Indie Feed

Maggie Rogers at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris

by Katie Zepf

MaggiePARIS, FRANCE - While in Paris two weeks ago (Feb. 22), I had the good fortune to see singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers perform at La Gaîté Lyrique. Rogers was discovered by Pharrell Williams at a master class at New York University less than three years ago, and her unique art pop sound has quickly made her a star. Her singles “Alaska” and “Light On” have only elevated her fame, landing her a spot on Saturday Night Live back in November. I had previously seen Rogers perform at the Governors Ball back in June, and I was excited to see that she was back on tour with new music.

For starters, La Gaîté Lyrique (like most of Paris) is stunning. The white entrance hall is lined with grand staircases and pillars, and was colored only by the neon pink and purple lights filling the space. The performance room itself was a very open general admission concert hall, with a bar and merchandise table located outside. If you’re ever in Paris, I would highly suggest catching a show there.

The opener was Grace Shaw (better known as Mallrat), an Australian singer-songwriter, backed by her DJ, Denim. I was previously unfamiliar with Shaw, whose music is dreamy electro-pop, but I enjoyed the set nonetheless. Playing several of her singles, such as “Groceries” and “UFO”, Shaw provided a relaxed start to the night, with just the right amount of energy throughout her performance to get the crowd excited for Rogers.

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The Kooks at Terminal 5

by Katie Zepf

Luke the kooks Thursday, I had the pleasure of seeing The Kooks for a second time at Terminal 5. The English indie rock band, fronted by Luke Pritchard, are best known for their easygoing and carefree sound, with tracks such as “Naive” and “She Moves In Her Own Way”. Having six albums under their belt, the band’s sold-out show was in promotion of their most recent album, “Let’s Go Sunshine”, released last summer.

The Kooks had an energetic start to their set, playing “Always Where I Need to Be” from their second album, Konk. The band continued with more familiar selections from their older albums, Inside In/Inside Out and Listen. The colorful band’s energy was reflected in the lively audience, who danced and sang along to the upbeat 20-song set. Midway into the show, Pritchard climbed off the side of the stage into the crowd, singing along with excited fans. He slowed things down on the piano for an emotional tribute to his father in “See Me Now”, but picked things up with more cheery songs from their newest album Let’s Go Sunshine. For their encore, the band played their breezy new single “No Pressure”, and ending the night with their most popular song (and crowd favorite) “Naive”.

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Winter Jazzfest Marathon 2019

by Dan Lehner and Pete Matthews

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Winter finally reared its adversarial head for last weekend’s Winter Jazzfest, which was incredibly celebrating its 15th year. The bitter cold may have deterred some would-be last minute attendees, but the bulk still huddled in increasingly lengthening lines to hear some of the world’s best and freshest jazz and creative music. The oldest, most platonic form of WJF, the marathon - now taking on an almost literal dimension - had attendees running up-and-across town to catch whatever they could get into.

Friday night kicked off with local jazz radio stalwart WBGO's 40th birthday party at SOB's. After an opening set by up-and-coming singer Alina Engibaryan, guitar virtuoso Kurt Rosenwinkel took the stage with his quartet (Taylor Eigsti on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Jason Brown on drums.) Rosenwinkel stayed onstage to play alongside "DJ Brother Mister" (aka, Christian McBride), who indulged his fetish for old school funk by spinning records while simultaneously strumming an electric bass. The crowd readily obliged McBride's invitation to get up and dance. 

"Don't let me catch you standing there looking at me," McBride shouted. "It's a dance party!"

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Winter Jazzfest 2019: Medeski Martin & Wood with Alarm Will Sound at Brooklyn Steel

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Winter Jazzfest ventured out to Bushwick's Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday night for a special evening with Medeski Martin and Wood and contemporary chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound. For nearly 30 years, MMW have trailblazed a singular path through jazz, funk, and improvised music that's brought them to some of the biggest festival stages in the world. And for the past 15 years, Alarm Will Sound has developed out-of-the-box crossover projects with everyone from Aphex Twin to Björk. 

In 2014, AWS artistic director Alan Pierson approached MMW about the possibility of a new collaboration. The result was Omnisphere, recorded live in Denver in 2015 and released this past September on MMW's own imprint, Indirecto Records. In addition to new arrangements of tracks from MMWs 2004 release, End of the World Party (Just in Case), the album includes original compositions by longtime AWS members Caleb Burhans, Miles Brown and Payton MacDonald, as well as drummer Billy Martin's impressionistic "Coral Sea" (arranged by AWS trumpeter Jason Price).

The most memorable performance of the evening was Medeski's own composition, "Eye of Ra": a 20 minute journey through aleatory music, gamelan, free jazz, rock - basically, everything but the kitchen sink. At turns hushed and explosive, it was adventurous and challenging as anything I've ever heard, something I'd expect to hear at Roulette, or perhaps as an opener at the NY Phil. But, in music as with most things, everything is context, and at Brooklyn Steel the standing room only crowd of 2000-plus - including everyone from young hipsters to old Dead- and jazz-heads (and at least one world-famous composer) - greeted it with explosive cheers. 

The show ended two hours after it began (not including a 20 minute intermission) with Martin conducting and improvisatory encore that included several participatory outbursts from the audience. (You can watch a sideways video of the last 30 secs here.)

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More pics on the photo page.