Tag Archives: Webster Hall


A Top Five Look Back at 2014

December 31st, 2014

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

Top Five Albums
1. The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream
2. Total Control, Typical System
3. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2
4. Coldplay, Ghost Stories
5. Parquet Courts, Sunbathing Animal —Charles Steinberg

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Feist, Tarrytown Music Hall, 4/10
When I heard Feist was doing a tiny solo acoustic tour, I forked over ducats for this one. There were bits of stand-up-like banter with the audience as she stripped down the material. But what really made the night was a mini-reunion with former bandmate (and ex) Kevin Drew as they dueted on the Broken Social Scene classic “Lover’s Spit.”
2. (tie) Rhye, Webster Hall, 2/21
This performance was a bit misleading because although singer Milosh and producer Robin Hannibal are the members in Rhye, the latter member doesn’t tour. But Milosh’s ethereal voice really is the heart and soul of the pair, and it shone greatest for the hit “Open.” His deceptively androgynous voice sounds at times like Sade or even Antony Hegarty.
(tie) Max Richter, The Bowery Ballroom, 12/7
When I saw that the German-British composer was playing Bowery, I had to hop to it. As Richter usually plays symphony concert halls, it was an interesting choice to play such a smaller venue. The Ballroom felt like a recital hall with the audience entranced. What can I say: I’m a sucker for artists playing unorthodox venues.
3. Glass Animals, The Bowery Ballroom, 7/7
I was recently reminded of this concert when my yoga instructor played “Gooey” in class. Pretty fitting, right? In addition to infectious dance melodies, frontman Dave Bayley’s gangly limbs flayed erratically that evening, bringing to mind another dude named Thom Yorke. The two lads have great music and dance moves to boot. Coincidence? I think not.
4. Phox, Knitting Factory, 7/22
The buzz swirling around this Wisconsin band post-SXSW had me tuned into their album all spring and into the summer. Frontwoman Monica Martin was definitely a bit tipsy, but that didn’t detract from her lush vocals or onstage camaraderie. (Check out Schuyler Rooth’s review of their Mercury Lounge gig.)
5. (tie) Mr. Little Jeans, Rough Trade NYC, 5/10
Opening for Sohn, Norwegian singer Monica Birkenes, aka Mr. Little Jeans, overshadowed the headliner for me. It’s rare when that happens, but this lady has a knack for übercatchy dance-pop songs that streamed through my head all summer. She mentioned how she often came here as a child and was really craving a good slice of pizza. What’s not to love?
(tie) Alvvays, Rough Trade NYC, 7/28
New York City summers are packed with free outdoor gigs throughout the boroughs, but this in-store performance with Alvvays stood out amongst the rest. Their infectiously happy songs illuminated the dark back room of Rough Trade but had folks departing into the night with an extra bounce in their step. —Sharlene Chiu

Top Five Just a Man and His Guitar Solo Sets (chronological order)
Dustin Wong (opening set), The Bowery Ballroom, 4/21
2. Plankton Wat, Trans Pecos, 5/8
3. Steve Gunn, Mercury Lounge, 5/18
4. Willie Watson, Mercury Lounge, 5/21
5. Leif Vollebekk (opening set) The Bowery Ballroom, 11/21 —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Sylvan Esso, Rough Trade NYC, 9/11
Both my favorite album and my most memorable live show of 2014 came from Sylvan Esso. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn possess unwavering emotive energy, and every single lyric and beat has sunk into my psyche . I saw the duo perform live twice this year, most recently at their headlining show at Rough Trade NYC. The duo’s erudite electronica boosted the audience as they performed the entirety of their self-titled debut album plus and few clever covers.
2. Broods, Mercury Lounge, 3/3
Comprised of New Zealander siblings Caleb and Georgia Nott, Broods blend melodic melancholia with sparkling synths and glitchy beats. After getting wrapped up in their self-titled debut EP, I simply had to see them live. Broods played their first NYC show to an incredibly enthusiastic sold-out crowd at Mercury Lounge.
3. Hozier, The Bowery Ballroom, 5/13
Hozier’s rich voice and ardent lyrics sit front and center in his compositions. When he headlined The Bowery Ballroom back in May, he was flanked by equally talented musicians who created dazzling harmonies with choral echoes and rock hooks. Hozier and his bandmates mesmerized the audience, including me.
4. Dan Croll, The Bowery Ballroom, 4/17
Dan Croll’s brand of pop is highly addictive, and his live show is equally intoxicating. He fuses lilting pop, wonky electronica and tribal beats and tops it all off with clever lyrics and airy vocals.
5. Kishi Bashi, The Bowery Ballroom, 6/4
Kishi Bashi has what so many musicians seek, and that is an astounding live presence. It’s as if this guy belongs onstage. Kishi Bashi played back-to-back sold-out New York City shows this past June and stunned audiences with his whimsical finesse and astute lyrics. This picture and my review prove that Kishi Bashi’s live performance is one big euphoric dream sequence. —Schuyler Rooth | @Schuylerspeak

