Tag Archives: Concert Review

Review: Arcade Fire at MSG

22 Sep
Arcade Fire In Concert - New York City

Credit: Billboard

When I attend a concert I intend on reviewing I take a series of mental notes to add content and spice to the review. Generally, the notes are brief and dull, a collection of tracks the band performed well and perhaps some words on the audience. However, Arcade Fire’s Sept. 12 performance at Madison Square Garden garnered an eclectic series of notes, perhaps most akin to that of a tropical birthday party of an eccentric retired boxer.

  • Boxing ring for a stage. Seriously, not just a box stage. There are ropes. The band enters through the crowd on the floor while mock boxing statistics are projected onto the board.
  • The board features some jerky animated individual with a western drawl and TV static for a face. It’s mighty odd. That is replaced with alien advertisements for products during songs from the Everything Now album – the band is on point with its social commetary
  • Haitian dancers for “Haiti.” That makes sense. Nice touch
  • Great moment for Hurricane Harvey relief – Win Butler plays The Suburbs in honor of the city of Houston and urges individuals to donate to a charity that is projected on all of the screens
  • The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the opening act, comes back for the final tracks during the encore – the sound is electric.

Pair those notes with a sold out MSG crowd with a crowded dance floor and perpetual sing-alongs, especially with “Wake Up” – which was practically yelled by the crowd – at the end of the concert, and you have a vibrant, eccentric concert. Like anyone would expect anything less from the Indie Rock superstars. Since released Funeral in 2004, Arcade Fire has blended creative Indie Rock with mainstream sing-alongs and accessible tracks – always balancing aberrant, polarizing sounds with catchy melodies. That is Arcade Fire’s charm, and a big reason why they were able to sell out MSG with an unsurprisingly engaged collection of fans spanning the band’s history.

I saw the band once before during their Reflektor Tour, but this go-around seemed more electric and inspired. The band seemed more confident. They sprawled around their boxing ring stage like predators, playing each track with an effervescence engendered by the raucous crowd. You could sense just how much the band enjoys what they do and there appreciation that people like the product. This vivacity never faded throughout the concert and the band practically had to be forced off the floor, playing an amalgamation of the chorus of “Wake Up” and “Stand By Me” as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band buttressed the performers as they walked toward the side entrance, Win Butler, the lead singer of Arcade Fire, singing until he finally got to the tunnel. A fitting end to a unique concert by a skilled band at the prime of its career.

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Fenech-Soler

27 Apr

LOLO

Fenech-Soler

Fenech-Soler

Fenech-Soler

HOLYCHILD

(All photos from the show can be found here.)

After a (possibly too long) delay in posts, I’m happy to say I’m back. Midterm weeks were brutal, but I’m glad to say I made it out alive for the most part. A couple of months ago I found out that Fenech-Soler was coming to the states on their very first American tour, and I could not have been more excited. They’re an “electropop” band from Kings Cliffe, often compared to Friendly Fires and Delphic, incorporating synth, indie, and electronic elements into a collective sound. I think the world should know about this group, and their set was entirely too short that night, but nonetheless incredible. The show took place on April 3rd at The Westway, a converted gentleman’s club that still had the dancer’s platform in the middle of the stage. Needless to say, the lighting in this venue was a battle in itself, but I think I managed to get some cool pictures.

The first opener was a two person group called LOLO, with a powerful female lead and bass/keyboardist. She did an incredible cover of “Halo” by Beyoncé to close their set, and her vocals were absolutely amazing. Because Fenech-Soler wasn’t headlining, they were on next, playing a variety of songs from their latest album Rituals, as well as older classics from their 2010 self titled album. The group consists of four members, and their live performance was indistinguishable from their in studio recordings. They incorporated some really amazing rainbow lighting throughout their set, and I’m really pleased with how they were captured. The headliner for the evening was HOLYCHILD, another female fronted group from LA. They’ve been labeled as a top group to watch in 2014, and their set was high energy and very crowd interactive. I’ve waited quite a while for the moment where I would be able to see the incredible music of Fenech-Soler live, and can’t wait for them to make another trip to the US.

 

Wolverines Tour

3 Apr

Unwed Sailor

The Sound of Animals Fighting

The Sound of Animals Fighting

The Sound of Animals Fighting

The Sound of Animals Fighting

(All photos from the show can be found here.)

 

Having previously seen Vinnie Caruana fill in for Hit The Lights on the Acoustic Basement Tour back in January, I was excited to see how he would sound in the context of a full band, in I Am The Avalanche. That day, March 28, was actually my first ever show at Webster Hall, surprising considering how close by it is. The first band was Bellwether, a local pop-punk band from Long Island. They had good energy and a lively lead singer, and put on a good opening set. The next band was Turnover, a Virginia based band with angsty lyrics and a sound to match – not quite hardcore, not quite emo, but somewhere in-between. On a split single with Citizen, they share a similar sound, and personally they remind me a bit of Seahaven. It was during the second half of their set that the crowd really began to get moving, and I was a big fan of their sound. The next band was The Swellers; Michigan based what I would call pop rock, most definitely with the upbeat influences and driving tempo of pop punk. Their set saw a large amount of crowd surfers, and their performance was very high energy.

