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Friday, Apr 11, 2014
Lorde crowns herself as a pop princess at riveting, polished Kansas City show.

Lorde utterly dominates several Billboard charts nowadays, especially for her Adult Pop song “Team”. But she has earned considerable notoriety for much of the past year for her genre-defying debut single “Royals”, and for her critically acclaimed first proper album, Pure Heroine (2013). Youthful singer-songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Connor is a denizen of New Zealand. Among other accolades, she also won two Grammys—Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance—this year, both of which for her worldwide hit “Royals”. She could have easily won for her fine album, too.

Logically, Lorde is amidst a whirlwind U.S. tour in which she headlines approximately 18 scheduled gigs in three and a half weeks, from Austin to Oakland. She then tackles the festival circuit as her itinerary includes three South American Lollapalooza dates, and two shows at Coachella. In short, Lorde is a busy, talented, and in-demand artist. Her sold-out show at The Midland was simultaneously enchanting and triumphant, and it italicized an emerging artist who can solidly deliver her songs within a live setting, and with few, if any, mistakes.


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Thursday, Apr 10, 2014
A rowdy, tight set from Syracuse-based Perfect Pussy served as the band's album premiere party.

Perfect Pussy were the headliners at Death by Audio. But the small venue was already packed when I arrived as no one wanted to miss the set from Perfect Pussy. And you could miss it very easily given that from start to finish, their set was less than 30 minutes. The all-ages show served as the premiere for their first album Say Yes to Love and was the first of two in New York for the weekend (though they play here often and are back again in a couple weekends for a Record Store Day set at Rough Trade).


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Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014
The star-singer from Broadway's American Idiot, Rebecca Naomi Jones performed her musical inspirations for "American Songbook".

Not yet a household name, Rebecca Naomi Jones may still be familiar to New York theater-goers for her starring turn in Green Day’s musical American Idiot, Passing Strange and last summer’s gut-busting musical take on Shakespeare Love’s Labour’s Lost. She was invited to perform a set for Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series, an honorable and unique music series. Her’s was the second to last show—earlier in the year indie/rock artists like Beth Orton, Jason Isbell, Deer Tick and unique musical performers like Taylor Mac and Patina Miller had their own evenings.


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Friday, Apr 4, 2014
Unfortunately, Tinariwen can't return home to Mali due to political instability but maybe there is some solace in their resplendent desert blues.

I had seen Tinariwen twice before 2014. The first time I saw them was at Clearwater Festival, where the band was one of my highlights for the day, but may have be overlooked by those people who had parked their chairs in front of the stage and wandered off to return for later performances. The band’s faces were covered by their headdresses (tagelmusts) but their colorful robes matched well with the colorful tent. The second time I saw them was not long after, when the band performed for MTV at SOB’s in New York City. I forget how I got in, but tickets hadn’t been sold for the event, so the show didn’t draw in the public. My third time seeing them (fourth if you count the short free set at the Ace Hotel earlier this year but excluding the interview I did with Ag Alhousseyni earlier), was their March 24th show, their second night at Brooklyn Bowl. $20 tickets to see an amazing (there really isn’t any weight to adding Grammy-winning) desert band are hard to pass up and the first night had sold out. With less restrictions, these shows were accessible by true fans and, more importantly, by Tinariwen’s compatriots.


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Wednesday, Apr 2, 2014
No two shows are ever the same when you have a band that can stretch out the sonic landscape like these tone scientists can.

Few bands have toured more relentlessly over the past 15 years than the intrepid travelers of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. Saxman and bandleader Karl Denson has become an icon in the jam and funk scene, constantly popping up for peak moments at festivals and late-night parties. The band is criss-crossing the country again in 2014, building a wave of groovy momentum behind their first new album in five years.


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