn’t until he moved to Oakland during middle school that he began to get immersed in music, learning multiple instruments and writing songs. He put out an album on Interscope in ’95, but not much became of it. Record-label battles and a terrible accident and coma followed by rehab and recovery left him wanting to spend more time at home with his family. But sometimes you just need a fresh start, and so revitalized and inspired following the birth of his son, Dphrepaulezz began performing and recording under the name Fantastic Negrito a few years ago. What is essentially his debut full-length, the terrific The Last Days of Oakland (stream it below), filled with a mix of blues, folk, hip-hop and rock, came out earlier this year. NPR Music called it “a powerful document—if not a full-on rallying cry—about bulldozing all the roadblocks life piles up through sheer force of will, talent and song. It’s an angry album. It’s a righteous album. It’s a redemptive album. Ultimately, though, it’s a celebration of hard-fought survival, something Dphrepaulezz knows all too well.” Fantastic Negrito (above, performing “Lost in a Crowd” in studio for WFUV FM) is opening for Temple of the Dog’s eight sold-out shows, including their stop at Madison Square Garden on 11/7. But tickets still remain to see the dapper performer—about whom, Mother Jones claims, “America has lost its soul. This unforgettable new singer has found it”—on Sunday night at Mercury Lounge. Genre-spanning singer-songwriter Feral Foster opens the show.

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Brand New/Modest Mouse – Madison Square Garden – July 14, 2016

July 15th, 2016

Brand New - Madison Square Garden - July 14, 2016

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Ellie Goulding – Madison Square Garden – June 21, 2016

June 22nd, 2016

Ellie Goulding - Madison Square Garden - June 21, 2016

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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The Avett Brothers – Madison Square Garden – April 8, 2016

April 11th, 2016

The Avett Brothers - Madison Square Garden - April 8, 2016

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Coheed and Cambria – The Theater at MSG – March 4, 2016

March 7th, 2016

Coheed and Cambria - The Theater at Madison Square Garden - March 4, 2016

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Disclosure – Madison Square Garden – October 24, 2015

October 26th, 2015

Disclosure - Madison Square Garden - October 24, 2015

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

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Don’t Miss Blur Tomorrow Night at Madison Square Garden

October 22nd, 2015

Damon Albarn (vocals and guitar), Alex James (bass), Dave Rowntree (drums) and Graham Coxon (guitar and vocals) formed Blur in London back in 1988. And while they initially began with a swirling shoegaze sound, they launched themselves as one of the England’s most popular guitar-pop bands—gaining comparisons to the Who, the Kinks and the Jam—with a pair of highly acclaimed releases: Modern Life Is Rubbish (stream it below) in 1993 and Parklife (stream it below) in 1994. Not wanting to get pigeonholed with a specific sound, Blur (above, performing “Go Out” on Later … with Jools Holland) embraced lo-fi, indie tendencies on their eponymous album (stream it below), out in 1997, earning the band mainstream success in the U.S. They went on a bit of a hiatus in the new millennium, but they returned with their first studio album in 12 years when the hypnotic, moody The Magic Whip (stream it below) came out this past spring. And it seems like the time off was no problem as the new LP received nearly universal acclaim. According to Rolling Stone, “The band’s first album in more than a decade is a dark, seductive set that cements a legacy.” And furthermore, “Blur have returned with inspiration to spare.” See them play Madison Square Garden tomorrow night. And as an added bonus, fast-rising star Courtney Barnett, who seems to get better with each performance, opens the show.

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Death Cab for Cutie Rise from Mercury Lounge to the Garden

September 14th, 2015

Death Cab for Cutie – Madison Square Garden – September 12, 2015

Death Cab for Cutie – Madison Square Garden – September 12, 2015
Hundreds of bands pass through Mercury Lounge each year. It is the lonely and unsexy work of being a small touring act, playing small rooms to a bouquet of strangers. Only a select few can say, as Ben Gibbard and his band—Death Cab for Cutie—did Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, that they have traveled the 34 blocks and five avenues from one of Manhattan’s smaller venues to its largest. Gibbard, in a blue dress shirt and a pair of black jeans, didn’t miss the power of the moment, marveling to the crowd about his group’s first show at the Merc 15 years ago, pausing a bit to gaze out at the thousands of strangers assembled in a basketball arena, remarking, finally, “This is really a mind fuck.”

Despite the wheeling career vertigo, Death Cab, in this post–Chris Walla iteration, sounded polished and tight, opening with “No Room in Frame,” from their most recent long-player, Kintsugi. Gibbard drew the album’s title from the Japanese art of piecing pottery back together with gold. The allegory is a one-to-one: His marriage to Zooey Deschanel imploded, his cofounding bandmate left the band. This record, like his life, would be mended with gold, and few people do the beauty of devastation better than Ben Gibbard. Enjoying the broken decadence of the new album on Saturday night, Death Cab played about half of its contents—songs like “Black Sun,” “Little Wanderer” and “No Room in Frame” acting as both elegy and rebuke to the pain of the past few years.

