Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘Mercury Lounge’

Dead on the Dancefloor

Posted by xneverwherex on January 18, 2012

The Good Natured
Nicos Gun

Mercury Lounge
1/16/12

Sarah McIntosh makes up 1/3 of The Good Natured. She is pretty much the face of the band and can’t be more adorable. With a soft spoken British accent, she is just pleasant to listen to. Tonight shes come out in skin tight purple satiny pants with heels that are to die for. She moves around the stage looking like she came out of an 80s goth video. This time around, her hair is more akin to looking like she’s a new Robert Smith (The Cure) and she cant look better. With thick black eyes, she just might be the new Siouxsie Sioux.

Vocally the band brings out the dark emotions of the 80s goth bands (Siouxsie, The Cure) but then puts an electro spin on it, and they become a mix of them and the likes of Ladytron. She describes her music as pop music with heart which it can definitely be, if you like your pop music a bit on the darker side.

Tonights show started out with their new single ‘Video Voyeur’ which is quite catchy and then went into the even more catchy pop song ‘Be My Animal’. Sarah wasted no time getting off the stage and dancing in the crowd. She definitely plays off the energy and just loves to get the crowd to dance. She managed to get into the crowd 2x during the set; the second time was during the oh so sexy song ‘Dead on the Dancefloor’.

The set was a good mix of newer and old songs. The only real disappointment was the set itself was beyond short at just 8 songs. It might have been 20 or 30 minutes but there was still a crowd left wanting a lot more. And who wouldnt, when it comes to watching Sarah on stage and being captivated and mesmerized.

Nicos Gun

Nicos Gunopened up the set. Philly surely knows how to make good dirty electro funk. And this band always delivers when it comes to that. It was nearly a year since I last saw them, and while some of my favorite songs were not played, its hard not to love everything that they do. They know how to make their songs sound just a bit dirty and add a lot of the funk to it. The band seemed to be having an awesome time really getting into the songs. It seemed the band was having more fun than most of the crowd, which was a pity. While they are a completely different band than The Good Natured they were definitely on par with them in a different style.

The lead singer exuded sex and his 70s inspired vest couldnt have looked better on him. He has the swagger of the other lead singers from the 70s and knows how to work it. The other guys in the band feed off his constant energy. Their set was pretty awesome nearing about 40 minutes. Its always a bit interesting when the opener has a longer set the headliner. I guess when its 2 bands who are both starting out, you just never know what youll get.

This was really an awesome show and theyre definitely worth checking out. For anyone in the SF/LA area theyll be west in a couple days!

The Good Natured Set List:
Video Voyeur
Be My Animal
Wolves
Your Body is a Machine
Lovers
Sting
Dead on the Dancefloor
Skeleton

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Dont F$^k With My Money

Posted by xneverwherex on December 31, 2011

Penguin Prison
Vacationer
Gemini Club
12/15/11
Mercury Lounge

So my last show of 2011 was a cross between a really fun show and also a really obnoxious show. It was like all the frat boys and every single hipster around the 21 year age mark, showed up. If I never heard “that whats Im talking about” again at a show, Id be *very* happy!

Penguin Prison never disappoints. While he is technically a one-man artist, he does play with a full band. But its definitely his show. He wastes no time with engaging the crowd and by the time the first song has started he’s working up a frenzy dancing in the middle of the crowd. Everyone crowds around him trying to snap pics, while the band continues to play.

Penguin Prison

He starts with “Golden Train” that is beat-synth-heavy and his very high vocal range. It works to get the show starting. Not coming on too strong, but giving people a slow(ish) groove to start the dancing. Soon enough hes back on stage, guitar in hand, and is playing “The Worse It Gets”. The crowd gets into it by the time the chorus comes and he dances on stage.

He keeps the tempo building in the show, building up the groove in each progressive song. The crowd is non-stop dancing. Its fun booty-shaking music. “Dont Fuck With My Money” is when it really begins to get even more dance-y. The song, which sounds like it should have been around in the 80s (Jackson years), must be one of the catchiest songs of the year. As Penguin Prison takes to the floor again, hes playing right in front of me, a coy smile on his lips. Hes completely charming and its hard not to get swept up in the entire act.

