Saturday, December 31, 2016

Phish at Madison Square Garden

Guitarists Trey Anastasio and Jeff Holdsworth, bassist Mike Gordon, and drummer Jon Fishman formed Blackwood Convention in 1981 while attending university in Burlington, Vermont. Blackwood Convention became Phish, keyboardist Page McConnell joined in 1985, and Holdsworth left after graduating in 1986, solidifying the band's present lineup. Phish built a following among Grateful Dead fans and surged in popularity after the death of the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia in 1995. Phish went on hiatus in 2000, regrouped in 2002, split again in 2004, and reunited in 2009. Phish has sold over 8 million albums and DVDs in the United States. Phish's 16th and most recent studio album, Big Boat, was released on October 7, 2016.

Phish once again headlined a series of year-end concerts at Madison Square Garden, and ended again with a grand spectacle. The band opened standing together center stage and singing a cappella barbershop quartet-style harmony on a cover of Fraternity of Man's 1968 song "Don't Bogart Me" (also known as Little Feat's 1997 "Don't Bogart That Joint"). From there, the concert turned into one long electric jam party, with Phish performing three sets instead of the usual two. The music was all over the genre spectrum, crossing hard rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, folk, country, jazz, blues, bluegrass, funk, reggae and pop, as one song melted into another. Improvisations ruled, some worked within epic multi-faceted suites. The third set and encore saw the band temporarily enlarged with the Trey Band horns, featuring Natalie Cressman on trombone and vocals, Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet and vocals, and James Casey on saxophone, along with Jeff Tanski on keyboards and Andres Forero on percussion.

The visual spectacle began 20 minutes before midnight. As Phish returned to the stage for a third set, the quartet launched into an immaculately calculated "Petrichor", which eventually formed a medley with a midnight "Auld Lang Syne" and a horn-centric "Suzy Greenberg." As the band played, some 20 masked and suited choreographed dancers at the edge of the stage danced and juggled with umbrellas under a simulated rainstorm. The dancers then filed off stage and suspended umbrellas danced to Phish's music. Finally, at midnight, to "Auld Lang Syne," a massive balloon and confetti drop, including globe balloons, three-foot inflated animals and foam raindrops, covered the stage and audience about five feet deep in some spots. The band played several more songs and concluded with an encore of the Rolling Stones "Loving Cup." Just wow!

Visit Phish at

Set 1:
  1. Don't Bogart Me (Fraternity of Man cover) (a cappella)
  2. Your Pet Cat
  3. Kill Devil Falls (>) Back on the Train (>) My Soul (Clifton Chenier cover)
  4. Lawn Boy
  5. The Divided Sky
  6. Ya Mar (Cyril Ferguson cover)
  7. Character Zero
  8. Walls of the Cave

Set 2:
  1. Also sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss cover) (>) Carini (>) Twist (with 'Low Rider' tease) (>) Piper (>) Ass Handed (>) Piper reprise (>) Sand (>) Slave to the Traffic Light
  2. More

Set 3:
  1. Petrichor (>) Auld Lang Syne (Robert Burns cover) (>) Suzy Greenberg
  2. No Men in No Man's Land
  3. Breath and Burning
  4. Tide Turns
  5. 555
  6. Ocelot
  7. First Tube

  1. Loving Cup (The Rolling Stones cover)

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Dictators NYC at the Bowery Electric

Ross the Boss (left) & Handsome Dick Manitoba
The Dictators formed in New York City in 1973 in the shadow of hammering Detroit-styled rock and roll bands like MC5 and the Stooges. In short time, the band's roadie and occasional singer, Richard "Handsome Dick Manitoba" Blum, was given a more prominent role and became the proto-punk band's iconic front person. The band experienced breakups and several significant personnel changes, and now the renamed Dictators NYC consists of Manitoba, original guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman (aka Ross Funicello), guitarist Daniel Ray (formerly of Manitoba's Wild Kingdom), bassist Dean Rispler, and drummer JP “Thunderbolt” Patterson (formerly of Manitoba's Wild Kingdom).

The Dictators NYC has not recorded music, but in concert revisits the catalogue of the earlier band. At the Bowery Electric tonight, the Dictators NYC performed the Dictators' entire third album, 1978's Bloodbrothers, plus additional songs from the Dictators catalog. Two nights earlier, the Dictators NYC recreated the Dictators' 1975 debut, Go Girl Crazy, at Berlin. As such, these shows required the new band to learn songs that had not been played live by any band in decades. Fortunately, neither the Dictators nor the Dictators NYC are known for precision. Tonight's concert started with the nine songs from Bloodbrothers and concluded with five songs from the band's regular set. Manitoba introduced most of the songs with a humorous anecdote or a loose cannon rambling. Led by Manitoba's wry personality and able musicianship from the rest of the band, the Dictators put on a show that both rocked and generated laughs. That is what the audience gets at a Dictators NYC show, and that is good.