Gibbard worked Death Cab’s classics into a capacious 22-song set. The crowd joined in on the predictable power of the band’s most well-known ballad, “I Will Follow You into the Dark,” and alighted to the power of long jam “I Will Possess Your Heart” and deeper cuts like “The New Year” and “Company Calls.” The night’s penultimate song, “Marching Bands of Manhattan,” was one of those moments when even a rock star like Gibbard revealed New York City’s outsized place in his—and our—cultural imagination. “If I could open my arms and span the length of the isle of Manhattan” framed a grammatical conditional now seemingly outdated. And for a night, Gibbard held more of New York than he ever could have imagined. —Geoff Nelson | @32feet

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Things Get Bigger for Courtney Barnett at Terminal 5

July 23rd, 2015

Courtney Barnett – Terminal 5 – July 22, 2015

Courtney Barnett – Terminal 5 – July 22, 2015
Courtney Barnett playing a sold out show at Terminal 5? Seems a bit sudden, doesn’t it? But, yes, Courtney Barnett played a sold-out show at Terminal 5(!) and dominated the grand space like it was inevitable all along. While she began the set small, playing the opening song solo in a spotlight as the full house soaked in every word, things soon grew to a size appropriate for the room and just seemed to get bigger and bigger as the performance progressed. The trio—Barnett on vocals and guitar, Bones Sloane on bass and backing vocals and Dave Mudie on drums—exploded with sound on “Lance Jr.,” drums, bass and guitar almost immediately reaching full ignition. It was clear why she calls her band CB3 as this is a threesome following in the grand tradition of great power trios, halfway between Nirvana and the Experience, stripped down onstage with just a few lonely amps, and playing with a ferocity and that je ne sais trois innate to the best. The crowd was certainly well familiar with the songs off Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, but working through the material last night, Barnett and her mates made them feel altogether brand new. These were the 3D IMAX versions, extrasensory and totally immersive.

The location-appropriate “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” featured a druggy tempo with a low-bass ooze as Barnett spun out her trademark lyrics—“Watching all the movies/ Drinking all the smoothies/ Swimming at the pool/ I’m thinking of you, too”—with charm and confidence while colorized images of the Williamsburg Bridge jittered on the screen behind her. Every song felt like a possible favorite and a potential sing-along. While the full-tilt rockers got the crowd loose and rowdy, the smoldering slow ones were the set’s highlights, keeping everyone rapt in her spell. “Small Poppies” was a revelation: slow-building each verse upon the next, Barnett howling “Eye for an eye for an eye …” while the rhythm section pushed things with a steady veteran skill, eventually making way for an intense spasm of a guitar jam with a hand-drawn monster literally lurking in the woods on the screen behind them.

“Depreston” served as a centerpiece for her skill of mixing the funny and the poignant, layering melodies and meanings within a single song that might have you alternating between smiling, crying and totally rocking out. There was scant banter between numbers, but little was needed with the songs’ conversational wit. What more is there to say when you’re already singing, “Everybody is somebody else’s somebody?” Besides, there was barely time to spare as the extended trio rock-outs ran up against curfew (Barnett quipping, “I thought this was the city that never sleeps!”). They blazed through the crowd-pleasing end of the show with high-energy versions of favorites “Avant Gardener” and “Pedestrian at Best,” Barnett taking a brief moment to appreciate the size of the venue and maybe the magnitude of the moment, before squeezing in a sing-along encore of “History Eraser.” Yeah, it was big, but it’s only getting bigger for CB3. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

(Courtney Barnett opens for Blur at Madison Square Garden on 10/23.)

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Double Your Pleasure with Two Dispatch Shows at the Garden

July 8th, 2015

Chad “Stokes” Urmston (vocals, guitar, bass and percussion), Pete “Francis” Hemibold (vocals, bass and guitar) and Brad “Braddigan” Corrigan (vocals, drums, guitar and percussion) began making music together while still in college in Vermont. The jam friendly roots-rock trio Dispatch arrived on the scene in 1996 with the release of their
debut album, Silent Steeples (stream it below). Unlike the rest of their catalog, the LP mainly featured acoustic folk songs. But in the nearly 20 years since, Dispatch have put
out four more studio albums, including 2012’s well-regarded Circles Around the Sun (stream it below), four live albums, four DVDs and a pair of EPs. Somewhere along the way, they became “the biggest band nobody’s heard of,” according to Corrigan. When the group broke up in 2004, they played a farewell show in Boston that drew more than 100,000 fans from across the world. And when they reunited three years later to raise funds for Zimbabean humanitarian efforts by playing one show at Madison Square Garden, it blossomed into three sold-out shows despite not a lot of publicity behind them. Of course, something else the socially conscious group is known for is fun, high-energy performances. So when Dispatch play a pair of shows this weekend at Madison Square Garden—on Friday with Dr. Dog opening—and on Saturday with the John Butler Trio opening, which is just about sold out—billed as DISPATCH: HUNGER, to raise money to fight hunger in America, expect to have a good time.

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