Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

Providence, Rhode Island rockers GYMSHORTS join Dune Rats on a couple dates of their tour, including this Tuesday 11/12 at Rough Trade. Frontwoman Sarah Greenwell formed GYMSHORTS with guitarist Devin Demers in 2012. They’ve been heavily touring ever since, bringing their stoner punk goodness to the world. We chatted with Sarah about how they spend their time on tour and the best ways to spend your extra daylight savings hour…

AF: How do you pass the time in the van on tour?

SG: We play the coolest game ever!! It’s called “cows on my side!” Basically you just yell out when you see cows! And when you see a cemetery you say “ghost cows.” It gets super competitive and we’ve made some new rules along the way but it’s pretty much the best tour game I’m pretty sure.

AF: What’s your favorite city/venue to play in?

SG: I love playing anywhere in California – it’s so fun! And Fort Wayne! The Brass Rail rules!! Honestly, I love playing in New York too. We played in Bangkok back in May too which was very sick!

AF: Daylight savings just happened last weekend, what did ya’ll do with your extra hour?

SG: This question is the best!! We actually have a song about daylight savings and how it’s so cool cause you get an extra hour of hours!! I think I was probably sleeping this daylight savings but there was one daylight savings where we were driving overnight from Detroit to Chicago and there is a time change of one hour and then also it was daylight savings so it was like 2 am for 3 hrs or something crazy like that! It was wacky as hell! That was a good daylight savings!

RSVP HERE for GYMSHORTS with Dune Rats, and Sonny Hall @ Rough Trade Tuesday 11/12! 18+ / $15
More great shows this week:

11/8: Smock, Priestess, Wicked Willow, Animal Show @ Our Wicked Lady (Rooftop). 21+ / $10  RSVP HERE

11/8: Junglepussy @ Pioneer Works. $15 RSVP HERE

11/9: Hard Nips, Lockette, Eliza and the Organix, Onesie @ The Gutter. 21+ RSVP HERE

11/10: New Myths, Wet Leather, Caravela @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10-12 RSVP HERE 

11/11: Black Midi, Onyx Collective @ Warsaw. All Ages / $18 RSVP HERE

11/12: Maneka, Lost Boy ?, Sonny Falls, Groupie @ Alphaville. 21+ / $8-10

11/13:  Charly Bliss, Chloe MK @ Webster Hall. $22 RSVP HERE.

11/14: Tom Tom Magazine Ten Year Anniversary Party @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10-12 RSVP HERE

11/14: Karen O / Danger Mouse @ Kings Theatre. $49.50 RSVP HERE

NEWS ROUNDUP: Webster Hall Reopening, R. Kelly Arrested, and MORE

Webster Hall is Reopening!

It’s always sad when an iconic New York venue closes, but Webster Hall’s story has a happy update. The 130-year-old venue was shuttered in August 2017 for renovations when longtime owners the Ballingers sold it to AEG. That means Bowery Presents will be handling bookings, and the show schedule looks pretty sick, starting with a christening from punk poet laureate Patti Smith on May 1. Broken Social Scene, MGMT, Sharon Van Etten, Big Thief and Built to Spill are some of the acts slated to play over the next six months or so, and that’s just the initial announcement. The New York Times got a sneak peek into the renovations, and it seems like the $10 million plus project focused mostly on accessibility, with a revamped entryway and the addition of an elevator, as well as updates to the bathroom and soundsystem. Much of the characteristic fixtures in the ballroom were left unscathed, though we’re guessing the floor will no longer feel like it’s about to cave in when the mosh pit gets too rowdy. The Marlin Room will become a lounge, and there’s no word yet on what’s going on with the basement stage. The venue will still have a capacity of about 1,400 – making it an essential part of downtown nightlife once again.

R. Kelly Arrested, Bond Set at $1M

Following increased scrutiny after Lifetime doc Surviving R. Kelly aired earlier this year, the R&B star was arrested in Chicago on Friday and charged with ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four separate victims, three of whom were minors when the abuse occurred. One of the most disturbing pieces of information to emerge in Saturday’s bond hearing was that Kelly met one of these victims at his 2008 trial for child pornography, of which he was acquitted; like the trial a decade ago, some of these charges stem from the discovery of a sex tape in which Kelly appears to perform sex acts with an underage girl. His bond was set at $1 million, and that may be the tip of the iceberg – Kelly is also under investigation by multiple federal agencies for sex trafficking, and it looks likely that there are more victims who have yet to come forward. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end of their nightmare.

That New New

Audiofemme favorites Sharkmuffin shared rollicking new single “Serpentina,” the first single from their Gamma Gardening EP, out April 5 via Exploding In Sound. We couldn’t be more excited – love you, Tarra & Nat!!!!

While this video for Kate Bush’s cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” isn’t exactly new, it hadn’t been released since its recording in 1991. The video comes with the announcement of a four-disc rarities and b-sides compilation called The Other Sides, which will be available March 22. In other Elton John news, his biopic, starring Taron Egerton, comes out May 22.

Tierra Whack is back with single “Only Child,” her first release since blowing up with Whack World.

Helado Negro is currently on tour with Beirut as he prepares for the March 8 release of This is How You Smile; he shared a video for single “Running” this week.

Ella Vos shared an intimate self-directed video for “Empty Hands,” which follows her through the last day of two years of treatment for lymphoma. The single appears on her latest EP, Watch & Wait.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will release Gnomes & Badgers, their first album in five years, on March 8. The TG Herrington-directed clip opens a poignant dialogue about the family separation crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Marissa Nadler released two new songs – including a duet with John Cale – via new imprint KRO Records, who will release the single on heart-shaped vinyl this spring.

CHROMATICS are back with “Time Rider” and a slew of tour dates, but no official release date for an album, which they’ve been teasing for some time now.

Priests released a lyric video for “Good Time Charlie” from their upcoming album The Seduction of Kansas, out April 5 via Sister Polygon.

Empath have announced their debut LP Active Listening: Night on Earth (out April 2 via Get Better Records), and shared its first single, “Soft Shape.”

Alex Lahey will finally release a follow-up to 2017’s excellent I Love You Like a Brother. It’s called The Best of Luck Club and is slated for release via Dead Oceans on May 17; “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” is the first single.

TEEN are streaming Good Fruit ahead of its March 1 release over at NPR, and have shared a video for “Pretend.”

