“I worship you” were the first words Never Shout Never frontman (and main brain behind the NSN project) Christofer Drew said to the sea of screaming adolescent girls that sold out Gramercy Theatre on Friday, May 11. It would have seemed that Chris was just reading the minds of girls assumingly crying in the front row, equipped with posters and all. At one point during the show a bra was thrown on stage – an act which seemed to bore frontman Drew as he attempted to make a joke that someone threw ear warmers at him.
When first hearing Never Shout Never’s infectious pop-rock tunes, it would come to no surprise that any concert goer of theirs should expect a certain tween demographic. That being said, if there was ever a time for 20-somethings to feel like they need to be auditioning for a Wonder Years reunion, it would have been attending this show.
Nostalgia is a powerful, inexplicable beast. Images, movies, and even words can instantly take you back to the most memorable portions of your life in vivid detail, evoking just about every type of emotion. And while Saturday night at Starland Ballroom looked and sounded as it did during any other musical evening at the venue, the screams, chills, and tears of everyone present for The Early November’s reunion show proved just as vital to the night's energy as the band's own sounds and words.
The night began with a diverse bill of opening bands who all fit nicely into the musical realm that The Early November were once at the forefront of. The folky, honest pop-rock of Young Statues held the crowd’s attention just as much as the progressive, dazzling indie of A Great Big Pile of Leaves. Ohio pop-punkers Hit the Lights have been a staple in their scene for years, and the audience’s shouty reaction to their material old and new proved that they still are.
Bayside, Saves the Day, I Am the Avalanche, and Transit form a package of bands that, while enjoying various levels of success, all originated from the world of punk rock, in both sound and mentality. And while the mosh pits and deafening crowd-singalongs that accompanied each band’s set on the last date of their fall tour at Irving Plaza are a testament to how massive these bands have gotten, fame has yet to affect any of their approaches. They were raised in a basement atmosphere, and they simply took that atmosphere – crowd interaction, band camaraderie, on-stage beers - to the big leagues.
In an industry where records have melted off store shelves and onto Mediafire pages, the live concert stands as the last line of musical art that can’t be stolen and leaked to the world. While albums are passed around digitally like a dance-able hot potato, no amount of internet lurking and mp3 swapping can defame the experience of the lights, sweat, and sounds of a show. Fortunately, Panic! At the Disco and their tourmates Patrick Stump and Foxy Shazam are well aware that they’re living on that last line, and all left everything they had on the stages of Long Island’s Paramount Theater.
In 2003 a tech geek from Oregon began making electronic music under a very misleading name. Honoring an alternative high school, rather than a boat, YACHT’s debut was a somber albeit kinetic collection of ambience suitable for a reflective night in bed. However, a continuous mutation over the last eight years and the addition of four musicians has landed this rapidly growing group (in popularity as well as size) in an entirely different location than its origin. Their latest album Shangri-La, released June 21st, is a collection of socially aware dance tracks made of equal parts contemplative lyrics and loose-yourself beats. A savage reflection on our society’s current state, this album draws parallels between old world id and future cultural regression.
It has been said seeing Janelle Monae live is a life-changing experience. It has been said she takes to the stage like a bird on it's first soaring flight. It has been said men fall in love instantly when she grabs the mic. The rumors have circled long enough. They aren't rumors. Rumors aren't usually true. Janelle Monae is.
On Wednesday, a crowd of unassuming, suits stepped into the Edison Ballroom (a venue perfectly suited for a Lindsey Lohan birthday bash) expecting to experience some random concert to commemorate their Up In The Air-esque conference weekend. Instead, they were teleported from the darkened ballroom to Wondaland, a place where pixies dressed in black mod costumes dance around like fairies and a five-foot-nothing girl belts out notes that incite exclamation pointed gasps and screams from the once tie-glad, all business masses.
I'm a latecomer to being a fan of The xx. The first time I saw them play in October during CMJ, they seemed nervous and overwhelmed, and their minimalist brand of quiet R&B pop didn't translate well in a live setting.
Since then, The xx have totally grown up. Wednesday night's show at Webster Hall turned them into fully-fledged rock stars. In my humble opinion, this show was really important for the young band; this is their first ever headlining tour of the U.S. Not only was almost everyone I know (in Twitter and In Real Life) there, but NYC is a tough audience and I guarantee that about a third of the people in attendance have music blogs. While their first US performances may have garnered unenthusiastic reviews from listeners who preferred the record to their live show, this week they solidified themselves as a band that demands your attention, right now and for years to come. Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft finally know how to handle a crowd, and their stage show finally emulates the simple brilliance that is captured on their debut album xx.
¡Mayday! takes the stage at a fully packed room in Vagabond, and without warning, launches off into a complete jam session on stage. Each of the six band members begin to completely let loose, hyping up the entire crowd around them. The percussion section, composed of Nonymous and LT Hopkins lay the beats down, while the guitarist/keyboardist Plex Luthor and keyboardist/bassist Gianni Cash chime in, completely syncopated. Front men Wrekonize & Bernbiz bring the swagger and begin to hype the crowd up even more before launching into the first song.
Nearing the end of his first tour sans The Strokes in support of his debut solo album "Phrazes for the Young," Julian Casablancas held his own at Philly's Trocadero on Sunday night. Filling the entire place practically up to the rafters, Casablancas managed to deliver an entertaining show and really illustrate first-hand how amazing his new album is.
After a high-energy set from Brooklyn-based electro duo Tanlines, and what seemed like an abnormally long wait, Casablancas' backing band took the stage close to 10 pm. With a set-up of two of each instrument on stage, and some musicians even doing double duty on additional instruments, the band began playing the first song, "Ludlow St," as soon as they hit the stage. As if for an extra dramatic entrance, Casablancas then took the stage to deafening cheers from the crowd. However, while the enthusiastic crowd was clearly excited to be there, Casablancas' initial feelings on the matter seemed debatable.
On the road since last summer’s CD release, North Hollywood Shootout, Blues Traveler kept South Florida on its dancing feet last week. Packed into Fort Lauderdale’s Culture Room, the boys wasted no time getting their groove on. A mixed room of music lovers in their 30s and 40s danced joyously to Blues Traveler’s extended jams. The trick is old hat to the veterans from Princeton, New Jersey who got together in 1987.