  1. Faster and Louder
  2. Baby, Let's Twist
  3. No Tomorrow
  4. The Minnesota Strip
  5. Stay with Me
  6. I Stand Tall
  7. Borneo Jimmy
  8. What It Is
  9. Slow Death (The Flamin' Groovies cover)
  10. Who Will Save Rock and Roll?
  11. Weekend
  12. Two Tub Man
  13. Next Big Thing
  14. Kick Out the Jams (MC5 cover)

Palmyra Delran at the Bowery Electric

Palmyra Delran was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and later moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she played drums in Das Yahoos until the band split in 1988, and then in Pink Slip Daddy until 1993. In 1991, Delran formed the Friggs, playing pop, rock, surf and punk until 2001. In the early 2000s, Delran played drums in the Booty Olympics, who later became Santa Marias. Switching to electric guitar, Delran began recording under her own name in 2008. Listeners of Little Steven’s Underground Garage voted her song "Baby Should Have Known Better" as The Coolest Song in the World for the year 2008. Delran's sole solo album is 2013's You Are What You Absorb. She is now based in New York City.

Opening for the Dictators NYC at the Bowery Electric tonight, Delran led a quartet in a set that blended easy, breezy 1960s pop melodies and 1990s Riot Grrrl guitar-centered rock. Packing more cutting guitar power than on her recordings, Delran heightened the sweet, bright melodies even while the band revved up the rocking impact. The result was clean and smooth pop punk, elevating her music one level above the garage.

Visit Palmyra Delran at

1. Love Has Gone Away
2. Someday Soon
3. Kill Yourself
4. Shut Out
5. You're My Brian Jones
6. Run Now, Baby
7. Shy Boy
8. Oh, No!
9. No Time Like Never
10. Baby Should Have …
11. Lies for You

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Lone Bellow at the Bowery Ballroom

Zack Williams
The Lone Bellow is lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Zach Williams from Woodstock, Georgia, along with singer-guitarist Brian Elmquist of Sandersville, Georgia, and singer and mandolin player Kanene Pipkin from Fredricksburg, Virginia. The Lone Bellow is from Brooklyn, New York, however. Williams began writing songs after his wife suffered temporary paralysis following a horseback riding accident and following her recovery, the couple moved to New York City where he began performing the folk circuit. He reconnected with an old friend, Elmquist, who had been writing and recording as a solo artist in New York, with three albums under his own name. Pipkin and her husband relocated to New York to attend culinary school after hosting open mic nights, playing at local clubs and teaching music lessons in Beijing, China. Williams, Elmquist and Pipkin bonded, and after hitting those first harmonies they abandoned all other pursuits. Initially known as Zach Williams & the Bellow, the band shortened its name to the Lone Bellow and gained traction at the Rockwood Music Hall. The Lone Bellow released its second album, Then Came the Morning, in 2015. In 2016, the band members relocated to Nashville, Tennessee.

The Lone Bellow headlined three nights at the Bowery Ballroom, ending on New Year's Eve. For a group that initially spun its axis on lean three-part vocal harmonies in small folk clubs, the music has grown quite meaty and easily filled the ballroom. While the lyrics retained their charmingly honest and homespun integrity, the projection was now more driving and bombastic; subtleties were diminished for most of the set, yet the sincerity of the sensitive singer-songwriters was kept in focus. Now more rock than Americana, the Lone Bellow sounded like Crosby, Stills & Nash met Red Wanting Blue and Lake Street Dive. Twangy guitars and mandolin kept the country flavor fully alive, however. Williams' husky lead vocals commanded attention with their near-gospel fervor, blending charmingly with the lighter, crisper harmonies contributed by Elmquist and Pipkin. The chemistry was genuine and infectious, such that much of the audience preferred to sing along rather than listen. Look for the Lone Bellow to headline much larger venues in 2017.

Visit the Lone Bellow at

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Particle at American Beauty

Steve Molitz
Pioneer jamtronica band Particle formed in 2000 in Los Angeles, California, and in its initial run played major US festivals, building a fan base called Particle People. The band personnel changed several times, in 2005 morphing into a new band called Hydra with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. Through the years, keyboardist Steve Molitz has been Particle's sole consistent member, although he has moonlighted with Phil Lesh & Friends, Rich Robinson and other artists. Presently, Particle consists of Molitz, guitarist Mike Daum, bassist Clay Parnell, and drummer Kito Bovenschulte. Particle is based currently in New York City.