By the time the show is near closing, he busts out an even more catchy song. If you werent dancing before, there is no way you werent when this song comes on. It feels like Chic came alive and by now the 70s and 80s are in full force. Its as if New Edition, Prince and all those bands came together to create this song. Its brilliance!

The two openers were very different bands. The second band Vacationer was from the lovely state of Hawaii. The guys were the most chill, cute guys ever. Their music was pretty catchy in a chill-wave/relaxed sorta way. They definitely would have fit great on a set with Best Coast or plenty of bands like that. Their music didnt quite fit with the upbeat dance heaviness of the other two. Would still easily recommend checking them out.

Chicago is home to some of the best dance-y bands. Gemini Club is yet another reminiscent of Hey Champ and Flosstradamus (no surprise that they remix each others songs). As I was coming from a work party, I missed part of their set. So disappointing as they were easily by far one of the best bands that I came across in 2011. With pounding dance beats, and a darkish dance-y sound, they sounded incredible. Surprisingly not many people were there, but those of us who were totally were engaged and loving it. “Mary’s Day” is fun, catchy and oh so danceable. One band that Ill be looking for more of during the next year.

Happy New Year! Stay safe! And till next year. With hopefully lots more great shows!

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Nicos Gun Rocks It!

Posted by xneverwherex on April 8, 2011

Morning Teleportation
Nicos Gun
Mercury Lounge
4/7/11

A friend had recommended to me that I check out Nicos Gun. She was already pretty sure I had seen them, but wasnt positive. But she knew Id just love them! And right she ever was. Nicos Gun is thankfully getting away from where so many bands are heading. These boys from Philly are embracing the 70s roots and punk sounds. At times a bit like the Velvet – and at times sounding like T Rex/Bowie – these guys can rock. They throw in some keyboards on a lot of songs and make really great rock music. Instead of taking it too synth-y they balance it out and keep it funky and rockin’. Their lead singer is charismatic and really has that rockstar quality. He comes out with his fur jacket (which so reminded me of Ian Brown – Stone Roses) and has that same swaggart. Wearing a Led Zep shirt and so many rings and necklaces – hes the epitome of cool. Their cover of “Heart of Glass” was one of the best covers I had heard. It still had that same edge and same cool as Blondie would have sang it.

And after talking to their drummer – they sounded like the group of musicians youd want to hang out with. They clearly have a love for music and love talking about it. And it seems I just might have to go to Philly to really appreciate what theyre all about.

Headliner Morning Teleportation from Portland was interesting. Their music is pretty out there – in a psychedelic druggy sorta way. At times sounding like Modest Mouse – they have cool beats and it makes it fun and dance-y. The guys seem really young and a bit goofy (if not totally stoned). They clearly are having a great time on stage. Unfortunately, at times it seemed they were more interested in drinking with their friends – the drunk girls who sang along to every song at the top of their lungs and who created a dance a thon for every song. And then they tried to talk to them throughout the set. At this point – I had pretty much lost much interest in the band. They did have a culminating number that was pretty drone-y and went on and on finishing out with the bassist and singer on top of one another and the bassist taking off the shoes of the singer.

I have to say it was weird at best. I wasnt really sure what to make of the whole show but I was just glad it was over. Nicos Gun was the band to see!

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Weekend Gets Loud

Posted by xneverwherex on April 7, 2011

Weekend
Little Girls
Mercury Lounge
4/6/11

Weekend apparently is one of the new buzz-worthy/blog-worthy bands. It was hard to figure out if everyone there was seeing them because they loved the band – or if it was just the new band to check out. It was packed by the time they hit the stage. A friend commented – they had a review on their new album in Sports Illustrated. With their album titled – Sports – it indeed got a review – and a good one at that.

I commented to my friends – I know they should be loud – but really its only 3 guys. Well those 3 guys from San Francisco proved that they could be beyond loud. The lead singer/bassist had really great vocals that worked well with the loudness of the bass. At times the vocals seemed almost muted but it was very apparent that the vocals had their own place. The guitarist never seemed to be able to stay still and was moving non-stop – getting more and more into each song. He’d be kneeling on the stage and playing his heart out – in between sips of water. The drummer is equally loud and keeps the band moving at a great pace.

