Producer Kenny Beats returned to Central Park for a show to benefit SummerStage. He brought a varied lineup of friends for D.O.T.S. (“Don’t Overthink Shit”) live.
First up was Vicky Nguyen aka Vicky Farewell, a classically-trained pianist who now writes R&B and soul-tinged pop songs that she sings and plays on keys.
Next was the young trio julie, whose grungy, shoegazy, art rock reminded me a little of early Sonic Youth.
Charismatic British rapper slowthai then performed, even jumping down into the crowd for a song.
Another big draw, rapper Isaiah Rashad followed with an electrifying set.
Finally, Kenny Beats himself took to the stage with a fun DJ set that the crowd ate up. Two special unannounced guests also joined in on the fun. Mark Bowen of IDLES (whose album Crawler Beats produced) sang his take on Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” and rapper Smino did a song as well. Lastly, Beats thanked the crowd for supporting his work and ended with a track off his own album LOUIE.
Scroll down for fan shot videos and pics of the show (photos by Ellen Qbertplaya)
Haley Dahl and her band, Sloppy Jane, celebrated the release of their new album, Madison, with a stunning performance on Sunday night 11/7/21 at Baby’s All Right. Despite this show being my fifth time seeing the band live, I still didn’t know what to expect. While her music itself cannot be easily characterized and is thereby challenging and unpredictable, I find the live performance aspect of Sloppy Jane a whole different experience.
Initially, at the start of the set, upwards of a dozen musicians crammed onto the small stage at Baby’s before Dahl even entered the room, and when she finally did arrive, she served as conductor of the orchestra, with her back turned towards the audience. She assembled this diverse group of musicians and their instruments to create a blissful, deliberate cacophony that eventually gave way to her vocals and very physical performance.
Whenever I’ve seen Sloppy Jane live, I feel as though I’m on a carnival ride that takes me through all kinds of emotions. I feel giddy, exhilarated, melancholy, energized, and maybe even a little frightened. I have a deep appreciation for what Haley Dahl and her band put into their show. If you ever have the opportunity to witness Sloppy Jane live, go. I promise you won’t be bored. And check out the new album, it was recorded in an underground cave in West Virginia, for pete’s sake.
Philly band Godcaster opened the show and were a good match for Sloppy Jane, led by Justin Kolk on guitar and vocals, and Von Kolk on flute, guitar and vocals. They had a similar in-your-face abstract punk rock quality to their music that worked well.
To celebrate the release of their second album, A Way Forward, which drops today, Brooklyn-based synth-pop band Nation of Language headlined a sold-out show at Bushwick venue Market Hotel. The trio, which consists of Ian Richard Devaney (vocals), Aidan Noell (synth) and Michael Sue-Poi (bass), released a fantastic first album, Introduction, Presence, in May 2020, and it has been in constant rotation during the pandemic for this listener. Thursday night’s show had a good mix of songs from both albums and included a synthy cover of “Gouge Away” by the Pixies as an encore. I’ve been listening to the new album while editing my photos and doing this write-up, and I’m happy to report that it continues to hit a sweet spot for this child of the ‘80s. Go see Nation of Language while you can still catch them in a small venue. They will have you dancing your socks off in no time.
Local band Cutouts started things off with an opening set. Its members for the show included Alex MacKay (lead vocals, guitar), Shannon Wise (backing vocals, bass), Eli Recht-Appel (guitar), Leo Grossman (tambourine) and Léna Bartels (drums). Their music paired nicely with that of Nation of Language, and Alex even joined the headliners for a track on guitar.
Nation of Language setlist: Rush & Fever, I’ve Thought About Chicago, Wounds of Love, September Again, Across That Fine Line, A Word & A Wave, Indignities, Friend Machine, The Grey Commute, On Division St., What Does the Normal Man Feel?, This Fractured Mind. ENCORE- Gouge Away (Pixies cover), The Wall & I
For over a year now, NYC hardcore punk band (and FTA favorite) Rebelmatic has been organizing regular outdoor events drawing from a roster of fine openers and this Sunday was no exception. Yesterday afternoon they put on their 31st pop-up show of the pandemic with special guests No Call No Show, and Angelo Moore, the front man of legendary band Fishbone.
Kicking it off was Brooklyn band No Call No Show who played a quick, energetic burst of songs that set the mood nicely. They feature Mikie Nice on vocals/guitar, Mark Thorn on bass, and Josh Salant on drums.
I was especially excited to check out Angelo Moore, having seen Fishbone a number of times but never Dr. Madd Vibe just by himself. Angelo, who came in from Los Angeles for this gig, performed solo against recorded tracks played from his laptop. He mixed it up with his saxophone, theremin, and vocals while exhibiting his trademark charismatic energy and lyrical dexterity.
Rounding up the beautiful afternoon was headliner Rebelmatic, with regulars Creature on vocals, Alkatraz on guitar, Karnage on bass, and Moïse Scott subbing in on drums. They played a tight set full of songs, and even coaxed Angelo to join them for a song with his sax.
I hadn’t been to one of these pop-ups since the spring so it had been a while, but I recognized many familiar faces in the lively crowd. The guys in Rebelmatic always put in their all into every show and it never gets old seeing them live. They were one of the first live acts I got to see after a long period of no concerts due to Covid, so I am happy to catch them whenever I can.
These pop-up shows are always a good time, and while there’s no set admission, these bands do accept donations. These shows have been happening on the same block in Bushwick every time, and we’re not going to reveal the address here, but you should definitely follow Rebelmatic’s Instagram for announcements of upcoming gigs.
As an aside, I was hoping to bring the mister to this one as he has been a lifelong fan of Fishbone, but sadly, he was sidelined by a bum knee. I talked to Angelo after his performance and showed him an old photo I took of him at the Apollo Theater. It was from a Fishbone show that happened to be on my husband’s birthday, and Angelo jumped down from the stage and climbed over the seats until he happened to be right on top of us, and he held his mic down for my husband to sing into. I somehow managed to capture this magic moment on my cell phone. I thanked Angelo for making Michael’s birthday a super memorable one. Angelo gave me a few stickers to bring home to Michael, gave me a hug, and took a photo with me. Best day ever!
As part of BAM’s R&B Festival at Fort Greene Park, the always charming Valerie June headlined a free show late Sunday afternoon and closed out the week-long concert series with a 90 minute set. Though originally from Tennessee, Valerie June also now considers the neighborhood of Bed-Stuy her home, so it was quite fitting for her to play this local gig. I have had the pleasure of seeing her perform a pared-down set at the intimate Bar LunÀtico a number of times, and most recently, I saw her sing a song with Mavis Staples at the Apollo Theater in May 2019, but it had been a while since I saw her play a full blown set in front of a larger crowd.
This time, she was backed by a band including a horn section, and presented a set that was rockin’ at times as she adeptly switched from playing banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and even a banjo ukulele. She mostly focused on her latest album, The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers, which came out in March 2021 on Fantasy Records, but also drew upon material from older albums including some of my favorites like “Workin’ Woman Blues” and “Somebody To Love” from her stunning debut. Though the festival was billed as being R&B-focused, Valerie June is anything but easily characterized into a single genre. She’s got a little bit of everything in her music, and you can also see that in the diversity of the audience. I’m so delighted I disregarded the threat of rain and caught this gem of a performance.