New York City's Best Sound Guys Sound Off

Photo: Adam Macchia
In this week's music feature, we followed two of New York City's most revered sound guys--Kenny Lienhardt of the Bowery Ballroom and Rob Sutton of The Knitting Factory--and they were incredibly good sports when it came to showing us the ropes while dishing out some of the more infamous stories of their all-seeing and all-hearing careers. Over the course of a few beers and a clocked-in shift or two, tons of ground was covered and countless absurd anecdotes were shared: Fishing with Bon Iver, New York's vital need for hip-hop sound engineering, and that time a venue caught on fire in the middle of a sold-out Cake show were some of the tidbits dropped on the record, and though they couldn't make it into print, these are some details that further support the fact that these guys are the unsung heroes of New York music. (And now we all know how big sound guys are on details.)

See also: The Top 15 Things That Annoy the Crap Out of Your Local Sound Guy

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Compton's YG: "Some of These Fake Artists Should Be Sued for False Advertising"

Recidivism rates in California are at 70% (the highest in the nation), but Compton native YG is determined not be among those trapped in the revolving door of prison and parole. After his stint in the Big House, he signed to Def Jam in 2009, and things are heating up. He just unleashed Just Re'd Up 2 on the world featuring Jeezy, Snoop and several other industry Big Wigs riding beats alongside the young upstart. His official album debut is due out in August, and it may well be an endless summer for the Young Gangster. Tonight he plays Knitting Factory. We caught up with "Bompton"s own for the big night.

See also: YG's Ratchet City

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Live: The Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour Keeps It Together at the Knitting Factory

The group in Ohio, a few days back.

The Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour
Knitting Factory
Monday, March 21

Better than: Seeing any band currently attached to any kind of micro-genre-related hype or anything remotely timely.

The titular amazement of Elephant 6's second Holiday Surprise revue was discovering that the ten people onstage--drawn primarily from once or present members of Elf Power, the Olivia Tremor Control, and Neutral Milk Hotel--actually do work as a band. Horn player Scott Spillane has often bellowed a catchphrase about "the consummate professionalism of Elephant 6" when some element of the Beatlemaniac posse seemed on the verge of collapse. But during the first of three sold-out shows in New York (two at the Knitting Factory, one at Le Poisson Rouge), the band were consummate professionals, playing for nearly three hours, and staying engaged at every turn.

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Live: Baths and Braids Fight Through Their Debilitating Illnesses At The Knitting Factory

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Don't let the Baths guy breathe on you, though. Pics by Priya Vij.
Baths/Braids/Blackbird Blackbird
The Knitting Factory
Saturday, February 12

Better than: Staying in sick with Cerulean and Native Speaker as the soundtrack.

"I just fucked up really badly." Thus spoke Will Wiesenfield, a/k/a Baths, acknowledging a momentary blip during his set of solo electronic music Saturday night at the Knitting Factory, filled with a variety of "unique" dance moves and lots of crowd interaction. The thing that's so curiously fascinating about Baths is his aw-shucks onstage charm, as if he's just playing for a few of his close friends, and trying not to infect them: He also made sure to point out that nearly everyone involved with this tour was under the weather. "We're all sick, all six of us," he said, suppressing a cough. "Especially Raph [from Braids] -- she's just a trooper right now."

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Live: Kathleen Hanna And Friends (Kim Gordon! Amy Andronicus! Care Bears On Fire!) Invade The Knitting Factory

Murray Hill introduces the night's star attraction.

The Kathleen Hannah Project
The Knitting Factory
Saturday, December 12

Better than: Any actual battle of the bands that I've ever attended.

