Tag Archives: The Bowery Ballroom

Gotta get it right with Alice Smith

Alice Smith was all about the casual vibe on Jan. 29, 2013, Night 1 of her three-Tuesday residency at Rockwood Music Hall in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Alice Smith was all about the casual vibe on Jan. 29, 2013, Night 1 of her three-Tuesday residency at Rockwood Music Hall in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The powerful young R&B-inflected singer reminds us that Nina Simone is most definitely not Motown

It could have happened to anyone. Someone who wrote about Alice Smith‘s first night of a three-Tuesday residency at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall made a mistake. In describing Alice’s set at the tiny Lower East Side venue, the writer said “she did a few covers of a few classic Motown tracks.” (We won’t name the blog or link to the post, but if you really want to see the whole thing, we’re sure you know how to find it.)

Sure, it’s a big mistake. But who knew that Alice read her notices? And who would have expected a critique?

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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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Sharon Van Etten playing NYC club date

 

Sharon van Etten at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last April. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

UPDATE: Show sells out in minutes

Tickets for Mercury Lounge gig on sale at noon today

What can we say? This just-added Sharon Van Etten gig should be a great early runthrough of the material from her forthcoming third album, Tramp, due out on Jagjaguwar Feb. 7.

UPDATE: If you thought you could wait a minute past noon E.T. to try for tickets, you’ve already missed out.

Tickets go onsale at noon today (Wednesday, Jan. 11) for a show next Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the tiny (its capacity is just 250 people) Mercury Lounge. Doors open at 7 p.m., with a 7:30 set time. Buy tickets here. Sorry. Not surprisingly, this tiny venue sold out in a matter of minutes.

This appearance comes a day after she shows up for an appearance on WNYC-FM’s Soundcheck with host John Schaefer. That one’s sold out, but it’ll be on the air and on the web.

It looks like tickets are still available for her shows with Shearwater late next month, too, at The Music Hall of Williamsburg and the Bowery Ballroom.

Sharon’s flying high, and with good reason. Don’t miss this amazing artists at one of these gigs.

Why can’t we just love Fountains of Wayne for what it is?

Fountains of Wayne at the Bowery Ballroom. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Weird that Fountains of Wayne, a band that crafts wonderful, highly relatable pop songs gets so much qualified praise and downright hate.

Well, I’m going on record to say, unapologetically, that after 15 years together FoW still knows how to rock.

Chris Collingwood and drummer Brian Young.

Reviews of the band’s new album, their first for Yep Roc, have been mixed. I get the sense that a lot of reviewers feel guilty about unabashedly enjoying and recommending the music of a band that’s been around for 15 years and has made only five albums in that time.

Well, this is one band that knows how to put on a good show. So let’s just love them for what they are.

The band proved how well it still clicks when it played the Bowery Ballroom on Aug. 3, I figured FoW would be going heavy on new material, since the show was less than a week ahead of the release of  Sky Full of Holes. (It’s out today, and if you haven’t heard anything from it yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful collection of songs.)

To their credit, the band kicked off the set with two great old songs “Little Red Light” and “The Valley of Malls” before diving into the excellent, bittersweet new “Summer Place” and then returning to the back catalog for “Someone to Love.”

Adam Schlesinger

Frontmen Chris Collingwood, the band’s main singer, and Adam Schlesinger, the bass player (who you may know better through his work as composer of the Broadway musical Cry Baby or as a member of pop supergroup Tinted Windows), led the band on a romp through songs old and new, saving fan favorite “Radiation Vibe” with bits of other pop songs, including Paul McCartney and Wings tune “Jet,” into the mix before the final verse.

Jody Porter blows smoke.

Lead guitarist Jody Porter showed off his individuality throughout the set, sometimes to the point of looking like he was somewhere else, perhaps in another band. He also made a point to take advantage of a loophole in NYC no-smoking rules that allow performers onstage to puff away.

Brian Young on drums (he also plays with the Pixies), kept time well, but stayed in the background, literally as well as figuratively. He never showed off or grabbed for the spotlight. He just bashed the skins, and quite well.

