Thursday, September 12, 2019

What's Going On: 9/12, 9/13, 9/14 & 9/15, 2019

Just $5 to support the American Cancer Society this Friday!

Fundraiser This Friday

Lots of stuff going on this weekend, competing for your attention. I mean, there's Yacht Rock DJ Night at APYC on Friday, so...

On Thursday night, Wovenhand are at AP Brewery with Jaye Jayle, Cranston Dean, and Tara Dente. Built To Spill play a sold-out Starland. There's the aforementioned Yacht Rock Night at APYC on Friday. Bethlehem Steel play their record release show at Trans-Pecos with Sharkmuffin and Cat Cohen. There's the second annual #HappyPeriod benefit at Brooklyn Bazaar featuring High Waisted, THICK, Reality Something, Grim Streaker, and Lola Pistola.

Also on Friday, we're hosting a benefit for the American Cancer Society at Asbury Park Brewery featuring Yawn Mower, The Anderson Council, and The Brixton Riot. We've all been affected or lost someone to cancer -- some of us more recently than others. This is only $5, and every dime goes to support the work of the American Cancer Society. Hope you can make it.

Saturday sees the return of the free Bond St. Block Party featuring Mulch, Ribeye Brothers, gods, latewaves, Crazy & The Brains, and more. That's followed by an after party in the basement with Von Mons, Ba Babes, and Nervous Triggers. On Sunday, High Waisted and Reality Something bring their tour to Brighton Bar.

Lots more. Have fun. See you at the brewery on Friday. Don't drink and drive.

THURSDAY (9/12)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Open Mic, 8pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Wovenhand / Jaye Jayle / Cranston Dean Band / Tara Dente, 7pm, $7.50-$17.00

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Captain Cream & The Forest Fires, 9pm

Baby's All Right (Brooklyn): Acid Tongue / Max Pain & The Groovies / Fruit & Flowers, 9:30pm, $12

Barca City (New Brunswick): Sonoa / Nematode / ManDancing, 8:30pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Country Music Night ft. Matt Dubrow / Kenny Whitworth / Christine Mitchell Band, 8pm

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): Fiona Silver / Randy Haze Trio / Mr. Payday / Stuyvesant, 8pm, $7

House of Independents (Asbury): Fortunate Youth / Bumpin Uglies / Edjacated Phools, 6:30pm, $18-$22

The Saint (Asbury): Anonymous Conflict, 7:30pm, $8

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Built To Spill / Prism Bitch / And And And, 6:30pm


FRIDAY (9/13)

10th Ave Burrito (Belmar): HUGE & The Ice Cold Killers, 8pm

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): August and Oak / Kristen Baum & Bobby Bryson / Lumber Jack City, 9pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Yawn Mower / The Anderson Council / The Brixton Riot, 8pm, $5 for American Cancer Society

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Yacht Rock DJ Night, 9:30pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Ross Owen & The Tribe, 7:30pm, $12-$15

Brooklyn Bazaar (Brooklyn): #HappyPeriod Benefit ft. High Waisted / THICK / Reality Something / Grim Streaker / Lola Pistola, 7pm, $10-$12

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Pasta Sauce Exchange / Christian Sparacio Band / Zoochie, 9pm

Clash Bar (Clifton): Fuzzy Coleman / Skytop Motel / Surprise Of The Century / DejaGravy, 8:30pm, $10

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): The Jack Moves / Curled Up FKA DIAP, 8pm

Harp N Bard (Clifton): Chained To The Dead / SUNROT / Comb The Desert / Unhinge, 8pm, $10

House Of Independents (Asbury): Disco Dance Party, 9pm, $5-$18

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Xol Azul, 9:30pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Meatwound / Thunderclap / Concussion / Choker, 9pm

Monty Hall (Jersey City): Appleseed Cast / Muscle Worship, 8pm

PIANOS (NYC): Earnhardt / Scoville Unit / Dentist / Phil and The Osphers, 6:30pm, $10

Red Tank Brewing (Red Bank): Lost Transmission / The Red Room / The Way Out / Freeland & Pine, 7pm

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): The Accelerators / Fetal Rage / Charm School / Mike Daly & The Planets / Vengents, 8pm, $10

