Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Live Show Photo + Video Recaps - April / May 2014

Every once in a while it’s fun to do a “slap-dash-for-no-cash” photo recap of recent shows attended. 

Without further ado (or ballyhoo) this one commences.

Saturday April 12th started out with a trip down to Brooklyn's The Flat, catching an early set from emerging band BEIJU.

Fronted by the soaring melodies of Caitlin Seager - who once served in a similar capacity in her previous band Night Manager .

The band also features veterans of other formerly prominent local acts - with Greg Timmes on guitar, Cal Fish on bass and Ethan Snyder on drums.

Find out more about BEIJU Here

* * * * *

Next up was a wonderful new discovery that goes by the name Sunflower Bean

Though I soon found out they too had emerged from the ashes of prior bands - guitarist Nick Kivlen and drummer Jacob Faber from Turnip King, and bassist/vocalist Julia Cumming from Supercute! (who I chatted with on the streets of Austin, Texas during SXSW in 2011Here - third video down).

I was impressed with the complex, sophisticated songwriting - that still maintained a decidedly rock edge to it all.

Check out this cool video and song they recorded at their friend's home studio, and put the video together on an iphone.

Particularly interesting are the doubled vocals in places, and the "spooky" way all the voices sound on the lyric "in the year 2013"

Find out more about Sunflower Bean Here

* * * * *

Busy night that it was, I soon hightailed it over to Brooklyn Night Bazaar to catch one of my very fave bands - Hunters

Featured numerous times in this blog and on The Deli Mag (written by yours truly) - it is no secret how much I appreciate the many qualities of vocalist/frontperson Izzy Almeida.

Of course guitarist / vocalist /songwriter Derek Watson makes it all go with drop D perfection.

Izzy has changed her look a bit - going from blonde (then pinked) hair to this more demure brunette color.  Looks good on her though.

The projections behind the bands at Brooklyn Night Bazaar are always top notch, and kudos goes out to that venue for their consistently professional presentations.

This new look also featured Peter Pan collared bookishly-gothic attire (a change from the t-shirts and other ensembles previously worn).  Izzy mentioned after the show she had been reading a number of great classic books from that period, which served as style inspiration.

Though headbanging was toned down somewhat (due to concussion issues - hopefully now completely resolved) - the show still had all the ferocious energy one has come to expect from this band.

visually appealing

with songs to match

It's always a high energy good time with Hunters

Read my previous write up on them Here - which links to all other features I've written about them.

* * * * *

Four days later it was over to The Music Hall of Williamsburg for a Steve Madden Presents event - featuring The Pretty Reckless

Fronted by the willowy presence of Taylor Momsen, the current members are Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins. Their debut album, Light Me Up, was released  in 2010.

Combining the bands higher-than-club-level clout along with whatever Steve Madden's organization brings to the table, the overall presentation (dynamic visual light show and sound quality) gave everything a bigger, arena-show feel.


Taylor's midwestern classic rock roots shine through, as she capably fronts this hard rock outfit.


Skinny blonde rides hellbound rock train.

Her band plays with the confidence and ease of experienced professionals.

Exchanges like these were not uncommon throughout the show.

I initially became aware of Taylor's existence when she appeared as a regular cast member of the television show Gossip Girl.

It was soon discovered that her real love was to play kick-ass rock 'n roll in her own band.

She even strapped on a guitar for one song.  What's not to like here?

Find out more Here

* * * * *

Three days hence it was a pretty big deal as legendary Love and Rockets and Bauhaus founding member David J rolled in to New York City's Pianos for a celebrated showcase.

Arriving just in time to catch long-time friends Dead Leaf Echo, an impeccably delivered set held the crowds attention.

Moody lighting and grainy projections bring LG's vision of the band to life.

Ana played guitar for this whole set, moving away from the equal-time on keyboards of prior performances.

As LG seemingly looks to the heavens, Kevin locks down the drumming with precision and creativity.

Playing many tracks from their previous full length release Thought + Language

As well as their latest true.deep.sleeper, Dead Leaf Echo always put on a musically engaging show.

* * * * *

Next up were the always brilliant Vandelles

Jas, Honey and Linds came on a like a house on fire and blew the audience away.

Camaraderie that goes back a long way.

