There seems to have been countless times I’ve had the opportunity to see Dispatch live but for some reason or another, I’ve missed them every time they’re in the NYC area. I’ve heard nothing but great things about their live show, and then they announced that they would be returning to Madison Square Garden, I knew I couldn’t miss it. I apprently wasn’t the only one who couldn’t, as the demand was so high they sold out the first show with opener John Butler Trio and added a second show, bringing Dr. Dog along as the opener.

As a longtime fan of Dr. Dog, I was excited that they were opening for Dispatch as its the biggest venue they’ve played to date (minus some festivals), especially since we saw them earlier this year was at the much smaller and more intimate Music Hall of Williamsburg. MSG is prestigious regardless if your headlining or opening, and playing there has got to be an amazing feeling. With that, I had absolutely no doubt that their sound will fill out the arena, but I didn’t realize how well it did. They seemed as comfortable as anybody who’s played MSG before, ripping through their 11 song set with total ease. I’m not sure drummer Eric Slick even took a break – as soon as one song ended, he began jamming out the beat to the next song creating no real break from song to song. It was impressive, and if people in the crowd didn’t know who they were before, I’m sure they know who they are now.


Before Dispatch took the stage, the house lights dimmed and a video montage played up on the screens on the side of the stage. The video was showcasing and shining a light on the issue of hunger in the US – after all, the show was aptly titled, “Dispatch: Hunger.” One of the goals for the 2 night run is to raise more awareness about hunger in the US in that it is an important issue people might not think about. As part of the show’s info, it stated that ‘1 in 6 Americans (roughly 46.2 million) struggle to put food on their tables and 1 in 5 American children don’t have enough to eat.’ It’s a shocking stat and one that people might not think about. Part of the awareness wasn’t just the 2 night run at MSG, Dispatch also set up several other events across the US to get people involved and aware.

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1_Speedy Ortiz_Pier 84

On July 9, Pier 84’s Hudson River Rocks series presented a rock solid free show featuring Waxahatchee, Speedy Ortiz, and Weyes Blood. Only cloudy skies and the threat of rain put the evening of music at risk.

Skies held out when I got there for Speedy Ortiz, who delivered a tight set as expected, playing a 12-song set mixed between their new album Foil Deer (out via Carpark Records), as well as their 2013 debut Major Arcana. While it was a very different atmosphere from theri sold out Bowery Ballroom show from earlier in the year, Sadie Dupuis and the rest of the band had no problem captivating the crowd, not always an easy thing to do at a free show.

Unfortunately during the wait for Waxahatchee the weather took a turn for the worst, and they had to cancel the show. I have still yet to see Katie Crutchfield’s band perform live. No big deal as they’ll be back in New York soon enough, but it was still disappointing nevertheless.

Find the setlist below, along with some photos from Speedy Ortiz’s performance.

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On July 7 there was a great lineup of music to be found at Music Hall of Music, featuring a stacked bill of up-and-coming talent in the form of Alex G, Girlpool, Frankie Cosmos, and Hello Shark.

1_Alex G_MHOW

I was only able to get there in time for Alex G, but it was yet another great showing from the always impressive Philadelphia musician who has steadily built a rock solid fanbase in New York that follows his every move. There’s a lot to be excited about with Alex, whose really only getting started.

Girlpool, the L.A. duo of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, have had quite a year. Last winter they released their debut EP to great acclaim, and this year they quickly followed that up with their impressive debut album Before The World Was Big, both released via Wichita Recordings.

While I enjoy the duo’s recordings, they take a very different shape live. Although there’s a simplicity to their music, that’s a part of the charm, and live you’re able to really absorb this. They mixed songs from their debut album and EP to great results, and delighted us with their warm personalities and wicked sense of humor. People seem to really gravitate towards these girls, and I can see why. There’s a lot to love about Girlpool.

Find photos of both Alex G and Girlpool posted below.

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1_Basement Jaxx_Summerstge NYC

On July 1, acclaimed British electronic duo Basement Jaxx made their long-awaited live return to New York, playing outdoors at Central Park for Summerstage NYC. Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton hadn’t played New York in nearly a decade (although they did do DJ sets), so this was a special occasion for both the group as well as their fans.

Opening the show was indie-soul group The Internet. Led by Odd Future member Syd the Kyd, the group shared offerings from their new album Ego Death, which was released in June via Odd Future and Columbia Records. They delighted the crowd with their fresh-take on the genre, with plenty of good vibes left over to carry us over before Basement Jaxx.

Although the core of Basement Jaxx is Ratcliffe and Buxton, they become a much larger collaboration when performing live. Singers Sharlene Hectic and Vula Malinga lead the vocal charge, all while dressed in eye-popping, visual stunning outfits. While they played their dance/house anthems, the group welcomed various performers and singers on stage such as a ballarina, and a whole outfit of costumed gorillas.

Basement Jaxx sounded larger than life, offering winning versions of tracks throughout their impressively long career, winning us over with newer songs (“Raindrops”) just as well as the old favorites (“Romeo,” “Where’s Your Head At?”), never really pausing to take a moments rest (they did have the park curfew working against them). It was a most memorable show that was perfect for the outdoor setting of Summerstage. Who knows, it may be another 10 years before they return next. Either way, I hope they return soon enough. We’ll be waiting.

Find photos of both Basement Jaxx and The Internet posted below, along with Basement Jaxx’s setlist.