Top Five Albums
1. Under the Pressure, the War on Drugs
Channeling Dylan and Springsteen beneath Adam Granduciel’s vocals and personal struggles to stunning effect, this Philly six-piece put out, for me, far and away the top album of the year.
2. Benjamin Booker, Benjamin Booker
From the very first listen, Benjamin Booker’s self-titled debut sounds familiar, not like you’d previously heard its influences, but rather you’d actually already heard this album. The music is lived in and alive and a joy to listen to again and again.
3. 77, Nude Beach
Eighteen songs that sound like the love children of late-’70s Tom Petty and Elvis Costello. You’ll smile the whole time you listen to it.
4. Dancin’ with Wolves, Natural Child
Recording for the first time as a five-piece, and moving away from gritty garage rock to
a more full-band bluesy country sound (with a side of boogie), these Nashville boys took a huge step forward.
5. Morning Phase, Beck
Six years removed from his previous offering, Beck’s slow-building emotional relative of Sea Change captures you from the very first note. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Pearl Jam, I Wireless Center (Moline, Ill.), 10/17
Playing a small (for them) venue (for the first time) on a Friday night in the middle of nowhere, Pearl Jam put on the best show by any band I’ve seen in the past four years. They performed No Code in its entirety and covered Pink Floyd, John Lennon, Van Halen and Neil Young. Frontman Eddie Vedder put it best, comparing the appearance to a blind date: “You get there and she opens the door, and it’s like, she’s hot!”
2. My Morning Jacket, One Big Holiday (Riviera Maya, Mexico), 1/29
I could’ve chosen any of MMJ’s performances from this run, but the last night was the longest show and it particularly stood out thanks to the perfect weather, the we’re-on-vacation-in-the-middle-of-winter party vibe and carefully chosen covers (including Jim James singing, “Something, something, something” in “Rock the Casbah.”)
3. the War on Drugs, The Bowery Ballroom, 3/20
I absolutely loved, loved, loved Under the Pressure and was extremely excited to hear it live. The War on Drugs did not disappoint, plus they even threw in a stellar rendition of “Mind Games” to boot. (As an added bonus, the night began with Drive-By Truckers at Terminal 5 and closed with green sauce and salt-baked goodness at New York Noodletown.
4. Jonathan Wilson, Music Hall of Williamsburg, 2/14
It was a Friday night and Valentine’s Day. But if you were expecting something quiet and romantic, you’d have been way off. Jonathan Wilson and Co. delivered 16 jammed-out (but not self-indulgently) songs over the course of two-and-a-half hours.
5. Deer Tick, Allen Room, 3/6
As part of the American Songbook series, Deer Tick played an incredibly intimate, seated show in front of a wall of windows revealing Columbus Circle below. It was one of those moments that makes you grateful to live in New York City. —R.Z.





The Prolific Ron Pope Plays Webster Hall Tomorrow Night

September 26th, 2014

Brooklyn’s Ron Pope is a DIY kind of guy: He plays guitar, writes, composes, records, produces and even manages his own career. The prolific musician’s been making his own brand of earnest, melodic rock since 2007. On his ninth studio album, Calling Off the Dogs (stream it below), Pope (above, performing an acoustic rendition of “Lick My Woods” on his couch) investigates some new musical terrain. It “finds the passionate singer-songwriter expanding upon his rootsy sound with a set of atmospheric, moody songs,” said AllMusic. “Recorded with a broad sonic palette that features layered, evocative guitar, delicate piano, electronic beats and, as always, Pope’s yearning vocals, Calling Off the Dogs is one of his most mature albums to date.” See him play Webster Hall tomorrow night. Brooklyn four-piece Frances Cone and Atlanta quartet Von Grey open the show.


