I think that Ms. Frankie Rose is one of the coolest women in Brooklyn right now. She plays drums and guitar, she writes songs, she’s committed to her professional life and her music, and she lives a grown up yet still punk rock way of life. I got to interview her about her band’s new (self-titled) album and wrote a profile for Venus Zine, which you can read about here.
I got to profile German “indietronica” act Lali Puna, of my favorite bands, for Venuszine.com. I spoke with Valerie Trebeljar, Lali Puna’s main lady, over on a transatlantic telephone call and I had to control my enthusiasm while speaking to one of my favorite musicians. The feature highlights their latest album Our Inventions. Check out the profile on Venuszine.com here.
I am so happy to report that Venus Zine is back in business, which means that I will now be reviewing shows and writing about music, art and culture for them more regularly. My first review after a long hiatus was the Magnetic Fields’ performance at Town Hall on March 10th. It was a very nice and stately show and had the feeling of a reunion of friends who are all in someway connected to the Magnetic Fields. You can read the full review here.
Sadly, Venus Zine is going to stop doing live reviews. At least for now. Before they stopped though I got the chance to see Matthew Sweet (you know, that power pop guy from the 1990’s) with Susanna Hoffs (from the Bangles!) perform a series of cover songs at City Winery. City Winery is a new venue run by the guy who runs the Knitting Factory. It is definitely for adults who grew up in the scruffy downtown scene and now want a chance to sit down and relax when they see a show with a nice dinner or glass of wine (of course, this makes the ticket prices higher too). I enjoyed the experience, but was glad I didn’t have to pay $25 for it! Here’s the review with more about the music.
Dominick and I took on our biggest challenge yet, covering the three day All Points West music festival, held in Liberty State Park in New Jersey. While covering music festivals is daunting anyway, this one was made more so because of two days of rain (and lightening) that turned the festival grounds into one big mud pit that smelled like a cow farm. Dominick was a super sport and even wrote some up some of the show to cover while I had to work. Read our review and see the pictures for Venus zine here.
After you’ve soaked in the music coverage, let me point out this: I was miserable, and I got in for free! I have no idea why people who live in or near NYC would pay so much for a muddy music festival when they can see most of the bands who played in NYC fairly regularly and for that much money they can even sit down!
I think that if All Points West is to be successful with a New York audience they need to really give people an added value to their ticket. It’s not enough to book top acts in a city that’s saturated with them. Here’s my suggestions to make All Points West better:
Put it in the city proper. How about Flushing Meadows/Corona Park? At least it’s not Jersey and you can get there by bike!
If it must be in Liberty State Park, how about providing a FREE ferry service from lower Manhattan, instead of asking concert goers to shell out an additional $25 or suffer on the light rail to path to subway.
Set up the stages so that sound from different bands doesn’t bleed together.
Value your journalists! The press tent felt like a refugee camp at times, the ground was soaking wet like the rest of the festival grounds, and sometimes we weren’t even allowed to walk on a path behind some bleachers to get there. When I first got to the festival no one told me where the press tent was and most staff members didn’t even know there was one.
You can see more (amateurish) photos on my flickr stream.
It was a perfect beach day last Saturday and Dominick and I spent it at Coney Island covering Siren Fest. We were thankful for the shade of the VIP tent and the free drinks, as well as the close views of the bands. Highlights included Frightened Rabbit, The Ravonettes, Built to Spill, Grand Duchy,and in a strange way, Thee Oh Sees. Please check out my review for Venus Zine here and Dominick’s lovely photos.
At the end of last month I got to check out two newer bands from Scandinavia, the ever fertile (if frozen) land of indie pop. Those Dancing Days and I Was a King both played at Union Hall and both were great. Those Dancing Days were a fantastic discovery and will surely be the next girly Swedish pop sensation (with a good amount of young punk attitude thrown in) due to their catchy melodies and high energy live show. You can check out my review for Venus Zine (and photos, though those are nothing to brag about) here. I Was a King sounded so much like American, mid-1990’s Chapel Hill-style indie rock that I felt like I was in high school all over again. They probably were too then. Check out my review for Venus Zine here. Thanks!
I’ve been going to some great shows lately and Dominick has been taking some great photos! Just this week we saw Camera Obscura at the Bell House and they were breath taking. They were much better than the last time I saw them in New York at the South Street Seaport. They’ve really grown as a band and their new album “My Maudlin Career” illustrates this very nicely. Check out my review and Dominick’s photos here.
We also saw the French Kicks not too long ago and you can read that review here.
Earlier in January I wrote this article profiling the amazing street artist Aiko for Venuszine.com. I really enjoy talking to Aiko about her artistic vision, experiences, and projects. I always emerge from our conversations with new insights about living and working as a visionary and brave artist in a very male-dominated field. Please check out the article and let me know what you think!
Now that the holidays are over (!) and 2009 has begun (!!), I thought I would share my last two reviews of 2008: Bon Iver and Ingrid Michaelson, both at Town Hall. The Bon Iver show was one of the best shows I’ve seen in 2008 and Ingrid Michaelson wasn’t bad either, but her voice and the screeching of her fans did tend to wear on me. Dominick did a great job of taking photos under challenging conditions, so please do take a look!