Nicole Atkins, a Neptune, N.J., native, opened the evening with a scorching set, accompanied only by her guitarist, the very talented Irina Yalkowsky. Nicole thanked Fountains of Wayne for inviting her to be part of Jersey Night at the Bowery Ballroom (in case you don’t know, Fountains of Wayne was a long-lived lawn-ornament shop in Wayne, N.J.), even though FoW isn’t really a Jersey band.

Nicole Atkins, right, with Irina Yalkowsky.

Carolina Chocolate Drops: New music at the Bowery Ballroom

Rihannon Giddens of CCD and Adam Matta, the Human Beatbox, join forces on a tune so new it doesn’t yet have a title

The Carolina Chocolate Drops knocked the crowd dead at The Bowery Ballroom in New York City on Friday night, Oct. 12. We have plenty of great visuals to come, but we’ll whet your appetite with this video of a great new tune from CCD’s Rhiannon Giddens and the Human Beatbox, Adam Matta.

Rhiannon explained the her husband is Irish, and she learned some Irish vocal techniques while visiting his family. She put them to great use.

Enjoy.

Best Coast: California noise rock rules

Best Coast at The Bowery Ballroom. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

We here at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? had been looking forward to Best Coast‘s return to New York for months.

We missed the California stoner/noise-rock band’s free show at South Street Seaport because of scheduling conflicts — imagine that! — and so we jumped on tickets for the Wednesday, Sept. 29, show at the Bowery Ballroom as soon as they became available.

Bethany Cosentino: No longer California-girl blond

Bethany Cosentino, Bobb Bruno and Ali Koehler did not disappoint. (Okay, truth be told, Ali, the Vivian Girls drummer who became an official member of Best Coast didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but that’s a relatively minor quibble.)

Bethany, who said she’d been sick, still managed to sing her simple but charming lyrics well, and Bobb set the room on fire with his amazing playing. We have hopes that Ali will wake up and start really playing her kit, but in the meantime she did a decent job of keeping time. Or maybe she could just try to look like she’s not totally bored by the proceedings.

Is Ali Koehler bored or just projecting a chill image?

Comedian Eugene Mirman hanging out in the Bowery Ballroom bar.

Oh, and indie-rock comic Eugene Mirman was there for the show. He spent a lot of time in the downstairs bar, and pacing from there to the smoking area outside — we didn’t see whether he was smoking  — while checking his smartphone.

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Happy 63rd, Patti!

Patti Smith, sharper and more focused on her birthday. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Patti Smith was still as giddy as a little girl last night, for the second of her three New Year’s shows at The Bowery Ballroom. She had reason to be happy — it was her 63rd birthday, or “burfday,” as she so charmingly says it.

But, unlike the first night, Patti brought a bit more snarl and a lot  more focus to the show. (She mentioned that The New York Times said she did some “bad things” on the first night. Check out that review, by Ben Ratliff, here.) The only slight disappointment last night was that the set list largely repeated the first night’s set. It was a spirited evening, though — good enough to make me regret my decision to skip tonight’s show to avoide the craziness of a Manhattan New Year’s Eve.

It didn't look like there were 63 candles on the cake that Jesse Smith brought onstage for her mom. But who's counting!

The evening had a few surprises. For me, the best came when James Mastro of Hoboken’s The Bongos, resplendent in a red hat, materialized onstage to assist on a cover of Neil Young’s Powderfinger. Last night’s version was much stronger than the opening night’s tepid effort, and Mastro’s professional attitude, great guitar work and solid vocals made a huge difference. (It would have been helpful if somebody had bothered to introduce James when he came onstage. While plenty of people in the audience recognized the local hero, his name wasn’t announced from stage until after he was done playing.)

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Patti Smith: The original Punk Princess

Patti Smith and longtime collaborator Lenny Kaye kick off the the first of her 2009 New Year's shows with an intimate version of "Southern Cross." (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Patti Smith assured the sold-out crowd at the Bowery Ballroom last night that 2010 is going to be a better year. Not a perfect one, maybe, but better than 2009. And I think I can safely speak for the crowd when I say I sure hope she’s right. She reminded us that we’re having a blue moon this New Year’s Eve, and suggested it’s a sign of good luck.

Patti shows off a copy of her new book, Just Kids, at the beginning of last night's show.

Patti, who turned 63 today, kicked off her annual New Year’s run at the Bowery last night with a reading from her new book about her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids, which is due out Jan. 19. She wandered onstage wearing a knit cap and a heavy black hoodie snatched right from her merch table because it was so cold backstage — and outside — last night.

