Tag Archives: The Bell House

Intentional nostalgia: Mission of Burma and Speed the Plough played The Bell House

Mission of Burma at The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY, Feb. 7, 2014 (Photos © 2014 Steven P. Marsh)

Mission of Burma at The Bell House, Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 7, 2014: Roger Miller, Clint Conley and Peter Prescott. (Photos © 2014 Steven P. Marsh)

Back in February — it seems such a very long time ago — I stopped by at The Bell House in Brooklyn to catch a double bill featuring two of my favorite bands.

Speed the Plough at The Bell House in Brookly, NY, on Feb. 7, 2014.

Speed the Plough at The Bell House in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 7, 2014: Ed Seifert, Toni Paruta Baumgartner, Mike Baumgartner and Cindi Merklee.

Mission of Burma and Speed the Plough both factored heavily in my experience at the late, lamented Maxwell’s in Hoboken, so it was a real joy to see them together at the Bell House, which was becoming Maxwell’s musical successor even before the lights went out in Hoboken. (And it’s no surprise, given that former Maxwell’s booker and co-owner Todd Abramson has been booking bands at the great Gowanus club for quite awhile now.)

The show was awesome, as expected. And the crowd — packed with more than a few familiar faces from Maxwell’s — was enthusiastic.

So step into my time machine and get a look at some shots from the show. If you were there, the pics will spark some good memories. If you didn’t make it, I apologize if my images make you envious.

Either way, enjoy them.

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If you haven’t seen Mission of Burma lately…

If you haven’t seen Mission of Burma lately, you don’t know what a great thing you’ll be missing if you aren’t at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Friday night. These guys still know how to raise the roof.

They did two amazing shows for the farewell series at Maxwell’s. I’m not sure they can top those shows, but odds are they’ll try really hard to do just that.

As an added bonus, the always wonderful Speed the Plough will open the show.

So go. And arrive early, in time to sample the craft beer and have plenty of time to settle in for STP and MOB.

Tickets appear to be available. They are $25, and worth it. Click here to buy: http://ow.ly/tmx9E

Yo La Tengo played The Bell House, a little late for Hanukkah

Yo La Tengo started with a quiet set in front of some tree props. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Yo La Tengo started with a quiet set in front of some tree props. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

In apparent confirmation of the notion that its annual, eight-night Hanukkah concerts died along with Maxwell’s, the Hoboken music club, Yo La Tengo skipped performing during the Festival of Lights this year. But the Hoboken-based band did manage to pull together a four-night, end-of-year run at The Bell House in Brooklyn over the weekend.

(Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Never forget your roots.

Sunday night’s show was all YLT, all the time. It didn’t have the special attraction of guest artists and comedians opening for and playing with YLT’s Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew. But it was a splendid way to wrap up the year anyway.

On Sunday, YLT opened with a set of quiet versions of songs, largely from this year’s album, “Fade.” For the second set, they cut loose, rocking out on a huge set of songs.

(Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Joe Puleo on Farfisa.

Oh, and I’m slightly wrong about the “no guest artists” thing. The band’s longtime tour manager and man-about-town Joe Puleo joined them on Farfisa for one number. I guess that counts.

(Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

A huge tech and front-of-house sound area kept things running smoothly and quickly.

Enjoy more photos after the jump.

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Puss ‘n’ Boots rings in the holidays in spectacular style

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Santa joins Puss ‘n’ Boots and guest for the onstage finale at The Bell House. (All photos © 2013 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

(Oh, yeah, and Norah Jones is pregnant)

I remember my first time with Puss ‘n’ Boots — the supergroup comprising Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson, and Catherine Popper. It was January 2010, when they were part of a Doveman and Friends show at the Mercury Lounge.

There's no doubt about it, Norah Jones is pregnant.

There’s no doubt about it, Norah Jones is pregnant.

They seemed like they were having a lot of fun that night, but they were crazy sloppy, stumbling, playing in different keys, and generally just seeming a little too loose. But it was nice to see Norah, especially, in one of her many side projects where she isn’t the “star,” but just a player.

As always, Puss 'n' Boots didn't spare the vagina jokes, especially when Catherine Popper sat down to play in her very short dress.

