Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘orchestra’

Elephant 6 Comes To Town

Posted by xneverwherex on March 27, 2011

Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour
March 23, 2011
Le Poisson Rouge

What happens when a huge group of guys (and gal) come together for just a few nights?? Well you get something quite special and extraordinary.

The Elephant 6 Collective has spawned so many bands over time and more still seem to arise. From Olivia Tremor Control to Neutral Milk Hotel to The Apples in Stereo and more recently Of Montreal and Hawk and a Hacksaw it seems to be ever going.

The night seemed like it could have been one gigantic circus and we were the captive audience. Julian Koster was great fun listening to his stories about his Romanian Circus Family and disappearing cities.

The show got even more creative when it had audience members using a wind up snowman arm to aim balls at the ‘moon’. Whoever got the ball through the moon would get to choose the band’s next song. (Of any song in the entire world).

From what I saw of the 2+ hours, it was phenomenal. Everyone in the band sounded great. Different people singing on the songs were quite fun (depending on which song was being performed). The OTC songs were great and Elf Power songs were really catchy. It was great to see BP Helium singing so many songs (I cant ever recall if he sings with Of Montreal).

Overall it was a great night – even if I missed another hour. Even knowing so few of the songs (if any), it was still an awesome night and probably one that I wont see again. Its not too often that you can see so many different band members come together to play music from so many prior bands. It just doesnt happen (unless youre seeing Broken Social Scene – but then its still only BSS music for the most part).

The highlight by far was the snowman song. Was truly awesome seeing the band rock out to “Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath. Will I ever see that again… Id guess that’s a negative.


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BAM! Halloween w/The Deal Sisters and Dessner Brothers

Posted by xneverwherex on November 1, 2009


The Long Count – a multimedia piece by Aaron & Bryce Dessner (of The National) and artist Matthew Ritchie at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Oddly enough – a preview for the movie 2012 came up on my television. Ironic in the sense that its based on this premise that the Mayan calendar ends at 2012 and theres a lot of speculation what will happen at the end of the world.

And this is part of the idea behind The Long Count. The Long Count is based on a narrative poem titled the Popol Vuh about the hero twins and how the Long Count began. Its hard to explain, and I remember learning about this when studying Latin American Studies in college. It was long ago but this still makes sense in its own way.

This combines the World Series of baseball (1975/1976 – the year the Dessners were born) when the Reds vs Yankees were playing in the playoffs. Interestingly, the Yankees are playing again right now. The Mayan ball game was also a huge part of life although the losing team played a far higher price (beheadings were all too common). The beheading is also how the twins were born.

All of this leads to the idea of time and space and the way they believed in time and the power of the Sun/Moon and the earth and the way cycles work. And the idea of twins play heavily into this – they were very revered.

In this case, one set of twins, the Dessners, inspired another more famous set of twins (the Deals) to all come together and to work on this performance piece. What transpires has to be the most innovative show Ive seen in a long time. Easily my favorite show of this year. The art is massive and dark and invokes feelings of blood and earth and cycles. Things come, go, and move onward. Then you add the lovely Shara Worden whose voice was made for this and she invokes the goddess Venus as she sings about the sun and the moon. Her voice is powerful and strong and in the headdress youre moved into another world.

The Deal sisters add a whole nother pow to the show. Kim Deal’s voice is incredible and raw and add the violin pounding of Kelley and kabam! Its intense and the screeching of it hits you hard.

The real treat is the orchestra. Each person is beyond talented and if you read the bios have played with artists like the Arcade Fire. The violins are powerful, the saxophone is intense and the guy in front of me hitting the keys hard of the piano helps take you to this other world.

The music and lyrics are mostly written by the Dessners and its hard not to argue that they might be the most talented guys out there. I was fortunate to get to see them talking with Matthew Ritchie of the making of this art performance. It was interesting the way they came up with the idea and where it was going to go. They are talented guys who have transcended far beyond The National.

All I can really add – if this ever does a worldwide tour, it’d behoove you not to see it. The National are great to see (and Matt does perform one song – and his low voice might have been one of the best voices of the night) but this takes everything to a far greater place. Besides who wouldnt want to see the Deal sisters along with the Dessners together. It was insanely awesome!

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