Category Archives: Concerts

Concert Watch February 2010

So the cold, cruel North Wind may blow, but sure isn’t stopping bands coming from the balmier parts of the country to play in NYC.

Washington State may not be particularly balmy right now, but it is quite a distance for the folk darling Brandi Carlile to come to play just for you. This Wednesday, the 3rd, she’ll be performing a sold out show at Ridgefield Playhouse. If you don’t have tickets, try to find some online, because she’s an extremely powerful singer. Check out this weird but fun video for her latest hit “Dreams” off her third album Give Up the Ghost.

On second review, the video is a little creepy – mostly because she sings half of the song with her eyes closed, lying down in the crook of a willow tree. But we’ll let it slide because it’s such a strong song.

Giveaway! Head over to the Listener Advisory Board right now to win some tickets to see the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures at the Roseland Ballroom on February 8th. You can read about them in this post from last November.

The men of Delta Spirit, lead singer Matt Vasquez second from left

Coming from a really warm clime is the California band, Delta Spirit. Coming out of San Diego, the band’s only been around since 2005, and have only released one full-length album, Ode to Sunshine. Well they’re playing four whole shows in NYC this month, on the 4th and the 11th at Pianos, and the 5th and the 12th at Union Hall in Brooklyn. You may have heard their song “People C’mon” on the Peak

They’ll be playing that and other songs of Ode to Sunshine, hopefully in addition to a few sneak peeks off of their upcoming record, History from Below, due out in May.

Here’s the video for “People C’mon”, lying at  the intersection of art and violence:

Speaking of a lot of shows, Citizen Cope a.k.a. Clarence Greenwood is playing five already sold out shows in NYC. The 10th and 11th, he’ll be at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and then on the 12th,

Citizen Cope

13th and 14th he’s relocating to the Bowery Ballroom. The reason he’s selling out all of these shows is that on Tuesday he’s releasing his third album The Rainwater LP, especially important since the now brooklyn-based artist hasn’t released anything since his Clarence Greenwood Recordings in 2004.

That’s a jam-packed week, because just before Citizen Cope gets to the Ballroom, the Aussie John Butler Trio will be headlining there. They’ve got an album coming out soon too; April Rising, the band’s fifth.

Then on the 16th, after Mr. Cope clears out, Phish’s Trey Anastasio will be taking over Bowery Ballroom. He’s hitting the road again starting on the 8th in Virginia with his “Classic Trey Anastasio Band (TAB)”. He says he’ll be trying out some new songs – in his words, TAB “is sort of a breeding ground for Phish material”. You can check out the interview with him that I was reading here.

Now you may be reading this and thinking to yourself “Gee, how did I not know that Bowery Ballroom was such a groovy place? Why don’t I go there all the time?” And the answer is because if you just go to Bowery Ballroom then you would miss Eric Clapton coming to Madison Square Garden!

Jeff Beck, left and Eric Clapton, right

That’s right, Thursday and Friday, February 18th and 19th Eric Clapton will be playing two shows at the Knicks’ home, with long time fellow guitarist Jeff Beck. Beck just yesterday won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for his work on “A Day In The Life” off of his 2009 Performing This Week…Live At Ronnie Scott’s. This makes him a five-time Grammy winner, which is also how many Grammys Beyonce won last night.

John Mayer

If that’s not enough stardom for you, John Mayer will be playing on the 25th and 26th, with guest Michael Franti on the “Battle Studies Tour”. Everyone knows John Mayer now, and a growing number of people know Mr. Franti through his super catchy song “Say Hey” off of 2008’s All Rebel Rockers.

Finally, don’t miss Umphrey’s McGee coming to Nokia Theater on the 25th also. They played last year at Summerstage in Central Park, and it was a really fun show. If you’re thinking about going, practice your “U” hand signs well in advance.

Phew! Well happy concert hunting in New York’s back yard – and don’t let these winter blues get you down.

~Josh

[If you end up going to one of these or any other concerts this month please let us know how it was – if you met the band, or even if you just moshed a little bit.]

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PEAK KEYWORD:  BOWERY

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Concert Watch January 2010*

*Thanks to my readers for informing me that it is no longer 2009.

