Being The Tall Guy At Concerts

By Will Oliver, September 9th 2016 — with 2 comments Editorial


Hey guys, it’s me. The tall guy in front of you at shows (it’s even in my twitter bio). If you’ve seen a show in the city anytime in the past ten years, there’s a decent chance I am somewhere in the bottom frame of your instagram post. Sorry about that. Lots of people express their frustration to me at shows and I can understand why one would be annoyed when they paid good money to see their favorite artist, and then a tree shows up and destroys the entire evening for you. But trust me when I say that I take no pleasure in this, and often wish I could shrink just so I could enjoy a show without waiting to receive that all too familiar shoulder tap.

As I’m sure you’re aware if you read this blog, I go to a lot of shows, and usually have to stand somewhere near the front in order to take photos as a part of my coverage. And there are some people who understand this once they see the camera, and even without it many people are fine with it, as long as I arrived early, am polite and aware of my surroundings. I do feel bad about it, trust me. Half of my time waiting before the act is spent trying not to look anywhere behind me, as I’m sure there is a thousand eyes trying to stare a hole straight through my head. I’ve been told plenty of times about me being too tall to stand there, been asked passive aggressively what I’m doing standing near the front, all that good stuff. Hell, just last year I was shoved by a woman as I was leaving a venue after the show ended. I was quite shocked and confused at what I did to possible piss someone else to warrant it, until I realized that they were the couple who won the lucky lotto of standing behind me. And what could I possibly do about it? In what universe would anyone believe that a 6’6 man was actually the innocent person in this unwarranted physical encounter with a grown woman?

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This Saturday, September 25, the legendary Morrissey returned to us in New York for a sold out performance at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, a much more intimate performance that his show at Madison Square Garden last summer.

It’s been two year since the release of his last album, World Peace Is None of Your Business, but Morrissey’s setlist at Kings was still heavily loyal to the album, along with the usual favorites from his solo career (“Everyday Is Like Sunday,” “Irish Blood, English Heart”). Being a smaller show, you had plenty of Morrissey die-hards quite literally rushing the stage trying to deliver a huge or a personal gift to Morrissey, only to be taken down by his well-placed and quick-moving personal security guards that stand to his side on both direction.

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Portland indie pop/experimental artist Temporary Hero has returned with a new EP titled You’re About to Have Your Hands Full. The EP is full of surprises such as a left-field electronic cover of Nirvana’s “Dumb.” It’s definitely not the sort of cover that you originally picture when you hear “Nirvana cover” but they take your expectations and offers something from a different point of view that works in its own way.

Find their cover of “Dumb” posted below.

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It’s hard to describe the music of Australian songwriter Alex Cameron in terms of just one genre. This year saw the release of his most memorable debut album Jumping The Shark, which is out via Secretly Canadian. And just this past Sunday I saw him dazzle a sold out crowd at Warsaw while opening for Angel Olsen.

He’s back in town on Friday night for a show of his own at the more than appropriate Baby’s All Right. Getting to see him up close and person in a place like Baby’s is the ideal setting for his style of music, and for $10 it will be hard to find a better deal for a show this entire weekend.

Tickets are still for sale right here, and stream a track from his record below.

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It was a great disappointment to find out that day 3 of Governors Ball was rained out this year, considering how great the lineup was that day. We were ready to catch sets from the likes of Kanye West, Prophets Of Rage, Eagles Of Death Metal, Whitney, FIDLAR, Bat For Lashes, Day Wave, Death Cab For Cutie, Two Door Cinema Club, and Chvrches, just to name a few. A few artists stuck around to try and make it up to fans, if they were able to find a venue that was able to put on a show under such short notice.

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When you’re a music festival organizer/promoter, you’re hoping & praying that the chosen weekend will zero chance of rain or severe weather. It’s a huge risk, and as we’ve seen in the past… it can literally go either way. This years Governors Ball Music Festival literally had its fair share of both good and bad weather, but that didn’t stop it from still being a memorable weekend at all.





