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Report from Alt Rock night at The Studio with Wyldlife, The Auctioneers + more

Thursday night at The Studio at Webster Hall showcased artists selected by Rich Russo from 101.9 WRXP’s “Anything Anything” show for a live “NY Rock Experience.” A lengthy line-up began with Flight from LA whose energy charged The Studio three hours earlier than most New York gigs. Second on the billwere Wyldlife (in the picture), who were guaranteed a radio play after an error in the band's name during their introduction. The quintet blasted through a punky, power pop set, and finished with a Bruce Springsteen cover in response to encore demands. Third up and the charm were Reckless Sons. Displaying impressive stage dynamics, catching songs, and a new arrangement in duties (Lead vocalist Matt Butler handed off guitar to Ben Rice of Blackbells), Reckless Sons got the audience VERY involved. Shooting Gallery continued the evening’s stripped down rock trend, and added a bit more Blues to the mix. Closing the event and harder hitting with a Southern rock twang, The Auctioneers celebrated their album release with feverish crowd feedback. –Meijin Bruttomesso


Final DIY Fest Night: Not Blood, Paint, U Say USA, Bartholomew + more

My final night at the Bushwick Music Festival began at the Opera House, where Fuck Yeah Yankee Bang Bang (picture below) played fun, poppy rock, featuring Sita Asar and Glenn Baughman harmonizing on vocals and Sean Spada on keys.

Bartholomew (picture below) performed next, a moody blend of folk, country, and rock.  Bill Bartholomew’s soulful vocals intertwined with Dave Klym’s melodic guitar solos created a catchy, distinct sound.  The band’s often simple but dynamic melodies, strong energy and solid rhythm made for a personal, engaging set, especially captivating toward the end with songs “Walk On By” and “One Big Wheel.”

The Louisiana Sun Kings played at 9:30, a metal band with a petite female singer, Noelle Tannen. They had quick tempos and flashy riffs, but it was Tannen’s energy – dancing, twirling, rolling on the floor, singing into the audience – that charmed the crowd.

I then went to Eastern District and caught the end of Food Will Win the War (in the picture).  Despite a seven-member strong lineup of two guitars, two keyboards, violin, bass and drums, they had a sparse, acoustic sound we truly enjoyed.  The Last Nights played next, a trio comprised of a two-octave Korg controller and laptop, cello and guitar.  Several of their songs had danceable electronic drum beats, and others were more minimal. The cello’s bass line sometimes provided the beat, often underneath haunting minor-key melodies.

I arrived House of Yes around midnight, during a flashy drum solo by Justin Ahiyon of Consider the Source (picture below).  A progressive instrumental jam band consisting of a double-neck fretless guitar, drums and bass, they had unusual time signatures, complex riffs and tight chemistry.

I hustled to Bushwick Music Studios to catch a theatrical set by Not Blood, Paint. With skin covered in black handprints and all four band members wearing fur coats and shorts, they gave a cinematic, captivating performance that had the packed audience dancing, singing and howling wildly along to their dynamic, catchy songs.

The night ended around 4 a.m., with sets by U Say USA (picture above), a Dylan-inspired pop-rock band, and finally The Nuclears, a high-energy, Zeppelin-esque rock band.-Vivian Doskow


D.I.Y. Bushwick Fest, Day 3: Guitars, Lowry, Boom Box Repair Kit

My 2nd night at the DIY Budhwick festival (which was the fest's 3rd overall as Bill covered last night's shows) started out calmly, with Guitars at the Opera House lofts.  Self described as minimalist country, they had slow but driving rhythms, simple melodies, harmonica and tambourine interludes.  The beat picked up with Photon Dynamo and the Shiny Pieces (picture under here), an energetic rock trio with strong technique, attractive harmonies and jazz-inspired chords and rhythms.


I next went to Brooklyn Fire Proof to catch Otis Grove, a three-member instrumental jazz/funk/hip-hop jam band from Allston, Massachusetts. Having been together eight years, they played with a solid, captivating energy, soloing and improvising off each others’ themes, utterly absorbed in the music.  Sam Gilman’s riffs and chords on the Hammond organ created a distinct, 70’s sound that drove the music, while Tyler Drabick flaunted his skills on guitar and Blake Goedde showed his on drums.

Lowry, comprised of keyboards, two guitars, bass, banjo, drums, and tambourine, played next to an eager, dancing audience. Singers Alex Lowry and Heidi Sidelinker created lovely, folk melodies over simple chords and catchy beats.  Sidelinker’s voice was ethereal and haunting, especially in her banjo solos toward the end.

