Towards the end of 2014, the year in which both The Black Keys and St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, released strong albums (Turn Blue and St. Vincent respectively), it was a treat to hear both artists would be touring together. St. Vincent opened for Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach for the last stretch of their tour, fourteen shows, the final stop of which was at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The Black Keys are no strangers to arenas and they knew how to up their game for this show, revealing more of the stage throughout the night. It was practically hit after hit after hit with their set, but my particularly favorite stretch of songs came near the middle, beginning with “Howlin’ for You”, a cover of “A Girl Like You” and finally “Money Maker” though the encore, which included the hypnotic simmer of “Turn Blue” was hardly second fiddle.
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The original Don Hill’s venue was essentially were Hedwig and the Angry Inch was born. Co-creators Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell conceived of their musical at the venue’s weekly Squeezebox parties. But Don Hill’s closed in 2011, before the reincarnation of Hedwig on Broadway earlier this year. But the legendary venue has just been revived as The Hills NYC and, as one of the first events in the space, this show was a “benefit for Road Recovery, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to helping young people battle addiction and other adversities by harnessing the influence of entertainment industry professionals who have confronted similar crises and now wish to share their experience, knowledge, and resources”. The organization invited the current Hedwig band, Tits of Clay with the current Broadway star Michael C. Hall and co-creator Stephen Trask for the performance along with some special guests.
When I caught Ryan Adams headlining set on the Friday evening at Newport Folk Festival earlier this year, I was stunned by his opening track “Gimme Something Good”. The song may have already been released as the lead single from his 2014 self-titled album, but I hadn’t heard it before that point. The song, with it’s garage rock, Petty-ish vibe, was a perfect gateway drug. When the album came out later in the summer, I quickly put it on regular rotation—so much so that it would be amongst my top three most-listened to albums this year (the other two would be First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold and The Gloaming’s self-titled debut). When it was announced he would be performing four shows in NYC, two acoustic nights at Carnegie Hall plus two full-band shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom, I of course had to check it out, even if I’m not very familiar with a lot of his older material.
Tahliah Barnett, aka FKA Twigs, has one of the best reviewed albums of the year with LP1. It just made #8 on our best best albums of 2014 list. Last month, she performed two sold out shows in New York City, including one at Warsaw, a smaller venue that she easily sold out (the larger show was also sold out). Check out some photos below.
Last year around Thanksgiving time, I was visiting Japan. I didn’t attend any kabuki or any noh performances nor did I check out any music (though Paul McCartney played there days before I arrived). I did however check out something that does translate well, giant robots. It’s not just that I’m not familiar with many Japanese bands, though few if any cross over into the US market, it’s that those theater productions are often lengthy which makes it difficult to approach (which section of the performance should I see?) and, in this case, the instrumental music doesn’t have a specific rhythm or catchy chorus for one to grasp onto. So I didn’t risk a show in Tokyo, but I was lucky to catch a rare and masterful set of shamisen performances in New York at the Japan Society.
// Notes from the Road
"Radio 104.5's birthday show featured great bands and might have been the unofficial start of summer festival season in the Northeast.READ the article