With her band Wax Idols on an indefinite hiatus, Hether Fortune has shifted to solo work with the release of single “Sister.”

Shady Bug shared “Whining” from their sophomore album Lemon Lime, out March 8.

Los Angeles noiseniks HEALTH have released their fourth collaborative single since September, this time featuring JPEGMAFIA.

We’re obsessed with “TGM” from 18-year-old newcomer Ebhoni, who reps her Toronto home and West Indian roots all at once.

Palehound kicked off their tour with Cherry Glazerr by releasing a new single called “Killer.”

Indie poppers Pure Bathing Culture  shared a lyric video for “Devotion,” the first single from their forthcoming LP Night Pass, out April 26.

If you’ve ever wondered what Mountain Man’s Molly Sarlé sounds like on her own, take a listen to her debut single, produced by Sam Evian. She’ll play some shows with Mountain Man cohort Amelia Meath when she joins Sylvan Esso for a few shows in their recently-announced WITH tour.

Nilüfer Yanya’s debut album Miss Universe drops March 22. Her latest single “Tears” follows alt-pop bops “In Your Head” and “Heavyweight Champion of the Year.”

Former Shudder to Think frontman Craig Wedren has had an illustrious career scoring film and television, so it’s no wonder the clip for his vibey rework of “2Priests” (from last year’s Adult Desire Expanded) is so gorgeous.

We have a feeling Aldous Harding’s low-key pilgrim dance from “The Barrel” video might catch on well before Designer arrives via 4AD April 26.

Legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr shared a video for latest single “Armatopia” to promote his upcoming North American tour in support of 2018’s Call The Comet.

End Notes

  • Breakdancing could become an Olympic event by 2024.
  • Moogfest has announced the “first wave” of its 2019 lineup, featuring Kimbra, Martin Gore, Matthew Dear, Lucrecia Dalt, GAS, Ela Minus and more.
  • Wilco have also announced the lineup for their bi-annual Solid Sound Festival, taking place June 28-30 in Massachusetts. There will be several sets from Jeff Tweedy solo and with the band, as well as appearances by Courtney Barnett, Cate Le Bon, Tortoise, Jonathan Richman and more.
  • Detroit musicians will be the first recipients of Tidal’s new $1 million endowment program.
  • The 1975 took home British Album of The Year at the BRIT Awards for A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, and called out music industry misogyny in their acceptance speech for Best British Band.
  • Stereolab have added a ton of reunion tour dates to their Primavera Sound and Desert Daze appearances, and announced reissues for seven of their records. The band has been on hiatus for a decade.
  • Tom Krell of How To Dress Well launched his label Helpful Music with an EP from Calgary’s Overland.
  • W Hotels have also recently launched a label, releasing two songs with Perfume Genius to benefit Immigration Equality. Watch a mini-doc about the collaboration here.
  • Lydia Loveless took to Instagram to detail sexual harassment she has suffered since signing to her label Bloodshot Records; her abuser doesn’t work at the label, but attended all social events having to do with it as the partner of one of the label’s founders, who has since left the imprint.
  • Someone decapitated Puff Daddy’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Times Square.
  • Michael Jackson’s estate is seeking to block the production of HBO’s Leaving Neverland with a $100 million lawsuit; the two-part doc follows the story of two men who say their were abused by the King of Pop as children and is set to air March 3rd & 4th. Watch the trailer here.
  • Stereogum published this handy rundown on the drama that’s dogged Royal Trux’s reunion tour, as well as the release of White Stuff, still scheduled to come out March 1.
  • My favorite Eric Andre gag is getting his own TV special. Thanks Adult Swim!

NEWS ROUNDUP: RIP Glen Campbell, A Celebrity Reptile & More

  • Country Star Glen Campbell Dies

    After a tough battle with Alzheimer’s – chronicled publicly in heartbreaking 2014 tour documentary I’ll Be Me – country and pop star Glen Campbell died on Tuesday, at age 81. He was heralded for his songwriting, vocal and guitar abilities, and many stars paid tribute to him this week after the news of his death: unlikely friend Alice Cooper, his fellow country star and former partner Tanya Tucker, Jimmy Webb, and John Mayer. Timely enough, an old Radiohead cover of Campbell classic “Rhinestone Cowboy” was recently unearthed. Listen below.

  • The Crocodile Named After Motörhead’s Lemmy

    The late bass player was recently honored by scientists, who dubbed a prehistoric crocodile Lemmysuchus obtusidens. Apparently, good ol’ Lemmysuchus was a nasty, brutal, violent, animal that was one of the biggest predators of its era with huge teeth and a spiked tail. When Lemmy wrote “Love Me Like A Reptile,” he probably wasn’t thinking of this.

  • Webster Hall Begins Major Renovations

    One of the city’s most beloved venues will be closed for major renovations starting today, after being bought by Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and AEG Presents. The process, which will include turning one of the hall’s performance rooms into a waiting room, is going to take an estimated 18 months. 

  • Other Highlights

    Taylor Swift begins testimony, learn about the Transparency in Music bill, a new song from Bully, Alice Glass (of Crystal Castles) returns, read about some groundbreaking country artists, MTV is bringing back TRL, Liam Gallagher is very, very sorry,  pop as propaganda, Mean Girls: the musical, and the 20th anniversary of Backstreet’s Back.

Staff Picks – Nicole Ortiz: Anniversary and Reunion Shows of 2016

This past year (for me, anyway) was full of attending various anniversary shows of bands I obsessed over in high school. It was nostalgic and exciting to see the bands I used to listen to nonstop perform my old favorites, songs I still listen to somedays when I’m riding my bike or underground on the subway. I’m a sucker for music that I have memories attached to, so it only makes sense that I sought out so many of these shows.

Here’s a look back at some of the anniversary shows that really touched my soul in the past year, as well as some 2017 shows that I’ve got on my radar.

The Spill Canvas at Webster Hall, August 2015

the spill canvas 3

Okay, I’m cheating here because this a 2015 show, but it was just so fun and full of happy good vibes. There’s a certain magic to reliving your emo days while watching one of your old favorites croon sweet, heartbreaking lyrics onstage. Also, you may notice a trend in this list involving Webster Hall and anniversary/reunion shows.

