Archive for March, 2009

Leona Naess | The Grates | Micachu & The Shapes @ Piano’s

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I was eager to catch Leona Naess again on her final night at Piano’s. Tonight the place was packed and possibly due to the subsequent bands. She played another great set including “Leave Your Boyfriends” and “Heavy Like Sunday” from her new essential album. Although most of the songs can be slow and depressing there’s no doubt the strength and range of her voice. She reluctantly played “Charm Attack” which was a needed upbeat song for the crowded audience. And she looks just as good playing bass as she is banging a tambourine dancing around.

Coming off the buzz from SXSW, The Grates from Brisbane Australia marched into Piano’s and gave an extremely strong performance. There’s no denying their similarities to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but their new album is jam-packed with the energy and excitement that “Blitz” is missing. Patience Hodgson never stopped moving onstage and it’s pretty hard not to sing and dance along to the very catchy songs. Their whole set was a like a great celebration especially when she got on the shoulders of the tallest guy in the crowd to sing a song. Sure the songs aren’t all that complex but sometimes you just want an excuse to party.

I didn’t know much about Micachu & The Shapes other than the increasing buzz in the media. So doing some research I found that the trio is from East London and Mica has been playing music since the age of 4 and commissioned to write an orchestral piece for the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 20. So I was surprised to hear such unusual melodies and sounds when they took the stage. But I found out that her hero is Harry Partch who I’ve actually gotten into in the past few years. They share the use of inventive homemade instruments and unusual musical styles. She played the “chu”, which is an adaptive guitar, to create these truly unique tones. The combination of the unusual organic and digital counterparts made for a unique set of music. Although at first I was a little lost, after a few songs I was able to immerse myself into the tinny, gritty, unexpected songs onstage. Very excited to see how this band will continue to create and destroy the future of music.

Some pictures from the show.

http://www.myspace.com/leonanaess
http://www.thegrates.com Fun Video
http://www.myspace.com/micayomusic

Titus Andronicus | The Wrens @ Bowery Ballroom – KEXP benefit

Friday, March 13th, 2009

I guess it was fitting to book New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus to open up for tonight’s KEXP benefit. Somehow all the musical aggression onstage came out as dirty pop songs. Their rant about Jersey being the future of music was unsettling yet interesting. Ultimately their live intensity worked for them and goes perfectly well with a night of drinking.

So I’ve been waiting a loooooong time to see The Wrens again live and more eager to finally hear some new tunes. It’s no secret that I think The Meadowlands is one of the best albums ever made and was excited to hear a bunch of them again. Although the band seemed a bit rusty, they still rocked out all their songs. I was surprised to hear only 3 new songs but they were very good. They had a great crowd and Kevin rewarded them by passing his beat-up and live bass to the masses. A solid set and for the encore we sang “This is Not What You Had Planned” at the top of our lungs.

Some pictures from the show.

Better ones here.
http://www.titusandronicus.net/
http://www.wrens.com/

Leona Naess @ Piano’s

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Leona Naess released her fourth and newest album Thirteens and showed off some tunes with 4 consecutive Wednesday’s at Piano’s. When she started off the set with a cover of “King of Carrot Flowers” I knew I made the right decision to be there. She was accompanied with a full band including violins which enhanced her songs. She had a dynamic range from quiet delicate melodies to intense soulful songs. Despite the small crowd she played a solid set and felt comfortable on stage. A great show and no doubt I’ll be spending another Wednesday with her.

 Some pictures from the show.

 http://www.myspace.com/leonanaess