Katy Perry - Madison Square Garden - 7/9/14

Categories: Last Night

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All photos Santiago Felipe
Better Than: Every other multimillion-dollar concert I've seen

As someone who suffered through David Bowie's excruciating *Glass Spider* show (when Katy Perry was, er, three years old), I can say with some authority that just because a concert is big and expensive doesn't mean it's good. And as the art of concert-as-spectacle has become both bigger and more refined, over the past few years we've gotten eye-popping (and usually wallet-popping) extravaganzas from Kanye West, the Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, the Knife, U2's 360 and Roger Waters' The Wall, to name just a few.

Strictly as a show, Katy Perry's Prismatic World Tour tops them all.

See also: [SLIDESHOW] Katy Perry at Madison Square Garden

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White Lung - Mercury Lounge - 6/26/14

Categories: Last Night

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Photos by Rob Menzer the previous night at St. Vitus
Better Than: Many of the riot grrrls who inspired them.

"Thanks for coming to our matinee," White Lung singer Mish Way said in a voice dripping with sarcasm, as if that were another self-aware punk-rock trope the band were adding to its arsenal. (Judging by the packed room, no one seemed to mind the hey-we-can-get-dinner-after-the-show 8 p.m. set time, anyway.) But as much as this Vancouver-spawned outfit plays by the (loud fast) rules, they're more unusual than they seem at first blush.

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Tune-Yards - Webster Hall - 6/23/14

Categories: Last Night

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All photos Sachyn Mital. See more photos from last night here.
Better Than: A night in with real cartoons -- this show was live-action animation

The last night of a good tour feels like a high-school graduation: There are lots of hugs and "We love you guys!," guesting during each others' sets and/or hijinx, which can range from Motley Crue surprising Guns N' Roses with 25 blasts of pyro during "Welcome to the Jungle" in 1987 to a particularly inspired toilet-paper fight between Deer Tick and Guards on the Webster Hall stage a couple of years back.

See also: Village Voice Pazz & Jop

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Banks - Irving Plaza - 6/4/14

Categories: Last Night

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Photos Jena Cumbo. See the full slideshow from last night's Banks show.
Better Than: Seeing teenage girls going batshit for Imagine Dragons.

"Eighteen months ago, I was making songs in my bedroom," a clearly overwhelmed Banks said to an overstuffed and overamped Irving Plaza on Wednesday night. She's probably as perplexed as anyone as to how she got there.

See also: LIVE REVIEW: Janelle Monae at Prospect Park Bandshell

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Janelle Monae - Prospect Park Bandshell - 6/4/14

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Credit: Sachyn Mital. See more photos in this slideshow
Better Than: Your entire summer is going to be.

Celebrate Brooklyn!'s opening night was one that will be hard to top for the rest of the season. After the chairpersons of the parks and recreation department and Celebrate Brooklyn! committee gave their exclamatory opening remarks and welcomed the audience to the 2014 summer season, Janelle Monae was carried in wearing a straitjacket. The outfit matched the clinical, white set perfectly, but like the bright orange light that drenched the stark white of the costumes and background just before her arrival, Monae brightened up the bandshell the minute she entered.

See also: Janelle Monae Electrifies SNL Stage

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We Hid Our Hand-Written Coldplay Live Review in Bar Bathrooms Across the City

Categories: Last Night

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COLDPLAY'S GHOST STORIES LYRICS

HIDDEN IN LIBRARIES WORLDWIDE

FANS ASKED TO HELP UNVEIL HANDWRITTEN LYRICS

That's the all-caps and bolded title of a press release sent out on April 28. Coldplay, back with a new album, wanted to engage fans in the social media era with a #fun hashtag game. As such, lyrics to all of Ghost Stories' nine songs, handwritten by Coldplay's Chris Martin, were hidden in libraries around the world. Fans were encouraged to seek them out, take pictures with the lyrics once found, and tweet @coldplay with the hashtag #lyricshunt to show what #devoted #fans they are. One of the books in one of the libraries featured a special Golden Ticket, giving the finder (and a guest) a free trip to London to see Coldplay perform at Royal Albert Hall on July 1.

HOW CLEVER, RIGHT?

Last night Coldplay performed a special 5 p.m. show at Beacon Theatre, presented by Citi, exclusively for Citi cardmembers. We had our writer Ryan Leas hand write his review of the show on cocktail napkins and hide them in bar bathrooms around the city. We also have a special prize...

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Iggy Azalea - Irving Plaza - 5/5/14

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Reimy Gonzalez
Better Than: Merely dancing to one of her songs in a club.

Iggy Azalea knows how to make a grand entrance. She's fashionably late and the last to appear after her dancers, back-up singers, and DJ are firmly in place. Through the doors of the eponymous hotel set backlit by a large neon sign bearing the title of her just-released debut LP The New Classic, Azalea marks what she hopes to be her territory as a star right in front of our eyes. She carries herself as such, without an ounce of doubt she should be at the center, and drives that self-assurance home with every apathetic look she gives just after every flip of her long, blonde hair that follows after she rhymes or moves in a way that states how she's not one to fuck with. Yet every flip, every blank stare is like going through the motions, making her just an old classic rehashed.

See also: We Can't Stop: Our Year With Miley

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Tori Amos - Rough Trade NYC - 4/29/14

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Credit: Abbey Raymonde // @abbey808
Better Than: ALL THE '90s NOSTALGIA YOU CAN MUSTER.

Every time Tori Amos returns to music, it feels as if she's been gone forever. The reality is she only breaks between album cycles for two, maybe three years. The time leading to her latest album has been one marked by a departure from the mainstream and into classical music (Night of Hunters), and one full of re-workings of songs spanning her then 20-year career (Gold Dust). Amos' 14th studio album, Unrepentant Geraldines, set to be released on May 13th, may be a return after her longest musical displacement yet. Judging by the sound of her newest songs, the alt-rock goddess has done nothing but find ways to fuel her musical fire.

See also: Y Tori Can Groove

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Kelis - McKittrick Hotel - 4/23/14

Categories: Last Night

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All photos Loren Wohl. See more photos of Kelis last night at the McKittrick Hotel.
Better Than: Soul food with an emphasis on screaming, shaking, censor-free soul.

You knew the evening would be special as soon as the mac n' cheese came around. Before Kelis took the tiny stage at the McKittrick Hotel--made all the tinier by her 12-piece, brass-ridden band--concert-goers were more or less asked to take a seat and dig in. Dishes started making their way through the crowd, and various small plates were put down, licked clean and whisked away only to be replenished at a moments' notice. Duck confit on toast? Gone in a sec. Mac n' cheese? Multiple helpings, please. Jerk ribs? Might as well serve two plates at a time.

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Parquet Courts + Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Greene Space - 4/9

Categories: Last Night

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Photos courtesy WNYC/Janice Yi
Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Drew Citron
Better Than: Listening to a live-in-the-studio gig on your computer

We weren't expecting a normal gig: This pronunciationally plosive pairing of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Parquet Courts was being staged at WNYC's The Greene Space -- a sumptuous, state of the art, acoustically stunning set with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall looking out onto Varick Street -- Wednesday night for an audience of around 150 people. The bands both have brand-new albums arriving in the next few weeks and would be showcasing all-new songs in the first show of the station's "Gigstock" series, co-presented by WNYC and the invaluable Oh My Rockness site, we'd been told would last around 90 minutes.

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