Posts Tagged ‘Prospect Park Bandshell’

(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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Last week, myself and Playtonic Dialogue’s contributor Charles Steinberg covered Animal Collective at Prospect Park Bandshell. Check here for the review and after the jump you can see additional pictures from the show taken by Charles: (more…)

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

Animal Collective’s mass appeal is inexplicable. Rising from relative obscurity to commercial viability with the single “My Girls,” the group does not pander. Their live show is notoriously inaccessible, often exploring new songs, fragmentally, and foregoing better-known works. Pop sensibility aside, their music, often classified as experimental, electronic or freak folk, is plain weird. The components of most songs consist of yelps and discordant sounds. The band members are reclusive, hiding behind aliases and taking extended hiatuses. And yet, on Tuesday night at the Prospect Park Bandshell, a sold-out crowd gathered and experienced, wittingly or unwittingly, a brilliant concert.

Most immediately, the stage set drew attention. According to Twitter, friends and label mates of Animal Collective, Prince Rama, assisted in designing the backdrop, which looked like a combination of Superman’s fortress of solitude and a kindergarten classroom. Amidst hanging papier-mâché bats, light-up crystals and a giant skull with video screens for its eyes and mouth, the four current members of the band manipulated both digital and analog instruments. To some, this configuration of personnel and apparatus looked new. On their last tour supporting the album Merriweather Post Pavilion, only band members Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist performed live and their instrumentation consisted chiefly of samplers and mixers. But now with their original guitarist Deakin back on the road, the focus appears to be on a robust sonic approach.

During their hour-long set, a few familiar tunes were woven in among a bulk of yet unheard, often amorphous material. But taken as a practice in discovery, the band performed beautifully. Animal Collective’s albums clarify otherwise inaccessible musical expression, and judging from the sampling of new songs, the next offering looks to be an interesting progression of their sound.

Photo courtesy of Charles Steinberg

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Hey Playtonics,

It’s been quite a week for concerts! Check out my review of Tuesday night’s The National concert at The Bowery Presents The House List:


Photos courtesy of Greg Aiello | www.ga-photos.com

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