I’m close to stalker status when it comes to Dragonette. Still riding high on their 2012 album, the trio from Toronto keep getting around. Last night they played an eclectic set that pulled from their three albums including “Take it Like a Man” and “I Get Around” from Galore, “Pick Up The Phone” and the title track from Fixin’ to Thrill, and the Don Diablo single, “Animale.” The balance of their picks were off their awesome Bodyparts album: “Live In This City,” “Riot,” “Right Woman” and “Ghost.” The best songs they played (in my humble opinion) were “My Legs” and “Untouchable.” The oddest song played is also their most recent single, “Giddy Up.” Clearly difficult to sing, Martina expressed her nerves before tearing into it and of course she was perfect. I love that girl. The ubiquitous “Hello” by Martin Solveig almost closed their set but not until they ended it with their own exclamation point: “Let It Go.” I’m still bewildered why this band is not on top of the world. Most under-appreciated and under-marketed band in the world who deserve massive success and blissful happiness for life. Come on, people… Giddy up.
British electro pop artist Little Boots played Music Hall of Williamsburg this week and I was lucky to catch her act the day her new album Nocturnes dropped in the U.S. She opened with her latest single, “Motorway,” a slick, sultry synth gem that sends the signal that Little Boots is back and on top of her game. I’m definitely a fan of the new material. Early favorites performed were “Beat Beat,” a classic disco-tinged dance floor filler, “Crescendo” and my favorite, favorite, the hooky “Satellite.” Her older material from 2009 and 2010 “New In Town,” “Stuck on Repeat,” “Earthquake,” “Remedy” and “Meddle” were all well-received by her Brooklyn hipster fan base. Recent singles “Every Night I Say a Prayer,” “Headphones” and “Shake,” her closing number, were by far the fan favorites of the night. For me, and only me, this is an early contender for album of the summer, at least the first half of the summer. Everything changes in July.
Two and a half hours. That’s how long Fleetwood Mac played, a band that has been around for five decades. It’s been with baited breath I’ve waited for this show since tickets went on sale at the start of the year. Mick, John, Lindsey and Stevie are not ones who simply show up for gigs and go through the motions. They slayed me.
Mick describes John McVie as the backbone of Fleetwood Mac. While the most introverted of the remaining bunch, McVie’s spirit erupted slowly through his bass guitar in “The Chain.” His guitar work and Lindsey Buckingham’s stole the show. “Big Love” is usually Buckingham’s big guitar solo but his work on “I’m So Afraid” ended with him slumped over on stage while 2-3 minutes of resounding applause and ovation engulfed him. He’s pretty incredible.
Other highlights of the night outside of their long string of hits included the Stevie Nicks penned “Sisters of the Moon” off Tusk. She said they hadn’t played it as part of a Fleetwood Mac setlist since the late 1970s. Pretty impressive. Two more favorite moments happened during their two encores. Yes, two. The first was “Silver Spring.” I just love it and always have. The other was the show closer with Stevie and Lindsey tenderly performing “Say Goodbye,” a song Lindsey wrote to mark the closure of his torrid relationship with Stevie as lovers. It was also the only song they performed off their 2003′s Say You Will album. Say you won’t take another three years to tour again.
Finally, after years of trying, I got into a Yeah Yeah Yeahs show (thank you, Mike). Webster Hall was packed with fans, family and friends of the triumphant trio from Brooklyn, here to celebrate the release of their new album Mosquito. A consummate show woman, Karen O. emerged in canary yellow shorts, zebra cape, Sia-esque blonde razor bob and a corded mic she shimmied about before tearing into the new title track and then “Gold Lion.”
They played a number of new songs I didn’t know including “Under The Earth,” “Despair” and the first time performances of “Slave” and “Wedding Song.” I cannot wait to bite into Mosquito when it drops. Their only released new track “Sacrilege” was great live, but it would have been even better with a live choir on hand. I’m so demanding and I ask too much, I know. It was their old stuff that really turned me out including “Cheated Hearts” and my favorite “Turn Into.” Love the acoustic guitar on that song. It’s Blitz! favorites “Soft Shock,” “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll” made me sing and dance, and their classic “Maps” left me fully satisfied. Buzz at the show was that they YYYs won’t do a proper tour to support the new album, so I felt lucky to have seen them. They will play this summer’s festival circuit including Coachella next weekend. You know I’ll be there. Missing them would be sacrilege.
On the same night this January, I raced between Mercury Lounge to see up-and-coming NYC band MS MR and Highline Ballroom to catch a buzz-worthy Jessie Ware. Flash-forward three months and they’re touring together, perfectly complementing MS MR’s chillwave vibe and Ms. Ware’s silky smooth pipes and creating a very memorable night at Webster Hall.
