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Posts Tagged ‘Celebrate Brooklyn!’

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

The nights are cooler now. After months of record-breaking heat, dusk is finally a time for relief. It makes evening activities tranquil and comfortable. It gives us opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. And if you sit under the cover of trees at the Prospect Park Bandshell, there are few better late-summer events than a Celebrate Brooklyn concert. They create a special environment by pairing live music with a beautiful setting. So last night, at the final ticketed show of the season, we got it all: the perfect scenery, weather and lineup of acts.

M. Ward, the night’s highly anticipated headliner, came on after some prompt stand-up by Wyatt Cenac and a hushed set by Yo La Tengo. Ward, a unique American musician, mixes elements of rock, folk and blues along with his melodic yet gravelly voice and creates something all his own. His guitar work is magnificent too. During “Rollercoaster” he evoked the namesake’s unbalanced feeling with an effective slippery riff. And in other places, he was simply the full package—masterful songwriter and spot-on performer.

“Chinese Translation,” from the album Post-War, is a clever piece of imaginative folklore concerning an inquisitive protagonist and a sagacious elder. It was also made all the better by Ward and his band’s light touch. They knew how to blow the lid off at times, like during “Primitive Girl,” but the quiet moments were my favorites. An encore violin-and-keyboard duo of Daniel Johnston’s “Story of an Artist” was beautiful and apropos. Ward slyly dedicated the song to “the artists in Brooklyn.” He surely knew his audience and played perfectly for the moment.

Photo courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

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

 
Cut Copy lead singer Dan Whitford’s arms are perhaps the most expressive limbs in all of live music. With fists pumping and outstretched, open palms, his gesticulations closely resemble his lyrics. Take, for example, the chorus to “Hearts on Fire.” Onstage with his fellow bandmates, Whitford grasped for the crowd while crooning, “With hearts on fire I reach out to you tonight.” If the words didn’t move you, the music and dancing certainly would.

And so it was that on Thursday night at the Prospect Park Bandshell, Cut Copy along with openers Foster the People and Midnight Magic closed this summer’s Celebrate Brooklyn! series. The choice, while not obvious, positioned the Australian dance rockers as the final act to a lineup of talent that opened with Andrew Bird and included diverse bands ranging from the Books to the Heavy.

From the onset, Cut Copy wove new songs from the recently released album Zonoscope with older favorites. “Take Me Over” led to In Ghost Colours standout “Feel the Love.” And, while live the band mostly conjured a sound similar to its studio albums, “Where I’m Going” and “Pharaohs & Pyramids” are still best heard when fleshed out in concert. The samples and synths have a way of infecting the brain with an urge to move. And on a perfect late summer night, you couldn’t ask for a better compulsion.

Additional photos, taken by Diana Wong, after the jump:

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