Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Cynz at Sidewalk

Cyndi Dawson & Henry Seiz
Born and raised in New Jersey, Cyndi Dawson sought a career in performance art in New York City. Over the next few years, she secured a few acting, dancing and bartending gigs, briefly played percussion in the short-lived Kamikaze Kitty & the Attack Kats, and read in poetry circles both in New York and New Jersey. Fellow Jersey native Henry Seiz, who had played guitar in Louie Louie & the Lost Hombres in the 1980s, heard Dawson's work and suggested she read spoken word or sing to his music. Together they formed the Cynz in 2011. The band presently consists of Dawson, Seiz, bassist Anne Husick (formerly of Band of Susans) and drummer Robert Stockl (formerly of the Mad Daddies). The Cynz released a second full album, Lil Devil, on July 12, 2017; It is available from the band in vinyl only.

Lil Devil had been available by mail order all summer, but the Cynz celebrated a record release concert tonight at Sidewalk so that fans could purchase the album in person. As usual when the band has performed at the venue, the set was high-octane and high-caliber, rock and roll in its rawest and purist form. The band has grown in polish, yet retained a garage-band vibrancy that was honest and fun. Dawson's melodies were pop-rooted, but she sang them with a gripping rock and roll spirit, then danced, shook and even crawled to Seiz's speedy riffs and leads, as the rhythm section powered the songs. From start to end, the Cynz's set was a rock and roll party.

The Cynz will be performing at Lovecraft Bar on October 19, Sidewalk on October 27 and the Parkside Lounge on November 17.

Marilyn Manson at the Hammerstein Ballroom

Brian Warner was born in Canton, Ohio, but after graduating high school he relocated with his parents in 1989 to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There he studied journalism and theater at the local community college, and feeling lonely in a new place, he wrote poems and short stories. Fired from his job at a record store, he became an entertainment journalist for a local magazine while working towards a degree in journalism. He soon created his own band, taking on the name Marilyn Manson (Marilyn as in movie star Monroe, Manson as in psycho killer Charles). Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids formed in 1989, soon shortening the name of the band to Marilyn Manson. In the U.S. alone, three of the band's albums went platinum and three more went gold. Marilyn Manson's 10th studio album, Heaven Upside Down, will be released on October 6, 2017. Marilyn Manson the person is the only remaining original member of Marilyn Manson the band.

Photographers at the Hammerstein Ballroom tonight were told they could shoot only the first song rather than the usual three from the pit in front of the stage. Well into the first song, Manson started throwing things around, including his microphone stand, and photographers were cleared out even before the first song ended. The band members wore whiteface with black markings and played tight, energetic industrial metal as the vocalist roamed the stage and played to the audience. Between songs, Manson rambled, at one point speaking about drugs. About 45 minutes into the concert, during a slow cover of the Eurhythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," Manson placed his right foot on the first rung of a tall stage prop behind the band and attempted to step up but immediately fell backwards off the prop. Moments later, the structure toppled on top of him, knocking him cold. The band stopped playing, and all lights were turned off. People attended to Manson, but he did not seem to regain consciousness. The set list showed that there were four more songs to be performed. A few minutes later, the audience was told over the public address system what was already presumed, that due to Manson's injury, the concert was ended. It was fun while it lasted.

Visit Marilyn Manson at www.marilynmanson.com.

Setlist:
  1. Revelation #12
  2. This Is the New Shit
  3. mOBSCENE
  4. The Dope Show
  5. Disposable Teens
  6. Kill4Me
  7. Killing Strangers
  8. Tourniquet
  9. We Know Where You Fucking Live
  10. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (Eurythmics cover)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Epica at the PlayStation Theater

Epica's Simone Simons, Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia
Guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen left the Netherlands-based symphonic metal band After Forever in 2002 to form a similar band, initially called Sahara Dust and later naming itself Epica after a Kamelot album. Epica's popularity grew first in their country and then internationally. By 2015, Epica was awarded the Music Export Awards, given to the Dutch act with the most international success in the past year. Epica's seventh and most recent studio album, The Holographic Principle, was released on September 30, 2016. The band presently consists of Jansen, vocalist Simone Simons, keyboardist Coen Janssen, lead guitarist Isaac Delahaye, bassist Rob van der Loo, and drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek.