Their post-punk influences are easy to be seen. At times feeling like they could be Joy Division – dark but not nearly as gloomy. And the heavy guitars are oh so reminiscent of Jesus & Mary Chain. While their album material is great – the crowd seemed very into their newer songs that they had just written. As they introduced their song ‘Little Girls’ they cheekily noted – no its not for the band its the name of the song. It was a great solid set and their 40 minutes seemed to fly by.

Openers Little Girls from Toronto were interesting. They mentioned casually about them having to use Weekend’s gear and something to do with visas. That they probably would rather not have mentioned. We’ll leave it at that. While some of their songs were really great and had a dance-edge/pop sound – musically it was like they hadnt yet figured out what direction they were heading. So you never knew quite what you were going to get. The guitarist seemed to be having consistent problems with the sound/feedback and just couldnt seem to get on with it. After nearly every song it seemed there was a new problem.

Perhaps theres a bit of potential in them, but at this point, Im not sure I can totally see it.

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Rules for Setlists?!?

Posted by xneverwherex on September 25, 2009

So by now, you’d think Id have seen it all. I go to enough concerts to make up for most of us, and I love my set lists. Perhaps next job is to scan them all or take pics of them all. One thing at a time.

So anyway, last night I ventured on down to the Mercury Lounge to catch the Rifles. I have to say that the crowd was pretty cool and I ended up knowing more than a few people there. And for those I didnt know, I somehow met most the people in the front area.

Met this cool couple from Brussels (the place to go, btw, not Amsterdam) who told me about seeing bands in Brussels and how I must visit. They also told me they had seen The Rifles a ton of times, and this would be awesome. Then met some other huge Rifles fans and other people I knew showed up. It was like a small little party.

The Rifles put on a great show. They have a lot of energy and the crowd definitely feeds off of it. Everyone was jumping around, pumping their fists in the air and singing along. The lead singer just loved it, and I think half the crowd either came from England or were from there to see them. And I really appreciated the football chants too. We dont get enough of that here in the states.

The only main problem seemed their vocals were set too low so the lead singer was hard to hear. Then again with the loud powering guitars Im not sure it mattered that much. I just love “The Great Escape’ and it sounded amazing live. Its still hard to listen to them and not have your foot tapping along or your head bobbing along. It really is music that you just wanna scream out and sing along.

So — rules for setlists? I know youve been waiting to hear my newest gripe 😉  So I was talking to their roadie and asked for the drummer setlist and this woman next to me starts going off on me. I was so perplexed thinking wtf did I do. Rule #1 – if you come from England to see a band you ARE ENTITLED TO THE F’ING SETLIST! I mean what about the folks from Brussels. Hell they traveled farther than her. I had never heard of such lunacy. But oh it gets better. So I asked to take a picture of the setlist – a pretty mundane request. Instead of a simple yes, she says she would scan the setlist and email it to me. Seriously! all this for a setlist I asked for!

Well there is no way I was going to let this get to me, and so I met up with friends at the bar. Good times, but all these people wanted to hang onto the guys in The Rifles. That is so not my scene. So I ended up meeting up with a friend at Arlene’s Grocery.

So, I didnt know anything about the next band save for a few facts. First, the band Apefight has members from other bands – Radio 4 and Elefant. Secondly, he told me remember this is kind of a joke band and its total ‘cock-rock’. Honestly, I wasnt sure what to think, but thought this should be either a train wreck (that I HAD to see), or it would be the awesomest thing Id ever seen.

Lets just say FIGHT THE FIGHT! Im so on board with Apefight its not even funny. So the music is hysterical. Its so sexual in a way a 13-year old would write it, and their songs are ridiculous. I think one song is about bongs and beer, another one about drink enough beer youll get laid, or something to that effect.