Ty Segall Proves to Be a Rock Music Life Force at Webster Hall

September 18th, 2014

Ty Segall – Webster Hall – September 17, 2014

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

“Did anybody lose a red shoe?” asked Ty Segall last night, the Webster Hall stage littered with lost items: a blue backpack, a handful of wallets, a boot, even a belt. With more people in the front row trying to crowd surf than hold up said crowd surfers, the venue had become one giant lost and found. What do you get when you have a sold-out Webster Hall audience collectively losing their shit? You get a lot of people, well, physically losing a lot of their shit. For anyone not familiar with Ty Segall at this point, he can best be described as some superhuman rock music–making machine. At 27, he’s already got seven solo albums to his name, plus another excellent one filed under the Ty Segall Band, several side projects and bands he’s involved with in one way or another. Segall has yet to put his name on anything subpar. He tours constantly. And with the energy he throws into performing, seeing him play live makes this output slightly more believable, further proof that there’s some supernatural rock music life force coursing through his veins.

Segall, who came out wearing the same glam makeup he wore on his latest appearance on Conan, was joined by longtime collaborator—and accomplished solo artist—Mikal Cronin on bass, Charlie Moonheart on guitar and Emily Rose Epstein on drums. Everyone besides Segall sporting waist-length hair made their collective head-banging a glorious spectacle. They opened with the title track off Segall’s latest album, Manipulator, and continued checking off most of its songs. Three tunes in, the barricade separating the audience from the stage began showing signs of giving out, with five security guards doing their best to keep it together. And then two songs later, Segall announced that they were going to pause so they could get the barricade out of there, thus beginning the endless crowd surfing.

For his guitar solo on “The Faker,” Segall joined the surfers, walking out onto the crowd’s hands Iggy Pop style to rip his face-melting guitar solo right into his fans’ faces. But the best crowd surf of the night was courtesy of the band’s “manager,” Jimmy Longhorn— prior to the show, he declared that the band was from Jupiter—who came out asking people to carry him to the bar on the opposite side of the venue and back, and they happily complied. “Caesar” brought out a bunch of folks from backstage into the audience. Shows don’t usually get this out of control. Musicians don’t usually release this much quality music this fast. Concerts don’t usually sustain such a high level of energy. Those in the crowd aren’t usually that willing to give it their all. But maybe this band really is from Jupiter. —Dan Rickershauser

(Ty Segall plays Webster Hall again tonight.)


FKA Twigs – Webster Hall – August 6, 2014

August 7th, 2014

FKA Twigs - Webster Hall - August 6, 2014

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com


Jagwar Ma – Webster Hall – July 30, 2014

July 31st, 2014

Jagwar Ma - Webster Hall - July 30, 2014

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com


A Little Bit of Everything with Conor Oberst and Dawes

July 30th, 2014

Conor Oberst and Dawes – SummerStage – July 29, 2014

Conor Oberst and Dawes – SummerStage – July 29, 2014
Going into last night’s Conor Oberst show, I really had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t seen him perform since 2005 at Webster Hall, when he was feverishly touring behind the concurrent releases I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. Would last night’s SummerStage crowd be made up of the same sort of screaming diehards who used to fill venues for his shows? Or would it be people who had found out about him later in life, perhaps just fans of his solo career? Turns out, those in attendance, much like the hour-and-a-half set they witnessed, were a refreshing mix of everything.

Backed throughout the night by the terrific opening band, Dawes—and occasionally some auxiliary members—Oberst began the set with “Time Forgot,” the opening track from his newest album, Upside Down Mountain. The song set the tone of much of what was to come, with Oberst strumming the rhythms (often on an acoustic guitar) behind his still sometimes trembling voice while lush melodies were sung and played behind him by the shape-shifting band. Considering the effort some other artists put into separating their solo careers from the bands that made them famous, I was surprised by how much of the set was filled with Bright Eyes songs. Oberst didn’t just play the obvious ones, like “Lover I Don’t Have to Love,” either. Early on, the crowd gleefully sang along to “We Are Nowhere and It’s Now” and “Hit the Switch,” each from those 2005 releases, and deeper cuts like the cheeky “Bowl of Oranges.” The expanded sound benefitted many of his more folkie songs extremely well, adding bounce to the already bouncy “Danny Callahan” and nearly turning the encore-capping “Another Travelin’ Song” into a soul revival with horns shouting over the tune’s furious pace.

