Tag Archives: Allman Brothers

Holding Steady at Six Years

A lunar module model - this one made by NASA

If I remember correctly, my sixth birthday was “lunar module” themed. In our unfinished basement, we laid down masking tape on the cement floor to create tracks for the rover races. On the walls were cutouts of the lunar lander, and everyone left the party with some freeze-dried ice cream.

Now, as a chunky six-year-old, I thought this party was the coolest thing ever. Little did I know that some people bring in rock bands for their sixth birthday parties.

That’s right – it’s the big oh-six for 107.1 The Peak, WXPK, coming your way in the first week of April. And to celebrate, they’re bringing in the bold Brooklyn band The Hold Steady.

The Hold Steady - From left to right: Tad Kubler, Galen Polivka, Bobby Drake, Franz Nicolay (who recently quit the band), and Craig Finn

Headed up by Craig Finn, a guy that looks like he could be the the embodiment of nerd-rock, the band actually has a hard-hitting, gritty sound. Here’s their video for “Chips Ahoy” – have you ever seen a rock star more convincingly wear George Costanza glasses?

They’re also renowned for its ability to tell a story, thanks in large part to Finn’s intricate, weaving lyrics. You may recognize their lexical prowess from “Sequestered in Memphis” which has received a lot of air time on the Peak. The band ties many of their songs to characters from history and literature – like Sal Paradise from Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, or the american writer Nelson Algren. Their nods to pop culture references are even better. For instance, in “Knuckles” of off The Hold Steady’s first studio album in 2004, Finn sings, “I’ve been trying to get people to call me Sunny D/I’ve got the good stuff kids go for”. Here’s the bad in a more traditional rock band role than the last video:

The Hold Steady has been holding steady for almost seven years now – with four LP’s out, and another one on its way this May.

Craig Finn and Tad Kubler, the lead guitarist, have been playing together for a long time. In 1994, they formed half of the band Lifter Puller. Listening back, you can hear a lot of similar styles and stories in the Lifter Puller songs, and you can connect the lines from the nineties to the aughts to see the evolution of The Hold Steady.

Here are two songs from the Lifter Puller days:

“Secret Santa Cruz”

“4dix”

The new Hold Steady album, Heaven is Whenever, is out May 4th, and with the Peak Birthday Concert on April 2nd, you’re bound to get a sneak preview. So head on over to 1071thepeak.com to grab your tickets to the show. As an added bonus, The Oranges Band, formed by the former bassist of Spoon, Roman Kuebler, will be opening the show.

And it’s all happening just down the road (or up the Hudson line) in Ardsley. Hope you can make it!

~Josh

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Concerts This Week in NY’s Back Yard:

::: Catch the Allman Brothers five times this week at the United Palace tonight, tomorrow, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

::: Portugal. The Man is going to be putting on a great show this Friday at the HighLine Ballroom in the city

::: and Rhett Miller will be playing at City Winery on Saturday the 20th.

Happy Hunting!

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PEAK KEYWORD: HOLDSTEADY

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The Visual Music of Vincent Moon

So I was going to put up a dry concert watch of all the hip-hop-happenings in New York’s backyard this month, but I’ve just spent the last two hours rediscovering one of my favorite music video producers, so I thought I’d share him with you.

Vincent Moon, a.k.a. Mathieu Saura

His name is Vincent Moon, and he is a contributor to the French music blog, La Blagotheque. Now I don’t speak much French outside of  “j’mapelle pamplemousse”, so navigating around the blog is a lot of fun for me, but here’s what I’ve figured out: Moon (born Mathieu Saura) loves taking bands out from the natural habitats and films them playing super stripped down versions of their songs. Most of the time, this is for portability – because he loves shooting on the move, or as he calls it, “nomadic filmmaking”.

He’s filmed an astonishing number of artists and bands, from the obscure (like De Kift, the Dutch tuba-loving oompah rock band) to the upper-echelon indie (e.g. The Arcade Fire and Andrew Bird). Since his first video with The Spinto Band in 2006, the crispness of these recordings has really bloomed (thanks in part to great hosting provided by Vimeo).

His videos are charming, worldly, and seem to capture the essence of the artists in a way that surprises even the artists themselves. Spontaneity is valued above all else, and the results of his devotion to that aspect of the process are fantastic.

Here is one of his first videos, filmed in Paris with the sunny British pop group, The Kooks, of “She Moves in Her Own Way” fame:

At the end of the video, singer Luke Pritcher is in disbelief about the crowd they gathered, as they walked through a local high school. “That was the most insane thing I’ve ever done,” you can hear him saying.

Here’s one that takes the idea of a journey in a whole different direction. This is the supremely talented folk singer Elvis Perkins strolling the streets of Paris armed with just a guitar and a hat. If you choose to watch any of these videos, this is definitely the one to watch.

A still from Vincent Moon's "Take Away Show" with Elvis Perkins, singing "While You Were Sleeping"


It’s a quietly observant song, as Elvis Perkins slowly and thoughtfully takes in the city around him. The camera work here is incredible, and glances at the camera from the kids and adults passing by really stick with you long after they’ve left the frame.

Finally, here’s a big fish. Everyone’s favorite band, Phoenix, performing a rock-solid version of their single “1901” at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It is just beautiful and optimistic.

And last, but certainly not least: The Arcade Fire, a band that’s gotten a lot of attention on this blog recently, but this video is too incredible to be left out.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… eight people in the band cram into a freight elevator minutes before a show to do a rendition of the “Neon Bible” that looks as claustrophobic as the song feels. In a good way, of course. Then the band solemnly walks into the middle of their crowd to perform their hit “Wake Up”. It’s incredible:

This kind of experimentation is what music is all about.

Happy Listening!

~Josh

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CONCERTS THIS WEEK IN NY’S BACKYARD:

Joan Osbourne tonight! She played at The Peak’s Pleasantville Music Festival
.    two years ago or so. Catch her again at 7:30 at the Julia Miles Theater in NYC.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are playing at Ridgefield Playhouse this Friday
.    at 8pm.
The Allman Brothers are playing United Palace at 7pm the same day, and again
.    Saturday night.
And you can catch Blue Oyster Cult (classic) this coming Saturday as well at 7:30
.    at BB King’s Blues Club.

Happy hunting!

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PEAK KEYWORD: Pamplemousse

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