Propelled by a forceful rhythm section.

And that killer guitar sound

Way ahead

Winning over new fans as the set progressed.

Bringing the thunder and ruckus

Get down with the lovely fever

Bad to the bone

Things got wild at the end with a crowd surfing guitarist meeting the people up close.

Check out my previous entry on The Vandelles on this blog Here

As well as show recaps during their support slot for The Jesus and Mary Chain in Philadelphia and New York

* * * * *

The time had now arrived for headliner David J to take the stage and present to New York his newly crafted show.

Drawing on his vast catalog of music, early in the set leaned more towards acoustic songs.


Putting the guitar down at times (often to play harmonica) David allowed his trio bandmates the room to recreate his classic songs with precision.


Classic Love and Rockets compositions like "Rainbird" made for early acoustic highlights.


Once David grabbed the bass, everyone knew we were in store for a number of the heavier songs.


David brought up a beautiful, voluptuous exotic dancer (I would later find out) named Kat Mon Dieu to add a bonus visual element on the heavy track "Kundalini Express"

Nothing comforts like a Burlesque Feather Fan

What was played (more or less, and not necessarily in that exact order).

Meeting one of my long-time respected artists after the show.

And some new friends too.

It's always satisfying to get your photo re-shared by the artist on his own page.

Find out lots more about David's current activities and projects on his Facebook Page and Official Site

* * * * *

A week later it was out to the wonderful always free Brooklyn Night Bazaar

Not only to check out one of that venues great shows, but also catching up with former UK resident and now fellow New Yorker Mark Crozer

Along with his own solo projects (info about which can be found at his site ), Mark is a touring member of The Jesus and Mary Chain

We grabbed a cappuccino beforehand, then proceeded to check out the night's entertainment.

First up was a pleasant surprise for me - a group of young girls from Philadelphia named Amanda X

One unique feature about them was their guitarist played left-handed, even though (I would later discover) she was actually right handed - but simply had self-taught herself to play that way.

She didn't even reverse the order of strings, making her path to competency all the more compelling.

She reminded me a bit of Honey Valentine (from The Vandelles) in her overall appearance.

I was impressed with the full band presentation and give them a "recommended" status.

Find out more about them Here

* * * * *

After their set Mark and I got up to more shenanigans

Then buckled in for the night's big show

Tucker n' Emily's Total Slacker wow'd the crowd with their own particular brand of mayhem.

Zoe throttled the cans with all the power and thrust we've come to know and love.

Tucker coaxed sounds out of his guitar that were at times out of this world

My friend Mark Crozer (of The Jesus and Mary Chain) was quite impressed with them.

Emily worse this cool form fitting dress that made her look a bit like . . . .

. . . Taylor Swift

If she knew how to play "slimecore"

Tucker makes a point here

But seriously - just who did kill Kennedy?

Once you go slack, you never go back.

* * * * *

Four days later it was time for a hang with my good friend Jason of The Vandelles.

Tuesday, April 29 would be a good night for a hang in Brooklyn, taking in a show at The House Of Vans

It was a coffin crypt keepin' good time.

First band on were those local Brooklyn lads who've a revived a bit of what Britpop n' that "mani" Manchester sound was all about in the early 90's - Spires

Their constant touring has honed their sound to a tight precision.

I had previously written about this band's first single release "Candyflip" Here

That reviewed inspired their PR Agency TellAllYourFriendsPR to pull this quote for their email blast promos:

"Takes direct aim at the late 1980's "Madchester" era, capturing that vibe and sound with impressive results" -The Deli

Find out more about them Here

* * * * *

Time for the big headliners to come on - Britain's The Horrors

Formed in 2005, the band has gone through a stylistic evolution between then and now.

Four albums in to their career, the latest is the recently released "Luminous"

They exhibit a commanding presence, and full use of the big stage and light show that goes along with that.

Backdrop projections also serves to give them a larger visual imagery.

Singer/frontman Faris Badwan serves more than capably as the focal point,

However this a very much a band endeavor, with sequenced keyboards frequently dominating the sonic forays.

Faris Bueller's day off

Much more can be discovered about this band Here and Here

* * * * *

That following Saturday (May 3) was a pretty big deal for me as I was getting to see an iconic band from my early formative years.