Numerous jam bands this week flocked to New York City to perform pre- and post-sets to Phish's four concerts at Madison Square Garden. Particle headlined a post-midnight set tonight at American Beauty, New York's primary music club catering to Deadheads, Phishheads and jam band fans. Particle opened with "Organ Chords," and proceeded to flex muscular funk grooves and lush instrumental jams with only a few interjected spoken or sung words. Midway through the funktronic set, Particle changed course to interpret the late George Michaels' "Freedom" with assistance from Jon Schmarak (vocals/brass) of the band Chopin Jovi, and Tara Lawton (vocals) of the band Cousin Earth. Molitz boogied behind an arsenal of synthesizers, concentrating largely on a clavinet sound. In pockets during several songs, Daum proved to be a dynamic soloist; perhaps Particle's set would have sounded more balanced if Daum's extended guitar leads had received equal time with Molitz's keyboard jams. Overall, however, Particle more than satisfied the cravings of the dancing Phish revelers, who came to American Beauty for an ongoing soundtrack to a wee-hours party.

  1. Organ Chords
  2. Triple Threat
  3. Accelerator _
  4. Launchpad
  5. Freedom '90* (George Michaels)
  6. The Elevator
  7. Metropolis
  8. Sun Mar 11

Kurt Vile & the Violators at Terminal 5

Kurt Vile
While living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old Kurt Vile was given a banjo by his father. The youth began writing songs on his banjo, later gravitating to guitar. While making lo-fi recordings of his songs at home, Vile worked as a forklift driver from 2000 to 2002 in Boston, Massachusetts. Vile moved back to Philadelphia in 2003 and sang and played guitar in the indie rock band The War on Drugs in 2005, but left after the first album to focus on his own music. Both in the studio and during live performances, Vile now is accompanied by his backing band, the Violators, currently consisting of Jesse Trbovich (bass, guitar, saxophone), Rob Laakso (guitar, bass) and Kyle Spence (drums). Vile's sixth album, b'lieve i'm goin down..., was released on September 25, 2015.

Kurt Vile's concerts have seemed to grow mellower in recent years, but his albums have always included soft and slow songs. At tonight's concert at Terminal 5, Kurt Vile & the Violators continued a shift from guitar rocker to singer-songwriter with a guitar. Vile was a subtle personality, shying from the spotlight behind waves of long curly hair that covered his face while he played guitar. Vile's talky vocals drawled and slurred, and the band played an almost shoegazey backup for a sometimes sluggish, smoky sound, like a sleepy Tom Petty or Neil Young. Between Vile's nimble finger-picking and the sneaky, repeating  hook lines, there was always something thoroughly engaging in the music. Nevertheless, despite Vile's more prominent folkie direction, the interspersed uptempo rockers were the highlights, like the Jake Bugg and Lynyrd Skynyrd-sounding influences in "Pretty Pimpin." Perhaps Kurt Vile & the Violators could consider performing in seated theaters more than ballrooms so that fans can gain a deeper appreciation for both sides of Vile's music.

Visit Kurt Vile at

  1. Dust Bunnies
  2. I'm an Outlaw
  3. Jesus Fever
  4. That's Life, tho (almost hate to say)
  5. Goldtone
  6. Wakin on a Pretty Day
  7. Stand Inside
  8. He's Alright
  9. Girl Called Alex
  10. Pretty Pimpin
  11. Puppet to the Man
  12. KV Crimes
  13. Freak Train

  1. Wild Imagination
  2. Baby's Arms

Monday, December 26, 2016

Darlene Love at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Darlene Love was born Darlene Wright in East Los Angeles, California, but moved with her family when her preacher father was offered his own church in San Antonio, Texas. She began singing in school glee clubs, and when the family moved in 1956 to Hawthorne, California, she sang in the church choir. She was a high school sophomore when she was invited to join a female vocal trio called the Blossoms. Beginning in the 1960s, Love had a few hits under her own name, but mostly sang on studio recordings by the Blossoms, the Crystals, and Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, and as background for Sam Cooke, Cher, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Rivers and other lead singers. Love also sang with Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Bobby Darin, Bill Medley, Nancy Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, the Beach Boys, and many others. By the 1980s, Love was working at a dry cleaner and as a maid in Beverly Hills when she decided to give music another try. Now working solely under her own name, she performed live in clubs, on television (notably on David Letterman's Christmas shows from 1986 to 2014), and on Broadway (Grease, Carrie, Hairspray, Leader of the Pack). Love was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and told much of her story in the Oscar-winning 20 Feet from Stardom in 2013. Her most recent album is 2015's Introducing Darlene Love. Love lives in Spring Valley, New York.

