Tag Archives: Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom

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Our Town Welcomes eTown

December 8th, 2009

eTown Taping – Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom – December 7, 2009

Tori Amos
The Colorado-based radio variety show eTown, airing on more than 270 radio stations worldwide, took up temporary residence at the Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom last night, inviting guests Tori Amos and Loudon Wainwright III (filling in for Jesse Winchester, who had fallen ill) to share songs and answer questions before a live audience. For all the podcasts and Internet radio streams to be found these days, live tapings of this scale are a rarity in these parts. So the eTown taping was a bit unfamiliar, exciting and intriguingly retro.

Hosts Nick and Helen Forster introduced the program and their backing band, the eTones. Since it will air during the week of Christmas, the show had a distinct holiday theme. Fittingly, Amos’s recent release, Midwinter Graces, is comprised of original holiday songs and interpretations of traditional ones. After opening with “Lady in Blue,” she performed “Star of Wonder,” a recontextualized version of “We Three Kings.” In the following interview, Amos explained that she aimed to “expand the ideology” of religion through these songs. As per usual, the audience’s response to Amos was adoring. (When Wainwright took the stage to a significantly subdued greeting, he good-naturedly joked, “Why aren’t you screaming for me?”)

Although the eTown taping wasn’t far removed from a traditional concert, the old-fashioned charm of knowing that the proceedings were soon to be broadcast on radio was tangible nonetheless. When the show airs, those who were there will know that Amos and Wainwright playfully saluted each other as they collaborated with the eTown musicians for the finale. We’ll understand that Amos played a slightly extended intro to “Silent All These Years” while waiting for a malfunctioning monitor to be adjusted. And when we hear a random burst of applause in the middle of a lyric, we’ll remember that it was our response to Amos making a theatrical, sexy gesture. And you sure can’t send that over radio waves. —Alena Kastin

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Contest: Spend Monday Night with Tori Amos and Jesse Winchester

December 3rd, 2009

etown-780986
The nationally syndicated radio variety show eTown is coming to our town for a special holiday taping next Monday at the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center. The “more-than-a-concert” event will feature conversations with Tori Amos and Jesse Winchester, plus live performances by Amos, playing cuts from her new album, Midwinter Graces, and Winchester—accompanied by eTown hosts Nick and Helen Forster—playing tracks off his new disc, Love Filling Station.

While all of this is good news, the even-better news is that The House List is giving away three pairs of tickets. Just fill out the form below, listing your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (eTown, 12/7) and a brief message telling us about your most awkward Thanksgiving run-in with someone you went to high school with. The winners will be notified by 6 p.m. on Friday. Good luck.

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Bob Weir & Ratdog – Grand Ballroom – October 20, 2009

October 21st, 2009

Bob Weir & Ratdog - Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom - October 20, 2009

Photos courtesy of Dino Perrucci | dinoperrucciphotography.com

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Sunset Rubdown’s Operatic Eccentricities

October 19th, 2009

Sunset Rubdown – Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom – October 17, 2009

Sunset Rubdown
Spencer Krug, one half of Wolf Parade, brought his grandiose side project, Sunset Rubdown, to the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom on Friday night. The venue couldn’t have felt more appropriate to premiere Sunset’s latest epic album, Dragonslayer, to a New York City audience. The ancient, cavernous space is tucked away on the second floor of a nondescript midtown building, reachable only by manually operated elevator, and filled with tiered balconies, vaulted ceilings, red velvet curtains and an enormous disco ball. This antiquated and clandestine space was a perfect complement for Sunset Rubdown’s operatic eccentricities. Smoke machines lit from behind fell on the back of the stage like northern lights. The band seemed ripped off the mean streets and thrown into a faded Polaroid prom scene.

There are quite a few guitar-driven songs on Dragonslayer, and Krug seems equally at home creating jagged rhythms on songs like “You Go on Ahead” as he has been in playing piano-centric melodies on previous albums—it seems no instrument escapes his proficiency. The guitar lends itself to creating the soaring tones that rise higher and higher each verse, mixing with grinding distortion into an inevitable peak of sweat and floor-shaking chaos. Camilla Wynn Ingr’s angelic vocals, set against the quivering manic vocals from Krug, are also highlighted in the new material. She sings while navigating through an array of instruments, adding peculiar flourishes at opportune moments. Krug is clearly at the helm of these long-form literary songs. Free from Wolf Parade’s pop structure, he took every opportunity to expand these classically influenced ballads. However self-deprecating he comes across in his stage banter, it’s not working. He’s got nothing to be humble about. —Jason Dean