Tag Archives: TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio set to rock Radio City Music Hall

TV on the Radio at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. (Photos copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

It’s hard to imagine that TV on the Radio will be able to rock Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday, April 13, the way they did the Electric Factory in Philadelphia a few days earlier.

TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe sings and plays keyboards.

The Brooklyn band kicked off its tour in support of its new album, Nine Types of Light, at the relatively intimate Philadelphia venue on Friday, April 8. The band kept the crowd entranced with a good mix of older and new songs — some that they had never performed in concert before.

The new material, which comes across as almost blueslike on the CD, really rocked out. This was TV on the Radio at its best.

The downside to seeing this band at Radio City Music Hall is that so few people

Kyp Malone didn't let a broken string hamper his guitar playing.

in the audience will get to see the players up close. That sort of personal, visual involvement with the band is an important part of the show. But even so, it’s certain TVOTR will deliver a solid set to the hometown crowd.

Click through to the jump to see the more TVOTR photos, the setlist and photos of the opening bands.

Continue reading

About these ads

Sharon Van Etten: It may be twisted love, but it’s definitely love

 

Sharon Van Etten and her band at The Rock Shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on Oct. 8, 2010. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

 

We liked Sharon Van Etten from the very first time we heard her, just her with her guitar, strumming her introspective songs. Her style and sound reminded us from the first of anti-folkie Diane Cluck (who has a date at Zebulon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13). And sure enough, on her MySpace page Sharon lists Diane as one of her influences.

 

Sharon Van Etten's harmonium powers the wall-of-sound that is "Love More," the signature song from her new album, Epic.

 

And now, with her new band and a second album under her belt, Sharon seems to really be coming into her own.

Her songs veer between powerful, emotionally draining near-howls to intimate prayers. Love is a regular theme.

Despite some initial technical problems, Sharon exuded charm and talent on Friday night, Oct. 8, at The Rock Shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn, one of the newest music venues in the area. (And home of what seems to me to be the first rock club I’ve encountered to chard $7 for a 10-ounce draft beer!)

Sharon spent much time on the material from her new album, Epic (BaDaBing Records). But she wasn’t afraid to hit the audience with something so new that it’s still untitled. Go here to listen to the new song. And she spent the end of her set alone onstage, with the band watching from the wings, as she recapped her earlier solo material.

She left the sold-out crowd thrilled and wanting more. And it made us, to borrow a phrase, love more.

If you can, go to The Mercury Lounge tonight (Saturday, Oct. 9) for more of Sharon. She’s continuing her CD-release celebration there at 10:30 on a bill with Kyp Malone of Rain Machine and TV on the Radio fame. The Mercury Lounge is at217 East Houston St New York, NY. Click here for a  map. $12.

 

Sharon Van Etten.

 

Picture this: Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum at (Le) Poisson Rouge

Jeff Mangum

If you want to see photos and video of Jeff Mangum‘s long-awaited return as a spotlight performer for the first time in a decade (despite claims to the contrary, he has performed in public during that time at least once, playing one song and helping out on the Elephant 6 tour in 2008), you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Yes, Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? was at Manhattan’s (Le) Poisson Rouge last night when the reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel frontman performed at three-song set with a one-song encore as part of a sold-out Chris Knox benefit. I got inside with a 3.2-megapixel camera-equipped BlackBerry. But surreptitious photography and videography just didn’t seem to be in the spirit of things last night.

Ben Goldberg, who organized and ran last night’s benefit and amazingly kept it running on time, made things pretty clear:

Do not photograph the bands while they play. Do not film the bands while they play. We’ve turned down some pretty incredible offers to record this for various outlets so that you can enjoy the show unencumbered, so – hey – don’t be a dick. Just soak it in, let the glory of the moment wash over you, and then spend the rest of your life reminiscing at how great it was that you are alive and were there.

And soak it in I did! But, as expected, there were more than a few dicks in the crowd last night. Sad, but a fact of life. So in about 30 seconds, Google will point you to sites with grainy photos and videos. Yes, I’ve looked at them. How could I not? But I can’t in good conscience promote them.

It was clear that many of the people who paid $75 apiece to help Chris, an influential New Zealand indie rocker who suffered multiple strokes last year, were there just to hear Jeff. While the Louisiana native never really completely dropped out of sight, he has been a man of mystery since disbanding NMH after a tour to support its final album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, in 1998.

