After eight years of restless retirement, Garth Brooks kicked off his potentially-five-year-long stay at the Wynn Hotel’s 1,500-seat Encore Theater in Las Vegas this weekend, and for all those who remember him mostly as the guy in the picture to the left here, his comeback performance is an absolute revelation. The Music Mix was in the audience for the early set on Saturday, and if we were worried that this flashpot-loving showman might aim for Sigfried-and-Roy-like levels of spectacle during his time on the Strip, those fears dissipated the moment Brooks stepped on stage: Dressed in jeans, a hoodie, a baseball cap, and a headset mic (some things never change), he looked more like your burly neighbor on football Sundays, breaking out the guitar in the den for a singalong after supper. The “living-room show” has long deserved a Vegas comeback — but no one thought Brooks would be the dude to try it. Or that he’d be the perfect guy to pull it off. READ FULL STORY »
Tag: Concert Reviews (91-100 of 137)
Bebel Gilberto took the stage at Hiro Ballroom in New York City Wednesday night, kicking off the holiday weekend with a buoyant evening of both material from her September album, All in One, and past favorites. The singer-songwriter, whose father, João Gilberto has been dubbed the father of bossa nova, brought the same smooth-as-honey touch that has made her the queen of contemporary Brazilian beats for nearly a decade.
Much like on her albums, Gilberto shifted between Portuguese- and English-language songs, opening her set with the African-influenced “Aganju,” from her self-titled 2004 album. But between swaying numbers like “So Nice” and the Bob Marley cover “Sun is Shining,” the more rousing melodies like “Bim Bom” and “Chica Chica Boom” instantly switched the vibe from piano bar to raucous samba dancefloor.
And even though the Asian-designed venue seemed a bit mismatched for her bossa nova style, its small size proved perfect for the crowd and Gilberto herself, who, at one point, picked up and showed to the audience a sketch a fan had been drawing during the concert. It was a pretty impressive piece of work, but not surprising considering how much adoration Gilberto’s fans seem to have for her. That’s not to say, though, that the singer doesn’t reciprocate. When she wasn’t purring the melodies, Gilberto was professing her love for the crowd, and her love for, well, love.
If that wasn’t the perfect kick-off to a weekend of love and thanks, I don’t know what is.
More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Songs about food: Let us give thanks!
John Mayer tops album chart; Norah Jones and Justin Bieber, not too shabby
Adam Lambert rocks ‘Early Show’
Jimmy Fallon does Neil Young
Photo: Henrique Gendre
Childless Upper West Siders bewildered by the giant “Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! SOLD OUT” marquee in their posh Manhattan neighborhood quite likely grew even more confused this morning as swarms of toddlers dressed in furry green monster outfits and pink flower-bulb she-beast t-shirts descended upon the Beacon Theater for three consecutive sold-out performances. For those who still don’t know, Yo Gabba Gabba!, the brainchild of Scott Schultz (of the band Majestic) and Christian Jacobs (of The Aquabats), is a kids’ show on Nickelodeon, featuring a skinny DJ in an orange jumpsuit (DJ Lance Rock) and five monsters (well, four and a magic robot) he carries around his boombox. The music- and dance-heavy program teaches kids, in equal measure, about manners, trying new things, and 808 bass. READ FULL STORY »
There’s no dearth of quality New York bands these days as recent spirit squads have pointed out, but few have developed their sound into such a unified front of deliberate weirdness as Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors, who played a sold-out show at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg last night. This six-person experimental band’s approach to music and live performance brings to mind influences like David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass, but the complex soundscapes they’ve created seems to spring from nothing other than their collective creative quirks.
The Dirty Projectors are blessed with a fantastic mix of complementary vocalists. Lead singer and guitarist Dave Longstreth sounds somewhat like Antony Hegarty + testosterone, and he shares the voice-time equally with three female backup vocalists who also take turns singing lead. Check out Amber Coffman fronting the avant tinkerers on “the hit,” the synth-inflected “Stillness is the Move”:
Throughout their set, the DPs brought their hooks and melodies in staccato bursts — spindly, angular guitar riffs phase in and out while choral voices exploded with the force of a geyser, then disappeared just as suddenly.
The highlight of the night was “Useful Chamber,” which touched on a variety of weirdo rockers without ever sounding derivative. The wailing, cathartic background vocals brought to mind the Residents’ God In Three Persons album, while the stomping drums and Television-meets-Troggs guitar work made the audience shimmy and shake as much as is conceivable for music this esoteric.
Which isn’t to say you can’t move your body to their music, it’s simply that the band doesn’t invite the audience to let go. Dirty Projectors are about premeditated artistic expression, and their medium just happens to be music—unlike their borough brethren Animal Collective, who seem music lovers first and artists second. At the end of the night, it was easy to be impressed by this band, but hard to fall in love with them.
Are they too difficult? Too challenging? Nah. They could just use a friendly reminder of why they got into rock & roll in the first place.
More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
The Black Keys take over space radio: Watch Dan Auerbach’s performance exclusively on Music Mix
Jason Segel performs booty call song onstage with Swell Season
New Vampire Weekend video, ‘Cousins’: Watch it here
Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new video with Beck, ‘Heaven Can Wait’: Welcome to the Crazydome
Marina and the Diamonds: The Music Mix Recommends
Peter Gabriel covers Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Regina Spektor: When rock worlds collide
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert: Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills and Nash and so many more
The listed headliners alone were enough to justify outrageous ticket prices for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first 25th anniversary concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden last night: Crosby, Stills & Nash, Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon solo, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band can all fill arenas by themselves. Yet they weren’t even half the talent in the room. As each of those top-billed acts brought out one legendary friend or forebear after another to jam on stage, a truly epic event took form. (Check out a full set list after the jump.) By the end of the night — which was actually 1:30 this morning — the performers had succeeded at a goal that the Hall of Fame itself only sometimes reaches: They had presented a convincing rock canon, a rich history that’s still living and breathing in the present tense.