The cool part is its clear the guys are loving it. They have too much fun and its hard not to laugh at it (even when youre one of 3 women in the place). They come out in white robes (ala The Polyphonic Spree) and masks. The lead singer yells at the crowd about clapping (or rather not clapping), saying stuff like “Are we not cool enough to be Art Brut?” – hahaha – and he just yells about everything. When the video screen went down, he yelled at the guys for not helping the chick manning the projector to put it back up.

And then to top it off, a friend described it as reverse karaoke. Basically we’re seeing the lyrics to the songs and the pictures that go with it, as the band sings it. Trust me DONT sing along. This is their show and its all for them. We’re just observing it, being idiots?? Im not entirely sure. Regardless it was awesome!

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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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Blown Away By The Helio Sequence

Posted by xneverwherex on October 10, 2007

10/8/07

Lots of great bands as always at The Mercury Lounge on this past Monday night. The first band of the night was Sleeping States from the UK. Markland, the genuis behind Sleeping States, put on an amazing set. He was simply adorable as he’d say before a number of songs ‘This is (insert song), and heres how it sounds’. Then on occasion they’d mess up, and he’d say “This isn’t how it sounds. This is how it sounds”. The band had a small 8″ tv set (maybe smaller?) on the edge of the stage playing various clips. Alien Resurrection stood out in my mind as they use a lot of the ambient noise in their music. Experimental is a great way to describe the style as they bring in all sorts of random objects that make noise and amplify their sound during the set. It was definitely something quite different to see and mix that up with sparse vocals, a great drum beat and heavy guitars and you’d get Sleeping States.

Markland proved himself to be quite the cool guy, as I stopped to congratulate him on a great set and asked him if they’d be playing in DC. I mentioned a great friend of mine lived there and she’d love to see their stuff, and he said ‘tell your friend she HAS to come see us’. Very charming, with a great British accent, how can you not fall in love.

Next up was Kill The Lights from Canada. Kill The Lights has 4 guys and 1 female in the band. I wasnt blown away by them, but some songs were really great. The vocals were really hit or miss and between the songs that sounded like they were screamed through, to songs that had more melodies it felt like 2 different bands at times. I’m not sure I’d see them again, but it was a good addition on the set.

NYC’s own Benzos is whom I was most excited to see. I have been a big fan of them since I first saw them opening for Elefant. And have seen them several times since, so it was great to finally be seeing them again. Their 2nd album continues where their first album left off and brings together heavy swirling guitars with gorgeous unassuming vocals from Christian Celaya. Their music is still as brilliant live as it was last I had seen them. Their music still flows through your body as you close your eyes and let it take you to wherever as Christian’s vocals fill the air and lush guitars complement his voice.

Definitely a band not to miss. They are playing 4 shows at CMJ, if not more and for those who have never seen them, be ready for some great dreamy indie rock to transport you. Besides Christian is quite the nice guy as I got to talk with him for a bit after his set while deciding which album to buy. Actually I hadnt listened to the first album in so long, I didnt even know which one I had owned. He told me which was new while telling me I had to come see them again at CMJ. And I was *completely* won over!  – Yeah such a fangirl Im turning into!

Lastly was the brilliant Helio Sequence. I am convinced that some of the most amazing bands come out of Portland, OR. It must be something in the water. Everyone had told me it was a show I couldnt miss and everyone was right. The Helio Sequence is 2 guys – a drummer and guitarist. Ben and Brandon.

Their show went from being good to better than great! I thought it started off on the slower side, and it could have been the fact that I was so annoyed by the guy in front of me who was drunk off his ass and thought he was in the band. I think the band might have been annoyed too, or at least the drummer appeared to be. This guy would bang on the drums and finally security told him to stand back. I guess that wasnt good enough, because he wanted to continue.

Aside for that mess, and getting beer spilled all over me twice, I had the most amazing time watching them, dancing. It was hard not to stay still as the drummer went crazy on the drums, and the lead singer filled the room with his guitar and voice. Long guitars that carried most the songs without a heavy abundance of lyrics is what really had me into the music. The guitars would sweep you off your feet, while the drums kept you grounded moving to the music. About an hour and 15 minutes the band played, and everyone wished they would have kept on playing. Now, Im just waiting till they return again, as there’s no way I’ll ever miss them again.