Headlining at the PlayStation Theater tonight, Epica performed densely layered and complex compositions, weaving symphonic rock with elements of black metal, progressive metal and power metal. The band's music axis pivoted on sudden contrasts, from Jansen's death metal growls to Simons' operatic soprano, and from djent guitar riffs to folk metal melodies. The songs were grandiose wall-of-sound affairs with strong melodies and counter-melodies, often interrupted with an unexpected, softer interlude. Simons commanded the most attention, however, with her flawless soprano elevating to high sonic registers while the band pummeled with elephantine brutality. There was light and dark in most songs, a duality with deep intricacies that created tensions that were then released into the air. The music was ambitious, neat and remarkably clever.

Visit Epica at www.epica.nl.

Setlist:
  1. Edge of the Blade
  2. Unleashed
  3. Wheel of Destiny
  4. The Essence of Silence
  5. Ascension - Dream State Armageddon
  6. Dancing in a Hurricane
  7. Victims of Contingency
  8. Storm the Sorrow (with Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil)
  9. Reverence (Living in the Heart)
  10. Unchain Utopia
  11. Cry for the Moon
Encore:
  1. Sancta Terra
  2. Beyond the Matrix
  3. Consign to Oblivion

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Accept at Irving Plaza

Left to right: Peter Baltes, Mark Tornillo, Wolf Hoffmann
Band X formed in 1968 in Solingen, Germany, changing its name to Accept early on. Largely due to many personnel changes Accept did not become a professional band until 1976. By the 1980s, the band was gaining worldwide traction, striking gold in the United States with 1983's Balls to the Wall. Accept went into hiatus in 1989, reassembled in 1992, took a break again in 1997, regrouped briefly in 2005 and then reformed again in 2010. The band presently consists of guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes, both of whom date back to 1976, along with for T.T. Quick vocalist Mark Tornillo, guitarist Uwe Lulis and drummer Christopher Williams. Accept's 15th and most recent album, The Rise of Chaos, was released on August 4, 2017.

At Irving Plaza tonight, Accept proved that it was progressing rather than resting on its classic hard rock and heavy metal  laurels. For two hours, the quintet balanced its catalogue from the 1980s evenly with songs recorded in this decade. Granted, the audience anticipated "Balls to the Wall," an iconic rocker about slaves revolting against oppressing masters, but the wait was made pleasant because the 20 songs preceding it were filled solidly with soaring vocals and head-spinning guitar solos. Hoffman also performed a three-minute solo on stage by himself, blending snippets of classical compositions with metal feedback and distortion, until the band rejoined him for the bluesy "Neon Nights." In the end, Accept accomplished a daunting goal; by playing classic metal and modernizing it with a very sharp edge, the band performed a powerful set that elevated the band to new heights and rivaled its glory days.

Visit Accept at www.acceptworldwide.com.

Setlist:
  1. Die by the Sword
  2. Stalingrad
  3. Restless and Wild
  4. London Leatherboys
  5. Living for Tonite
  6. The Rise of Chaos
  7. Koolaid
  8. No Regrets
  9. Analog Man
  10. Final Journey
  11. Shadow Soldiers
  12. (Wolf Hoffman's guitar solo)
  13. Neon Nights
  14. Princess of the Dawn
  15. Midnight Mover
  16. Up to the Limit
  17. Objection Overruled
  18. Pandemic
  19. Fast as a Shark
Encore:
  1. Metal Heart
  2. Teutonic Terror
  3. Balls to the Wall

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sacred Reich at the Gramercy Theatre

Phil Rind
Until age 12, Phil Rind lived in Brooklyn, New York. His family then moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where he met rhythm guitarist Jason Rainey in high school. Rainey had formed Sacred Reich as a thrash metal band, but was unsatisfied with his original musicians. In 1985, Rainey fired the drummer and recruited Greg Hall, then fired the bassist and recruited Rind. They fired the vocalist and Rind became the singer as well. The guitarist quit and Wiley Arnett joined in 1986. This would become the classic Sacred Reich lineup. Sacred Reich started by playing Megadeth and Exodus covers, but then recorded five albums of original works, including socially conscious and political speed metal, before splitting in 2000. The band reunited 2006, but has not written, performed or recorded new music. Sacred Reich's most recent album is 2012's Live at Wacken.