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So in my zeal to try out posting some decades-old Spirit for your entertainment pleasure, I completely neglected a close-up look at some of the concerts that are coming through New York’s backyard this month.

The Little Feat lineup in 2009

This Tuesday, you can catch Little Feat at The Concert Hall in NYC, on 64th Street just west of Central Park. They’re playing in despite of the fact that, as they announced in August, Richie Hayward, drummer and founding member of the band is battling cancer of the liver. The band has offered many ways to support Richie on their website. In the meantime, the best way to support the band is by hopping on that One train and seeing what’s always been a great live performance, provided by a living legend Bill Payne.

Ezra Kroenig

But if Little Feat doesn’t strike your fancy, how about a band that combines two of America’s favorite things: vampires and weekends. Vampire Weekend, the uber-trendy nerd  band from Colombia University (just a jaunt North on that very same One train), is doing three shows in three nights in NYC. They’re appearing first at Union Palace on Sunday the 17th, followed by Webster Hall on the 18th and Bowery Ballroom on the 19th. They’ve been around for three years now, featuring Ezra Kroenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Tomson, and Chris Baio. The reason for the band’s heavy touring is upcoming release of their second album, Contra (2010). Expectations are high, but most eagerly awaiting fans were appeased by this nifty, frenetic and sometimes creepy video for the first single off the album, “Cousinz”:

Bonus! Click here to download a fun remix of “Cousinz” by Toy Selectah. And if you want to get a jumpstart on Contra (which comes out tomorrow), you can stream the whole thing on the band’s website.

Suzanne Vega

And the talented Suzanne Vega will be in her hometown of New York City on January 28th. Her most recent album, Beauty and Crime, was released in 2007. It featured “Frank and Ava” a subdued song that paints the tumultuous relationship between Frank Sinatra and his second wife, Ava Gardner. Just last year, she worked on an album (still unreleased for legal reasons) with musician and producer Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley) and the indie band Sparklehorse. If all of these funky names are making you anxious, here’s a throwback to the song that made Ms. Vega the “Mother of the Mp3“:

How calming is that? For more artists, concerts and concert information, check out the Peak’s Concert Calendar (put together by yours truly).

Next week: I examine a great find that’s coming straight from the Peak’s junk pile to your ears. Until then, happy listening!

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PEAK KEYWORD: COUSINZ

[If you’ve looked at the concert calendar, and you think there’s a band or singer more important than the three I’ve mentioned here – please let me know!]

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Concert Watch December 2009

“Cause I wore my tye-dyes
until they rotted to shreds
and I can no longer follow
The Greatful Dead
and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even identify with most Phish fans anymore”

Phish

That’s from the Jeffery Lewis song “I Saw a Hippy Girl on 8th Avenue”. But just because most hippies have successfully made the transition into the 21st century isn’t a reason to shun Phish. As you might guess, there are plenty of great reasons to catch them while they’re in the area. Starting tonight through Friday they’ll be at Madison Square Garden, so you can just hop on down to midtown for what’s going to be a great show. They just put out a new album – “Joy” this year, which was a first for them in five years. And in part of the buzz-making process they played a full-length acoustic set a month ago at Festival 8. So anything will be possible at these upcoming shows.

Tim Reynolds

Also, tomorrow night you can catch another fantastic show – Tim Reynolds at the Blender Theater at Gramercy. Tim, as you know, is good friends with Dave Matthews since they met at a bar in 1987 and most recently played Electric guitar on Dave’s “Big Whiskey and the Gru Grux King” which came out earlier this year. Tim will be performing with appearing with the other two members of the Tim Reynolds Three (TR3). It’s going to be awesome, and what’s more – we’re giving away tickets to the show! Sign up in the lab soon!

Jumping ahead two days we come to a band that I’m very excited about and frustrated at the same time. Excited, because they put on an incredible live show, and frustrated, since I’m not going to be able to go. I’m talking about The Cat Empire, who are coming to the Nokia Theater on the 5th. If you haven’t heard of The Cat Empire, they’re a Aussie rock band out of Melbourne, that’s got a great world sound to their music. The last time they were in NYC was three years ago, where they opened for the Brazilian Girls at a free Summerstage show in Central Park.

