Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Gregg Greenwood’

(Editor’s Note: This piece appears on The Bowery Presents The House List. Check it out here)

Surprise is no longer an appropriate reaction when it comes to technology’s entanglement with music. Pro Tools, pedals and amplifiers are now mainstays of live performances, expanding timbral possibilities beyond acoustic capability. To believe otherwise is to impose delusion on reality. The more appropriate response is awe and wonder. Try matching sound to sight and you’re more likely to become dizzy than echolocate instrumentation. But that challenge makes bands like Battles a thoroughly engaging show, with the eyes, ears and mind.

On Tuesday night at Webster Hall, Battles returned to a “hometown crowd” for the first time since April. The band is currently touring in support of its latest album, Gloss Drop, the first without former band member Tyondai Braxton. And, while his vocal contributions are missed, they aren’t forgotten. Without a singer, Battles’ live show relies on recorded vocal tracks from Braxton as well as recent Gloss Drop contributors, like Matias Aguayo and Gary Numan. The trick is Battles matches the vocals to video projections of the singers, a clever way to humanize the sound.

But outside of watching the band and the screens, Battles’ performance is most appreciated in its ingenuity and physicality. Multi-instrumentalists Ian Williams and Dave Konopka constantly trigger loops and tinker with sounds while drummer John Stanier pounds mercilessly against his drum kit, highlighted by an elevated ride cymbal. During performances of crowd pleasers “Atlas” and “Ice Cream,” all three melded their seemingly incongruous parts into a whole, astonishingly sounding like pop music. It is electronic madness—enough so to inspire periodic moshing, but Battles always finds a way to make it both difficult and enjoyable.

Photo courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com

Read Full Post »

(Editor’s Note: This piece appears on The Bowery Presents The House List. Check it out here)

In 2007 on Eye to Eye with Katie Couric, Levon Helm made a surprising confession. When asked by interviewer Anthony Mason how throat cancer affected his status as a singer, Helm responded, “I’ve always thought of myself as the drummer and I’d take my turn to sing whenever I’d have to, but my joy is to play the drums.” This sentiment is not a coping strategy. In fact, Rolling Stone ranked him No. 91 in the list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Rather, Helm, a drummer for more than 50 years with acts ranging from the Hawks to his career-defining stint with the Band, seems quite pleased to continue drumming into his 70s, even if his voice is faltering. And on Monday night at Central Park’s SummerStage, he steadily manned his band’s rhythm section, contented by a workman’s approach and delighted with a broad smile.

Joined by openers Hayes Carll and seminal country musician Emmylou Harris, the Levon Helm Band played from nightfall to rainfall. In the beginning, Helm offered his vocals on the Band classic “Ophelia.” Fans showed great appreciation for the effort, a reminder of Helm’s rare ability to simultaneously sing and drum exceeding well. And despite being able to sustain vocal duties, the rest of his extraordinarily talented band compensated for the loss, singing and harmonizing beautifully throughout the show.

Renditions of country standards “Long Black Veil” and “Deep Elem Blues,” made popular by the Grateful Dead, shared similarities to the original versions but took on a unique, lively character when played by the Levon Helm Band, a reflection of the band’s namesake. So even as rain poured down on the all-ages crowd, Helm and his band’s energy overcame the elements. And when the band closed with “The Weight,” joined by special guests Shawn Colvin, Joan Osborne and David Bromberg, all in attendance forgave the weather and sang along. We’re more than happy to share vocal duties with Helm.

Photo courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com

Read Full Post »

Photo: Gregg Greenwood | http://www.gregggreenwood.com)

(Editor’s Note: This piece appears on The Bowery Presents The House List. Check it out @ http://houselist.bowerypresents.com/broken-social-scene-electrifies-terminal-5/)

Last night, Broken Social Scene, the seasoned Canadian indie-rock collective, broadcast their show from Terminal 5 to an Internet-wide YouTube-viewing audience. On backlit screens around the world, I imagine small but impassioned groups of fans connected to the stream, speakers turned up and eyes fixed on the performance. As digital music forces record companies to amend outdated practices perhaps this is the new fan experience: concerts from the comfort of your own home. Nothing else seems to be sacred, so the live show is the next logical step for digital revamping. But the experience of a concert, the “being there” quality ranging from sound to the energy of the crowd, is irreproducible. Just ask anyone who was at Terminal 5 last night.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers