Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sharon Van Etten Plays New Song at Hometown Gigs

Brooklyn-based Sharon Van Etten played two shows at Warsaw in her home borough this week on the latest leg of her tour to support her most recent album, "Are We There." The fans in attendance at Wednesday's show (including various members of the New Jersey native's family) heard a lot of songs that album, and were also treated to a new song, "I Don't Want to Let You Down," which Van Etten debuted on "The Ellen Show" last month (see video below).

Van Etten has been a Podcast Party favorite for several years now, since her breakthrough album, 2012's "Tramp." Last year's "Are We There" continues her progress as a singer, songwriter, and bandleader, and despite her success she maintains her quirky, humble demeanor. (She had to re-start perhaps her best-known song, "Serpents," after realizing her guitar was in the wrong tuning.)

Her band, which includes back-up singer and multi-instrumentalist Heather Woods Broderick, is always in good form, and the heartache and emotion in Van Etten's lyrics and singing on her records are just as evident in her live performances.

She's off to the Asia-Pacific region and Europe for a bunch of shows, but will be back in the States for some festival gigs, including Boston Calling, Sasquatch, and Governors Ball in New York. (See all Sharon Van Etten tour dates.)

Sharon Van Etten with Brad Cook and Heather Woods Broderick at Warsaw.
Sharon Van Etten with Brad Cook and Heather Woods Broderick at Warsaw Wednesday.

Warsaw, a club situated inside the Polish National Home in Greenpoint, is the only concert venue we've been to where you can get kielbasa and pierogies made by Polish ladies. Now that's a bonus you're not going to get anywhere else. (I had the kielbasa hero, a piece of the sausage on a short hoagie roll, with sauerkraut. Mmmm.)

Polish poster and condiments at Warsaw.
You can grab some pierogies or kielbasa at Warsaw.

Opener Leon Bridges is an impressive newcomer, performing blues and R&B tunes in the tradition of classic artists like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. He's been playing a number of dates on Van Etten's current tour and is working on his first album.

Leon Bridges and band at Warsaw.
Leon Bridges and band at Warsaw.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 CMJ Update: Outlaw Roadshow Begins Today; BV Saturday Lineup Announced

CMJ rolls onto its third day (and night), and here are a couple of updates (see our first CMJ 2014 post here). The Outlaw Roadshow, created by blogger Ryan Spaulding and Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz, is back this year and its three-day run of free gigs begins tonight at 7 p.m. at Bowery Electric (the venue for all three shows). Check the link, for you might still be able to RSVP for the shows (but make sure to get there early even if you do get confirmation).

outlaw roadshow poster CMJ
The Outlaw Roadshow begins tonight at CMJ. See details below.

Tonight's Outlaw Roadshow lineup features Hollis Brown, Matt Sucich, Christian MacNeil & Seamonsters, Lily & the Parlour Tricks, Dan Blakeslee, and more. See the Bowery Electric website for more info.

Besides being free and having some good talent, the Outlaw Roadshow has this year's best CMJ poster hands down, in our opinion.

Brooklyn Vegan has now posted the lineup for its free Saturday day party. And the headliners are none other  than the NJ-based metro area punk favorites, Titus Andronicus. (See the full line-up on the poster below, and RSVP here.) Oh, and there's free beer, rum, and tattoos, BV notes. Sounds good to us. Both the Friday and Saturday shows are at Baby's All Right.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 CMJ Music Marathon Starts Today! Tips on What to See

CMJ banner
See tips below on the best bands to see at CMJ 2014.

Prepare for live-music overload: the five days of the CMJ Music Marathon starts in just a few hours, Tuesday, Oct. 21st. That means hundreds of bands will be playing all over New York City. And you can see a lot of them for free (note: you may have to RSVP for many free shows, and then show up early because even with an RSVP the gigs are first come, first serve). And there are lots of unofficial shows, as well.

If you've got a flexible schedule and can make it to the daytime showcases, so much the better.

To dive into the massive number of acts, take a look at the official CMJ schedule (and download their free Oct. 2014 mixtape, featuring tunes from Purling Hiss, Young Magic, Matthew Dear, and more). For a more manageable, curated look at what's worth seeing, check these links (we've added more as we've come across them):

Here's a sampling of just a few of the showcases and other events going on during CMJ (which runs from the 21st to the 25th):
* No Sleep till CMJ II unofficial showcase from No Sleep Records & Brooklyn Vegan (Oct. 21st, 6 p.m.) at The Paper Box, Brooklyn with John Nolan, '68, Chris Farren, Run Forever, & more
* Bowery Presents day party (Saturday, Oct. 25th) at Piano's with The Wytches, Circa Waves, Water Liars, DMAs, & more
* Conscious Coupling showcase by Father/Daughter Records and Miscreant Records (Friday, Oct. 24th, 2 p.m.) at Silent Barn, Brooklyn with Comfy, Flagland, Girlpool, Bent Shapes, Leapling, & more
* Brooklyn Vegan free day parties (Oct. 24th & 25th, 12 Noon) at Baby's All Right, Brooklyn with Twin Peaks, Single Mothers, Protomartyr, & more (on Friday; Saturday lineup to come)

Rest up, check these lists and the CMJ website, and prepare for a great five days of live-music bingeing!

