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With the opening of the highly anticipated new Bowery Presents venue Brooklyn Steel, the venue has locked in an impressive lineup of shows that have put them on the map in a big way. One of the first batch of shows for the venue – which holds about 1,800 people – features three sold out performances from The Decemberists, as a part of their “The Shuffling Off to Ragnarök” tour, which included Julien Baker as the opening act. We were in attendance for night two of the run on April 18.
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Julien Baker at Rough Trade NYC (January 25, 2016)

By Will Oliver, May 23rd 2016 — with 1 comment

1_Julien Baker_Rough Trade NYC

On January 25 Rough Trade NYC saw two of indie rocks most promising folk-songwriters Julien Baker and Eskimeaux take their stage and break the heart of the sold out audience.

Julien Baker captured my heart last November when she opened for El Vy at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Her haunting debut album Sprained Ankle was as good as it gets, ending up as one of my favorite albums of 2015.
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The Joy Formidable at Le Poisson Rouge (March 1, 2017)

By Ross Bernhardt, March 16th 2017

Words and photos by Ross Bernhardt

The last time I covered The Joy Formidable for the site, on April 14th, 2016, the show was decidedly different from the one I witnessed on at Le Poisson Rouge on March 1. During that tour, they had alt-rockers Everything Everything opening and displayed their usual rock prowess at Irving Plaza. This tour went in a different, softer direction. Instead of the loud, winding jams most fans have come to know, the trio from Wales did an entirely acoustic tour.
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We All Want Someone’s Best Shows of 2016

By Will Oliver, January 25th 2017

There’s a lot of shit going on in the world today. We need the arts more than ever not just to make statements, but also to provide us some escape. As I’m sure you’re well aware if you read these pages, my primary escape is catching live music. There’s just something special about catching a show that can’t be matched. Every night is different from the next, and whatever happens that night is unique and individual to the attendees of that particular show (at least if the band is doing it right). There’s quite simply nothing that rivals the energy of a top flight performance.

I saw quite a few shows in 2016. I’m not even sure of the actual count, but I’m sure you’ll believe me when I tell you that it was a lot. From the World’s Biggest Arena to small local DIY spaces, it didn’t matter the size of the venue or band. If there was a good show to be had, I tried my best to make it out there. As in years past I ran through all the shows I took in and made a list of some of the true standouts of the year.

Below, find a list of my favorite concerts of 2016.
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Newport Folk Festival 2016 – Day 3 Recap

By Will Oliver, August 31st 2016

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(Alabama Shakes)

After a busy day 1 and day 2 of Newport Folk Fest, it was time to wrap it up with what was probably the most jam-packed day of the entire weekend at Newport.

I began my day with an energetic set from The Oh Hellos, who won over all of the crowd in the same way they won both Ross (at Bowery Ballroom) and myself (at Terminal 5) last year. There’s no doubt they’ll be returning to the festival again, they were one of the first bands of the day but won the crowd over with ease.
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We All Want Someone’s Best Songs of 2015

By Will Oliver, March 18th 2016 — with 2 comments

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Artwork thanks to our very own Anthony Bauer

We look back 2015 fondly, one of the best years of music in some time. There was almost too much of it, making it nearly an impossible task to come up with my top albums of the year. Even worse, was choosing the best songs of the year.

Many albums had multiple offerings that deserved recognition, but I tried my best to limit it to one song per artist, except for a few special cases. It wasn’t easy to do a top 100 list, but it was fun to reflect on 2015 with all the sounds that helped soundtrack my life throughout those months.

Below you can find the list posted in countdown style from 100-1, and I’ve created a handy Spotify playlist in countdown order for your listening convenience and pleasure. I’ve posted the embeded playlist below.

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Will’s Best Albums of 2015

By Will Oliver, March 18th 2016 — with 1 comment

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Artwork thanks to our very own Anthony Bauer

We’re certainly far enough removed from 2015 now for me to properly look back at the year and realize how remarkable it was. I meant to get this list up in January, but as it does, life got in the way and things got delayed. Sure, I may have missed the “list” cycle, but that’s ok. Now with some more time I was able to catch up on albums I wasn’t able to get to during the 2015 calendar year, as well as give some albums the chance to further reveal themselves to me over time.

2015 saw an abundance of great artists converge to release new material, almost to the point where there was a consistently too much great music on a week-to-week basis. Worlds smallest violin playing, I know.

I already shared my honorable mentions for best albums of the year, and many of these albums were good enough to make a top list any other year. But 2015 was a really great year, and this top 50 list really demonstrates how much quality stuff was released.

Without further ado, here are my top 50 albums of 2015.
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El Vy at Music Hall of Williamsburg (November 14, 2015)

By Will Oliver, February 27th 2016 — with 1 comment

1_El Vy_Music Hall of Williamsburg

After catching their first New York performance at Bowery Ballroom the night before, I went in for seconds with El Vy, this time at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Along with El Vy, we were treated to opening performances from the truly amazing Julien Baker and Wye Oak, probably one of the better pair of openers you’ll ever be lucky enough to call “openers.”

From there El Vy took over, and although the crowd was surprisingly very bro-like near my section, thankfully we all were album to calm down and find common ground with the music of their debut album Return To The Moon. Their show was equally sharp and on point on the same level at Bowery, if not a bit more unhinged with it being a weekend night this time around. The cover of “She Drives Me Crazy” was still as fitting as ever, making me wish that they do a proper studio recording of it maybe for a special edition vinyl release (RSD 2016 anyone?).

I was lucky enough to get to catch both of their first New York performances at two of the cities best venues. Surely the next time that they’re back, the venues will be much larger.

Find photos from all three sets posted below.
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