Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Concerts in NYC Tonight: Mose Allison, Beth Orton

I've fallen off the wagon in terms of blog posting, but hope to be back on a more regular schedule now. Two FREE concerts tonight in New York you might be interested in:

* Legendary jazz and blues pianist Mose Allison plays at Madison Square Park tonight at 7 p.m. He first hit the New York jazz scene in the 1950s, and is still making music at age 82 (you'll no doubt be hearing tunes from his new album, “The Way of The World”). Mose Allison's songs have been covered by everyone from The Who to Bonnie Raitt. Madison Square Park is between Fifth and Madison Aves., from 23rd to 26th Streets.

* British singer-songwriter Beth Orton plays the River to River Festival, also at 7 p.m. The show takes place at Rockefeller Park in Battery City Park (see link above for map showing location of the park). Orton combines folk-pop with electronic beats (she has worked with the Chemical Brothers in the past).

You might remember Orton from when she burst onto the scene more than a decade ago with the song "She Cries Your Name" from her debut album "Trailer Park." She's put out several more records since then, and her songs have been featured in a number of TV shows and movies.

* And just across the Hudson from New York City, the Bobby Sanabria Big Band plays at Weehawken's Lincoln Harbor Park, on the river and less than a half mile from the Lincoln Tunnel. This Grammy-nominated, 19-piece band mixes Latin, Caribbean, R&B, and funk styles. Show time is, yes, 7 p.m.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Free Concerts in NYC This Weekend: Texas Tornadoes, Tinariwen, Gil-Scott Heron, Apples in Stereo, and More

Above: Tinariwen, the guitar-driven band from Mali, play Central Park SummerStage on Saturday. They got a lot of exposure playing the FIFA World Cup celebration concert; here several of them are seen at the Nice Jazz Festival in 2005. 

Looking for some free music outdoors for this first weekend of summer? Here are a few good choices, from rock and pop to jazz and roots music...

Saturday, June 26th:
* Tinariwen, Omar Souleyman, and Toubab Krewe (African and Middle Eastern pop/rock/folk), SummerStage, Central Park, 3 p.m.
* The Apples in Stereo with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and members of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Pier 17, South Street Seaport, 7 p.m.
* The Texas Tornadoes and The Red Clay Ramblers at Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 27th
* Bang on a Can Marathon, NYC River to River Festival, World Financial Center Winter Garden, 12 p.m. (An "incomparable 12-hour super-mix of genre-defying music from around the corner and the globe.")
* NYC Revolutions Series: Gil Scott-Heron with special opener Derrick Hodge, SummerStage, Central Park, 3 p.m.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Arcade Fire Adds Second NYC Show at Madison Square Garden

Arcade Fire has added a second New York City date, on August 5th. Their first NYC show on August 4th, which was announced with the other Arcade Fire North American tour dates, has already sold out -- a pretty enthusiastic reception for the indie rockers, especially considering they have just two albums out (their third, "The Suburbs," will be released in a few weeks).

Spoon will be the opener, as with the first Arcade Fire show.

Tickets for the August 5th Arcade Fire concert go on sale Saturday, June 26th at 9 a.m.

Gregg Allman Undergoes Successful Liver Transplant

Left: Gregg Allman performing at New Orleans Jazz Fest in April. Photo: Flickr user Derek Bridges.

Rocker Gregg Allman, one of the founders of the Allman Brothers Band, has undergone a successful liver transplant, a statement on his website reported yesterday. The procedure took place at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, the statement said.

Gregg Allman had suffered from hepatitis C for a few years and the Allman Brothers Band had to cancel a number of shows when Allman became ill, including its annual spring series of shows at New York's Beacon Theatre. I saw two of the band's shows this spring at the United Palace in New York, and Allman did his usual fine job of singing and playing.

The website statement says that Allman had been undergoing treatment for hepatitis C but that his liver had suffered chronic damage and that a transplant was needed.

So how is the legendary singer, songwriter, and performer doing with his new liver? “I feel pretty good, considering everything that’s happened,” Allman is quoted as saying.