As Tall As Lions at Webster Hall, December 2015

as tall as lions 2

Easily the best show I went to in the last year. This was a reunion show as well as an anniversary show for their self-titled album. And although this show wasn’t in 2016, it practically was. Plus, it was amazing enough to resonate for years to come. I unfortunately missed out on seeing As Tall As Lions when they were still together, but this show made up for that.

The Hush Sound at Webster Hall, August 2016

the hush sound

Another show that went down in my personal history book was The Hush Sound’s Like Vines anniversary show, mostly because The Hush Sound was my favorite band in high school. I probably saw them play seven or so times, and I pretty much idolized (slash kind of still idolize) Greta Salpeter. Bob and Greta had so much fun chemistry that night, and overall, it was just a fun experience to relive that band’s live show again.

Simple Plan & Hit the Lights at Irving Plaza, October 2016

simple plan

One of my biggest show regrets in 2016 is that I missed this show. Since I wasn’t there, I can only speculate about its glory, but I imagine it was incredibly fun. Hit the Lights was another band I used to groove out to like crazy, and what’s not to love about Simple Plan’s goofy music?

Taking Back Sunday & The Starting Line at Starland Ballroom, December 2016

taking back sunday

Taking Back Sunday has been touring for their latest album Tidal Wave this year (I saw them at Irving Plaza, and it was…okay), and I also saw The Starting Line at Irving for their 10-year anniversary show of Say It Like You Mean It (which was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to). I was supposed to go to this show, and at the last minute had to cancel my plan, which is heartbreaking. This is going to be a show for many to write home about.

Jimmy Eat World at Webster Hall, December 2016

jimmy eat world

So this isn’t so much an anniversary or reunion show, since they’re touring for their latest album Integrity Blues, but I was still a bit surprised to see a show from Jimmy Eat World. I guess this sort of counts as a reunion show since they’re coming together again to make music to tour since 2013’s Damage, right?

New Found Glory at Irving Plaza, April 2017

New Found Glory

A peak of anniversary shows to come, perhaps? New Found Glory will be touring in 2017, and can’t you just perfectly envision singing “My Friends Over You” alongside their live performance in the coming year?

Dashboard Confessional at Irving Plaza, January 2017


So I have a [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][dashboard] confession: While I definitely liked DC in high school, I can’t say that I was totally the biggest fan. I was definitely an emo girl, but sometimes Chris Carrabba took it a bit too far and sad for me. So while this show is definitely one to look forward to in many ways, I’m not totally sure if I’ll be in attendance, swooning alongside others.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

LIVE REVIEW: Peter Bjorn and John @ Webster Hall

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Photos by Aaron Tian for AudioFemme.

Three revered names in indie pop made their presences known before a simple light display akin to a cross between an electrocardiogram and a music staff. You have the sharply dressed bassist Björn Yttling donning a blazer, while drummer John Eriksson took his seat behind the kit, standing out in a simple white baseball cap. Finally, lead singer and guitarist Peter Morén positions himself at the other end of the stage in what resembles a utility suit. All three are unified in their look with an array of the band’s patches on their navy blue outfits, as well as name tags  – you know, in case you forgot who you were there to see.

Morén quipped that back in 2000, they signed a contract stating that if anyone left the band, they had to replace him with somebody of the same name. Fast forward sixteen years and seven records later, and Peter Bjorn and John are back with an even more danceable new sound that challenges the classic definition of pop music and conveys no less energy in the live show.


Peter jumped over the barrier of the pit early on to walk around the crowd during “It Don’t Move Me,” for a rock ‘n’ roll display – “I’m not a big fan of rock,” he says.  “Rock ‘n’ roll, on the other hand, it’s kinda sexy.” – which set the tone for the etiquette of the evening: dance with complete disregard for the space around you, and don’t stop moving.

While this tour spotlights the most infectious pop tracks off the new record, Breakin’ Point, a taste of each of their previous records worked seamlessly into the mix:  a performance of “Eyes” that highlighted Bjorn’s talent on bass, Peter guiding the crowd through a singalong of “Dig A Little Deeper,” and John’s command over the slowed down breakbeat of “Amsterdam,” which brought back memories for both me and the girl behind me, who said that “every song from 2007 just flashed in [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][her] mind.”


Along with bringing outside producers into the mix for Breakin’ Point, two new touring members have accompanied the band this time around, allowing them to achieve a live sound closer to what you hear on their records.  Peter took the time out to introduce the two “dear friends and talented musicians,” Freja on backing vocals and percussion, and Klaus on the computer and keyboard.  In addition, Julian Harmon of POP ETC took over on the bongos while Freja took center stage as the female counterpart in “Young Folks,” the hipster whistle song that just turned ten this year.

But Peter Bjorn and John continue to prove over and over again that they are beyond capable of getting more than just that song and “Second Chances” stuck in your head for days on end. Closing out the show with “I Know You Don’t Love Me,” which is no slower but a bit more mellow, the trio still makes use of the whole stage and every ounce of vitality left in them during the song’s extended instrumental bridge.


The upbeat intensity of the live performance showcases the harmony that makes Peter Bjorn and John work so well together.  As Peter said, “You meet someone, you do some things, 10 years later you have a family.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

LIVE REVIEW: The Hush Sound @ Webster Hall

the hush sound

There’s nothing that makes you feel old quite like seeing some of your favorite bands from high school showcase 10-year reunion shows of albums you can sing in your sleep. But then again, maybe these nostalgic re-enactments are some of the highlights of getting older.

Recently my favorite band from high school, The Hush Sound, went on tour for the ten-year anniversary of their album “Like Vines,” and I was thrilled to catch them at Webster Hall on August 4. I’ve already seen The Spill Canvas this past year and have plans to see Taking Back Sunday with Th e Starting Line in a few months, so yeah, these are undoubtedly the days of my life now. (Go ahead, envy me.)