The Saint (Asbury): Judo Chop / Shot / Barrbarians / Baron Praxis, 7:30pm, $10

The Seafarer Bar (Highlands): Stringbean, 7pm

Stanhope House (Stanhope): Richie Ramone / The Bathwater / The Fiendz / Mikell's Plot, 6pm, $15

Tierney's Tavern (Montclair): SixToEight Mathematics / The Outliers / Sad About Girls, 8pm, $10

Trans-Pecos (Queens): Bethlehem Steel / Sharkmuffin / Cat Cohen, 8pm, $10

White Eagle Hall (Jersey City): Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds / The Suitcase Junket, 9pm, $22

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Antigone Rising / Joanne Calabrese / Laurie Swerlin, 7pm, $20-$25

SATURDAY (9/14)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Alex English, 9pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Country Grits & The Dicks, 9:30pm

Bond St. (Asbury): Bond St. Block Party ft. Mulch / latewaves / GayGuy/StraightGuy / Crazy & The Brains / Tide Bends / Swamp City Rockers / Ribeye Brothers / gods, 1pm

Bond St. Basement (Asbury): Bond St. Block Party After Party ft. Von Mons / Ba Babes / Nervous Triggers, 10pm

BoonTunes (Boonton): The Red Room / Paper Aircraft / Naked Hugs / Wizard Brain, 6:30pm, $10

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Jump Back / The Lew Gatewood Band / The Incinerators, 7:30pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Thelonious Funk / Ham By The Pound / The Takeouts / Dan Santos, 6pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Mamdrama / Daughter Vision / Pepperwine, 9pm

Clash Bar (Clifton): T. GUNN & The Semantics / Heatmap / Top Bloke / Old Currents, 9pm, $10

The Clubhouse (Toms River): American Trappist / Citrus / Lily McKown, 7pm, $7

Flemington DIY (Flemington): Mute Swan / Heavy Sigh / Hudson Pollock & Friends / Carson Stacy, 7pm, $5

Hamilton Park (Jersey City): Hamilton Park Conservancy BBQ Fest. I know Lowlight are playing. 12noon

House Of Independents (Asbury): 90s Dance Party, 10pm

Hub City Brewhouse (New Brunswick): Powerlines / Hoochi Coochi, 8:30pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Panama Dead, 9:30pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Spineapples / Growling Hounds / This Year's Comeback, 9pm

Monty Hall (Jersey City): A Tribute to Ryan Masterson, 8pm

The Plaza (Metuchen): Billy Hector, 7pm

Ringside Pub (Caldwell): The Milwaukees / The Components, 8pm

The Saint (Asbury): Shoobies / Pizzle & The Sizzle Sisters, 7pm, $10

Seafarer Bar (Highlands): Kül d'Sack, 7pm

The Stone Pony Summer Stage (Asbury): Stone Temple Pilots / Rival Sons, 5pm, $39.50-$47.50

Central Park Summer Stage (NYC): The Growlers / The Lemonheads / The Nude Party, 5pm, $39.50-$45

Williams Center for the Arts (Rutherford): pioneer the eel / Two Tears, 7pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Christine Martucci / Laura Cheadle / Sho Nuff, 7pm, $20

SUNDAY (9/15)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Sandy Mack, 4pm

Asbury Park Music Foundation (Asbury): Jeffrey Gaines, 3pm

Baby's All Right (Brooklyn): Pom Pom Squad / PONY / Groupie / Noir Party, 7pm, $10

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Shattered Sun / Nuse / Concrete Dream / Art Of Ruin / Apparition, 3pm, $12-$15

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): High Waisted / Reality Something / Fake Pockets, 7pm

Everybody Hits (Philly): Signals Midwest / Big Nothing / Earth Telephone / Same, 7pm, $10

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): Stillhungry / Brewster / ManDancing, 6pm, $7

Graffiti Dog Concert Series (Galloway Twp): Debra Devi, 3pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Promises Unsaid / Court Order / Worlds Within, 7pm, $10

Scarlet Pub (New Brunswick): The Little Engineers / Centennials / The Tisburys, 8pm, $5

Seafarer Bar (Highlands): JSOUL, 2pm

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Vampire Weekend Played Madison Square Garden with Angélique Kidjo and Despot, 9/6/19

Ezra Koenig dressed for Vampire Weekend's MSG show.