The legendary Terri Nunn and her currently revamped version of Berlin descended on New York City's The Cutting Room

The show was absolutely amazing, and brought back every memory I could have hoped for.

My personal favorite Berlin song will always be "The Metro," and their performance of it (complete with projections of the original MTV video) was nothing less than spectacular.

Terri's voice is as strong as ever, and her band is the perfect mix of hard rockin' professionals.

She played just the right blend of classic hits up through and including significant catalog tracks.

For their early 80's hit "Dancing In Berlin," a number of fans were invited up on stage to, well dance WITH Berlin!

Check out the original video for this song

Terri also made her way out into the audience to engage with her fans up close and personal.

It was yet another very cool moment.

You can tell how much she loves the live performing aspect of her career.

After the show some lucky fans got to meet members of the band - like this one named Misty here - who took a snapshot with her newly minted crush - Berlin guitarist Carlton Bost

This fan was completely thrilled to meet the eternally gorgeous Terri Nunn

Read my previous feature on Berlin right Here

* * * * *

A mere 2 days later it was back out to catch my very good friends The Vandelles play a special showcase at the new and very popular Brooklyn venue Baby's All Right

Fresh from their triumphant David J support slot at Pianos, the band picked up right where they had left off on that night.

The Jas-man wasted little time in getting to the squall, much to the delight of the audience.

Naturally, the dreamy heartthrob that is Honey Valentine provided all the percussion needed.

Lindsey proudly rumbled her Univox love through a distorted chain of electro-pulses.

Whenever this band plays, the weather is always lovely.

Nick's lighting creates wonderful hues.

Greens, blues . . . 

. . . and reds

Honey expresses her right to bare arms.

A special guest appearance was Pete F from the band Dinowalrus doing a jump up and jam along.

As a result, a new kind of guitar crunch could be heard.

Freeing J up to do the traditional lead singer thing.  Another great show!

* * * * *

The band Weekend played next.  I've Previously Written about how they've made a couple of good albums.  They're kinda boring live, though.

* * * * *

The headliners for this night were a band getting a lot of buzz going lately - the motorik/psych/gazers Toy

Their sound blends krautrock beats with extended guitar textures and keyboard whooshing forays.

The trio of "frontmen" - guitarists Dominic O'Dair, Tom Dougall and bassist Maxim ("Panda") Barron were the core musicians of mid 2000's pop act Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong.  Tom Dougall is the younger brother of former Pipettes and now successful solo artist Rose Elinor Dougall, and also played guitar in her band for a time.  Joe Lean was The Pipettes original drummer.

The band also features keyboardist Alejandra Diez and drummer Charlie Salvidge.

Their sound is a modern take on the 1970's-era "space rock" band Hawkwind.  Playing a hybrid of pop and dream-gaze with these "motorik" beats, while leaving room to extend the song length allows for forays of free improvisation.  This is very similar to the formula Hawkind employed - that of blending hard-rock and acid-rock, uniting the sonic power of the former and the free improvisation of the latter.

While the band was initially setting up, frontmen Tom and Jasno of The Vandelles has a chat.

Overall the the look and image is quite cohesive.

Keyboards add a level of texture that provides an additional sonic density to it all.

Though I have to mention that the bass player (especially his hair) reminded me a bit of Mott The Hoople "legend" Overend Watts.

The view from further back in the room.

Having set up the lighting in Baby's All Right (with his partner Nick) Jasno took to actually working the lights for the Toy show.  A man of many talents.

* * * * *

The very next night found me at The Music Hall Of Williamsburg for another significant event.

Legendary 90's band Slint were gracing New York with their presence.

Attending as a guest of concert going buddy Drid, we witnessed a revival and celebration combined.

Playing much of their 1991 breakthrough album “Spiderland,” those songs feature dramatically alternating dynamics and vocals ranging from spoken word to shouting, with narrative lyrics that emphasize alienation.

You can listen to that entire record Here

* * * * *


Misty said...

what an amazing recount of shows attended! so much to take in. will have to come back a few times I think. early stuff that immediately grabs me is Sunflower Bean. I love that '2013' song! so catchy. also amusing is the link to your chance encounter with her previous band a few years earlier!

