Monday, August 7, 2017

Moshav at the Highline Ballroom

Duvid, Swirsky (left) and Yehuda Solomon
The musicians in Moshav grew up playing music together in a cooperative community of farmers known as Moshav Mevo Modi'im, a musical village in Israel founded by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. In 1995, vocalist Yehuda Solomon and guitarist Duvid Swirsky formed a band that would blend traditional Jewish music with contemporary rock. A year later the band performed its first public concert for an audience consisting mainly of American students studying abroad. Not knowing how to publicize the show, the organizer of the event billed the musicians as the "Moshav Band, " and the name stuck. A group of American students traveling in Israel heard the band play and raised money to bring Moshav to the states for a college tour in the late 1990s. In 2000, Moshav relocated to Los Angeles, California. Moshav's seventh and most recent studio album is 2014's Shabbat Vol. 1, influenced by their sabbaths with Rabbi Carlebach. Moshav presently consists of Solomon, Swirsky, guitarist Geoffrey Parry, bassist Matt Cheadle and drummer Tamir Bar Zeli.

"Are you Jewish?" a man in the audience asked other men as he assembled a minyon for night prayers during intermission. Moshav is more than a band, it is a collective of musicians and audience sharing a singular heartbeat. At the Highline Ballroom tonight, the band, along with additional musicians and a guest spot by rapper Kosha Dillz, celebrated how a youthful, joyful approach can marry the traditional with the modern while remaining steadfastly loyal to the soul and essence of its genuinely heartfelt music. Some of the musical arrangements leaned towards an ephemeral, exotic folk music, while other songs were more closely aligned with alternative rock, funk, and even reggae. Whether sung in English or chanted in Hebrew, and whether the songs built to a crescendo or meandered into a groove, the energetic and the pensive songs were equally stirring. Enjoying the live performance made one a part of a Moshav community, at least temporarily, regardless of one's gender or religion.

Visit Moshav at www.moshavband.com.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Poptone at Irving Plaza

Daniel Ash
Guitarist/vocalist Daniel Ash and drummer Kevin Dompé (better known as Kevin Haskins) met while attending nursery school in Northampton, England. Both played instruments as youth, and were inspired to play together during the late 1970s punk movement. They first played in the Craze and Jack Plug & the Socketts before forming Bauhaus 1919, soon to be renamed Bauhaus, the first gothic rock band to cross into the mainstream. Ash and Haskins continued to play together in Tones on Tail, Love and Rockets, and the Bubblemen. More recently, the two have DJed together. Early in 2017, they formed Poptone with bassist Diva Dompé (Haskins' daughter), who performs with her sister in Blackblack and also performs in Yialmelic Frequencies. Poptone, based in Los Angeles, California, has not yet recorded new music.

Poptone was expected to revive the Ash/Haskins collaborations which Ash wrote or sang in previous bands, but at Irving Plaza tonight fans had to wait until the second encore to hear the one Bauhaus song, "Slice of Life." The rest of the set consisted of Tones on Tails and Love and Rockets songs plus a few cover songs. Hardly a trace of gloomy gothic rock was present, profoundly overtaken by the brighter and experimental wash of these later bands. The opening cover of Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" was stark, fuzzy and brooding. Previously, the song was performed by Tones on Tail, and from there Poptone performed eight more Tones on Tails songs and four Love and Rockets songs in the main set, closing with a hard-to-recognize take on the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)." On a few songs, Ash played saxophone instead of guitar and Dompé moved from bass to synthesizer, but the sparse arrangements remained simple yet sharp and cutting. Poptone did an extended take on Tones on Tails' American dance hit, "Go!", but did not perform Love and Rockets' American hit, "So Alive." Except for an occasional reunion tour, American audiences have not heard Ash and Haskins perform all these songs since 1999, so there is a new audience living in a new era for these sounds.

Visit Poptone at www.poptonetheband.com.

Setlist
  1. Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley cover)
  2. OK, This Is the Pops (Tones on Tail cover)
  3. Mirror People (Love and Rockets cover)
  4. Movement of Fear (Tones on Tail cover)
  5. Happiness (Tones on Tail cover)
  6. No Big Deal (Love and Rockets cover)
  7. Lions (Tones on Tail cover)
  8. Twist (Tones on Tail cover)
  9. Love Me (Love and Rockets cover)
  10. Performance (Tones on Tail cover)
  11. An American Dream (Love and Rockets cover)
  12. Christian Says (Tones on Tail cover)
  13. There's Only One (Tones on Tail cover)
  14. Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) (The Temptations cover)
Encore 1:
  1. Physical (You're So) (Adam and the Ants cover)
  2. Flame On (Daniel Ash cover)
  3. Go! (Tones on Tail cover)
Encore 2:
  1. Slice of Life (Bauhaus cover)
  2. Sweet F.A. (Love and Rockets cover)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Stimulate at Dröm