Darlene Love returned to B.B. King Blues Club & Grill tonight as part of her annual Christmas series there. Seemingly miraculous at age 75, Love sounded as youthful and energetic as when she recorded her best known songs more than 50 years ago. Backed by a full band that included horns and backup singers, Love reprised the hits of her youth and songs from her most recent albums, often with curious anecdotes as introductions. The older pop tunes sounded much like a listener would expect, but the newer songs showcased a broader range, particularly in the darker lyrics of "Forbidden Nights," a song that Elvis Costello conceived for an unfinished Broadway musical. The holiday songs were both secular and religious, with the showstopper being the song she said was Letterman's favorite Christmas song, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," where Love's vocals were uncanny in enormity and richness. Despite the odds, Love's annual concerts seem to grow stronger each year.

Visit Darlene Love at

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jim Jones & Steve Conte with the Soul Resistance at the Bowery Electric

Steve Conte (left) and Jim Jones
Based out of London, England, Jim Jones led the Jim Jones Revue garage rock and roll revival band from 2007 to 2014. In 2015, Jones formed the similar Jim Jones & the Righteous Mind, taking the band name from a book of social psychology. He has now joined New York City-based Steve Conte, who played lead guitar for the second generation New York Dolls and post-Hanoi Rocks Michael Monroe, and most recently has been leading his own band. The new band, Jim Jones & Steve Conte with the Soul Resistance, consists of Jones, Conte, and Conte's arsenal of side musicians: his brother John Conte on upright bass, Brian Delaney on drums, and Craig Dreyer on saxophones and keyboards.

Headlining tonight at the Bowery Electric, Jim Jones & Steve Conte with the Soul Resistance performed a set of 18 obscure rock and roll, rockabilly and blues covers with a flash of funk and punk. These covers included vintage songs by the Coasters, the Sonics, Gene Vincent, and Little Richard, but then escalated through the decades to include songs by T. Rex, the Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls and the Cramps. Jones' deep vocals were forebodingly ominous, and Steve Conte's guitar leads shimmered and simmered. For a few songs, the band was accompanied by blues harpist Dennis Gruenling, whose album Steve Conte produced. There is no word on whether or not this band will stay together and write new songs, but for now Jim Jones & Steve Conte with the Soul Resistance is head-deep in a dark, grimy rock and roll that harkens authentically to the past and speaks promisingly for the future.

  1. Daddy Rolling Stone (Otis Blackwell cover)
  2. Young Blood (The Coasters cover)
  3. Human Fly (The Cramps cover)
  4. Psycho (The Sonics cover)
  5. Lotta Lovin' (Gene Vincent cover)
  6. The Girl Can't Help It (Little Richard cover)
  7. Troglodyte (Jimmy Castor cover)
  8. Turd on the Run (The Rolling Stones cover)
  9. Bacon Fat (Andre Williams cover)
  10. Ride a White Swan (T. Rex cover)
  11. Susie Q (Dale Hawkins cover)
  12. The Things (That) I Used to Do (Guitar Slim cover)
  13. You Better Move On (Arthur Alexander cover)
  14. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison cover)
  15. It's Your Voodoo Working (Charles Sheffield cover)
  16. Big Bird (Eddie Floyd cover)
  17. Encores: Run Run Run (The Velvet Underground cover)
  18. Personality Crisis (New York Dolls cover)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Kings of Chaos at Irving Plaza

The Rock N Roll All-Stars started with a short tour of South America in 2012 before becoming the recurring Kings of Chaos. The band was never meant to have a permanent lineup, but the initial core line-up included three musicians who had played in Guns N' Roses: original GNR bassist Duff McKagan; Matt Sorum who drummed with GNR from 1990-1997; and Gilby Clarke, who played rhythm guitar in GNR from 1991 to 1994. Since then, at least 24 musicians have flowed in and out, including Steven Tyler, Joe Elliott, Corey Taylor, Sebastian Bach, Myles Kennedy, Gene Simmons, Slash, and Glenn Hughes. Kings of Chaos has recorded just one song so far: Deep Purple's "Never Before," for the 2012 tribute album, "Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple's 'Machine Head.' " (The only current band members in the group at the time were Sorum and Stevens).

