Perfume Genius - (le) Poisson Rouge - 10/9/2012

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Better than: Your ex.

Mike Hadreas shifted his weight on the piano bench. "This one's a cover," the singer--who records under the moniker Perfume Genius--noted softly, slowly tapping the keys of the grand piano found under red lights on stage at (le) Poisson Rouge. The melody was familiar, one that concertgoers knew they recognized, but weren't immediately quite sure where to place it. "There is a town in North Ontario, with a dream comfort memory to spare," he whispered slowly through his trembling falsetto. At that moment, it was as if a collective lightbulb lit up above the crowd, and the sold-out downtown venue exploded with cheers. Of course, this was Neil Young's "Helpless" from Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's debut 1970 record, Deja Vu--and, of course, one of the few men on the planet with an arguably weirder upper range than Neil Young was singing it. Date nights everywhere celebrated and held hands.

See Also:

- Live: The Profoundly Discomforting Perfume Genius At 92Y Tribeca

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Live: Macaulay Culkin Lets His iPod Do The Talking

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Macaulay Culkin's iPod
(le) poisson rouge
Thursday, December 8

Better than: I would say Elijah Wood's iPod but I don't think that's true.

The giddiness set in about four hours before Macaulay Culkin's party at (le) poisson rouge's gallery bar last night—yes, that Macaulay Culkin. Upon first hearing that the Home Alone star (and former childhood obsession of this reporter) was playing music at a party called Macaulay Culkin's iPod, I impulsively asked him for an interview. There were so many questions: Is he an aspiring DJ now? What kind of iPod are we talking about here? What really happened with Michael? Is there a Culkin family band in the works? Where do you buy your pants? You know, the important stuff. Unfortunately, it was a no-go, as his reply was simply: "I let my iPod do the talking." Well, OK then.

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Live: Eleanor Friedberger Charms The Willing At (Le) Poisson Rouge

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Eleanor Friedberger
(le) poisson rouge
Saturday, November 20

Better than: Any wedding you'll ever go to.

There's something very romantic about the casual messes that Eleanor Friedberger's protagonists get themselves into, and that romanticism is particularly evident on "My Mistakes," the first song during both her set on Saturday night and her debut solo album, Last Summer (Merge). A remorseful tune at heart, the track manages to avoid defeatism by pairing it with the strongest tool in the singer's arsenal: her talk-sing vocal style. By removing the long, drawn-out, "woe is me" vocals so prevalent in regretful tunes, she sidesteps sad-sack emotion and moves straight into insightful observation. Detachment works quite well when you're selling optimism.


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Your Weekend In Nightlife, Starring Caribou, Frankie Knuckles, Trouble & Bass, Night People, and, Uh, LCD Soundsystem

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There's no getting around it, this is LCD Soundsystem week. Buy your tickets on Craigslist and be scorned by James Murphy forever if you must--sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

But hey, other things are happening this week too! Tropical dance fete Que Bajo?! has relocated to a new home for their Thursday night getdown, taking over the main space of Le Poisson Rouge tonight, March 31. The party features cumbia, salsa, dancehall, kuduro, moombahton, Latin house, and other warm weather tunes--expect to sweat for real. GHE20 G0TH1K maven Venus X joins residents Geko Jones and Uproot Andy for a special "old school reggaeton" set, while Houston's Panchitron provides more of a Latin house groove. Venus X does not mess around when it comes to queer nightlife (check this Twitter fight with Diplo), so be prepared for the onslaught of her intensely dancing party regulars. We've seen epically emboldened salsa queens flit around the dance floor, recruiting partners out of wallflowers--standing in the background is not really an option. Que Bajo is for dancing, especially tonight. Tickets are $10 in advance.

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Live: Agalloch Stage A Sensitive Metal Moment at Le Poisson Rouge

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Agalloch put 'em up. All photos by Daniel D. Snyder
Agalloch, Aerial Ruin, Daniel Menche, Worm Ouroboros
Tuesday, March 22
Le Poisson Rouge

Better Than: Drinking that bottle of questionably old red wine you found.

If you ever get stuck trying to figure out what metal to play for your non-metal (read: more socially functional) friends, Agalloch should be your go-to band from here on out. In recent years , the Portland quartet, who played their first-ever New York show to a sold out crowd at Le Poisson Rouge last night, have spearheaded a new, more mature breed of metal that recognizes the futility of constant, sometimes purposeless anger and seeks to temper it with beauty, melody, and themes (i.e. nature, Emerson and/or Thoreau) that go beyond gore and/or Satan. Tuesday night saw the dark folk masters lead a cadre of appropriately forward thinking (sometimes questionably "metal") acts that featured such unorthodox traits as acoustic instruments and female members that didn't just play keyboards.

