Joey Bada$$ Brings the Smokers' Club to Terminal 5 on the Eve of 4/20

Nicole Fara Silver for the Village Voice
Joey Bada$$ surfs the crowd at Terminal 5.
For some, April 20 is an unconventional celebration. In the popular imagination, 4/20 signifies a cause for like-minded stoners to convene over a shared love of reefer, and as such, thousands of glassy-eyed youngsters gathered at Terminal 5 last night to watch Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ and a slew of opening acts tear up the stage.

The night was billed as the Smokers' Club 2nd Annual 4/20 show, but headliner Bada$$ didn't necessarily extol the virtues of weed or ask the massive crowd if they were high enough to enjoy themselves. The twenty-year-old MC brought the concert hall to life, and bounced around the stage at Terminal 5 like it was his own playground, commanding it without even really trying.

More »

Joan Armatrading Delights in Career Retrospective

Categories: Last Night

Robert Menzer for The Village Voice
Joan Armatrading
She isn't calling it a farewell tour, but after more than forty years performing all over the world, Joan Armatrading had previously announced that her current marathon trek will be her final global jaunt. The operative word here isn't so much "final" as "major." The British singer-songwriter has firmly stated in press releases that she will never retire. It's just that this 2014-2015 stretch through Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa, the UK, and, now, this spring, North America, is to be her last such venture. From now on, it's all about packing lighter for shorter touring bouts.

For an artist who is largely thought of as a folk singer-songwriter, this is Armatrading's first solo tour and the first she's done without a backing band. Folk wasn't an obvious trait at her concert at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan on April 17, especially as her main instrument was an electric guitar.

More »

Walk the Moon Scrub off the Neon Face Paint to Perform Talking Is Hard

Sachyn Mital for the Village Voice
Nicholas Petricca of Walk the Moon
Like every band, Cincinnati's Walk the Moon hit a point where they wanted to mature. In this group's case, maturation meant ditching the (fun, albeit juvenile) face-painting shtick that defined their early live shows. (Which, naturally, doesn't discourage some fans from still sporting a neon-splattered face or two.) Musically, too, Walk the Moon — the four-piece of Nicholas Petricca (lead vocals, keys/synths), Kevin Ray (bass), Eli Maiman (guitar), and Sean Waugaman (drums) — have taken strides in diversity with their second major-label full-length, Talking Is Hard, which builds upon Walk the Moon's knack for hooky dance-rock by incorporating heavy Eighties influences.

More »

The Mountain Goats Knock Out City Winery With New Beat the Champ Tunes

Lindsey Rhoades for the Village Voice
John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats at City Winery, 4/12/15
Every culture needs its cult heroes. For a little boy with an abusive stepfather growing up lonely and bookish in central California, these heroes came in the form of Bull Ramos, Bruiser Brody, Chavo Guerrero, and Luna Vachon, among others, professional wrestlers in the early days of "sports entertainment," when the results of matches were less manufactured and the stakes were slightly higher (as evidenced by the tragic biographies of these icons).

The youngster who found solace in idolizing these over-the-top characters grew up to be John Darnielle, a man who, by all accounts, has come into his own legendary status. As the lead singer and sole founding member of the Mountain Goats, Darnielle's wit, wonder, and woe have made him an icon of American lo-fi songwriting with a rabid following of fans who can't help but sing along with choruses as rousing as they are heart-wrenching. On tour in support of Beat the Champ, the Goats' fifteenth studio album, the Durham-based four-piece played three sold-out nights in New York, including Webster Hall last Thursday and Saturday and a Sunday-night show at City Winery on April 12.

More »

Patti LuPone, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Barry Manilow Help Bridget Everett Get Fucked

Categories: Comedy, Last Night

Photo by Josh Luxenberg
Patti LuPone and Bridget Everett at Bridget Everett Gets Fucked by Ars Nova
Since the autumn 2014 run of Bridget Everett's Rock Bottom, the Village Voice cover star extended her show's Joe's Pub dates through February, starred in the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's "Betty vs. the NYPD" video, and filmed forthcoming Comedy Central special Gynecological Wonder. Thursday evening at Hell's Kitchen venue Stage 48, the alt-cabaret breakout was also honored at the performance-art community's Bridget Everett Gets Fucked by Ars Nova.

Table seating was designated via lyric placards rising above votive candles and penis-shaped confetti. One might find oneself seated at the "Flap Jack Titties" table, for example, or the "Cave Man Titties" table, "Tic Tac Titties" table, "Nurse Jackie Titties" table, etc. Just below the stage, the "Bridget Everett Titties" table sat front and center and loaded with chardonnay.