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1_Miguel_Le Poisson Rouge

R&B singer Miguel released his new album Wildheart on June 29 via RCA Records/Bystorm Entertainment. He celebrated the release with a free intimate performance at Le Poisson Rogue as a part of NPR’s First Listen Live series. Fans had a chance to get free tickets online, which sold out almost instantly, in a matter of seconds.

Over the years, Miguel has seen his stock rise considerably, making him one of the biggest and brightest stars in r&b. Getting to see him perform at a space such as Le Poisson Rogue was ideal, a better fit than his performance at Terminal 5 which was an original part of his tour. The performance saw him share a good majority of his new album, including the rather incredible single “Coffee” as well as “Hollywood Dreams” and “Waves.” Before and after songs he would give us a little explanation or insight into the song, and offer us some inspiration message here and there. He didn’t cheap us out of a normal length set either, playing 17-songs for about an hour.

It was my first time seeing Miguel, but I was impressed with his ability as a performer. Not only does he have a stunning voice, but he is able to bring the show to leave in an impressive and entertaining manner that has cross appeal for fans of both r&b and pop.

Find the setlist posted below, along with some iPhone photos (no camera allowed for this one).

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1_Ty Segall_Mercury Lounge

This summer indie rocks hardest worker Ty Segall returned to New York for 4-intimate acoustic shows across the city, including performances at Baby’ All Right, Bell House, Mercury Lounge and Rough Trade NYC.

I caught his performance at Mercury Lounge on June 26, which was the first of two shows for him that night, with a performance at Rough Trade NYC immediately following. It featured an opening set from Nashville folk artist William Tyler, who warmed up the crowd with a beautiful set of finger-picked goodness.

The last time I saw Segall play was at one of the final Death By Audio performances in November, as well as his absolutely bonkers headlining show at Webster Hall. This time around he went unplugged, playing a set of acoustic songs from all over his catalog, but mostly pertaining to last year’s mega album, Manipulator. Segall had fun with the show, offering lighthearted, and often goofy covers of classic rockers such as Devo’s “Baby Talkin Bitches.”
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1_Leon Bridges_Bowery Ballroom

In late June soulful Fort Worth, Texas resident Leon Bridges made his return to New York as a part of his first official headlining tour across the states for his winning debut album Coming Home (released via Columbia Records). He played a two night run, with the first at Bowery Ballroom, and the second at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Both shows sold out immediately, with demand far exceeded available tickets. So much so that when I arrived for his performance at Bowery Ballroom, that there was an entire line of nearly a dozen or so people outside who unfortunately bought fake tickets from craigslist. A rather depression reminder to be very careful if you do buy tickets from there.

But for those lucky enough to get inside Bowery Ballroom, they were treated to a wonderful showing from Bridges. Both of Leon’s next New York shows feature slightly bigger performances at the Apollo Theater and Webster Hall, both of which sold out almost instantly. So it was clear that getting to see Bridges at the always intimate Bowery Ballroom was a special treat, as he is destined to play much bigger theaters very soon.

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1_Beirut_Bowery Ballroom

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_Christopher Owens_Baby's All Right

Christopher Owens, now long removed from his former breakthrough rock duo Girls, has certainly proved that his career as a solo musician is permanent. Ever since officially going solo in 2013, Owens has released an album every year, with his latest album, Chrissybaby Forever, coming seemingly out of nowhere in early June (released via Turnstile Music).

On June 20 he returned to New York for a performance at Baby’s All Right, an appropriate place for his newer material which deserves a slightly more intimate setting. Owens shared many tracks from his new album, previous solo records, and select off-beat Girls cuts. Owens still draws quite a bit of a passionite cult following, with one fan who Owens recognized during the show getting a hug in between songs. It seems like Owens is able to comfortably be himself and have more fun on his own as a solo artist, even if deep down, all of us wouldn’t mind a Girls reunion someday.

Find some photos from his performance at Baby’s posted below.

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1_Unknown Mortal Orchestra_Baby's All Right

Back in June Unknown Mortal Orchestra played a sold out show at Warsaw, the New York stop for their current tour of Multi-Love, their funky new album that was released this May via Jagjaguwar. Only that show was just the beginning of their night, as the band kept the party going right with a free show at the much more intimate Baby’s All Right immediately following their performance at Warsaw.

To be entered for a chance to attend, fans had to leave a comment on the bands facebook post the day before. Only a select few won, but things got so packed at Baby’s that anyone who showed up was allowed in. As a result, you can imagine that the already sure to be packed show got even more crowded than it had to be. The capacity crowd included Mac DeMarco and members of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, who also came from a show of their own at Bowery Ballroom.

2_Unknown Mortal Orchestra_Baby's All Right

The dance-inspired, funky influence of new album Multi-Love still had a strong hold on the band, who sounded as good as I’ve ever seen them (I last saw them at MHOW in 2013). These days they’re joined by a keyboardist, rounding their total to four. This resulted in a much fuller sound that allowed them to pull off the epic groove necessary on new tracks like “Necessary Evil” and the title track “Multi-Love.” The funk carried over and influenced a slightly new flavor to old favorites such as “How Can U Luv Me” and “Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark).”

The band let it all hang out on the stage and brought the party with them to the enthusiastic crowd who were just amazed to get to see them at the tiny stage of Baby’s, for free. The most impressive part of the night was that they didn’t cut it short due to it being a free show, they played for a solid hour plus, giving us more than we ever could of asked.

Find some more shots of their performance at Baby’s posted below.

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