Sunday, April 19, 2015

Kate Pierson at Union Square

Kate Pierson was born in Weehawken, New Jersey, and raised in Rutherford. While in high school in the 1960s, Pierson sang protest songs with a folk band. She later relocated to Athens, Georgia, where she helped form the iconic new-wave band The B-52s in 1976. After 39 years in the B-52s, Pierson recorded her first solo album, Guitars and Microphones, released on February 17, 2015. The album led to controversy within her LGBTQ community, however, when the out lesbian was quoted as calling her new song "Mister Sister" a "transgender anthem." This self-proclamation raised the ire of many trans activists on social media.

The B-52s performed at an Earth Day event in Central Park in 1990, and 25 years later (and a week before her 67th birthday), Kate Pierson headlined a free concert at an Earth Day event outside Union Square Park. Claiming her commitment to environmental causes, Pierson introduced "Bring Your Arms" as a song about rescuing sea turtles. Singing behind her acoustic guitar for most of the set, Pierson's powerful voice rallied around high notes on new songs "Time Wave Zero" and "Throwing Roses." The approach of her new songs were stronger when they recalled the girl-group harmonies and minimal-guitar-led arrangements of the B-52s, but not as unique-sounding when she leaned toward singer-songwriter pop. The 60-minute set closed with a rousing version of the B-52s "Roam."

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