Felix Reibl, right, and Harry Angstrom, left of The Cat Empire

But they’re back now, one album later, with the devilishly handsome Felix Reibl leading the vocals. Following close behind is Harry Angstrom, who’s voice can be heard on about half of the band’s new tracks. Harry backs up his powerful tenor voice with a blazing trumpet that cuts through the rest of the music. And he scats to boot. Of all the shows in NYC this month, this is the one I wish I could go to the most. So please, if you can, check it out for me and let me know how it was.

Good friend of the station Derek Trucks will be playing with his band down at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU on the tenth, with a follow up performance the next day at the Paramount Theater in Peekskill. Audiences at both shows will be treated to a performance by Shannon McNally as well, the singer/songwriter from Long Island.

Matthew Paul Miller a.k.a. Matisyahu

Now in the realm of Zion-reggae, December means Hanukkah time, and when Hanukkah rolls around, things come in eights. White Plains’ own Matisyahu knows this and that’s why he’s got eight shows this month – a climactic end to his appropriately named Festival of Lights tour, which has been ongoing since the release of his latest album “Light” in August. The 10th, 12th, 13th, and 14th you can catch the bearded bard at Webster Hall, and the 16th, 17th, 19th and 20th he’ll be at The Music Hall of Williamsburg. Each show will be with a different local artist ranging from indie singer Kevin Devine to dub rock group Dub Trio – both from Brooklyn. Check online to try and win free tickets from The Peak!

December gets rounded out with two great female performers – Ingrid Michaelson and Dar Williams. Michaelson will be performing a sold-out show at City Winery on the 21st, a Monday, as she settles down in New York for the holidays. She’s just come off of a host of shows abroad with fellow musician Greg Laswell in Europe. Hopefully you snagged tickets for that show.

Dar Williams

And Dar Williams will be playing at Southpaw Entertainment and Music in Brooklyn on the 27th. Support this Mt. Kisco singer by seeing her live in her home state. Plus Vanguard Records is offering a free holiday sampler of some of their singer/songwriters. She is giving away one of her songs, It’s Alright, which was the first cut off her 2008 album “Promised Land”. Incidentally, Greg Laswell is on the album as well, with his cover of Kristen Hersh’s “Your Ghost”.

So big things, as always, happening in New York’s backyard. Check them out – and if you feel like there’s a great concert or event going on that I should be talking about, feel free to leave me a comment.

So happy holidays – and make sure to see some great concerts so you’ll have plenty of conversation material to fall back on at that awkward holiday work party.

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PEAK KEYWORD: SMORGASBORD

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For those who think tryptophan is a strong compound…

…I give you Morphine.

Imagine holding your Thanksgiving dinner in the back  of a bar. As Dad carves up the turkey, cigarette smoke wafts around the room. There is an extreme sense of stillness and quiet in the room that mingles with low tenor saxophones playing in the opposite corner. It’s dark – past two a.m., and there’s a guy who’s been staring at you all night long. The place was packed with bodies and vitality at one point, but is now empty.

Now, why you’re having your Thanksgiving dinner in a bar, I can’t say, and I certainly don’t recommend it. However this is a brief glimpse into how it feels to experience the great 90’s band Morphine. Their sound arose from the alleyways of Boston and slowly crept across the country. It was a truly innovative blend of rock roots and jazz elements that steered away from guitar-centric song composing.

Morphine

The band was led by the dark voice of Mark Sandman, who joined together with his college roommate, Dana Colley, to form the band in 1989. A typical morphine song featured Sandman on his 2-string slide bass, Colley on tenor or bari sax, and then Billy Conway or Jerome Dupree (depending on the era) on drums.

But makes the band so unique is the melancholy that they were able to capture in their music. Their first album, Good, was released in 1992, and was met with some acclaim. The second song on that album is called “The Saddest Song”, where the chorus is “My biggest fear is/If I let you go/ You’ll come and get me in my sleep.”

They soon began to branch out, however, adding more layers and more complex ideas to their work – a particular favorite of mine being “Early to Bed”  off of Like Swimming (1997) which I posted on the blog last month. The video for this song is particularly worth checking out – with the three band members operating scaled-up versions of their faces from in their own heads. It’s pretty meta.

