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Chris Martin at Mercury Lounge (December 21, 2016)

By Will Oliver, January 19th 2017 — with 1 comment

When I woke up on December 21, I had no plans. That all changed in an instant with the late-afternoon announcement out of the blue that Coldplay’s Chris Martin would play a last minute special performance at Mercury Lounge. The show served as a benefit to the homeless shelter, Bowery Mission and was put together in the matter of hours, after a visit from Martin at the Mission turned spiraled into a last minute show in order to raise some Christmas funds for the charity.

For just $25, Martin delivered a loose but delightful performance that was a mix of Coldplay favorites, Christmas classics, and a variety of covers that Martin performed with two members of the Bowery Mission. Martin jokingly asked for all of our names, noting that it was so rare that he was able to perform so close to his fans. The intimacy of this evening wasn’t lost on me, in what was truly one of the most enjoyable show experiences that I had throughout the year. Where else could you witness Martin cover Drake’s “Hotline Bling” after he mistakingly heard a fans offer for a “drink” as a request for “Drake?”
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1_Sufjan Stevens_Loew's Jersey Theatre

On Halloween 2015, I made my first ever first to the Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, New Jersey, to see Sufjan Stevens one more time before he wrapped up the first leg of the tour for his stunning 2015 album, Carrie & Lowell (released via Asthmatic Kitty).

Even though I saw him three times earlier this year (at the Beacon Theatre, Kings Theatre, and Newport Folk Festival respectively) the Loew’s show was able to stand out on its own, just as all the other shows did. Although a majority of the songs we got were the same, their impact and emotional weight changed for both Sufjan and the audience. These are songs that speak to you differently based on your own emotional state and being, which makes their impact one that evolves and is forever changing. It also helps that the band give the material a more grand and experimental take live that is vastly different from the more stripped down recorded versions.
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My Morning Jacket at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, August 6th 2015 — with 1 comment

1_My Morning Jacket_Governors Ball 2015

We take a band like My Morning Jacket for granted. They’re always releasing solid albums, with even their most disappointed efforts still better than most bands could hope to put out. They also one of the best live bands out there, probably fighting alongside Wilco for the strongest touring band in America at the moment. Earlier this year they released their great new album The Waterfall (out via ATO Records), easily their best since 2005’s Z.

As I saw at Boston Calling back in May, Jacket’s live show is still one of the best out there. New songs “Believe (Nobody Knows)” and “Compound Fracture” fit well alongside longstanding favorites from their expansive career such as “Lay Low” and “Gideon,” both of which were pleasant additions to their set, which we didn’t get at Governors Ball.

2_My Morning Jacket_Governors Ball 2015

The band had complete control of the evening, filling out their space at Randall’s Island with confidence and ease, making it all seem so easy. Jim James and company really have this rock and roll thing down pact. The finishing 1-2 punch of ” Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2 ” and “One Big Holiday” was almost unfair.

I wasn’t surprised that My Morning Jacket put on not only the best set of the day, but possibly of the entire Governors Ball weekend. And you’re telling me that people actually went to see Drake instead of them? Oops.

Find photos from their performance posted below, along with the setlist.
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ILoveMakonnen at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 18th 2015

1_ILoveMakonnen_Boston Calling 2015

You probably know ILoveMakonnen best from his breakthrough hit “Tuesday,” which came out of no where to be one of the surprise hits of 2014. It probably didn’t hurt that the track featured Drake as the featured guest.

ILoveMakonnen, whose real name is Makonnen Sheran, was a replacement for Jungle, who had to drop off due to another conflict. The younger fans who cheered eagerly in the front of the crowd were clearly pleased with his presence, although Makonnen didn’t do much for me at all. All those who watched his set were having a lot of fun, predictably erupting once “Tuesday” was played. It will be interesting to see what Makonnen does from here on out, and if he can replicate the success of “Tuesday.”

Find some photos from his set posted below.
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Preview: Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, June 5th 2015

Gov Ball

Today, Governors Ball returns to New York City to take over Randall’s Island Park for another edition of the annual festival. It’s hard to believe that it’s June, let alone time for another edition of NYC’s beloved festival.

