bowery ballroom

Anderson East – Bowery Ballroom

Anderson East - Bowery Ballroom

Anderson East might’ve said on stage that he felt intimidated by New York, but he sure didn’t show it during his performance last Friday night at the Bowery Ballroom. From his opening song “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em” to his closing cover of “All These Things That I’ve Done,” Anderson had the sold-out crowd dancing and singing along to every word of his 17-song set.

Along with running through all the tracks from his debut album Delilah, Anderson sprinkled in a number of crowd-pleasing covers throughout the show, including a surprisingly fun version of Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.”

After missing out on getting tickets to Anderson’s Mercury Lounge show over the summer and seeing him play just a handful of songs a couple months ago when he opened for The Lone Bellow, it was really good to see him play a full set. While he sounds great on his album, he’s even better live. He’s got the voice and charisma to grab your attention, and the talent to keep it. Plus, he knows how to work the crowd. Ever the charmer, he gave a few lucky fans roses from the stage as he closed out the show.

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Go see Anderson live if you can. And if you missed him, hopefully some pictures from the front row will help tide you over ’til he tours again.


Concert Catch-up

The last couple months have been hectic, but I was still able to catch a few great concerts. Since I last posted, I’ve seen The Low Anthem, Patrick Watson, Barnstar, Josh Ritter, Lydia, The Early November, Josh Ritter (again!), Damien Rice, and Andrew Bird play. Pretty awesome, if you ask me. Check out some pics and a brief recap of each show below.

The Low Anthem and Patrick Watson – Music Hall of Williamsburg (5/28/15)

The first time I saw The Low Anthem was when they opened for Josh Ritter in Tarrytown in 2009. I had no idea who they were, but loved everything they played. Since then, I’ve tried to catch each of their city shows.

In May, they opened for Patrick Watson. Seemed odd to me since they’ve headlined tons of shows here before, and I’d never heard of Patrick, but figured I’d go anyway. It was a good choice. While I came to the show for The Low Anthem, it was Patrick’s set that blew me away. Guy’s got the dreamiest falsetto and his live band is excellent. Think I’ve got a new obsession.

Barnstar! and Josh Ritter – Tarrytown Music Hall (5/29/15)

Nothing like seeing your favorite musician play in your favorite venue. I’ve gushed and gushed about Josh before. You get the picture: I adore him. This time his opener was Barnstar!, a bluegrass-for-people-who-don’t-like-bluegrass band, led by Josh’s bassist Zack Hickman. These guys know how to play. No photos this time, but did manage to get a short snippet of Barnstar!’s cover of “When My Time Comes” by Dawes, and Josh’s “Good Man.” Catch these guys live if you can.

Lydia and The Early November – Bowery Ballroom (6/2/15)

Having grown up in New Jersey, I’ve been able to see The Early November play tons of times. So many times that I’ve lost count. When they announced they’d be playing an NYC show, I made sure to grab a ticket. These guys are just as good as I remembered (even without the bassist Serg, who a few people annoyingly kept shouting for). On the downside, I had a killer upper respiratory infection (damn you, tree pollen!). If you attended the show and happened to be standing beside me, sorry if my coughing grossed you out.

Josh Ritter and Damien Rice – Celebrate Brooklyn (6/17/15)

I was already excited about getting to see Damien play in nearby Prospect Park, but when Josh Ritter was added to the bill as an opener, I was ecstatic. Josh was all smiles during his set, as usual. Damien was on the opposite side of the spectrum, playing with devastating angst. It’ll always astound me how doesn’t need a full band backing him to make some noise — just give him a loop pedal and get ready to be blown away.

Andrew Bird – le poisson rouge (6/25/15)

Before departing for a European tour, Andrew Bird played a show here in the city to warm up. Got treated to a few new songs (which sounded great) and lots of old favorites. It was my first time seeing him play a full set, before I’d only seen him as a part of Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders, and that was more than a few years ago. Good to finally hear some of my favorite songs live. In the middle of his set, Andrew talked about how he finds eye contact creepy (I feel you, dude), hence all the closed-eye shots below.

What’s next?

