Concert Reviews

Palma Violets at Bowery Ballroom (May 18, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 26th 2015

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Last Monday Palma Violets returned to New York for a performance at Bowery Ballroom (they also played MHOW two days later) in support of their new record Danger In The Club, out now via Rough Trade Records. This show followed their smaller performances at Shea Stadium and Baby’s All Right back in March, when they were just testing out some of their new material. You can find my interview with bassist and vocalist Chilli Jesson from before their Baby’s show right here.

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This time around the band included more Danger In The Club material, with just about the same amount from their debut surrounding it. They eased us into it, opening with three familiar cuts “Rattlesnake Highway,” “Tom The Drum,” and “Chicken Dippers.” The crowd got rowdy pretty much instantly, with a little help from Harry Violent, the bands merch guy and hype man/5th member. Violent went into the heart of the crowd getting people wild and singing along, although with material like “Best Of Friends” coming about halfway through the set, it didn’t take much for everyone to loose their shit.

While some of the crazy energy that I witnessed at their Baby’s show was somewhat lost in the bigger Bowery Ballroom, Palma Violet still delivered the same level of punch and gave their all on stage. They always put just as much energy into their performance, and it always seems to find a way to translate with the audience, with bodies and beer flying freely.

Already looking forward to their eventual return to New York. It’s always a guaranteed good time.


1. Rattlesnake Highway
2. Tom The Drum
3. Chicken Dippers
4. Girl, You Couldn’t Do Much Better On The Beach
5. English Tongue
6. We Found Love
7. Matador
8. Best Of Friends
9. Step Up For The Cool Cats
10. Walking Home
11. Secrets Of America
12. Johnny Bagga’ Donuts


13. Danger In The Club
14. Ratway Rock
15. 14

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Tennis at Mercury Lounge (May 16, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 26th 2015

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The last time that Tennis played Mercury Lounge was in December 2010, almost an now inconceivable five years ago. That show was before the Denver duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley even released an album. Back then, they were just a hot duo riding high off the sudden blog buzz that helped get their career off the ground. Since then, Tennis have released three albums, and EP, and toured the world, finding their fanbase and building on it the right way gradually.

Earlier this month they returned to New York for a pair of small scale shows. The first went down at Music Hall of Williamsburg (find Bauer’s post here), with an even smaller show at Mercury Lounge coming just a few days later.

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Tennis sold out Mercury in less than two minutes, to the surprise of no one. Getting to see the group in such a small room at this point of there career is a treat. The intimacy of Mercury Lounge provided those lucky enough to be there with the chance to see Moore and Riley perform their songs up close and personal, in the manner that they deserve to be enjoyed.

The 13-song set was a delightful run through the best of their catalog, but heightened by the close proximity to the band, who are now fleshed out to a 5-piece band, with a newly added back-up singer and keyboardist. The expanded version of the band gave Tennis and even broader canvas to paint their delightful wonders, delivering a rich and satisfying performance that had everyone wide awake and with the band, even though they didn’t kick things off about 10 minutes past midnight.

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Moore made the performance as personal as can be during tracks like “Petition” where she used the farthest ends of the stage to come out into the crowd and even let a brave crowd member sing into the mic. It was little moments like this that made the live experience feel like so much more than it would at a larger space.

At this point in their career, Tennis have proven that they’re a band in it for the long haul. But at their core, their still very much the same band that we all fell in love with at the start of this decade, still humble enough to grace us with their presence at rooms like Mercury Lounge. Who knows when I’ll get to catch them in such a venue again, but I’ll certainly cherish this one for many years to come.


1. Never Work For Free
2. Timothy
3. Dimming Light
4. Solar On The Rise
5. Needle and a Knife
6. Marathon
7. Mean Streets
8. Petition
9. It All Feels The Same
10. I’m Callin’
11. Waterbirds


12. Origins
13. My Better Self
14. Bad Girls (Demo Version)

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After catching a set from Lightning Bolt at LPR, I bolted over to Brooklyn to catch Wild Nothings’ New York live return at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The comeback show was a part of a series of show that the band are performing as a part of Converse’s always welcome Rubber Tracks series. The free show sold out pretty much instantly, and featured support from Brooklyn band Journalism.

This was Wild Nothing’s first performance in New York for some time, but they made us feel right at home, opening with their breakthrough single “Summer Holiday.” This live version of Wild Nothing featured DIIV’s synth-player Colin Caulfield (formerly known as Young Man) and EZTV’s drummer Michael Stasiak. They fit in snugly around Tatum and Wild Nothing’s returning members: bassist Jeff Haley and guitarist Nathan Goodman.