Kings of Chaos tonight brought its brief tour to Irving Plaza. This time around, the band consisted of vocalist Chester Bennington (Linkin Park),vocalist/guitarist Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Billy Duffy (the Cult), Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), and Matt Sorum (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver), who is the only musician who has been in all incarnations of Kings of Chaos. This tour may be the only time in history that these seven esteemed musicians would ever perform together.
The nearly two-hour show was like listening to rock hit radio. As expected, the musicians performed songs from their previous bands and featured no new songs. The show featured a few surprises, however. The audience heard all-star covers of songs made famous by Stone Temple Pilots, Billy Idol, Cheap Trick, ZZ Top, the Cult, but no songs from Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver or Linkin Park. Seldom were all seven members on stage at the same time; the show started with five, then added Zander and then Gibbons, and throughout the show the audience saw an ever-shifting combinations of vocalists and guitarists.

Zander found a new gritty voice and sang ZZ Top's "Tush." Bennington sang Idol's "White Wedding" while Zander sang Idol's "Rebel Yell." Mid-show, Zander stood onstage alone, singing and playing guitar on Cheap Trick's "The Flame." The front line sat on stools for partially acoustic versions of The Cult's "Edie (Ciao Baby)," Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song" and ZZ Top's "Jesus Just Left Chicago." The show returned to full-blown rock with Sorum singing a cover of Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" in honor of the band's late frontman, Lemmy Kilmister, explaining that Kilmister invited him to join Motörhead for a 2009 tour only because Dave Grohl was not available. Bennington, Zander, and Gibbons alternated vocals on ZZ Top's "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers." Apocalyptica vocalist and opening act Franky Perez came back on stage to trade vocals with Zander and Bennington for a cover of Freddie King's blues staple, "Going Down," and Bennington and Zander led the closing cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."

Visit Kings of Chaos at

  1. Vasoline (Stone Temple Pilots cover)
  2. White Wedding (Billy Idol cover)
  3. Fire Woman (The Cult cover)
  4. Hello There (Cheap Trick cover)
  5. Surrender (Cheap Trick cover)
  6. I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick cover)
  7. Waitin' for the Bus (ZZ Top cover)
  8. Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top cover)
  9. Tush (ZZ Top cover)
  10. The Flame (Cheap Trick cover) (acoustic)
  11. Steve Stevens (Guitar Solo) (acoustic)
  12. Edie (Ciao Baby) (The Cult cover) (acoustic)
  13. Interstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots cover) (acoustic)
  14. Jesus Just Left Chicago (ZZ Top cover) (acoustic)
  15. Ace of Spades (Motörhead cover)
  16. Sex Type Thing (Stone Temple Pilots cover)
  17. Love Removal Machine (The Cult cover)
  18. Rebel Yell (Billy Idol cover)
  19. Dream Police (Cheap Trick cover)
  20. La Grange (ZZ Top cover)
  21. Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers (ZZ Top cover)
  22. Going Down (Freddie King cover) (with Franky Perez)
  23. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover)

Chester Bennington
Robin Zander
Billy Gibbons
Steve Stevens

Billy Duffy
Robert DeLeo
Matt Sorum

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ronnie Spector at City Winery

New York City native Veronica "Ronnie" Bennett made her vocal debut at the Apollo at age 11. Later, she and her sister, Estelle Bennett, and their cousin, Nedra Talley became a teen vocal trio called the Darling Sisters, later known as the Ronettes. The Ronettes released a few singles without success until they connected with producer Phil Spector's "wall of sound" studio work. Ronnie adopted Spector's name professionally to become Ronnie Spector and later married him. The Ronettes had a string of hits during the early to mid–1960s, but the hits ended shortly after the British Invasion, the Spectors went on hiatus in 1966, and the Ronettes folded in 1967. Ronnie Spector periodically surfaced to sing on albums by Jimi Hendrix, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Eddie Money, the Misfits and the Raveonettes and recorded solo albums. The original Ronettes reunited only for the vocal trio's 2007 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Spector's fifth and most recent album, English Heart, her first album of new material in a decade, was released on April 8, 2016. Spector now lives near Danbury, Connecticut.

In 1988, Spector began performing at the Ronnie Spector's Christmas Party, a seasonal staple at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. In the summer of 2012, Spector debuted her one-woman biographical multi-media show. Her most recent composite, Best Christmas Party Ever, named after her 2010 five-song Christmas EP, Best Christmas Ever, was a combination of both her traditional Christmas show and a reflection of select portions of her career, augmented by vintage slides and videos. Presented over two nights at City Winery, the show began with Spector covering Gene Autry's "Frosty the Snowman," moved through several Christmas songs and cover tunes, most of the Ronettes hits, spoken word and visually-aided reminiscences, and ended with Spector dancing in a Santa suit. Now 73 years old, Spector maintains a distinctive voice, but lacks her youthful range; she did the best with what she had, and what she had was a guided musical tour of an era a half century ago. She sang covers of songs by Frankie Lymon, the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five, the Bee Gees, and the Carpenters; she updated her songbook with songs by Johnny Thunders and Amy Winehouse; it was those Ronettes songs, however, that enchanted her audience. Was it the best Christmas ever? Probably not, but it was a sparkle in the tinsel.

