Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Archive for November, 2007

Its Friday Night at The Apollo

Posted by xneverwherex on November 19, 2007

11/16/07

Friday night at The Apollo! Actually I think it’s really Saturday night at The Apollo – but you get the gist. And yes – really – its that Apollo Theater up in Harlem. Home of Slick Willy (err Bill Clinton).

So for those not familiar with Harlem – its definitely not what I had ever envisioned it to be – but the Theater is exactly how it should be. This strip of Harlem 125th Street is now just store upon store mixed in with every fast food joint you can think of. But it has a nice vibe to it, and I always like being up there.

The Apollo is filled with ushers throughout the theater – taking you to your seat. Asking you to kindly fill out surveys and everyone is uber-helpful. I could get spoiled by this. I was even more spoiled with my seat in the second row. When you look up above behind you from that close to the stage – the feeling is amazing at how big it is. When you think of all the blues/jazz artists (and everyone else in between) that has played there – you can almost feel the intensity. But I digress…

The show started out with Simple Kid (an Irish bloke) who plays a kind folksy-artsy 6-7 songs. The first few songs were ok – but somewhere it just caught and each subsequent song was fabulous. The highlight by far was hearing him say ‘this song is about being Irish’ and starting to play ‘Its Not Easy Being Green’ – featuring yes – Kermit the Frog! Oh that was awesome (I should say this was my first record I ever owned – the Muppets – with Rainbow Connection). His other songs included a song about Elton John – that has a great story to go along with it and the ever catchy Seratonin – which even featured the words on the screen behind him. For a one-man show he did his job and I am ready to go purchase his CD.

Finally – Spiritualized took the stage. I had heard so many stories about them playing live and how amazing it was – that I could only hope it would be that good. Jason was looking pretty thin wearing dark sun glasses the entire night. I was in the unfortunate section with a guy yelling ‘take off your glasses Jason, I want to see your eyes’. I really wanted to say “shut your mouth dude, I want to hear Jason sing’. Maybe I should have, but to interrupt the music would have been sacreligious.

Jason was joined on the stage by the organ player (who with his long able fingers – was a joy to watch), accompanied by a 5 woman orchestra – all in long dark skirts, and a choir comprised with about 5-6 women. The Apollo has the feeling of being in a gospel church and these songs were perfect for it. His voice carried through the theater with the women’s back up vocals creating the perfect fit for him. Jason was pretty quiet throughout the set – just going through each song. At the end he stood up and waved and that was about all you got from him.

It works tho. His music didnt need anything else done to it. Some bands need the theatricals to make the show what it is – but when you have a voice that sounds like Jason’s, songs that are beautiful – about redemption, etc., and you are playing with an orchestra/choir, you dont need more than that. It was delivered to us as it should have been – and hands down – this was the show of the year!

The set list is as follows:

The setlist:

  • Sitting On Fire
  • Lord Let It Rain On Me
  • True Love Will Find You
  • Cool Waves
  • Amen
  • Going Down Slow
  • Feel So Sad
  • Soul On Fire
  • Walking With Jesus
  • Stop Your Crying
  • All Of My Tears
  • Baby, I’m Just A Fool
  • Anything More
  • Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
  • Broken Heart
  • I Think I’m In Love
  • Encore: Lord Can You Hear Me
  • Oh Happy Day
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Denis Leary, Thrills and Mum

Posted by xneverwherex on November 13, 2007

11.8 – 11.10

So I’ve been getting really slack on this – and I do have to apologize. Been so busy and then had a 911 trip to Apple when I realized I couldn’t add more stuff on my computer. Doh! External drive here I come.

So much has been going on. So I’ve had to miss writing about a few shows (Morrissey was awesome as always!), and instead you’ll have to deal with reading about Denis Leary. For most of you that don’t know me, Denis Leary is hands-down my favorite comedian. I love his dirty, crass mind almost as much as my own. And he lived up to every bit of it as possible. I truly fell in love with him in “The Ref” and some other things, but “The Job” was when I knew it was like finding gold. I still turn on those DVDs and laugh my ass off. Adam Ferrara – pure f’ing genius.