In high school, Greta Salpeter was essentially my indie rock idol, so being able to see that she’s still as amazing and talented as ever was unsurprising and inspiring. The Hush Sound swept the stage at Webster with the same energy they held at shows 10 years ago—I’m pretty sure the floor was shaking from all the dancing and jumping going on. The chemistry between Salpeter and vocalist/guitarist Bob Morris is undeniable; they play together as if they’ve been jamming and quipping out stage banter nonstop for the past ten years. As they laughed and made us guess what wine they were drinking (obviously it was a pinot noir), they rocked our teenage fangirl/boy hearts with some of our old favorites. “We Intertwined,” “A Dark Congregation,” “Don’t Wake Me Up,” “Magnolia”—have they ever composed even a “meh” track? Maybe “Lions Roar,” but I’m sure there’s someone out there that lost their mind when they played that one last Thursday, too.

the hush sound

After playing through the entirety of Like Vines, the night obviously couldn’t simply end there. Not before they jammed out other hits, which of course included “Crawling Towards the Sun” and “The Artist.” It was one of those performances where I found myself singing along to the guitar and keys parts when there weren’t lyrics to follow.

Salpeter’s tinkling keys were ringing in my ears as I left Webster Hall that night, in a total and complete Hush Sound-induced bliss. Now, if you need me, I can be found wandering the streets of New York with my iPhone 6 playing music that predates its conception.

LIVE REVIEW: As Tall As Lions @ Webster Hall

As Tall As Lions

As Tall As Lions

The energy in Webster Hall for As Tall As Lions’ final reunion show on Wednesday, December 30, was palpable. Fans buzzed with excitement, squished together in the venue waiting to get a first glimpse of the boys they haven’t seen play together in five years. In the last couple of years, bands like The Starting Line, The Used, Motion City Soundtrack, and many others from my high school heydays are making their reunion rounds across New York. Nothing had me as excited as this one, though.

I had a few opportunities to see As Tall As Lions in the past, but they all fell through for various reasons. Then they split up, and I was left listening to their enticing falsetto and lulling rifts through my headphones during my morning commute, hoping for a chance to see them live. As soon as I saw their Facebook post announcing reunion shows in California and New York, I bought tickets immediately. It was probably the best way I could have ended 2015.

The second they took the stage, people erupted into smiles and cheers, and the positive vibes didn’t end until well after they took a bow and walked off. Performing for almost two hours straight, the show was a blur of reminiscence from a band that didn’t appear to change much after five years of not playing together. Frontman Dan Nigro and bassist Julio Tavarez complimented one another’s musical styles as well as their senses of humor—watching them perform alongside one another was akin to watching good friends just doing what they loved.

As Tall As Lions

As Tall As Lions played through their entire self-titled album, touching on favorites like “Stab City,” “Milk and Honey,”and, “Maybe I’m Just Tired.” When Dan took out his acoustic guitar to play “I’m Kicking Myself,” the only sound other than his entrancing vocals and his fingers dancing over the chords was the echo of everyone in Webster Hall singing along. And when they played their wildly popular single “Love, Love, Love,” a sea of smiling faces met you in every direction you looked.

As Tall As Lions

After playing through their 2006 full-length, they made sure to touch on a few of their other popular singles, including “Break Blossoms,” which is the point where I officially lost my voice. They also played “Acrobat” from album Lafcadio as well as the opening track from their last album, You Can’t Take it With You, “Circles.”

The night was a whirlwind of nostalgia, Dan’s sweet falsetto vocals, a spunky brass section, and more than a few goofy faces from Julio as he jammed out on bass. The Long Island boys posted earlier this week on their Facebook page about the shows and brought up the questions on everyone’s minds: What exactly does the future hold for ATAL? Right now it seems like it is relatively uncertain, but I’ve got my fingers (and toes) crossed for new releases and more performances.

As Tall As Lions

As Tall As Lions

As Tall As Lions

As Tall As Lions

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Cover art by Danielle Guelbart

This summer, New York’s own BRAEVES released a new single called “Silver Streets” as a follow up to 2014’s Drifting by Design EP.

The band bid their farewell to New York last weekend at The Studio at Webster Hall, rounding out a busy year of stellar shows at other venues in the city, including Baby’s All Right, where I first got to meet the guys, Glasslands, and (Le) Poisson Rouge.  All of their hard work has led to a major next step, as they’ll be moving to Los Angeles later this month to work on their first full-length record.

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braeves recording session
Derek Tramont, Thomas Mcphillips, Austin Mendenhall, and Ryan Levy at a recording session. Photo by Tim Toda.

At Webster, Snowmine’s Austin Mendenhall stepped in for former member Nick LaFalce, who performs lead guitar on the track.

The song shines, quite literally, with metallic imagery such as, “Silver streets, golden bodies” and “copper in our bones.”  Coupled with sleek, otherworldy guitar and bass work, that blend seamlessly, “Silver Streets” is a perfectly warm track for speeding down a country road this fall.  With lyrics like, “Take me back to days when I was fearless in your arms/I’ll follow your way home, I’ll follow your way home,” Levy’s dulcet vocals will make you nostalgic for a time that you weren’t even there for.

See the full lyrics on their Bandcamp page, and be on the lookout for a video coming soon. Listen to the track below:

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LIVE REVIEW: The Menzingers @ Webster Hall

Menzingers Webster

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Menzingers Webster
The Menzingers at Webster Hall, shot by Greg Pallante for Bowery Presents

Last Friday I rushed from my part time job to Webster Hall and made it just in time to catch The Menzingers‘ headlining show. A larger venue than they have played at in the past, I was really curious to see how these angsty pop-punkers would rise to the challenge. I am a relatively new Menzingers listener, but my obsessive personality definitely made up for lost time since their newest album, Rented World, dropped mid-April. The album is a perfect extension of the beloved sing-a-longs from their previous albums, and is chock full of catchy and head-banging tunes.

As I made my way up to the balcony to get a good view of the stage, I peered over to a sight of a sea of men in their late twenties waiting patiently as the members’ guitars were being tuned. With a Modelo in hand, a wave of alcoholic beverages and band-tee’d backs catapulted into the barricade while the lights dimmed. Without so much as a “Hi New York, we’re the Menzingers,” or a “Thanks for coming blah blah blah,” they dove right into their two most popular tracks: “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore,” and “Good Things.”

I found myself surrounded by the emotional family members of the band, screaming my favorite Rented World jams right alongside them. The Menzingers barely took a breath in between songs, each one crashing headlong into the last. Their energy was captivating, and so exciting to watch from above as the crowd and band’s energies bounced back and forth. One of the only pauses they took throughout the show was to explain how in awe they were, and that it was “the best night of their life.” They’ve always had a big, enthusiastic fanbase, but the scale of a sold-out Webster Hall crowd clearly blew their minds.