Visit Ronnie Spector at

  1. Christmas (Comes But Once a Year) (Amos Milburn cover) (sung by keyboard player)
  2. Frosty the Snowman (Gene Autry cover)
  3. Because (The Dave Clark Five cover)
  4. Do I Love You (The Ronettes song)
  5. It's Christmas Once Again (Frankie Lymon cover)
  6. Baby, I Love You (The Ronettes song)
  7. So Young (The Ronettes song)
  8. Sleigh Ride (Arthur Fiedler & Boston Pops Orchestra cover)
  9. I'll Follow the Sun (The Beatles cover)
  10. What'd I Say (Ray Charles cover)
  11. Walking in the Rain (The Ronettes song)
  12. Best Christmas Ever
  13. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? (Bee Gees cover)
  14. (The Best Part of) Breakin' Up (The Ronettes song)
  15. You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory (Johnny Thunders cover)
  16. Back to Black (Amy Winehouse cover)
  17. Be My Baby (The Ronettes song)
  18. Encore: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Jimmy Boyd cover)
  19. Yesterday Once More (Carpenters cover)
  20. I Can Hear Music (The Ronettes song)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Los Lobos at City Winery

David Hidalgo
Several Mexican American high school students ran parallel courses before banding in 1973 in East Los Angeles, California. Vocalist/guitarist/accordionist David Hidalgo and drummer Louie Pérez formed a garage band, guitarist/mandolin player Cesar Rosas had his own group, and bassist and guitarron player Conrad Lozano played in a power trio. Once united, they called themselves Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles (The Wolves of East Los Angeles) before shortening the name to Los Lobos. The four musicians grew tired of playing American Top 40 songs, however, and began incorporating the traditional Mexican sounds they knew as children. In the early 1980s, Los Lobos added rock to its sound and recruited Steve Berlin of the Blasters on keyboards and woodwinds. Los Lobos were already a Grammy Award winning band by the time the band gained international stardom in 1987 with a cover version of Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba." Los Lobos has included drummer Enrique González since 2013. Los Lobos' most recent album is 2015's Gates of Gold.

Once again playing three consecutive nights at City Winery, Los Lobos played solid sets influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional music including cumbia, bolero and norteño. Hidalgo and Rosas sang richly, and the marriage of diverse influences filled the room. On the first night, Los Lobos invited on stage vocalist Syd Straw and Dark Star Orchestra guitarist Jeff Mattson. On the second night, School of Rock's 12-year-old guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer jammed with the band. Tonight, the third night, Los Lobos played 15 mostly rocking songs from seven albums before inviting several guests on stage. Guitarist Marc Ribot joined the band for "La venganza de los pelados" and "Georgia Slop." Jackie Greene sang and played sizzling lead guitar on the Allman Brothers Band's "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'" and a medley of the Crickets' "Not Fade Away" and the Grateful Dead's "Bertha." Wilco guitarist Nels Cline came onstage halfway through "Bertha" and stayed for the encore of "La Bamba" and the Leaves' "Hey Joe." The effect was that patrons at the tightly packed venue made space for dancing to the joy-filled rhythms.

Visit Los Lobos at

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Champagne Jam at Webster Hall

The Front Bottoms held its recurring holiday party, Champagne Jam, tonight in all three rooms of Webster Hall. Twelve bands performed this year, most playing for about a half hour while the headliner played for more than an hour. The Front Bottoms, Screaming Females, Brick + Mortar and Ezra Furman performed in the Grand Ballroom. LVL UP, Diet Cig, Will Miles and American Trappist performed in the mid-sized Marlin Room. Hodera, the Big Easy, Dollys and Secret Mountain performed in the smaller Studio.

Brick + Mortar
Diet Cig
Screaming Females
Front Bottoms

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Bouncing Souls at Irving Plaza

Greg Attonito
Raised in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, guitarist Pete Steinkopf and bassist Bryan Kienlen played in a cover band in the mid to late 1980s, and Greg Attonito occasionally sang a few songs with the band. Eventually the time came for the musicians to get serious about their music, so the high school students started writing original songs in Attonito's dad's attic. In 1989, a supportive music-loving teacher contributed $120 to cover expenses, and the Bouncing Souls debuted live in Bernardsville, New Jersey. The band adapted its name from a shoe company's slogan promoting "bouncing soles." The band members later moved to a nearby college town, New Brunswick, which had a reputation for supporting underground music. George Rebelo replaced the band's previous drummer in 2013. The quartet released its 10th studio album, Simplicity, on July 29, 2016.