As always, Puss ‘n’ Boots didn’t spare the vagina jokes, especially when Catherine Popper sat down to play in her very short dress.

I’ve seen them a couple times since then, and my impression was the same: fun but too sloppy.

I expected more of the same from the 2013 Puss ‘n’ Boots Xmas Spectacular at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. I almost skipped it because I wasn’t expecting a particularly good show, but figured that with their special guests it would at least be a festive diversion.

The ladies of Puss ‘n’ Boots know how to throw a holiday party.

Check out more photos after the jump. Continue reading

Go see Buke and Gase perform upstate

Buke and Gase opening for Mission of Burma at The Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, on Jan 29, 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Buke and Gase opening for Mission of Burma at The Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, on Jan 29, 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

See that rhyme in the headline? When was the last time you saw that on Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

Unless memory fails, that would be never.

But that’s no excuse for not checking out Buke and Gase when they perform Thursday, July 11, in The Spiegeltent on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson.

It’s a lovely shlep from New York City, straight up the Hudson River. You can even get there by train aboard Amtrak to the Rhinecliff station, but check the schedules closely. You won’t be able to get a train home to NYC until the next morning, as the last southbound trip departs at 5:06 p.m.

Buke and Gase are coming to The Spiegeltent at Bard College.

Buke and Gase are coming to The Spiegeltent at Bard College.

Buke and Gase (formerly Buke and Gass, but changed because Gass was too easily misinterpreted), is a duo originally from NYC who started playing their jury-rigged instruments (the Buke is an electrified six-string baritone ukulele and the gass/gase is a guitar/bass hybrid) and writing raucous songs that sound like nothing any other indie-rock band is doing — and in a good, infectious way.

If you’re a regular reader, you already know about B&G’s Arone Dyer (onetime bicycle mechanic who plays the Buke and foot percussion) and Aron Sanchez (who handles the Gase and more foot percussion). We’ve written about them a number of  times before. Read the previous posts here, here, here and here.

They’re still doing it, but they got a place upstate in Hudson awhile back, likely making this Bard gig a really easy commute for them.

Arcade Fire’s violinist Sarah Neufeld is joining them for this show.

The Bard Spiegeltent is a pretty cool space. If you don’t know what a one is, think of an old-fashioned carousel building with no carousel inside. Very festive, chill and laid-back.

INFO: 8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 11, 2013. The Spiegeltent, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. $20 online. Click here for more info and tickets.

The Dough Rollers defy expectations at Brooklyn Bowl

The Dough Rollers, Brooklyn Bowl, June 26, 2013, © 2013, Steven P. Marsh

The Dough Rollers perform at Brooklyn Bowl on June 26, 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We don’t mind change. We may grow to love a band’s sound, but if it never evolves, a band can quickly becomes a parody of itself.

The Dough Rollers started off in 2008 as a high-concept conceit cooked up by two celebrity kids. Malcolm Ford (son of Harrison Ford) and Jack Byrne (son of Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin) bonded over the love of old blues music, and started playing together. Their act — two guys in sharp, retro outfits, hair slicked back, etc. — tried to replicate the classic sound of the blues. While the two of them were the core of the group, they often had fiddle-vocalist Julia Tepper as a co-conspirator. (She joined them on their first, and so far only, album, the self-titled disc.)

The Dough Rollers in their earlier incarnation at The Bell House in Brooklyn, April 24, 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

The Dough Rollers in their earlier incarnation at The Bell House in Brooklyn, April 24, 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Few acts could sustain the conceit. Leon Redbone is the only one that springs to mind at the moment, and his whole performing life is in character.

Click through to the jump for more photos and info. Continue reading

Guilty: Babe the Blue OX makes its best album ever

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First release from Brooklyn perennial in 15 years

We didn’t really know Babe the Blue OX in its 1990s heyday, when the band was a regular(-ish) feature on bills around New York City. We heard and appreciated some of its recordings, and were charmed by its Paul Bunyan-esque name and Barbra Streisand-ish album titles.

For whatever reason, we never saw Babe live until a couple of years ago, when the members decided to come out of accidental retirement and start playing on a semi-regular basis again.