More »

Bleachers Preach an Eighties Pop Gospel John Hughes Would Worship at Terminal 5

Robert Menzer for the Village Voice
Jack Antonoff of Bleachers at Terminal 5, 4/9/15
"Whoever says New York City doesn't have good crowds should just kill themselves right now," Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff shouted to an adoring sold-out Terminal 5 crowd before adding, smartly, "Well, don't kill yourself!" The man has a point (not about the, you know, offing of one's self): New York audiences are notorious for their oft-lukewarm reception at shows. But Antonoff was there to prove that wrong.

More »

Tove Lo Confessed Her Bad 'Habits' While Undressing the Highline Ballroom

Karen Gardiner for the Village Voice
Tove Lo at the Highline Ballroom
Tove Nilsson — better known as Tove Lo — started her music career penning hits for the likes of Girls Aloud and fellow Swedes Icona Pop. Given that history, it's hardly surprising that she knows how to craft a killer chorus. But what's really special about the tunes she has kept for herself is her refreshingly frank attitude when it comes to spilling her guts on record.

More »

Big Data's Live Set Makes For Mind-Blowing Commentary on Digital Obsession

Lindsey Rhoades for the Village Voice
Big Data at the Bowery Ballroom
Alan Wilkis does not seem dangerous. Bespectacled and bearded, he looks more like the hipster archetype known to inhabit his hometown of Brooklyn. Maybe even a little nerdy, like the paranoid tech guy that rambles on with warnings about NSA surveillance and net neutrality when he's supposed to be fixing a glitchy program. And in a way, Wilkis is that guy, except he's not in IT — he's the main brain behind Big Data, a synthpop project that uses technology itself to put a very danceable beat behind ideas about technological fatigue and disillusionment. Written with a clever perspective and a tongue-in-cheek tone, Big Data's debut album, 2.0, was released this week and features a slew of big-name contributors from Brooklyn's music scene and beyond. Propelled by Joywave collaboration "Dangerous," which hit No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Alternative Songs chart last August, Big Data kicked off their biggest tour yet with a sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom last night.

More »

Laura Marling Mesmerizes With the Live Debut of Short Movie at Warsaw

Karen Gardiner for the Village Voice
Laura Marling at Warsaw
On March 23, English folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling released her fifth album, the partially plugged-in and deeply American-inspired Short Movie. At a sold-out show at Brooklyn's Warsaw the same night, she displayed the more determined turn her music has taken on the new record.

Irish act Villagers, made up of Conor O'Brien and a harpist, opened with a quiet set of carefully crafted indie-folk songs with delicate melodies and dark lyricism.

Marling in turn took the stage and began with the restless "False Hope" from Short Movie, a song that tells of sleepless nights and crazed neighbors in a New York City apartment. The gritty guitar hook lays the foundation for her assured vocals singing lyrics that nevertheless still show traces of the awkwardness of growing into an identity, asking, "Is it still OK that I don't know how to be alone?"

More »

David Byrne Busts Out a Tux and the Best of Talking Heads for Star-Studded Tribute

Jason Speakman for the Village Voice
David Byrne takes the stage at Carnegie Hall for The Music of David Byrne & Talking Heads, 3/23/15.
One sympathizes with the task saddled onto the good folks running the benefit concert/career-spanning tribute to New York institution David Byrne. That job must have been, to invoke the old saw, the rough equivalent of herding cats. Nineteen separate acts? Each to perform a single number? I mean, Jesus.

Yes, one sympathizes, and one can understand and let slide the consequent aura of general slap-dashedness. Witness, for example, the emcee's efforts to tie the whole thing together, her disembodied locutions more than a little reminiscent of Troy McClure (You might remember this next singer-songwriter from such collaborations as...). And that was when she bothered to introduce the next-up at all! Or consider how, with a handful of exceptions, the stage-lighting stayed the same throughout, at a level about four turns of the dimmer-switch too far for a rock show, even during the abeyant silences between songs, when audience members were treated to the sight of big-name musicians wandering onstage, plugging distractedly in, flicking on amps, and, presumably, wondering where the hell the roadies were. You kinda got the sense that everyone signed on for this a long time ago, then forgot about it till maybe the weekend of. All of which is, to be fair, merely so much bitching. After all, evoking a small-town talent show ain't half bad when the talent you've got includes the Roots, Glen Hansard, Sharon Jones, and CeeLo. Oh, and Steve Earle and one-half of Sleigh Bells and Billy Goddamn Gibbons from ZZ Top.

More »