Posts Tagged 'Webster Hall'

A new song from Laura Marling

Laura Marling may have just released an album a couple of weeks ago, but she’s already at work writing more songs. She showcased at least one new untitled song at last night’s show at Weber Hall. (1) And I have to say, I was definitely a fan.

Laura Marling (photo courtesy of Ribbon Music)

(1) Actually, I had the chance to hear the song twice yesterday due to my participation in Marling’s “Experiments in Awkwardness” series. I’d say more, but I don’t want to ruin it. Not yet, anyway. For now, let’s just say I was so close to Marling that I found myself staring into her eyes and counting the freckles on her face. More to come!


Some new ones from Cat Power

So I saw Cat Power for the first time last week. (Thank God Irene didn’t intervene.) To be honest, I was somewhat disappointed that she didn’t really dive deeper into her discography to pull out some treasures, but it was interesting to hear her new songs. You can read my review of the show on Brooklyn Vegan here.

Cat Power (photo Cesar Perdomo)

Here are a few songs to go with it.

“Bully” (the first song of the evening)


“Woman of My Word”

Sure, turn on the fog machine. Just make sure some light shines through, ok?

Frightened Rabbit – Webster Hall – April 28

The British accent may not always be obvious when paired with music, but the Scottish accent? Now that’s an entirely different matter. It’s virtually inescapable. For better or for worse, it is destined to be a central element to the music, and Glasgow’s Frightened Rabbit is certainly no exception to this rule. Singer Scott Hutchison’s accent is so strong that I can’t help thinking about the three or so stereotypes I associate with Scotland. OK. So really, I just think of Mel Gibson wearing a kilt with his face painted.

Frightened Rabbit (Photo Jannica Honey)

But then I catch a snippet of a some lyrics, and I am jolted back to the present. In reality, Frightened Rabbit’s aesthetic has less in common with vibrant, green rolling hills than it has with a bleak, grey landscape that is covered in thick blankets of fog. And yet, there is still hope – especially on their third album, The Winter of Mixed Group. The occasional ray of light still manages to filter through the heavy atmospherics. In “Not Miserable,” Hutchison reflects on recent tragedies and then repeats the assertion contained in the song’s title. Of course, denying misery is certainly not the same as proclaiming happiness, but hey, at least there are some swathes of colour mixed into the sepia-tone melancholia and grey-scale mediocrity. Speaking of oppressive grey clouds…

We’re very excited to be here. Fucking volcano, Hutchison exclaimed as the group walked on stage and took their places in front of the starry backdrop. We’re glad you’re here, too, a fan yelled in response. Frightened Rabbit kicked off the evening with “Skip the Youth” from their latest album, which is a good representation of their sound. This uncharacteristically long song (6:19) is by turns gentle and raucous. This is the kind of band who – in the course of a single day – may very well play croquet together in the morning and follow it up with a field trip to the rifle range. With their roaring guitar riffs, intense drum lines, and desperate vocals, these guys mean business. Their energy is infectious and requires more from the audience than just a benign toe tap. Without so much as a prompt, the crowd becomes assumes an active role in the show, clapping along with “The Loneliness and the Scream” and later to lending backing vocals on “The Twist.”

The set list for the evening offered a compelling mix of tempos. They sandwiched faster songs between slower songs so that right when you begin to feel tired from the day’s work, they pick up the pace again and breathe new life into your weary body.

Take a listen to “Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” another track from the new album:

Before concluding their set with the fantastic “Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms,” Hutchison again expressed their excitement to play at Webster Hall. Apparently, when they last came to New York in 2007, they played at a series of smaller venues to sparsely populated rooms (including this Brooklyn basement), but on Wednesday night, the house was packed.

After their 12-song set, they played three more songs for the encore, including a moving solo acoustic performance of  “Poke,” followed by energetic full-band productions of “Living in Colour” and “Keep Yourself Warm.”

Welcome to Webster Hall. Now kindly clear the space.

Owen Pallett – Webster Hall – 4/22

I figured that by arriving at Webster Hall at 8:45 that I would catch a couple of songs from The Luyas, but as it turns out, I caught the last few from Extra Life instead. I guess I should have known that the lovely folks at Webster Hall would be so eager to kick concert-goers out and let the club kids in that they would start things on time. But really? 8:00-8:30 for the Luyas? Come on. Luckily, they are playing three more shows in New York over the next couple of days.

The stage was set quite nicely for Pallett. Little lights penetrated the black backdrop like stars in the night’s sky.

Owen walks on stage, starts playing and stops. Sorry. This is harder than it looks. He begins again, and carefully loops together all the pieces to his song. Somehow, with just his violin, keyboard, and pedals, he was able to carve out a surprisingly full sound (both by himself and eventually joined by another musician).

Owen Pallett (Photo Ryan Pfluger)

The musicianship is there, no question. Owen’s voice was rich, confident, and spot-on, and his fingers moved impossibly fast over the violin as he plucked its strings. But unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a give and take with the crowd. From my spot in the balcony, I could see that only two people in the entire crowd on the floor were moving to the music. Everyone else stood respectfully, but  stiffly. There were no funny anecdotes between songs and no explanations about lyrics.

But there was one moment that I felt a deep connection with Owen. For the second and final song in his encore, he started to play a familiar tune. Was it? Yes! It was!

[Side note: Mariah Carey’s Fantasy was actually the first CD I ever owned (that after buying No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom on casette). My taste in music was a bit more diverse in my youth, you could say.]

"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being