Arthur & Yu | Iron & Wine @ Town Hall

Intrigued to see Arthur & Yu. from Seattle, they found each other on craigslist. Craigslist is awesome and these guys are sorta awesome.

How the hell did Sam Beam’s sleepy music get so popular? I don’t entirely blame his rendition of that annoying Postal Service song. It may have to do with the gentleness he puts on his folk ballads and lyrical confessions. I was very happy to see him again in a better setting tonight than at the cavernous and enormous Webster Hall. However, having so many people around me listening to his secretive songs is always weird, but luckily I was in the front row. Regardless, he’s promoting his new album The Shepherd’s Dog which isn’t really worth mentioning and unfortunately played too many new ones. Although the sound was perfect and the songs beautiful, his lack of energy and stage presence made this one of the most boring and forgettable shows of the year. I’ll wait ’til he teams up with Calexico again.
Pictures from the show.

Dirty on Purpose | Fujiya & Miyagi @ Bowery Ballroom

I mainly showed up to experience the dreamy shoe gaze rock of Brooklyn’s own Dirty on Purpose again. Their songs have a more intense sound live bordering on a more powerful version of Bedhead. This band is quite underrated considering they have released some pretty addicting songs since 2002. They didn’t play “Mind Blindness” but they played a bunch of new ones including “Your Summer Dress” which is one of my favorite songs of the year. Despite losing their female band member over a year ago, they’ve gone on to forge crashing waves of distortion and reverberation into fuzzy songs.

Fujiya & Miyagi is band from Brighton England which has no Japanese members in the band. Although they repeat the name of their band over and over again in one of their songs, these guys are pretty forgettable. The crowd seemed to enjoy the Krautrockish sounds but it sounded just like the record, so I decided to leave halfway through the set so I could just listen to the album at home with much cheaper drinks.

Pictures from the show.

Mind Blindness: video

Bishop Allen | John Vanderslice @ Bowery Ballroom

This is the 3rd time I’ve seen Bishop Allen in the last 2 months and felt they were much looser and relaxed this time around. The songs weren’t as perfect or polished, but they were still upbeat and fun. And they finally played “Eve of Destruction”, albeit a much slower and lackluster version of it.

John Vanderslice has been pretty consistent for putting out an album every year and following up with a successful tour. Although his last album was a terrible mess, his new one “Emerald City” is solid and filled with much more personal songs. Tonight’s live set was great as usual as he is one of the best live acts touring these days. The highlight for me was when Matthew Caws of Nada Surf took the stage to sing a duet with John. No one in the crowd seemed to know who he was. He ended his set in the crowd with an acoustic version of “Keep the Dream Alive” which has become standard close. Afterwords, he stayed around and practically hugged everyone in the crowd.

Pictures from the show.

Beirut @ Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall

The Wordless Music Series continues to bring in great musicians to perform sometimes overlooked music. This concert showcased Colleen , a French minimalist that used several acoustic and electronic instruments to layer beautiful melodies.

Next up was a duo performance with Katya Mihailova and Colin Jacobsen. Although some songs were a little sloppy, there were some incredible moments with the experimental piano and violin.

You know by now that Beirut is an 8 piece ensemble headed by the very young Zach Condon. His foreign style of Gypsy music is always more enjoyable live so I found it odd to be sitting down to his music tonight. Although not as good as his Bowery show, the performance was lively and reached its apex when the crowd took to the aisles for the encore.

Pictures from the show.

Crystal Castles | Metric @ Webster Hall

Named after one of my favorite video games, Crystal Castles blips and bleeps along to spastic vocals to create addicting melodies. These guys will come to your house, throw your Nintendo system across the room to make crazy explosions of noise while they dance around the fire they just set in your basement. “Crimewave” is currently being played for the 15th time in a row here and everything in my life is starting to finally make sense.

Although I hate Webster Hall, I love Metric, and the light display that accompanied Leslie and the rest of Metric was fitting for their huge and matured sound. They played a great tight set to a jubilant crowd. This band has surely come a long way from their punky past to develop a well crafted sound.

from the show.


Peter Bjorn & John @ Maxwell’s

Peter Bjorn & John playing Roseland?! That’s a quick jump for a band that whistles and and shuffles along to their songs. But damn, do they do it well. Got super lucky to see this band at Maxwell’s the night before and it felt like a secret show just for their closest friends. The small venue created the perfect intimate setting making their songs even that more special. They had the lovely Nicole Atkins join in for “Young Folks”. As the night pushed on, the band became more alive making Peter jump around on stage, onto the speakers and into the crowd. Their soft sweet songs came out more powerful and with full force tonight.

Pictures from show.