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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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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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Friday, Mar 28, 2014
Josh Ritter wrapped up the Winter leg of his acoustic tour with two shows in New York City.

When Ritter asked for the house lights to be turned off, leaving just the dim sconces lining the walls of Town Hall illuminated, he went into his heartbreaking tales, “The Curse”. Sniffles arose in the audience just audible enough over the solo performance Ritter was giving to let him know how affecting his music was. It was perhaps the highlight of the evening, the second to last show of Ritter’s Winter acoustic tour in a venue he lavished praise upon. The Idaho singer was joined by Colorado based Gregory Alan Isakov as the tour opener. These two singer-songwriters made a great match as performers. Isakov is touring on the release of his third album 2013’s The Weatherman, while Ritter mixed up his setlist a lot with material from his recent release The Beast in its Tracks alongside many of his older favorites and some covers. Soon Ritter will perform some new tunes for a Chicago audience before a few summer shows but for now check out the pictures and setlist below.

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