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2 Nights With Maps = Bliss!

Posted by xneverwherex on October 4, 2007

9/28 – 9/29

I somehow ended up with 2 tickets to Maps for each of the nights. Initially I had planned on seeing them on Friday night with a friend from out of town, but that didnt pan out, but instead of selling both our tickets, I sold off hers and kept mine. And I must say, I’m sure glad that I did.

It was an early set at the Mercury Lounge on Friday night starting out with Brooklyn’s own The Silent League. (as this is a recap of both nights – im infusing two nights shows together, got it?) 🙂 The Silent League played a really great set. I recall last time that I had seen them, there were more members in the band. (I havent seen them in at least 3 years).  Their sound was as incredible as always, and the trumpet player ended the set playing 2 trumpets at the same time. Their songs were quite slow and more mellowed out and we should have been just sitting around a campfire. I guess Kevin (or one of the other guys) was right when he stated that. Justin, formerly in Mercury Rev, has still managed to keep some of that sound in their style and it complements them perfectly. Has that feeling of being in an orchestra with the variety of instruments.

The highlight was definitely on Saturday when Justin brought his brother, Jason, along to sing backups on 2 of the songs. Jason is the lead singer of Hopewell and one thing that I did notice was that it seems Silent League’s new stuff invokes some of Hopewell’s last album. Such as Calcutta. Not necessarily the same middle-eastern/indian flare, but for whatever reason that is what it reminds me of.

Saturday night’s set was really great as well. The crowd didn’t seem to be quite as into it, with very few of us clapping or yelling in appreciation. Im definitely set on seeing them again. I got to meet Justin on Saturday night, and he’s a cool guy. We talked for a bit, and I told him I had come out here to see them. He playfully joked to me, that I better stay around for Maps. 🙂 I had told him that I had first seen them quite a few years back at the Mercury and he seemed pretty stoked about it. Good guy, good music, great sound! What more.

For those thinking that their music is completely different from Maps (which it is), they met when they were playing some festivals in the UK. And they all got along great, and voila! Together the bands were awesome.

Before I get to Maps – there was a 3rd band on the Saturday night show, but I swear it was a joke, and it was really awful. The lead singer cannot sing at all, and it was a cringe-worthy set. For that – I wont even name their name, aside for the fact I also blanked it out.

Maps, from Northampton, UK, were the band to see. Friday night I wasn’t sure what to expect. I remember falling in love with their sound the moment I heard it, but it still couldn’t match what was on stage. The Mercury set was packed and felt overflowing with Brits. I’d have to guage that at least 80% of the crowd were from the UK and the band was quite excited. This was their first show in the states and they were clearly excited to be playing in NYC.

James asked everyone to move forward to be as close to the stage as possible and wanted everyone dancing. Their music, while many would probably think is not the most danceable, works quite well live to dance to. James not only fronts the band, but is apparently THE band and he brings the other guys along with him when touring. His lush vocals almost drowned out by the guitars fit with the music. An electronic beat infuses with the swirling guitars complementing James’ vocals.

Now put all that combination together and you get Maps. A dancey-electronica band with guitars that you’d expect to hear at a My Bloody Valentine or shoegaze show. James seemed excited about Saturday night in a different way than Friday night. He seemed much more relaxed on stage and was having fun with the crowd. He was on the sides while The Silent League were playing, and I caught his eye a few times, and he gave me the biggest smile. You could just see the excitement. While it was not a sold-out show at Luna Lounge, the crowd up front seemed really into them (I think a lot of us saw them on Friday night). The girl next to me grabbed my arm at one point, and excitedely tells me “ive been singing this song all day, i couldnt wait to hear it”. About this time, her, me and some other excited girls continued to dance to a very happy James Chapman.

Stand outs from the set were definitely “You Dont Know Her Name” and “It Will Find You”. Great friends (new and old), great bands, great music = awesome time!

I also managed to catch +/- {plus/minus} on Friday night, but barely remember the rest of the night after a butterscotch shot and some beer on an empty stomach. I do remember trying to find somewhere to eat in Tribeca at 2am and that was not fun!

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