Tag Archives: Theo Spielberg

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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.

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Passion Pit – Bowery Ballroom – June 19-20, 2009

June 21st, 2009

Passion Pit - Bowery Ballroom - June 20, 2009

Passion Pit’s polished performance at The Bowery Ballroom last Friday delivered the upbeat electro-pop that the group’s growing fan base has come to adore. The intimate venue served Passion Pit well. The group commanded the small space to draw in the mixed crowd of diehards and newbie fans. The set list similarly, and wisely, played to the mixed constituents in the crowd, alternating between überpopular songs like “Better Things” (with which they opened) and “Sleepyhead,” and lesser-known or newer jams like “The Reeling,” the first single off the band’s upcoming debut full-length album, Manners. The impossibly and impressively high-pitched voice of Michael Angelakos (lead vocals and keyboards) remained crisp and consistent throughout the set, and the enthusiasm and energy pulsating from keyboardist Ian Hultquist and samplist and synth master Ayad Al Adhamy engaged the crowd in a ballroom-wide dance party. The five merry men of Passion Pit rarely stopped smiling throughout the show, and their obvious enjoyment of the music set the tone for the crowd to follow. —Theo Spielberg

Photos (from 6/20) courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com

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The Tallest Man on Earth Has Energy to Spare

June 16th, 2009

The Tallest Man on Earth – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 13, 2009

The Tallest Man on Earth

On Friday night, Swedish singer Kristian Matsson, also known as the Tallest Man on Earth (despite his ostensibly normal height), occupied the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg, churning out an hour of country-blues-inspired tunes. Locked at the microphone in a fighting stance, Mattson pointed his guitar like a machine gun for the majority of the set and fingerpicked a maelstrom of notes at rapid-fire. With only an acoustic guitar, smoky voice and a seemingly endless store of gumption at his disposal, he had no trouble spellbinding a packed house. He was alone onstage, save for an array of pedals, that spare acoustic guitar and a red chair he never sat in for more than three seconds at a time. The way he winced, you would think he had sat down to play the “hard parts.”

Matsson’s energy was wild and undeterred. While he wasn’t crooning into the microphone, he traversed the stage, gesticulating loudly and slamming his faulty guitar chord back in like punctuation. His ebullience did not go unappreciated, inspiring audience-driven percussion while he stepped in time. For all of his stage antics, the Tallest Man’s superhuman qualities were to be found in his vocal chords, not his stature. Sounding whiskey soaked and gravelly, his voice reached up to the rafters. The Tallest Man ended his second-to-last song by vigorously throwing down his pick before gently picking up his guitar again and politely asking the audience for permission to play one more. Upon terminating his set for good, Matsson exited the stage, but not before shaking hands and giving hugs to extended (and I do mean extended) applause. —Theo Spielberg

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The Rain Can’t Put a Damper on TV on the Radio’s Central Park Show

June 8th, 2009

TV on the Radio/Dirty Projectors – SummerStage – June 5, 2009

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio

Friday night, despite the inclement weather, Dirty Projectors and TV on the Radio played to a faithful crowd of rain-soaked onlookers at SummerStage. Although their two monikers suggest technical difficulty, the show went off almost without a hitch. Led by Dave Longstreth, Dirty Projectors, the constantly fluctuating outfit, has hit its stride in its current formation, churning out tunes that shuttle from a cappella to free jazz to afrobeat without missing a step. The group’s X-factor lies in the vocal contributions from Angel Deradoorian, Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle. Their tight, otherworldly harmonies had no trouble rising above Longstreth’s Graceland riffs and Brian McOmber’s erratic drum beats. The set included several cuts from the upcoming Bitte Orca, out tomorrow. Highlights included the new and stellar “Cannibal Resource” and “Stillness Is the Move.”

TV on the Radio began its set just as the last sun rays filtered through the Western skyline. The band launched into an hour-long set, opening with “Love Dog,” while front man Tunde Adebimpe split his time between dancing a samba-like rhythm and manning the loop pedals. As the technologically synesthetic name suggests, TVOTR does not constrain itself to conventional instrumentation. For much of the set, guitarist Dave Sitek played with chimes hung from the tuning peg of his high-E string, occasionally colliding them with Jaleel Bunton’s cymbals. The band played cuts from its three studio albums, evenly dividing the material among each. The show ended with a spectacular rendition of Return to Cookie Mountain’s “A Method.” Adebimpe banged on a cymbal plucked from Bunton’s drum set while Sitek thumped on a drum with two shakers, sending rainwater flying. As the last electronic bursts fizzled, Adebimpe voiced a thank you to New York City with a shout-out to Brooklyn in particular. —Theo Spielberg