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Killing Me Softly

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts

Before playing the final song of their set, Elbow singer Guy Garvey instructed the crowd that in order to get the band to return to the stage for an encore, they would have to sing. Garvey gave his audience the option to pick the song.

It can be hard enough to get a New York crowd to cheer loud enough for an encore, so asking them to sing in unison seemed like a stretch. On the final song of the set, the beautifully uplifting "One Day Like This," Garvey had the sold out Webster Hall crowd singing along with the chorus. He had us, and sure enough, when the band left the stage, fans began singing Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly." It was a powerful moment that seems like a rarity with NYC crowds.

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Buddy Cole Claims that Jesus Was Gay

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts



During their second sketch of the night, Buddy Cole (Scott Thompson) providing the audience with a sidesplitting monologue, claimed that the Son of God was in fact a homo. As sharp as any sketch from the prime of their careers, it was obvious that the Kids in the Hall still haven't lost their comedic touch.

It's been a while since The Kids in the Hall have displayed their hilariously absurd comedy to a public audience, last touring back in 2000.  This past weekend they performed four times at the Nokia Theater in Times Square.

In the late ’80s till the mid ’90s, the Kids in the Hall brought the world some of the best absurd sketch comedy since the days of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Characters like The Headcrusher, Buddy Cole, The Bird Lady and Running Faggot will always be remembered.

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Ironic Fannypacks and The Hipster Temple of Doom

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



I was in a room stockpiled with hipster prototypes. While occasionally someone could consider me a hipster based on the geographical location of my apartment, my musical tastes, and my tendency to call myself a fine artist without ever actually physically making any art in years, I felt like an outsider in this crowd: Mullets, mustaches, giant ugly glasses, and guys in short shorts were everywhere. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t wearing a fanny pack, or any other ironic style of clothing, but I was barely cool enough to be hanging out in Bushwick at Ridgewood Masonic Temple. It was a Todd P show, in Brooklyn, so I had to expect the onslaught of irony, but I don’t think I had ever witnessed such an overwhelming exhibition of hipster culture over the years that I’ve covered the music scene.

It was as if I had walked into some sort of ironic joke world, and was not aware of the dress code. Dressed in our considerably normal attire, my female companion and I had become the joke. While seated, waiting for the Ed Schrader show to begin, two guys passed around flyers, noticeably skipping past us. Was this like back in grade school when the popular kid passed out invitations but intentionally skipped the losers? Were we the losers?

As we waited discussing our feelings on how the line between ironic and just plain stupid has become invisible, the scariest thing happened, Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” blasted over the speakers. Sure an iPod containing Phil Collins and Abba is the type of irony I have come to expect, but Nickelback? Seriously? Isn’t it too soon? How can the music of a corporate radio rock band that still currently maintains large scale commercial popularity surface at an event geared towards a crowd that purportedly lives for good music?

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A Crazy Saturday Night With Peelander Z

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



By the time Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" started playing over the speakers, even that trash was enjoyable, thanks to the previous hour or so spent with Peelander Z. Coming off a long tour which included multiple appearances at SXSW, the NYC-based Japanese punk band had made their triumphant return to NYC a most unforgettable night for the room full of fans.

Unlike the standard, American Apparel-wearing ironic-facial hair room of hipsters, the room was full of geeks, nerds, dweebs, and spazzes, and they’re way more fun than hipsters. I felt at home with the less self-conscious, less fashion-conscious group of non-hipsters. They danced, had fun, and never seemed to over think any of their actions. That is exactly the philosophy Peelander Z teaches—“Don’t Think, just have fun.” And fun was had.



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Indie Rock Royalty in Brooklyn

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



Surprisingly, I only heard one person shout a request for “Cannonball” last night. No, I wasn’t at a Breeders concert, but I thought for sure that the recent mini-feud between indie rock icons Stephen Malkmus and Kim Deal was sure to bring more Breeders-related heckling from the crowd. Thankfully it didn’t, and Malkmus made no mention of it, using his time on stage to make fun of Neil Young and Dire Straits instead.

