The Strypes in New York, Jan 22, 2014 – The Studio @ Webster Hall

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Inside a small, sweaty club, four young men are tearing through songs by the likes of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. They wear tight suits and ties, have mops of hair and the vocalist clutches a harmonica to blow up a storm of ferocious rhythm and blues. It is, perhaps, not unlike witnessing the young Rolling Stones at the Marquee in 1962. However, the band are the Strypes, from Cavan in Ireland; their average age is 16.

Watching The Strypes perform, you’re struck by a worrying thought that these four Irish teens have been body-snatched by a band of hoary old pub rockers. On record, happily, they sound their age. Debut album ‘Snapshot’ sees the band stomp through a dozen tunes in 35 minutes, guitars squealing impressively and harmonicas wailing throughout. It’s bread and butter blues-rock, packed with lyrical anachronisms and clichés, but it’s done well and – importantly – is not as shamelessly retro as those covers-packed live shows. The downside of this is, occasionally, they sound a little bit like McFly. The upside is that The Strypes have begun to carve out a personality of their own.

Some of the Strypes’ covers – among them Diddley’s I Can Tell and Leiber/Stoller’s I’m a Hog for You Baby – were given a similar electric shock by Dr Feelgood in the 1970s; and indeed the wild-eyed, instrument-shaking guitarist Josh McClorey has more than a hint of the Canvey islanders’ Wilko Johnson.

Their original songs hold their own. Blue Collar Jane and I’m No Good are raw, three-minute, lip-curling explosions of adolescent concerns delivered with blistering musicianship. As the gig progresses, the quartet play their instruments increasingly as if they’re taming wild animals, their hair becomes more unruly, their screaming racket more thrillingly demented. There’s a wonderful moment when McClorey holds a note, stares at the crowd as if in utter shock, returns to the note and then looks up again as he crashes into a riff.

They could well become absolutely huge, and once the cancer-stricken Johnson plays his final dates this spring, he can rest knowing that a younger generation is taking up the cause.

MGMT @ Brooklyn’s Barclays Center – December 13, 2013

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MGMT is the American band that’s been shaking up the indie scene for the past five years. Their style is difficult to shove into one genre of music, but contains elements of indie, psychedelic rock, and pop. MGMT broke onto the scene in 2007 with their hit album, Oracular Spectacular, which featured the hit single, “Kids”.

At the Barclays Center in December, MGMT played to an ecstatic (and young) crowd at Barclays Center that was their first NYC show in nearly 3 years. A homecoming of sorts. It’s been 5 years since I’ve gotten to see MGMT live, and that was when they were a young band opening for Beck. Back then they were still coming into their own. After seeing their performance last night, it’s safe to say they’ve definitely done so.

3/4 of first opener Kuroma were actually Hank Sullivant, James Richardson, and William Berman of MGMT. With the addition of Simon O’Connor, they created Kuroma. They had a groovy, jangly indie-rock vibe that was very lose, almost surf-rock at times.

Up next was Dinosaur Jr. who have been at it since the mid-80′s, but were opening for MGMT. Interesting choice, but you’ll hear no complaints from me. It’s always a pleasure to catch these guys, who are legends at this point. J Mascis is always a pleasure to watch at work, punching away at some powerful guitar riffs and slacker vocals that are more than influential. Bring earplugs if you see these guys, they bring the heat.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s been way too long since I’ve seen MGMT. I only saw them as an opener for Beck, and although I enjoyed it, there was definitely room for improvement. From the first note of set-opener “Flash Delirium”, I could tell that MGMT were not the same band. They sounded ten times tighter and more confident that they were 5 years ago, almost a new band entirely.

BEN

Ben – MGMT

“Time To Pretend” was the second song played, and immediately upon hearing it I was struck hard with a hit of memories and feelings from my last summer before college. It was amazing to finally get to hear all these songs from their debut album live again, as well as all the psych wonder nuggets from their tremendous follow-up albums, Congratulations, and MGMT.

They were joined by Faine Jade, who wrote the track “Introspection” and worked in a mammoth performance of “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters” which is an interestedly different animal live. It really took me off guard by how good that song is live. From there, it was a eclectic mix of all the best tracks from their career, such as “It’s Working”, “Weekend Wars”, and “Alien Days.” They played all 12-minutes plus of “Siberian Breaks” which was mind-blowing, as well as “Electric Feel” and “Kids”, both of which had fans rising from their seats screaming and dancing once the band started playing them.

MGMT

MGMT

MGMT are one of my favorite bands because they have stayed true to themselves all these years. They could have sold out and altered their sound to create 10 albums worth of songs like “Kids.” But they continued to push the boundaries of their listeners, making music that they believe in. This passion and care is carried over to their live show, which is a powerful force not to miss. It was a long wait to finally see MGMT again, but it was totally worth it.

They played most of their new record and some older tracks. Some members of Kuroma joined them onsatge for a few tunes. Sean Lennon was at the show too. (That happens at a lot of big Brooklyn shows.) It was all in all, a fine early Xmas present for a fairly wide-range of alt-rock fans.

Find the setlist below, along with a giant collection of photos from all three bands.

Setlist:

1. Flash Delirium
2. Time to Pretend
3. Introspection (With Faine Jade)
4. The Youth
5. Of Moons, Birds & Monsters
6. Mystery Disease
7. It’s Working
8. Weekend Wars
9. I Found a Whistle
10. Siberian Breaks
11. Electric Feel
12. Your Life Is a Lie
13. Kids
14. Cool Song No. 2
15. Alien Days

Encore:
16. Congratulations

Andrew - MGMT

Andrew – MGMT

Ben

Ben – MGMT

Queens of the Stone Age, The Kills headline Brooklyn’s Barclays Center

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Playing to a very respectable and enthusiastic crowd, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince proved to be a somewhat unexpected surprise. Two years after Blood Pressures, the two hid away any rust and entertained the crowd with an energetic and lively set that never stopped. Although they’re currently working on new material for a followup, the opening set waxed nostalgic over oldies much to the pleasure of their dedicated fans, no doubt crossed over from the Queens camp. Mosshart was wild as ever, tearing up the stage while Hince played a decidedly more reserved role — nary an interaction together on stage. Highlights included jagged renditions of “No Wow”, “DNA”, and “Kissy Kissy”. They can’t come back soon enough.

Live Act of the Year Queens of the Stone Age didn’t nab a sold out crowd, though the thousands present were quite devoted, screaming and hollering during their mix of old and newer material (mostly old, to be fair). Josh Homme consistently delivers as a frontman, and he treated Brooklyn to his best features, crooning through 20 songs that echoed much of their excellent festival sets of the past year. Surprisingly, however, the darker, somber hymns off this year’s …Like Clockwork felt almost too intimate for the cavernous expanse of Barclays. Who knew?

Ultimately, it was a great escape. And a warm one.

Cut Copy, ‘Lights & Music’: NPR Music Front Row

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Cut Copy are an Australian electronic band formed in 2001 by DJ Dan Whitford (vocals, keyboards and guitar). Initially a home-recording project, the band now includes Tim Hoey (guitars), Ben Browning (bass guitar) and Mitchell Scott (drums). So far they have released four studio albums, an EP and a number of singles and remixes, all on Modular Recordings. They achieved breakthrough success with their second album, In Ghost Colours, while their most recent album Free Your Mind was released 5 November 2013.

 

Cut Copy, Live In Concert


 

November 26, 2013. The beloved Australian electro-pop band performed to a packed house at Le Poisson Rouge to celebrate NPR Music’s new electronic dance music show Metropolis. Watch the entire 10-song set, which included jams from Cut Copy’s new album, Free Your Mind, as well as old favorites like “Lights and Music.”

 

To launch the partnership between NPR music and KCRW’s Metropolis, Cut Copy drew a packed house to downtown New York for a dynamic set of new material from Free Your Mind, along with a few older gems to the delight of an adoring crowd at Le Poisson Rouge. The Aussie dance rockers showed their experience in the live arena, keeping spirits high and working the crowd until late. — JASON BENTLEYCREDITS

 

Producers: Jason Bentley, Mito Habe-Evans, Otis Hart, Collin Walzak; Event Coordinator: Saidah Blount, Rachel Reynolds; Videographers: Christopher Farber, Becky Harlan, A.J. Wilhelm; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Special Thanks: (Le) Poisson Rouge; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

My Bloody Valentine concert @ Hammerstein Ballroom w/ Opening Act Dumb Numbers

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Live review for My Bloody Valentine first concert in NYC this month.