Best wishes to Gregg and his family for a speed recovery. We look forward to seeing him on the road for many years to come.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Concerts in NYC Wed., June 23rd: FREE Shows by Brand Nubian, Solas, & the McCoy Tyner Quartet; Sarah Harmer at City Winery

If you're looking to hear some music on Wednesday night in New York, you're in luck: there are some very talented veteran artists in town, representing totally different genres. And three of the shows are free.

Hip-hop pioneers Brand Nubians bring their socially and politically conscious music to a free SummerStage concert in Crotona Park in the Bronx at 7 p.m. More information: or (212) 360-2777. (Directions to Crotona Park)

Over at the SummerStage home base in Central Park, there's a concert that's long on jazz talent, as reflected in the show's name: "George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival with The McCoy Tyner Quartet featuring Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding and Francisco Mela and The Stanley Clarke Band featuring Hiromi." It's a mouthful, but that's a lot of jazz chops assembled in one show. For more info on the McCoy Tyner Quartet free show (which also starts at 7 p.m.), see the SummerStage info above.

Solas, a group that has long been influential in Celtic music, plays this week's free Madison Square Music series concert at Madison Square Park. Their Celtic roots sometimes branch out to incorporate blues, folk, country, and even jazz. Showtime is 7 p.m.

As much as I'd like to see the free Solas show, I'll be elsewhere Wednesday night. One of my favorite singer-songwriters, Canadian Sarah Harmer, came out with a new album, "Oh Little Fire," today, and will be introducing it to NYC with a record release party at the City Winery. While this isn't a free show, tickets are as little as $20 and are still available.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The New Pornographers At Terminal 5

The New Pornographers played a crowd-pleasing show to a very enthusiastic sold-out house at New York's Terminal 5 last night. With five albums now (including the recently released "Together"), songs that they have played in past shows had to be dropped in order to make room for the new material.

Despite the obligatory emphasis on playing the new songs from "Together," the New Pornographers played a good mix of songs. The older songs ranged from "Sing Me Spanish Techno" (the show's opener) to the title tracks from "Twin Cinema," "Mass Romantic," and "Challengers" (their previous album); "Use It," "Jackie," "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism," "and the show's final encore song, "The Bleeding Heart Show."

Songs from "Together" included "Crash Years," "Your Hands (Together)," "Silver Jenny Dollar," "My Shepherd," and "Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk."

Great show, and it's always good to see Neko Case playing in the band.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tickets for My Morning Jacket's Five-Day Run at Terminal 5 on Sale Fri., 6/18

Left: Jim James brings My Morning Jacket to Terminal 5 to perform five of its albums live, one night at a time, in October. 

My Morning Jacket is joining the performing-albums-live trend at New York's Terminal 5 in October, and tickets for all shows go on sale tomorrow, June 18th, at 12 Noon.

In a period of six days in late October the Louisville, Kentucky band will perform five shows, each featuring one its full-length studio albums, "along with additional songs and covers from each album’s time period." You can buy tickets for each My Morning Jacket show individually, or get a five-show pass. Here's the schedule:

* My Morning Jacket - Tennessee Fire - Mon., Oct. 18
* My Morning Jacket - At Dawn - Tues., Oct. 19
* My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves - Thurs., Oct. 21
* My Morning Jacket - Z - Fri., Oct. 22
* My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges - Sat., Oct. 23

Speaking of My Morning Jacket, they'll perform Dear God 2.0 with The Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on Friday, June 18th. The show starts at 12:35 a.m. Eastern time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Sarah McLachlan, Tom Petty, Devo, Gaslight Anthem, Stars, Chemical Brothers, More

Left: Devo is offering free previews of its new album, with cats or without.

A lot of veteran artists are among those releasing new albums this week and in the near future, and many of them are available for free online streaming. Besides current artists such as Sarah McLachlan and Oasis coming out with new releases, some musicians from the past are streaming their new projects, including '70s rockers Foghat, Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere, and of course Devo.

Speaking of Devo, the band is hosting a "cat listening party" on Ustream today to preview its new CD, "Something for Everyone." From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific time, you can listen to the album while watching a live video of cats playing in a room. The highlight of the cat pen: a big, fuzzy energy dome for the kitties to climb and romp on.

