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Monday, March 25, 2013

Live Show Photo + Video Recaps

Attending live shows in rapid succession can sometimes lead to "show overload."  If you are out every (or every other) night - when do you get the uninterrupted time to digest and catalog the events?

One method is the immediate, next-day, quickly thrown together blog post - referencing that night's event only.  The internet is filled with this sort of thing, coming at us all on a daily basis.  It's the equivalent of posting pics from the night before in one of your facebook photo albums.  That's all fine and good for what it is, but nothing beats a dedicated URL link to something a bit richer in content, with a smattering of (hopefully) intelligent commentary.

What follows here then, is a Photo and Video Blog of shows attended by yours truly over the last month.

Starting with Thursday, February 14, 2013 (Valentines Day!) at Webster Hall's Studio - presented by live show impresario Kristina Tequila.


First up was a solo set by Cassie Ramone


As most discerning music fans know by now, Cassie is an accomplished singer/songwriter who helped formed and plays in two bands - The Vivian Girls and The Babies

Listen in on how she sounded at this show:



With an only an acoustic guitar, some excellent FX pedals and her voice properly mixed, she create quite a huge sound, all by herself.



Another song:



A really great sound!

After the set I got to chat and joke around a bit with her.


She's super cool.  Smart, witty, with an experienced sarcastic side that still not too bitter to enjoy the good things this life has to offer - and she got my humor.  I would definitely call myself a fan of her music - and her personality.

Up next was a band I've written more than a few words about over the last couple of years,

Xray Eyeballs


Members Carly (bass) and Liz (keyboards) exude a glam/goth style that is the epitome of downtown New York rock.


O.J. complete the male side of this equation, as he thrahses and flails his guitar, wearing an appropriate Siouxsie Sioux t-shirt.






Things I've written previously about this band:

Deli blog:


The XRay Eyeballs interview:


Live coverage from SXSW:
http://davecromwellwrites.blogspot.com/2012/04/day-6-sunday-18-sxsw.html


Soon it was time for one of New York's most dynamic and exciting bands - Hunters



Led by singer/guitarist Derek Watson and lead vocals by the incredibly extroverted stage presence of Isabel Almeida.



On the song "Deadbeat," Isabel coos, purrs and pleads about how she "wants it and needs it."


It never hurts to be good looking and having a pliable body that can be contorted into pretty much any position desired.


Derek's playing, guitar sound and the rhythms overall position themselves somewhere between the twisted jungle stomp of The Cramps and tonal quality of Sonic Youth.

There are occasional quiet passages too.  As witnessed in this clip here:




Little lost pippi longstockings


This Acid Head wants you to stay


Just a girl and her microphone



A writhing good time!


After a quick turnaround, show headliners Total Slacker took to the stage.




With the bowl-cut stylings of Tucker on vocals & guitar - and Emily on bass, their doom-laden sludge and art school presence is an appealing combination.


Guitarist Tassy adds a wild-card element to it all, as the poster-child for Brooklyn's endess gig/endless party attitude.


Listen in as the T-slacks get down and dirty for you:








For additional information on this show, see my Deli Mag preview here:




*****
The very next night it was out again to catch the Converse Rubber Tracks Live presentation of Widowspeak and The Vivian Girls at Music Hall Of Williamsburg 



Making it to the show just in time to catch Widowspeak (traffic nightmares on a Friday night needing to be overcome) the band was now fuller than when I had seen them the previous year.


However, the focal point clearly is very much still Molly Hamilton's vocals and centralized presence.



Guitarist Robert Earl Thomas keeps everything from getting too dreamy and sleepy by ripping guitar lines with a forceful clarity.



Cool bass too.

Soon it was time for main attraction The Vivian Girls


This was something of a special, rare appearance by the band, as the two princial founding members - guitarist Cassie Ramone and bassist Katy Goodman have been working hard on their respective post-Vivian bands - Cassie's The Babies and Katy's La Sera


I have been following each of the post-VG bands pretty closely, having written more than a few features about both of them over the last year.




As the Vivian Girls, they they really let loose for this show, with a wilder, more punk-rock vibe.