Jeff was greeted with ear-splitting applause. He appeared to be genuinely gratified by the reception as he came onstage with no ceremony, set up two guitars, and sat in a chair and prepared to play. Someone in the audience yelled out ‘We missed you,” to which he responded, “I missed you too.” One concertgoer positioned close to the stage reports he added a tiny coda to that remark, saying just under his breath, “Don’t think that I haven’t.”

He launched into his set with “Oh Comely.” His voice sounded just a bit weak at first, but then it became clear he hadn’t quite adjusted to the room and the sound setup. It was a revelation to see that his distinctive vocal sound stems from the fact that he didn’t use a vocal microphone, but rather just sang loudly enough for his voice to be picked up by the mic set up for his acoustic guitar. The strain of singing so loudly, coupled with his deliberately nasal delivery, makes Jeff’s singing so memorable and touching.

The crowd went wild as he continued his set with “A Baby for Pree” and “Two Headed Boy Pt. 2.″ Then with a quick “This is my last song,” Jeff  launched into the title song of NMH’s final album, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.” Jeff is one of the most poetic lyricists in rock music, and “Aeroplane” may be the most beautifully sad song he’s released. Many of us were in tears as he sang the lines: “And one day we will die/And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea/But for now we are young/Let us lay in the sun/And count every beautiful thing we can see.”

It was hard to imagine he could top that rendition. It was as close to perfect as live music should be. The crowd begged for more. And I hoped against hope that he’d stay in the green room, ignoring calls for an encore. (After all, this concert was a showcase-format gig, and artists don’t normally take encores.) I wanted more, but I really wanted to be left wanting. The prospect of an encore loomed like a big buzzkill for the mood Jeff’s set created.

But it was impossible for him to resist. He returned to more applause to play “Engine” — asking us to sing along — before picking up his guitars and gig bags and walking off with a huge smile on his face. I can’t complain. It was another great moment. And the people who were there just to hear Jeff wanted to hear anything. As one young fan in a Led Zeppelin T-shirt told me, “I’d listen to him string his guitar, man. I’d listen to him gargle!” And Jeff did far better than that last night.

Unlike some of last night’s performers — Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio/Rain Machine), and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew (Yo La Tengo) — Jeff didn’t hang at the side of the stage to watch other bands. But he didn’t disappear after his set. He returned to the music room, with his wife, documentary filmmaker Astra Taylor, to greet some friends and happily shake fans’ hands. He looked happy and peaceful.

Continue reading

The rock show of the year

Chris Knox

The year may be far from over, but Will You Miss Me  When I’m Gone? has a feeling that the Chris Knox benefit at Manhattan club (Le) Poisson Rouge tonight is very likely to be the highlight of the year for those lucky enough to have gotten in.

We may have lagged a bit it posting while we search for new funding sources to keep WYMMWIG? going, but that hasn’t kept us away from the clubs and concert halls of New York and environs. And, with a bit of luck, we’ll be back with some recent updates tomorrow.

For now, you’ll have to settle for this.

For starters, you might ask, who’s Chris Knox and why does he need a benefit?

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can probably guess the answer to the second half of the question. Chris Knox is a musician, and, like most committed, full-time musicians, he doesn’t have adequate health care. (Not to be too grim about it, but the rock world has lost way too many of its best to the lack of proper health care — think Jay Bennett, for instance.)

The reclusive Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel is making a very, very rare appearance at the Chris Knox benefit.

Now, back to the first part of the question. Knox, 57, is a New Zealand rocker who with Alex Bathgate formed Tall Dwarfs, a pioneer of the lo-fi rock movement. He had a series of strokes last year, and now his musical descendants are lining up to pay him back for his tremendous influence by raising money to pay his medical bills.

Those musical descendants make up a list of indie rock’s’ best and brightest — and most reclusive.

The scheduled appearance of Jeff Mangum, the brains behind Neutral Milk Hotel, is stirring the most interest. He’s  been rather reclusive for the last 10 years, but is slated to play a short set tonight.

And then there’s the rest of the list (and organizer Ben Goldberg of BaDaBing Records says the lineup has been changing by the day), which includes: Yo La Tengo, the Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson (can Stephin Merritt stay away?), TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone, Portastatic, The Clean, Sharon Van Etten, David Kilgour and who knows how many more.

Goldberg won’t even think about giving out a set list, so if you’re going, you need to get there early and plan to stay late. And don’t expect to see the usual host of photos on WYMMWIG? tomorrow, because all cameras are banned — there won’t even be a house photographer! Given how tightly this thing has been run, I pity the first jerk who’s caught taking photos during the show!

Continue reading