Michel Camilo Trio at the Blue Note NYC

by Nick Stubblefield


When you’re off to see an artist perform for the fifth time, it’s reasonable to keep your expectations in check. If it’s jazz pianist Michel Camilo and his trio, however, you can bet those expectations will be met and surpassed. The trio burned up the Blue Note NYC this past weekend with another set of tunes from Camilo’s extensive repertoire of original compositions. Camilo’s piano abilities are a well-documented tour de force and his infectious energy is ferocious, so keeping up with Camilo is a bit of an endurance trial. Luckily for the audience, bassist Ricky Rodriguez and percussionist Mark Walker more than held their own on a set that crossed genres and styles but always maintained Camilo’s signature exuberance.

The late-night set kicked off with a tune that epitomizes Camilo’s compositional and playing style — the high-octane “On the Other Hand,” from the album of the same name. The Caribbean-influenced tune sports rapid-fire, physics-defying repeat notes in the right hand while the left hammers a grooving counter-rhythm. 

Camilo followed up with “Mongo’s Blues,” a work he dedicated to the late Cuban jazz percussionist Mongo Santamaria.  A punctuated, syncopated ostinato in the left hand and a restrained, bluesy melody open the number, then the piece’s dynamics and rhythmic entropy intensify to the bursting point, then give way to a thunderous drum break from the polished percussionist Mark Walker.

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The Wombats at Terminal 5

by Katie ZepfMurphy (left) Knudsen (right)
On Tuesday night, indie vets 
The Wombats finished off their 2018 U.S. tour at Terminal 5. The British outfit features lead singer Matthew Murphy, drummer Dan Haggis, and bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen. Playing to a Halloween costumed crowd, all members dressed as cats for the occasion, with Murphy sporting a full catsuit, ears, and furry boots.


The colorful, upbeat set included songs from their newest album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life (“Cheetah Tongue”) as well as older hits from their albums A Guide to Love, Loss & Depression, This Modern Glitch, and Glitterbug. The band’s fun, positive energy was reflected in every aspect of the show: from the colorful lights projected on stage, to the surprise dancers dressed as cheerleading wombats who appeared during a lively performance of “Let’s Dance to Joy Division”.

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Two Feet at Brooklyn Steel

by Katie ZepfTwo feet 1
Hailing from Harlem, Two Feet (a.k.a. Zachary William Dess) merges both indie rock and electronic, with a heavy focus on the bass. I had previously seen a short set from Dess at the Governor’s Ball in June, and so was excited to see him headline his own show at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Steel last Saturday (10/27).

Playing to a crowd dressed in Halloween costumes, Two Feet was joined on stage by Geoffrey Hufford, who played both keyboard and percussion. Dess' set featured songs from his new album A 20 Something F*ck, along with popular singles from his EPs First Steps and Momentum. While most of Dess’ songs place a focus on instrumentals over lyrics, fans still knew every word to every song he played. Mid-show, Dess put his own take on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”, infusing electro beats into the soulful song.

Compared to his set at Gov Ball, I could see how Dess’ confidence as a performer has grown. He was much more interactive with the audience, and wasn't afraid to move around stage and take risks with his setlist, spontaneously adding in a few tracks that he admitted he had never played live.

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Brockhampton at Terminal 5

By Katie Zepf

Abstract (left) Champion (right)
Last week (10/24), Texas hip hop collective
Brockhampton swept through NYC, selling out three shows at Terminal 5 and making a guest appearance on The Tonight Show. Calling themselves the ”best boy band since One Direction”, the collective is comprised of 14 members including producers, designers, and no fewer than six vocalists (Kevin Abstract, Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, Dom McLennon, Russell “Joba” Boring, and Ciarán “Bearface” McDonald) each of whom brings a unique sound to the group, whether it be through rapping, singing, or both.

Brockhampton started their set on a relatively subdued note with “WEIGHT” from 2018's iridescence, their first release on RCA Records, then continued with more upbeat selections from their 2017 albums SATURATION, SATURATION II, and SATURATION III. Gushing enthusiasm throughout the two-hour show, it was clear how passionate both group and the fans are about this music.

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