Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

Silence! The Musical

I’ve never really been interested in musicals. Once in a while though, some shows come along that get my interest. Usually, because the premise is not something you’d base a musical on. It happened before with “Evil Dead the Musical,” and it has happened again with “Silence! The Musical,” which is a musical based on “The Silence of the Lambs,” that is currently playing in NYC.

The full title of the show is actually, “Silence! The Musical: The unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs,” and that’s probably best, I couldn’t take a show about a singing killer seriously. The show itself handles the parody quite well, without ever becoming too wacky. Small changes add to the atmosphere, such as Clarice speaking throughout the show with a heavy southern accent and a slight lisp on her S’s, while major things like the FBI being portrayed as completely incompetent add to the overall atmosphere. Continue reading

Hungry Fleet of New Yorkers Flock For Foxes

Event Date: May 18, 2011
Venue: United Palace Theater
Performer: Fleet Foxes

For almost every artist, band, or musician it is a dream to play the Big Apple when touring in support of an album. According to critics, Fleet Foxes’ current release, Helplessness Blues, seems to be anything but a sophomore slump. If a double sold-out New York affair is any indication of their growing popularity, then humble beginnings will turn these young kits into full-grown foxes in no time.

The choice of venue for Fleet Foxes was the meticulously restored “Cambodian neo-Classical” United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights. The performance space melded perfectly with the organic-sounding 19-song folk set.  Appearing with no projections in the background, as if to perform for a high school recital, the timorous sextet walked onto the stage looking as if they just exited their rehearsal garage dressed not to impress, but to just jam for the electrified and intimidating New York audience.

Drummer, Joshua Tillman, was placed in the center of the stage while lead guitarist, Skyler Skjelset, and bassist, Christian Wargo, stood beside him at each side. To the left, and surrounded by multiple keyboards, was keyboardist Casey Wescott. Opposite Wescott and behind a cello was multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson, who is responsible for most of the band’s arrangements. The last to appear on the stage was lead vocalist and guitarist, Robin Pecknold, who wore a skullcap that displayed the band’s record label, Sub Pop.

The Oregon-based group opened with their acoustic song, “The Cascades”, which sounded oddly reminiscent of “Blackbird” by The Beatles. However, in every respect Pecknold’s tenor voice echoed of Graham Nash of folk-rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The audience remained calm and at times appeared hypnotized while lead singer Robin Pecknold sang with his eyes shut. However, once the band’s intertwined harmonies stopped and the entrancing spell was broken, the audience took it upon themselves to wholeheartedly shout anything from, “We love you” to, “Take off your pants!”  They even went as far as giving the group a sustained robust standing ovation after the Helplessness Blues wistful opening number, “Montezuma”. Continue reading

Pipers, Better Than Peppers

Event Date: September 7, 2010
Venue: B. B. Kings Blues Club
Bands:  Red Hot Chilli Pipers (Main); GIRSA (Opener)

When telling people that I was off to see the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, I was first met with a flurry of jealous looks and then confusion, as the phonemes caught up with the temporal lobe. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these are not peppers, they are Pipers, and they certainly earned the capital letter I just bequeathed upon them.

On September 7th, this band (used semantically to represent a great number of people come together for a single purpose, rather than a few guys who decided to play music together) graced the stage of B.B. King’s to bring to New York a spectacular set of Bagpipe Rock, and Folk, and what have you. Continue reading

Brad Senne: Aerial Views

Four words come to mind when thinking of Brad Senne and his new album Aerial Views: Solo Acoustic Indie Folk. Resembling a mixture of Bon Iver and Iron and Wine, this singer and songwriter from Minneapolis has a melodic and hypnotizing voice. The former hardcore musician, who cites Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Iron and Wine, Wilco, and Muddy Waters as influences, has grown with the music scene by recently producing heartfelt but composed music.

Considered an urban folkster, Brad Senne plays almost entirely all the instruments on Aerial Views resulting in poppy folk songs like “Sing and Dance” and “So Easy”. However, Aerial Views isn’t completely folk. The harmonica in “Overgrown with Warmth” and “Sew the Scars” adds an element of blues to Brad’s music.

With the combination of his soothing voice and acoustic guitar, he’s creating a whole new genre of Blues Folk. Senne is defining his own style in an already established scene. His album Aerial Views is a must for Bon Iver, Iron and Wine, or other folk/acoustic rock fans.

You can learn more about Brad Senne and purchase Aerial Views at his MySpace Page

The Protomen–Act II: The Father of Death

In an age where CD’s and records have become obsolete in order to make way for the sale of individual songs, it is rare to see a band release a full album that tells an overarching  story, rather just being a collection of songs about numerous unrelated subjects. The Protomen’s recent release entitled “Act II: The Father of Death,” does just this, creating a compelling story over twelve songs.

The Protomen are a band that took the plot of the original Mega Man games for the NES, changed it into a 1984-esque world and turned the whole thing into a rock opera. Some details are changed from the original source material, the biggest being that Wily is actually successful in his attempts to take control of the world, and he oversees everything from a tower while his robots create a dystopia where Big Brother is always watching. Continue reading

‘Orphaned’ No Longer

Event Date: March 8, 2010
Venue: B. B. Kings Blues Club
Bands: Orphaned Land,
Suidakra, Gwynbleidd

I’ve seen a lot of bands over the course of my metal reporting years (as brief a time as it has been), and very few of them I would classify as “must-see”.  I must say that Orphaned Land has turned out to be one of those must-see bands.

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Rooney Make the “Heart” Grow Fonder

Event Date: December 11, 2009
Venue: Webster Hall

More Rooney, please

“Deliver the goods.”  It’s an expression I’ve heard a lot lately and, when I think about the band Rooney, that’s exactly what comes to mind.  This band always delivers the goods.  If you go to concerts for glitz and glamour, a Rooney show is not for you.  If you’re like me, and prize a rocking good time that cuts straight to the point, well…you probably had your tickets before I did.

This proudly Californian-based quintet gets on that stage, brings the house down with an old-school “jam” session, and promises that they’ll do the exact same thing every time.  Such a clean-cut approach is part of what makes Rooney concerts so unique and why I’ve looked forward to seeing them, every chance I get, since discovering them during a 2004 episode of “The O.C.”. Continue reading