Lots of shows to look forward to this month. Most pumped about getting to see AA Bondy play again, especially since the last time I saw him perform was eight years ago. Good things coming, stay tuned.

Concert Catch-Up: Dustin Kensrue, Joe Pug, and Sufjan Stevens

The best part of spring/summer: all the concerts. It’s festival season and tons of bands are touring right now. I recently caught three fantastic shows: Dustin Kensrue, Joe Pug, and Sufjan Stevens. Check out below for some serious guy-with-guitar action.

Dustin Kensrue – The Bell House (4/30/15)

Dustin Kensrue’s most well-known as the lead singer for post-hardcore band Thrice, but it’s his stripped-down folk rock that I love the most. He’s currently on tour to promote his new album, Carry the Fire. I got the chance to see him play at The Bell House, which is great because it’s not too far from where I live. Even better, Kevin Devine (who I’m just a little in love with) made a surprise appearance and played some Bad Books songs with opener Andy Hull. Awwww yeah.

Field Report and Joe Pug – Bowery Ballroom (5/1/15)

Joe Pug. I’ve been hearing this guy’s name for the last few years but never bothered to check him out. I’m an idiot. This dude rocks. On a whim, I bought a copy of his new album, Windfall, and now I’m hooked. I caught Joe’s show at the Bowery Ballroom and he absolutely killed it. Also awesome: his opener, Chris Porterfield of Field Report. Hadn’t heard of him before, but he blew me away. If you like good songwriting, I suggest you buy all his stuff.

Sufjan Stevens – Kings Theatre (5/2/15)

Sufjan Stevens’s new album, Carrie & Lowell, is devastating. Sufjan wrote the album in response to his mother’s death, and with unflinching honesty. Listening to it actually makes me a little uneasy, almost feels like I’m eavesdropping (listen to “The Only Thing” and just feel your heart break). But it’s a beautiful album. The record is as bare-bones as it gets, most songs featuring just Sufjan’s classic whisper and a quiet guitar. The live versions are something else altogether. Sufjan’s got a full band with him and the best lighting/stage design I’ve seen in a long time. The full band gives the songs more urgency, add to that flashing lights and a killer projection display, and the result is tumultuous.

What’s next?

So many good shows to look forward to these next few months. Next up, MUSE at Webster Hall! Gah!

Weekend Jams: JD McPherson

Some songs just sound meant for vinyl. That’s definitely the case for JD McPherson’s latest album, Let the Good Times Roll. I’ve been listening to this nonstop since I got it a few weeks ago, and after seeing him twice this past week, I don’t think it’ll be leaving my record player any time soon. Plus, it just sounds fantastic on my sound system:

I love live music, and I’m lucky enough to live in a city where some bands stop to play multiple shows each tour. When I saw JD and his band play at the Bowery Ballroom last Wednesday, I was completely blown away. Not only are they all excellent musicians, they’ve got tons of energy and a killer stage presence. I left that night wanting more, and so when I got home, I bought a ticket to their other show scheduled a few days later at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

At the Bowery show, I hung out towards the side wall. At just barely 5’1″ it wasn’t exactly the best vantage point, but if I tip-toed I got this view:

JD McPherson at the Bowery Ballroom

All that tip-toeing left me with super sore calves that night, so when I got to the Williamsburg show I planted myself right at the front of the stage. Much better. They put on another terrific show, plus since I was right in front of the stage entrance, I scored a high five from JD when he came out. Awww yeah.

Nabbed a few more photos and recorded a couple snippets of some of my favorite songs. Check ’em out below. (Apologies in advance for shooting those vids in landscape view. I’m a video n00b, I own it.)

Video clip: JD McPherson – Fire Bug

Video clip: JD McPherson – Scandalous


JD McPherson at the Music Hall of Williamsburg

JD McPherson at the Music Hall of Williamsburg

JD McPherson at the Music Hall of Williamsburg

JD McPherson at the Music Hall of Williamsburg

Like what you heard?

Do yourself a favor and go see these guys live! And while you’re at it, go buy all of JD’s albums. You won’t be disappointed.