As for the other streaming CD choices, which presumably don't have live cats...'s Listening Party currently features about 20 albums including:
* "American Slang" by The Gaslight Anthem
* "Mojo" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
* "Barbara" by We Are Scientists
* "Laws of Illusion" by Sarah McLachlan
* "Time Flies" by Oasis
* "Release Me" by The Like
* "Goodbye, Killer" by the Pernice Brothers
* "Last Train Home" by Foghat
* "Something for Everyone" by Devo (if you missed the cat listening party)

AOL Music free album previews, which have some overlap with Spinner: 
* "Playing for Change" by various artists
* "Love Like Crazy" by Lee Brice
* "Red Dog Speaks" by Elvin Bishop
* "Out of the Tunnel's Mouth" by Steve Hackett
* "Existential" by Grupo Fantasma
* "Midnight Flyer" by Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere
* "Live at the Fillmore" by Chris Isaak

NPR First Listen (all streaming until June 22):
* "Homeland" by Laurie Anderson
* "The Five Ghosts" by Stars
* "Broken Hearts And Dirty Windows: Songs Of John Prine" by Josh Ritter, Conor Oberst, and others
* "Further" by The Chemical Brothers
* "I Mean To Live Here Still" by David Karsten Daniels And Fight The Big Bull
* "The Imagine Project" by Herbie Hancock
* "Ten" by Jason Moran

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Music News: Jimmy Dean Dies; New Pixies Tour Dates; Corin Tucker to Release Solo Album; More

Above: Frank Black and The Pixies are performing their classic "Doolittle" album live on tour again this September. Photo: Simon Fernandez.

Bonnaroo has ended and the cleanup has begun in Manchester, Tennessee, but the music world keeps turning. Some stories that are new and of interest:

* Country Hall of Famer Jimmy Dean dies: the songwriter best known for the song "Big Bad John," and later for the brand of sausage that bears his name, passed away on June 13th. He was 81. In addition to his singing, songwriting, and performing, he also was a TV pioneer, and his 1960s who brought country music to a wider audience.

* The Pixies announce new "Doolittle" tour dates: After their successful tour last Fall playing the full "Doolittle" album in honor of its 20th anniversary, the Pixies are doing it again with 11 dates this September. The tour will visit Philadelphia, Nashville, Atlanta, Kansas City, Tulsa, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Mesa, Las Vegas, and San Diego.

* Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker readies solo album & tour: She took four years off of music to be a mom, but Corin Tucker is planning a return to music with a group called The Corin Tucker Band. The so-far-untitled album (on S-K's old label, Kill Rock Stars) has an Oct. 5 release date, and Tucker plans five live shows not too far from her home or Portland, Oregon.

* KCRW offers World Cup music playlist: You don't have to be a soccer/football fan to enjoy this fun world music playlist. It features one streaming tune representing each country in the 32-team World Cup draw, handily arranged by tournament grouping. You'll find BLK JKS (South Africa), Jorge Drexler (Uruguay), Fela Kuti (Nigeria), and Quadron (Denmark).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bonnaroo 2010 - Free Music Downloads, Concert Streams & Downloads, & More

Bonnaroo is in full swing down in Tennessee, and if you can't be there you can experience lots of the music through your computer and speakers. The Internet has been buzzing with news of the great performances at this year's Bonnaroo, including Nas and Damian Marley; Stevie Wonder; New Brunswick, New Jersey's Gaslight Anthem; Jack Black and Tenacious D paying tribute to the recently deceased Ronnie James Dio; and what some said was the unexpectedly effective combination of Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates) with the Montreal hip-hop duo Chromeo.

Where to hear Bonnaroo music free online:
* The Bonnaroo YouTube channel has lots of content, and some live streams from the stage (I'm watching Jay-Z's set right now, at 1 a.m.). Check the Bonnaroo website for tomorrow's schedule and to see what'll be streaming live.

* NPR Music's Bonnaroo coverage is some of the best around, with live streaming concerts, archived concerts to stream or download as podcasts, photos, and background pieces on many of the artists.

There's also NPR's free Bonnaroo sampler download, featuring 11 tunes from The Black Keys, Miranda Lambert, Ozomatli, and Mumford and Sons.