*****

Two nights later it was out again to Brooklyn Bowl and the 1.21 Gigawatts Issue Four Release Party

Opening the show was the always loveable Haybaby




Leslie, Sam and Zach looked and sounded great on the big stage of Brooklyn Bowl



The audience was totally into it!


Leslie made the most of her big moment here


Sam appeared to be enjoying the higher level of stage and sound as well.


Be sure to check out Haybaby's good time music here:

http://haybabyband.com/

On the changeover I made my way up the back staircase into the band backstage area.  After a fun chat and encounter with the various personalities there, we headed down the stairs, which provided some interesting points of view:




Heaven's Gate was now on stage


I liked their cut-above-the-usual-rudimentary-noise sound, and their frontsinger had enough going on to hold my interest.


Even more interesting (and amusing) was the clearly advanced musician bass player, who played a flipped-over to left-hand postition bass with only 3 strings!  Now that's not giving-an-F-rock and roll!


Taking a moment to walk around and experience the overall vibe, I dropped by the DJ booth to chat with my buddy (and musican in his own right with his band The Grand Resort) Andres.


He played a lot of great stuff inbetween the bands, including a personal fave of our "Soon"
by My Bloody Valentine


After a short break, a band I've written about a lot lately - Lazyeyes took to the stage.





The band looked and sounded as good as ever.




Paul, Cheddar and Justin maintaing and excelling as the core of this unit.


The addition of former Ringo Deathstarr (and current Cool Serbia) guitarist Renan has given what was already a great sounding band an additional sonic boost.

Previous coverage of Lazyeyes can be found here:

http://davecromwellwrites.blogspot.com/2012/12/december-live-shows-lazyeyes-sparxx.html

As well as these multiple Deli Mag features:

http://nyc.thedelimagazine.com/node/12230

http://nyc.thedelimagazine.com/node/11918

and Cool Serbia here:

http://davecromwellwrites.blogspot.com/2012/11/dead-leaf-echo-ringo-deathstarr-cool.html

Final band of the night was Jangula


They've got a cool sound, and their core of gyrating chick fans really dig 'em.



Two night's later, it was time to head out in the freezing cold to catch a band that has grown quite near and dear to my heart - the one and only Sparxx



Led by the inimitable Heather Sparx on lead vocals, dance moves and personality - with a sonic foundation forged by music maestro Justin Mathews - there is much to like.


Their live sound benefits tremendously as a result of the powerfully fluid prog-rock-style drumming of Cinque Ubangi Kemp.  The guy is (as they say) "a Monster."



The band premiered a couple of new songs on this evening.  Here is "Popular Science"



Like all of Sparxx songs - there are wonderfully musical hooks to latch onto - heartfelt lyrics - and as good a sound quality as one might hope for in a club setting.





One more new song - "The One" (as in - "you're not . . . ")





Cute cats make everything better.

Headlining this evening of glamorous festivities was the complimentary synth, percussive and vocal act  Vandana Jain


At times her music reminded me of Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express


Her stylish and exotic looks added a level of appeal to the overall presentation.


She was accompanied by an electronic percussionist who helped weave the dense layers of sound produced.

Listen to this particular performance:



Here the sound falls somewhere between Goldfrapp and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's





*****

The very next night I was at it again.  This time over to Brooklyn's Shea Stadium.
Opening this night's festivities was Hippy (who, it seems plays every single night of the week)


As previously mentioned in this blog here, Nick, Jenny and Jhon create a happy vocal sound that skewers towards The Pixies upbeat moments.




Previous chronicles of Hippy live show activity can be found here:

http://davecromwellwrites.blogspot.com/2012/12/december-live-shows-lazyeyes-sparxx.html

Following them was the band I've probably seen more times than any other - The Vandelles



Along with their great sound, the band now features a dazzling over-the-top light show

Check out their live performance of the wonderful Beat Happenings song "You Turn Me On (Dead Man)" which they released as a single last year:



Jasno took a great classic song and made something extraordinary in the studio.  This live performance here did it justice as well, and the lighting adds an immesurable element that you rarely see anywhere else at the club level.  The only other band I know that does this as well is The Sunshine Factory (who also travel with a dedicated lightman).