Classified as punk rock and post-hardcore, Vinnie Caruana has hard-hitting vocals that are perfect for aggressive finger pointing and frequent crowd surfing. His arrival onto the stage saw a massive push from the crowd trying to get closer to the stage, and he seemed ecstatic to play, according to him, their largest NYC show ever. With the show that night serving as their album release party for Wolverines, they played a good portion of their new album, along with several older favorites, closing with “Brooklyn Dodgers”. Vinnie has a stellar stage presence, and every crowd surfer that made it onto the stage gave him a pat on the back, or received a high five from him. The crowd and the band had a very mutual respect for each other, and it was a very interesting dynamic to observe. Overall the show was incredible, and I was glad that I was able to see him perform with heavier, more aggressive vocals.

 

The Sound Of Animals Fighting

1 Apr

Unwed Sailor

The Sound Of Animals Fighting

The Sound Of Animals Fighting

The Sound Of Animals Fighting

The Sound Of Animals Fighting

The Sound Of Animals Fighting

The Sound Of Animals Fighting

(All photos from the show can be found here.)

 

On the 22nd of March, I anxiously stood outside of Best Buy Theater, hoping that nothing would go wrong with the list I was supposed to be on for a photo pass. Turns out the list was missing, and myself and four other photographers found ourselves stranded outside of the venue while show time inched ever closer. Luckily said list was located, and they were able to get us in with no problems, but most definitely a little close for comfort.

I was there for The Sound Of Animals Fighting, an experimental rock supergroup made up of big names such as Circa Survive (as well as now Saosin)’s Anthony Green, Chiodos’s Craig Owens, as well as members of Rx Bandits. Craig Owens did not join them on their reunion tour, busy with a new Chiodos album. It is to be noted that this was the first TSOAF show in ten years, as the supergroup had previously only ever played four live shows together. There was only one opening act, Unwed Sailor, an instrumental rock/ambient band with no vocalist, previously having toured with the likes of Owl City.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, familiar only with Anthony Green’s vocals, with the promise that their live show was something unique and even a little crazy, most definitely a true performance. Anthony Green’s stage presence was incredible, a dynamic vocalist that made full use of the stage and interacted with the crowd. There were morph suits, and lots of them, holding a banner that held the quote “We must become the change we want to see.” Their live show was most definitely an experience, as several incredibly talented vocalists, (Anthony Green, Matt Kelly, Rich Balling) taking the stage together was breathtakingly overwhelming. The feel of TSOAF is definitely one that takes some getting used to, wildly experimental, ranging from purely instrumental to spoken word, covering essentially every style few and far between. Their lyrics and instrumentals tug at something indescribable in your heart, and you just feel the music in you, and they inspire angst, awe, and a lot of pure, raw, emotion. I came for the vocals of Anthony Green, but left with a new found appreciation of this star studded heavy hitter, as well as a newfound appreciation for the pure talent ground in this group.

The American Dream Tour

10 Mar

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IMG_2631

On 2/28, I was, once again, without camera, but have to say I’m pretty satisfied with what my phone did manage to capture. I went to Best Buy Theater for The American Dream Tour, enduring an hour in the literally freezing cold before managing to get inside. The venue was packed for the night’s sold out show. After a long period of confusion, during which the crowd managed to spot BryanStars in the balcony, Northlane was finally on as the opener. The Sydney based metalcore band had a strong set, closing with “Quantum Flux,” a definite crowd pleaser. Next was ISSUES, featuring a bright neon stage set up on their equipment. They played songs from their new album, including “The Settlement” and “Stingray Affliction.” Tyler Carter’s vocals have only gotten better since his days in Woe, Is Me, as have Michael Bohn’s. They had a live turntable set up for the scratches and electronic components of their songs, manned by Ty Acord. They had an energetic set, which, for myself and most of the crowd, felt much too short.

Next was Of Mice & Men, with a backdrop of their new album artwork for Restoring Force. They had a mix of songs from their new album as well as The Flood, but disappointingly, songs from their self-titled were nowhere to be seen. Aaron Pauley proved his vocal capabilities on both their new and old songs, and singer Austin Carlile’s stage presence was powerful and interactive as always. Their set too felt too short, but they managed to pack an immense amount of energy into a short amount of time. The crowd had been becoming progressively more aggressive during this time, and during Bring Me The Horizon’s soundcheck people were rushing to leave the sea of people. They opened from behind a large sheet that had previously been behind Of Mice & Men’s backdrop, using strobe lights and smoke to create shadows from behind the sheet. Oli Sykes chastised the crowd’s use of their phones during the first part of the set, encouraging that we live in the moment instead of behind our screens. They used smoke and confetti cannons throughout their set, along with a fast paced light show in the background. They closed with “Sleepwalking” and more blasts from the confetti cannon, putting on a frenzied, high energy show as always.

People have criticized Sykes’s live performance in the past, but his vocals on the new album Sempiternal certainly prove how much his range and vocal quality have improved, along with how dynamic they truly are. Having seen both Of Mice & Men and Bring Me The Horizon before this review may be admittedly biased, but this was truly an incredible show, and the next day’s soreness was most definitely worth it.

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