Sacred Reich's first North American tour in 21 years came to the Gramercy Theatre tonight. Dubbed the "30 Years Of Ignorance" tour, the concert celebrated the 30th anniversary of the band's debut album, Ignorance, which was recorded when most of the band members were still in high school. Despite the title of the tour, however, the band did not play the Ignorance album in its entirety, but rather mixed only four of its nine cuts among songs from other albums. With a no-frills stage set that featured only banners and flashing lights, Sacred Reich retained its characteristic speed and thrash, much of it too fast for headbanging. Rind grunted and shouted, Arnett churned out the lightning leads and rolling riffs, and the band as a whole successfully revived a sound rooted in pre-grunge metal. There were no forays into unfamiliar territory, though. If the band hopes to move forward, the musicians may want to explore and expand into new vistas.

Setlist:
  1. Ignorance
  2. Administrative Decisions
  3. One Nation
  4. Love...Hate
  5. Victim of Demise
  6. Violent Solutions
  7. Crimes against Humanity
  8. Who's to Blame
  9. I Don't Know
  10. Free
  11. Independent
  12. War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
  13. The American Way
Encore:
  1. Surf Nicaragua

Saturday, September 23, 2017

2017 Global Citizens Festival NYC

Musicians and activists bonded to make commitments toward health, gender equality, education, and other poverty issues at the sixth annual Global Citizen Festival NYC in Central Park on September 23, 2017. Stevie Wonder, Green Day, Pharrell Williams, the Killers, the Lumineers, the Chainsmokers, Big Sean, Andra Day, and Alessia Cara performed, and activists Priyanka Chopra, Lupita Nyong'o, Demi Lovato, Malin Akerman, Kal Penn, Freida Pinto, and others spoke about the battle to protect US foreign aid, the campaign to increase access to mental health care around the world, and the fight for racial justice at home and abroad.

The festival, which started in New York in 2012 and has spread to other countries, was organized by Global Poverty Project as a movement to end extreme poverty around the world by 2030. In the weeks before the festival, some 60,000 participants earned free admission to the festival by taking actions to fight extreme poverty, such as calling congress, contributing to charity acts, signing petitions, sending tweets, and watching videos. The event was live-streamed globally on television, online and in public locations. This concert was timed to coincide with the UN General Assembly to raise awareness and leverage government aid.
Alessia Cara
Big Sean
Dr. Jane Goodhall
The Killers
Demi Lovato
The Lumineers
Andra Day
The Chainsmokers
Green Day
Hugh Jackman & Whoopi Goldberg
Pharrell Williams with Stevie Wonder

Friday, September 22, 2017

The War on Drugs at Rumsey Playfield

Adam Granduciel
In 2003, Adam Granduciel moved from Oakland, California to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he met Kurt Vile, who had also recently moved back to Philadelphia after living for two years in Boston, Massachusetts. Granduciel previously had toured and recorded with The Capitol Years, and Vile had recorded solo demo tapes. Granduciel and Vile subsequently began writing, recording and performing music together, first in Vile's band, which would come to be known as Kurt Vile & the Violators, and then in Granduciel's band, which would come to be known as The War on Drugs in 2005. Vile left the War on Drugs after a year, and since then several musicians have played both in the War on Drugs and the Violators. The War on Drugs released its fourth album, A Deeper Understanding, on August 25, 2017, and presently consists of vocalist/guitarist Granduciel, guitarist Anthony LaMarca, keyboardist Robbie Bennett, saxophonist/keyboardist Jon Natchez, bassist David Hartley, and drummer Charlie Hall.

The War On Drugs' 2017 tour launched in its hometown of Philadelphia, but quickly made its way to New York City for shows at Terminal 5 and at CityPark's SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. The shows were nearly identical, in that they concentrated on introducing the new album; nine of the album's 10 songs were performed, as compared with five from the previous album and one from the debut album. The set also included a cover of Warren Zevon's "Accidentally Like a Martyr." Granduciel's vocals were a bit coarse, not the type you would near on a hit single, but since many of the lyrics were rather confessional, the vocals sounded revelatory and even cathartic. It seemed each song included extended guitar noodling, more shoegazey than flashy, for a hypnotic effect. The band maintained a light and breezy sound that was heightened with synthesizer and saxophone. Performances like this prove that the War on Drugs is the current "it" band in indie rock.

Visit the War on Drugs at www.thewarondrugs.net.

