Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Next Round - Episode 25: The English Beat

The Next Round is finally back, and what an episode to come back on!  Right before the English Beat skanked up Brooklyn Bowl, Dave Wakeling invited me onto the group's tour bus to talk about diuretics, crowdfunding, and Johnny Cash's ghost.

Subscribe on iTunes, download directly, or stream below. (Subscribers on iTunes got this episode last Friday, so get on that shit.)

My first exposure to the English Beat was through the movie Kingpin, so what better venue to see them in than a bowling alley?  The Beat emerged from backstage, Wakeling in a polo shirt with a black-and-white checkerboard collar.  It was the perfect wardrobe choice, simultaneously representing his age and his two-tone history.  They kicked things off with "The Love You Give Lasts Forever," a peppy tribute to Dave's departed mother.  Sound issues plagued the set from the first notes, Wakeling walking over to the onstage tech to try to rectify the situation.  The bass wasn't loud enough, the guitars weren't audible, and Dave's banter was indiscernible through the reverb.  Sadly, the botched mix persisted for most of the show, creating a disconnect between the stage and the floor.

Fortunately, with a legacy act like the Beat, the crowd was quite familiar with the material and able to piece together the gaps in their heads.  Well, maybe not the heartfelt "Said We Would Never Die."  The new number will be on the upcoming For Crying Out Loud, the Beat's first LP in over thirty years (and you'll have to listen to the podcast to learn who that one's about.)  Dave recommended "I'll Take You There" to those looking for a bid at the White House in 2016, as both Clinton and Obama had used the song on the campaign trail, both elected to two terms.  As you'd expect, the set focused heavily on tracks from I Just Can't Stop It, but a pair of General Public tunes, "Never You Done That" and "Tenderness," had fans giddily dancing, fully earning their late-set placement.  But that was nothing compared to when "Ranking Full Stop" dropped into "Mirror in the Bathroom" with the scorching howl of Matt Morrish's saxophone.  A cheer erupted from the crowd as the floor turned into a gyrating punky reggae party.  
Although they are known to play a two-hour-plus set, the band turned in early without an encore, most likely a result of the frustration over the sound issues.  Bittersweet, sure.  But damn, I loved what I saw in that "Mirror."

THE ENGLISH BEAT - 09.17.14 - BROOKLYN BOWL (1 hour, 39 minutes)

The Love You Give Lasts Forever / Rough Rider / Tears of a Clown / Twist & Crawl / Happy Birthday / Hands Off... She's Mine > Children Crying > Hands Off... She's Mine / Best Friend / I'll Take You There / I Confess / Click Click / Save It for Later / Said We Would Never Die / Whine & Grine/Stand Down Margaret / Two Swords / Can't Get Used to Losing You / Sole Salvation / Never You Done That / Tenderness / Ranking Full Stop > Mirror in the Bathroom

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vacationer Set a Whale Loose in the Marlin Room

The most common reasoning I hear from people as to why they don't go to concerts is that it doesn't sound as good as the record, specifically the vocals.  Last night in Webster Hall's Marlin Room, Vacationer's Kenny Vasoli put those naysayers in their place, with every lyric sounding at least on par with its studio version.  The band began with "Trip," set against a projection of waves crashing on a Pacific shoreline.  As he played bass, Vasoli turned to the backdrop to watch his shadow dance around like a silhouette in an iPod commercial.  They followed with a trio of songs from their latest LP, Relief, including the plucky double-guitar groove of "Shining," which had Kenny "woo"ing a few more times than the album cut.  "I'm gonna give you the world," he stated, emptying a trashbag full of globe-emblazoned beach balls onto the audience for a sprightly "In the Grass."  "I'm glad you're down with the chillness.  Here's some old ones for you," Kenny offered, easing into "Summer End."  There was a marked change in energy as the band found their way back into songs from their debut, which could be identified by the lack of air-filled planets bouncing around.  After "Be with You," Vasoli remarked, "They gave us a long-ass set.  We're gonna have a lot of fun in this room."  That is, if your idea of fun is a large, inflatable "chiller" whale being tossed around the floor during "The Wild Life."  If we'd been in the main ballroom upstairs, there could have been some real Free Willy--err, Free Chilly moments of the whale soaring high above the crowd, but the lights rigged from the Marlin Room's low ceiling made it damn near impossible for the pool toy to get any air.  If the whale came close enough to you, you got stuck hitting it repeatedly against the shit hanging above you.  When Chilly came back around during the second chorus, the guy behind me dropped his beer, drenching the back of my legs with a sticky pumpkin stench.  And I actually wouldn't have minded as much if this had happened during another tune, but this was the jam I've been bumping almost non-stop for two weeks.  A gentle "Glimpse" provided a satisfying reprieve from all the whale-beating before Vacationer finished out their set with the opening salvo from Gone: "Everyone Knows" and "Good as New."

I sat down for a beer with Kenny on Friday to tape an episode of The Next Round, so look for that in the next two weeks.


Trip / Stay / Paradise Waiting / Shining / In the Grass / Summer End > Great Love / Be with You / Farther / Warmer / The Wild Life / Glimpse / Dreamlike / Everyone Knows / Good as New

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Delta Spirit Mercury Lounge Setlist

Review to come.

DELTA SPIRIT - 09.30.14 - MERCURY LOUNGE (1 hour, 37 minutes)

From Now On / Devil Knows You're Dead / Tear It Up / Empty House / Strange Vine / Live On / Hold My End Up / People C'mon / Take Shelter / Yamaha / Bushwick Blues / Language of the Dead / Trashcan / California / Children / White Table / Parade / Into the Wide / People Turn Around

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tedeschi Trucks Band Beacon 9/26 Setlist

Review soon.