The night’s most poignant moment just might have been the slow-burning country ballad “Poison Oak,” which began with just Oberst and Dawes’s Wylie Gelber and Taylor Goldsmith before it blossomed into a raging full-band sound as the song crested. Throughout all of this, the crowd hung on every moment. Fanatic adoration still pays a big part in the dynamic of Oberst’s performances, with concertgoers shouting at nonsensical moments, or loudly professing their love for the man while loosely mouthing the lyrics. But last night’s show proved that many of his fans have come a long way since the days of Bright Eyes—just as Oberst has. It’s a progression that’s stark when viewed after nine years of missing out, but it’s still just as rewarding to see. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Mina K


The Antlers – Webster Hall – July 26, 2014

July 28th, 2014

The Antlers - Webster Hall - July 26, 2014

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

Contest: A Night on the Town with the Antlers

July 21st, 2014

The Bowery Presents and Brooklyn Brewery (yes, the Brooklyn Brewery) are teaming up to give you the best Saturday night possible with this A Night on the Town with the Antlers giveaway! The winner gets two tickets to the almost-sold-out show with the Antlers at Webster Hall this Saturday PLUS 10 Tasting Room beer tokens from the Brewery. The tokens can be redeemed during Brooklyn Brewery’s public hours (noon to 8 p.m.) and then you can jet over to Webster Hall for the show.

The Antlers are on tour celebrating their haunting and beautiful new album, Familiars. KEXP FM raves, “It’s hard not to be swept away by the Antlers’ dreamy, ambient pop melodies.” Interested? Of course you are! Here’s how to enter: Follow both Brooklyn Brewery (instagram.com/brooklynbrewery) and The Bowery Presents (instagram.com/bowerypresents) on Instagram, like the event photo and you’re in the running. Must be 21+ to enter.

The winner will be announced on Friday. Good luck.


The Felice Brothers Bring New Music to Webster Hall Tomorrow

July 8th, 2014

The Felice Brothers—led by brothers Ian (vocals, guitar), James (accordion, organ and vocals) and Simone (drums, guitar and vocals)—originally from the Catskills in upstate New York, first got started by playing their dad’s barbecues. Eventually they made their way to Brooklyn and began busking in various New York City subway stations. Since then, their roots-rock sound has taken them to Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo even Levon Helm’s barn for one of his now-legendary Midnight Rambles. But as the group has grown in size and stature (although Simone has departed to front his own band), there’s been no shortage of recorded music. On their previous studio release, Celebration, Florida (stream it below), the group successfully mined new musical terrain, employing electronic and synth sounds (think: less Basement Tapes and more hip-hop). But the Felice Brothers (above, doing “Meadow of a Dream”) return to their earthy roots with the recently released Favorite Waitress (stream it below), out last month. American Songwriter declares, “This is challenging Americana that never takes its audience, or its influences, for granted.” And Consequence of Sound calls the album “a return to their bare-bones roots music,” while adding, “the Felice Brothers have elevated their songwriting without losing their rambunctious charm.” Of course, these guys are most well known for their rollicking live performances, and they just so happen to play Webster Hall tomorrow night. Gifted singer-songwriter Robert Ellis opens the show.


Tune-Yards Close Out Tour at Webster Hall

June 24th, 2014

Tune-Yards – Webster Hall – June 23, 2014

New Yorkers, if you haven’t had the chance to catch Tune-Yards yet you’ve missed your chance this time around. The band ended their U.S. tour in New York City last night, giving locals three different chances to see them over the past couple of months, first playing a show at Rough Trade NYC in May and ending it with two more at Webster Hall, including last night. The show began with the venue practically already at capacity for Sylvan Esso’s opening set. The band featured the wonderfully charismatic singer Amelia Meath, with equally impressive dance and vocal moves, backed by Nick Sanborn’s dance-mandatory electronic music. With its repeated chorus of “heads, shoulders, knees and toes,” the song “H.S.K.T.” felt like a request to move all of the following. Watching Meath do so unabashedly onstage made it easier for everyone else at Webster Hall to follow. It was a set that could leave one thinking, “Why isn’t this band bigger?”—a question more likely than not to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Behind Sylvan Esso was the backdrop for Tune-Yards. The Peptmo Bismol–colored pink curtain covered in giant UFO-looking iridescent eyes offered a taste of what was to come. Tune-Yards have grown for this tour to include a handful of backing dancers and singers. It’s a welcome addition for the new Nikki Nack songs, much more percussive and rhythm-based, which even had Merrill Garbus on the drums for most of the night. With the backdrop, dancing, backup vocals and neon costumes perfect for a backlight, things kicked off in a maximalist way, offering something for every sense.