Setlist
  1. In Chains
  2. Pain
  3. An Ocean in Between the Waves
  4. Strangest Thing
  5. Holding On
  6. Red Eyes
  7. Knocked Down
  8. Nothing to Find
  9. Accidentally Like a Martyr (Warren Zevon cover)
  10. Up All Night
  11. Eyes to the Wind
  12. You Don't Have to Go
  13. Arms Like Boulders
Encore
  1. Under the Pressure
  2. Clean Living
  3. In Reverse 


Thursday, September 21, 2017

X at Stage 48

John Doe & Exene Cervenka
Originally from Decatur, Illinois, John Nommensen Duchac moved to Los Angeles, California, where he became known as John Doe. Through a classified ad in a local newspaper in 1976, Doe met guitar player Tyson Kindell of Savanna, Illinois. Kindell would soon be known as Billy Zoom. Together they formed the local punk rock pioneer band called X. Doe then brought to band practices his poetry-writing girlfriend Christine "Exene Cervenka, originally of Chicago, Illinois, and she eventually joined the band as a vocalist. Drummer Donald "D.J." Bonebrake, the band's only native Californian, was the last of the original members to join. Doe and Cervenka co-wrote most of the group's songs, much of which had poetic lyrics and a rockabilly edge, and their slightly off-kilter harmony vocals became the group's most distinctive element. X separated and reunited several times since the mid-1980s, but has toured almost annually since 2008. X's seventh and most recent album is 1993's Hey Zeus!

There are few surprises at an X concert. For the most part, the band is bound to perform the same catalogue of songs the same way they were performed the last time around. At Stage 48 tonight, the only surprise was that Zoom sat on a stool the entire show, perhaps due to his recent cancer-related treatments. X once again concentrated on its first four albums, and revived the songs through intense power and speed. Gripping vocal interplay, stinging lead guitar runs and a thrusting rhythm section maintained high energy on stage and in the audience. The band celebrates its 40th anniversary on this tour, still with the original lineup. Unfortunately, however, the band has been doing pretty close to the same set for about 30 years. X is a strong unit, but how much longer will the band keep its fans waiting for new music?

Visit X at www.xtheband.com.

Setlist
  1. Beyond and Back
  2. In This House That I Call Home
  3. Some Other Time
  4. Sugarlight
  5. Because I Do
  6. Breathless (Jerry Lee Lewis cover)
  7. Blue Spark
  8. True Love
  9. Come Back to Me
  10. Adult Books
  11. The World's a Mess, It's in My Kiss
  12. The Hungry Wolf (with drum solo)
  13. The Unheard Music
  14. I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
  15. Year 1
  16. Los Angeles
  17. Your Phone's Off the Hook, But You're Not
  18. Johny Hit and Run Paulene
  19. Motel Room in My Bed
  20. Soul Kitchen (The Doors cover)
Encore:
  1. The Once Over Twice
  2. Nausea
  3. Devil Doll

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Front 242 at Irving Plaza

Daniel Bressanutti and Dirk Bergen formed Front 242 in 1981 in Aarschot, Belgium, creating music and graphic design using emerging electronic tools. Meanwhile, Patrick Codenys and Jean-Luc De Meyer had separately formed a group called Under Viewer. The two duos merged in 1982. At first, Bressanutti, Codenys and De Meyer took turns on vocals, until they settled on De Meyer as the lead vocalist and primary songwriter. Front 242's former roadie, Richard Jonckheere, known as Richard 23, replaced Bergen in 1983. Front 242 gravitated from synth pop to its more signature combination of electronic dance and industrial music, known as electonic body music (EBM). The music grew in popularity, but eventually Front 242 went on hiatus in 1993, with sporadic regroupings over the years. Front 242's eighth and most recent album is 2003's Pulse. Front 242 presently consists of de Meyer, Bressanutti, Codenys, Jonckheere and drummer Tim Kroker.

Considering the multi-layered thickness of current EBM music and the lavish productions of current dance music producers, Front 242's headlining performance at Irving Plaza tonight was raw and even primitive. The bare-boned music was devoid of guitars and bass, entirely performed on synths and percussion, with bristling vocals that were ominous, abrasive and menacing. The appeal here was more to the goths and underground followers than to a mass population of pop followers, so the sound throbbed harder, darker and edgier than what is played typically at dance clubs. There is an audience for this aggressive style of music, but is that audience large enough to sustain Front 242? Hopefully yes.

