Tag Archives: New York City

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Passion Pit – Terminal 5 – January 13, 2018

January 16th, 2018


Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Bahamas on 1/19

January 16th, 2018

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Toronto musician Bahamas has a new album coming out on Friday, and he celebrates its release that night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The show is sold out, but The House List is giving away two tickets. Don’t already have any of your own and still want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Bahamas, 1/19) and a brief message explaining what you most love about his music. Eddie Bruiser, a fan of Canadian rock and the Bahamas, will notify the winner by Friday afternoon. Good luck.

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Calpurnia Leave Them Screaming for More at Rough Trade NYC

January 16th, 2018

Calpurnia – Rough Trade NYC – January 12, 2017


If you’re Finn Wolfhard, life is pretty great. From playing Mike Wheeler on the Netflix binge-worthy series Stranger Things to a starring role in last summer’s cinematic reboot of Stephen King’s It, the 15 year old is riding high, but it doesn’t stop there. Boy signed a deal with Royal Mountain Records in late November for his band, Calpurnia. As they’re currently recording their debut EP, what they played at a sold-out Rough Trade NYC on Friday night was an evening of surprises. To fully set the scene, a gaggle of preteen girls lined the entrance to the performance space in the back. When the doors opened to the stage, the screams were palpable and would go on throughout the short, yet varied set. Although bassist Jack Anderson and rhythm guitarist Wolfhard took the lead addressing the crowd, lead guitarist Ayla Tesler-Mabe stood out thanks to her impressive prowess. Her look and skills had me thinking she could be the new baby Haim sister.

The Vancouver, B.C., quartet debuted material from their forthcoming EP, including the punky “Wasting Time,” and played a slew of covers. The Velvet Underground’s “Here She Comes Now” was dedicated to Lou Reed and Hulk Hogan. I doubt half of those in attendance knew who Reed was. Certainly not the young ladies in the front swooning over the actor-singer, but perhaps their supportive parents in the back. Wolfhard confessed Calpurnia’s shared love for Twin Peaks before the band honored their label-mates with a take on “Butterfly.” The crowd sang along to Pixies“Where Is My Mind” in between extended squeals, of course. And Anderson throbbed the bass on a rendition of Weezer’s “El Scorcho” to close the set. A resounding “one more song” chant called the young band back to the stage to encore with a new original tune. Oh, what it’s like to be a teen again. —Sharlene Chiu

 

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The Killers Don’t Skip a Beat at Barclays Center on Tuesday Night

January 10th, 2018

The Killers – Barclays Center – January 9, 2018


Longevity in the music industry isn’t guaranteed, nor is a song that stays on the charts 13 years after its release. The Killers“Mr. Brightside” was the track that remained on the U.K. charts, and Noisy hypothesized a few theories why that might have been. It’s no surprise that frontman Brandon Flowers cited the U.K. as what broke their band during a time when the Strokes and the White Stripes ruled America. After more than 15 years of music together, the Las Vegas band released their fifth album, Wonderful Wonderful, last year to the glee of longtime fans. With guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer taking time off touring for family and to finish up college, longtime collaborators guitarist Ted Sablay and bassist Jake Blanton entered the lineup in their stead. Despite the change to the original quartet, the Killers didn’t skip a beat at a sold-out Barclay Center last night.

The stage converted into mirrored pyramid screens resembling an open shell perfectly displaying the band for the opener, the new LP’s title song. The staging played a big part in the performance with pink confetti showering the crowd during “The Man,” as old-timey neon Vegas signage projected in the backdrop. Flowers seamlessly weaved old favorites “Somebody Told Me” and “Smile Like You Mean It” among more recent hits “Run for Cover” and “Shot at the Night.” He reminisced on the passing of the 10th anniversary of Sam’s Town, in which the Killers played to 1,500 people at the hotel/casino that provided the album’s name. The quartet covered Dire Straits“Romeo and Juliet” as an interlude before the appropriately paired “Runaways.”

