If I could really walk between New Zealand and Iceland (or take a bus at least), I would be amazed. It seems I make a habit of catching artists from either country though. I’ve attended the New Zealand Showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge the last two years, so I decided to go again this year. And I heard that a new artist Ásgeir, would be performing with a special guest at an Iceland Airwaves showcase. I’m not getting out to that festival at the end of the month, so this might be the closest I’ll come to it.
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The Brooklyn-based band Alberta Cross began the party at Terminal 5 with their alt rock take on country and blues. Put together about five years ago by Peter Ericson Stakee (vocals, guitar) and Terry Wolfers (bass), they are seasoned performers that bring this quintet to a respected level on the scene. Stakee’s voice has an international hint, referencing his childhood in Sweden and England traveling around with his singer/songwriter father, but the themes of the music are universal. Stakee peppered the set with “thank yous” while singing about getting money for the weekend and even offering up a gospel song. Soaring choruses dropped out for guitar solos or percussive breaks, with deep grooves of emotion. While nothing seemed particularly new, their viewpoint is certainly strong and they have musical chops to pull it off.
Paw Tracks Showcase
Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn
The fizzy lo-fi of Annie Sachs, a.k.a. Tickley Feather, enchanted audience members at the small-space high-ceilinged Cameo Gallery on Friday. Alongside four other Paw Tracks greats, and her self-proclaimed biggest fans (members of Animal Collective) in attendance, Sachs churned out eerie, whimsical electro bringing to mind Tracy + the Plastics with a great deal more subtlety. Her live vocals are a different story from her records—otherworldly—even Kate Bush or Emilíana Torrini-esque, and expertly placed over budget electronics. It was a treat to hear Sachs’ voice stand out, unadulterated. Her tone is that of experience while her live sound remains light and accessible, however, with two bizarre albums under her belt, I’ll be waiting with bated breath to hear what fanciful direction Tickley Feather is capable of going next.
As long as The Foreign Exchange is performing, no one can ever even think about showmanship being dead. The eight-piece band that took the stage of B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grille on Friday night moved the crowd in a way that few acts are capable. And it all started at 1 a.m. As such, you would think a show starting that late would lend itself to a somewhat less-than-energetic audience. But that was simply not the case—this is New York City we’re talking about.
Bowery Ballroom, New York City
Imaad Wasif is chock full of two things: Hair and love. In case you weren’t certain of the latter half of that combo, Wasif took the time to remind the crowd at Bowery Ballroom… after every song: “I love the city. I love being insane. I love being insanely in love.” Though Wasif was somewhat awkward while trying to make conversation with the crowd between songs, he was at home while performing his brand of classic rock. All of his songs, all of which he was quick to point out were “love songs,” were well-crafted and well-performed. Wasif was the star of the show, but would have been helped if he had a more animated supporting cast—his bassist and drummer seemed disinterested no matter how much Wasif thrashed about the stage. I’m not certain I really felt the love like Wasif, but perhaps if I find the man he awkwardly hugged at the end of his set, he could shed some light.