Indie Feed

4th Annual BRIC JazzFest

by Steven Pisano and Pete Matthews
181018 BRIC Jazz Fest Thursday - 6The 4th Annual BRIC JazzFest returned this past weekend to the BRIC House in downtown Brooklyn, with some 24 musical acts over three "marathon" nights, each lasting more than 4-1/2 hours. With their biggest lineup yet, all three nights were completely sold out, leaving people begging tickets at the door. Acts included everything from cabaret to big band, from horn-heavy ear blasting to quiet introspective noodling. And, with three stages going more or less simultaneously, if the music on one stage wasn't doing it for you, you could just go next door.

Thursday, Oct. 18

One of the best things about the BRIC JazzFest is getting to know new faces in the jazz world, and such was the case with alto player Lakecia Benjamin (pictured above), who kicked things off on the mainstage Thursday night. Benjamin is an extremely capable musician, known for her work as a side-woman with Gregory Porter, Stevie Wonder, and Alicia Keys. But with her own group, SoulSquad, Benjamin's outsized, ebullient personality hits you square in between the eyes. Blending James Brown-style funk with straight-up jazz, she had the whole room clapping along.   

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Car Seat Headrest at Brooklyn Steel

by Katie ZepfCar Seat Headrest 2
Seattle's Car Seat Headrest played two sold-out shows this past weekend at Williamsburg's Brooklyn Steel. The band is known for their unique lo-fi indie rock sound, which started out as the bedroom project of frontman Will Toledo, who built a following after putting his tracks out on Bandcamp. They started off their 12-song set with covers of Lou Reed’s “Waves of Fear” and Neil Young’s “Powderfinger”, continuing with originals from their albums Twin Fantasy, Teens of Denial, How to Leave Town, and Teens of Style.

Opening was Philadelphia's Don Babylon, which had a heavy-rock sound, and Seattle-based trio Naked Giants, playing a longer set of indie-infused songs. Both openers had an upbeat sound, starting the night off on the right foot.

For their encore, Car Seat Headrest was backed by Naked Giants, with Toledo sporting swim trunks as he danced around the stage. After a 14-minute version of “Beach Life-In-Death,” Naked Giants drummer Henry La Vallee brought a fan onstage to play cowbells during “Destroyed by Hippie Powers.” I must say, the GA pit at this show was the most intense one I’ve ever been in (including those at music festivals), as the fans were VERY passionate about their love for this music - despite it not quite being mosh pit material.

Car Seat Headrest will be playing a few more shows in the States before touring in Europe this fall. They return to New York on February 16 to open for Interpol at Madison Square Garden. More pics below. 

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Sarah Kohrs and Wanda Houston at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington

Wanda Houston Sarah Kohrs Mahaiwe - 67Great Barrington, MA - When it comes to music in the Berkshires, there's more to life than just Tanglewood. Case in point: the 113 year old Mahaiwe theater, where last night I heard a stunning show by local singer-songwriter Sarah Kohrs and former Broadway star Wanda Houston, backed by a full band of brass, guitars, and drums. Part jazz, part alt-country, Kohrs' songs lay bare the trials and tribulations - and ecstasies and joys - of falling in and out of love. Switching between piano and guitar, Kohrs sounded like the best of Joni Mitchell, Regina Spektor, and Carol King, with a bit of Loretta Lynn for good measure. Not a bad way to spend a rainy night in the Berkshires. 

Next time you're up this way, check out Kohrs with her musical partner, Mark Tuomenoksa, who regularly perform as Tumo-Kohrs. Schedule here.

More pics on the photo page


The Neighbourhood at New Haven’s College Street Music Hall

by Katie Zepf

IMG_2957NEW HAVEN, CT - On Friday, California's The Neighbourhood paid a visit to New Haven's College Street Music Hall, located just outside the Yale campus. Known for their blending of alternative rock with electro-pop, the band - singer Jesse Rutherford, guitarists Zach Abels and Jeremy Freedman, bassist Mikey Margott, drummer Brandon Fried - delivered an energetic performance before a revved up crowd.  They played a total of 16 songs from their albums I Love You., #000000 & #FFFFFF, Wiped Out!, and their newest self-titled release. Halfway through the set, Rutherford crowd surfed over the audience, giving excited fans a chance to see him him up close. The band closed out with their top hits “Sweater Weather” and “Stuck with Me”, ending the night with just as much energy as they began.

Before The Neighbourhood, LA noise rock outfit HEALTH played a very loud set, sounding no less ferocious than when we first heard them in 2009:

"At first listen, HEALTH are like a lot of other no wave bands: fast, hard, loud, thrashing guitar and drums. But they layer in these hypnotic, almost ecstatic techno sounds that make you want to get up and dance. And, then, they unleash a terrible bass that rumbles through your chest like a Marshall Tank. Before long, the whole thing sounds like a nighttime air raid, dropping guitar hits like napalm."

Opening the night on a quieter note, San Francisco's Field Medic (a.k.a.Kevin Patrick Sullivan) played lo-fi folk songs on acoustic guitar and harmonica, including a freestyle piece about juice (as suggested by the audience).

College Street Music Hall, which opened in 1926, features both a standing general admission floor with elevated rows and a seated balcony. Personally, I loved the layout, as it allowed for those who didn't necessarily want to be in the more aggressive pit (unlike myself) to enjoy the music from the comfort of chairs. Concessions were also solid: there was a a taco stand outside the entrance, as well as multiple bars that served food and drinks during and after the show.

The Neighbourhood is playing numerous festivals and headlining slots throughout summer, and returns to New York in the fall for shows at Brooklyn Steel (October 5th) and Terminal 5 (October 6th). Full tour dates can be found here.