Concert Reviews

Andrew Bird at Madison Square Garden (February 3, 2017)

By Dana Pacifico, February 21st 2017

Photos + words by Dana Pacifico

For a second night, Andrew Bird hit the stage at Madison Square Garden to wrap up his stint opening up for The Lumineers on their world tour. It was a special night for everyone in attendance and especially for Bird himself to finish it off in this grand space. It always makes me smile when there is a sizable crowd for an opener at a major show because it’s too often that a talent gets passed upon for a cheaper beer option across the street, but that certainly wasn’t the case for Andrew Bird. It was clear that fans were there for him and his set dazzled.

Bird emerged and opened with “Capsized,” the first song off his 2016 album Are You Serious. Not only did his sound fill out the big space, but he and his bands presence on that stage was fantastic. The visuals were equally as entertaining, with changing projected lights, major use of shadow and a fun spinning duel bell phonograph. Highlight of the show was “Pulaski At Night,” an ode to hometown Chicago. As an added bonus Andrew brought out two members of The Lumineers, Neyla Pekarek to play cello and Stelth Ulvang on the accordion to heighten the moment.

Even though my first Andrew Bird experience was quite possibly seeing his biggest show to date, I am looking forward to seeing a more intimate performance of his in the future.
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On February 2 British rock trio White Lies returned to New York for a sold out performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The show came as a part of their U.S. run of dates for the tour for their album Friends, which was released last year via BMG.

Back during the early days of the blog, I discovered White Lies, like so many of us did, in 2009 with the release of their 2009 album To Lose My Life… With college I had missed all of the groups previous performance but I finally corrected it with a performance at MHOW.
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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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