After all those mosh-worthy moments, The Menzingers closed out the show with one of their more heartfelt tunes, “Transient Love,” which was a fitting finale considering the song’s wistful lyrics. The guys returned for a three-song encore, which included “Gates” from 2012’s On the Impossible Past, the title track from their 2007 debut LP A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology, and 2011 single “The Obituaries.” How appropriate. After realizing it was only the second night of their Rented World tour, I finally understood how overwhelming having a sea of people screaming their new lyrics back at them must have been. It was a joy to share mutual exhilaration with such an appreciative act.

Check out The Menzingers in a city near you:

Menzingers Tour Dates[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

LIVE REVIEW: !!! (ChkChkChk)

chk chk chk review

I think it took me a whole week to fully regain consciousness and physical awareness of myself after seeing !!! (chkchkchk) last Friday night at Webster Hall. This was the first time seeing the 8-piece ensemble, and at the show I felt both violated and honored at the same time. It should’ve come as no surprise to me that Nik Offer, frontman and lead singer, was performing for the whole hour and a half in boxers. Indeed, their prank pulling reputation (they’ve been around since the 90s after all) truly does precede them.
!!! consists the same amount of people as your high school’s marching band, it seems. We got Nic Offer as the lead scoundrel, Justin van der Volgen playing the bass, Tyler Pope and Mario Andreoni on guitar, Dan Gorman on trumpet/percussion, Allan Wilson with the saxophone/percussion, Mikel Gius on drums, and finally, Jason Racine on percussion. I can’t stress enough how well !!! pulls off being a “fun” band and at the same time makes instrumentally complex music. I don’t think I’ve danced to a song in which the trumpet and sax take main stage since the famous scene in The Mask when Jim Carrey’s green-faced double whisks away a young Cameron Diaz at the Coco Bongo Club.

The show at Webster Hall was not one of those nights where it was party in the front, bobbed heads in the back; the whole floor was one colossal dance party, rocking out to old songs as well as new tracks off of Thr!!!er. I’m pretty sure most of us in the crowd slung back a couple drinks right when we arrived, not to necessarily get obliterated, but to give ourselves the chance to dance wildly and spill-free. !!! always delivers a positively savage performance, making it hard for anyone to stand motionless. The band basically brings the dance party to you, personally (Nic Offer even jumped off-stage and jived around in the audience at one point).

From what I learned at Webster Hall, a !!! show can never be too long; I found myself having withdrawel the minute they exited the stage, despite their amazing encore for which they play their Christmas time newbie, “And Anyway It’s Christmas,” which is currently available in limited edition on 7″ vinyl.

Though all things must come to an end, Nic promised us that he was going to see us in 2014, so I can’t be too dejected.  I hope you can wait. In the meantime, boogie-down to the holiday jam, here, via Soundcloud:


LydiaWhen I first started writing about music, I promised myself I would never be biased. But, I had never never written about a band called Lydia. For me, Lydia is that band. That band I would quickly and confidently use to answer the age-old question: “If you had listen to one band for the rest of your life, who would it be?”

The Arizona-based indie-rock project took the stage in the Grand Ballroom at Webster Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 29, and though their set consisted of only seven songs, Lydia’s raw, engaging passion captivated the crowd from beginning to end.

“You guys look marvelous tonight,” frontman Leighton Antleman said with a charming smile spread across his face as he took the stage and greeted the audience. “We’re a band called Lydia, and we’re here to play you guys some music whether you fucking like it or not.”

And as the crowd burst into a roar of cheers and applause, Lydia opened with a track called “The Exit” from their new album Devil released March 19, 2013.

While the band’s set seemed to focus primarily on promoting their latest release, loyal fans know a proper Lydia show would not be complete without the whimsical, enchanting sounds from arguably their most praised album, Illuminate (2008). So, naturally, when Leighton sat down at the piano and the familiar, eerie beginning chords of “This is Twice Now” echoed throughout the room, nearly everyone recognized the song and sang along.

Only one song, “Best Nights,” was played from their 2011 release Paint it Golden before Lydia moved back into two more tracks from Devil.

As what could be called a perfect ending, the band chose “Hospital,” another track from Illuminate, for the finale.

Overall, the show proved Lydia is moving forward. While I personally enjoy many of the band’s older songs, it was promising to hear new, fresh music and watch them enjoy performing their new creation.

If you haven’t heard Lydia or seen one of their shows, well… what are you waiting for?


Last week, Audiofemme had a little chat with Lydia about their music and evolution as a band. Here’s what they had to say.

AF: The band has gone through quite a few lineup changes and different sounds over the years; do you think Lydia is still evolving sonically or pinning down a specific style at this point?

LYDIA I would hope we’re not pinning down a specific style. I really enjoy when people say that our style on every album is different. I would really hope we’re not just making the same albums over and over again.

AF: Leighton, I’ve told people this time and time again, but you sing profane words so beautifully. Where does your emotion come from?

LYDIA: I’m not sure. Guess I just try and do my thing and hope it turns out well.

AF: I know you’ve said before that there aren’t exactly “thought out” meanings behind Lydia songs, but the lyrics are so intricate. Do you just have a fetish for beautiful language?

LYDIA: I try and leave song meanings and stories up to the listener as best I can. I get the song to the point where I want it, and then let the listener take it from there. I really enjoy when someone tells me a certain song sounds like it was written about their life. That to me just means they took my story and subconsciously manipulated it in their head to fit what’s going on in their life. I love it.

AF: I’m a big fan of running themes and think they’re quite magical, actually. “Haley” (though with different spelling variations) has been a running theme since This December. Can you give us any insight into the inspiration for this?

LYDIA: I think it’s the simple fact that I, as well, enjoy running themes. So when I had the idea to put Hailey in the second album, Illuminate, again it took me on a long term story with her. I never know if I’m going to put her in current albums as we are working on them, but she somehow always finds a way in.

AF: Mindy White was an integral part of Lydia early on. It’s no secret that the music industry can be — across a wide spectrum — challenging, if not downright impenetrable for women. What can you tell us about this issue, having worked with a female band member?  Further, do you have any advice for women in the industry?

LYDIA: I mean, I don’t personally think it’s a lot harder for females than males to make a name for themselves in music. Unfortunately, I think looks can factor in for females more than males, but if you are making great music I feel you will make a name for yourself regardless.

AF: Any plans of integrating another female member?