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The night featured all of the songs you’d want and expect to hear from their two great records, but the night also served as a chance for them to taste out material from their upcoming new album for the first time in New York. This included new songs such as “Adore,” “Lady Blue,” “Alien,” “TV Queen,” and “To Know You.” These songs maintained the very 80’s sound that the band perfectly emulate, with a few twists and turns into something a bit darker and even more mature. This is somewhat similar of their Captured Tracks label mates DIIV.

Like DIIV, Wild Nothing are a band that I know will return to form with their new release, even if that means taking their sound to a new destination. Based on the small samplings that I heard from Tatum’s band, we are in for a real treat when the record is released. I can’t wait to hear this songs again with the new record as a bit of context.

Find the setlist posted below, along with a video of Wild Nothing performing new song “Adore”:

Wild Nothing – “Adore” (New Song)

Wild Nothing Setlist:

1. Summer Holiday
2. Nocturne
3. Adore (New Song)
4. Only Heather
5. Lady Blue (New Song)
6. Live In Dreams
7. The Blue Dress
8. Alien
9. The Witching Hour
10. TV Queen (New Song)
11. To Know You
12. Shadow

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Lightning Bolt at Le Poisson Rouge (May 16, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 25th 2015 — with 1 comment

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On Saturday May 16, in the first of a crazy three night marathon of shows, I caught a set from the always noisy Providence, Rhode Island duo, Lightning Bolt at Le Poisson Rouge. The LPR performance was the second New York show, with a show at The Wick taking place the night before. Both shows were a part of their tour for their newly released album Fantasy Empire, out now via Thrill Jockey.
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Tanlines at Bowery Ballroom (May 14, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 16th 2015

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On Thursday night New York duo Tanlines played a sold out Bowery Ballroom, their second New York show in two days (they played Rough Trade NYC the night before). The shows came one week ahead of the release of their brand new album Highlights (out via True Panther Sounds), their first new album in three years. The show featured a great opening set from the one-man show Mas Ysa who had a firm hold over those early enough to catch him.
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Kaiser Chiefs at Irving Plaza (May 14, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 14th 2015

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Last night Kaiser Chiefs returned to New York to play a packed Irving Plaza as a part of the final leg of their U.S. tour for 2014’s Education Education Education & War. I last caught them last summer at the Firefly Music Festival, along with an intimate performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg early last year. Both shows were fun energetic showings that left me craving the next performance, and last night the boys from Leeds delivered in every way imaginable.

The crowd was surprisingly filled with fans of all ages, with many of the British transplants finding their way into the building. There aren’t many fanbases quite as devoted as English fans are, and this played perfectly true last night, right from the start of the show opening performance of “The Angry Mob.” Kaiser Chiefs know a thing or two about song selection and giving their fans what they want. They took the best cuts from Education Education Education & War (“Ruffians on Parade,” Misery Company,” “Coming Home,”) and fit them snugly aside the crowd-busting best of cuts from throughout their career.
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Jessica Pratt at Union Pool (May 12, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 13th 2015

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It didn’t take much for San Francisco singer Jessica Pratt to take hold of the tiny, but packed space at Union Pool, which serves up the perfect setting for fragile folk performers such as Pratt. Her sophomore album On Your Own Love Again was released just this January by Drag City, a stunning record from start to finish. She brought the album to life with the same sincerity, captivating the room entirely, leaving us in breathless awe.
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Passion Pit at Kings Theatre (May 11, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 12th 2015

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The newly restored Kings Theatre wouldn’t have been my first guess for the New York live return of Passion Pit, who last played New York in September 2013 (and who I last saw at Governors Ball 2012). But then again, this is a band that has constantly rose above their given expectations, they did play Madison Square Garden after all.

The night was also a series of fresh starts, both for the beautiful revamped Kings Theatre, and Passion Pit. Gone completely are all the fresh-faced members of the band’s original lineup. Only founder and brainchild Michael Angelakos remains. Joining him for the Kindred-era of Passion Pit are Giuliano Pizzulo (of Incan Abraham), Pete Carafella (of Supersystem and Shy Child), and Ray Suen and Chris Hartz (who both play in Childish Gambino’s band). This was a jarring discovery, as I had become so accustomed to the previous installment of Passion Pit whose members I also associated with the band, even if the group has always been Angelakos at the end of the day.

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