Modern Vampires of the City

I've been a big fan of Vampire Weekend since their 2008, self-titled debut. Their twee-ish, intelligent pop and sense of humor sit right in my wheelhouse. With the release of this year's Father of the Bride, the band embarked on a new direction -- understandable, following the departure of founding member, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij. Vampire Weekend became fully Ezra Koenig's band, and he took them down roads they hadn't explored before, like 70s AM Radio country rock, jammy interludes, and lyrically direct songwriting. To me anyway, the result is Vampire Weekend's fourth straight classic record; and I was looking forward to the opportunity to finally, after a decade of fandom, catch them live.

The bonus here was that, a few years ago, I loaded CoolDaughter 1's iPod Touch up with the first three Vampire Weekend albums; and she grew into sort of a super fan herself. The plan for this show was for her and CoolMom to accompany me. I went through Ticketmaster's "Verified Fan" process and got us general admission floor spots for Madison Square Garden. As the day got closer, my initial excitement started to turn to stress as I thought about the very distinct possibility that we'd get stuck standing at the rear of the floor, unable to see, and with no seats.

[Note: I toyed with the idea of requesting photo credentials for the show; but I figured, rather than work and be separated from my wife and daughter, I'd just hang with them and enjoy the show. I'd love the opportunity to shoot Vampire Weekend one day; but, this time, I just settled for some shots from the crowd with the Sony RX100 mark IV.]

I picked CD1 up from her second day of school, and we drove straight to the train with plans for a 4:30 arrival into the city. I cajoled CoolMom into leaving work early to meet us, and she obliged. Other than some people who had managed to figure out that you could show up earlier in the day to secure a wristband guaranteeing your place in line, we were some of the first GA ticket holders to arrive. The amazingly polite and friendly MSG security team seated us, in order, in the Hulu Theater, so we wouldn't have to wait in the rain, and marched us into the venue at about 5:30. By the time all of this was said and done, CoolMom, CD1, and I were just one row of people off the barricade at frigging Madison Square Garden. It reminded me of the Bruce Springsteen concert CD1 and I attended back in 2012. We were in for a long night. Despot, the opener, was set to hit at 6:30; and Vampire Weekend have been playing 2+ hour sets for the whole tour. I chose to ignore the pain I was already feeling in my nearly-fifty-year-old feet and ankles, and I decided not to think about how much worse it would be by the end of the night.

Queens rapper Despot kicked of the show backed by DJ / producer E.Vax and a sextet of inflatable tube-person dancers. Despot was one of the original hosts of Ezra Koenig's Beats 1 Radio Show, Time Crisis. He's also been part of the NYC hip hop scene since the 'aughties. He reminded the crowd that he never, ever releases music; and, so, what we got was the rare opportunity to hear any of his stuff. He closed with his one and only officially released single, "House of Bricks;" and a few in the crowd around us rapped along.

Despot
Despot

Next up was Angélique Kidjo. Born in Benin, Kidjo is an international star who bridges African, Latin, R&B, funk, and jazz through her work. Her set featured all of that including a cover of Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" and a march through a singing MSG crowd during "Afrika." When Kidjo announced her final song of the evening, there were screams for more.

Angélique Kidjo
Angélique Kidjo

Vampire Weekend hit at about 8:35 and launched into what may have been their longest-ever single set in front of their largest-ever crowd. They opened with "Bambina" from Father of the Bride and then set off on a set that included almost everything I could have asked for like "White Sky," "M79," "Step," "Diplomat's Son (with a little "Pressure Drop" interlude)," "Hannah Hunt," and audience requests "Ottoman," "Obvious Bicycle (+ a little "Son of a Preacher Man")," and "Run." I would've liked to have heard "Giving up the Gun," but that's just being greedy. CoolDaughter 1 enthusiastically bopped and sang along with all of her favorites and handed me her phone so that I could shoot a snippet of "Step" over the heads of the people in front of us for her.

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend

Songs like "2021" and "Big Blue" got jammy, extended treatments with guitarist Brian Robert Jones displaying some amazing virtuosity. Multi-instrumentalist Greta Morgan took center stage to perform Danielle Haim's vocal part on "Hold You Now," while Ezra played to the crowd in the rear. Bassist Chris Baio, in his NY Rangers t-shirt, bopped as enthusiastically as always; and drummer Chris "CT" Tomson was a force on the drum set. The band also employed a second drummer / percussionist and a few sets of keys.

