Monday, August 9, 2010

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings @Prospect Park Bandshell, Aug. 7th

Wow...just wow. I don't know why it took me so long to experience the stunning Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, but lawdy, I'm sure glad I went to the concert that closed out a great summer of Celebrate Brooklyn! at the Prospect Park Bandshell and finally got to witness the phenomenon that she is. Sharon Jones blew my mind with her energy, singing, dancing -- you name it, she was a solid gold MVP, James Brown heir-apparent. For 2+ hours, she and her stellar bandmates (including members of the Bushwick Philharmonic) kept the 20,000+ crowd on their feet, grooving along to a wonderful retro-soul/funk sound that did not let up. She was also assisted on a few songs by the charming Lee Fields.

(More words, pics and a video after the jump.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Metric @Prospect Park Bandshell, Aug. 5th

After the prior night's amazing Arcade Fire concert, I had already somewhat written off this interesting line-up of female fronted bands. I was pretty exhausted, but figured it's the last week of Celebrate Brooklyn!, so I dragged my butt over to Prospect Park, especially since it'd be a good opportunity to see Holly Miranda again, and to check out Joan As Policewoman and Metric for the first time.

I bought a Metric album (Live It Out) when it came out a handful of years ago and dutifully loaded it onto my iPod, but it never really got a hold of me. I was more interested in other Canadian exports at the time (The Dears and Stars, for example), but always appreciated lead singer Emily Haines' contribution to Broken Social Scene. Last night was my first opportunity to see her own proper work.

I can see why the kids love Metric's music. It's danceable and catchy. I would not call it pithy by any means. But Haines' performance makes it worth watching if you feel like moving. She's got an incredible energy level that's enviable, and a fierce stage persona that alternated between sexy hot and crazy scary. By the time the band hit the stage after 9pm, the sky was dark, which allowed the strobe lights and thumping bass line to put a flutter in your step.

Good to see, but aided by the fact that it was a free show. Plus, there was a truck giving out soft serve ice cream.

(More pics after the jump.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Arcade Fire @MSG, Aug. 4th

I've been up for 22 hours, so operating on fumes now, but even as I put together this entry, I'm IMing with an old concert buddy, Rad, recapping tonight's Arcade Fire at Madison Square Garden show. My expectations were not the highest, as their latest album, The Suburbs, has yet to grow on me, since I haven't had it for that long, and well, not much measures up to the amazing Funeral, which I still listen to on a semi-weekly basis. But once the openers and their instruments cleared the stage, and the roadies began setting up Arcade Fire's gear -- I think there were no less than seven monitors across the front of the stage, two sets of drums, a bunch of keyboards and a piano -- I began to get really excited. I was reminded of the other times I had seen this expansive band and loved the energy that I felt from them and the crowd, which has grown successively larger with each venue they play. And here they were, about to play the biggest gig in the city for two nights in a row.

(More words and pics, including a setlist, after the jump.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Swell Season @Prospect Park Bandshell, July 30th

By now, everyone and their mother has seen the movie "Once" starring musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, so it came as no surprise that the crowd for The Swell Season was packed to the gills. Luckily, because I am a Friend (member) of Celebrate Brooklyn!, I was able to avoid the tremendous line and secure my seat early -- front row center! There was also a special pre-concert reception for Friends, so you betcha I consumed my share of cheese, fruit, chicken skewers, beer and Vitamin Water. While I had already taken advantage of my Friends pass a number of times this summer (Allen Toussaint and JG Thirlwell just to name a few), this evening alone was worth the meager $50 contribution.

(More words, pics and vids after the jump.)

The Low Anthem @Prospect Park Bandshell, July 30th

The Low Anthem opened up at Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park on Friday night for The Swell Season, and they were fantastic! They were very different from Glen Hansard, et al., but the two bands' music really complemented each other well.

I didn't know anything about The Low Anthem prior to the show, but thoroughly enjoyed their eclectic, mostly gentle but at times rockin' sound that had its roots in folky and Appalachian music. I particularly loved how each member of the band played multiple instruments, perhaps the most unique being a pair of cell phones using whistling and feedback, almost mimicking a theremin, on "This God Damn House." Gorgeous harmonies, too. I can't wait to check out more of their music.

(More pics after the jump.)

Sting @The Metropolitan Opera, July 14th

Sure, nowadays Sting might be a little corny and adult contemporary for my tastes, but back in the day (I'm talking Police and his early solo days), he scorching hot. In fact, I had a poster of his Nothing Like The Sun album on the ceiling of my undergrad freshman year dorm room above my top bunk.

I never got around to seeing him or the reunited Police in all these years. Oftentimes, my annoyance at the excessive prices of the tickets and size of the venues outweighed my desire to go see him. So when a few months ago, it was announced that Sting would be playing The Metropolitan Opera House with the Royal Philharmonic and that "cheap" tickets could be had for ~$35, I figured, why not.

(More words and pics after the jump.)