The Bouncing Souls headlined three consecutive nights at Irving Plaza, playing a different set list each night. On the final night tonight, the band performed 27 original songs and one cover (Avoid One Thing's "Lean on Sheena"); three of the self-written songs were from the new album, but all the rest of the songs were at least 10 years old. By and large, the set was comprised of songs drawn of the same spirit: fast, light-hearted compositions, constructed equally for moshing and chanting along. The musicians briefly slowed the tempo for breathers like "Night Train" and "Old School," but otherwise the band led a steady militaristic charge with basic rock and roll drills. Attonito's vocals rallied, Steinkopf's stinging guitar lines sizzled and the rhythm section's powerdrive support made for a lean and clean punk rock framework. These simplistic structures made many of the songs sound perhaps too similar, but nevertheless gave the fans in the audience something to bounce their souls.

Visit the Bouncing Souls at

  1. Apartment 5F
  2. Highway Kings
  3. Some Kind of Wonderful
  4. The Freaks, Nerds, & Romantics
  5. Lean on Sheena (Avoid One Thing cover)
  6. Tightrope
  7. Kate Is Great
  8. Say Anything
  9. Here We Go!
  10. Cracked
  11. Gone
  12. Night Train
  13. Old School
  14. Driving All Night
  15. That Song
  16. Sing Along Forever
  17. Writing on the Wall
  18. Broken Record
  19. You're So Rad
  20. Monday Morning Ant Brigade
  21. The Gold Song
  22. Kids and Heroes
  23. Lamar Vannoy
  24. True Believers
  25. Hopeless Romantic
  26. Encore: Born to Lose
  27. Kid
  28. Night on Earth

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Epiphone Revolver Music Awards at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slipknot, Pierce the Veil, and Gojira were among the winners tonight at the Epiphone Revolver Music Awards at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom. Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and SiriusXM's José Mangin hosted the event, which featured live performances by Megadeth, Anthrax, Zakk Wylde, Lacuna Coil, Stitched Up Heart and an all-star jam as a finale. Slayer's Dave Lombardo, Killswitch Engage’s Jesse LeachGojira's Joe DuplantierPeriphery's Jake Bowen and Matt Halpern, Amaranthe's Elize Ryd, the Misfits' Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, Arch Enemy's Alissa White-Gluz, Meshuggah’s Tomas Haake, Emmure's Frankie Palmieri, and members of the Dillinger Escape Plan and Life of Agony presented or accepted the fan-voted awards, as did actors Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead and Jessica Pimentel  of Orange Is the New Black, and former That Metal Show hosts Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine .

A Fallen Heroes All-Star Jam closed the evening. Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey (Butcher Babies), Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Bumblefoot (Art of Anarchy, Guns 'N Roses), Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth), Jeff Waters (Annihilator), Nick Caggiano (Mutoid Man) honored the late Lemmy Kilmister by performing Motorhead's "Killed by Death." Leigh Kakaty (Pop Evil) and Mike Protich (Red Sun Rising) joined the ensemble to honor the late Scott Weiland by singing Stone Temple Pilots' "Plush." Zakk Wylde performed a solo acoustic version of Black Label Society's "In This River" while the names of many recently deceased musicians were projected onto a screen behind him. Ace Frehley (formerly Kiss) and Jim Root (Slipknot) joined the house band and closed the evening with "New York Groove" and "Cold Gin."

The Epiphone Revolver Music Awards honor musicians in hard rock and heavy metal. Revolver began its awards presentations in 2009 as the Revolver Golden God Awards, and for six years held the awards program in Los Angeles, California. The awards were suspended in 2015. Tonight's renamed awards event was held in New York for the first time.

The 2016 Epiphone Revolver Music Awards winners:
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Megadeth's Dave Mustaine
  • Innovator Award: Anthrax
  • Album of the Year: Metallica (for Hardwired... To Self Destruct)
  • Song of the Year: "Square Hammer" by Ghost
  • Best Vocalist: Of Mice & Men's Austin Carlile
  • Dimebag Darrell Best Guitarist: Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and Kiko Loureiro
  • Best Drummer: Chris Adler (for Megadeth's Dystopia)
  • Paul Gray Best Bassist: Meshuggah's Dick Lövgren
  • Best Live Band: Slipknot
  • Most Dedicated Fans: Pierce the Veil
  • Best Film and/or Video: "Silvera" by Gojira
  • Best New Talent: Avatar
  • Most Metal Athlete: Baron Corbin, WWE

Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and SiriusXM's José Mangin hosted the Epiphone Revolver Music Awards at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom.

Stitched Up Heart performed "Finally Free", "Catch Me When I Fall" and "Monster."