You know you’re at a great rock show when there’s a harpist reeling and rocking onstage just as hard as the guitarist.
Even before the British buzz band took the stage, opening act Holly Miranda thrilled the crowd by bringing out surprise guests Nada Surf (yeah, all three members) to be her backing band. The alt-rock favorites provided some easy-going muscle to Miranda’s mournful sound, contributing vocals on some numbers and even playing their own “Killian’s Red” with Miranda’s support.
Excitement levels stayed high between sets thanks to celebrity fever: Someone in the crowd noticed Penn Badgley from Gossip Girl (seriously, omfg), and the sight of him hiding in the wings incited a flurry of iPhone picture-taking activity.
When Florence Welch herself finally glided onstage, her ethereal presence transformed everything. Wild red hair stood out in stark contrast to her wispy white gown, and her whole countenance gave everything a vaguely spiritual quality. The plastic Christmas lights strewn around the stage suddenly brought to mind vocational candles in a cathedral, and the granny drapery behind the band suddenly seemed elegant and baroque.
She basically covered Lungs in its entirety, including takes on “I’m Not Calling You a Liar,” “Hurricane Drunk” and “Dog Days Are Over,” and by the time she dove into the crunchy rave-up “Kiss with a Fist,” it was obvious Welch was just as adept as playing the rock and roller as she was the gospel diva. Flailing around—or as she called it, “wigging out”—and conducting her band with lithe hand motions, Florence Welch gives the impression that she is as much a force of nature as she is an artist.
Not to say she ever truly let loose—actually, her McCartney-esque goofball charm wouldn’t be out of place in a British music hall. But her art—her commanding voice, her yearning songs of redemption—is as elemental as it is exciting, leaving one with the feeling that Florence + the Machine is a band that will be with us for a while.
More from EW’s Music Mix:
‘New Moon’ soundtrack outsells Tim McGraw on the albums chart
‘Juno’ director Jason Reitman’s ‘Up In the Air’: Hear his hand-picked soundtrack star here
Norah Jones’ ‘Chasing Pirates’ video: Oh captain, my captain
Adam Lambert’s outre-space ‘For Your Entertainment’ cover
CMJ’s Music Marathon wrapped up late this Saturday night, marking a soggy end to a thrilling week that featured hundreds of up-and-coming indie bands playing the New York City concert circuit.
Britain’s minimalist pop quartet the xx were the reigning buzz champions of the festival, and their live shows did nothing to quell the fervor surrounding them. This group of lovelorn 20-year-olds specializes in a quiet brand of pop that eschews typical indie sonics in favor of quiet storm R&B production sheen. The co-ed lead vocalists— Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim—straddle the line between lo-fi breathiness and Top-40 soul.
In spite of the softness of their music, the xx’s unexpectedly gorgeous genre-alchemy is one of the more exciting things on the scene today and audience reactions backed this up: the crowd’s whoops of approval easily exceeded the volume of anything on stage. Check out some fan footage of the xx playing the Music Hall of Williamsburg below (as well as more CMJ coverage after the jump):
Last night, about a month after his 75th birthday, Leonard Cohen packed NYC’s Madison Square Garden to the rafters. Earlier in the week, he’d released Live at the Isle of Wight 1970, a CD/DVD package documenting a festival set he played when he was just shy of 36. And here’s the thing: Ask me which of the two performances was more compelling, more full of life, more can’t-look-away transcendent, and…I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Sure, Cohen had a certain bright-burning intensity 39 years ago. He waited til after 2 A.M. to go on stage in 1970, which I imagine he wouldn’t be as happy to do today. His voice could hit a few more high notes back then. But that’s about all the obvious advantage that young Cohen has over old Cohen.
Last Friday night, as part of a four-date show run in New York City, L.A. noise rockers No Age provided live musical accompaniment to a screening of the Jean-Jacques Annaud film The Bear at Manhattan’s New Museum. Experimental music, French cinema, an avant-garde museum… could an evening possibly get any artier?
No Age’s live performance to the mostly dialogue-free film didn’t feel self-conscious in any way, though—the two-man band’s guitar/drum/synthesizer additions jams worked with the mood of the film, heightening audience emotions instead of showing off musicianship and distracting from The Bear’s plot.
Indie songstress Regina Spektor played Radio City Music Hall last night, sharing her idiosyncratic art-pop with an audience of downtown scenesters, vocally-demonstrative devotees and even some nine-year-olds up past their bedtimes.
First things first, the answer to the most pressing question on your mind: YES, Regina did adopt a fish face while making seal/walrus noises during “Folding Chair.” Aside from maritime impressions, Spektor was graceful and composed, spending most of the evening seated behind a sleek expansive black piano.
The magnitude and majesty of Radio City—not to mention the adoring fans that hung on her every syncopated syllable—did seem to have an effect on her. Spektor bashfully told the audience being in Radio City, “Feels like a dream. I’m so grateful.” It’s not hard to understand her reaction. Sure, “Fidelity” and “On the Radio” are inviting pop songs, but it’s rare to see so an enormous crowd of “regular people” shrieking with excitement over such willfully weird music.