“I just got it on my way here tonight,” she told the crowd with her crooked smile. “It’s not like I’m trying to do a commercial. I’m just excited. … (But) I know you can’t download it. It was a bit about her first days in New York back in 1967, a perfect vignette.

The evening quickly, but briefly, turned bittersweet as she memorialized three like-minded artists who died this year — including rock poet Jim Carroll and singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt — by performing a beautiful acoustic version of Southern Cross with help from her longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye.

After a round of applause, Patti surrendered the stage to daughter Jesse Smith, who said not a word during her 25 minute piano ramble, accompanied by drums. glockenspiel and tubular bells. Jesse seems to be a competent player, but is visibly uncomfortable and uncertain onstage. Every time I see her perform, I wonder why she’s up there. Unlike her brother Jackson, who did not play guitar with his mom’s band last night as he often does, Jesse does not give the impression that she was born for the stage.

Jesse Smith and her band was the first-night opener.

Later, Patti reminded us that “Lenny Kaye played in Jim Carroll’s band. I did other things with Jim,” as she introduced Lenny for a version of Jim’s Still Life. That one drew a laugh. It was the first of two songs the band did without Patti – the second being a Tony Shanahan-led cover of Powderfinger in honor of Vic Chesnutt.

There were plenty of other charming moments and laughs throughout the evening as Patti plowed through at least one song from just about ever album. And even though she told the crowd she was still fighting the residue of illness, she sounded great and never faltered — except when she forgot the words to songs from time to time as she inevitably does at every show.

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Gone too soon: Vic Chesnutt dead at 45 (UPDATE: Donate to help Vic’s family)

Vic Chesnutt wheels into the spotlight at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on June 16, 2009. (Photos copyright 20009, Steven P. Marsh)

UPDATE: Longtime Vic Chesnutt collaborator Kristin Hersh has set up a web page for donations to help Vic’s survivors. Click here to donate. Kristin promises that all proceeds will go to the family to help cover the costs of Vic’s hospitalization and burial.

Singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt, 45, who was confined to a wheelchair after breaking his neck in a car accident at age 18, died today after lapsing into a coma after taking an overdose of muscle relaxants earlier this week, family spokesman, Jem Cohen told The New York Times.

Vic's energy came out in a howl.

Kristin Hersh, a frequent collaborator with Chesnutt, said on Twitter that it was suicide. “No one knows much: another suicide attempt, looks bad, coma–if he survives, there may be brain damage,” Hersh Tweeted yesterday. “This time, it’s real scary: *this* time, he left a note, *this* time, he asked them to call me.”

The Athens, Ga., -based performer, had attempted suicide in the past. But the lyrics of the songs on his new album, In the Cut, seemed to signal a positive outlook on life. He even wrote directly about suicide in “Flirted With You All My Life,” writing “Everywhere I go, you’re always right there with me. I flirted with you all my life. Even kissed you once or twice… But clearly I was not ready. … Oh death, really I’m not ready, no no.”

Vic opened for Jonathan Richman at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC in June. He seemed as cantankerous as ever and full of life. After his set, he hung out with some younger men at the back of the room and talked about partying after the show. He seemed content, not as angry or hurting as in the past. Perhaps he had just learned to hide it better.

R.I.P., Vic.

Merry MexMas with El Vez and Los Straitjackets

El Vez rocks The Bowery Ballroom. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

The holidays have given Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? plenty of shows to check out, but little time to say much about them. So today is catch-up day on one of the season’s most enjoyable holiday shows:  El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, and masked surf rockers Los Straitjackets.

El Vez and Los Straitjackets filled the Bowery Ballroom with their special brand of Christmas spirit on Saturday night, Dec. 5.

El Vez is serious.

It put an awesome new spin on El Vez’s longstanding Merry MexMas holiday tour, as Los Straitjackets brought a slightly different musical sensibility to El Rey de Rock ‘n Roll’s show. El Vez normally tours with his own band, the Memphis Mariachis.

El Vez in Santa suit.

The new pairing freshened El Vez’s wonderful mash-ups of traditional holiday songs with punk and rock classics.

If you weren’t there, you missed a real treat. Be sure to plan early next year. Enjoy the photos.