(Full disclosure: We met and became friendly with singer-guitarist Tim Thomas through his day job as a fund-raiser for a nonprofit long before we even realized he was in Babe.)

Listen to Guilty and read more after the jump. Continue reading

Sharon Van Etten just can’t stop touring

Sharon Van Etten at the Bowery Ballroom on Feb. 26, 2012.

We’ve been away from this page for too long. But an email landed in our in box this morning that inspired us to sit down and log in.

Sharon Van Etten, who’s on Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone‘s Top 10 Artist lists, announced the dates for her fall tour today.

Van Etten at the Northside Festival, 2010.

It seems like Sharon, a wonderful, low-key Brooklyn singer songwriter has been touring nonstop since releasing her third full-length album, Tramp, on Jagjaguwar early this year. While we’re glad she’s been sharing her extraordinary voice and songwriting with audiences around the world, we have a feeling that she hasn’t spent much time at home in Bushwick, Brooklyn, just a couple of neighborhoods away — and a world apart — from  Ditmas Park,  the home of  other musical luminaries like Sufjan Stevens and most of the members of The National.

Her new tour dates continue the marathon. It takes her to Portugal, Spain, France and the U.K. before bringing her stateside for a good long wander through the eastern half of the U.S. before wrapping up back in New York City.

Sharon’s a hard-working musician. But don’t let the volume fool you. Click through to the jump for more photos of Sharon through the years, along with her full tour schedule.

And take note of the period from Aug. 23 to Sept. 25. I don’t see any shows scheduled, do you? We can only hope that’s when we’ll be seeing her around Brooklyn.

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The Feelies gear up to play

The Feelies at Maxwell's in Hoboken, N.J., in 2009. (Photo copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Now who could possibly know better what The Feelies are up to than the daughter of one of the band members? (Well, maybe her dad, but don’t tell her that!)

With that in mind, I reached out to the delightful Katie Demeski, daughter of the great New Jersey band’s drummer Stanley Demeski and his wife Janice. One of Katie’s blogs, How Strange, Innocence, is a leading source of reliable information about what the band is up to. It’s not the quantity so much as the quality of her information that makes the blog worth checking.

But a day or two ahead of the release of Here Before, the band’s first new album in 19 years, I checked in and realized she hadn’t blogged about The Feelies since last Sept. 8, when she reported the band was going into the studio. Granted, she’s in college and holding down a job, so it’s not like she has a ton of free time.

Luckily, when I messaged her, she was just about to do a quick update. It’s live on her blog now, with pretty much everything you need to know about their upcoming shows, plus some info about Speed the Plough, a band that’s part of The Feelies’ extended family. .

Suffice it to say The Feelies aren’t in any huge hurry to hit the road simultaneously with the release of their album. In fact, the band’s first public show (not counting a students-only gig this month at SUNY Purchase) comes at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn, on May 13, a full month after the album’s release! That show, not surprisingly, appears to be sold out.

Please go to Katie’s blog for more details, including some tantalizing information about an outdoor gig in Brooklyn. I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Sufjan Stevens, Shara Worden guest with the Clogs

Bryce Dessner, Shara Worden and Padma Newsome. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Sufjan Stevens joins the Clogs on banjo.

The Clogs, with Padma Newsome on vocals, violins, harmonium, keyboard and a few other instruments, and Bryce Dessner (The National) on guitars and other strummed strings, entranced the crowd at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

A very pregnant Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) added her own beautiful, haunting vocal vocal touches. Other permanent members of Clogs are Rachael Eliott on bassoon and Thomas Kozumplik on percussion. The Bell House performance was supplemented by a second percussionist and horn section at times.

But the real surprise of the evening was greeted by an audible gasp when Sufjan Stevens appeared onstage to play banjo on one song.

Clogs music is a bit difficult to pigeonhole. It’s definitely not rock, but it’s not classical. It bridges the two and winds up being unique. At one point Bryce made reference to a review that called one of the group’s songs “knotty.” Shara promised to try to sing in as knotty a fashion as possible.

Click through to the jump for more information and photos. Continue reading