My Bloody Valentine famously end their sets with 1988 single “You Made Me Realise,” with its jet engine, tinnitus-inducing “holocaust” section. Like when James Franco cuts his arm off in 127 Hours, you know it’s coming, and people prepare themselves for it. When they launched into it last night (11/11) at Hammerstein, people held up their arms, wiggling their fingers, like they were about to go over the first big drop on a rollercoaster. It is, admittedly, a hell of a ride. Some people throw up!

We’ll back up a bit first. This was the first show the shoegaze legends had played in Manhattan since 2008, and first since releasing new album mbv earlier this year. While generally adverse to big rooms like this (I hadn’t been to Hammerstein since New Order in 2006), I thought the sound was pretty good, with Kevin Shields and Belinda Butcher’s vocals reaching above the miasma just enough. Shields, who greeted the crowd with a perfunctory but cheerful “Hi,” took up at least a third of the stage with his wall of amps and the same could be said of the sonic real estate.

That tremelo’d “glide guitar” is what a lot of people were there to see (or hear, a lot of tall dudes were in the crowd), but I spent a lot of time watching bassist Debi Goodge and, especially, drummer Colm O’Ciosoig who played with a ferocity that matched the volume of Shield’s amps. (O’Ciosoig is MBV’s not-so-secret weapon.) Butcher stayed still for most of the show, with more time holding than playing her guitar, but her voice is still honey sweet.

It was hard to argue with the setlist, which gave us the lion’s share of Loveless, three cuts from Isn’t Anything (but no “Soft As Snow,” which they haven’t played in eons), choice EP cuts (“Honey Power” from Tremelo was very welcome), and four tracks from mbv. As much as I liked hearing “Soon,” “To Here Knows When,” and “Feed Me With Your Kiss,” the new tracks were the real surprises of the night, taking on extra gravity live, especially “Only Tomorrow” which was one of the night’s highlights. The intense (occasionally stroboscopic) light show and very cool projections added to the sensory overload experience.

Then of course “You Made Me Realize” where the volume went up to 13 and you could feel it in your chest. Don’t know whether it’s age or the need to accommodate new material, but the “holocaust” only lasted about six minutes. But it was long enough for me.

I missed openers Dumb Numbers that featured old tourmate Murph (from Dinosaur Jr.) on drums, as I didn’t get to Hammerstein till about 8:15 PM and had to deal with a line that went all the way to 9th Ave, thanks to some serious security. Arrive early for that coveted sonic sweet spot. (But I did see Dumb Numbers on Sunday night for their surprise show at The Flat where their sludgy doom went over pretty good.) East Village fixture BP Fallon kept the Hammerstein crowd entertained between sets with a DJ set of rock standards. Pictures from the show are in this post.

Tonight (11/12), My Bloody Valentine do it again at Hammerstein with DIIV opening. This is MBV’s last show of their 2013 tour and tickets are still available.

SETLIST: My Bloody Valentine @ Hammerstein Ballroom, 11/11/13
Sometimes
I Only Said
When You Sleep
New You
You Never Should
Honey Power
Cigarette in Your Bed
Only Tomorrow
Come in Alone
Only Shallow
Nothing Much to Lose
Who Sees You
To Here Knows When
Wonder 2
Soon
Feed Me With Your Kiss
You Made Me Realise

Rocker Ryan Bingham will be performing at the 3rd annual Autism Speaks BlueJean Ball on October 24th.

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Ryan will be performing at the 3rd annual Autism Speaks BlueJean Ball on October 24th. Both Dave Grohl and The White Baffalo will also be performing.

Click this link for more info, to get tickets to see the show and to support this important cause.

Also, Ryan is playing a small accoustic solo show for “Tales from the Tavern” at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, CA on Nov 13. The show sold out in no time and Ryan is looking forward to this one.