But Morphine’s most staggering album came at the end of the band’s career. February 1st 2000 saw the release of The Night. The range that Morphine covers on this record is incredible. For me, the song with the most force is the title track. Although this song is more subdued than the rest on the album, it holds a passion behind that explodes from its restraints. Sandman sings

“You’re the night, Lilah
A little girl lost in the woods
You’re a folktale
The unexplainable
You’re a bedtime story
The one that keeps the curtains closed”

The next big ticket number is “Souvenir” which has the slickest bass and drums I’ve ever heard. “Souvenir” is coupled back-to-back with “Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer” both of which have incredible harmonized sax sections.

After that comes “Like a Mirror”. I remember being blown away by this song the first time I heard it – the refrain goes: “I’m a mirror, I’m a mirror, I’m nothing ’till you look at me.” This song, more than any other typifies Morphine’s ability to create an atmosphere

Sandman, left, and Colley, right.

But this story doesn’t have a happy ending – Sandman passed away in June of 1999. While performing at the Nel Nome del Rock festival in Italy,  he had a heart attack on stage and died soon thereafter. Colley and Dupree stuck together for a little while to raise funds for the charity they started the Mark Sandman Music Education Fund. They returned to Nel Nome del Rock in 2009 as Members of Morphine to honor the tenth anniversary of Sandman’s death.

Ok, so that got a little more dark that I meant it to be, but Morphine is all about facing dark topics head on. And so should you as well.

So if the typical holiday music fare seems too banal this year, try putting on some Morphine for your friends and family, if nothing else, they’ll think you have an exquisite taste in music. But in all seriousness, this band is one of the most unique groups to come out of the 90’s and if you haven’t heard of them you should definitely take a listen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, and good news! As it turns out, turkey has no more tryptophan than other meats – so that itis is completely imaginary – just like the state of Nebraska.

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PEAK KEYWORD: Itis

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Attack of the Supergroups!

While actress Milla Jovovich may be trying to draw in your attention with talk of extraterrestrial owls and an imminent fear of the fourth kind, there’s a phenomenon that has been slowly gaining momentum in the music world….

Bands and musicians have been switching members and pairing up like Xenon Octa-Flouride (XeF8) would, if it ever is going to be invented (thanks Wikipedia!). In layman’s terms, we’ve been getting a lot of new supergroups, side projects, and collaborations – some that could have been foreseen, and others that seem to have appeared out of nowhere.

The Almanac Singers... singing

The Almanac Singers seen here with Bess Hawes, Arthur Stern and Sis Cunningham

Now, the idea of a supergroup is not a recent innovation by any stretch of the imagination – the supergroup goes all the way back to the Almanac Singers – a combination of Millard Lampell, Lee Hayes, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie that got its start in 1940. From the 60’s until today, we have been given plenty more supergroups, such as in 1969 which brought us both The Plastic Ono Band (which included the likes of Eric Clapton, both George Harrison and Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and Alan White – just to name a few) as well as Blind Faith (which also featured Mr. Clapton, but had Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood and Ric Grech to boot). 1988 brought us the Traveling Wilburys, which was the tour de force of George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. And although they Wilburys only stuck together for about a year after Orbison’s death, that cosmic aligning is something that has not met it’s match… yet.

monsters-of-folk

The Monsters of Folk

Among the recent crop of supergroups is a group I mentioned last week – The Monsters of Folk, which consists of folk songsters Connor Oberst and  Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, M. Ward of She & Him, and Jim James from My Morning Jacket. They’ve been associated under the Monsters name since 2004, but have all been so busy with their respective main attractions that they weren’t able to release their self-titled first album until this year. You’ve definitely heard their track “Say Please” on the Peak – and both M. Ward and Connor Oberst gave free concerts in NYC this summer!

Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar

Moving down the line from most folky to least, next up is the recent pairing of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard with Jay Farrar, member of Uncle Tupelo and frontman for Son Volt, the two bands that he played with throughout the 90’s before he launched his solo career in 2001. Gibbard and Farrar first got together in 2007 to record the soundtrack for One Fast Move and I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur. Both the movie and the album came out on October 20th, the day before the 40th anniversary of the prolific author’s death. You can see the music video for “San Fransisco”, the last track on the album, here. And you can expect to see more from them in the future.

Taking a detour into the realm of electronica, at the end of September, Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, slipped this little surprise into his blog:

hi
in the past couple of weeks i’ve been getting a band together for fun to play the eraser stuff live and the new songs etc.. to see if it could work!
here’s a photo.. its me, joey waronker, mauro refosco, flea and nigel godrich.
at the beginning of october the 4th and 5th we are going to do a couple of shows at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
we don’t really have a name and the set will not be very long cuz ..well …we haven’t got that much material yet!
Thom Yorke and Flea at the Oprheum show on Oct. 5

Thom Yorke and Flea

Of course, those shows were sold out in 20 minutes. Flea, as you know, is the Red Hot Chili Peppers Bassist – and he seemed to be ecstatic to be on stage with Yorke, playing cuts from Yorke’s solo album The Eraser (2006). There hasn’t been a follow-up to the October concerts, but that’s something you should keep an eye out for as well.

Jack White and Alison Mosshart sharing the mike at Glastonbury this year

Next up come two really driving groups. First is The Dead Weather, whose song “Hang You Up From the Heavens” I featured in my first week of blog-writing. The Dead Weather was formed by Jack White who’s been extremely active – leaping from the White Stripes, to the Raconteurs, to the recent release of “It Might Get Loud” – a documentary featuring White, The Edge, and Jimmy Page. The band also features Alison Mosshart of the Kills on lead vocals, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age and Jack Lawrence, who played with White in the Raconteurs. And to sweeten the deal, they just announced a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on November 17th! Tickets for that are going on Sale this friday, so get ’em quick.

them-crooked-vultures

The "Them Crooked Vultures" teaser photo from earlier this fall

And finally, we come to Them Crooked Vultures, or TCV as they call themselves. TCV is big news. On drums is Dave Grohl, from Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. On vocals and guitar is Josh Homme, from the Queens of the Stone Age. The kicker is that John Paul Jones comes soaring in on bass. They’ve got a really great sound, full and rocking, but what remains to be seen is whether TCV will be able to stay afloat once their star power has worn off. Their self-titled first record is due out on Sony in a week, which should be an insta-grab for all hard rock fans. But for now, check out the full album on the band’s website!

So, I apologize about all the name dropping – it’s not something I routinely do. If you think a supergroup has been left out, please let me know. Or if you feel the need to justify the Tinted Windows‘ existence, by all means, please try. But if you do, I’ll kindly remind you that their lead singer is from Hanson, and we’ll go our separate ways. Wikipedia to the rescue once again!

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Peak Keyword: MMBOP

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Concert Watch November 2009

…And the horseman roams the streets at night… restlessly searching for his missing head.

That of course, is from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow – one of my favorites, although no one knows how the ghostly Hessian soldier actually lost his head. I’m going to go out on a limb right now and say that maybe if he had known about all of the great concerts going on in November in his own backyard, he could have found some solace.

Segue!

I think he just saw the Horseman!

Pete Yorn

November starts off with a bang – Pete Yorn, who performed live for the peak in 2006 will be playing at the Ridgefield Playhouse TOMORROW the 1st. He just released his fourth record Back and Fourth this past June and if you look at the fine print, you’ll notice that Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes helped produce it. What’s more, Yorn put out another album right after that, with Scarlett Johannson this past September – Relator. And coming off touring with Coldplay throughout the summer Mr. Yorn is doing quite well for himself – make sure to catch him in Connecticut!

Too bad harmonicas aren't semi-automatic.

Popper visiting the troops

On November 4th, Blues Traveler is rolling through town. They’ll be playing a show at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza in the city. They’ve been going above and beyond recently in an effort to support the troops in any way they can. For instance they are offering a free download of “Forever Owed” – the first track of their 2008 record North Hollywood Shootout. This song was written for the troops, and they ask that in lieu of paying for the track you make a direct donation to the USO. Blues Traveler visited the troops in 2004, and in a letter to the men and women of the Armed Forces, John Popper writes,

“… you who serve are not only a part of us but the best of us. I will carry my meager taste of honor with me for the rest of my life.”

