Monthly Archives: June 2011

Will you be in North Adams for Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival?

Last year's Solid Sound Festival kicked off with beautiful skies. (© 2010 Steven P. Marsh)

Are you joining Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? in North Adams, Mass., today for the beginning of the second annual edition of Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival?

If you haven’t decided yet, it’s NOT TOO LATE. So all of you last-minute types should definitely keep reading.

Wilco at the 2010 Solid Sound Festival.

As it did last year, it’s taking over the campus of MASS MoCA, the fantastic contemporary art museum that has made this struggling former factory town a destination for lovers of art and music.

And the best thing for you last-minute types is that passes are still available for $124.50. Unlike last year, single-day tickets are also available at $65 for today or Sunday and $78 for Saturday.

Click through to the jump for more photos from last year’s festival and more info about this weekend’s activities.

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Beirut comes home, joined by Sharon Van Etten and Yellow Ostrich

Beirut at the 2011 Northside Festival. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Zach Condon of Beirut.

The Northside Festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, brought one of our favorites, Beirut, back home on Friday night, June 17. It was a great evening of music that came off beautifully. Early downpours that threatened the whole night cleared just in time for the first of the three bands to hit the stage and stayed away.

Yellow Ostrich and Sharon Van Ettenplayed amazing sets. But most people in the audience were there for one thing only: Beirut. And they were not disappointed.

Here’s a taste of the touching, musically nuance performance, with a solo number at the encore by bandleader Zach Condon.

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Brian Wilson comes alive

Brian Wilson at the Highline Ballroom. (© 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

The funny thing about Brian Wilson, the man who masterminded the Beach Boys, is that he doesn’t look like he really cares all that much about his legendary surf-and-sun band’s music.

Sure, he’s got all the moves down, gives the heavily scripted introductions you’d expect. He was pretty much the picture of a legendary bandleader when he brought his act to Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom in Manhattan on Sunday, June 12. But he had that faraway look in his eyes.

Brian Wilson and his band.

But for the first half of the show, Wilson and company performed spirited versions of a hit parade of Beach Boys classics, include “Good Vibrations,” “Heroes and Villains,” “Sloop John B” and “God Only Knows.”

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At long last: New Beirut confirms new disc this summer

Beirut

Hear a brand-new Beirut track, East Harlem, by clicking here.

Wonder where Beirut has gone? Well, the band is finally back with a new album. The band’s publicist just announced that Beirut’s first full-length album in four years, The Rip Tide, is due for release Aug. 30. Bandleader Zach Condon is putting it out on his own label, Pompeii Records, “so as to keep total creative control.”

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Get ready for the Bang on a Can Marathon

Asphalt Orchestra at Lincoln Center Out of Doors on Aug. 4, 2010. © 2010, Steven P. Marsh

Asphalt Orchestra will open the 2011 edition of the Bang on a Can Marathon by performing "Carlton" by Stes and Heidi Rodewald and "Opus 81" by Yoko Ono. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, but it doesn’t really get started for us at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? until the annual Bang on a Can Marathon arrives.

This year’s edition is Sunday, June 19. It’s scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to midnight, meaning we’re in for a real treat of 13 continuous hours of music — all for FREE at the World Financial Center Winter Garden in Manhattan’s Battery Park City.

Todd Reynolds at Littlefield's, Feb. 13, 2011. © 2011 Steven P. Marsh

Todd Reynolds

Scheduling problems (also known as my day job) last year made it hard to take in much of the daylong (mostly indoors) event.

We managed to listen only for a couple of hours. We’re not going to let that happen this year. We’ve made sure to save the time and date this year. You should, too.

This year’s edition features many of our favorites, including Bang on a Can’s house band, the All-Stars, electro-acoustic violinist extraodinaire Todd Reynolds (performing a World Premiere of his work Transamerica), avant garde marching band Asphalt Orchestra, the fabulous New Music ensemble Signal, singer-composer-director Toby Twining, cellist Maya Beiser and the truly wonderful Young People’s Chorus of New York City.

Toby Twining

Toby Twining (Ben Sozanski photo)

Aside from our recurring favorites, this year’s marathon also features a performance by the Sun Ra Arkestra in the 8-10 p.m. slot, and the Glenn Branca Ensemble as the day’s closer.

Aside from works by Bang on Can founders Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon and David Lang, the day features music by luminaries such as Philip Glass. Iannis Xenakis and Michael Nyman. However, the music of Steve Reich, a godfather of Bang on a Can, is absent from the program.

Click through for the full schedule or download a copy here.

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Suzanne Vega channels Carson McCullers: Just three chances left to see it

Suzanne Vega channels the Southern Gothic novelist in the off-Broadway musical Carson McCullers Talks About Love. (Photo by Sandra Coudert)

From the moment I heard that Suzanne Vega was writing a musical, I was determined to see it. The subject didn’t matter much, actually.

Suzanne Vega

Suzanne and her music were a big part of my musically formative years. She fell off my radar over the last decade or so, but she and her classic songs like “Luka” and “Small Blue Thing” are always lurking in the back of my mind.

It turns out she chose a fascinating subject for the show: Southern Gothic novelist Carson McCullers. Despite her Southern roots, McCullers spent much of her life in New York City and the suburbs, living from 1945 until her death in 1967 in a house on South Broadway in South Nyack, N.Y. She’s buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, just a mile or so northwest of her home.

McCullers wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and many other works that you might have been required to read in school. But just because you had to read them doesn’t mean they’re not great, entertaining works.

Vega has talked widely about how connected she feels to the novelist she brings to life onstage.Check out what she had to say about McCullers in The New York Times.

Duncan Sheik (Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN)

Then when I found it was playing off-Broadway this spring and that Duncan Sheik, who was responsible for the stunning Spring Awakening, was partnering with her on the music, I was hooked. (It’s funny, back when Spring Awakening was on Broadway, I went to see Sheik in concert and was left rather disappointed. I guess he’s more to my taste as a show composer. His pop performance of his personal songs, like his overexposed “Barely Breathing” left me cold. But I’ll have a chance to reconsider next Wednesday, June 8, when he plays the Highline Ballroom.)

And then my schedule started filling up. I kept meaning to get tickets. And I kept getting distracted — and now time’s almost up.

Read through to the jump for ticket information, including a special discount offer.

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