Turf (ish) Concert Review: Lucius, July 4th, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

1x1.trans Turf (ish) Concert Review: Lucius, July 4th, Horseshoe Tavern

The first time I saw Lucius, they were playing a breakfast in the middle of SXSW at the W Hotel. It was like 9 am in the morning and frankly, everyone was there for the free breakfast tacos. Amongst the glory that is eggs, bacon, chorizo and salsa, we saw this band that was all dressed up in uniforms. It was cute, their harmonies sounded good to a hung-over Ricky and I admired their perseverance and dedication to playing a god damn breakast show.

The time since that morning has been great for the band. Not only did they release a fantastic debut album, but lead vocalist Jessica Wolfe and Holly Laessig were also featured on San Fermin’s indie hit track Sonsick. Playing a TURF after party show at the Horseshoe, I was eager to see how the band was in a non breakfast scenario.

Even though it was their second show of the day (they had an early gig at the TURF festival), Lucius’s show was great. Playing material off their debut album, the group’s live set totally blew the recorded material out of the water. Performed live, the harmonies and vocals by Wolfe and Laessig sounded fantastic. The two singers just scream talent and can go from singing country-like songs to r&b style tunes in a matter of minutes. The band loves percussion and at any given point, there were at least one or two members of the group banging on something, whether it be drums, snares or cowbells. Those two elements gave the show a surging pulse and when you blend that with hook filled choruses that is sprinkled throughout their music, the outcome is an outrageously pleasurable experience.

It should be noted that the band tried ambitiously to sing without microphones for the last part of their set. It was a valiant attempt, but the chatty crowd really diminished the experience. (They also tried this at the breakfast). Still it was an ambitious attempt by the group, and given all the different genres of music their record touched, ambition is not something Lucius is unfamiliar with. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Concert Review: The Antlers, Mod Club, June 27

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1x1.trans Concert Review: The Antlers, Mod Club, June 27

In the past half decade, the Antlers have carved a nice little space for themselves in the indie rock world. From the emotionally devastating album Hospice to the horn enthused chilled tones of recently released album Familiars, the group has rewarded those who are patient enough to listen through their intricate and methodically built up arrangements with some truly unique music.

New album in hand, the trio (plus an additional musician) took their live show to a sold out Mod Club on Friday night. Consisting of mostly material from their latest album Familiars, the Antler’s set on Friday introduced us to the dream like rock nature of their new record. As with all Antlers songs, all the new material were laid out in slow, ever building arrangements. If theres ever a band that really goes by their own pace, it’s The Antlers. The new material, which lacks the emotional weight of their previous albums, still sounded good, and the inclusion of the trumpet to their music added a new wrinkle to their previous sound and is a good indication that the group is exploring new sounds with each album. Always a good sign.

As always, the crowd (myself included) was just a little more excited for the back catalog portion of the concert and the opening notes of the track Sylvia was met with particular delight. Pete Silbermann has one of the best voices in indie rock today, and it is amazing to see how he can switch from sounding like an angel to a man who sounds like he is at his most desperate in a matter of moments. Something about the Antler tracks just resonates with people that most other bands cannot achieve. I don’t know how to explain it. If you can describe the Antlers music, you can say they are a band that plays their tracks with no wasted notes. The way that the band plays their songs make it seem every chord, drum beat, word and note seems all part of a carefully constructed madness. A truly excellent live performance, even if they didn’t play Two.

Concert Review: The Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban Experience, June 28, The Hamilton

Posted on by halley in Concerts | Leave a comment

1x1.trans Concert Review: The Dizzy Gillespie Afro Cuban Experience, June 28, The Hamilton

Never again will I think of jazz as ‘easy listening.’ After seeing the Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban Experience show at the ever-impeccable Hamilton stage, I will never hear those sounds without imagining a group of super talented musicians doing their utmost to make sounds so intricately complicated and wonderfully dynamic you have to close your eyes at part to make sure you catch everything without visual distractions. As a side note/question to illustrate the physical duress,:is the cheek a muscle? Seeing the brass instruments played made me realize those musicians’ cheeks get more of a work out in a 90 minute set then my entire body gets in about 90 days.

