Tuesday, December 20, 2011

07/31/08 Flogging Molly/O'Death @ Pier 54, New York, NY

Something about the Irish folk punk of Flogging Molly and the Americana punk of O'Death seems especially well-suited for a waterside locale.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

07/27/08 MGMT @ McCarren Park Pool, Brooklyn, NY

The summer of 2008 was undeniably the summer of MGMT. Their soaring psychedelic pop spewed forth from the earbuds of every hipster's iPod. "Time To Pretend" captured the devil-may-care cynicism of a generation.

Booked before that anthem and "Kids" made MGMT the It band, the McCarren show served as a homecoming of sorts, and just about everyone in the hipster capital of NYC wrapped around the block for a glimpse at indie superstardom.

Not wanting to stand around for hours, we hatched a plan. After briefly surveying the circumference of the venue, we spotted a weakness in the VIP section. After scaling the fence, dropping onto a trailer and then behind some Port-o-Potties, we walked casually out of the VIP section and into the vast expanse of the decommissioned public pool. It ranks as one of my all-time most daring concert entries.

The show itself was as good a time as any Pool Party. It really was difficult to have a bad time in such a sunny carefree atmosphere.

The highlights of course were the faithful renditions of their radio hits. At one point they all took to mini-keyboards for a sole extended jam that their neo-hippie aesthetic all but required. This was a band on the cusp of living up to its hype.

Monday, December 5, 2011

07/21/08 The Death Set/Ponytail/Ninjasonik/The Mae Shi/Joan of Arc @ Market Hotel, Brooklyn, NY

For my girlfriend's birthday, I decided to take her to see The Mae Shi, a band we had been digging lately, hooked on the ubercatchy single "I Get Almost Everything" off their Biblical-themed electronic pop punk album HLLYH. They opened the show with an a cappella sing-along version of that number, and the show took on a spiritual revival aspect when the band draped the crowd in a large white sheet and began a psychedelic punk dirge fueled by a flashlight barrage.

The other acts on the bill were disparate, but united in their DIY ethos and an eagerness to play in a stuffy Bed-Stuy loft on the hottest night of the year. Even the bodega beers were warm.

First up was the indie underground Cap'n Jazz associated Joan of Arc. Built largely on the masterful squelch of guitar feedback, the group set the tone for a largely distorted evening.

I hadn't heard of Ponytail before this evening, but I have since become a huge fan. Dustin Wong's swirling leads spearheaded the caucophonic assault fronted by the inimitable manic exuberance of singer/screamer Molly Siegel.

The Death Set's headlining set featured a guest stint by local Brooklyn hip hop hipsters Ninjasonik whose tongue-in-cheek raps were perfectly augmented by The Death Set's electrified skate punk jams.

The rest of the set typified the energy of the dutiful all ages crowd, but when a crowdsurfer landed on my head, it was time to head back to Queens.

Friday, December 2, 2011

07/20/08 Golem/Sway Machinery/Michael Showalter/DeLeon/Soulico @ Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

This showcase for the now-defunct JDub Records featured a decidedly semitic blend of performers ranging from the off-kilter comedic stylings of Michael Showalter to the klezmer punk of headliners Golem. The highlight was when the crowd cajoled a park vendor into dancing the Hora.

07/18/08 Globesonic Sound System @ Pier 1 Riverside Park South, New York, NY

From the muddy banks of the Hudson River, not all that far geographically from the stodgy Lincoln Center, the DJ/percussionist/etc. collective Globesonic Sound System soundtracked a worldly dance party with no pretension as the dirty Jersey sunset loomed off the pier.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

07/18/08 Budos Band/Chico Mann @ Damrosch Park, New York, NY

Hailing straight from the slums of Shaolin, embodying the revivalist funk movement of Daptone Records, the Budos Band paired with the modernized Blaxploitation funk of Chico Mann for this gratis offering at Lincoln Center's outdoor plaza.

Unfortunately, the section in front of the stage was reserved for donors despite plenty of space for all. It has since been revoked, but it prompted us to head for a more egalitarian dance floor.

07/17/08 DJ Spooky @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Ever the innovator, DJ Spooky presented his multimedia treatise on African culture, featuring his trademark instrumental beats paired with captivating images and soundbytes that painted a stark picture of modern racism.

07/17/08 Fiery Furnaces @ East River Park, New York, NY

This free evening of local indie rock was enhanced by the riverside ampitheater venue, not to be confused with its Brooklyn counterpart, East River State Park.

07/16/08 Stuart Bogie's Superhuman Happiness/Charles Gayle Trio/Colin Stetson @ Tobacco Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY

This free show at the picturesque open-air Tobacco Warehouse in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge featured three accomplished saxophonists - Antibalas leader Stuart Bogie, free jazz maven Charles Gayle and journeyman Colin Stetson who has logged time with everyone from Arcade Fire to Tom Waits.

During Superhuman Happiness' headlining set, intergalactic NASA images were projected on the screen for a spacey funk affair.

07/15/08 Mickey Hart Band @ Irving Plaza, New York, NY

07/15/08 • Irving Plaza • New York , NY
Set 1: Shakedown Street, Manila Farewell, Seven Seconds, Self Defense, Tolongo, Fountains Of Wood, Eyes Of The World, Good Lovin’
Set 2: The Center Prelude > The Center, Strange World, Your House, The Other One > Arabian Wind > The Other One > Sugaree > Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain
Encore: Papa Was A Rolling Stone > Aiko Aiko
This incarnation of the pernicious percussionist' solo band was highlighted by the appropriately psychedelic tones of San Francisco stalwart Steve Kimock and String Cheese Incident keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth.

The two sets included such Dead essentials as Shakedown Street, Scarlet Begonias and The Other One, along with a classic pairing of Scarlet/Fire, the latter of which is Hart's signature Dead composition.


07/01/08 Kode9/Dave Q/Juakali/Forward Motion Theater @ WFC Winter Garden, New York, NY

Of the Love Generation's tragic decline, Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, "with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back." With none of the cultural gravitas, but similar proportionate respect to musical integrity, this was an inversely comparable temporal watermark for that divisive once-microgenre known as dubstep.

At the precipice of dubstep exploding beyond the bass underground, albeit in a bastardized form, one of its progenitors enlightened the womp-seekers with no pretension in an appropriately cold and characterless echo chamber, backlit by ominous monochromatic dancing shapes.

06/26/08 Tristan Perich's 1-Bit Music @ Jon Cohrs' loft, Brooklyn, NY

The allure at this inner Brooklyn loft dance party was the low-tech, hi-brow classical glitch of Tristan Perich's symphonic concoctions.