Posted on June 16, 2012 by CenterOrch
Straight from the Keane concert, a couple of friends joined me at XL to check out Dev. Earlier in the week, I was lucky enough to attend one of Arjan Writes‘ artist talks with The Cataracs, a hip hop producing/performing duo from the Bay area. They talked a lot about Dev and their collaboration with Far East Movement. Long story short, Arjan and the Cataracs inspired me to delve deeper into Dev. I’m so thankful they did.
At 1:45 a.m. Dev appeared on stage with two stoic, emotionless back up singers to perform “Like a G6,” her work with The Cataracs and Far East Movement. She’s more rap-infused than I had expected but still, it was hot and she was cool, though she was dressed like she had just dropped off the kids at soccer practice. She went on to perform “Bass Down Low,” her first single back in 2010, and “In the Dark,” a 2012 song of the summer contender, also produced by The Cataracs. She has a great voice, interesting vibe and diverse musical influences so it will be interesting to see where she lands with her debut album in September. I’ll be listening.
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Posted on June 16, 2012 by CenterOrch
English band Keane is making the rounds supporting their fourth studio album Strangeland, somewhat a hybrid of their piano-led alt-rock 2006 album Under the Iron Sea and their more pop-driven 2008 album Perfect Symmetry. To me, it’s just Keane at their finest, despite critical reviews of their new album. I’m a fan, not a critic. They are comprised of lead vocalist Tom Chaplin who has one of rock’s best voices, pianist Tim Rice-Oxley, the sonic core of the band, drummer Richard Hughes and guitarist Jesse Quin who officially became a full-time band member last year. Together they’re anything but in strange land.
They opened with the lead track off Strangeland, “You Are Young.” It’s the perfect song to showcase Chaplin’s towering vocals and Rice-Oxley’s deft skills behind the keys. The song also stays true to Keane’s penchant for soaring crescendos. Obviously, I loved it. Next was “Day Will Come,” another powerful ode to dreams coming true. “Everybody’s Changing” and my current crush off the new album “The Starting Line” permeated the gilded Beacon Theater, as did the next five songs. Each represented a quality I love about Keane: “Spiralling” has massive energy. “Neon River” perfectly balances Chaplin’s vocals and Rice-Oxley’s mad pounding on the piano. “Bend and Break,” perhaps my all-time favorite Keane song that inspired fist-pumping from Chaplin as if he were the lead in Les Miz. “A Bad Dream” because it projects dark and somber beautifully. And “Perfect Symmetry” for it’s shear genius, message and bridge.
I have seen Keane three times now — Radio City, outdoors at the Williamsburg Waterfront and now the Beacon. All big venues. All places where Chaplin likes to climb on boxes like a meerkat. But I really want to see them at Joe’s Pub, Bowery Ballroom, The Box. Chaplin’s somber, nearly a capella sample of “Strangeland” is the reason why. So pure, so perfect. I could listen to him sing all night long, and I don’t say that about too many male vocalists. I just don’t know how drum-driven songs like “On the Road” would play in a small venue. I think that song is Keane’s next “Bend and Break.” More vocal octave jumping and fist pumps from Chaplin.
I have to tell you about every song they sang because their songbook has grown deep and every one of them is a gem. “We Might As Well Be Strangers,” “Disconnected,” “This is the Last Time,” “Somewhere Only We Know” and Under the Iron Sea stand-out, “Is It Any Wonder?” preceded the beautiful “Bedshaped,” one of Keane’s earliest recordings and “Sovereign Light Cafe,” clearly the band’s favorite new song to perform. For the encore, the guys squeezed three songs into 12 minutes: “Sea Fog,” gorgeous. “Silenced By The Night,” their latest single. And “Crystal Ball,” the song that put Keane on the map in 2004. My crystal ball predicts Strangeland will continue to cement Keane as one of the world’s foremost and influential rock bands. Now if the U.S. would only pay attention.
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Posted on June 7, 2012 by CenterOrch
Sometimes second time’s the charm. Tuesday I had my weekly concert date with British girlfriends Marianne and Jemma to see Aussie band The Temper Trap. We saw them a couple of months ago in Williamsburg on a mini tour, and now they’re back with the release of their new album. They were amused that they sold out Terminal 5 on a Tuesday night. It’s New York, gents.
They opened with two songs off their eponymous new album, “London’s Burning” and lead single, “I Need Your Love.” I’m so impressed with front man Dougy Mandagi. His choirboy voice pierces through the power of the band. Even rocking out at full-tilt, his voice cuts through and soars. I love that. “Down River” and “Love Lost” off their 2009 album Conditions were up next and made my girlfriends very, very happy. Then six new tracks in a row including early favorites “Trembling Hands” and “Dreams” before “Science of Fear,” “Resurrection” and “Drum Song” closed the main set. For the encore, the poignant “Soldier On,” “I’m Gonna Wait” and finally, “Sweet Disposition.” These guys are great and twice as nice the second time around.
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Posted on June 5, 2012 by CenterOrch
And I’m back. Just six weeks after being introduced to Emeli Sande, I had to hear more. She’s one of those artists who will eventually be out of reach, selling out massive venues and the time to see her in intimate venues will be over. It’s similar to what happened with my other soul sister Adele. Now she’s untouchable and tickets are impossible to score. So I’m getting my Emeli Sande fill now.
The first time I saw her, it was an acoustic set. This time, she’s plugged in and celebrating the release her debut album in the U.S., Our Version of Events. While her album is fantastic, she’s better live. Pitch perfect and powerful, Sande’s voice is controlled and achingly restrained as she sings her songbook of stories. She opened with “Daddy,” “Tiger” and a stunning performance of “Suitcase.” Sad song, but beautiful. Loved how she tears up a peppy reggae version of “Where I Sleep” and then strips it down behind the keys with “Clown.”
Every single one of her songs is special. “Breaking The Law” is an early favorite, inspired by loving another person so much that you’d do anything for them. Anything. “My Kind of Love” is also a stand-out. But the fun song of the night was “Wonder,” a new song only on the U.S. release she wrote with Naughty Boy, inspired by the wonder and magic we have in all of us if we channel it correctly. “Reach out and pass it on.” She closed with her first single, “Heaven,” the song that got it all started. Great, but I liked the acoustic version she did in Williamsburg better. Her encore was perhaps my favorite Sande song, “Next to Me.” So, my obsession with her continues. She is wonderful. Get on board.
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Posted on June 4, 2012 by CenterOrch
I missed Foster the People last summer when “Pumped Up Kicks” was burning up the charts, but better late than pregnant, right? The guys are winding down a long tour cycle supporting their debut album Torches. Central Park shows start early and it’s hard to get there early, and much to my chagrin, I missed their opening act and my favorite New Zealander, Kimbra. But I did get a peak of her backstage along with the dashing Mark Foster.
The gents made their way to the stage at about 8 with “Miss You.” I love the energy of these guys, especially front man Foster. He’s so cute and he’s got some great moves. They played just about every song off their album including stand-outs “Helena Beat,” “I Would do Anything For You,” “Waste,” “Call It What You Want” and “Don’t Stop.” My favorite moments included “Warrior” with Kimbra (at least I got to see her once), my favorite FTP song, “Warrant” and “Houdini,” which featured a brass section in marching band attire. Very cool and reminded me of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” stunt with the USC marching band back in 1997. As expected, “Pumped Up Kicks” was their encore and the big crowd-pleaser among the 20-something girls in the crowd. I can’t wait to see what these guys do next. Just don’t stop.
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