The Grates played their final show of their 3 night residency at Piano’s to a very Australian crowd. After talking to a few of the Brisbane locals, I found out that the band usually sells out very large venues back home and they were shocked to see the band play such a small venue. It was even one fan’s first time at their show as she’s never been able to get a ticket down under. After a few songs into their set you know why this band could wield the attention of any sized crowd. Patience is a fireball onstage and is an ideal front woman for the catchy and fun songs they play. She has an incredible voice and the songs from the trio are tight despite the slight monotony within them. Regardless, the band is meant to be seen live and they do a great job making you feel like you’re part of the show and invite you to tap into the energy of the band. And hell, maybe she’ll even hug you after the show. : )
The whole evening was heavy with the impending rain that was sure to come as well as the anticipation of one of the most influential bands playing live. Superchunk came out and played an incredible set of songs from their 2 decades together and gained intensity as the night wore on. The band had great energy onstage and brought out a great crowd of old and new. I especially liked their introduction of some of their similar songs as “smears” and of course the encore of “Slack Motherfucker” which they also played at McCarren Park.
I caught most of Luminescent Orchestrii’s set and enjoyed their songs. Some interesting instrument pairings and song structures. Surprised to see so many people come out to see Kronos Quartet. I’ve been recently listening to their 20 year box set and it’s reminding me of their incredible range and prolific career. Tonight they were joined by Bryce Dessner of The National and played tunes from him and J.G. Thirlwell among other composers. Another great free show.
I cringe every time I hear Matt & Kim during that Bacardi TV commercial. It was a similar feeling I had while I approached Pier 54 for their free outdoor show. The pier created a wonderful backdrop for the sun to set and a night of outdoor music. However, these perfect factors were quickly ruined by one of the worst audiences and improper setting for the band’s music. Within seconds I became surrounded by the neighborhood of Williamsburgh and over-eager teenagers smoking and drinking way too proudly. I endured the heavy cigarette smoke to barely view the 2 giant screens projecting crazy patterns and the band performing. Unless you were in the very front you couldn’t see the band and I felt the enormous distance made the experience suffer. Matt & Kim is a band that you need to listen to live up close & personal so that you are practically banging away on their instruments. They play like it’s your party and fun is the only option. The music isn’t worth putting on a pedestal or maybe in a TV commercial, but it sure is silly and entertaining. I mean….have you checked out their new video for “Lessons Learned”?
I plan to see every South Street Seaport show this summer and you should as well. It’s free, the sound system is actually good, in front of one of the best backdrops ever, and did I mention it was free?!! Kicking off the season this year was Bachelorette from New Zealand and Here We Go Magic. Considering Bachelorette is only Annabel Alpers on a keyboard, a laptop, a guitar and her voice, she easily filled the space with her perfect blend of hazy vocals over computer based compositions. A perfect blend of analog and digital sounds that I give the thumbs up to.