Xris SMack! once again brought his monthly Stimulate event to Dröm on August 4, this time a triple bill headlining <PÎG>, plus Julien-K and Ghostfeeder. The industrial metal band <PÎG>, formed in 1988 in London, England, reunited founder and sole member Raymond Watts with his former partners in KMFDM, guitarists En Esch and Günter Schulz, on this "Prey & Obey" 2017 North American tour. Electronic rock band Julien-K, formed in 2003 in Long Beach, California, was led by two former members of Orgy, vocalist Ryan Shuck and guitarist Amir Derakh. Electro synth-rock band Ghostfeeder, launched in 2014 in Gainesville, Florida, opened the concert.
Derek Walborn of Ghostfeeder 
Ryan Schuck of Julien-K
Raymond Watts of <PÎG>

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Melvins at Irving Plaza

Buzz Osborne
Guitarist/vocalist Roger "Buzz" Osborne, also known as King Buzzo, formed the alternative rock Melvins while in high school in 1983 in Montesano, Washington. The band was named after a despised supervisor where Osborne worked as a clerk; the band's members felt it to be an appropriately ridiculous name. A year later, Osborne recruited drummer Dan Crover, and the band's rehearsals moved to a back room of Crover's parents house in Aberdeen, Washington. The two musicians usually have worked as a trio with ever-changing bassists. The band started by playing fast punk rock and quickly graduated to sludge metal and droning noise rock, influencing the grunge movement that would soon begin in nearby Seattle. The Melvins released its 22nd album, the double A Walk with Love & Death, on July 7, 2017. One disc, Love, is a 14-song soundtrack to an unreleased film of the same name. The other disc, Death, is standard Melvins fare. The band currently is based in Los Angeles, California.

Headlining at Irving Plaza tonight, Osborne and Crover were joined by OFF!'s bassist Steve McDonald. Completely bathed in red lights throughout the night, the trio opened and ended the 16-song set with selections from the 1992 Lysol album. Osborne, dressed as usual in a floor-length black velvet robe with gold trimmings, played angular guitar riffs and sang gruffly, often to the shaking of his head of wiry blond hair. The rhythm section frequently countered with what seemed like wild jazz retorts to Osborne's frenetic, scathing guitar licks. Just as a song settled into a comfortable groove, someone in the band improvised an awkward dissonance or squealing distortion to odd-ify the arrangements. The band covered David Bowie's "Saviour Machine" and the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand," but twisted them to such a raucous degree that there were few parallels to the original versions. The only way to meet the Melvins' music was on the band's own terms. The Melvins' statement was that nothing in the blaring, abrasive music was standard or ordinary; the only tradition was to be untraditional.

Visit the Melvins at www.themelvins.net.

Setlist:
  1. Sacrifice (Flipper cover)
  2. Oven
  3. Anaconda
  4. Queen
  5. The Kicking Machine
  6. Saviour Machine (David Bowie cover)
  7. It’s Shoved
  8. I Want to Hold Your Hand (The Beatles cover)
  9. Euthanasia
  10. Edgar the Elephant
  11. Sober-delic (Acid Only)
  12. The Bit
  13. Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad
  14. AMAZON
  15. Hung Bunny
  16. Roman Dog Bird


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Blondie at the Beacon Theatre

Deborah Harry
Born in Miami, Florida, and raised in Hawthorne, New Jersey, Deborah Harry moved to New York City in the late 1960s, where she worked as a secretary, waitress, and Playboy bunny. She joined her first band, the Wind in the Willows, in 1968, and then the Stilettos in 1973, where she would meet future boyfriend Chris Stein. Harry and Stein formed Angel & the Snakes, quickly renamed as Blondie, in 1974. The name derived from comments made by truck drivers who catcalled "Hey, Blondie" to Harry as they drove past. Blondie was among the first bands to play the New York punk circuit, subsequently selling 40 million records worldwide. The band split in 1982, and Harry pursued a solo recording and acting career while also caring for Stein, who was diagnosed with pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin. The band re-formed in 1997, and presently consists of vocalist Harry, guitarists Stein and Tommy Kessler, keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen, bassist Leigh Foxx, and original drummer Clem Burke. Blondie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. The band's 11th and most recent studio album, Pollinator, was released on May 5, 2017.

