Nicole Atkins @ Bowery Ballroom

Unfortunately I missed Parlor Mob. Nicole’s boyfriend is in the band and they deliver a powerful Zeppelin rock.

I knew he looked familiar but I realized too late that the opening band had Craig Wedren of Shudder to Think. The songs were lively and interesting and made me really miss his old band.

Putting out one of my favorite and most underrated album in 2007 Nicole Atkins deserved to play to a sold out crowd at Bowery. This Jersey girl is finally back from North Carolina where she fine tuned her music and vocal influences. The most recent time I saw her was at tiny Maxwell’s singing along with Peter, Bjorn & John. However, now armed with her new album “Neptune CIty” she filled every corner of the club with her powerful voice. Her soulful songs were absolutely captivating and it’s one of those shows that make Bowery a magical place for an hour. She sang every song passionately and with her sultry looks it’s hard not to fall in love. Musically an amazing and memorable show. You just have to see this girl in a live setting. I mean, check this performance out and you’ll realize that this girl is headed for much bigger things.

Pictures from the show

Die Romantik | Apes & Androids @ Mercury Lounge

Die Romantik. Sounds like its gonna be a bad emo-cut yourself-terrible haircut-wimpy kind of band, right? The gothic elaborate light set up in my beloved dark Mercury Lounge didn’t help either. But then they started to play some music and I was hooked. Sure this Brooklyn trio weren’t perfect but something about how everyone sang and combined washed out guitar with jangly keys and drums was moving. The music and the stage captured a unique mood for the night. You may be distracted by the lead singer’s good looks but I’ll be intrigued where these guys will go next.

The kinda legendary Apes & Androids brought their glam-rock epic metal opera to celebrate their record release party. Before the show I chatted with the parents of the guitarist in the band. It was kind of funny to talk about Brian as a normal kid growing up in small town when in about an hour he would transform himself into a theatrical rock god. Hanging in the background were monster heads whose eyes lights would light up during the show and sometimes talk to the crowd. It’s like shrinking down an Iron Maiden concert down to show in your basement. Sure the songs are too synthy and silly but these guys always put on an energetic and lively show. It’s hard not to laugh and cheer during their set. Surprisingly, there was no encore which I always look forward to, but they did have crowd surfing drummers.

Pictures from the show.

April March | Au Revoir Simone @ Bowery Ballroom

A cool name for an band != good music. Openers April March made me want to put my head under a pillow. And then under another pillow.

Three cute girls from brooklyn all playing vintage keyboards?! I may have accidentally wished for this to happen in one of my dreams. Au Revoir Simone were very nervous on stage as they also seemed surprised to play Bowery Ballroom. It took a lot of effort to get into their hypnotic and bouncy tunes. However their “dance” songs made them and some of us to bop up and down. Cheesy lyrics + Casio blips + cute nerdy girls = overly simple but catchy tunes.

Julie Doiron @ Union Hall

She was in a band called Eric’s Trip but now these days Julie Doiron sings on her own. Slow simple intriguing songs that travel slowly. Maybe it’s because she now lives in sleepy New Brunswick, Canada, mentioned several times in the evening. Her extremely quiet and docile drummer sat in the corner as we heard funny and weird stories about him on tour. He never said a word or displayed any emotion whatsoever. An intriguing turn of events was when Julie asked him to play one of his songs from a band they also share. He was quite tall and I was afraid his afro would hit the short ceilings of Union Hall. He became alive behind the mic and guitar and belted out 2 great songs which gave the somewhat dull show a needed jolt and joke.

Happy New Year!!

Boy this year went quick. So many good shows and new albums. More music establishments closed and the Bowery people gobbled up some old and new venues creating a slight monopoly on the live concert scene. My wallet felt the slight increase in ticket prices all around but especially at the Bowery shows since switching to ticketmaster. CMJ sucked again and I’m no longer looking forward to it in 2008. I really need to figure out way to get my ass to SXSW. The New York “scene” is still churning out some great new acts and I’m excited to see what happens despite many musicians and artists not being able to afford this city anymore. My new year’s resolution and yours should be to further support the music you love. Go BUY their albums or better yet go support them at their live shows. You’ll feel better about it in the morning. Cheers to 2008.
My favorite unofficial music video of the year.