Monday, March 24, 2014

Live Show Photo + Video Recaps - March 2014

Although a conscious effort has been made in being more selective with live events attended – lord knows you can’t say yes to every invite (multiples, daily) – and other necessary aspects of this life require your time as well - a number of significant shows still made the cut over the last month.

On Friday, February 28th, Wind-up Records recording artist Jillette Johnson performed at The Bowery Ballroom in front of a passionate, adoring audience.

At a mere 24 years of age, this singer/songwriter projects a sound and overall musical maturity of someone you'd expect much further along in their career.

The inclusion of teasingly playful imagery combined with her huge voice and mature lyrical theme in the above video for this song "Pauvre Coeur" (poor heart) is as convincing an introduction to her talent as any.

Her live show did not disappoint, as she played a full set heavily weighted with tracks from her debut album "Water in a Whale."  Accompanied by a drummer and multi-instrumental guitarist (both who sang backup) Jillette dazzled with her equally impressive piano playing on a Nord Stage2 electric.

Behind the scenes videos for things like photo shoots are always fun, and help those new to an artist get to know them a bit better.  This one here certainly does all that.

Jillette writes and performs the kind of music that confronts your emotions on a serious level.

Though a number of other names have been suggested as similar sounding reference points in reviews, the dramatic style of Lady Gaga when she is performing her torch song piano ballads came to mind more than a few times. 

While those who lean towards a harder rock sound might find this soul baring a bit overly melodramatic, even they would have to agree there is an incredible amount of talent pouring out of these songs.

Find out more about Jillette Here:

and Wind Up Records Here:

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The following night, March 1 provided the opportunity to check out an event  featuring friends who DJ and play in bands as well.   The featured performances were live shows from the bands Baby Acid and The Christines.

What I hadn't counted on (though was delightfully suprised by) was a tatoo event of sorts that preceded the night's main event.

Pretty girls in various stages of undress were proudly showing off their ink as well as their naked bodies.  This certainly fell into the "bonus event" category!

Soon enough it was time for Lindsey Ann to play live with her newly revived, new-member rock band Baby Acid

Lindsey's various musical projects have been covered in this blog more than a few times, and this night's show once again reinforced the positive qualities of her determined presence.

Accompanied by a fluid guitarist and solid drummer, Lindsey locks down her songs with a bass playing style that merges the energy of punk with a more accomplished rock musicianship.

Give a listen to this fast paced, punky tune that captures the essence of bands like early Iggy and The Stooges.

An appropriate sense of rock style enhances the overall sensory experience.

For those about to rock - we salute you.

Get in touch with Baby Acid Here

The second featured band on the night was Christines.

Led by by former Woven Bones frontman Andy Bones, this band picks up where his previous incarnation left off, creating an even more densely layered sonic palette.

Clearly defined song structures are there, noticeable even in the less than optimal sound environment of the Flat (with it's modest stage area).

Keep an eye on this band and where they'll be performing next via their Facebook Page


Since the evening was also a dance party, I caught up with my friend Stefania for some floor shaking activity.

Refreshing beverages and dramatic hand gestures kept everything creative and fun!

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Three night's later it was over to the Mercury Lounge to witness a pretty big event, as longtime friends and international superstars Ringo Deathstarr made their tour stop in New York

Coincidentally, the first band on this night was the last band I previously saw - Christines

The superior sound system that is a hallmark of Mercury Lounge - long declared my favorite venue in all of New York City - allowed Christines to present their sound with the richness and clarity it deserves.

Hearing these songs presented is a proper sonic environment made for a satisfying listening experience.

Matthew, Cory and Jordan provide the expected high level of guitar, bass and drums - making Christines a complete four member band.

The anticipation for the bands debut album continues to build.  It's hard to imagine it will be anything less than spectacular.

Keep up to date with all things Christines right Here


What followed was completely unexpected.

Though it shouldn't surprise that the musical acts Ringo Deathstarr take out on tour with them would have something unique or special about them,

I wasn't really prepared for the total all out mayhem and fun that is the Beaumont, Texas band Purple.

One of the first things you notice is the completely extroverted nature of their drummer Hanna.

The band comes off as a tightly coiled trio,with guitarist and co-lead vocalist Taylor shredding away as bassist Tyler stoically locks everything in a deep pocket.

Hanna and Taylor appear to split the lead vocal duties 50/50, which gives the band a sometimes female led, sometimes male led persona.

What's most noticeable is how hard and wild this band rocks!

Give a listen to one of their excellent tracks here:

Hanna told the audience it was too hot on stage to keep the crop-top she was wearing on - so off it went, tossed out on the stage in front of her.

