Concert Reviews

Cloud Nothings at Webster Hall (February 1, 2017)

By Will Oliver, February 20th 2017

Cloud Nothings have come a long way over the years, starting as an outlet for the musical mind of Dylan Baldi and now a fledged rock band that have released four acclaimed albums and only growing bigger with each one. Their new album Life Without Sound (released via longtime label Carpark Records) is their most polished record to date, truly their first to show off the shine of a “studio” produced record. They headlined a sold out Webster Hall on February 1st, featuring a supporting slot from LVL UP, who have gotten even better since the last time I saw them.
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American Football at Terminal 5 (January 28, 2017)

By Will Oliver, February 19th 2017

Back in 2014, American Football reunited playing shows for the first time in 15 years, including a performance at Webster Hall. At the time I figured it was a one and done sort of deal, and that we probably wouldn’t hear from them for a while. But in 2016 the group returned again, but this time for real, with a brand new album once again self-titled and released on Polyvinyl Records.

They haven’t been doing much touring for the album, but the group did bring the show to New York for a show at Terminal 5 on January 28. Support came Athens’ Mothers, who seem to have been touring non-stop since we first saw them at CMJ 2015, as well as Joan Of Arc, the Chicago band fronted by Tim Kinsella, brother of Mike from American Football.
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All photos by Ross Bernhardt

“Tip your bartenders. Punch a nazi. I love you.”

Those three phrases were the last that Monica Martin, lead vocalist for Wisconsin indie darlings PHOX, uttered to a sold-out crowd at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg (where we last saw them in 2015) on Saturday, January 28th. It also might be the last phrases that Martin says to New Yorkers as part of PHOX for a very long time.

As of February 4th, after a farewell show in their hometown of Baraboo, the orchestral folk group are taking an indefinite hiatus to focus on individual projects. As Martin said at one point during the show, it was a bittersweet concert. For fans of the group, this is especially true. PHOX leaves us with just one complete album, 2014’s self-titled debut, and it was as confident an introduction as I’ve heard in quite some time. However, we’ll have to wait a lot longer than we would like to hear new material from these midwesterners.
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Julie Byrne at Rough Trade NYC (January 27, 2017)

By Will Oliver, February 18th 2017

With her new album Not Even Happiness (released via Ba Da Bing! Records), singer-songwriter Julie Byrne has already released one of the most beautiful albums you’ll hear all year. It’s a fragile, hypnotic record that’s stirring with lush imagery and romantic arrangements that will leave you in awe. So it was no surprise that the songs were even more heartbreaking in person during her performance at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn on January 27, which served as the release party for the album.

Kicking off the show was first opener Suno Deko was the Atlanta-based electronic project of David Courtright, who created dreamy sounds that were accompanied by visuals presented by the constant loop of a projector. Following their lead, the local performance group Infinity’s Song. They performed a mix of covers and originals, winning the crowd over with some great vocals and a knack for performance. They weren’t quite what you would expect from an opener at a Julie Byrne show, but that was a total welcome surprise.
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Cate Le Bon at Bowery Ballroom (January 26, 2017)

By Will Oliver, February 15th 2017 — with 1 comment

On January 26, Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon took to New York for a performance at Bowery Ballroom, along with her partner in crime, Tim Presley (of White Fence), who opened the show. Le Bon brought the songs off her 2016 album Crab Day (released via Drag City) as well as her recently released companion EP Rock Pool.

Le Bon and Presley have recently become a formidable duo, combining forces for their new band Drinks, and also have helped each other out with their recent solo work, with Le Bon producing Presley’s 2016 solo offering, The Wink. She helped out on guitar during Presley’s opening set, and Presley offered some guitar during Le Bon’s performance of “What’s Not Mine.”

Le Bon delivered a rocking 16-song performance that weaved in and out of her four albums, with all of their material colliding to create one delicious whole. Her two-song encore featured a hat tip to Presley, with a cover of White Fence’s “Chairs In The Dark,” and then the show concluded with a memorable performance of her own “Are You With Me Now?”

Find her full setlist posted below, along with photos of both her performance and Presley’s. And you can ever relive the whole set thanks to our friends at NYCTaper. Read the rest of this entry »

Tokyo Police Club at Bowery Ballroom (January 20, 2017)

By Will Oliver, February 14th 2017

In 2007, a young Canadian rock group named Tokyo Police Club came sprinting out of the gate with their energetic debut EP A Lesson In Crime. It’s been a full decade since then, and although Tokyo Police Club may not have reached the impossible expectations unfairly put on them back in ’07, they’ve since churned out a bunch of good albums and continue to chug on with the band throughout the years. It’s a rare bit of  longevity, when most bands that exploded on the blog scene with them have since perished.

They celebrated the 10th anniversary of A Lesson In Crime with a special tour that saw them play the EP in full, along with a set of new songs and old favorites, a full reflection of their career of sorts. The tour stopped into New York for a pair of shows at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg.

We caught the Bowery show on January 20, which featured an opening performance from the young but hot-rising Brooklyn band Charly Bliss. The young crowd was very much into their set of 90s-inspired grunge rock, and even had a section of the crowd in the front section moving. They’re set to release their debut album Guppy on April 21 via Barsuk Records.

Find photos of both their set and Tokyo Police Club’s posted below, along with TPC’s setlist.
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Cherry Glazerr at Bowery Ballroom (January 18, 2017)

By Will Oliver, February 7th 2017

Los Angeles rock outfit Cherry Glazerr released new album Apocalipstick on January 20 via Secretly Canadian. The record is the sophomore release for the group, which is led by 19-year-old frontwoman Clementine Creevy. On January 18, they brought their “Pussy Bites Back” tour to New York for a performance at Bowery Ballroom. Opening the show was Los Angeles’ Slow Hollows and Brooklyn’s Mega Bog.
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It was only fitting that my first show of the new year came from Forth Wanderers, a band that we will be seeing much of in the near future. Forth Wanderers are a group from Montclair, New Jersey, who came together a few years ago while still in high school, and still going strong as each of its members are finishing up college. In between semesters they return to the band, touring and releasing promising new songs such as their great Slop EP, which Father/Daughter Records released last fall.
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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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Kurt Vile at Terminal 5 (December 28, 2016)

By Will Oliver, January 20th 2017

After Christmas I squeezed in one final show before the year rolled into 2017: Kurt Vile at Terminal 5. The performance served as a warm up for a pair of year-ending shows, including a New Years Eve hometown show in Philadelphia.

The gigs were a victory lap of sorts for his 2015 album B’lieve I’m Goin Down… (released via Matador Records). He and his band, The Violators, ran through a 15-song set of songs from the new album, as well as other older cuts. It was a very chill and relaxed show, a well needed way to close out the whirlwind and pretty tiring year that was 2016.

Find Kurt Vile’s setlist posted below, along with photos of his set, as well as the equally excellent Woods, who opened the show.
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