Blondie started as a punk band, and in its early years ventured into new wave, pop, disco, reggae, and early rap music, but live the songs were unified by a ragged garage touch. Upon reassembling in the 1990s, Blondie evolved into a professional rock sound, which regrettably lacked the rawness of the original band and made the band sound rather ordinary. At the Beacon Theatre tonight, Blondie turned virtually all of its catalog songs into hard-driving power rock songs, propelled largely by the inexhaustible Burke's outstanding percussive energy. Harry arrived on stage wearing a bee mask and black cape; the 72-year-old vocalist looked and sounded strong, even though the openers, "One Way or Another" and "Call Me," showed that limitations were sneaking into vocal range. This weakness was recompensed by sheer dynamic energy from her and the musicians. The band rocked so vibrantly that "Heart of Glass" was hardly the disco-infused track it was in its first lifetime. The surprises included covers of Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" and an Unkindness' "Fragments," and the addition of a youth brass band on the encore of "The Tide Is High." This was the best Blondie has sounded in several years.

Visit Blondie at www.blondie.net.

Setlist:
  1. One Way or Another
  2. Hanging on the Telephone (The Nerves cover)
  3. Fun
  4. Call Me
  5. My Monster
  6. Rapture
  7. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Bob Dylan cover)
  8. Fragments (an Unkindness cover)
  9. Too Much
  10. Long Time
  11. Atomic
  12. Heart of Glass
Encore:
  1. Dreaming
  2. The Tide Is High (The Paragons cover) 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Nine Inch Nails at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Trent Reznor
Trent Reznor was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Mercer, Pennsylvania. He began playing the piano at the age of 12 and later learned to play the tenor saxophone and tuba. At school, he was a member of both the jazz and marching band, and out of school played in a local rock band, Option 30. As a young adult, Reznor moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and played in the Urge, a cover band. In 1985, he played keyboards in the Innocent and in 1986 in Exotic Birds. He also worked as an assistant engineer and janitor at a recording studio, where he secured permission to record demos during unused studio time. Unable to find a band that could articulate his songs, he played all the instruments except drums. This became the first work under his pseudonym, Nine Inch Nails, in 1988. Nine Inch Nails has since won two Grammy awards and sold over 20 million units worldwide, with 10 million sales in the United States alone before going on hiatus from 2009 to 2013. In 2016, keyboardist Atticus Ross became Trent's first permanent associate in Nine Inch Nails. Nine Inch Nails recorded eight albums and then released Add Violence, the second of a trilogy of EPs, on July 21, 2017. Nine Inch Nails is based currently in Los Angeles, California.

The morning after headlining the third night of the Panorama Music Festival, Nine Inch Nails announced a concert at the 1,500-capacity Webster Hall. Tickets were sold through the band's fan club. As the concert began, fog machines started and blue lights bathed the stage and audience. Keyboardist Atticus Ross and guitarist Robin Finck took their positions and began to play the opening chords to The Fragile's "Somewhat Damaged" for the first time on this tour. Thick clouds of fog partially obscured the stage, and Reznor suddenly appeared at his microphone, joined by keyboardist Alessandro Cortini and drummer Ilan Rubin. This song fed to The Slip's "1,000,000," another first for the tour; the 19-song set later also would include another tour debut, "Sanctified," and the first-ever performance of "She's Gone Away," but lacked the David Bowie cover, "I Can't Give Everything Away," and "Hurt," both of which were performed the night before. Fans heard songs from most of the albums, starting with the more propulsive songs and leading into the slow burn of the more atmospheric, soundtrack-style songs. Most of the set leaned on the heavier side, and Reznor sang with fire and rage, often amplified by Finck's searing guitar leads. Hedging on controlled dynamics, altered tempos and widespread, looming sonic attacks, the band was tight and the arrangements were imaginative. This was New York's best concert of 2017.

Visit Nine Inch Nails at www.nin.com.

Setlist:
  1. Somewhat Damaged
  2. 1,000,000
  3. March of the Pigs
  4. Piggy
  5. The Frail
  6. The Wretched
  7. Sanctified (with "Sunspots" interpolation)
  8. Closer (with "The Only Time" interpolation)
  9. Less Than
  10. Survivalism
  11. Burn
  12. Gave Up
  13. She's Gone Away
  14. The Lovers
  15. Reptile
  16. The Loop Closes (How to Destroy Angels cover)
  17. The Great Destroyer
  18. Burning Bright (Field on Fire)
  19. Wish
  20. Head Like a Hole

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Panorama Music Festival, Day Three

Spending the summer in New York City means having the opportunity to attend major weekend music festivals each month. June opened with Governors Ball, July hosted Panorama, August promises AfroPunk and the Meadows will take place in September. Electronic dance music fans also get the Electric Zoo festival on Labor Day weekend. Totaling the admission fees on all these can cost a concert buff a few entire paychecks, but for those who enjoy live music from early afternoon until late at night, there is no better value for the money.

