Live: Delicate Steve And Team Spirit Fight The Flames At 4Knots

C.S. Muncy
The fire at the South Street Seaport gets extinguished.
Team Spirit, Delicate Steve
4Knots Skippers Stage
Saturday, July 14

Better than: The pier burning down.

At about 3:45 yesterday afternoon, I made my way to the front of the boat overlooking the Skippers Stage and wondered why there were so many people who wanted to see Delicate Steve. It's nothing personal, Steve; the crowd was just so big that it seemed like the Beatles reunited or something. But then, I saw it. Across the water, flames engulfed the end of Pier 17. People weren't sure what was happening. Some thought the fire started in a trash bin. Others said it was electrical (which turned out to be true). But in true rock 'n' roll spirit, Delicate Steve took the stage anyway, fire raging in the background.

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Live: Cults Shimmy Into The Spotlight At Webster Hall

Robert Sietsema
See more photos from the set here.
Cults w/Delicate Steve, Dirty Fences
Webster Hall
Thursday, January 19

Better than: Surfing the Hype Machine.

Cults might be one of those bands that seemed to be birthed entirely on the Internet, but give them some credit: Even now, some 18 months after launching their debut EP on Bandcamp, there isn't much known about them, no gleeful delving into their backstory that other up-from-YouTube stars have suffered through, few extended arguments about their "authenticity."

Perhaps it's because even after all these months, lead singer Madeline Follin remains a bit of an enigma, shrouding herself in long, wavy hair and cutting off declarations of love from the audience with a giggle or a head-toss. Or maybe it's because Cults' music is an amoprhous sort of "retro," just reverb-drenched enough to straddle the space between Phil Spector's Wall of Sound and the shoegazing '80s while also grabbing elements from C86 (blurted, wavering guitar chords), Portishead's live show (Follin's face, as close up as possible, projected over synchronized swimmers and bicycling apes), and that part of the 1980s where so many entertainment products (Peggy Sue Got Married, Back To The Future, An Innocent Man-era Billy Joel) fetishized the "innocence" of the late '50s and early '60s. Oh, and there was a Leonard Cohen cover, too, although not the one trotted out by so many other people. (They performed a stormy bedroom-goth version of "Everybody Knows" instead.)

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CMJ Day One: The Campaign To Save Rock And Roll Continues

CMJ Day One: Hollerado, Mr. Dream, Delicate Steve, Chad Valley, Class Actress

Better than: Trashing a hotel room and sex acts with a shark.

In a CMJ world more than mildly dominated by moody bedroom electronica, Mediterranean sea-breezes, adolescent posse rap, and heaps of fashion-conscious twee and/or gloom, there aren't nearly enough opportunities to catch muscular, meat-and-potatoes rock music.

So when Adam Moerder, singer and guitarist of Brooklyn three-piece Mr. Dream, asked the audience at Glasslands, "Do you guys like big dumb rock songs?" it was as much hypothetical meta-debate starter as it was refreshing banter. The relatively tame crowd at the Stereogum/Popgun showcase Tuesday night needed to think about the question a bit more before getting back with an answer, but they nevertheless seemed eager to stick around—and perk up when Titus Andronicus took the stage.

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Live: Danny Brown Seizes The Moment At The Rap Yard


Rap Yard: Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Maffew Ragazino, Delicate Steve
The Morgan
Saturday, August 20

Better than: Eating fried chicken with a prostitute.

Fresh off the release of a free mixtape through local indie label Fool's Gold, the rising Detroit MC Danny Brown headlined Saturday installment of the Rock Yard party, which was dubbed Rap Yard and co-presented by Combat Jack and Dallas Penn, JellyNYC, and LivenDirect. It might not have been Summer Jam, but teetering on the edge of the small stage, launching into sarcastically pained tirades on personal setbacks and existential examinations of oral sex, the crowd encircling him and anxiously waiting for the next punchline, Brown proved he was ready to take his career to the next level.

Up until now, Brown has been patient with his own career development. The title of his latest release, XXX, isn't actually a nod to his lasciviousness; it's a matter-of-fact salute to his being 30 years old, and traveling down a long, tumultuous road to get there. In the early naughts, Brown gained his first acclaim, being hailed as the strongest link in Detroit cult favorite Reser'vor Dogs. That group had a potential deal with Roc-A-Fella that eventually fell through, but a label A&R rep helped get Brown's solo career going. He made tracks with Nicki Minaj, befriended and collaborated with G-Unit star Tony Yayo, and recorded some eye-raising material, but lost time and got off track when a drug charge landed him a year in jail.

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