Chris Adler accepted the Best Drummer award for his work on the Megadeth album Dystopia.

Lacuna Coil performed "Blood, Tears, Dust", "Our Truth" and "The House of Shame."

Ace Frehley presented the Best New Talent award.

Elize Ryd of Amaranthe announced the award for Paul Gray Best Bassist.

Tom Haake of Meshuggah accepted the Paul Gray Best Bassist award on behalf of his band mate, Dick Lövgren.

The Misfits' Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein and Arch Enemy's Alissa White-Gluz presented the Most Metal Athlete award.

Baron Corbin of WWE accepted the Most Metal Athlete award.

Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead introduced the performance by Anthrax.

Anthrax performed "Caught in a Mosh", "Breathing Lightning", "Monster at the End" and "Indians."

Members of the Dillinger Escape Plan presented the Best Vocalist award.

Members of Life of Agony presented the Dimebag Darrell Best Guitarist award.

Dave Mustaine and Kiko Loureiro of Megadeth accepted the Dimebag Darrell Best Guitarist award.

Justice Mustaine presented the Lifetime Achievement award to his father, Dave Mustaine.

Comedians Don Jamieson and Jim Florentino, both former co-hosts of That Metal Show, presented the Most Dedicated Fans award.

Megadeth performed "Tornado of Souls", "The Threat Is Real", "Dystopia", "A Tout Le Monde" (with Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia) and "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due."

Jake Bowen and Matt Halpern of Periphery presented the Song of the Year award.

Slayer's Dave Lombardo and Killswitch Engage's Jesse Leach presented the Album of the Year award.

Bumblefoot (Art of Anarchy) and Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey (Butcher Babies) were among those that paid tribute to Lemmy Kilmister performing Motorhead's "Killed by Death."

Mike Protich (Red Sun Rising) joined the ensemble to honor the late Scott Weiland by singing Stone Temple Pilots' "Plush."

During the Fallen Heroes finale, Wylde performed a solo acoustic version of Black Label Society's "In This River."

Ace Frehley (ex-Kiss) closed the evening with "New York Groove" and "Cold Gin."

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Third Annual Ally Coalition Talent Show at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Musical artists Jack Antonoff of fun. and Bleachers, Andrew Dost of fun., Lorde, Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX, Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES, and comedians Jacqueline Novak, Jordan Carlos, Hasan Minhaj, Mike Birbiglia and Antonoff's girlfriend, Lena Dunham, helped the not-for-profit Ally Coalition generate awareness and more than $100,000 in funds in support of homeless LGBTQ youth tonight at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom. The band fun. and designer Rachel Antonoff (Jack Antonoff's sister) created the Ally Coalition (TAC) in 2012 with the purpose of inspiring people, in particular their peers in the music, fashion and entertainment industry, to take action for LGBTQ equality. Tonight's event, billed as the Third Annual Ally Coalition Talent Show, benefited New Alternatives for Youth, a New York-based not-for-profit organization which provides safe spaces and services to LGBTQ youth.

Andrew Dost of fun. performed a brief set at the piano which featured a song called "Young Republicans," which he described as apropos considering that "times are getting pretty dark."

Jacqueline Novak, a New York-based stand-up comedian and writer, has performed on late night television and in comedy festivals, has released a comedy album, and authored 2016's How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from Someone Who Knows.

Lauren Mayberry, lead singer of CHVRCHES, covered Katy Perry's "Firework" and Joni Mitchell's "Case of You."

Comedian Jordan Carlos became the de facto host for part of the evening and did a "Black Trump" impersonation.

Carly Rae Jepsen provided a soft, acoustic set featuring "Your Type" and "Run Away With Me."

Carly Rae Jepsen and Jack Antonoff sang a duet on a Bleachers song, "Shadow."

The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj, a Muslim American, said that "being at a Trump rally is like being at a haunted house with the lights on."

Rather than performing a stand-up comedy act, Lena Dunham led the audience in a motivational self-help call-and-response chant.

Charli XCX sang a simplified version of "After the After Party" accompanied only by a keyboardist.

Charli XCX sang simplified versions of "Boom Clap" accompanied by Jack Antonoff on guitar.

Jack Antonoff opened the show with a cover of the National's "Bloodbuzz Ohio." Antonoff later performed a solo acoustic version of Bleachers' "I Wanna Get Better" and "Rollercoaster."

Lorde's appearance was a surprise, replacing Kesha who cancelled due to an injury. Lorde, who has been working with Antonoff on her second album, sat next to Antonoff on a piano bench to sing a cover of Robyn's "Hang With Me."

For the finale, all the performers sang Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way."