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.
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,
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:
The XRay Eyeballs interview:
Live coverage from SXSW:
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:
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:
As well as these multiple Deli Mag features:
and Cool Serbia here:
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.
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:
Following them was the band I've probably seen more times than any other - The Vandelles
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Wow. So much great music and all those wonderful photos! I think I'm liking the Sparxx stuff at the moment. those new songs are really good! will be back later to take more of this all in.
What a delightful way to spend my Monday morning. With a great soundtrack to boot....
......."Live Music is better, Bumper Stickers Should Be Issued"!
Yeah - live music *is* better. The live music *experience* to be even more specific. Now - don't get me wrong - no one loves the perfection that a studio recording can give better than I do. But - you don't get that three dimensional feeling of sight and sound combined any other way than at a live show. Well stated, Reefer.
Looks like a fun packed jamboree of gigging. But yeh it's hard to keep up if youre out every night.. Is there such a thing as balance ? Liking the acoustic set
Sometimes we just run as fast as we can (to keep up). Cassie does get a nice sound going there, doesn't she, Andy.
This is a great review Dave, i liked it so much. I played all songs, have to say "Popular Science", made me enjoy it every moment, dancing on my chair moving myself side by side. "You turn me on", a cool one too, those garish mixed lights... so great.
What to say about "Strictly Luxury", caught me, love, love it, so danceable and that contagious rhythm, now one of my faves. :D
Yeah, Paty - I have to say that "Popular Science" has a great hook that sinks into you and makes you wanna move. The same for "Strictly Luxury" - both of those dance floor perfection!
Great review, I really liked the photos.
I wanted to do a photoblog feature - after all the detailed writing I'd been doing. So, yeah - it's all about the pictures here.
oh wow! this is good! and I have to say I have a thing for the girls with guitars... one word - HOT!!!
Awesome photos, good review! Thanks for sharing!
I've been "having a thing" with girls (with guitars) for multiple decades now!
Very nice photos, Dave! What kind of camera do you use? Nah! No such thing as "show overload" if they're good bands.
Hey Rambler, the cameras I use alternate between a Kodak AF 3x Optical Aspheric Lens 32mm-96mm C143 and an HTC One S with 1080HD imaging. Between the two of them there is plenty of space for "overload."
long one. :)
i see some nice bands, pretty girls and some music that i still need to digest. :)
though i bet i'll find something suitable for me. :)
all in all - good stuff
Pretty girls and music - my two fave things.
youve been having fun without me croms!! not cool- i can see im gonna have to return to NYC! some really cool shows here and cool sounds- incidentally cassie ramone and i play our "gigs" the same way roughly speaking ... ;)
Yes, I know how you play, William. Remember last summer and "Triple Play?" You are welcome to come back and have more Cromtime fun whenever you are ready again.
Dave, I love the way the bands and musicians you are writing about take centre stage and you exhibit your journalistic chops by writing economically but incisively about your subjects. Your blog must be the next best thing to actually being there. You are doing your bit to keep music (a)live and kicking.
Richard, your comment captures exactly what I do here - "the bands . . . take centre stage" while "writing economically but incisively."
I'm happy to see that recognized.
Wow, you really crammed a lot of music into this blog Dave. Sometimes I wish I lived in New York with the thought that I'd go to shows all the time...but I imagine I would need a break now and then and my wallet would too. Thanks to you I now count myself as a fan of Sparxx. Great photos. I remember you writing about Hunters in the not so distant past...I really need to delve into them a bit more because they seem like a band I should like. I must say I was a bit surprised at first with the fact you liked Lilly Wolf...I've read a lot about her recently. But then you mentioned Sophie and it all made sense. Great photos, vids, and commentary. Thx Dave!
Glad to hear I've been influential in helping to spread the word about (at the very least) Sparxx, Hunters and Lilly Wolf, Davey. All the musicians featured here are worthy of a listen.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge on this topic. This is really helpful and informative. I would love to see more updates from you.
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