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by Sachyn Mital

10 May 2016


It’s been eight years since Ben Harper had played with the Innocent Criminals live but the band came together in 2015 to record a new album Call It What It Is. On the eve of the album’s release, Harper and the Criminals performed a rousing set at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Opening up for them was NYC based singer-songwriter Christoper Paul Stelling, a live favorite of mine given his penchant for performing within the crowd. While Stelling didn’t have his full band in tow unfortunately, there was a good chunk of the theatre already filled to watch him perform. And those folks were very into his set, rising up from their seats to enjoy his set, a rare sight for an opener.

The main course for the evening arrived not long after Stelling departed the stage (unfortunately not while strumming through the crowd). Harper and the band, including drummer Oliver Charles, percussionist Leon Mobley, bassist Juan Nelson, guitarist Michael Ward and Jason Yates on keys, took the stage to hearty applause and what they witnessed was one of the most sincere, heartfelt performances that any musician ever could give. The group performed a smattering of their classics interspersed with tracks from Call It What It Is. It was a real pleasure to hear Harper croon “Diamonds on the Inside” and follow it up the tender “Deeper and Deeper”. “Excuse Me Mr.”, “Burn One Down” and “Steal My Kisses” were other awesome classic to hear live. During the show, Harper went solo for a couple of songs in the middle and people frequently rose from their seats to dance. It was a smouldering performance of bluesy, reggae-tinged rock that showed the remarkably rich heart of Harper and a fine evening. Catch Harper on tour throughout the summer. Dates follow a photo set from the Beacon Theatre below.

by Sachyn Mital

26 Apr 2016


Over at BrooklynVegan, Klaus Kinski expressed how he felt some concern ahead of the new release from one of the pioneers of electronic dance music, Underworld. He ended up realizing, “[T]hey still deliver records with as much energy and intensity as ever as evidenced by their newest release Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future. When artists I love are in the grips of old age, I am always prepared to be disappointed by their latter day releases. I don’t know why I do this… But once again they delivered an item of vintage Underworld sound.”

by Sachyn Mital

20 Apr 2016


Jo Miller and Samantha Bee (L-R)

Nine episodes into her new TBS show Full Frontal, Samantha Bee has quickly risen to the top of the late night game. In aptitude, her only rival may be HBO’s John Oliver with Last Week Tonight. Even before the show aired, the organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival recruited Bee and her showrunner Jo Miller to discuss her show with them, fully trusting Bee’s abilities to produce an excellent television program. Bee’s new network home also held the same confidence in her. After years of being a correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bee proved her worthiness and value as a comedian and as a political satirist. At the Tribeca talk, Bee said TBS, who had already been working with her husband Jason Jones, “just trusted us because we had already been working with them. They put a lot of faith in Jason and they put a lot of faith in me. I’m very thankful for them.”

The attitude of Full Frontal is apparent right from the intro where Peaches’ “Boys Want to Be Her” plays over the credits. Bee knew right away she wanted Peaches, “almost from the moment of knowing we were gonna be doing a show it came to me in a moment where I went, ‘Well, Peaches will do the song.’ Because, Peaches.” before reaching out to Peaches, another edgy Canadian female, via Twitter. Peaches, ever so generously provided additional cues, cuts and backing bits for the show to supplement her song.

by Sachyn Mital

18 Apr 2016


The Show of Shows bears some similarity in terms of composition to a 2011 Tribeca Film Festival selection that I saw, The Miners’ Hymns. Both set black and white footage from a UK archive against an original score from an Icelandic composer (or in this case composers) to present a documentary feature. Each has a score essential to the narrative arc of the film yet stands alone—particularly the final cut in Miners, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s epic “The Cause of Labour is the Hope of the World”. But, while The Miners’ Hymns carried political weight, The Show of Shows is lighter, more entertaining fare.

by Sachyn Mital

15 Apr 2016


Iggy Pop’s latest album Post Pop Depression, made in collaboration with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, may be his last according to him. But even if that is the case, at 68-years-old, Pop has made one of the strong albums of his career and a rock album that all others will have to live up to in 2015. Currently on tour in support of the record, Pop has taken Homme (guitar, bass, keys), and other album collaborators, including QOTSA’s Dean Fertita (guitar, keys), Matt Helders (drums) of Arctic Monkeys and Those musicians, as well as QOTSA/A Perfect Circle’s Troy Van Leeuwen Matt Sweeney from Chavez, on the road with him.

Though the set avoided any Stooges songs, Pop dazzled fans with numerous other classics and the full weight of the songs from Post Pop. As Radio.com noted, “this show saw an artist who became a legend by challenging his audience, challenging them one more time. Happily, the fans were up for it: like a jazz legend, he wasn’t just playing the songs that blew our minds in the first place. He reminded that he can still blow our minds today, and that’s a bit more satisfying.”

//Mixed media