Monday, October 06, 2014

2014 CBGB Festival - Schedule, Ticket Info, and More

CBGB the club is just a memory, but its namesake music festival in New York is back for a third year. The 2014 incarnation, which runs from Wednesday, Oct. 9th from Sunday the 12th, once again features live music, film, panel discussions and workshops, and more. (You can find the full CBGB festival schedule here, and a similar version at Brooklyn Vegan.) The events take place at various venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

It's baaaack! See details on this year's CBGB Festival below.

Billy Idol gives the keynote address (along with an acoustic performance) at Center 548 (548 W. 22nd St.) on Thursday, well timed for his new album and autobiography. (Listen to Idol talking about his book on WNYC's Soundcheck.)

Among some of the other highlights of this year's CBGB Music & Film Festival: a free show at Bowery Electric on Thursday, and The Muffs at the Bell House and Macy Gray at City Winery, both on Friday. (See the full club show schedule here.)

And again, CBGB Fest will feature a free concert in Times Square: this year's (on Sunday) features Jane's Addiction, Robert DeLong, Devo, Surfer Blood and We Are Scientists. The show kicks off at 11 a.m., with Surfer Blood scheduled for 1:15 p.m., Devo at 4:30, Robert Delong at 5:25, and Jane's Addiction at 6:25 (all taking place at the Times Square South stage).

Film events include the world premiere of "Hardcore Devo Live;" "The Winding Stream," a film on the amazing musical legacy of the Carter and Cash families; and a 30th-anniversary screening of "This is Spinal Tap."

Each club show, film screening, and panel is individually ticketed; there are no all-festival passes. See specific links for music tickets, film tickets, and tickets to talks, panels, and other special events.

For more takes on what to see at this year's CBGB Festival, check out articles from the New York Post and Rolling Stone (all written a few weeks ago, before final schedules were issued). And follow CBGB on Twitter for updates.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Plenty of Great Free Americana Shows in NYC This Week, Plus St. Vincent

If you're a fan of folk, country, or any of the other genres lumped into the Americana category, this is your time to overindulge in free concerts in New York. This week is the annual Lincoln Center Out of Doors Americanafest NYC, the last week of the LCOOD series that features a blowout of great shows.

See the schedule below for Lincoln Center's big Americanafest.

The 2014 Americanafest is no exception, with a week of shows packed with artists like Rosanne Cash, The Lone Bellow, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Cassandra Wilson, and Charles Bradley. Most shows take place at the Damrosch Park Bandshell, but see the Americanafest page for links to specific show pages, where you'll find locations as well as information on the artists (including videos).
  • Wed., 8/6 - Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thurs., 8/7 - Tift Merritt, 7:30 p.m.
  • Fri., 8/8 - Cassandra Wilson, The Campbell Brothers: "A Sacred Steel Love Supreme" (a film honoring John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme"), 7:30 p.m.
  • Sat., 8/9 - The Devil Makes Three, Old 97s, and John Fullbright, 1:30 p.m.
  • Sat., 8/9 - "Heroes of American Roots: From the Historic Films Archives," 1 and 4 p.m. (a rare film montage of musical performances by artists such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Elvis Presley, and Woody Guthrie)
  • Sat., 8/9 - Rosanne Cash, The Lone Bellow, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, 6 p.m.
  • Sun., 8/10 - Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Bobby Patterson, and the Music Maker Blues Revue, 5 p.m.
  • Sun., 8/10 - Roots Symposium, 1 p.m., including "Heroes of Americana: From the Historic Films Archives," introduced by Joe Lauro; "Talkin’ Blues:" Music Maker Relief Foundation’s Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ironing Board Sam, Dom Flemons, and Tim Duffy in conversation with Coleman “Spike” Barkin; and SiriusXM’s “Buddy & Jim Show” with Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
If adventurous contemporary rock is more your style, you've got another free option for Saturday night: St. Vincent and San Fermin play a free show at Celebrate Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Free NYC Shows Honor Pete Seeger

A variety of performers will celebrate the long life and career of folk-music legend Pete Seeger in a pair of free upcoming NYC shows. These events are part of the five-day "Seeger Fest," which has so far featured performances in the Bronx and in the neighborhood of the Seegers' Beacon, New York home.

Free Pete Seeger Memorial Concert at Lincoln Center Today

This afternoon, Lincoln Center Out of Doors presents a memorial concert for Seeger and his wife Toshi at 4 p.m. that will include a bevvy of musical heavy hitters. Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary), Holly Near, Tom Chapin and the Chapin Sisters, Dar Williams, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, and many more will be performing at the Damrosch Bandshell concert. Speakers will include Harry Belafonte, Fred Hellerman of The Weavers, and George Wein, founder of the Newport Folk Festival.

Can't make it to Lincoln Center? The event will be streamed live at

Monday: "New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger"

On Monday SummerStage hosts its own celebration of Pete Seeger, but with a much more diverse cast of performers. Reflecting Seeger's impact on a variety of musical genres, and on the world of activism, "New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger" features acoustic performances by Amanda Palmer (solo) and Anti-Flag, as well as Steve Earle, Elizabeth Mitchell, Aurora Barnes, and some of the artists who appeared at Lincoln Center, including Guthrie and Irion and the Chapin Sisters. And there will be DJ sets by hip-hop pioneer Kool Herc.

"New Songs of Justice" is free and takes place Monday night at 7 p.m. at the main SummerStage location in Central Park.

The weather should be great both days, so if you're interested in folk history get out there for these two unique, multigenerational celebrations of this legend in music and activism.