The Dizzy Gillespie tribute band was playing as part of DC’s jazz fest and just rocked it. There were 8 musicians on stage, making music on instruments including but not limited to the piano, sax, flute, horn, trumpet, drums, and (my personal favorite) the maracas. There were also lovely vocals, friendly banter, and interesting historical facts about Dizzy thrown in along the way. The crowd, multi-generational-ethnic-and-attired (audience members ranged from bachelorette party festive to business suit formal) loved the show and applauded loudly after each piece. My favorite was probably the classic Black Orpheus, but honestly, I loved it all.

I think the only complaint one may have heard was the brevity of the set – the band was playing an early and late show and the room had to be cleared after about an hour and 30 minutes. I know I could have stayed most of the night without complaint.

NXNE Review: The Barr Brothers, Massey Hall; Danny Brown, Mod Club, June 20

Posted on by Brent in Concerts, Everything, North By Northeast | Leave a comment

1x1.trans NXNE Review: The Barr Brothers, Massey Hall; Danny Brown, Mod Club, June 20

What the NXNE Press Guide said about Barr Brothers:

After touring North America through the 90s as part of improv-based rock trio The Slip, brothers Brad and Andrew Barr settled in Montreal and expanded to a quartet with the inclusion of harpist Sarah Page and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial. They’ve birthed a unique sound reliant on interwoven string arrangements, wide open spaces, and a multitude of musical traditions.

Using Massey Hall as a regular NXNE venue was a smart decision by the organizers. Being able to have one of the city’s top music halls available for acts that might not necessarily best fit on a stage in a bar is something I hope continues at future NXNE festivals. Despite it being one of the larger venues in the city, the audience feels a sense of intimacy here and this was used to The Barr Brothers advantage.

The Barr Brothers are singer/guitarist Brad Barr, drummer Andrew Barr, harpist Sarah Page, and bassist/keyboardist Andres Vial. The brothers were once part of indie rock band Slip but have since changed their sound to one that would be classified as Americana with their laid back, acoustic-driven ballads. Their soft echoing melodies engaged the crowd at Massey. They couldn’t have played a better venue to match their sound.

1x1.trans NXNE Review: The Barr Brothers, Massey Hall; Danny Brown, Mod Club, June 20

What NXNE Press Guide said about Danny Brown:

In an era of industry-obsessed MCs, interchangeable hashtag raps, and “viral” everything, it has become increasingly difficult to find a true original in the rap game, an artist able to ignite a buzz without calculatedly chasing it down. Yet ask anyone who’s been paying attention and they’ll tell you: Danny Brown is that dude.

I was fortunate enough to catch Danny Brown twice during the festival. The first show was at a packed Yonge-Dundas Square. Let me say that there’s nothing like a couple thousand fans of various ages yelling lines like “sniffing cocaine” and ”with her hands on the floor and her feet on the wall she popped that pussy like she ain’t afraid to fall”. This first show had more of a corporate event feel with various sponsors splashed everywhere.

Less about this show and more about his headlining set at the Mod Club. The dominant demographic here were sweaty mid-20′s fans. They were half-frat, half-hipster all white kids that knew every lyric from every song. They copied his frantic ’80′s exercise move with his arm, they stuck out their tongues, and they lit up joints when Danny asked them to. Of course one was then passed on stage to himself and his DJ and let everyone know that “now it smells like a Danny Brown show” which was then followed by his unique laugh/cackle. This may then explain the following quote between songs: “I get hassled at the border every fucking time. I just wanna roll some shit up, light some shit up and smoke.”

Despite him only being given a 40-minute set, this was the perfect amount of time to get the crowd going without making it repetitive or having anyone look at their watch.