* also has a free Bonnaroo sampler download, with 16 songs for the taking. Their Bonnaroo sampler includes songs by The National, Gaslight Anthem, Kings of Leon, Tinariwen, Blitzen Trapper, and Chromeo, to name a few. And has photos, stories, best- and worst-of lists, and more from each day of Bonnaroo.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Wavin' Flag" - K'Naan's Soaring Anthem Taking the World (Cup) by Storm

If you've been watching TV in the lead-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, you've probably heard "Wavin' Flag," the anthemic song by Somali-born Canadian rapper K'Naan. That's because the song has been chosen as Coca-Cola's official World Cup anthem, to be used in its commercials and other promotional efforts.

"Wavin' Flag," originally on K'Naan's 2009 album "Troubador," has been revamped and revised into a number of "celebration mixes" that are being used around the world, featuring duets with K'Naan and different local stars: Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram for the Arabic version; Spanish superstar David Bisbal for the Spanish version. (An English-language version that's being used internationally features K'Naan with of the Black Eyed Peas and French DJ David Guetta).

K'Naan performed "Wavin' Flag" at the World Cup Celebration Concert on June 10th, which was shown live in a worldwide webcast. (The concert will be broadcast in the U.S. by ABC on Friday, June 11th at 8 p.m. Eastern.)

For a more stripped-down, but still stirring, version of "Wavin' Flag," see the acoustic rendition K'Naan and band did for the CBC's "Q" show last year.

For more background on the performer, see this article I wrote on K'Naan and his remarkable journey on

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Go-Go's Cancel Farewell Tour After Jane Wiedlin Suffers Injury

The Go-Go's farewell "Happily Ever After" tour isn't happening, and it's not a happy situation. The band is canceling what was to be its final series of live shows after guitarist Jane Wiedlin suffered a fall while hiking and injured both knees, requiring surgery.

Rock n' Load, the band's PR firm, send out a press release today that says in part:
"It is with great regret that the Go-Go’s announce today the cancelation of Happily Ever After, their summer farewell tour. The tour was scheduled to kick off July 7 at Lilith Fair San Diego, and conclude in Austin, TX on July 27. The band will also be unable to perform live on Good Morning America, scheduled for July 16 in New York’s Central Park.

The news comes as a result of guitarist Jane Wiedlin injuring herself after a 20-foot fall while hiking near her home in Northern California a couple of weeks ago. Jane is scheduled for ACL replacement surgery for her knee in the coming weeks, with a prognosis of up to a year recovery time...."

The release goes on to say that refunds are available at point of purchase.

While Go-Go's fans (including me) are no doubt bummed out about the tour being cancelled, it's definitely the right call: doing a farewell tour with a replacement for Wiedlin just wouldn't do. Get well soon, Jane!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Lady Gaga Releases "Alejandro" Video (VIDEO)

And now for something completely different from my post last night on Folk City at 50... Lady Gaga has released her long-awaited video for her song "Alejandro" and you can see it at the link below.

She gave a very brief preview of the video last week on her bizarre interview with Larry "Mr. Suspenders" King (anybody see that? Not that Gaga was bizarre; she was her usual self. But the combo of her and Larry King was pretty odd.)

This "Alejandro" video is direct from Lady Gaga, at her VEVO page, not a copied or bootlegged version, so it's the quality that Gaga herself intended.

Monday, June 07, 2010

NYC's Folk City Celebrates 50 Years with Concert Monday, June 7th

The legendary Gerdes Folk City was the epicenter of the folk music movement in the 1960s and beyond--and it was set to get a big 50th anniversary party on June 7th. Many big names either got their start at Folk City or played at the club owned by Mike Porco, including Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, Jose Feliciano, Emmylou Harris, Jack Hardy, Simon and Garfunkel, Judy Collins, and Peter, Paul and Mary.

Porco's grandson Bob planned a "Folk City at 50" anniversary concert for Monday night, and Hardy, Eric Weissberg, and many others were scheduled to appear, including Greenwich Village folk scene veterans David Massengill, Rod MacDonald, Sylvia Tyson (of Ian and Sylvia), and Frank Christian, to name just a few. The emcees for the concert were to be Hardy and Dominic Chianese ("Junior" from The Sopranos), who was an emcee at the original Folk City. (See the list of "Folk City at 50" scheduled performers at Bob Porco's blog about the concert,

The concert was to be held at 130 West 3rd Street in the Village, where Folk City resided for its last decade and a half. (The location is now home to The Fat Black Pussycat and the Village Underground.) Unfortunately I was unable to make it to the show, but look forward to seeing some reviews of it. Porco's website calls it "the once in a lifetime gathering of Folk Music's finest," and it's definitely a legendary line-up--not to mention maybe the last time some of these greats will play together at one event.

