Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Concert Catch-Up: 4 Knots, Canada Day Concert, Ian Hunter at Maxwell's

Having fallen off the blog-posting wagon, we herewith present a round-up post of some recent concerts we've been to (two of them free, no less).

4 Knots Music Festival, South St. Seaport

Parquet Courts at the 4 Knots Festival.
Parquet Courts at the 4 Knots Festival.

The third edition of the successor to the Coney Island Siren Festival once again featured two stages with bands of varying styles. Most of the ones we saw at Saturday's festival were firmly in the indie pop/rock vein: The Men, Parquet Courts, The Babies, and White Lung (the latter having a punk feel to them). And then there was Marnie Stern, a New York singer/guitarist whose chops on the axe are impressive, but whose singing style resembles screaming too often for our tastes.

Sadly, we missed the two top-billed acts at 4 Knots, Reigning Sound and Kurt Vile and the Violators, because we had to head uptown for the next show..

Canada Day Concert, Central Park SummerStage

The Joel Plaskett Emergency at SummerStage.
The Joel Plaskett Emergency at SummerStage.

The variety of styles at the three-act Canada Day concert was even more evident. The concert started with a performance by a First Nations group (native Canadians) group, followed by the roots-Celtic band Spirit of the West, pop-rockers The Joel Plaskett Emergency, and electronic pop star Lights.

Plaskett really got the crowd going with tunes such as "True Patriot Love" and "Nowhere with You," and then the teen girls moved to the front of the stage for the very popular Lights. Although she started out writing and performing her songs by herself on electronic keyboards, for her current live shows she performs with a full band, including a drummer and two additional keyboard/laptop artists (who also play guitar and bass).

It was a good night of music, and even the non-Canadians in the house had to be touched when all the show's musicians came out on stage to sing the national anthem, "O Canada," along with show host George Stromboulopolous.

Ian Hunter and the Rant Band, Maxwell's

Ian Hunter on stage at Maxwell's Tuesday night.
Ian Hunter on stage at Maxwell's Tuesday night.

The final month of shows at Maxwell's is upon us, and the much-loved club is going out with a band with a schedule packed full of great gigs. Ian Hunter, who last year played the much-larger Highline Ballroom to launch his latest album, brought his six-piece band to the small stage in Hoboken for a sold-out out.

Hunter played songs old and new, from Mott the Hoople to his earlier solo works to a couple of tunes from last year's album "When I'm President." As with the Highline show, Hunter showed he can still rock, and his Rant Band is full of skilled veteran players (including former Hobokenite and Bongos member James Mastro).

The show was opened by the duo of Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric, two performers who have played Maxwell's many times over the years, together and individually. It felt nostalgic to see them on the stage for the last time, one of many such moments to come over the next few weeks.

One big moment (or rather, set of them) will be when The Feelies play their final year of 4th of July weekend shows at Maxwell's. The Haledon, NJ band formed just a couple of years before Maxwell's open, and it has played the club many times (as have its various spin-off groups).

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