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

Categories: Last Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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.


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

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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