Throughout the show, I marveled at hit after hit, especially my favorite, “All These Things That I’ve Done,” which I dare anyone to not chime in on the infectious chorus, “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier.” Flowers returned to the stage having changed into a gold suit and matching boots, as if channeling Elvis himself. With a recorded opening monologue by Woody Harrelson, the ageless singer climbed the stairs encoring with the downtown romp “The Calling.” It would not end there, rather deep cut “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” and the rousing “When You Were Young” were played before the closing song. You guessed it: the hit that managed to top the charts for over a decade. —Sharlene Chiu

 

 

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Karl Blau and Chris Forsyth Team Up to Take On Rough Trade NYC

January 9th, 2018

After years of recording, Karl Blau is finally having his moment. As a mainstay in the influential lo-fi folk scene built around K Records in the Pacific Northwest, he’s been churning out rock solid music that’s never followed the trends around him. Featuring his rich molasses-soaked baritone voice and effortless abilities to cross genres, each of Blau’s records is a rewarding journey that can just as easily bring listeners gratification as it can put you off guard. As great as these albums have been, Blau had been flying under the radar for far too long. But thanks to last year’s Introducing Karl Blau (stream it below), that all changed. With help from producer Tucker Martine and guests like Jim James, Jenny Lewis and Laura Veirs, Introducing found Blau reinterpreting classic songs by such artists as Townes Van Zandt, the Bee Gees and Link Wray. The results were absolutely breathtaking and the long-player brought him to a much wider audience, landing Blau (above, doing “Fallin’ Rain” live in studio for KEXP FM) a home with Bella Union for this year’s equally brilliant Out Her Space (stream it below). Comprised of all originals, the new album continues Blau’s winning streak and proves that one of underground music’s best-kept secrets is at the height of his powers. Blau plays Rough Trade NYC on Thursday with guitar mastermind Chris Forsyth—most known for his sprawling psychedelic work, like on this year’s Dreaming in the Non-Dream (stream it below)—and his Solar Motel Band, a truly great double bill that shouldn’t be missed. —Pat King | @MrPatKing




 

 

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Anthony Ramos on 1/13

January 9th, 2018

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After appearing on stage—a star-making turn as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in the global smash Hamilton—and screen—taking on Spike Lee’s role of Mars Blackmon in the auteur’s She’s Gotta Have It Netflix reboot—talented Brooklyn singer-songwriter Anthony Ramos has turned inward: And with his politically charged debut EP, Freedom, due to arrive later this month, Ramos plays Rough Trade NYC on Saturday and Sunday. Some tickets still remain to his second performance, but if you already got shut out of Saturday’s sold-out show, you can still try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List. It’s easy, just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Anthony Ramos, 1/13) and a brief message (that doesn’t involve alcohol) explaining your best advice for staying warm in these arctic temperatures. Eddie Bruiser, who’s currently laying low on the liquor, will notify the winner by Friday afternoon. Good luck.

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Ahead of New Album, Oshun Play the Late Show at Rough Trade NYC

January 8th, 2018

Expertly blending hip-hop with neo-soul, Washington, D.C., natives Thandiwe and Niambi Sala, who actually met at NYU, make what they call “Floetry meets Lauryn Hill meets Chief Keef” as the soulful R&B duo Oshun. “Niambi’s fast-punching lyricism weaves in and out of Thandi’s smooth, honey-like harmonies, creating something that neither one of them could have formed without the other,” says Fader. “The two friends use their music to share their reality, and no topic is left uncovered. Over subtle melodies that give a sense of steady calm, they expound upon current events, knowing your history, and the triumphs and tribulations of being young black women growing up in today’s society.” They put out several singles last year, including “Not My President.” And with their album, Bittersweet, Vol. 1, due to arrive, Oshun (above, performing “Gods” for KUTX FM), play the late show at Rough Trade NYC on Friday with High Class Hoodlums opening.

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Join the Flosstradamus Dance Party on Saturday Night at Brooklyn Steel

December 28th, 2017

Autobot (Curt Cameruci) and J2K (Josh Young) teamed up to form Flosstradamus more than a decade ago in Chicago. Mashing up house, techno, electro and R&B, they quickly won over fans around town—and then the country—with their all-inclusive dance parties. One of their many strengths is that they know how to have a good time, and that comes across when they perform live, which is probably why the progressive-dance DJs have earned the reputation as party starters, whether it’s in a small club or on a big festival stage. And although Young left the band about a year ago, Flosstradamus is still going strong. With the current tour winding down, Flosstradamus comes to Brooklyn Steel on Saturday night. So come join the dance party and arrive early enough to catch the Phantoms DJ set.

