Rock Feed

The Mountain Goats at Webster Hall

the mountain goats
California's Mountain Goats played a sold out show at Webster Hall last Thursday in celebration of their new release, Beat the Champ. The crowd was as broad an audience as you could imagine: lifelong Lower East Siders who had known the Indie Folk vets for years from their original cassette and record releases stood side by side with early twenty-somethings who were introduced to the group by hearing their music on the Showtime series “Weeds.” But once the music started, the audience listened as one. 

There were cathartic moments where the band seemed to offer up lyrics to the rock gods of old. Throughout the song “This Year,” you could feel the energy of the room release the most human of emotions as the chorus of “I’m going to make it through this year if it kills me,” reverberated throughout the hall.  In an inadvertent “Welcome to NYC” moment, some of the quieter sections were wiped out by noise bleed from a performance downstairs in The Studio. Frontman John Darnielle brushed it off like a true veteran, managing to get the audience to laugh about it.

In addition to Darnielle, The Mountain Goats' current lineup consists of drums, bass and lead guitar. Bassist Peter Hughes' solid playing, spot on harmonies and overall enthusiasm were outshined only by his boss plaid suit.

The Mountain Goats performed over twenty songs, including two encores.  Despite the pop emo music emanating from downstairs, on this night Webster Hall was the poster child for Indie Folk.

Chris Bergson at Jazz Standard

by Steven Pisano

  Chris Bergson, Jazz Standard

This winter in New York City has been so unrelentingly and inhospitably cold, so bone-numbingly frigid that a lot of sensible people have just stayed home from exploring the city’s nightlife to catch up on Netflix. Who wants to wander the streets of an urban Antarctica?

But things were blazing hot last week at Jazz Standard when Chris Bergson brought his sizable band to town for a two-night stand on February 24-25. Bergson has been playing this club for over a decade now, and his latest recording, Live at Jazz Standard, has been lauded as one of the top recordings of 2014 by the blues press.

First thing's first. Despite the club’s name, Bergson does not play jazz. He and his band play blues, funk, rock, and soul, in a rich, hearty stew of down home styles that in many ways is reminiscent of the Sixties when a lot of rock artists, from Eric Clapton on down, first started stirring blues into their base of rock.

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Fun Fun Fun Fest 9 Recap with Photos

DSC08172Austin, TX - The 9th edition of Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest tore up Auditorium Shores once again last weekend with a heady mix of indie, punk, metal, electronica, and everything in between. While things got off to a bit of a rough start on Friday, it turned out to be a beautiful weekend with sunny days and cool nights - perfect to see that long lost band you used to freak out to in your parents' basement, or that hot new act you keep missing every time they come to town. Only at Fun Fun Fun Fest is it possible to wander from sensitive alt-rock (Neutral Milk Hotel), to classic hardcore (Murder City Devils), to white hot hip-hop (Wiz Khalifa), all in less than an hour? Not to mention all of the afterparties - free with FFF wristband - which tore up Austin til the wee hours. 

Below is a highly selective sample of some of our favorite acts from the weekend. Additional pics from Friday here, Saturday here, and Sunday here

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Preview: Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest 9

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013In a few hours, I'm headed back to Austin for the 9th annual Fun Fun Fun Fest, which for three days will fill Auditorium Shores with an omnivorous lineup of Alt-Rock (Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, Dinosaur, Jr.) Hip-Hop (Nas, Wiz Khalifa) Metal (Judas Priest (!), King Diamond), Hardcore (Rocket From the Crypt, Murder City Devils), Electronica (Girl Talk, MSTRKRFT) and Spoken Word (John Waters, Jello Biafra, Fred Armisen). Not to mention the Skate Ramp, the Wrestling Ring, the Taco Cannon, and much, much more. (And, that doesn't include the afterparties.) This will be my fifth visit to the Fun Fun Fun Fest - check out my past coverage from FFF2, FFF4, FFF6, and FFF8 to get a sense of why I think this is, pound-for-pound, the best quality/worst named festival in the U.S.

Stay tuned here - as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - for updates throughout the weekend.