Day 1 and day 2 were chock full of outstanding performances, and the standouts for me were Black Pistol Fire, Christine and the Queens, Action Bronson, Big Grams, Father John Misty, Beck, Block Party, The Strokes, Torres, Lord Huron, De La Soul, Miguel, Miike Snow, The Killers and M83. Were things started to get a little complicated was during Haim’s set on the main stage when the weather decided to finally turn from questionable to dreadful in literally a split second.


Let me set the scene: I was standing in the crowd with my raincoat on as well as the rain fly already snapped around my camera bag. A guy standing near me tapped my shoulder and goes “hey man, why are you all decked out in rain gear, the weather is fine! You’re a big baby!” Not even 10 seconds later, the sky turned dark grey and decided to open up and let out a mighty downpour. As I stand there comfortable and 100% dry, I look over to the guy who tapped my shoulder earlier and realized he was gone as he was running sprinting for cover wherever he could find it.


Silent Disco

The rain didn’t let up one bit, and when it did… it was only for a brief moment. It continued into the 8pm – 9pm sets of Miike Snow & Purity Ring and didn’t let up or stop until about 10 minutes into The Killers/M83’s day closing sets. People were scrambling for cover anywhere – under trees, sponsor tents, the Silent Disco, the Bacardi House Stage Tent and even in port-a-pottys (yes, this really happened). Even though the rain let up, it left some not so desirable conditions all over the festival grounds but there was still hope that day 3 would be rain–free.


Now, for those of you who did not attend this years GovBall or hear what happened, day 3 of the fest got cancelled due to the threat of very severe thunderstorms (w/severe lighting) looming within the tri–state area. This was very disappointing because for me, day 3 was the sleeper day of the festival that was full of amazing acts. Whitney (who has one of my favorite albums of the year) was in an early day kickoff slot, there was Bat For Lashes, Cold War Kids, Vince Staples, Eagles of Death Metal, Chvrches, Courtney Barnett, Galantis, Prophets of Rage, Two Door Cinema Club, Gary Clark Jr., Death Cab for Cutie and of course Kanye West. The day was LITERALLY full from beginning to end of non–stop greatness… and none of it would happen (at least on festival grounds).


Courtney Barnett

With the announcement of the cancellation of day 3, everyones natural reaction was to jump right online and check venue schedules to see who was open and could take a day 3 performer on as a last minute show. Low and behold, several venues were wide open all day and could accommodate a number of the bands that were scheduled to play day 3. While several shows got booked throughout the city, I converged onto North 9th street in Williamsburg and hopped on line at Rough Trade as Courtney Barnett announced she would be playing a 100% FREE show (no festival wristband required).

Well, I’ll keep this short and sweet: even though she had a good timeslot at GovBall, het set at Rough Trade made up for day 3 and then some. For a free show, it was everything you could have imagined. She played literally everything you wanted her to play, she even threw in and mixed some covers!

For more photos, see below:

Day 1:






















Day 2:

















Day 3 (Courtney Barnett at Rough Trade):









All photos by Qbertplaya

Bat For Lashes new album The Bride (released via Parlophone/Warner Bros Records) was supposed to feature a bunch of early shows in churches, providing a unique environment for her emotive offerings. She was set to play at St. Ann and The Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn on June 1, only during soundcheck that morning, a piece of the ceiling fell from the roof.

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On June 2 Hamilton Leithauser and Paul Maroon (both of The Walkmen) played at the intimate Brooklyn venue Union Pool to a sold out attentive audience.

In 2015, the duo released their collaborative album Dear God which for a while was a vinyl only release that the duo actually hand-delivered to fans who purchased it online in their cars. The songs off of it is very reminiscent of the more subdued songs of The Walkmen, as well as Leithauser’s 2014 solo album Black Hours.

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Introducing: Magik Magik

By Will Oliver, September 12th 2016 Artist To Watch Listen Stream


Magik Magik is the project of San Francisco resident Minna Choi, who plays, composes, and conducts as Magik Magik. She’s no stranger to the music scene, she’s led her very own orchestra that she started. They’ve performed in concert with the likes of Jonny Greenwood, Weezer and Death Cab for Cutie, and did film score work for some pretty big movies: Looper and Kill The Messenger.

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