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It’s the End of the Year as We Know It

December 28th, 2017

With 2018 fast approaching, The House List takes a look back at 2017.

Adela Loconte, Photographer @adelaloconte
Top Five Favorite Shows
1.
At the Drive-In, Terminal 5, March 22
2. Arca & Jesse Kanda Live, Brooklyn Steel, July 6
3. The Flaming Lips, Terminal 5, March 9
4. PJ Harvey, Brooklyn Steel, April 20
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings Theatre, November 7

Chad Berndtson, Writer @cberndtson
Top Five Favorite Shows
No music fan sees everything, and so much depends on the time, the night, the conditions—my ephemeral joys might be your disappointments. That’s part of the fun, right? Among scores of shows I saw in 2017, here are five nights that stuck with me.
1. Drive By Truckers, The Space at Westbury, February 10
One of the great live bands of the last 20 years has gotten leaner and meaner, unafraid of political jabs or paint-peeler guitar solos.
2. Explosions in the Sky, Capitol Theatre, April 22
Ominous music, loaded with portent, staring into the abyss or looking with a smile at some triumph high in the sky. Heavy, cinematic and deep.
3. Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons, Mercury Lounge, April 30
A master class in old-school, highly emotional rock energy. Still don’t understand why more people don’t know him, 30-plus years into a career of rough-scuffed folk rock delivered sometimes with tenderness and sometimes with Crazy Horse–like abandon.
4. The xx, Forest Hills Stadium, May 19
OK, I’m buying: Hipster as hell, but what they did was paint an outdoor venue in darkly beautiful soundscapes. The most fun I’ve had getting lost in a band in some time. They turn large, unforgiving venues into intimate listening rooms—and get you dancing.
5. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Music Hall of Williamsburg, November 20
Nelson has learned a lot from two musical dads: his actual dad, Willie, and also Neil Young, whom the Promise of the Real have backed on and off for years now. The type of show that defines the word swagger—a generous meal of rock, country, folk, blues and R&B by an old-school showman barely in his prime.

Dan Rickershauser, Writer @d4nricks
Top Five Favorite Albums
1.
Big Thief, Capacity
The one record I found myself returning to again and again. It was a shitty year, but something about this album soothed my sorrows. Adrianne Lenker’s songs feel personal yet completely pull you in. May she never let go.
2. Kendrick Lamar, Damn.
This may be my least favorite Kendrick Lamar record to date and yet it’s still the second best album that came out this year. The man’s a legend and the world seems to know it. It’s a good thing he’s so humble.
3. The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
Adam Granduciel, the obsessive studio wizard, put out another beauty, this record even more gorgeous than the last. It’s the sound of rock perfection from a perfectionist.
4. Waxahatchee, Out in the Storm
Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting just keeps getting better. She comes out of the gates swinging with some dangerously catchy jams.
5. Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins
Of all the great indie bands of the late Aughts returning with new albums this year, Grizzly Bear’s takes the cake. Way too many critics slept on this one!

