Thee Oh Sees at Bowery Ballroom (November 11, 2016)

By Will Oliver, January 5th 2017

Thee Oh Sees have a hard-earned reputation not just as one of the hardest working bands of the game, but one of the best live bands out there. John Dwyer and his current live incarnation of Thee Oh Sees continues their two-drummer and one bassist lineup, and boy do they shred as hard as ever. This part of the tour was still technically in support of A Weird Exits (via Castle Face Records) even though their second album of the year, An Odd Entrances, would be released one week later. Dwyer operates like no other (with only Ty Segall and King Gizzard rivaling him)

This wasn’t the craziest show I’ve seen from Thee Oh Sees, and even so it will end up one of my favorite shows of 2016. Their set was yet another pummeling live performance that had me drained with sweat (most of it my own) and absolutely blown away. It’s everything live music is about, and one of the main reasons rock and roll will never die. The experience of seeing a band like Thee Oh Sees perform live is enough to keep it alive.

Find photos of their terrific performance posted below, along with Brooklyn openers Surfbort and Thee Oh Sees setlist.
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Canadian The Rural Alberta Advantage returned to New York on November 9 for the first of two nights at Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg.

This juncture of tour was my first time seeing the band with new member Robin Hatch, who has stepped in for longtime member Amy Cole who left the band in September. She more than held her own alongside RAA founding members Nils Edenloff and Paul Banwatt, who delivered tracks from across all three of the groups albums, as well as a new song called “White Lights,” that is set to appear on their next album, hopefully due out later in 2017.

Find photos of their performance posted below, along with opener Victoria Reed and their setlist.
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On November 9, Temple Of The Dog – the supergroup consisting of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Matt Cameron (whose also in Soundgarden) brought their 25th anniversary reunion tour for a big time performance at Madison Square Garden.

They delivered all the 10 offerings from their 1991 self-titled debut, their only release as a band. 10-songs wouldn’t cut it, so they also performed a few Cornell solo offers, as well as a few songs of Mother Love Bone, Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard’s band with singer Andrew Wood, whose passing led to the formation of Temple Of The Dog.

They also gave us some classic covers, of artists like David Bowie, Harry Nilsson, as well as Led Zeepelin, The Cure, and Black Sabbath, almost like a tribute to some of the greats who have also played at the Garden.

It was a great night of music that proved that no matter what they say, there’s still plenty to love about rock and roll.

Find their setlist posted below, along with a few iPhone shots I took from my seat.
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It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since Jens Lekman last released a full-length album, 2012’s I Know What Love Isn’t, released via Secretly Canadian. He’s gearing to release its long-awaited follow-up in 2017, and in early November he embarked on a few U.S. tour dates to share some new songs. He brought the show to New York on November 6 for a sold out performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

The show served as a way for Lekman to not only share new material, but also to raise funds for a full-band tour for the new album. This version of the tour was just him and an acoustic guitar, until the first encore where his old bandmates joined him for Sipping on the Sweet Nectar”, and “A Postcard to Nina,” two favorites from his classic album Night Falls Over Kortedala.

It was a great night of music and stories about many of the new songs, which all sounded great and were hilariously true, in typical Jens fashion.

Find photos from his set and the setlist posted below, along with shots of opener Emmy The Great
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Foals may have released their latest album What Went Down back in summer 2015 (via Warner Bros) but they’ve been hard at work touring in support of it, coming back here over the summer for festivals including Panorama, as well as a small show at the iHeartRadio Theater. They returned again in November which included local shows at United Palace Theater in NYC as well as College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut.
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Tom Misch at Baby’s All Right (November 5, 2016)

By Alex Ebron, January 3rd 2017

(Photo by Phillip Kim)

The crowd for young English musician Tom Misch was what I had expected; highly fashionable millennials all rocking dark colors that could be confused for black if disrupted by dim lighting, plenty of hoods over the head as they bobbed in a melancholy unison.

Opening the show was Carmody, whose set I thoroughly enjoyed. I had no clue what to expect going in, perhaps something in the vein of Misch’s genre? Their style of music is heavily influenced by The xx and the ongoing trend of dub beats over properly timed strums of the guitar and sharp bass work. The anomaly was their saxophone player which tastefully chimed in at proper moments. Carmody’s opening set ended up being the perfect set up.
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Daughter, who released their sophomore album Not To Disappear earlier in the year via Glassnote Records, returned to New York for a headlining performance at Terminal 5. This was a much larger stop than their last show here, a rather intimate performance at National Sawdust back in April.

Support came from Vancouver Sleep Clinic, the project of young Australian Tim Bettinson, already signed to Sony Music Entertainment.

Find photos of both their performances posted below, along with Daughter’s setlist.
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Japandroids at Knitting Factory (October 29, 2016)

By Will Oliver, December 31st 2016

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since Japandroids released Celebration Rock, their big breakthrough sophomore release. The band has been quiet in the years since their extensive touring of that album, but back in late October the duo returned to New York for a pair of very intimate shows at Knitting Factory to warm up their live show, and to test out some new songs off their long-awaited follow-up album, Near to the Wild Heart of Life, coming out in January 2017 via their new label, Anti- Records.

Seeing the garage rock duo in such a small room was quite an experience, as they pummelled through songs old and new, causing the entire room to become one collective mosh pit with sweat and beer mixed in. The group were a bit shy about sharing the new material, but the crowd took to it as if it was material that we had already known for years. Getting to hear older material thrown in there only added to the feverish nature of the crowd, resulting in one of the wilder shows I saw all year.
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Singer-songwriter Cass McCombs is one of the most reliable songwriters that American music has going right now. His new album Mangy Love is a testament of that, one of his very best to date (his first for Anti- Records), and one of my favorite albums of the year.

He brought the album to life with style and passion on October 28, at a sold out Music Hall of Williamsburg. Find photos of his performance posted below, along with the equally excellent opening set from Delicate Steve.
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