LYDIA: I try and not ever rule anything out, but at the moment there is absolutely no plans for that. I see it as a part of the long story. That was just what was going on with Lydia during that portion of the “story”. It’s always changing and evolving.

AF: Indie bands have been and certainly still are on the rise these days. How is the DIY mindset with Lydia? Will you guys always work without labels from here on?

LYDIA: I can’t really see us on a label again. You can do SO much stuff on your own these days. I don’t really want to have someone tell me what I can and can’t do. They also own some of Lydia’s music that we wrote. I feel like that’s a bit  unfair to the artist that spent so much time and effort on it. But again, nothing is 100%.

AF: You’ve had a pretty loyal following throughout the years, label or not. However, do you find that the DIY takeover and subsequent democratization of the music industry has made it more difficult for a band to actually “make” it? How do you rate your success?

LYDIA: It probably has made it harder if you are just starting a band or getting into music. Bands have seen other DIY acts get really big and think, “I can do that”. Before, I think bands didn’t know you could do all of these things on your own and it was overwhelming for them. I don’t really try and rate our success. All I ever wanted from a young age was to be able to play music for a living. I love what I am allowed to do by our amazing fans.

AF: You just released Devil Deluxe. How does it differ from other Lydia albums in the past and what comes next?

LYDIA: From what I hear, Devil is happier than previous releases? I don’t like to go into writing trying for a certain sound, so I think that’s maybe the most consistent thing about the Lydia records. We really try and not go into writing with a preconceived  view of what the record should be.

AF: If you could tell your fans one thing, what would it be?

LYDIA: You’re the only one that can keep you from being happy. I learned it the hard way.

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LIVE REVIEW: King Khan & The Shrines

I invited absolutely everybody I know to the King Khan show on Wednesday. I know it was $20, but we’re talking about King Khan for the love of god, and on the night before Halloween, no less. Did this combination of factors sound appealing only to me? Would no one join me in bouncing to the tunes of a half-naked band in golden capes?

No. They would not.

Well, I cared not.

King Khan and The Shrines is one of those bands I’d always wanted to see live. Mostly because they have an unblemished reputation of delivering one kickass performance, all the while wrapped in ridiculous costumes. What more could anybody want? The band is currently touring to promote their latest LP Idle No More, which came out on Merge Records in early September.

The opening band was Canadian four-piece Hellshovel, who, as I later found out, have a pretty established list of releases. They were a good fit for the opening slot: talented musically, very much into their set, and loud. Hellshovel had a very classic sound somewhere between stoner rock and early metal, and their harmonies were spot-on.

In between groups was DJ Jonathan Toubin, who was massaging the Halloween novelty by playing a selection of eerie ’60s tracks, horror punk, and fright-night inspired classics. The whole show was well curated for King Khan fans.

The Shrines did a great job of tossing in some tracks from the new release (“Bite My Tongue” for instance) while playing all the early gems the audience was eager to hear (“Land of the Freak”, “Took My Lady to Dinner”, etc.). The King waltzed out on stage in a slick purple suit like the boss he is and screeched and preached the whole show through. The Shrines were no less enthused, and performed mid-audience as much as they did on the actual stage.

The best thing about King Khan and The Shrines is that while they’re a ball live, look funny in spandex, and sing about a grab-bag of silly things, at the end of the day they’re a great band. How many party bands can play tightly as a nine-piece funk/soul/scuzz-rock ensemble complete with horns, craft catchy and well-written pop-songs and put on a blast of a show? I can’t really name any.

On top of their musical dexterity, The Shrines have codified a tight-knit group of fans that are some of the most welcoming people to be with at a show alone. Three songs and two beers into the set I was dancing with the whole floor of Shrine worshippers, and that sense of communal fun-having is a rare and special thing. I will say the crowd was less rowdy than I expected, but the dancing certainly didn’t disappoint.

For the band’s encore, King Khan pulled a costume change, stripping down to black wrestling undies with a glittering codpiece, a bedazzled cape, and Cleopatra wig. They played around three more songs, and we were all very appreciative.

I’m downright sorry if you missed this show, but then again, I probably invited you.

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LIVE REVIEW: Volcano Choir @ Webster Hall


Rumors of Justin Vernon forgoing Grammy-winning Bon Iver for other projects have been spreading for months. Vernon himself has fed these rumors, confessing in a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything session along with other members of Volcano Choir that, as far as Bon Iver goes, he has “no plans, not sure what I or the world needs from that perspective anymore. We’ll see. VC [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Volcano Choir] is where my heart is at these days.” Even if this does mean the death of Bon Iver, Volcano Choir’s second album, Repave, and the live performance of Volcano Choir’s catalogue are proof that as long as Justin Vernon is making music, he need not be tied down to a singular vehicle of that talent.

Volcano Choir, stitched together by members of Collection of Colonies of Bees, All Tiny Creatures and Vernon, in its first U.S. tour, brought to Webster Hall Saturday energy upheld by the sea of fans throughout the night.

Sylvan Esso opened up the concert with a startling electronic performance, mixing pounding beats with catchy lyrics. Vocalist Amelia Meath danced around her half of the stage, belting out tracks while electronic musician Nick Sanborn pounded out beats on an electronic mixer on the other half. At times, the two would take a break from expressing their own response to the music by temporarily making eye contact and dancing with each other from across the stage. At first it seemed like a (pleasantly) surprising and somewhat odd choice to open up in such a loud, energetic way, but Sylvan Esso clearly shared the same passion for music and the opportunity to emerge from a small town that Volcano Choir represents. Each is dedicated to focusing on the music and getting lost in the art.

Toward the end of their performance, Sanborn took a minute to express their gratitude to the members of Volcano Choir. “They’re going to fucking slay,” he predicted. He was right.

Volcano Choir’s own passion was clear from the moment they stepped onstage. They held the audience captivated from the first song to the encore performance. Part of this was due to a wondrous stage set up. Whether intentional or not, Repave takes a sense of a nautical theme, expressed through various lyrics as well as the album cover, a picture of The North Sea taken by Chris Arnol. The album cover was recreated by netting hung behind the band as it played, turned to shades of blue, purple and yellow with lighting. It all blended so well with the band’s sound and created an atmosphere of peace.