Pat King, Writer @mrpatking
Top Five Favorite Albums
1. Jens Lekman, Life Will See You Now
I had never really given Jens Lekman a chance as a songwriter, but this year it finally clicked for me in a big way. I got laid off from a job that I thought I loved early on in 2017 and was feeling pretty lost and listless in life. I was taking the train from the city to upstate New York to help my dad with a few big projects and was feeling incredibly low sitting alone on Metro North. All of the sudden, I heard “To Know Your Mission” and was completely overcome with emotion. It was the perfect tune for me at that time and each song that followed helped me understand my situation a little more clearly. I couldn’t believe how wise and endearing Lekman is as a lyricist.
2. Mark Mulcahy, The Possum in the Driveway
Whenever the discussion veers toward musicians who have not been given their just dues, I always think of Mark Mulcahy. As the frontman of Miracle Legion and the Nickelodeon-sponsored Polaris (“ay-yay-yay-yi, Hey Sandy”), Mulcahy had been known for a certain type of feel-good college jangle pop that was certainly a product of the ’90s. What many people may not realize is that his solo releases have been more emotionally and musically rewarding than either of those old projects, and he’s been one of few artists who each album he releases is better than his last. Over the past couple of decades he has reinvented himself as one of the great American balladeers, with lyrics and a voice that can cut you down to the bone. This year’s the Possum in the Driveway is a brilliant testament to his powers as a songwriter and one that proves he is in a league of his own.
3. Pallbearer, Heartless
Pallbearer have always shown promise of being one the best doom-metal bands around. But with their self-titled third album, they’ve transcended the genre and gelled into one of today’s most exciting rock bands. The songs are slightly shorter (although still around eight minutes) but have somehow intensified their scope in a more epic way. With this LP, Brett Campbell has made his case for being one of the best singers in heavy music. His lines never reach the outrageous heights of some of his peers in metal but bring enough power to stop you in your tracks. The same goes for this record’s instrumentation. The songs never feel like they have too many parts or get played out to the point of metal parody. It’s just a front-to-back banger that finally cemented Pallbearer as one of the best around.
4. Björk, Utopia
There aren’t many artists who you could say are peerless in popular music. Björk is definitely one of those artists. Every time she releases a new album, fans wait with anticipation to see where she if she will be able to clear the bar she set for herself on the one before. Utopia is such a statement as a complete work as she tries to understand and find happiness in her life after exploring decimating heartbreak on her last release, Vulnicura. It’s amazing to hear her reach the same breathtaking heights as a visionary artist this far into her career. Bow down and give respect.
5. Robyn Hitchcock, Robyn Hitchcock
Robyn Hitchcock delivered the back-to-basics Soft Boys–style album that many of his fans had been longing for for years. Teaming up with producer (and ex-Raconteur) Brendan Benson, Hitchcock turned up the amps and delivered 10 near-flawless rock songs that reminded us why he is one of the most inventive songwriters around. His wit as a lyricist is still ever-present, but hearing him deliver guitar parts reminiscent of Underwater Moonlight on songs like “I Want to Tell You What I Want” and “Mad Shelley’s Letterbox” was one of the most welcome surprises of 2017 for me.
Pat King’s Top 20 Best of 2017 Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/126049064/playlist/2idgUHVCiGSJqKkwkfex8v?si=wewT–RFRfWWxEVV3rmWsQ.

Sharlene Chiu, Writer
Top Five Favorite Shows with “New” Artists
1. SZA, Brooklyn Steel, December 10

So if you haven’t yet heard of SZA, you won’t be able to escape her name anytime soon. Riding a debut album that has already produced two platinum singles, the singer played a very sold-out Brooklyn Steel the night after performing on SNL. Her vibrant stage presence was supported by the Sing Harlem Choir. Girl’s going places and you’ll see her next year at the Grammy’s, where she’s the most nominated woman with five nods.
2. Maggie Rogers, The Bowery Ballroom, April 11
When a video of Pharrell’s reaction to Ms. Rogers’ demo of “Alaska” went viral, she was on the up-and-up. Her performance at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom was not only a homecoming, but it was also a beginning of bigger stages and larger audiences. She became teary and confessional near the end of the set, reminiscing about the previous times she’d been to the venue as an audience member. After her pair of Bowery shows, she set off on a whirlwind international tour taking her to Europe, Australia and Japan.
3. The Cactus Blossoms, Mercury Lounge, July 12
The first time I caught the Cactus Blossoms’ noir-infused honky-tonk was at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco last year. When I saw they would be playing a late show at Mercury Lounge, I had to be there. Friends, I do not go out late on school nights, but for brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey, I made an exception. Their languid waltzes were the perfect soundtrack for steamy July.
4. Jay Som, Rough Trade NYC, June 6
A triad of Asian-American songwriters, including Mitski, Japanese Breakfast and Jay Som have been self-producing music since last year. The latter rolled into a sold-out Rough Trade NYC to charm the crowd with not only her skilled musicianship, but also with her charming wit. Som was recently shortlisted by NPR’s All Songs Considered in their year-end best of 2017.
5. Violents and Monica Martin, Rough Trade NYC, April 26
OK, this one isn’t technically new, but the pairing was. Monica Martin, best known as the frontwoman for the now-on-hiatus Phox, and producer Jeremy Larson aka Violents teamed up for this rare tour. Larson has collaborated with female vocalists before, but this one was special. Songs were paired with cinematic footage ranging from scenes from House Party to sweeping black-and-white scenery. What still sticks in my memory was a haunting cover of Frank Ocean’s “Self Control.”

