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Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014
While it is now under the umbrella of a non-profit foundation, the Newport Folk Festival still remains one of the top Summer festivals for an artist to play.

It wouldn’t be hard to believe that Jack White, head honcho of Third Man Records, had a say in Saturday’s lineup at the Newport Folk Festival, given that many acts who’ve released something on the label or dabbled with him in the studio appeared that day. There was John C. Reilly and Pokey Lafarge just to name a couple (okay, you want a few more as proof? Try Chris Thile, Shovels & Rope and Haden Triplets). Plus I saw Beck wandering around on Friday (a few days later White made a guest appearance at one of Beck’s shows). White himself was taking in sets from various acts on Saturday, including young guitarist (and NPR-intern reject) Benjamin Booker, his own label’s Language Lessons reading series (Third Man now has a publishing arm) and taking Polaroid selfies with people.


Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it out on Sunday so I missed a ton of good photo ops but it was hard to even catch most of the surprise moments on the days I did go. I missed Mavis Staples do guest appearances at least twice - she joined Lake Street Dive on Friday and Lucius on Saturday for example. Of what I did see (non White-related), Reignwolf put on one of the most aggressive sets. Hozier was quite busy, with two short sets on Friday and Saturday and a proper set Sunday. Ryan Adams was thrilling to see live for the first time. Sun Kil Moon (who didn’t allow photos) expressed concern about the number of white people at the festival and how as he was getting older, his dick “wants to do things” but his body can no longer keep up before singing a song he wrote for his mother. Jimmy Cliff received round after round of applause for a set that included a fantastic cover of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World”.


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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
The teenagers of the Strypes ended their current tour run in spectacular fashion in New York.

Four teenage lads who hail from Ireland, Ross Farrelly (vocals), Josh McClorey (guitar), Peter O’Hanlon (bass) and drummer Evan Walsh make up the Strypes, a straight up rock and roll band influenced by ‘60s and ‘70s acts. Their current US tour with Brooklyn’s the Skins recently wrapped up at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg where the crowd went a little bonkers, turning half of the dance floor into a churning mosh pit. The young band put out their first album Snapshot last year and have a new EP out this year, but they didn’t just fill their show with only their songs. Throughout, but primarily at the finale, the Strypes’ included covers of acts that influenced them, from Vince Taylor to Howlin’ Wolf. The two most fun covers at the end included some audience participation though. The Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach” and the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” became sing-alongs and the latter saw the Skins return to the stage to close out the night and the tour with their friends.


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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014
Afropunk Fest felt more politically charged this year. People had their hands in the air as a tribute to Michael Brown nearly as often as they did for the performers.

The atmosphere at the 2014 Afropunk Festival was permeated by the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri (namely the death of Michael Brown) and last month’s chokehold-related death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York. People had their hands in the air as a tribute to Michael Brown nearly as often as they did for the performers. In correlation, the (what seemed to me to be) higher police presence at the fest didn’t impede any of the fun, nor did the weather for the most part. Saturday was a bit overcast and there was a light rain for a bit which may have been enough to keep some of the crowds away—Sunday was extraordinarily tight when the sun was out in full force. Photos from much of Saturday (I didn’t stay for Sharon Jones partly because I caught her earlier this year and part of Sunday (D’Angelo with the Roots headlined but photographers weren’t allowed in the pit and he started an hour late) are below. Other notable moments were seeing Mayor de Blasio on site for Bad Brains set and Cold Specks unfortunately not performing due to visa issues.


Check out a larger gallery of higher-res images over on Facebook!


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Monday, Aug 25, 2014
To celebrate the launch of their new Times Square location, Guitar Center invited the Roots to headline the party.

The Roots’ first show since their manager Richard Nichols died in July was a celebration for Guitar Center’s new store in Times Square. Aside from having their banners on stage, the sponsor didn’t have much else to do once the Roots took control of the audience just after 10 pm. As Entertainment Weekly wrote, “The band took the stage at New York’s Best Buy Theater Thursday to celebrate Guitar Center’s 50th anniversary, kicking off their set with a rousing performance of “Table of Contents (Parts 1 & 2)” off their 1999 album Things Fall Apart. Sousaphonist Tuba Gooding Jr. kicked up his knees and marches across the stage as he played, often looking like he’d been transported from a 4th of July parade, and Black Thought bounced around as he rapped.” You can check out photos of Black Thought bouncing below or find a larger gallery of images over on Facebook.


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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
In concert with the Asia Society, Lincoln Center held the world premiere of 'Song of the Jasmine', a collaboration between the Ragamala Dance group and jazz musician Rudresh Mahanthappa.

Lincoln Center is host to so many great shows that even on the same night you may find yourself conflicted over what to see. While I chose to see the world premiere of the ‘Song of the Jasmine’ dance as part of the ‘Out of Doors’ series, that meant I had to miss Tift Merritt performing in-doors for the ‘Americanafest’ series. But I had seen Merritt recently with Andrew Bird and she will surely be back around again so I chose to see the dance—though I had to catch a couple of her songs at the beginning.


The turnout for the dance performances was impressive as the Asia Society also shared word of the event. The first performance, done by the Chinese American Arts Council Dancers and called ‘From Chinatown with Love’, featured vivid colors and costumes as well as the dancers incorporating accessories like fans or spears. In stark contrast was the Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers and their performance of ‘Be/Longing 2’. The dancers wore comfortable, loose athletic attire that didn’t pull attention away from their dramatic motions.


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