The band had been touring only a week before playing at Webster Hall and was set to take a break in touring for a few weeks. Collectively, they expressed their regret of the short touring time, and in almost an offering of apology and consolation, guitarist Chris Rosenau announced they would be playing “almost ever song we know” as well as several unreleased tracks that “haven’t found a home.” Surprising, considering the recent release of Repave on September 3. The new songs, including a track tentatively titled “The Agreement,” “Valleyonaire” and “Nini” were a departure from the sound of other songs. They took on a guitar-heavy, almost hard-rock sound that hasn’t been heard in previous works. Rosenau was correct in identifying them as tracks that did not have a home. Although catchy and well-played, they would not have fit in with the more mellow rock of Repave.

In familiar songs, such as “Tiderays,” single “Comerade,” “Dancepack,”Acetate,” and “Byegone,” the band filled the hall with pounding instruments and a heartfelt crooning from Vernon, who did his share of dancing to the beat and playing air drums. His excitement in touring with these other talented musicians is palpable in the energy put forth in his performance, and it seems to inspire the rest of the band as well. Although the performance was set in the mid-sized Webster Hall, the musicians exuded a presence that could command an entire arena. It was easy to get lost in the scenery, pulsing music and honest joy felt through those in the room.

The crowd rallied in cheers during the first few notes of “Still,” a remix of Vernon’s “Woods” under Bon Iver. The beefed-up version had Vernon back in his well-known falsetto, bringing feeling of nostalgia to those who have been listening to him from his beginning. But the loudest response came during “Byegone,” as attendees joined Vernon as he pumped his fist in the air, singing, “Set sail!” Regardless of the track, the band had the crowd with them the entire concert.

Partway through the concert, Vernon looked out at the packed hall and gushed, “It never gets old… It never gets old, to work really hard to produce something for a long time and have people actually give a shit about what you did.” At the very least, the live manifestation of Volcano Choir’s work proved that following Vernon and those he makes music with never gets old, either.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

SHOW REVIEW: Matthew Dear + Light Asylum + Beacon

Watching a Matthew Dear performance is like standing before a work of art from the Italian Renaissance or Greek antiquity. You look at it, beguiled and even frustrated by the possibility that human hands could create something so beautiful. Matthew Dear himself, statuesque and always decked out in an impeccably tailored black suit even when he sleeps, I imagine, has been perfecting this aesthetic, now indistinguishable from the music itself, for over a decade. Going to his show indeed engenders that fleeting and indelible longing you feel when you’re in a museum looking at one of your favorite paintings: a longing to engage with something physically and emotionally unreachable even if by mere inches.

The tension of knowing he’s a real person who leads a real life with real things in it, and experiencing him as something so intangible and deliberately cultivated, is gripping. It keeps him shrouded in mystery, and keeps his magnetism as sharp and strong as ever; and it is precisely this tension that made his show last weekend at Webster Hall remarkable.

The stage  looked beautiful. Bouquets of white roses embellished every mic stand. Massive banners in the style of abstract expressionism, of Dears most recent album artwork (created by Ghostly’s resident graphic designer, Michael Cina) hung in the background. Each band member juxtaposed one another dramatically, with two sets of percussion sidling the back, the trumpet player front and center, and the bass player in between him and Dear, who, off to the side, performed the electronics, lead guitar and vocals, conducting it all like a circus master. Everyone wore really pretty outfits. They started playing—new and old songs, all of which are so incredibly good— and the audience gravitated toward them like moths to a flame. It felt par for the course.

Then something extraordinary began to happen about halfway through. Maybe it was when he started to peel Rose petals off his bouquet, letting them fall to the floor with an improvised and unlikely touch. Or maybe it was when he started moving around the stage, dancing wildly, and even occasionally jumping off things. I think the decisive moment came, though, toward the end of the song “Do The Right Thing”. The flood lights were turned on so we could all see one another. Dear approached the audience and for the first time ever in my experience, sang the last verse and chorus directly to us, loudly and insistently, without any effects, tracking, or even much help from the band.  “I was yours for escape”, he mused. He seemed to be addressing us . He seemed to be shedding his stoic affect in favor of human connection and all the ways in which it leaves one vulnerable as hell. For the last moments of the song he came right up to the edge like he was going to jump, defiantly, not singing just looking. People were generally freaking out. The girl to my right was bawling. As it all ended, he turned and retreated back, disappearing into a haze of smoke, and then the whole room went dark.

He’s clearly trying to make us care about him as a person. The question remains though, how this effort will coalesce with his music, long-associated with his personae, and the ways in which he distances himself from his audience when he’s live. On this, the verdict is still out. I think it says something mighty powerful, however, that his performance of “Do The Right Thing” that night was a singularly moving moment for I suspect, everyone in the room.

The supporting bands, Beacon, Light Asylum (and MNDR which I missed), put on amazing shows. Beacon’s performance was one of the best I’ve seen, since I think their big, cavernous sound is suited for big, cavernous places. The reverb actually had space to travel and linger, and the bass was so loud it had everyone’s hair standing up (the conventional wisdom about chicks loving loud bass is true, by the way). They performed most of their old material from No Body, as well as singles, “So Anxious” and “Last Friday Night”.

Now that they are signed, it seems they’ve come into their own. Thomas Mullarney is more confident in his vocal abilities, and therefore more inclined to sing louder. Even this simple act transforms the songs from good to really really good. For their whole set, they commanded the room–which is no simple feat when there are only two people and zero instruments. Those who were wandering aimlessly about were suddenly captivated. By the end of their set, there were three times as many people huddled toward the front of the stage.

I suspect in the not too distant future, they’ll be the headliners for shows like these.

When Light Asylum’s set started, I had no idea what to expect. I had only heard of them in passing. Flitting about on stage, plugging in wires was an incredibly muscular, tank top wearing man who I assumed was the band leader. Soon though, a young woman appeared and set my perceptions straight. Not only does she lead the project,  she dominates. Their names are Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello and they make wildly energetic synthpop with electronic foundations. They’ve released one EP, In Tension, and one self-titled debut. The songs are chaotic and strange, yet entirely danceable. In fact you can’t help but dance when you hear them. This is due to the music itself, of course, but also Funchess’s personality on stage, which demands that you ride along with her on her weird journey. She stands behind an electronic drum kit, and sucks you into her world, sometimes singing or making other types of noises with her voice, sometimes dancing like she’s possessed, sometimes flapping like a bird, etc. And it is extraordinary. She has the lung capacity of a lioness, and a totally unique sounding voice, as well as an unending supply of energy. All this combined with Coviello’s catchy synth makes for the type of new-wave -writ modern I wish so many other mediocre bands would create, but can’t because they simply lack the spirit of innovation it takes to do it. Light Asylum, however, has enough to go around.