 

 

 

 

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Two Nights of Diarrhea Planet Live at Rough Trade NYC

December 27th, 2017

Let’s get it out of the way: Diarrhea Planet (above, performing “Heat Wave” live in the studio for KEXP FM) may not be the most enticing name, but with their heady four-guitar rock attack, the Nashville six-piece—Evan Bird, Emmett Miller, Jordan Smith and Brent Toler (each on guitar), Mike Boyle (bass) and Casey Weissbach (drums)—win over people with what AllMusic calls a “’70s power pop meets ’90s grunge vibe” and a “potent and sometimes ridiculous mix of blistering garage rock, pop punk, metal and even Southern rock,” per NPR Music. Last year, the road warriors put out their second full-length album, Turn to Gold (stream it below), which “rolls forth like a stoner rock take on Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run being blasted out the windows of a dragon mural-encrusted boogie van,” according to AllMusic. “With Turn to Gold, Diarrhea Planet, a group with arguably one of the best-worst band names in rock history, have crafted their first truly great album.” And as good as their recorded stuff is, Stereogum calls Diarrhea Planet’s live show “reliably fucking awesome.” Find out for yourself when they play Rough Trade NYC on Saturday and then again on New Year’s Eve.

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Dillinger Escape Plan on 12/29

December 26th, 2017

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North Jersey metalcore greats Dillinger Escape Plan are calling it a career after three final shows at Terminal 5—tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. And while all three dates are sold out, The House List is giving away two tickets to the grand finale on Friday night. Don’t have any of your own and still want to go? Try to Grow a Pair from The House List. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Dillinger Escape Plan, 12/29) and a brief message explaining why you’re looking forward to the end of 2017. Eddie Bruiser, who isn’t yet feeling so optimistic about 2018, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Two Chances to Catch Gogol Bordello Headlining Brooklyn Steel

December 26th, 2017

The more you absorb Gogol Bordello (above, performing “Saboteur Blues” live in studio for Paste Studios), the deeper the experience gets. First or second time out it’s all about the party: Eugene Hütz and his rampaging horde put punk, dub, rock, klezmer, flamenco, Latin, folk, polka and who knows what else in a sticky blender and hit pulse. Then comes intense appreciation of how they can mine so many different styles and make them sound cohesive—and coherent—without turning such a polyglot sound into an unfocused mess. Finally, you appreciate the depth in the lyrics—the marvelous wordplay, the sharp commentary, the bang-on turns of phrase. These aren’t just bat-shit partiers, they’re craftsmen. And they can party. Blow a room to pieces, as a matter of fact. Gogol Bordello’s 10th album, one of their moodiest, Seekers and Finders (stream it below), arrived this past August. It suggests that nearly 20 years in, the band is rounding out that much further, able to mix in more poignant folk strains without sobering up their sound too much. You hear plenty of guitar and slashing violin, but also trumpet, rat-a-tat percussion, accordion and many other sonics. Above all, they sound ever more like a global collective. (Various Bordello members hail from as far as Russia and Ecuador, and the U.S., Ukraine and Ethiopia.) “My idea of the band is more of a creative, collective gang,” Hutz told Bullet Music back in April. “A master of his own jujitsu, his musical aikido, it’s really a lot more like observing a performance of group musical mixed martial arts competition.” You won’t get beat up (maybe), but you will be thrust into the delectable, raw-edged present: Living for now is a constant theme for Gogol Bordello. “Remember times when the colors were brighter/ And streets were filled with rhyme/ It is still that way/ If you ask about it,” the band bellows in “Still That Way,” on the new album. It recalls a Gogol Bordello classic from a decade ago, “Ultimate,” which opened with “There was never any good old days/ They are today, they are tomorrow.” Don’t miss these fun-loving live performers on Thursday and Friday at Brooklyn Steel. Funky brass band Lucky Chops open both shows. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

 

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Jon Bellion on 12/21

December 19th, 2017

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Long Island singer-songwriter Jon Bellion is back in town this week to play Terminal 5 on Thursday and Friday. Some tickets still remain for his latter appearance, but if you don’t already have any to Thursday’s show, you can try to Grow a Pair of them from The House List. It’s easy, just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Jon Bellion, 12/21) and a brief message explaining your favorite Christmas tradition. Eddie Bruiser, who’s got a thing for customs involving brown liquor, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.

