Snowden | ¡Forward Russia! @ Bowery Ballroom

I’ve been digging Snowden’s new record and was excited to see them live. Their noisy guitars filled the Bowery space well and the songwriting and vocals held up throughout the show. Will want to check them out again.

Boy has ¡Forward Russia come a long way since stomping through SXSW and playing a much anticipated show at Mercury Lounge earlier in the year. Now they are signed to Mute Records and a new release expected in the new year.

I didn’t expect anything less from these guys live. Right from the first song, the band unleashed a fury of sound and energy. They smashed through their songs and played a super energetic version of “Twelve”. Lead singer Tom, was never still and continued to jump around the stage entangling himself with the microphone cord. He jumped into the crowd early and got the place jumping shortly after. The crowd was mixed with old fans (including from across the pond) and new. The band has received a very positive reception here in the states and especially NY and Whiskas even commented that they’ve played New York more than York in England. I hope these guys keep pushing the boundary of heavy punk into the future.

Pictures from the show.


El Perro Del Mar @ Mercury Lounge

Ok, I have the song It’s Good To Give Back on repeat for the last few days and it’s an enchanting song sung by El Perro Del Mar (aka Sarah Assbring). Supported by 3 dashing lads in suits, she quietly stood with her acoustic guitar and sometimes tapped a tambourine located next to her feet, sometime being the only percussion in the song. She strummed away at her delicate sad songs, saying very little between songs. There was little emotion on stage but her songs were very captivating, and at times the crowd was slowly bopping to her lovely and simple melodies. Although she was booked with buzz-bands the Evangelicals and Annuals, it was clear who the people came to see as the place cleared out after her last song.

Pictures from the show.

Apes & Androids @ Knitting Factory

For those that have experienced the awesomeness of New York’s Apes & Androids, you already know what this band is capable of. Within a few minutes you will be banging your head, dancing around and throwing up devil horns to the sky. Tonight the band did not disappoint. They were over an hour late (as expected for the Knitting Factory) but the place became crowded by the time they took the stage. The lights were cut and on the PA played a looping harmonized vocal track of the band that became hypnotic. Shortly an ark (yes, an ark) appeared into the crowd, haphazardly colored with fluorescent markers that came alive under the black lights. They were carried by the band members dressed up as evil cloaked monks. They did a few laps around the crowd and then took the stage.

They played all their hits plus a few new songs to an over zealous crowd. No dancing sleeping bags this time but a flurry of glow-in-the-dark balls emerged from the balcony. The special treat occurred at the end when they decided to play a special “super sexy” version of Hot Kathy. Out of nowhere an entire Korean drum troupe emerged on stage to play along with the band. It was incredible and they continued to play an encore after the song ended. It’s great to see a band experiment with new sounds and even new instruments and to have fun with music. Despite the bands outlandish stage presence, they have a very professional and serious craftmanship with their sounds and at the same time don’t take it too seriously. A great live band that always makes you wanting more.

Pictures and video from the show.

Califone @ Southpaw

Califone is finally back promoting their new album Roots & Crowns. Their new songs appear more fresh and warm compared to the darkness found in Heron King Blues. They continue to create washes of sound balancing the array of instruments and singing. Tonight I felt the sound was just a little off for the band at Southpaw but after a few songs I got into their groove. Califone played for over an hour and half and overall a decent show.

Pictures from the show.

Frida Hyvonen | Earlimart @ Union Hall

Kicked off this year’s CMJ with a small intimate show at Union Hall, a new addition for this marathan. Unfortunately when it comes to CMJ, venues located in Brooklyn will suffer from a lack of attendees as most shows are in Manhattan and allows for venue hopping. Nevertheless, being able to see a show where it doesn’t take an hour to get in and its not insanely packed is fine with me, but bad for the bands seeking buzz.

I was elated to find out that Frida Hyvonen was added to the list of openers for tonight’s show. I was surprised from her performance w/ Jens Lekman and eager to see her again. Although she played her set to only a handful of people, she played her songs with sultry emotion and a touch of humor.

Earlimart has been releasing some of their new songs on the web and they sound darn good. They continue down the road of crafting subtle beautiful songs with more structure and less distortion. They conjure up the sound of Elliot Smith especially with Aaron’s soulful voice and melancholy songs. Unfortunately the venue was empty for a band that should have sold out Mercury Lounge. They played a good set consisting of mainly new songs and a few oldies.

Pictures from the show.