SHOW REVIEW: Liars w/ Oneohtrix Point Never

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Liars take the stage at Webster Hall

If I had to make a shortlist of the best bands ever, Liars would probably be on it. Perfect ratios art, myth, experimentalism, talent, and persona have made this one of the most prolific bands of my formative years – perhaps not critically, but definitely in a personal sense. Until last Tuesday, I’d never seen them live. But when I heard they were playing Webster Hall I decided to put aside my hatred for this awful venue and buy tickets immediately. No way would I miss this.

That night was one of the hottest of the summer so far. I was certainly not looking forward to standing in a mass of seething Liars fans in a poorly air-conditioned concert hall while we all moshed around, but life’s about trade-offs. The first hurdle I had to get over were the opening bands. I caught about ten seconds of Bubbles, but opted to stand in front of a fan near the entrance to cool off a bit before venturing back upstairs to get in place for a show I hoped would be just the right amount of epic. This also required enduring a set from Oneohtrix Point Never, which was torture enough.

If you’ve ever looked at a photograph of Daniel Lopatin while listening to his glitchy, undulating experimental electronic collages, you’ve basically seen the equivalent of his live “show”. It was one of the most boring things I’ve ever witnessed on a stage. Granted, I am not much of a Oneohtrix fan. I like parts of his music well enough, but the stutters and wails of electronic fuzz get to me after awhile and I start wishing it was just the pretty parts. Not surprisingly, that notion climbs tenfold when you’re super hot and you’re standing around in a huge concert hall with the amps turned way up and there’s really nothing to see him doing. I’ve been to a lot of electronic shows. The best DJs and producers and beatsmiths are actually a joy to see at work, deftly twisting knobs and noodling on synths and maybe even singing or drumming. Most of the others realize they are boring to watch at work but for the sake of being able to play out employ backup dancers or projections, which is always appreciated. Even if the performer is a little stiff, usually you can at least dance to the music and ignore the fact that someone is on stage “playing” something. But none of these things apply to Daniel Lopatin. We amused ourselves with the concept that at parties he only refers to himself in the third person (as his band) and says things like “Oneohtrix Point Never changes facial expressions” or “Oneohtrix Point Never gonna sound like real songs” or “Oneohtrix Point Never playing Webster Hall again”.

People hail this guy as a genius, which I don’t understand, especially when there are far less hyped folks who go totally unnoticed and actually care if they appear completely uninteresting in a live setting. Maybe it’s the hype that makes his nonchalance seem downright smug, but either way, the impression given is that his live set doesn’t have to be engaging because he is just that brilliant, and we should want to pay money to bask in his glory. If I had paid money to see Oneohtrix I would have demanded it back. I might see Lopatin’s side project with Joel Ford (creatively titled Ford & Lopatin) but I haven’t really noticed them touring and I’m sure he doesn’t do much there either, besides what I’m doing now, which is sitting in front of a laptop pushing buttons. My hope would be that Ford is an engaging enough performer for the both of them. Meaning he would have pretty spastic and/or wearing an insane costume.

Luckily the intensity and showmanship exemplified by Liars redeemed all of this as the lush opening bars of “Exact Color of Doubt” swirled over the audience. The vibes were appropriately creepy, with a sinister Angus Andrews moaning “I’ll always be your friend/I’ll never let you down” into the mic. Julian Gross took his place behind the drums and waited patiently for the mood to steep, with well-timed bursts on an electronic hybrid kit, while Aaron Hemphill temporarily ignored his own, smaller drum set as well as his guitar, presiding instead over a collection of synths. Throughout the set he would play each in turn, sometimes sharing with Andrews. “Exact Color of Doubt” expanded into the cavernous space almost like a meditation, but it was the last quiet moment in a show so loud I could feel the floor shaking and my arm hairs vibrating. They blasted straight into “Octagon” rendered with far heavier strokes in its live setting than it is on WIXIW, the band’s sixth studio album.

Much of the material on their newest record was showcased here, but it blended seamlessly into older tracks from their previous albums. The trajectory of Liars has been notoriously hard to pin down, with each album set apart from the others by its own theme, either sonically or conceptually. WIXIW has already been labeled the band’s “electronic” album and it’s true that they’ve used it to introduce a very timely exploration of computer and synth generated sounds. But the innate weirdness, sinister sensibilities, and fearless experimentation that mark all of Liars’ releases is just as prominent, even if the finished product is one of the more reserved pieces they’ve put out to date.

If anyone was worried that the more subtle tones of the new record would inform this latest tour, that worry was shattered not only by the sheer volume radiating from the stage, but also by the energy exhibited in particular by Angus Andrews. He’s every bit the cult leader, his limbs raised fantastically above his stringy locks, never removing his black jacket despite the unrelenting heat, said jacket looking almost too small on his menacing, gangly frame. One moment he would shudder violently, the next bouncing or twirling like a mental patient gone off his meds.

While the set was definitely skewed toward the songs on WIXIW, they were offered alongside a well-curated selection from their previous records. As such, the show acted partly as revue, partly as history lesson – spanning from Liars’ emergence as dance-punk purveyors of ten years past, through art rock witchiness, percussive experimentation, forays into shoegaze, and finally the punishing, barren soundscapes of 2009’s Sisterworld. And while these selections were a treat to a longtime Liars fan like myself, the WIXIW songs were executed so well that they held their own in the cannon of favorites like “Broken Witch” “Let’s Not Wrestle Mt Heart Attack” and “Plaster Casts of Everything”. Though Andrews has said that it was unnerving to present partially formed ideas and arrangements to the band during WIXIW’s almost claustrophobic writing and recording process, none of that insecurity shows now that the album is making its live debut. It’s hard to believe a decade has passed since the release of They Threw Us In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top, and indeed I feel like I’ve spent most of my adulthood in the locked groove of “This Dust Makes That Mud”. But the Liars are nothing if not uncanny for their ability to evolve and to challenge, and the show at Webster Hall was a perfect affirmation of such.

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