The frequently changing hues makes for wonderful images.


While the exploding flashes create a dramatic effect that only enhances the overall experience.


Following them was another band I've been checking out locally quite a bit in recent times,
the drolly named Slonk Donkerson


The importance of bandnames aside, these dudes take their music seriously enough, with a jammy vibe running through their pop compositions.


The sound is a power three piece that walks the line between indie and traditional rock.


Parker exhibits a fluid dexterity on guitar.


While the rhythm section of Dylan and Zach locks it all down tight.


Find out more about this band here:


*****

Amazingly (for me lately) it was a full 6 days until the next show attended.

Heading over to one of the best venues in NYC - The Mercury Lounge - it was a night of festivities to celebrate the release of Dead Leaf Echo's full length debut album "Thought and Language"

Arriving in time for a spirited pre-show chat with Tell All Your Friends PR reps Brid and Mona, it wasn't long before tour support Lorelei took to the stage



This legendary band began in 1990 as a 5-piece in Washington, DC in the heyday of the city's indie scene, but quickly stripped down to 3 members in 1992 after one single. They subsequently released several recordings on Slumberland Records, including the 1994 LP, "Everyone Must Touch the Stove", plus a few things for other labels.


After a number of years working on it, the band released an album of new material titled "Enterprising Sidewalks" in the summer of 2012.

I loved their jammy live sound, and in particular the work of lead guitarist Matt Dingee

Find out more about them here:

http://lorelei-dc.bandcamp.com/

http://www.slumberlandrecords.com/catalog/show/232

Headlining the night was a band I've seen probably a dozen times at least.  However, this time was to celebrate the release of DLE's ambitious literary work "Thought and Language"




Though further personnel changes have happened since the last show attended, the core of the group contines to center around LG and Ana  



  This is a rawer and more "live" sounding version of the band.  Gone are the click-track bass patterns in favor of all live instruments.

  A pleasant surprise was seeing old friend Kevin now manning the drums.

 
When not playing keyboards, Ana and LG delivered guitar textures that stayed true to their orginial sound, while adding additional element of chaos.


  My previous feature on this band can be found here:   http://davecromwellwrites.blogspot.com/2012/11/dead-leaf-echo-ringo-deathstarr-cool.html (which contains links to 7 other features)  
*****      

The final night of this three week catalog was the first day of March, appropriately a Friday night

Having a show in what essentially was someone's Brooklyn apartment may not sound at first like an ideal location, but this one actually worked rather well for it.

Catching another show by familiar faces Girl Toy had me smiling and grooving along to it's overall rock'n'roll-ness.


Beatrice, Olivia and Lindsey thunder out an appropriately sludge-heavy sound that alternates at times between punk rock and somewhat heavier sound.



Beatrice is the band visionary and writes most of the songs. 
Her mastery of that Fender Mustang is equally impressive.


Lindsey brings what she always does to every band she's ever played in.  Solid bass playing, good background (and some lead) vocals and a personality that is the opposite of shy.



Olvia added power, bash and pop to her drumming that belies her delicate appearance.




Communal friends and fans show their support (some quite stylishly so)


Find out more about Girl Toy here:


After their show I had to high tail it out of there and head over to the Secret Loft (Vandelles HQ) to catch a performer who had caught my interest previously and was now playing her debut show in NYC.

Lilly Wolf is a dynamic singer and creator of dance music that appeals to
 my Sophie Ellis Bextor fan side


With her musical partner Alex providing sonic layers under the vocals, an equally dazzling light show made for an outstanding experience.





Lilly and Alex appear to know exactly what kind of sound they want, and excuted it perfectly.

Check out their lastest song and video - "Strictly Luxury"



The glamorous and sometimes androgynous imagery presented is well suited to it's overall theme of opulence and financial independence.







Lilly's attractive appearance was well suited for a performance at The Vandelles HQ




Flashes of visual brilliance to accompany the all encompassing sound


Dance Music Diva



My pleasure to meet the artist post-performance

Find out more about Lilly Wolf here: