Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category
Posted November 13, 2012on:
In addition to being one of the most talented pop musicians of his or any generation, Andrew Bird is a damn hard worker. As a solo artist, he has completed at least 10 releases since 2003’s Weather Systems, including instrumental albums, live compilations and EPs on top of five full-lengths. His loop-based compositions are a sight and sound to behold, and Birdman has built an impressive reputation as one of the most imaginative and original performers of the genre formerly known as indie rock. Not content to rest on his laurels, Birdman is wrapping up a most successful, prolific and affecting 2012 with his second full-length in seven months, Hands of Glory.
Billed as a companion piece to March’s superb Break It Yourself, Hands of Glory is Bird at his most reserved yet exploratory. Allowing himself the freedom of live recording and stripped down arrangements, Bird’s mastery and passion to rise to the top. From Hands of Glory’s opening track “Three White Horses”, it’s clear Bird has taken the saying “less is more” to heart. Maybe it was that tasty tomato bread we served him last summer at Celebrate Brooklyn.
The current A$AP Mob, Schoolboy Q, and Danny Brown tour offers a stark contrast to the clashing hip-hop collectives of the 1990s. Today’s relationship between East Coast and West Coast hip-hop is no Biggie-Tupac, taste-defining argument. Harlem’s A$AP Mob, led by self-labeled “pretty boy” A$AP Rocky, actually collaborates with L.A. Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) artists, including rappers like Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar. Danny Brown, the, hard-nosed spitfire lyricist, the dude from Detroit with the goofy hair and an unnaturally long tongue, is the always-in-a-good-mood wildcard whose Detroit roots split the difference between the coasts.
Last weekend, the newly relaunched Music Midtown festival brought a host of national acts to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. The headliners were the Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam–and other acts included Florence and the Machine, Van Hunt, and 80’s revivals Adam Ant and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts–but I had gone to see The Avett Brothers. I wasn’t the only one. During T.I.’s set on the main stage, a formidable crowd swarmed the second stage to wait for the Avetts. When the band came on, the fans exploded in a frenzy of dancing, singing, and shouting that continued throughout the set, which drew from the band’s seven studio records, with a heavy emphasis on songs from their new album The Carpenter, released on Sept. 11. Clearly, the Avett Brothers are not a band that became successful overnight; they have slowly grown their dedicated fanbase over the course of a decade. At Friday’s show Seth Avett said that they’ve been playing in Atlanta for so long that it feels like a hometown show. (The band is actually from North Carolina).
It turns out that there is such a thing as a comfortable music festival experience. After an exhausting, disorienting and soaked (but successful) festival season, last weekend’s Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusement at Chicago’s temporary Riverfront Theater proved that a music fest can be as rocking as it is sanitary. All it takes are some pop legends, a few $7 PBR tallboys and a circus tent.
The second year of the showcase festival received minimal buzz, which is surprising for an event that went the extra mile to bring surprising and timeless performers. Anchoring each night of the weekend respectively were John Cale, Conor Oberst and Bobby Womack, three recognized monsters of their genres and generations. Add behind-the-scenes composing genius Van Dyke Parks and rising progressive artists Zola Jesus and Helado Negro, and you have a stellar, if short, weekend lineup.
The overwhelming nature of life in a world-class city presents a multitude of opportunities, for better or for worse. In the age of oversharing and over-reflection, isolation can creep up on you. it’s easy to say ‘fuck it’ and fall into the cold world of Cap’n Crunch feasts and Instant Netflix pity parties. In order to combat the potential doldrums of the solitary urban experience, I take advantage of my surroundings and see as much live music as possible. In just 15 days, I saw 13 acts, ranging from the virtuosic to the epileptic, and everything in between.
This is how I spend my time. If it sounds like something you’d like to do, you are encouraged to join.
My fear of romantic commitment has been well hashed-over by my friends, family, and ex-boyfriends. But the commitment that’s been hardest for me to make is one to New York, despite the fact that I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a dozen years, written tender articles about New York’s subway system and abandoned buildings, and published a book about its cab drivers. Yet my feelings for the city are anything but soft and fluttery. Case in point: One of my favorite T-shirts, a gift from a friend, says: I Kind of Heart New York
When I moved to New York in 2000, I had hoped to be a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, but couldn’t swallow the required two-year commitment. By now I could have raised the child. When friends and family in the Midwest asked over the years how long I’d stay in the city, I always say “one more year.” After 12 years here, I still think of the congressman from my parents’ Ohio neighborhood as my own. And when I meet a guy who extols his love for New York, I inwardly grimace and turn away
I have always had a manic-depressive relationship with New York. I felt ecstatic dancing to skilled DJs at rooftop warehouse parties and seeing my first outdoor movie in Bryant Park, skyscraper lights shining above the screen like stars. The live music in beer-sticky bars captivated me, as did the talented, creative new friends who helped me uncover my own potential. Yet the city’s darker side haunts me in the form of cement. Forget grass and trees, “parks” are slabs of concrete with benches – Union Square or McCarren Park anyone? Everyone’s in a hurry, rushing somewhere “important,” people on top of each other, crawling over each other. And when some of these people stand in front of the subways doors, refusing to move aside as others board the train, I want to punch them.
Still, I haven’t stayed in New York by accident or by default. So this summer I decided to commit – at least to Brooklyn, where I live, and Manhattan, where I work (The other three boroughs seem like a bit of a stretch.) Like a woman in marriage counseling, I decided to have regular date nights with New York. My plan: First, soak up as many concerts as possible and re-forge my original connection with the city and its music. Second, say yes to people and possibilities. Third, be deliberate, recognize positive and negative feelings, focus on the positive, and take pictures for prosperity.