Though I'm disappointed at missing the live show, a recording of the "Folk City at 50" concert will be made available to those who can chip in at least $10 to the project's Kickstarter fundraising page for future events (the June 7th concert is "just the beginning of a series of events and happenings being put together to celebrate the 50th Anniversary").

To learn more about the club, see this article by Frank Beacham on the history of Folk City, as well as this story from the Burlington Free Press about Vermont artists recalling Folk City.

Friday, June 04, 2010

New York Area Concerts On Sale Saturday: KISS, Maroon 5 & Owl City

Just a few shows in the NYC area that are going on sale Saturday, May 5th that I know of. They're at the two arena-sized summer venues, Jones Beach and PNC Bank Center. All are going on sale at 10 a.m.

* Maroon 5 and Owl City - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater- Wed., Aug. 11
* Maroon 5 and Owl City - PNC Bank Arts Center - Sun., Aug. 15
* KISS - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater - Sat., Aug. 14
* KISS - PNC Bank Arts Center - Fri., Aug. 20

Thursday, June 03, 2010

NYC Concerts On Sale: The National, Rihanna with Ke$ha, Greg Laswell, More

Above: Having sold out a number of shows in the NYC area, The National has added one more at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair. Photo: Flickr user prusakolep.

There aren't as many concerts going on sale lately as in previous weeks, but the good news is that the summer season of free concerts is underway. SummerStage began its schedule on June 1st with two shows, and as I've written before it's offering shows in all five boroughs this year (and maybe in future years).

Here's a selection of a few concerts on sale Friday, June 4th:

* The National - Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ - Fri., Sept. 24 (on sale 12 Noon)
* Greg Laswell/Cary Brothers/ Harper Blynn - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Wed., Jul 7 (on sale 12 Noon)
* Yo Gabba Gabba! Live - Radio City Music Hall - Sat., Oct. 2 (on sale 10 a.m.)
* Rihanna: Last Girl on Earth Tour with special guest Ke$ha - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater - Sun., Aug. 15 (on sale 10 a.m.)

Also, Live Nation is offering no-service-fee tickets during the month of June for shows during the summer at selected locations. In the greater New York area, that includes the PNC Bank Arts Center in NJ and the Nikon Jones Beach Theater on Long Island.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Arcade Fire Announces North American Tour Dates (Some with Spoon)

Arcade Fire has posted new tour dates! Just a couple days ago I wrote about their upcoming album "The Suburbs" and noted that they had very few North American gigs listed, and yesterday they announced new dates in the U.S. All the gigs shown below are from the Merge Records Arcade Fire tour page. Presales for some of the dates became live at 10 a.m. Eastern time today. (Note: there are some discrepancies between the Arcade Fire tour dates listed at the top of the page and the ones below.)

2010 Arcade Fire tour dates:

7 Sherbrooke Quebec - Theater Granada
8 Sherbrooke, Quebec - Theater Granada
28 Helsinki, Finland - The Senate Square
30 Rättvik, Sweden - Dalhalla

2 Arendal, Norway - Hove Festival
4 Werchter, Belgium - Rock Werchter
9 Dublin, Ireland - Oxegen Festival
13 Ottawa, Ontario - Ottawa Bluesfest
31 Montreal, Quebec - Osheaga Festival

1 Boston, MA - Bank of America Pavilion
2 Philadelphia, PA (w/ Spoon) - Mann Centre for the Performing Arts
4 New York, NY (w/ Spoon) - Madison Square Garden
6 Washington, DC (w/ Spoon) - Merriweather Post Pavilion
8 Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza
9 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
11 Atlanta, GA  (w/ Spoon) - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
14 Toronto, Ontario - Olympic Island
27 Leeds, UK - Leeds Festival
28 Reading, UK - Reading Festival
29 Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, France - Rock En Seine
31 Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom

2 Bologna, Italy - Arena Parco Nord