New York’s X Ambassadors, hot off the release of their first album VHS, were booked to open for German duo, Milky Chance at Summerstage in Central Park. They are a quickly growing favorite that I had heard of because they are local. Milky Chance on the other hand, I hadn’t heard of but was curious to check out because they had sold out Summerstage and tickets were commanding 3x times face value at one point. Their music is described as folk with a dash of international flavor, including reggae, and electronic mixed in. The show review over at Pancakes and Whiskey, included a vivid description of their music, “Milky Chance’s sound hit the air like dye on cotton, bleeding together instantly and branching out endlessly.” But, I didn’t quite latch on to what they were creating. Maybe I’m a little too old for tye-dye as my mind was not as accepting of their music. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would thought I would have given the interesting combination of music.
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As a fan of Guster since the late ‘90s, I’ve got a special place in my heart for the band. Their album Lost and Gone Forever remains their standout for me even as I have found gems on newer albums, like this year’s Evermotion the group’s first for Nettwerk. So when I they came around New York to perform at Summerstage in Central Park, I figured it would be an enjoyable show. And, despite the heat, it was.
Hot off the release of his album Delilah, on producer Dave Cobb’s first release on his new imprint, Anderson East’s performance at the Mercury Lounge in July was full of vim and vigor. Though to be honest, East’s normal performance mode is already so fiery the set show is framed by his friend and guitarist Scotty Murray’s wild preaching.
East was in New York City from Nashville for his, at least, fourth time this year in the build up to Delilah and at this headlining tour stop, Icelandic band Kaleo opened for him. Kaleo don’t perform the typical moody or ethereal music that often comes from the island nation; their music is more folksy and Americana-esque which served as a perfect warm up for the rowdy performance that was to come. Kaleo’s actual set ended up shorter than what was written on the setlist in front of them but I was left curious enough to check them out again (the song “All the Pretty Girls” is a particular standout).
A rare live performance from UK electronic duo Basement Jaxx, packed in as much wild fun as they could before a 10pm curfew in Central Park. Apparently the band hadn’t performed live in New York for at least ten years (though they have come around for a DJ set at least). But unfortunately, for whatever reason, three openers (Fei Fei, Masters at Work and the Internet) were allotted time before Basement Jaxx, cutting into what could have been a longer set from the duo. When they finally went on around 8:45, Basement Jaxx had the crowd going crazy (one woman in the front row wore a unicorn horn). But for all the craziness offstage, there was more on stage, with outlandish costumes (including multiple gorillas at the end) and multiple kinds of dancers (including a ballerina) instead of the standard, trippy projected visuals other acts use.
I had never heard of the new Spike TV series Lip Sync Battle (airing Thursday nights) until I learned an event related to it was slated for an evening at Summerstage in New York City’s Central Park. Even then, I didn’t even realize that LL Cool J was part of the show till the day before Lip Sync Battle Live happened on Monday July 13th. But the loveable rapper makes for an excellent host with his sidekick Chrissy Teigen assisting by providing some oddball humor. As a intro Doug E. Fresh warmed up the Central Park crowd.