Christopher Columbus / Nothing to Fear* / Hard Wired / You Don't Know* / Wild Card / 
Bully's Lament / Word of Mouth / Late July / Dearly Departed

TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND - 09.26.14 - BEACON THEATRE (2 hours, 10 minutes)

Rollin' & Tumblin' / Do I Look Worried / Don't Miss Me / Midnight in Harlem / There's a Break in the Road / Loan Me a Dime (feat. Jackie Greene) / Idle Wind / You Got the Silver (feat. Jackie Greene) / Crow Jane / Shelter / Part of Me / I Pity the Fool / Angel from Montgomery > Sugaree (feat. Jackie Greene) / Bound for Glory / More & More

(Night Time is) the Right Time (feat. Jackie Greene) / Palace of the King

Fancy Colors Rockwood Music Hall Setlist

Review to come.

SUNRUNNERS - 09.18.14 - ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL (40 minutes)

We Are at War / Save Everyone / It's a Start / Mexico* / Stars & Colors / The Writer / Everybody / Sailing
FANCY COLORS - 09.18.14 - ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL (55 minutes)

The Last One / History of Civilization / Africa / The Way You Walk Away / Castle in the Snow / Love is Easy / Island Rose / Infinity / Last Summer

Cookies Baby's All Right Setlist

Review to come.

COOKIES - 09.16.14 - BABY'S ALL RIGHT (33 minutes)

1,000 Breakfasts with You / Boycrazy / July Seventeen > Crybaby (A) > Go Back / Go-Getter / Summer Jam / Music for Touching

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds Give Madison Square Park a Free Show to Remember

One of the primary reasons I've stuck around New York for so long is the seemingly endless amount of free concerts.  While some artists are content with providing a little background music for picnickers, some go that extra mile to satisfy their longtime fans as well.  Last night in Madison Square Park, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds proved they have no interest in only being paired with hummus, grapes, and prosciutto; they exist to make you shake your ass.

I took a spot on the ground near the soundboard, surrounded by couples on blankets.  Arleigh "Sister Sparrow" Kincheloe, dressed entirely in white, bounced out onto the stage to the intro of "The Long Way."  I realized quickly that I was too far away.  The mix was only coming out of the speakers framing the stage, so the h
orns sounded thin.  I relocated to the standing section to the right of the stage, discovering that part of the reason for this was the absence of trombonist Ryan Snow.  I overcame my longing for trombone as soon as the Dirty Birds plunged into their second tune, a cover of "The Way You Make Me Feel" that sounded like the love child of MJ and Dr. Funkenstein.  Josh Myers was absolutely murdering it on the bass, and they even spiced it up with a pinch of "Kashmir."  Following a powerful "Freight Train," Arleigh encouraged the audience to come forward.  "I feel like you're afraid to get a little closer to the Dirty Birds.  They don't smell too bad," she confessed.  That's all it took for the crowd to sweep in like pigeons spotting breadcrumbs, nodding their heads to each "uh-huh" in "Don't Be Jealous."   "This is a song I wrote for my best friend.  It's kind of about troublemakers in your life," announced Arleigh before the groovy new summer track, "Prison Cells."  "Disappear," another fresh tune, came next, allowing for some raspy riffing by Kincheloe at its end.  Sister Sparrow-staple "Make It Rain" spotlighted an extended saxophone solo from Brian Graham, with Arleigh shaking a tambourine and giving a look to the crowd that she was also genuinely impressed by his sax skills.  The last Sister Sparrow show I'd been to was their Zeppelin IV cover concert, and a whole lotta Led must've rubbed off on new number "Catch Me If You Can," with Arleigh giving off serious '70s rocker vibes over the chunky blues of the Birds.  Myers let another fantastic bass bomb drop to kick off the final ditty, "Boogie Man."

Less than a minute after their departure, Arleigh ran back onto the stage and let out a guttural scream into the microphone.  Sister Sparrow then turned her tail to the crowd for a photo op.  "You ready, boys?" she said after the Kodak moment, gathering her flock for the encore.  The band tore into their "Bulls on Parade/Rock & Roll" mashup to finish it out, with Jackson Kincheloe serving up a positively wicked harmonica solo.

Requests for a podcast interview have been made, so look out for that later this year.  SSDB will return to NYC for a two-night stand at Bowery Ballroom the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Arleigh's advice?  "Come on out. Work off that turkey."

SISTER SPARROW & THE DIRTY BIRDS - 08.06.14 - MADISON SQUARE PARK (1 hour, 17 minutes)

The Long Way / Sugar > The Way You Make Me Feel > Kashmir (tease) > The Way You Make Me Feel / We Need a Love / Freight Train / Don't Be Jealous / Prison Cells / Disappear / Borderline / Make It Rain / My House / Horn Section Solo > Crawdaddies / Catch Me If You Can / Boogie Man

Bulls on Parade/Rock & Roll

Friday, August 1, 2014

José González & yMusic Lincoln Center Setlist

Review to come.


Stay in the Shade / Deadweight on Velveteen / Hints / Hand on Your Heart / Teardop / Crosses / The Nest / Promises to Keep* / Fold / Instrumental* / Lovestain / Abram / Killing for Love / This is How We Walk on the Moon / Telling Indigo from Grey*