Goldenvoice, the company behind Panorama, is a subsidiary of AEG Live, the producers of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Rock on the Range and other festivals around the world. Now in its second year, Panorama was held at Randall's Island Park on Randall's Island, a recreational island between Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, on July 28-30, 2017. Nine Inch Nails, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, A Tribe Called Quest, Alt J, Solange, MGMT, Nick Murphy, Glass Animals, Justice and Tyler, the Creator were among the many draws this year.

Panorama did it right. Panorama was the classiest of the New York festivals, with air conditioned bathrooms, engaging interactive art installations, exotic food kiosks, and several other diversified activities. Live acts performed on three stages, although one was exclusively for djs to lead raves. The two larger stages were outdoors, seemingly allowing for unlimited attendees; a smaller stage was indoors and reached capacity several times during the festival; in addition, perhaps because the absence of sun failed to bake the ground after several rainstorms, a sinkhole developed in front of the indoor stage the first night, temporarily closing the venue and cancelling performances by Cherry Glazerr and DJ Shadow. Otherwise, the shows ran smoothly, with particularly outstanding performances from Nine Inch Nails, Dhani Harrison (son of George Harrison) and others.
6lack
Bishop Briggs
Preoccupations
Dhani Harrison
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Cloud Nothings
Mura Masa
Glass Animals
Cashmere Cat
Kiiara
A Tribe Called Quest
Justice
Snakehips
Nine Inch Nails

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Panorama Music Festival, Day Two

Spending the summer in New York City means having the opportunity to attend major weekend music festivals each month. June opened with Governors Ball, July hosted Panorama, August promises AfroPunk and the Meadows will take place in September. Electronic dance music fans also get the Electric Zoo festival on Labor Day weekend. Totaling the admission fees on all these can cost a concert buff a few entire paychecks, but for those who enjoy live music from early afternoon until late at night, there is no better value for the money.

Goldenvoice, the company behind Panorama, is a subsidiary of AEG Live, the producers of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Rock on the Range and other festivals around the world. Now in its second year, Panorama was held at Randall's Island Park on Randall's Island, a recreational island between Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, on July 28-30, 2017. Nine Inch Nails, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, A Tribe Called Quest, Alt J, Solange, MGMT, Nick Murphy, Glass Animals, Justice and Tyler, the Creator were among the many draws this year.

Panorama did it right. Panorama was the classiest of the New York festivals, with air conditioned bathrooms, engaging interactive art installations, exotic food kiosks, and several other diversified activities. Live acts performed on three stages, although one was exclusively for djs to lead raves. The two larger stages were outdoors, seemingly allowing for unlimited attendees; a smaller stage was indoors and reached capacity several times during the festival; in addition, perhaps because the absence of sun failed to bake the ground after several rainstorms, a sinkhole developed in front of the indoor stage the first night, temporarily closing the venue and cancelling performances by Cherry Glazerr and DJ Shadow. Otherwise, the shows ran smoothly.
Noname
Bleached
Pinegrove
Mitski
Sofi Tukker
Jagwar Ma
Survive
Matoma
Vince Staples
Belle & Sebastian
Hot Since 82
Nick Murphy
Alt-J
Breakbot
Tame Impala

Friday, July 28, 2017

Panorama Music Festival, Day One

Spending the summer in New York City means having the opportunity to attend major weekend music festivals each month. June opened with Governors Ball, July hosted Panorama, August promises AfroPunk and the Meadows will take place in September. Electronic dance music fans also get the Electric Zoo festival on Labor Day weekend. Totaling the admission fees on all these can cost a concert buff a few entire paychecks, but for those who enjoy live music from early afternoon until late at night, there is no better value for the money.

Goldenvoice, the company behind Panorama, is a subsidiary of AEG Live, the producers of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Rock on the Range and other festivals around the world. Now in its second year, Panorama was held at Randall's Island Park on Randall's Island, a recreational island between Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, on July 28-30, 2017. Nine Inch Nails, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, A Tribe Called Quest, Alt J, Solange, MGMT, Nick Murphy, Glass Animals, Justice and Tyler, the Creator were among the many draws this year.

Panorama did it right. Panorama was the classiest of the New York festivals, with air conditioned bathrooms, engaging interactive art installations, exotic food kiosks, and several other diversified activities. Live acts performed on three stages, although one was exclusively for djs to lead raves. The two larger stages were outdoors, seemingly allowing for unlimited attendees; a smaller stage was indoors and reached capacity several times during the festival; in addition, perhaps because the absence of sun failed to bake the ground after several rainstorms, a sinkhole developed in front of the indoor stage the first night, temporarily closing the venue and cancelling performances by Cherry Glazerr and DJ Shadow. Otherwise, the shows ran smoothly.
Foxygen
They.
Vance Joy
Mo
Future Islands
Spoon
MGMT
Tyler, the Creator
Solange
Frank Ocean