In addition to the free download, they have been giving away free tickets to their shows for servicemen and women through the USO. So support this noble band by seeing them next wednesday.

"Alone, we are just your average indie-folk superstars... but with our powers combined, we form: THE MONSTERS OF FOLK!" (theme music plays - some light guitar strumming)

The Monsters of Folk

Going back to Mike Mogis for a sec, the indie-folk supergroup, the Monsters of Folk, are playing at the United Palace Theater up in Washington Heights next friday, November 6th. These monsters include Mike Mogis and Connor Oberst, both prominent members of Bright Eyes; M. Ward – well known from his partnership with Zooey Deschanel called She & Him; and Jim James the singer from My Morning Jacket. I know, it’s a lot of names for one band. But it’s going to be a great performance. If you do miss them Friday, it wont be too late – they’re playing again at the Beacon Theater on Nov. 8th a week from this Sunday.

Is Nils Lofgren floating on the left?

Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 2003.

In the end, however, no one compares to the Boss. That’s right, Bruce Springsteen is blazing through town after his tour de force performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week. Brucie and the E Street Band will have two performances at Madison Square Garden on Saturday and Sunday, the 7th and the 8th.

Yes, we do have a Grammy award winner behind that window.

Rob Thomas Peak Performance at ACME studios on Sept. 5th, 2009.

That should tide you over for a few days, at least. We return then to the Beacon Theatre, where Rob Thomas will be performing a series of three shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the 12th, 13th, and 14th respectively.  You may know that Rob Thomas came into the studios this past September, and he’ll be one of the featured artists on the Peak Performances Vol. 2 that’s coming out this December.

And there’s so much more! The Cranberries will be playing at Nokia Theater on the 18th. After that, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones will be performing at the Community Theater at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts on Friday the 20th, and the Smithereens will be following tham at the Community Theatre the on the 21st.

Also, Ani DiFranco will be playing at Town Hall on the 21st as well. New York’s backyard will also be graced with three shows from the Pixies on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Pianos suck.

Guster's "Lost and Gone Forever" 1999

 

Then November goes out with a bang, too, with two sold-out shows from Guster on the 27th and 28th back at the Beacon Theater. They’re touring right now for the tenth anniversary of their ’99 album Lost and Gone Forever. They’re playing two sets each with one set being the record in its entirety. That album has some truly great tracks like “Barrel of a Gun” and “Fa Fa”.

So happy concert-hunting, and if you do seem to have misplaced your head, then let some great world class rock steer you home.

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Peak Keyword: ICHABOD

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Concert Watch October 2009

Mr. Bob Weir

Mr. Bob Weir

Ok, I’ll grant you that there are a rip-roaring ten days left in the month of October… BUT that is not an excuse for you not to go out a catch some great live performances in New York’s backyard.

For instance,  Bob Weir and RatDog will be finishing up their five show set at the Beacon Theatre. They’ve performing apart from the Grateful Dead for coming on fifteen years now and they’re still going strong. They’re playing this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all tickets just under 40 bucks. There’s no better place to hear live Dead tunes.

And Van is coming through town! Van Morrison will be playing at Madison Square Garden on the 26th. Just this year he released his fifth live album, Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl, which was recorded during two concerts out at the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. The concerts took place forty years after the release of the original album, and this live edition was claimed to be one of the top 5 most anticipated pop events of 2009.

Van Morrison

Van Morrison

But there’s something else that everyone is talking about. Something so jam-packed with big names that, in fact, they’re buttressing the venue for the bringing down of the house that’s sure to come. We’re talking about the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame celebrating its 25th anniversary. The performers include, in no particular order (this might be a good time to sit down):

U2, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Simon and Garfunkel, Metallica, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Friends and Eric Clapton.

And if that’s not enough, they’re not all coming together for one measly concert, but two nights of Rock ‘n’ Roll legendry. Catch Simon and Garfunkel, Steview Wonder, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and the Boss on October 29th, and then come back from U2, Aretha, Clapton, and Metallica on the 30th. The Hall of Fame is touting it to be a “once in a lifetime” experience, and I have no doubt that it is going to live up to it’s name.