Visit Front 242 at www.front242.com.

Setlist
  1. Moldavia
  2. Take One
  3. 7Rain
  4. Religion
  5. Body To Body
  6. Quite Unusual
  7. Together
  8. Lovely Day
  9. Commando Mix
  10. U-Men
  11. Headhunter
  12. Im Rhythmus Bleiben
  13. Welcome To Paradise
Encore:
  1. Kampfbereit
  2. W.Y.H.I.W.Y.G. (snippet)
  3. Master Hit


Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Meadows Music & Arts Festival 2017, Day Three

On September 15-17, 2017, the Meadows Music & Arts Festival returned for its second year in the parking lot of Citi Field in Queens, New York. The festival, produced by Founders Entertainment, which also produces the annual Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall's Island, expanded to three days from last year's two days, and featured more than 40 music artists on four stages from noon to 10 p.m. each night. Jay-Z, Gorillaz and the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined the three days, and the rest of the roster was packed with many on-the-rise names in hip-hop, pop, dance and alternative music. The festival also showcased street art and interactive installations along with dozens of local food and cocktail vendors.

The Meadows' most spectacular highlights might have been in the surprises.

On Friday, Run The Jewels brought out Zac De La Rocha, formerly of Rage against the Machine. Later, Jay-Z paid homage to Linkin Park's late Chester Bennington with "Numb/Encore" from their 2004 collaborative set Collision Course. "Sing it so loud he can hear it all the way in heaven," Jay instructed the crowd. Later, Jay introduced Damian Marley for the 4:44 track "Bam" and Marley's own "Welcome to Jamrock."

On Saturday, LL Cool J teamed with Q-Tip and Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest, Darryl McDaniels, who was the D.M.C. of veteran Queens-based rap duo Run D.M.C., and Melle Mel and Scorpio of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Future welcomed Yo Gotti, Nicki Minaj and Young Thug. Finally, Tory Lanez’ set featured an appearance from Busta Rhymes.

The Gorillaz, who played in human form rather than in the band's better-known cartoon and costumed forms, announced its guests earlier in the week, including Pusha T, Peven Everett, D.R.A.M., De La Soul, Little Simz, Jehnny Beth of Savages, Mos Def, and Del tha Funkee Homosapien.

On Sunday, Action Bronson promoted his new cookbook by tossing hardcover copies into the audience, even signing a few.
Fantastic Negrito
Kamaiyah
Wild Belle
CRX
GTA
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Broods
Foster the People
Action Bronson
Broken Social Scene
Ghostface Killah
Nas
Weezer
Sleigh Bells
Lido
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Meadows Music & Arts Festival 2017, Day Two

On September 15-17, 2017, the Meadows Music & Arts Festival returned for its second year in the parking lot of Citi Field in Queens, New York. The festival, produced by Founders Entertainment, which also produces the annual Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall's Island, expanded to three days from last year's two days, and featured more than 40 music artists on four stages from noon to 10 p.m. each night. Jay-Z, Gorillaz and the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined the three days, and the rest of the roster was packed with many on-the-rise names in hip-hop, pop, dance and alternative music. The festival also showcased street art and interactive installations along with dozens of local food and cocktail vendors.

The Meadows' most spectacular highlights might have been in the surprises.

On Friday, Run The Jewels brought out Zac De La Rocha, formerly of Rage against the Machine. Later, Jay-Z paid homage to Linkin Park's late Chester Bennington with "Numb/Encore" from their 2004 collaborative set Collision Course. "Sing it so loud he can hear it all the way in heaven," Jay instructed the crowd. Later, Jay introduced Damian Marley for the 4:44 track "Bam" and Marley's own "Welcome to Jamrock."

On Saturday, LL Cool J teamed with Q-Tip and Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest, Darryl McDaniels, who was the D.M.C. of veteran Queens-based rap duo Run D.M.C., and Melle Mel and Scorpio of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Future welcomed Yo Gotti, Nicki Minaj and Young Thug. Finally, Tory Lanez’ set featured an appearance from Busta Rhymes.
Big Boi
Antibalas
Erikay Badu
LL Cool J with D.M.C.
A-Trak
De La Soul
Future
Big Gigantic
TV on th Radio
Torey Lanez
M.I.A.
Gorillaz