By now, you should (probably) have a good idea of who you’ll be seeing tomorrow, as well as the rest of the weekend. But if not, I’ve compiled a list of artists who I plan to catch throughout the weekend, if that will help sway your decision.
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Sufjan Stevens at Kings Theatre (May 2, 2015)

By Will Oliver, May 7th 2015 — with 1 comment

Sufjan 1

What’s there to say about Sufjan Stevens and his beautiful new album Carrie & Lowell that hasn’t been said by everyone else? My love for the album is no secret, it’s already a heavy favorite to be my album of the year, and it’s only May. Of course things can change from now until December, but it’s going to take one hell of an album to dethrone Stevens’ latest masterpiece. Last month Stevens performed the first of his New York shows at at The Beacon Theatre, a performance so good that I made sure to catch one of his two return shows, this time at the newly opened and restored Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

2_Sufjan Stevens_Kings Theatre
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Landmark Music Festival Announces Inaugural Lineup

By Will Oliver, April 28th 2015

Landmark Music Festival

The Landmark Music Festival is a new festival that will take place at West Potomac Park in Washington, DC on the weekend of September 26 and 27. The festival will have 40 plus artists over five stages.

The lineup boasts a rock solid lineup that includes: The Strokes, Alt-J, Drake, The War On Drugs, Band Of Horses, Chromeo, CHVRCHES, Ben Howard, The Kills, Twin Shadow, Lord Huron, Albert Hammond Jr., Ex Hex, Houndmouth, Dan Deacon, The Joy Formidable, Daughter, Hiss Golden Messenger, and many more.

Not only will this celebrate some of the biggest names in music playing in one place, but its for a good cause: Read the rest of this entry »

[new]: Wolf Alice – “Giant Peach”

By Will Oliver, February 27th 2015

Wolf Alice

Hot rising London four-piece Wolf Alice have revealed that their debut album is entitled My Love Is Cool, and will be released on June 23 via Dirty Hit Records/RCA Records.

The announcement came with the release of the hard-hitting first single, a scorcher by name of “Giant Peach.” Naturally we assume its a reference to Roald Dahl’s beloved book, but according ot the band it’s a track about growing up in London. It doesn’t take time for the track to lift off and settle into a comfy groove, but it’s towards the end where it picks up some real steam and lets loose of a lot of aggression.

If you’re in the area, Wolf Alice will play a free show at Brooklyn Night Bazaar tomorrow night along with Sunflower Bean (who were saw earlier in the month). For more info on that show head here.

Find “Giant Peach posted below, along with all of Wolf Alice’s upcoming tour dates.
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Governors Ball Single Day
Governors Ball Music Festival announced the 2015 lineup last month, and today they’ve announced the single day lineups for the three days of the festival, set to go down from June 5-7 at Randall’s Islands Park.

We still have to see the set times each day, but at least now you can plan out if you want to go to just one day, or even plan out who you’re going to see each day.

Single days tickets are on presale now, with the regular sale happening Friday noon. 3-day tickets are still on sale.

Find the single day lineup posted below:
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[new]: Tobias Jesso Jr. – “How Could You Babe”

By Will Oliver, January 21st 2015

Tobias Jesso Jr

Hot rising artist Tobias Jesso Jr. is a name that should be on your radar immediately. I caught a intimate performance from him last November at a loft space in Williamsburg, where he previewed tracks from his debut album Goon (out March 17 via True Panther). There was a lot of blog buzz about him floating around, and that performance proved it all to be true. Jesso Jr. is indeed an amazing talent, one that is going to steal a lot of hearts in the upcoming months.

He’s released a few cuts from the album already (“Hollywood,” “True Love,” and “Just A Dream,”) and the latest single is the fragile ballad “How Could You Babe.” While the live version I saw was a solo version featuring just Jesso Jr. and his piano, the recorded product features a bit more production. Even so, it still finds a way to capture that sweeping intimacy that seems to come natural to Jesso Jr. Credit to Patrick Carney, JR White and Ariel Rechtshaid, who all had a hand in the album’s production.

Goon is shaping up to be not only one of the best debut albums of the year, but one the best albums, period.

Check out the wonderful “How Could You Babe” music video below, which was directed by Grant Singer.
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