Last night’s show at Music Hall of Williamsburg was Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ final of 3 sold out concerts in NYC, and they couldn’t have been more relaxed. The former Pavement front man continues to solidify his legacy in the indie rock world with a brilliant solo career. Until I witnessed it live in all its fury, “Real Emotional Trash,” (Malkmus’ fourth and most recent release) had yet to completely win me over, but the guitar shredding of “Dragonfly Pie” and “Baltimore” were as much a testament to the man’s brilliance as anything else he played.

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Caribou and Fuck Buttons Were In Brooklyn Last Night

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



It was late and our ears had just been annihilated by Fuck Buttons, when Dan Snaith and his band Caribou took the stage at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Within seconds, the drummer set off into a frenzy, making it quite obvious that it was going to be worth the lack of sleep we’d be getting.

With swirling rainbows of colors projected over them, Caribou took the audience on a trip to the 60s. Apparently, the band’s name came to Snaith while on an LSD trip in Canada, and the tight mix of psychedelic pop with krautrock played by Caribou certainly fit with the color projections to make for a trippy experience. Every time the overuse of pre-recorded music started to be a let down, the band took things to a higher level to totally redeem themselves. Snaith, who plays everything on record, switched back and forth between guitar, keyboards and drums flawlessly, even occasionally playing the recorder.

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Ohio’s State Bird

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



I rarely find myself at The Annex to see live music, and it doesn’t seem like anyone else does either. The dark hole in the wall L.E.S club never has a very good turnout when I’m there, and never gives any reason that it should. Occasionally, they book a solid act, but usually surround them by terrible bands that have little connection musically. A bad sound system and overpriced drinks don't make it any better.

The very small group of us that actually were there last night got to see a quality performance by the up-and-coming eclectic, freak-folkers, State Bird. While they did not wear weird costumes, or perform any funny skits as some have seen before, their music did enough entertaining.  The Ohio quartet’s sound has been rightfully compared to Akron/Family, although State Bird still sounds a little rougher around the edges. They will prosper with larger crowds, where their sing-a-long vibes will actually lead to sing-a-longs.

Tomorrow night, New Yorkers will have a second chance to catch State Bird before the blog whirlwind starts.

Fri. 3/28 at Fat Baby, 112 Rivington St.; 8:00 pm


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Xiu Xiu Has Left The Building

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



Last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, California quartet Xiu Xiu seemed destined to return for a couple more crowd-pleasers. The sold-out crowd remained planted, erupting with surges of loud cheering that over time developed into a thunderous pounding of feet. It was the type of applause that Greg Dulli was demanding at Webster Hall less than a week ago. But after all the effort by the fans, the venue’s music and lights came on, and the realization that there would be no encore settled in.

The band had just played a phenomenal set, and in all reality nothing would change that. A couple more songs may have actually been too much. Bands often fall under the trap of playing too long and totally exhausting themselves and their audiences. Elvis Presley never did an encore, desiring to leave his audience wanting more. More musicians should really follow Elvis' example and stop playing bullshit encores.

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Norwegians Actually Do Like Music Other Than Black Metal

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



Last Monday I dragged myself over to the Knitting Factory because I’m a music geek. Although exhausted, I was convinced that missing Hanne Hukkelberg’s rare NYC appearance would be a mistake. I had never even heard her before, but the comparisons to Björk and Billie Holiday told me she was going to be special.

By the time Hukkelberg transformed The Pixies raucous classic “Break My Body” into a delicate jazz number, she had already won me over. Her vocals were elegantly beautiful, making it understandable why she’s drawn honorable comparisons. As gifted as she proved to be vocally, the singer-songwriter and her backing band also had a sound of their own that combined elements of free jazz and rock, with unique instrumentation and a phenomenal back-up vocalist.

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