Hot Chip at Baby’s All Right (August 3, 2015)

By Will Oliver, November 10th 2015 — with 1 comment

1_Hot Chip_Baby's All Right

Baby’s All Right has not so quietly become the place to see shows in New York. I’d even go so far as to crown it as the best venue in New York at the moment. So when I saw that Hot Chip were playing the amazing and intimate Baby’s, I knew that it was going to be one of the most unforgettable shows of the year (I last saw them this summer at Governors Ball). The performance was a special Jukely Members Only performance, available only to members of the show subscription service whose presence has grown tremendous lengths over the past few months. It also came the day before the first of two sold out shows that the band had booked at the much larger Webster Hall.

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Opening the show, just like the shows at Webster, was young rising English artist, Georgia. The multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter release her self-titled debut album on Domino the week of the show, and has received well deserved acclaim for both her album and live show throughout the year. Strangely her set was limited to just a couple songs and just her on stage, as Hot Chip’s gear simply didn’t allow for much else due to the limited size of Baby’s stage. But she left a memorable impression, and thankfully I was able to catch a full set from her the next night at Webster.

Getting to Baby’s, I saw a giant truck and a mini bus sitting outside of Baby’s, which I only assumed was Hot Chips. Seeing the massive truck sitting outside the venue was an unforgettable image, one that summed up the concept of Hot Chip playing a 280-person capacity venue in Brooklyn. Taking the stage, the group had to squeeze into their positions, between the limited space not taken up by their various instruments, and of course, themselves. They found it just as funny as we did, and used the intimate nature to help them launch into the larger than life opening bits of “Huarache Lights.”

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Being a somewhat “private” show, I was wondering if we’d get a somewhat truncated set, as that sometimes is the case. Thankfully the group were kind enough to give us a a full 15-song set, full of favorites both old and new, such as “One Life Stand,” “Flutes,” “Over and Over,” “Ready For The Floor” and “I Feel Better.” They even played their incredible cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark,” with a little bit of LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” mixed in there, led by former LCD Soundsystem member Al Doyle.

As I look back on 2015 I have no doubts that seeing Hot Chip at Baby’s All Right was a special treat, one that will go down as one of the best memories of the entire year. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see them play at a more intimate place ever again.


1. Huarache Lights
2. One Life Stand
3. Night & Day
4. Easy to Get
5. Started Right
6. Flutes
7. Over & Over
8. Alley Cats
9. Cry 4 You
10. Need You Now
11. Ready for the Floor
12. I Feel Better


13. Look at Where We Are
14. I Was a Boy from School
15. Dancing in the Dark (w/ “All My Friends”)


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1_Dawes_Summerstage NYC

At the end of July folk rock converged in Central Park for a great triple bill featuring Dawes, First Aid Kit and Andy Shauf.

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Shauf kicked things off, sharing tracks from his sophomore album The Bearer of Bad News, which he released in January via Tender Loving Empire. His heartbreaking approach to songwriting would probably be somewhat better suited in a tiny venue indoors, but he still won me over with a lovely set of songs both smart and delicate. He’s recently signed to Anti- Records, a sure sign that exciting things are on the way.
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Recap: Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 27th 2015

21_'65 Revisited_Newport Folk Festival 2015

After years of wondering what I was missing, I finally decided to make the trip to the Newport Folk Festival this year. Man, am I kicking myself for missing out on this great festival all these years. I’ve been to almost all of the major festivals in the East Coast, and I have to say, Newport Folk Festival is as good as they get. There’s just something so different about it. It doesn’t feel like a giant event or major festival, but rather a large community coming together to enjoy music.

I mean, really, what other festivals can you see people enjoying music while sitting on folding chairs? There’s just a positive energy to be found at Newport, one of the only festivals I’ve attended that truly only seems to be about the music. The entire weekend I was there I didn’t see any go pros, selfie sticks, flower crowns, or vintage NBA jerseys. Now that’s saying something.

All jokes aside, the environment is basically a music festival heaven, full of positive energy and love from every corner. The lineup, carefully curated with respect to the well beloved genre of folk rock, was pitch perfect at every point of the weekend, with special guests such as My Morning Jacket and James Taylor keeping us on the toes. Anything can happen at Newport Folk Festival, which is why I will make sure I find myself there every weekend at the end of the July from now on (as long as they’ll have us back).

Below, I’ve posted a list of all the performances we saw over the weekend, which you can click through to find the individual recap and photo galleries of. You can also find some of our favorites photos from the weekend, along with a list of the top 10 sets we saw at the festival, as tough as that was to make.
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Beirut at Bowery Ballroom (June 21, 2015)

By Will Oliver, August 25th 2015

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On September 11 the alway reliable Beirut will grace us with a brand new album called No No No, which will be released by 4AD. Along with the announcement came new tour dates, with a stop in New York at the prestigious Radio City Music Hall on October 1. But they didn’t make us wait that long. A few weeks later the band would announce a slightly more intimate last minute performance at Bowery Ballroom on June 21, on fathers day.