So Thursday night was part of the New York Comedy Festival. Denis Leary was headlining the show with his friends at the Beacon Theater. Unlike most comedians (from what I’ve been told and have seen), he comes on stage first. He first started with a song from his band The Crown Royals. His songs were really relevant to all things going on today – there was a song about the presidential nominees, a song about Ms Winehouse and Ms Spears that Id rather forget. Disturbing images of things I never can see again. And naturally all sorts of jokes about Larry Craig’s ‘stance’. He lived up to everything I had hoped and I cant remember the last time I had laughed so hard I was near tears.

His guest comedians – including Adam Ferrara – were nothing short of genius. These jokes are so politically incorrect that I dare not even say what they were, as people will wonder about my f-ed up sense of humour. Some of his other guests included Australian Jim Jeffries, Mike Birbiglia and Robert Kelly. Only one of the comedians (which I’m not even sure hes listed here) wasn’t so funny, but overall it was a perfect night and well worth every cent. And besides ending the show with “I’m an A$$hole” was worth every cent.

If Denis Leary ever comes to your town – he is worth every dime he commands!

Friday night was filled with a date that I’d rather not remember and then it was off to see the boys from Ireland – The Thrills. This was a sold out show and many of my friends weren’t able to purchase tickets in time. And I was just damn lucky that I managed to get in on them. The crowd was really into them and everyone knew all of their old songs naturally, but even moreso all of the b-sides and their new album which was just released. The set consisted primarily of songs from their first album, which was entirely catchy.

The band was really into the show, and commented on how it was their best show in NYC by far. They played a song that they hadn’t played in years (which I’m forgetting at the moment), but just were really having a great time. The guys were joking around a lot on the stage and making fun of each other. It was great to see a band that truly got along so well on stage and clearly loved what they were doing.

Their music is as catchy as ever. Sunshine-y pop tunes that make you think you were in California. Their songs have that same sunshiney pop as the Beach Boys do which is always great to hear. On a cold night in NYC, you somehow forgot how cold it really was, as the music just makes you forget your cares and dance and sing along. Their really catchy songs were crowd pleasers, such as ‘Santa Cruz (you’re not that far)’, ‘Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?’, ‘Big Sur’ and ‘One Horse Town’.  And even tho I could barely move with people pressed into me, I left the show with a huge smile on my face.

 Saturday night might have been one of the best shows I have seen this year. The Wordless Music Series does NOT disappoint. What I mostly like is that I see a lot of things I would never probably see. As it combines pretty big bands with other unique people. This time the show opened with Germany’s Hauschka. Hauschka is the alias of Dusseldorf-based pianist/composer Volker Bertelmann.  His piano playing is incredible as he uses a lot of other things inside the piano to create certain sounds. He takes piano playing to a whole new level, and doesn’t play like traditional piano players do. He adds tape, clamps and other things to the chords of the piano creating a whole new sound. It is interesting to see him as he pulls out item after item from the piano and you start to learn how this unique sound is created.

David Moore, Bing and Ruth were the next group to come on. David Moore composes their music which is very atmospheric and ambient. Long, drawn out songs that easily blend into one another. Acoustic instruments add to the haunting vocals of sounds that barely emit from the women’s voices and you feel the pain and passion in each song. Its hauntingly beautiful and you can feel their emotion inside of you, which is a pretty impressive feat.

Finally – Mum takes the stage. Their first song comprised Hauschka, David Moore, Bing and Ruth. It was pretty awesome to start a show with everyone on stage and the variety of instruments that were played. It was very well harmonized and all the sounds filled the church.

Mum was nothing short of brilliant. Most of the songs were off of their new album “go go smear the poison ivy”. Their music consists of haunting melodies with vocals that are so impressive and mesh together well. The two women’s vocals blend together creating beautiful notes. Atmospheric electronica filled the church with the band members switching it up on the instruments – from cellos and violins to pianos, kazoos, etc. It was nothing short of an experience to watch. I think the church ended up being a perfect venue for this beautiful band. The acoustics are amazing and with all the songs so ambient – it was captured perfectly in this setting.

Im realizing now I must go buy all of their albums that I dont own, because their music is so beautiful its hard to not want to listen to it all the time. Its perfect music for these cold winter months that are soon approaching.

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