The last band to play at Brooklyn Fire Proof was Boom Box Repair Kit, a fun, fast-paced Latin influenced indie rock/reggae band with a wild, enthusiastic energy. Frank Pace led the songs with his fast-paced, pounding drums.  Most of the songs were in minor keys with saxophone and trumpet solos. Each member played an impressive solo during their last song, “Dancing with a Stranger,” marking the end of the evening.-Vivian Doskow


DIY Bushwick Fest, day 2: Pearl + Beard, Eskalators, Aviation Orange + more

Eastern District: Amber Lamps (we are looking for a myspace link!!!)

The first stop of the night was the art gallery/performance space Eastern District, where the experimental sound collage and folk act Amber Lamps was performing. As it turns out, Amber Lamps is not a reference to the wildly popular “Epic Beard Man” fight video circulating on the Internet (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, search for “Epic Beard Man” and “amber lamps.”) The performance consisted of one guy (later joined by a girl for dual vocals), creating sounds to the accompaniment of several tape players scattered about the darkened gallery. The ambient, droning soundscapes were transfixing, and the surround sound provided by the pre-recorded tapes added an all-encompassing sense of dimension to the performance. A folksy melody of acoustic guitar and male/female vocals broke out towards the end of the 15-minute act (it was essentially one long “song”, or a musical performance piece), turning the somber atmosphere of the sound collage into a cathartic release. I had also hoped to catch the roving banjo and snare drum duo Free Advice at Eastern District, but they apparently cancelled, so off I was to Bushwick Music Studios.

Bushwick Music Studios: Pearl and the Beard

Pearl and the Beard were totally captivating, and a highlight of the night. A trio (two girls and a guy with a beard, all bespectacled), they perform an energetic and instrumentally minimal brand of folk-pop. All three harmonize, creating haunting, pitch-perfect melodies. The crowd was fully absorbed by their set, and when they broke out their amazing and amusing “Will Smith Medley” (you can see a video on their myspace), everyone in the audience exchanged a delighted “WTF?” look and nodded along in approval. Keep on eye out for this band, they’re definitely going places.


The next act was the 18-piece indie-pop-ska band Eskalators, who definitely did not all fit on the stage at Bushwick Music Studio. Almost every instrument in the world was accounted for, from the obvious rock band instruments to flute, violin, glockenspiel, and a musical saw. The high-energy performance really got the crowd moving, especially when main vocalist Eric Williams pushed himself into the crowd and offered up the mic to anyone willing to sing along. The songs were infectious, short, and fun, and they prompted Tito (owner of Bushwick Music Studio) to play some Operation Ivy over the sound system after the set.

Aviation Orange

Aviation Orange were up next, and they held the audience captive with their synth-driven indie pop. The songs manage to merge ambient guitar and synth layers with danceable rhythms and hook-laden male/female vocals. Highlights included “Radio” and “Darling Johnny,” and they were as tight as a band can be, having just finished a small tour, SXSW, and a DIY fest show the night before at Brooklyn Fireproof.

Binary Marketing Show

My last act to catch was Binary Marketing Show, at Don Pedro. I only caught two songs, as I was exhausted and drunk and had work the next day (I’m there right now, typing this on my lunch break.) The band was engaging, playing tribal and textured noise-pop in the vein of Animal Collective. There were synth stabs, vocal loops, and primal percussion, and I got the impression this band would be exhilarating at a weekend loft-rager (the small crowd at Don P’s was sitting in chairs). After a quick dose of Binary Marketing Show I headed home and found that “Will Smith Medley” video, and got to thinking that those late 90’s/early 2000’s Will Smith singles were, in retrospect, really fun. -Bill Dvorak


Two noisy new releases + shows: The Austerity Program + Extra Life

Some musicians take noise seriously, and many ears like that - young ones in particular. Three years after they released their debut full length, The Austerity Program (top pic) are back with not even twenty minutes of music - a four song EP (apparently they promised their label a triple CD!). These Astoria based, tense fellows blend super distorted metal riffs with noise rock dissonance for a truly explosive listening experience - that you can witness live (preferably with earplugs) at union Pool on May 2.
Brooklyn's Extra Life's sound also incorporates occasional metal riffs, but within a more complex and not always necessarily "expressionist" sound. The band's new material has alomst a gregorian element to it, with vocals that flirt with religious chants on top of truly bizzare and unheard of math metal/dissonant arrangements. Gee... i swear the actual music sounds much better than the description we just gave. The band is actually getting quite a lot of buzz - don't miss their CD release at Silant Barn on Saturday March 26.


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