In comparison, “Gangsta” felt distilled down to its chaotic essence, held together at times only by its intermittent police-siren-sounding wails. Garbus brought ought the ukulele for “Powa.” Just the sight of it elicited a noticeable cheer from the audience, but the highlight of the night was “Bizness.” The song kicked off with the backing singers impressively covering the harmonic hoos usually done by Garbus and a loop pedal. As the tune reached its triumphant peak, Sanborn from Sylvan Esso jumped out of nowhere to crowd surf over the dancing audience. This moment, as well as the rest of the night, felt like a celebration of a U.S. tour well done. —Dan Rickershauser




Goat Show Webster Hall How It’s Done

June 19th, 2014

Goat – Webster Hall – June 18, 2014

It’s said that time travel will never happen, because if it did, we’d already have met someone from the future here in the present. Well, I’m not so sure I didn’t see time travelers last night. The venue was Webster Hall, the band was Goat, supposedly from the nether regions of Sweden, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were from the not-too-distant future, but had come back to show us how it’s done. The collective took the stage dressed in their traditional full weird-is-right garb, which hides their faces completely, adding to the mystery. The music began with a boom da da boom of the drums, quickly followed by a dual-guitar chicka chicka chicka and then an explosion of na na na nas from the two singers as Goat quickly grabbed the audience with “Goatman.”

While the set drew largely from their superlative 2012 album, World Music, the live versions were engorged with heady jams and extended breakdowns. Each piece seemed to be a lesson in a new yet-to-be-discovered genre of music from the future. Early on, the sound was what I’d call interplanetary Afrobeat, rocket-fuel drums and congas whipped up the rhythmic guitar lines as the singers gyrated around the stage, adding maracas, tambourines and finger cymbals. Things spiraled quickly (whether it was up or down is all relative), the band a physics-defying perpetual-motion machine. One long instrumental jam with a nasty two-guitar-two-percussion jam was a magic carpet ride over the Styx river. “Run to Your Mama Now” introduced a new genre, Swedish death funk, equal parts light and good and dark and evil.

About 30 minutes into the set, things hit hyperspace, each song drawing out longer and longer, each moment rife with new styles. Goat went from Hobbit hippie jam, with noodling Middle Earth guitars, to dragon-slayer boogaloo, with a conga-heavy dance groove, to event-horizon roller disco, funked up with skull-crackling bass and dueling guitar riffs. All the while Goat were soaked in a pulsing light show that switched between psychedelic liquid bubbling and digital kaleidoscopic brainteasers. The crowd absorbed it all and grew in energy as the band did with plenty of body moving all across the room. The encore ended at peak chaotic kinetic energy, the singers pounding a bass drum stage center as they taught the audience about the yet-to-be-invented genre of face-melting magma music. Unfortunately, that was it for a pretty spectacular show. But, fortunately, the future is not too far away. —A. Stein




Get Psychedelic with Goat Tomorrow Night at Webster Hall

June 17th, 2014

The mysterious psychedelic collective Goat hail from Middle-of-Nowhere Sweden, and according to the Guardian, they mash together “funk and tribal rhythms, kraut and prog-rock repetition/extrapolation, psych freakery and astral/acid folkisms…. It’s a superjam involving Faust, Funkadelic, Fairport Convention and Fela Kuti.” Their lone full-length, World Music (stream it below), came out in 2012 to some considerable acclaim. According to BBC Music, upon listening to the album, you’ll find “that being a casual bystander simply isn’t an option: It’s all too captivating, too delirious and too gosh-darn wonderful for you not to join the fray. So surrender your mind, body and soul to the Goat and one of the year’s best albums so far.” Of course it’s worth mentioning that Goat are not just about their recorded material. In fact, their relentless performances—or “live rituals,” as they call them—are more like psychedelic costume parties, masks and all. And fresh off Bonnaroo, Goat play Webster Hall tomorrow night. Austin, Texas, garage-psych five-piece Holy Wave open the show.


First Aid Kit – Webster Hall – June 11, 2014

June 12th, 2014

First Aid Kit - Webster Hall - June 11, 2014

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com


Kelis Headlines Webster Hall on Friday Night

June 11th, 2014

Kelis Rogers grew up in Harlem with music (and food) in her blood. Rogers’ father was a jazz musician, and she played a variety of instruments and sang in her church’s choir before attending the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Influenced by funk, soul and hip-hop, Kelis’s first album arrived in 1999, but it was her third album, 2003’s Tasty (stream it below), which told of how she “brings all the boys to the yard,” that made her a star. And on her most recent release, the soul-driven Food (stream it below), the Le Cordon Bleu–trained singer covers some of her favorite culinary topics. In a glowing review, Spin says the album “is teeming with warm brass and chunky riffs, with heaping hunks of vintage soul and salty slabs of funk,” and that “it’s a hearty take on soul food that still manages to shock your taste buds.” See Kelis (above, performing “Jerk Ribs” on Late Show with David Letterman) play Webster Hall on Friday night. The soulful Son Little opens the show.


The Notwist – Webster Hall – June 9, 2014

June 10th, 2014

The Notwist - Webster Hall - June 9, 2014

Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici | petersenzamici.com