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Fiona Apple Breaks Down After Being Heckled Over Her Appearance

American singer/songwriter Fiona Apple

American singer/songwriter Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple McAfee Maggart is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her debut album, Tidal, was released in 1996 and received a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance (with an additional six nominations) for the single “Criminal”. Subsequent albums include: When the Pawn (1999), Extraordinary Machine (2005), and The Idler Wheel (2012).

Fiona’s vocal range is contralto. Her musical style contains elements of jazz and alternative rock. Fiona cancelled a tour after her dog was diagnosed cancer. She wrote a letter to her fans apologizing for cancelling the tour that was published online. We love you Fiona.

About the incident during a concert in Portland, Ore

During a concert in Portland, Ore. on Thursday night, Fiona Apple was heckled by a fan toward the end of her set, and reportedly broke down while performing her final song.

According to Stereogum, Apple — who is touring with Blake Mills — was chided by the unnamed attendee (a woman) because of her appearance.

After close to 90 minutes of Apple and Mills trading off songs and, as they put it, “working sh-t out,” someone in the first balcony yelled out, “Fiona! Get healthy! We want to see you in 10 years!”

Apple, understandably, looked aghast, then hurt, then furious. She unleashed a torrent of vitriol at the unseen member of the peanut gallery. “I am healthy! Who the f-ck do you think you are? I want you to get the f-ck out of here. I want the house lights on so I watch you leave!”

That might have been the end of it — the house lights did come on, and the shouter did eventually depart — but the anonymous commenter decided to get one last shot in: “I saw you 20 years ago and you were beautiful!”

The balance of the evening was already a delicate one. The restraint of the audience at the Newmark Theater as they watched the manic glee of Fiona Apple in performance mode was palpable.

Yes, they laughed at her strange stage banter (after one particularly sexy duet with tour mate Blake Mills, she exclaimed, “See, Christians? You can still have a good time and keep your virginity without butt sex.”), cheered as she bent her body into all manner of uncomfortable looking shapes, and shouted the occasional word of encouragement and love. But they otherwise they kept mum out of respect or a simple fear that they could frighten the fragile 36-year-old away at any moment.

Then someone had to go and upend everything.

There was no coming back from that. Apple insisted she was done, spat her frustration into the microphone, and fought back tears. She pulled it together enough to perform an understandably intense version of “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” that she sang through sobs. But the wellspring of feelings burst forth again. She raged, empathized, apologized, and departed. Show over.

One point that Apple made as she attempted to maintain control was that the person who lit the fuse ostensibly meant well. And truth be told, the voice wasn’t alone in her feelings. I, too, worried over Apple’s health when she first appeared. She looked gaunt and wild-eyed. Between songs, she would walk around uncertainly, sometimes confused. Then she would make odd moves like bending backwards over her piano bench or flopping dramatically on the stage.

But once she settled behind a microphone and got swept away by Mills’ stellar guitar work, my worry melted away. Apple was in great voice throughout, stirring up the deep emotional core of songs like “Every Single Night,” “Left Alone,” and Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe.” And it was obvious that she was delighting in presenting, as Mills put it, “familiar songs in an unfamiliar way.”

Backed by bassist Sebastian Steinberg and drummer Amy Wood, she and Mills added some notes of fury to “Regret,” and turned “Anything We Want” into a minimalist epic. Apple even seemed to relish in taking a supporting role as well, backing up Mills’ originals on piano or pounding on a field drum with her fist.

Apple looked happiest though when she could simply stand back and watch Mills play. Can’t say as I blame her on that front. The 27-year-old was a sight to behold, fluidly handling both lead and rhythm parts (occasionally at the same time) while also moving all over the fretboard to add some deliciously indelicate noise into the mix.

It’s a shame then that the show is going to forever be colored by its last awful 10 minutes. And considering that the Portland date was the first of a fall tour with Mills and company, there’s a slight concern that the experience will send Apple into hiding for a while. Or, at the very least, that this show will inspire her to skip Stumptown on her next round of promotional dates. Hopefully, the words she will remember most are the ones coming from members of the audience that urged her to not let one bastard get her down.