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend

All of the people in the seats, as well as most of the people on the floor (not us for some reason), received wristbands that automagically glowed different colors during different parts of the show (blue during "Big Blue," red for the lyric "The Lobster's Claw is sharp as knives..." during "Walcott"). It made for a pretty striking sight when you scanned the sold-out arena.

In a first, Steve Lacy joined Vampire Weekend on stage. They joined forces for a cover of Lacy's own "Dark Red" followed by an extended and hard rocking version of "Sunflower." Angélique Kidjo came back out to help with set-closer "Jerusalem, New York, Berlin."

Those requests I mentioned were part of the encore. That encore also featured a huge confetti blast along with giant bouncing, inflatable globes that skipped along the crowd during "Walcott."

Confetti
"Walcott"
Vampire Weekend ft. fan who requested "Ottoman" (in IKEA bucket hat)

The set lasted somewhere around 2 hours and 50 minutes. I was in pain from standing for 6 or so hours. So were CoolMom and CD1. But it was one of the best live show experiences I've had in a long time, made super-special by having (most of) the coolfamily along with me. As we walked towards the exits, CD1 leaned on me and said, "You're the coolest dad ever." I gave myself the CoolDad moniker as kind of a self-deprecating joke when I started this thing, but I feel like she may have really meant it; and it felt great.

The rest of the snapshots are up in the Flickr gallery.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Magic Es, Dead Star, 2019

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

When The Magic Es released their debut It Goes On in 2017, it quickly became my favorite album of the year.

Since It Goes On, the band has released six singles none of which were on that album. I've reviewed two of these singles, "Nothing In Your Way" and "Splinters" for CoolDad and only "Splinters" is on the new album; the single "Into The Fading Light" was released in July to whet appetites for the release of Dead Star so I'm not counting it as a separate single. It's pretty impressive that, after all these singles, The Magic Es have come up with a completely new set of songs for Dead Star.

The Magic Es are Pete Thompson on vocals and guitars, Jasper Stainthorpe on bass, and Stuart Catchpole on drums and background vocals. Over the course of the last two years they have become a tighter, more focused group.

And they continue to be the best British rock and roll band since Oasis. Dead Star is ten songs of pure power-chord delight. But the Magic Es have no problem bashing out the tunes, and aren't afraid to slow things down from time to time.

"Everybody Knows" hits listeners right between the eyes. Just when you think you know where it's going, the song slows down for a breath and then rocks out again. The single, and now album track, "Splinters," features a three-pronged attack on your earbuds with Stainthorpe's melodic bass, Thompson's rhythm and lead guitar work, and some major drum action from Catchpole.

"New Starts" is a straight-ahead pop/rocker with crunching guitars and the rhythm section of Stainthorpe and Catchpole really hitting their marks. The catchy "Someone Like You," which is about someone who just makes you feel good when you're with them, is not far behind in this album's pop tunefest.

"Spaces" slows things down a bit and recalls the splendid "Cellar Door" from It Goes On. It contains some fantastic drumming from Catchpole that's right up front in the mix and a terrific guitar solo from Thompson.

"This Is A Feeling" is in the same vein and is another reminder of The Magic Es' great sense of moods and rhythms that drew me to them in the first place. And it includes the line "Here we are / Wishing on a dead star / Dreaming of a last chance / Where do we start?" that gives the album its title. Catchpole's drumming again is a major factor in the song's arrangement, and Thompson provides a strong vocal that matches the dynamics of the song.

Dead Star is out now and available at wearemagic.uk.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

New Video from Tallies

Tallies in Austin back in March.

"Midnight"

I made a concerted effort to check out new things at South By Southwest this past year. In that spirit, I placed strict limits on repeat visits with bands. There were just three bands that I saw even twice in Austin: Our Dentist family, New Zealand's The Beths, and Tallies from Toronto.

Today, Tallies released the video for my favorite song from one of my favorite albums of 2019. Anyone who knows me won't be surprised that I love this one. Hints of Johnny Marr, The Sundays, and Tallies' Canadian paisanos, Alvvays.

The song calls to mind dreamy memories of staying out late on summer nights.The Christopher Mills-directed video plays like a dreamy memory of its own.