The band kicked it up into an higher gear at this point, shredding, thundering and all around raging madly.

I couldn't help but be impressed with their sound and show - and the youthfully exuberant Hanna in particular.

You can check out a lot more Purple music right Here


Touring in support of their new 2014 release "God's Dream," Ringo Deathstarr hit the stage with all the power and force those in the know have come to expect.

The first part of the show focused on more familiar songs like "Imagine Hearts," "Kaleidoscope," "Down On You" and "So High"

With the audience now satisfied having heard a number of classic tracks from prior releases, the new material was rolled out.

Record opener and arguably best track “Bong Load” is powered along with a thundering flam-style drumbeat that echoes the Butch Vig produced/Dave Grohl played work on Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” The most notable evolution with this band is drummer Daniel Colborn now singing lead on some of the new songs, and this one in particular. Who knew he could sing so well? “My head is on fire,” is how the lyrics begin. “Can’t spend time with my friends, ‘cause I no longer have friends - because my face melted off” points to stoner excess contributing to social backsliding.

Elliott’s deep baritone joins under Daniel’s vocals on the next verse, as he unleashes layers of ferociously strummed electric guitars – all contributing to that perfect euphoric feeling.

Galexy’s sweet sugar voice takes the star vocal turn on the third pass through. Ringo Deathstarr overall now appears to  functions as a cohesive three equal member unit. Earlier stages of the bands development could have been perceived more as Elliott’s mastermind project, who effectively used Alex’s voice on half the songs to achieve desired results. The impression now more than ever is one of true creative collaboration from everyone in the band.

The next best song on the new record (and title track) “God’s Dream” is magnificent for a number of reasons. That the band is unafraid to put God in the title suggests a not-so-subtle nose-thumbing at the forces in “hipster” music culture today that frowns on this sort of thing. Additionally, the record cover depicts tall, willowy Alex looking through the sights of a rifle. It’s refreshing to see this kind of “political correctness” defiance depicted in the art of at least some young people today. The message seems clear – think for yourself. Don’t be like sheep – like cattle. The other side is lying to you as well.

The song itself has Alex cooing words in classic Belinda Valentine style. That is to say – you can barely make them out (if at all) – my fave style of vocals. So – what could possibly be “God’s Dream” – well – how about the universe? How about the planets? How about Earth – and people? No one can really be sure what a songwriter is trying to say with their creation. That is the beauty of it – the leaving it open for interpretation.

The record contains a number of harsher, heavier tracks like “Flower Power,” “Chainsaw Morning” (where "every morning after is a") and “Nowhere” (all played at this show).  Elliott’s elongated solo melody lines and forceful chord layers are spine-tinglingly wonderful. To be immersed in them is like the sex feeling, only in your head, neck and arms.  Also included on the record (and a particular favorite) is the acid-trippy “Shut Your Eyes,” which has Elliott and Alex singing in dreamy counterpoint.

Hanna from tourmate band Purple never ceases to entertain - and clearly gets swept up in the moment and frenzy of a Ringo Deathstarr show.

And ultimately ends with with Elliott's guitar around her neck, rolling on the stage to conclude their final song.

The full set list.  They may have added one or two more at the end.  Great to see (and hear) the legendary "Weekend Dudes" on there.

Keep close to the greatness that is Ringo Deathstarr right Here


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Friday March 7  completed the week of shows with a must attend event at the ever evolving, increasingly entertaining Brooklyn Night Bazaar

The gorgeous and talented Maya Vik performed with her band.

With essential bandmembers flying in this very day for the show - and a continued run out at South By Southwest the following week - Maya put on her now-expected dazzling show.

The stage presentation at Brooklyn Night Bazaar benefits tremendously from the visual projections behind the artists.  Maya's imagery was particularly attractive.

Maya looked great (as always) has a delightfully sweet personality - all while presenting a very high level of songwriting and musicianship.  Her keyboardist and backing vocalist - Haakon-Marius Pettersen is a virtuoso who never fails to impress.

Similarly, drummer Marius Simonsen is a highly evolved percussionist who add a distinct element of punch to the funky music being presented.

Listen to her wonderful recent release "Totally Right"

This track appeals on a multitude of levels.  Hearkening back to era when funky dance music wasn't so robotic.  Loaded with happy hooks, it's points to intelligent design and minor chord movement.

Her live show captures the essence of those studio recordings and expands them to perfection.

These boots were made for slappin' da bass.

Previous photoshoots projected behind her created a wonderfully surreal visual environment.

A free download of her song "Dynamite" can be gotten here:


A full SoundCloud playlist can be listened to Here

My previous feature on Maya - complete with a one-on-one interview, can be found Here

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