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Kevin Devine Plays Two Albums at His Last Local Show of the Year

December 18th, 2017

Kevin Devine – Music Hall of Williamsburg – December 16, 2017


The end is near—of 2017, at least. People are preparing treks to see family or readying their own home to be visited. At the same time, they’re also reflecting on a year that many of us would probably like to move past. And Kevin Devine’s final hometown 2017 show, at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night, felt like the perfect coda. He put two albums on display, one that worries about where we’re headed and one that helps tell us how we got here. He began with the former, Instigator. Released a month before the 2016 election, it’s a loud, nervous record with a clear vision about the battles America is fighting, will fight and those already won or lost. While Devine is often flanked by a half dozen or more band members, he played this album as a trio. It was written that way, he says, and that raw sound only amplified the tension and the terror of lyrics in songs like “Both Ways” (“Our destiny, made manifest/ Oblivion and its endlessness/ Imagine our surprise when/ We actually had to pick up the check!”) or “No History,” a recalculation of 9/11’s impact on the country and its people through the hazy lens of our current troubles (“The blood and money didn’t fix anything/ We’ve grown accustomed to the depths of the danger/ This is the future/ Severe and always happening”).

While it’s all a bit dour, it’s a cathartic album to hear played live. Devine, though, seemed to rush through it the way one speeds through hard holiday conversations with family so they can get out and see old friends. No surprise, because he then moved on to the second album, 2006’s Put Your Ghost to Rest. For this one, he was joined by that ensemble of usual suspects, the Goddamn Band, as the shifting group of friends and musicians has always been called. The lyrics, written during—and often about—the Bush administration, were still challenging and surprisingly relevant. But the music grew more lush and beautiful, with violin and keyboard and shakers filling in the gaps that Instigator purposely leaves bare. Devine trades in hindsight and foresight, but he’s also a jester. He splashed the three-hour set with jokes and stories between tunes. Some were about why certain songs exist, and others were small nostalgic anecdotes he almost sounded embarrassed to share. Across the night, it was clear Devine is relieved to have survived 2017, is mourning those who haven’t, and is worrying and wondering about what 2018 will bring—just like the crowd of fans before him. —Sean O’Kane | @Sokane1

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Leif Vollebekk Chats and Tells Stories at Rough Trade NYC on Friday

December 18th, 2017

Leif Vollebekk – Rough Trade NYC – December 15, 2017


Leif Vollebekk has a lot to say. At times during a snowy Friday night at Rough Trade NYC made warm by the cheer brought by the Ottawa, Ont., native’s visceral and fatty folk cuts, he seemed more eager to talk to the audience than to play the songs that framed his tangents. But this is simply because Vollebekk’s rich organ-and-guitar-laden outpouring is so effortless. Song is his first language and its communication seems like second nature. His is the kind of voice that makes you let down your guard. Once his country-boy rasp reaches you, you allow it in because it speaks of travels you’ve taken or have dreamed of taking and so many of the relatable feelings of living through them.

Vollebbekk is a torchbearer for the original soul and folk artists of the 20th century, those who we can now only listen to through earphones. This is why seeing him channel artists like young Dylan and Jeff Buckley live is such a thrill. This year’s Twin Solitude augmented Vollebbekk’s authentic, personal songwriting with a more sensual production and many of its songs filled the room on Friday. “Vancouver Time,” “All Night Sedans,” “Elegy,” “Big Sky Country,” “Michigan” and “Telluride” were played with unforced measure, inviting you into his narrative visions, moved along by the slow vibrations of bass guitar and brushed drum strokes behind him. Vollebekk’s 2014 breakout album, North Americana, was visited as well, with “Off the Main Drag” freezing people in their place.

One thing you walked away thinking, back out in the snow, slowly coming to from the trance Leif Vollebekk’s soulful potions had put you in is that he’s a good hang. His music can bring a smile and an upwelling of humanity from the stiffest and most repressed, which is why we need to keep encouraging his likes to play for us, to show us how to take a long look around and take it all in. Performances like his remind you that in the midst of the overload, earnest storytelling through sweet sound is something to slow down and stop for. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com