DaveCromwell said...

Sunflower Bean is definitely my best new discovery is a while, Misty. Isn't ironic how something like a random encounter becomes something more a few years later?

Mirror said...

Rob Tochterman writes:

Nice tender cuts Dave, lean on that ballyhoo.

DaveCromwell said...

No bedbugs either, Rob !

William said...

you may do it for no cash but its certainly not slap-dash. You take as always a meticulous tour through the New York rock scene following the best sounds and the hottest babes. Looks like you've been enjoying yourself- though I can't condone your appreciation for The Pretty reckless haha it just seems pretty reckless...

DaveCromwell said...

I tried my best to make it "slap dash" - but the perfectionist in me just won't allow it. Oh, and I'll overlook your totally unwarranted diss of Taylor Momsen's band - only because you like everything else here, William. :)

Mirror said...

Rob Tochterman writes:

Jam-packed with less irritating ear-bugs, no doubt!

DaveCromwell said...

Kangaroo and chipmonk
Chipmonk and kangaroo
Ballyhoo and bedbugs
Bedbugs and ballyhoo

That's the way the bee bumbles

Mirror said...

Margaret Schwartz writes:

Dave Cromwell-The most comprehensive, critically insightful resource for all things NY Rock and Roll.

NYCDreamin said...

Damn Dave, when do you sleep man?!? Love the photo filled reviews - always fun to look through your stuff even though I'm unfamiliar with about 99% of it usually. Checked out some tunes from several of the bands featured this time around. I figured from your description I'd dig Toys but not so much after checking out a few tunes. I think The Vandelles probably get my vote for best of the batch this time around - they sound loud, rather aggressive and pretty killer live. I'll definitely be checking out some more of their stuff.

DaveCromwell said...

The Vandelles are amazing, NYCDreamin! Margaret knows ;-)

Toys are more of a slow burner. It's a bit more texture than flat out in your face mayhem (which I know you like). Plus, their live show is a bit more aggressive than their records.

Ivanka said...

wow!!! those are awesome!!!! So many awesome bands!!!! Special "wow" for Momsen lol that chick is rocking!

DaveCromwell said...

See that? A Taylor Momsen fan right here. Ivanka knows what it's like to be both "pretty" *and* "reckless"

The Midnite Rambler said...

Wow Dave you sure get around to some nice shows. Great photos!

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, I've been to a few shows recently, Rambler. ;-) Glad you like the pictures!

Mirror said...

Steve Goodman writes:

The sheer enormity of the Cromwell corpus is enough to frighten off the least avid of readers, but if you are in burgeoning band, is there a better champion of your cause out there? I reckon not. Good job as always, Dave!

DaveCromwell said...

As Prince Oberyn said to Tyrion on Game Of Thrones:

"I will be your Champion"

Anonymous said...

I like these photo stories you make.

DaveCromwell said...

Well, as you know Anouk - these photos serve as a means to illustrate and give more information about the full event.

Mirror said...

Lindsey Ann writes:

Some super rad show reviews by my pal Dave Cromwell! Lots of love for the NYC scene.

DaveCromwell said...

The NYC music scene is where we call home, Linds!

Mirror said...

Emily Jane writes:

Hah, first and last comparison to Taylor Swift I'll ever get, I'm sure!

DaveCromwell said...

You'll always be a little bit Taylor Swift to me, Emily ;-)

Patricia Mena said...

Woww soooo marvelous photosss!! Cool bands! You really had fun there! Goshhh you got that photo with Terri Nunn!! Awesome! Love it! :D

smork said...

nice re-cap!

i'll focus on just a few points:

the pretty reckless - kicks ass! her live shows (as i seen online) looks interesting. her records sounds bad-ass. so i dig her a-lot, for a while now.

the vendelles. looks awesome as well. i bet they sounds that as well. though i kind of miss Lulu... :P

and you Daves share some common features. :)

DaveCromwell said...

Paty and Mr. Smork checking in with some love for Berlin, Pretty Reckless and Vandelles - alright!

Mirror said...

Ray Kimura wrote:

"Brilliant review and photos as usual, Dave xx"

Just finished checking out Toy, and got happy to find your review of The Horrors too there ;)"

Blogger said...

I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.