The BossStevie WonderSimon and Garfunkelhero_csnU2Eric Clapton

But let’s not let the big names outshine some smaller, less known, but equally talented individuals. For instance, Mike Doughty will be coming through New York. As you may know, Doughty performed last year at The Peak’s 5th birthday party and is a great friend of the station. He’ll be at Le Poisson Rouge in the city on the 31st. And last but not least, let us not forget Tegan and Sara, the artsy identical twin sister duo from Alberta, Canada. They’re playing a sold out show at Town Hall, which should be featuring some tracks from their new album, Sainthood, which wasn’t due to come out until the 27th. Fortunately, due to the magic of the internet it was leaked out ten days early.

So you see? A lot can happen in ten days. Especially in New York’s backyard. So get out there!

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PEAK KEYWORD: RED ZONE

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“More People at Giants Stadium for U2 Than Even the Pope”

U2 sold-out all 80,000 seats in Giants Stadium  

U2 sold-out all 84,400 seats in Giants Stadium both nights.

…Says the New York Times. Our favorite weird-sunglasses wearer has done it again – playing an awesome, packed show last weekend in New York’s backyard for our listening pleasure. It was so packed, in fact, that travelers on New Jersey transit experienced heavy delays on either end of the show. One irate fan spent 5 hours getting there and another three getting home (albeit from Babylon, NY).

Playing on Bruce Springsteen’s 60th birthday, U2 appealed to fans with a cover of “She’s the One”.

Both U2 and Muse, who opened up the show, are coming off of new albums – Muse just released their symphonic-rock “Resistance” on September 9th, and U2 had released “No Line on the Horizon” earlier this year.

But album promotion is hardly the reason for these tours. In Rolling Stone Bono says “we’re having [laughs] more fun than anyone should be allowed.” Which seems to apply to the audience as well. Chris Hermann was at the show with Rob Arrow and had the following to say:

I thought the show was terrific on Thursday Night.  Muse was a little loud but held their own and warmed up the place. The drummer rocked.

I’ve seen every U2 tour since “Unforgettable Fire.”  They somehow manage to raise the bar each time out – and that’s saying something.  For as imposing as the set was, they still managed to be intimate in a record crowd of 84,400 and change.    From the “Space Oddity” open, the show rocked.  Adam Clayton is my hero!  Steady, brilliant – the thing would fall apart without him.  The core of it – Adam, Larry and Mr. The Edge are nothing short of grand masters.  Bono sounded maybe a little thin but cast his enigmatic shadow long all night.  I loved the set list – especially “The Unforgettable Fire,” “Until The End Of The World” and the acoustic and spellbinding “Stay (Faraway So Close)”.  The big moments – “Elevation,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” etc. all lifted Giants stadium off its old foundation and I drove back across the GW towards Connecticut afterwards with that stupid grin I always get after a U2 show. Nice.”

And he’s got reason for that grin – Chris got to hang out with Bono. I don’t know how he could pry his eyes off the man for this photo

Chris with Bono

Chris with Bono

You can almost touch him

Jonathan meets U2

And there’s more! Jonathan Langsam went to the show courtesy of the peak, and had a great time in the red zone right around the stage. Just goes to show that there are always great reasons to listen to some World Class Rock. Here’s a snapshot of Jonathan’s night ->

U2 finished the show on the 24th with “Moments of Surrender” which is the third cut off of “No Line”. It was a tender moment – especially those who were worried about transit on the way home. Just another reason we love New Jersey.

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Concert Watch September 2009

Okay, to kick things off here at the Blog – we’ve got a whole slew of great concerts in New York’s Backyard this month.

The Black Crowes in 2009

The Black Crowes in 2009

Tonight The Black Crowes are playing a full park at Summerstage with Levon Helm. We’re sending some lucky listeners out to see the show and we hope they enjoy it! You may have heard that Levon has been easing up on his voice lately. At Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, CT in July he was completely forbidden from singing by his doctor. But apparently he will grace the crowd at Central Park with a few songs this evening. And speaking of voices, David Holt, one of the listeners who will be at the show, told us that Westchester Medical Center is going to be featuring his voice in an upcoming spot for the air. If you miss the show tonight, don’t worry. The Crowes will be playing again tomorrow night at the Capitol One Bank Theatre in Westbury.

