Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘wordless music series’

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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Mum is the Word…

Posted by xneverwherex on September 27, 2007

So – I just bought my mum tickets as part of the Wordless Music Series. And I can’t recommend seeing shows at this series enough. I have been listening to mum a bit and am just blown away by how amazing they sound. So naturally, a church and mum seem a great fit!  Now really …. its on to Beirut.


Monday night was a great way to start the week by heading up to the Society for Ethical Culture on the corner of Central Park West & 64th. The church is still in amazing condition (I did read it was recently refurbished) and the paintings are gorgeous. The pews are about as comfortable as pews can be, but more importantly, the acoustics are amazing. This was my second trip to this church – my first time having seen Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance.

This series is about putting together acts that we might never consider listening to. For a lot of indie fans (myself included), its not often that I’d go out and find a new classically trained artist with electronic influences. And its not that I don’t care for the music, I just don’t find myself gravitating towards that. So I look to this series to expose my horizons.

The first review I read about the Beirut show had me so disappointed with what I read, I was convinced I attended a different show. Thanks NYT for thinking outside of the box.

Colleen, a French woman who it turns out barely made it into the states thanks to our government’s efficient visa plan with turning away all these artists, was the first artist to play. She is classically trained and primarily played the cello. She was very gifted and her music was a fusion of classical and electronic. She played everything from a clarinet to wind chimes to the violin. And everything was so beautifully crafted it was hard not to drift away with the music. I had no idea what to expect coming in, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

The next artists up were Katya Mihailova (on the piano) and Colin Jacobsen (on violin). Katya came up to perform 2 songs by herself on piano. The song from Chopin was performed perfectly, her fingers flying over the keys amazing to watch. I was seated in the 3rd row on the edge and had an amazing view. Her next song – which I dont remember the title but has something to do with only the left hand – was even more impressive. With just her left hand, she played the entire song. I don’t know if anyone else would have realized it, but when it hit me that she was only playing with one hand, I was blown away. Brooklyn (where she lives) should have been proud tonight!

Katya was later joined on the stage with Colin Jacobsen. Their first piece was from Arvo Part which really played out well together. The violin accompanying the piano was just beautiful. I am a sucker for beautiful piano pieces, and I have a love affair with watching people play the piano. It takes me to a different world. The set ended with a piece from Bela Bartok and Colin asked the lovely men of Beirut to join them on stage. So 4 guys from Beirut came out with a trumpet, a cello and some other instruments. There seemed to be a bit of confusion, but by the last part of the song it came together. It was a great way to end the set and get us pumped up for Beirut.

 Beirut were amazing. Zach Condon, the ever talented lead singer of Beirut, was exceptionally cool! Possibly the epitome of cool. With heavy French influences in the form of Jacques Brel, the band put on quite a show. 6 other guys filled the stage playing a variety of instruments and the lone female primarily on violin. The music which has a very Eastern European flair contained a big sound from the accordion, trumpets, violins, ukuleles and minimal drums. Guitars were barely used which was quite the nice change.

Its hard to close your eyes and imagine this band from Brooklyn, performing this Eastern European music, but this is what they do. And they do it quite well. The evening ended with Zach coming back after the encore and telling everyone to move forward and stand up. It ended with some sort of Romanian jig like tune. It was a perfect setting for nearly an hour and a half even when inside of a church!

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