MS MR opened with “Bones” off their EP Candy Store Creep Show. Lizzy’s voice haunts me and Max’s dancing bewitches me. I have a major crush on this band and their confidence and presence on stage has grown immensely. There’s a new album coming in May and the songs they performed from it sound promising. Their crowd-pleaser is still the debut single, “Hurricane.” “Welcome to the inner workings of my mind. So dark and foul I can’t disguise” pretty much says it all. Love.
Jessie Ware appeared in a full length black velvet dress which reminded me of a Marina & The Diamonds look I’ve witnessed on the very same stage. But Jessie’s got a special thing going on in her act. A beautiful girl with a smooth, well-controlled voice, she captivates her audience in both her banter and her beguiling craft. “Wildest Moments,” “If You’re Never Gonna Move” and “Taking In Water,” the latter dedicated to her brother, were among my favorite moments. But there were so many great moments it’s hard to narrow it down. I will say “Swan Song” moved me and allowed her to unleashed her voice in full-throttle, but my all-time favorite Jessie Ware song was saved until last. “Running” is brilliant. Next weekend I’ll be running to see her again at Coachella. Count on it.
Let’s talk about P!nk (and yes, I’ll honor her stylized brand). She’s come a long way since I first saw her open for Lenny Kravitz back in 2001. Over the course of her 13-year career, she could have taken two paths: the Beyonce/Kelly Clarkson “we run the world” trajectory or the Britney/Christina “oops, lotus, really?” spiral. Fortunately for the planet, she followed the path of the former. On the first leg of her Truth About Love tour, P!nk reigns supreme. Still packing that “so what?” attitude of a 19-year-old, she balances it with the matured heart of a 33-year-old daughter, wife and mother. It’s authentic and refreshing and it’s what endears her to so many.
She opened with “Raise Your Glass” and never put it down. So many highlights it’s tough to distill: “U + Ur Hand” is one of my favorite quintessential Pink songs, as well as a personal favorite “Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)” during which she dorked out to the way most of us probably dance. But her signature aerial acrobatics while singing heart-wrenching anthems “Try” and “Sober” stole the show. How she sings pitch perfect while flying through the air, and keeping her perfect coif in place both defy the laws of physics. I was mesmerized with the video delay treatment on the live video feed as it added so much drama to her performance. It was beautiful. I thought her cover song choice was interesting, Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” and on point for her aforementioned matured heart. She has killer pipes that are no better showcased than on on pop/rock ballads like “Just Give Me a Reason” with fun.’s Nate Ruess (on video), “Family Portrait” and an acoustic version of “Who Knew.”
Like all great artists, P!nk knows to save the best for last. She closed her main set with appropriately titled “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” and then dazzled a jaded concert goer like me with “So What?” She was fastened into some aerial contraption that enabled her to fly above her fans and to all corners of Madison Square Garden, getting so close that the folks in section 300 at the back of the arena were able to blow her that last kiss. These were rock moves I’ve never seen before. Are you ‘f-ing kidding me? Beyonce may have dabbled with in-arena flight on her last tour, but P!nk’s show raised the bar for all arena concerts going forward. In two weeks I’ll see Fleetwood Mac at MSG though I doubt we’ll see Stevie Nicks fly around on a broomstick, but how much would you pay to see that? P!nk’s final bow was an encore of “Glitter in the Air,” the riveting Grammy performance from two years ago that combines aerial acrobatics, flawless vocals and that infamous dip in a pool of water. I’ll end this post saying it was the most satisfying “big box” concert I’ve seen in a long time. P!nk’s on the road into 2014, so don’t miss this spectacle. It’s almost fuckin’ perfect.
Let’s hear it for Solange, ladies and gentlemen. As humans we all relate to stepping out of the shadow of another at some point in our lives. What we don’t relate to is having Beyonce as your older sister. The pressure, the comparisons, the expectations. I’d have an ulcer. But the 26-year-old has found her own groove and look and I can’t stop listening or cyber stalking. I was lucky to score a ticket for one of her shows at Webster Hall where my obsession was cemented. Opening with “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work” set the tone for her 45-minute set. With grace and ease, she played everything off her stellar 2012 EP True. I a fan of “Lovers in the Parking Lot” and “Locked in Closets,” but I’m even more mad for her chilled out “Bad Girls” and “Looks Good With Trouble.” The crowd lost themselves on “Losing You.” It was my favorite moment aside from her beautiful cover of Selena’s “I Could Fall In Love With You.” Done deal, Sol. I’ve fallen.