We also have some listeners going to see the Killers play this evening at the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey. They just came off of a great show last night at the Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach and are sure to wow the crowd again tonight.

YPB t-shirt designed by Elvis Perkins
YBP t-shirt designed by
Elvis Perkins

Also tonight, one of my favorite artists, Elvis Perkins, will be playing with Ra Ra Riot at The Housing Works Bookstore in New York City. Ra Ra Riot, as you know, played the first night of All Points West, smack dab between The Fleet Foxes and The National. In any case, the tickets are $15 but I highly suggest you check it out because all proceeds are going to support the Yellow Bird Project (YBP), and their release of the Indie Rock Coloring Book. If you haven’t heard of YBP, they “harness [bands’] magical indie powers to help out those in need” by letting bands have a hand at designing t-shirts which they sell on their website. Check them out!

Red Molly, a hidden gem at The Pleasantville Music Festival, will be playing on September 7th at another festival, the American Roots Outdoor Festival in Piermont, NY. They’re an acoustic folk trio featuring three women, and they’ve got a great sense of humor and a very acute sensibility to their music.

And the Kings of Leon are coming to town! Catch them first at the IZOD center on September 12th, and then at Nassau Colisseum on September 14th. You’ve heard “Use Somebody” and “Sex On Fire” recently on The Peak, but if you take a trip back a few albums you’ll find the hilariously dirty “Soft” on Aha Shake Heartbreak. And if you’re thinking about going, don’t forget to brush up on “Molly’s Chambers,” their first single off of their very first studio album Youth and Young Manhood.

Mike Gordon

Mike Gordon

And there’s plenty more: Mike Gordon of PHISH will be performing on Tuesday the 8th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Mike will be sure to play some cuts off of his latest 2008 record The Green Sparrow, as well as some other great hits.

For all Beatles fans out there the Fab Faux will be headlining a show at the Beacon Theatre on September 12th. Hailed by Rolling Stone as “cerebral,” and appearing on David Letterman at the beginning of the year, the Fab Faux are a great way to re-hear the music of the Beatles.

And it continues! The Decemberists will be playing two shows: one on the 19th at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza with a special set chosen by lottery, and the other on the 22nd at the Wellmont Theatre in New Jersey. Snow Patrol will be working their way through their U.S. tour (with a minor detour to Canada) by playing two shows at the Beacon Theatre on the 22nd and 23rd.

Pheonix

Pheonix

Also, be sure not to miss the fantastic French newcomers Pheonix at Rumsey Playfield on the 25th, as well Mat Kearney also coming to Irving Plaza on the 29th. (Note: Mat  Kearney is not to be confused with Pat Carney, the drummer for the Black Keys who recently formed his own solo project, Drummer, in which he plays bass. Talk about confusing.)

Loudon and Lucy
Loudon and Lucy

And that’s not even the half of it! Get the full concert listing on the Peak’s website. For example, Rodrigo y Gabriela, the Latin influenced guitar duo are coming to town, as well as Loudon Wainwright III, who will be playing a show the HighLine ballroom on the 15th with son and daughter Rufus and Martha Wainwright. And if that wasn’t already enough of a family affair, The Roches will be playing with them. The Roches are formed by Loudon’s third child, Lucy, plus his wife Suzzy, and sisters-in-law Terre and Maggie. If you’re confused at this point, don’t worry, I am too. I promise I will draw a family tree and post it ASAP.

U2

U2

And how could this concert watch be complete without mention of U2 playing at Giants Stadium? The shows will be on the 24th and 25th. To make their apprearances even sweeter, The Peak will be sending some listeners to the shows. Stop by the Listener Advisory Board from September 8th through the 18th to sign up.

All of this and more to come throughout September. Again, check out our full concert listing on the Peak’s website by clicking here.

And if you’re not concert-going enjoy the last weeks of summer, which I guess means more rain.

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