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Battles Announce Tour, Hit Le Poisson Rouge In April

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So Gloss Drop, the eagerly awaited new record from defiantly complex, deliciously weird art-rock trio Battles, is due out in June, which is great news, considering the excellent of 2007's Mirrored, which boasted, in "Atlas," probably the most appealing profoundly disturbing rock anti-single of all time. But what's really great about this is it gives you an excuse to see them live again, which is where the action really is with these dudes, even with them now short quasi-vocalist Tyondai Braxton and reduced to a trio. They've now announced a shitload of dates, spanning from "intimate" venues to their curation of an ATP blowout in the U.K. in December. As for NYC, book it: April 27 at Le Poisson Rouge. Far more on the intimate side, thankfully.You will have no idea what's going on. You won't regret trying to find out. All dates below:

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Live: Jamie xx Thrills Cool And Uncool Kids Alike At Le Poisson Rouge

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Not trying hard because he doesn't have to. CRED.
Jamie xx
Le Poisson Rouge
Tuesday, February 22

Better Than: Spending my night surrounded by twenty-somethings making out to "Islands."

Here's who we expected to show up for last night's Jamie xx show at Le Poisson Rouge: black-shrouded scenesters timid on the dance floor but loud in encouragement, curious xx lovers, Fader readers, Gil Scott-Heron fans, a handful of those types who voluntarily attend parties where "trip hop" is the prominently featured genre, and celeb hounds hoping a few of the producer's collaborators (Scott-Heron, Adele, Florence Welch) would appear as the listed "special surprise act." We got all of that, and then some.

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Live: The Stretch Armstrong And Bobbito Reunion Waxes Nostalgic At Le Poisson Rouge

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Stretch, presiding. Pics by Puja.
The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Reunion Show
Le Poisson Rouge
Thursday, February 10

Better Than: Standing around and listening to rap with a couple hundred ex-backpackers in any other setting.

"We would go up to the station to hang out with our friends," said Bobbito to the people crammed into Le Poisson Rouge late last night. "Then we'd go on-air and talk. Those days were about hanging out and having fun." The station he speaks of is, of course Columbia University's WKCR, home to his hip-hop show with Stretch Armstrong. What was then a safe haven for New York's underground rap scene and hip-hop nerds all over is now the most legendary rap show to ever exist (for us, at least). While things have certainly changed since back then, tonight's 20th Anniversary party took us back to those days in the studio. Tonight was about Stretch and Bobbito hanging out with a couple of their friends while a couple hundred people looked on.

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The "Paradise Garage Reunion Party" Is Coming To Le Poisson Rouge In April

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"I was there . . . at Le Poisson Rouge . . . in 2011." The utopian dance club Paradise Garage, ruled by legendary DJ Larry Levan with a velvet fist from 1977 to 1987, is perhaps the mother of all Aw Dude You Missed It NYC nightlife spots, its reputation among dance-music fiends undiminished and unassailable. "I once said that I was obsessed with the place but couldn't get my friends to come with me," noted Steve Lewis in BlackBook recently. "So I got new friends." Convincing your own friends to drop by the Paradise Garage Reunion Party will probably not be such a hassle.

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Live: Lykke Li Soundtracks Your Personal Makeout Session at Le Poisson Rouge

Lykke Li
(Le) Poisson Rouge
December 1, 2010

Better Than: Your standard overpraised Swedish pop starlet.

The Swedish ingénue-cum-big-deal Lykke Li is a little bit of a thing. No more than five feet tall, she fills a space like someone twice that size. At Le Poisson Rouge on Wednesday night she was working a sort of evil Stevie Nicks vibe, in a black cape-sweater and severe black eye makeup, her blonde hair now a shade darker than any respectable Stockholm girl's ought to be. And she swayed and kicked onstage not unlike Nicks, channeling feline vamp and panther-esque prowl, occasionally banging a pair of drumsticks on a snare drum or a tambourine. She wiggles and grinds and explodes while she performs, rarely with grace, but with power. So it's not hard to see why this once impish singer is working the dramatic edges of pop--she often seems uncomfortably ecstatic. Wounded Rhymes, her new album, set for a February 2011 release, does all of the things its predecessor, 2008's hooky, finely manicured Youth Novels did not--that is, it wallows and growls, intermittently. Li obliged with a set splitting the two--half for the forlorn, and the rest for the lovers.

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