Austin Mahone - IZOD Center - 8/20/14

Categories: Last Night

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Courtesy of PMK BNC // Credit: Luis Valverde
Better Than: Those summer nostalgia tours featuring the d-list pop rock bands of yesteryear. (Do we really need you, Spacehog?)

When asked to list the loudest sounds on earth, most people have similar answers: explosions at wartime, the constant and consistent shrill of ambulance sirens, jet engines. These people have never seen Austin Mahone live.

See also: One Direction - Izod Center - 7/2/13

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Robyn + Royksopp - Pier 97 - 8/20/14

Categories: Last Night

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Credit: Santiago Felipe
Better Than: Watching a great show while actually being inside a constantly shaking can of sardines
 
For a pop artist -- even one some would condescendingly term an "intelligent" pop artist, as if pop is by nature stupid -- Robyn doesn't really do instant gratification. On her best songs, you have to wait for the payoff, and sometimes even when it comes -- like on the exhilarating "Do It Again," the title track and by far the best song on her recent tag-team, let's-procrastinate-from-making-our-albums EP with Norwegian electronic duo/longtime pals Royksopp -- you never quite get your fill.

 

See also: [PHOTOS] Robyn at Pier 97

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Drake Vs. Lil Wayne - Forest Hills Stadium - 8/19/14

Categories: Last Night

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Credit: Emily Tan // See our slideshow of the concert
Drake
Better than: Watching a bro-comedy film.

Is Step-Brothers now to hip-hop what Scarface or kung-fu movies used to be? With Kanye quoting the film in interviews and Eminem doing the same in concerts, it's difficult to not compare the loving push-and-shove between Drake and his mentor Lil Wayne to that of Brennan and Dale.

Still grasping on to the gangster daydreams of Al Pacino's classic and the fantasy fights of the kung-fu canon, 'Drake vs. Lil Wayne' proved to be a mix of the old school with the new school as the two essentially acted out a playdate between friends on stage.

See also: Lil Wayne vs. Drake: A Battle of Album Arts

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Eminem x Rihanna - MetLife Stadium - 8/17/14

Categories: Last Night

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Courtesy of Universal Music // Credit: Jeremy Deputat
Better than: Probably seeing either of them on their own.

Eminem and Rihanna are strangely perfect for one another. Both are the rebellious kids of hip-hop with Eminem still happy to play the kooky rascal and Rih finding herself more and more comfortable with being the apathetic lil sis going through her goth phase. They may be two of pop music's biggest weirdos so naturally their concert together emphasizes the quirks we love them for and that few others can successfully pull off.

See also: Eminem's "The Monster," Ft. Rihanna: Why This Song Sucks

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St. Vincent - Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell - 8/9/14

Categories: Last Night

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Jena Ardell. See all the photos from Saturday night's St. Vincent show in Brooklyn.
Better Than: A religious experience that doesn't involve distortion pedals.

The weather and landscape couldn't have been more ideal in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn Saturday, as concertgoers passed time picnicking and playing games on the park grounds for hours in anticipation of St. Vincent's return to her home city.

San Fermin put the audience in a trance before St. Vincent took the stage. The soothing tone of lead singer's Allen Tate's voice is a mild aphrodisiac, but we wish he was more lively on stage. Luckily, the infusion of sax, trumpet, and trombone kept us on our toes.

After the sky began to darken and San Fermin exited the stage, St. Vincent (AKA: Annie Clark) emerged wearing an other-worldly, leggy frock and her signature brightly colored eye makeup, shuffling in front of an enthusiastic crowd ready for the oddball persona and guitar-goddess chops that have earned praise from fans and critics alike.

See also: St. Vincent Confuses the Masses on SNL

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Whores - St. Vitus Bar - 8/7/14

Categories: Last Night

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All photos Rob Menzer
Better Than: A loud-rock band that's actually "into weed and wizards and dragons and shit."

Maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but there's something oddly fitting about taking the G-train shuttle bus and then walking eight long avenue blocks to arguably the least public-transport-friendly venue in the city to see a band called Whores. A band with not just a patently offensive name, but a patently offensive name with a period at the end (presumably to be doubly obnoxious), playing proudly outsider music at a proudly outsider venue within whiffing distance of Superfunded Newtown Creek. I mean, absolutely nothing else about this is easy, why should getting there be?

See also: 10 Death Metal Albums to Listen to Before You Die

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Hammerstein Ballroom - 7/27/14

Categories: Last Night

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Photo by Tom Oldham courtesy Nasty Little Man
Better Than: About 90-95 percent of the shows I've seen in my life.

First, a bit of disclosure. There's a certain degree to which you get spoiled living in New York, especially if writing about music factors into your job. You see a lot of concerts, and it all starts to blend together a bit. Much of it's great, and hey, going to three shows a week isn't a bad way to live your life, but naturally it becomes harder for things to stand out in your memory, for them to become challengers for your top 10 shows of all time, or whatever. A little over a month ago, I was covering Bonnaroo and made the unpopular decision of seeing Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds instead of Frank Ocean, or the Flaming Lips, or Skrillex's SuperJam. And I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it was, on some level, life-changing. He's the sort of artist I've long been distantly familiar with, knowing and liking some of his music but always thinking I'd have to set aside some serious time to do a proper deep dive into his career; I walked out of that show feeling like I'd suddenly found an artist that had been under my nose for years, just waiting to become one of the most important artists in my life.

See also: Don't Ask Nick Cave About His Reputation as a "Dirty Old Man"

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Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, and Danny Brown - Best Buy Theater - 7/23/14

Categories: Last Night

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Peter Rosenberg
Birthday boy Peter Rosenberg
PeterPalooza 3 - Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul and Danny Brown - Best Buy Theater 7/23/14

Better Than: Elmopalooza. Yeah, I said it!

After a certain age, people seem to begin to bemoan their birthday. The idea of growing another year older doesn't seem quite glamorous. Fortunately for us, Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg uses each completed lap around the sun as an excuse to celebrate. Since 2012, his PeterPalooza (a name he told us was inspired by Waynestock in Wayne's World 2) has seen him gather his favorite new hip-hop acts under one bill for an incredible party. Rosenberg himself called last night the best PeterPalooza to date, so if you placed a bet on the DJ having a happy birthday, please proceed to collect your winnings that you've acquired in a very bizarre means of gambling.

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time



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Neutral Milk Hotel - Prospect Park Bandshell - 7/22/14

Categories: Last Night

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No photos allowed at Neutral Milk Hotel so we're running this instead.
Better Than: The emotional, drug-enhanced séance you and your friends in college hosted to listen to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea in near-total darkness

If you're into Neutral Milk Hotel, there's no way to show up to a concert like last night's Celebrate Brooklyn barn-burner at the Prospect Park Bandshell and not brace for the worst. The quartet is one of the rare acts that has--since its naissance nearly 30 (!) years ago, through its twice-as-bright recording era, while its geniuses went on semi-reclusive hiatus, and now in the denouement of its year-long reunion tour--slowly assembled a mythology, one observed by even casual fans. It's the kind of mythology that elicits that sober, pious sort of fandom that reverts one back to his or her overemotional teenaged self, the kind that is shared in the quiet of dorm rooms, or on co-op house turntables, or through mix-tapes from ex-lovers.

See also: An Interview With a Girl Who Has a Neutral Milk Hotel Tattoo


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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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