We are gathered here tonight at the Knitting Factory to praise Kathleen Hanna, not bury her. Though it's understandable if you get confused -- it's been a minute and half since we've heard from her. As a musician and feminist icon, Hanna's achievements, from the riot grrrl majesty of Bikini Kill to the body-moving dance beats of Le Tigre, are undeniable, but she's fallen largely silent for the past few years, apparently teaching at New York University and, most recently, earning a co-writing credit on Christina Aguilera's flop Bionic. Between her absence and the extended hiatus of Sleater-Kinney, it's been a tough couple years for lovers of feminist-charged anthems. Tonight, though, they'll all come roaring back.

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Photos: One-Man Band Bob Log III Introduces Himself at the Knitting Factory

During the audience participation portion of the evening. All photos by Rebecca Smeyne.
The Arizona-based, telephone helmet-sporting, Tom Waits-endorsed one-man machine that is Bob Log III hit the Knitting Factory last night in a black leather jumpsuit, spraying the crowd with "boob scotch" and his signature brand of garbled delta blues. The results, let's say, were picturesque. Luckily, photographer Rebecca Smeyne, who doesn't really sleep, or take days off, was there, and captured Log III in all his baffling glory. Not bad for a Monday night:

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Last Night: Wavves Inspire Moshing, Crowd-Surfing, Rampant Bliss

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He's doing much better now. Pics by Georgia, way more below.
Wavves/Cloud Nothings/DOM
Knitting Factory
Thursday, June 24

The Northside Festival opening night was a hipster frat party in which every dude (and a few dudettes) tried to out-bro the next guy. Instead of shotgunning Budweisers, though, these fresh young things chugged PBRs, moshed, and crowd-surfed.

It was a Wavves show! What did we expect?

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Evidence That Viral-to-Street Promotion Works: Vampire Weekend Contra Edition

photo by Nate "Igor" Smith

Meet Chris. He's on the right. Chris writes graf. Chris went to Hoodstock. And Chris was photographed on Wednesday, repping Vampire Weekend at the Knitting Factory Knifefight: No Rules screening party. So when we saw him the next night at the Ninjasonik art show, wearing the same exact T-shirt, we had to ask: Do you actually like Vampire Weekend? "One or two songs," he explained. "But I like the picture. I first saw it on a sticker on the street"--probably just like this--"and when I saw it, I said, 'If they ever come out with a T-shirt of it, I'm going to get it.'" Damn you, Contra cover girl, you really are an effective web-to-street-marketing tool.

Live Music Booking in Brooklyn Consolidates Just a Little Further

Photo of Warsaw via bitchcakesny's photostream
Back in September, Bowery Presents took over booking at the Brooklyn Bowl, adding the concert space/cool-dad mecca to a coterie of venues that already included Bowery Ballroom, the Music Hall of Williamsburg, the Mercury Lounge, and Terminal 5. The move seemed like a pretty neutral one, really. On the negative side? Less competition--pity those bands out of favor with BP. On the plus side? Being able to host the Gaslight Athem at the cavernous Terminal 5 one night, and at the comparatively intimate Brooklyn Bowl the next. Now comes word that the Knitting Factory is getting in on the conglomerate act, taking over booking at Warsaw, the former (Polish) nightclub in Greenpoint. Like the Bowery Presents move on Brooklyn Bowl, it's an issue of scale. According to the press release:

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CMJ Finale: Doing The Jacky Jacky At The Okay Africa Showcase

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Kill the radio, but not this guy. Pic by Puja Patel, more below.
The OKAY Africa showcase closed out CMJ with a bang for those who managed to cram into the Knitting Factory Saturday night: A sold-out lineup of African all-stars took the stage in a heartfelt tribute to their homeland, tinged with sadness (and political anger) but still more of a celebration than anything else. Sierra Leone's Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew, Ghana's always-political Blitz the Ambassador, Rwanda's Iyadede, and Brooklyn hip-hoppers Jahdan Blakkamoore & Matt Shadetek were backed by the equally impressive Embassy Ensemble, featuring a choreographed brass section, a cool-guy guitarist, bongos, and a drummer who looked like he just finished a gig with his ska band.

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