I went in expecting Zach Condon and the rest of Beirut to share a majority of the new album, and just hoped for a couple of old favorites as well. Only, it turned out to be the opposite, as only two songs from the new record were shared: title track and first single “No No No” (which they played last summer at their Northside appearance) and “August Holland.”

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The rest of the night saw Beirut dip into select favorites from each album, leaving fans with no choice but to sing along to every word. Usually when a band enters a new album cycle you’re hoping to get a few songs you know, but this show was the rare show where you got to hear every song that you wanted. The band seemed happy just to be playing again. The return to Bowery caused Condon to reflect a bit, including his realization that it has been nearly a decade since the release of his breakthrough piece, “Postcards From Italy,” which had everyone in attendance singing along.

I was glad I was able to see Beirut dazzle in a small venue one last time. Although Radio City will certainly be a special show in its own right, I don’t think it can quite match getting to see them at the Bowery. No doubt it will be one of the most special shows I’ll see this year.

Find photos of Beirut and opener Helado Negro below, along with Beirut’s setlist.
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1_Noel Gallagher_Governors Ball 2015

A month prior to Noel Gallgher’s High Flying Birds performance at Governors Ball, I caught them play a much smaller show at Webster Hall. Certainly there was no way Governors Ball would compare, but there’s something fitting about seeing Gallagher perform to a large crowd of fans, a sort of natural environment for him, as he’s been doing consistently for about two decades now.

Gallagher took over the main stage along with his High Flying Birds, playing a similar set to what he played at Webster. He played through all the best of his most recent album Chasing Yesterday (out via Sour Mash Records), as well as the inclusion of Oasis’ “Whatever” to go along with “Fade Away,” “Champagne Supernova,” “Digsy’s Dinner,” “The Masterplan,” and of course, “Don’t Look Back In Anger,” which closed out his set.
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Muse at Webster Hall (May 8, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 9th 2015 — with 1 comment

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The last time I saw Muse was in August 2007, their first time playing Madison Square Garden, and ultimately the start of their jaunt as one of the biggest rock bands in the world. I was able to score general admission tickets for it, and spent a good chunk of that hot day waiting in line in order to get as close to the stage as possible. It was well worth it, as that performace still remains one of the best live shows that I have ever seen. It would end up being the last time I saw them play, a result of me being away at college whenever they played New York, as well as the fact that a lot of their newer material didn’t quite do it for me.

When I saw that they announced a show at Webster Hall as a warmup tour for their new album Drones, I just had to be there. Getting to see Muse in a 1,500 capacity room, and the probability that they’d play a lot of what the die-hard fans really want to hear, was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

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1_The Juan Maclean_Union Pool

On Friday, April 24, DFA disco-rock outfit The Juan Maclean played the tiny Union Pool for the fifth show of their six show Brooklyn residency that lasted two weeks. The residency began with three shows at Cameo Gallery, and played three more last weekend at Union Pool. These were the first shows from The Juan Maclean in six years, making them a very special occasion on all accounts.

Along with brain child John Maclean, The Juan Maclean includes singer Nancy Whang (of LCD Soundsystem), keyboardist Monika Heidemann (who opened the show under her solo-moniker, Heidemann). Together they played many of their modern takes of disco with space-filled elements with dreamy synths and hypnotic vocals from Whang, whose presence in the band has never felt stronger.

This wasn’t an electronic-band that just hid behind a laptop and danced behind it. No, every member of The Juan Maclean was constant playing an instrument or contributing to vocals. This made their live performance rich and fuller sound, sending everyone jam packed into Union Pool into a glorious dance haze well into the night. The dual vocal duties split between Maclean and Whang provided an interesting contrast, but it was when they sang together that they were at their best.

The Juan Maclean are back, and better than ever. Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for their next shows, but maybe they’ll be back again for a proper tour before we know it.
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The Mountain Goats at City Winery (April 12, 2015)

By Will Oliver, April 21st 2015

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The Mountain Goats are a band that needs to introduction. The group, led by frontman John Darnielle, has released 15 albums during its impressive two decade career, never quite slowing down. Each record tells its own memorable story, making a lasting impression in its own unique way. Their latest record, Beat The Champ (released via Merge Records) is a special one, as it’s an album themed around professional wresting, a passion of Darnielle’s that serves as an effective means to write about personal matters through a fun subject. On Sunday April 12, The Mountain Goats played a sold out City Winery, the 2nd show of their two night run there, and their third New York City show of the week, with a sold out show at Webster Hall coming a few days prior.
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Diarrhea Planet at Bowery Ballroom (April 4, 2015)

By Will Oliver, April 15th 2015

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If Diarrhea Planet are playing live, there’s no reason not go. The rowdy six-piece garage rockers from Nashville have earned every bit of their reputation as one of the wildest live shows you can find. I’ve seen them nearly a half a dozen times live now, and each time is just as fun and memorable as the last. On April 4 the group played their largest New York show to date (not counting last year’s Governors Ball performance of course) with a sold out performance at Bowery Ballroom.
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