As a fan of Guster since the late ‘90s, I’ve got a special place in my heart for the band. Their album Lost and Gone Forever remains their standout for me even as I have found gems on newer albums, like this year’s Evermotion the group’s first for Nettwerk. So when I they came around New York to perform at Summerstage in Central Park, I figured it would be an enjoyable show. And, despite the heat, it was.
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Hot off the release of his album Delilah, on producer Dave Cobb’s first release on his new imprint, Anderson East’s performance at the Mercury Lounge in July was full of vim and vigor. Though to be honest, East’s normal performance mode is already so fiery the set show is framed by his friend and guitarist Scotty Murray’s wild preaching.
East was in New York City from Nashville for his, at least, fourth time this year in the build up to Delilah and at this headlining tour stop, Icelandic band Kaleo opened for him. Kaleo don’t perform the typical moody or ethereal music that often comes from the island nation; their music is more folksy and Americana-esque which served as a perfect warm up for the rowdy performance that was to come. Kaleo’s actual set ended up shorter than what was written on the setlist in front of them but I was left curious enough to check them out again (the song “All the Pretty Girls” is a particular standout).
It was not just another Wednesday night at the Soda Bar, a dive with a tiny stage that rarely hosts a band with platinum album sales. Veruca Salt was launching their first tour with their original lineup since the 20th century, a cross-country trek that will take them to a number of more venerable venues. But San Diegans were thrilled to have a chance to help the band kick off the tour and word even had it that some hardcore fans had traveled many a mile to witness the tour opener.
A rare live performance from UK electronic duo Basement Jaxx, packed in as much wild fun as they could before a 10pm curfew in Central Park. Apparently the band hadn’t performed live in New York for at least ten years (though they have come around for a DJ set at least). But unfortunately, for whatever reason, three openers (Fei Fei, Masters at Work and the Internet) were allotted time before Basement Jaxx, cutting into what could have been a longer set from the duo. When they finally went on around 8:45, Basement Jaxx had the crowd going crazy (one woman in the front row wore a unicorn horn). But for all the craziness offstage, there was more on stage, with outlandish costumes (including multiple gorillas at the end) and multiple kinds of dancers (including a ballerina) instead of the standard, trippy projected visuals other acts use.
I had never heard of the new Spike TV series Lip Sync Battle (airing Thursday nights) until I learned an event related to it was slated for an evening at Summerstage in New York City’s Central Park. Even then, I didn’t even realize that LL Cool J was part of the show till the day before Lip Sync Battle Live happened on Monday July 13th. But the loveable rapper makes for an excellent host with his sidekick Chrissy Teigen assisting by providing some oddball humor. As a intro Doug E. Fresh warmed up the Central Park crowd.