Postcards from the Pit: The Darkness / The Dirty Pearls / Sweatheart, 10/22/12

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This show fell into the time period I refer to as “Halloween or Tuesday?”, in which, due to New York’s ah, vibrant populace, it is sometimes hard to tell if the person / group of people wearing what appear to be costumes are on their way to/from a Halloween party, or if they customarily rig themselves out in, say, top-hats, tails and corsets just to make a quick run up to the store. So when Sweatheart came out in their vaguely Medieval-looking outfits, you could probably see the Hmmm thought bubble floating above the crowd. I wasn’t really sure but was willing to come down on the side of Halloween. (I was also wondering what The Darkness would come up with as Halloween costumes.) As soon as the next band came on, though, it became apparent that we were not at a Halloween show, and snakeskin bodystockings, furry cuffs and monk robes were just Tuesday for Sweatheart. (Or Sunday night, as the case may be.) I appreciate that kind of ridiculousness in a band. They had excellent tunes, too, raunchy and hilarious in equal measure and driven by big crunchy riffs. And to top it all off they had a … Continue reading

Postcards from the Pit: Johnny Hallyday, Beacon Theater, 10/7/12

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The last time Johnny Hallyday played a show in New York was in 1962. He was on a cruise ship (!) and Jackie Kennedy (!!) was in the audience. This time around he was on dry land and I don’t know if there were any luminaries lurking in the Beacon or not. Probably, I guess; New York is that kind of town. I was there because I’ve been conducting some extremely idle and non-scientific research on the subject French rock and roll, from which I learned that Hallyday is France’s equivalent / answer to to Elvis Presley, and I wanted to see what he was all about. The show began with some dramatic images, such as this one:     Not long after I took that picture the wall in the middle crumbled dramatically and unleashed flames and flying skulls. Then Johnny Hallyday walked out on stage:     His band and back-up singers also appeared:             I (still) don’t speak all that much French, so his song introductions and stage banter went completely over my head, but in rock concerts as with Mass, some things are universal and you can get by pretty well … Continue reading

Postcards from the Pit: Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls / Larry and his Flask / Jenny Owen Youngs, Webster Hall, 9/29/12

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Once again I went to a show having not heard a note of anyone’s music beforehand. What can I say, sometimes I like to live dangerously. Plus the show was part of my friend’s birthday party, and since she has generally excellent taste in music I was willing to bet it would be a good night. Spoiler alert: I was right! Jenny Owen Youngs was up first, by herself with her guitar. She was at the opposite end of the stage from me, so the pictures are kind of awkward. But here’s one anyway:     Larry and his Flask were up next. When they came out with a banjo, electric mandolin and an upright bass, but yet also a drum set, I expected they’d continue the mellow tone of the evening and play up-tempo but still sedate bluegrass-inflected folk-rock. Instead they unleashed a whirlwind of bluegrass-inflected punk rock that was one of the finest musical experiences I’ve ever had. Here they are in action:                   And then the gentlemen we had all been waiting for, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. Mr. Turner and his merry crew are not quite as … Continue reading

Postcards from the Pit: Lita Ford / Poison / Def Leppard, Jones Beach, 7/13/2012

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It was a Friday night, hot, muggy and still. The buses to the show – now reinstated, THANK YOU, NASSAU COUNTY – were jam packed with music fans and people coming up off the sand. Mostly I was hoping it wouldn’t rain. The Jones Beach Ampitheater doesn’t have a roof and unless there’s lightening, the show goes on. By the time we finally got there, Lita Ford was already on the stage, though I don’t think I missed more than a song and a half. This is one of my favorite pictures from the evening. Look at that grin!     Though I’m fond of these two as well. Lita Ford is a bad-ass, y’all.       And one last one, taken during Close Your Eyes Forever, her (in)famous duet with Ozzy Osbourne, which she sang by herself because as she wryly pointed out, he wasn’t there to help. Her chords crashed majestically, though. It was one of those times that I could feel why it is that I love this kind of music. The way the notes ripple and surge and tangle and then finally descend in a waterfall of sound.     She closed down with Kiss … Continue reading

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, St. Louis, MO, 4.21.12

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Nate Burrell has once again generously allowed us to feature his great photography here on NTSIB. This Record Store Day found JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound in St. Louis where they made an in-store appearance at Euclid Records, then played an intimate house party. About the house party performance, Nate says, “It was a sweaty mess that saw an unfiltered JCB and crew pouring out energy over two air tight 45 minute sets. Although not on a stage…they performed like they were at the Apollo and had everyone in the room singing their praises by the night’s end.” (Which echoes my sentiments after seeing them play the Beachland Tavern back in November.) Nate goes on to say, “St. Louis and KDHX helped break JCB into a wider audience, and our city shows them hella love every time they come around. And they show us love back by putting on these types of rare shows.” Going a little experimental this time out, Nate used PX 600 Silver Shade film for Polaroid. I’m a fan of Polaroids, and I think you’ll agree that Nate caught some beautiful and dynamic shots.   [#1-5 = Euclid Records in-store] [#6-20 = house party]   … Continue reading

The Felice Brothers / Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea / Diamond Doves, Webster Hall, 9/29/11

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It’s been almost approximately a year since I last saw the Diamond Doves (formerly the Dearland in Elvis Perkins and Dearland, now doing their own thing) and in that time they’ve changed: they’ve become tighter and more focused, and their drums are bigger and louder and roll like mighty waves.  They were good before, but they’re better now. I’m also pleased to report that they are still making the hipsters dance. Here they are in action:     Next up was Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea. I (once again) had never heard them before and had no idea what to expect. Ladies and gentlemen: this band rocks. Nicole Atkins has an amazing voice – powerful, flexible, commanding, and sultry at the same time – and she and the band bring some serious jams. If you haven’t experienced them yet, you should get on that right away.     And then there were The Felice Brothers, who are on tour right now. The crowd was a little bit flat at first – some of them perhaps hearing songs from Celebration, Florida live for the first time – but they perked right up and made the floor vibrate with their joy when … Continue reading