Posts Tagged 'Music Hall of Williamsburg'

Beirut… and a new toy!

Beirut + WOOM – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 5th

I checked out Beirut last night for the third time. Of course, the sound at MHOW doesn’t compare to that of the synagogue where I last saw them play, but it was still a pretty good show all things considered – especially since it has been a while since their last show. You can read a full review of the show here, but I also thought I’d share a few audio clips with you since I got a new toy!

Check it out:

Yep. So that happened. In the future, I’m hoping to draw attention to the first half of this blog’s name, Sonic, but including audio clips from the show and even a few exit interviews with random audience members. We’ll see what happens!

So I am obviously still learning how this thing works (I admit I haven’t read the instruction manual at all yet), and my audio editing software is truly lacking, but here are a few clips from last night’s show to supplement the review over on Brooklyn Vegan.

An intro to the evening:

As it turns out, I was definitely pleasantly surprised by WOOM. Their sound is refreshing – something of a mixture of The xx (due to the great male-female vocals) and tUnE-yArDs (thanks to its eclectic nature and singer Sara Magenheimer’s adorable but fierce presence). I definitely look forward to hearing more from this dynamic duo. (They just released their debut album on Ba Da Bing today!)

Then, here’s a portion of “Nantes” from Beirut and a little bit of a teaser from Zach Condon about a new album in the works:

A special thanks to David who helped me figure out how to get the audio properly streaming! Success!

Be careful what you wish for, Chris Chu

Morning Benders + Holiday Shores + The Luyas – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 24

Oh hi. Fancy that. You’re here. With a modest introduction and an amiable request to have the lights turned down low, The Luyas singer Jessie Stein immediately took control of the stage and charmed the audience. Apparently, the Montreal group was eager to try out a new toy – bare light bulbs rigged up to strips  that were outfitted to turn on and off according to the drum beat. But the light show was short-lived and only made an appearance at the very beginning and end of their set. I’m sorry if you’re epileptic. We just have this new thing, said Jessie after just one song (“Canary”).

The Luyas (Photo Danielle St-Amor and Stacey Ho)

Speaking of strange, new things, get a load of Jessie’s main instrument:

the crazy hybrid instrument, "Darth Vader"

Yes, there are 12 strings there, and yes, there is a screwdriver under those strings that seems to act like a capo. It looked like a made-up instrument, and apparently it was. According to the Blogothèque site, the ‘magic guitar’ was made by Dutch instrument maker Yuri Landman. It fit Jessie’s whimsical, child-like personality well.

But Jessie is not the only thing The Luyas have going for them. I can honestly say that each of the four members were quite skilled. The French Horn, played by Pietro, was a nice touch; Matthieu was great on the organ, and Steffy… man. That’s what a drummer should be. He didn’t find it necessary to mercilessly beat his kit. Far from it. He knew when to pull out of a song altogether and when to add the slightest amount of percussion to allow the other instruments to be in the spotlight. Guest appearances by the xylophone were also delightful.

The Luyas wrap up their 3-show tour of New York tonight at Glasslands, and I think it would be in your best interest to be there. For more on The Luyas, once again check out their sweet Take-Away show.

Next up was Florida group Holiday Shores. Due to “last-minute situational things,” two members of Twin Sister  joined them on stage. (Perhaps the other two members were over at Bruar Falls setting up for their later show…?) Holiday Shores makes fun surfy-pop music. Take a listen to the infectious  “Phones Don’t Feud.”

Despite the fact that it wasn’t the normal spread of people on stage, Holiday Shores had great energy. They also kept themselves busy. The guitar player would walk up to a free-standing symbol and begin to play it, with the guitar still around his neck, and lead singer Nathan Pemberton also alternated back and forth between guitar and keyboard, often within the same song.

Holiday Shores

Even with a four-song warning, the group left the stage rather abruptly, but I suppose that had other things to attend to over on Grand Street.

Then there were the Morning Benders. I suppose their extensive touring with the likes of indie heavyweights like Grizzly Bear, Broken Bells, Death Cab for Cutie, Ra Ra Riot, Yo La Tengo, Au Revoir Simone, MGMT, White Rabbits, and Yeasayer paid off. (That’s a crazy-impressive résumé!) All three of their New York shows were sold out this week. (It will be worth your time and effort to bum a ticket from somebody to see them on Wednesday at the Mercury Lounge. They’re about to leave town again.)

Morning Benders (Photo Brooke Sheridan)

The Morning Benders set was celebratory and once again, energy-packed. They expressed their happiness to be back in New York multiple times. It’s not the same other places, admitted Morning Benders singer Chris Chu. The group showcased a number of songs from their recently released sophomore album, Big Echo, in addition to playing a few older jams and even a brand new song called “Go Grab a Stranger.” (1)

As if following a dress code, the four members of The Morning Benders each wore wrinkled, light-colored button-up shirts. These ruffled, but well-dressed fellows were certainly out to charm, and they effortlessly worked the (mostly-female) crowd. The Morning Benders sing about things like growing up too fast, friendship, and love – all with a pitch-perfect harmony and just enough rock and reverb to appeal to the guys, too.

Their set was relatively short, but their finale was certainly memorable and well-executed.

Feel the magic. Check out this fantastic video for “Excuses” from a Rough Trade shoot.

Much like in the video, the band elicited help from the audience to help sing the harmony parts on “Excuses” for their grand finale. Soon into the song, Chris stepped off the stage and into the ecstatic audience, where he led a sing-along from the all-to-eager fans. (2) It was impossible not to smile. It was one of those finales that just leaves you feeling good about life. It was a beautiful moment and a worthy conclusion to a fantastic evening of music.

After climbing back on the stage to say goodbye, Chris exited not by way of the staircase to head backstage, but by simply hopping off the front of the stage and walking back into the audience, where he was greeted with hugs and high fives like a sports star after a big game.


(1) A funny and surprisingly prophetic title in light of the events that would later unfold.

(2) He totally got pinched in the ass at one point, but didn’t seem to mind.

CMJ – day one

So last night, I headed over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg for the Brooklyn Vegan showcase where I caught the better part of five acts. I had been most anticipating The Antlers and Fanfarlo. Especially after having listened to Fanfarlo’s debut album Reservoir extensively in a short period of time. But it was actually the middle act that I was most taken by – British singer/songwriter Laura Marling.

laura marlingI had briefly seen Marling before in a collaborative video with Jeffrey Lewis, and I remember being taken by her voice and angelic demeanor, so I was delighted to see her walk on stage. Marling’s set was simple. She didn’t drag her cello from London – just her guitar. But her voice is absolutely gorgeous and the lyrics to her songs are picturesque and intriguing. She revealed that she has been working on her new album for the past eight months, and she played a number of new songs. From what I can tell, her sophomore album will not be a disappointment. Keep your eye on this deceptively young singer.

Here is a video of the track “Ghosts.”