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Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014
Cut Copy continue to be a formidable live addiction, with lots of hardcore fans who will sweat it out under the strobes at all their shows.

I was in the photo pit, meaning I was right in front, for two of my favorite Cut Copy songs. The opening combo of “We are Explorers” and “Take Me Over” kick started my adrenaline glands to provide me with the required energy for sustaining a marathon dance set from the Australian group. Continuing their Free Your Mind global tour, Cut Copy touched down for two live shows and a DJ set in New York which all were sold out. The band has fine tuned their live act to squeeze every ounce of passion from it’s fans, keeping a tight set with tracks from all their four albums (though only the last three on the Friday show, the Saturday attendees were treated to “Saturdays” from Bright Like Neon Love).

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Monday, Mar 31, 2014
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s pop sound probably won’t connect with the southern NASCAR demographic that favors country music, but it is connecting with the West Coast party people.

Indie pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jr. are on a North American headlining tour in support of their 2013 LP The Speed of Things, as well as a new mixtape titled Produce Vol. 1. But the group has no relation to racing or the iconic NASCAR driver of their namesake. The moniker is simply one of those oddball ideas that somehow seems to fit with the band’s experimentally eclectic sound.

The Detroit-based duo of Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott have caused great confusion for NASCAR fans in this regard, but they say they just wanted a name that wouldn’t come with any preconceived notions.

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Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014
The men of Umphrey's McGee did their best to triumph over the adverse conditions with a series of high-energy jams to get some good vibes going.

Many bands like to take some time off after a big New Year’s Eve run, such as the four nights that Umphrey’s McGee played in Denver to close out 2013. But these prog-rock road warriors seem to be on an endless tour, living to rock and rocking to live. Many of their fans will follow the band for a week or more, or at least catch multiple shows since the Chicago-based group has a huge repertoire that changes nightly. This also enables them to tour more heavily than standard rock acts who play the same set night after night.

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Thursday, Mar 20, 2014
Melt Yourself Down create a wild, psychedelic party with not one but two face-melting saxophone players.

Melt Yourself Down‘s New York City debut took place at Piano’s and though one might think six musicians on a small stage would be cramped, the tiny space was well-suited for the band’s style. MYD are not hesitant to wade into the crowd. Founder and saxophonist Pete Wareham and the saxophonist on the other side of the stage, Shabaka Hutchings were both sweating within the audience at different points throughout the band’s set. Kushal Gaya, the band’s main vocalist is the most eager (and the most unencumbered) to be a part of the audience, releasing his pent up energy within the crowd mic in hand. Like Red Baraat, MYD are an instant party, attuned to the global sound.

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Monday, Mar 10, 2014
Liam Finn began his March residency at Union Pool with an excellent set that teased new material from The Nihilist.

In the cozy back room that is Union Pool’s concert space, Liam Finn began his four-Tuesday-night March residency on the 4th after a set by his special guests Zula. It only cost $10 to get in and while the space hadn’t sold out, it felt cozy inside. Finn worked with a couple different permutations of a backing band, including Eliza-Jane Barnes and bassist Ernie Brooks, to perform songs off his first two albums (I’ll Be Lightning and Fomo and an EP (Champagne in Seashells) as well as new and unreleased songs from his forthcoming album The Nihilist out on Yep Roc next month.

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