I’ve been trying to manage my outings a bit better. Not sure if I’m succeeding or not, but here’s what I’ve got on my calendar for May:
Friday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Jordan Hall: Cantata Singers’ final concert concluding their Benjamin Britten season. Featuring songs written by 4th grade classes at a local elementary school and the same songs worked into Andy Vores’ “Natural Selection”. The full program is as follows:
Britten: The Company of Heaven
Was going to catch Junior Boys and Max Tundra at The Middle East Downstairs, but it’s this Friday and so it conflicts with the Cantata Singers concert. Drat. And now it looks like Certainly, Sir is opening for them. Ah well.
May 11-17: Boston Ballet’s Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Their description says: “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Ballets Russes, established in 1909 by the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev. Boston Ballet celebrates with classic works by Balanchine, Nijinsky and Fokine. Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo will premiere a new work, his sixth for Boston Ballet, to Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Le Sacre du Printemps'”. I’ll probably try to get 1/2-off tix through Goldstar.
May 27-June 1: Guerilla Opera premieres Boston composer Marti Epstein’s Rumpelstiltskin.
4th Grade Classes, Neighborhood House Charter School: 2 songs
Andy Vores: Natural Selection (premiere)
Benjamin Britten: Psalm 150
J.S. Bach: Cantata BWV 50, “Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft”
Because of the Boston Conservatory’s annual New Music Festival, this first week of February has ended up being jam-packed. So much so that due to conflicts there are some things I want to see but won’t be able to. Here’s what I’ve got lined up, and the ones I’m sadly going to have to miss out on:
Friday, February 6: Passion Pit, Paper Route, Cale Parks Downstairs at The Middle East (18+, $12). I’d heard Passion Pit’s track “Sleepyhead” and then liked their other tracks on their MySpace page. The way I’ve been describing them is, “Like MGMT, but much less annoying and more interesting.” Won’t be able to make this one, though, due to the conflict below.
Friday, February 6: Brave New Works: The Boston Conservatory’s New Music Festival, as usual, has a load of worthwhile concerts. This one features a new work by Andy Vores entitled “Objects and Intervals”. It’s immediately preceded by a “prelude concert” by the Ludovico Ensemble of Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments for violin and soprano. Their soprano, Aliana de la Guardia, has yet to disappoint, and after the publicity of the Sellars/Upshaw performance at Lincoln Center this past fall I’m guessing I won’t be the only one interested in this thorny work.
Saturday, February 7 (2 p.m., All Saints Parish, Brookline): Benjamin Britten Noye’s Fludde: David Hoose, Music Director; Lynn Torgove, Stage Director; Members of Cantata Singers and PALS Children’s Chorus; Alysoun Kegel, Artistic Director; Young instrumentalists from Boston area arts organizations. Part of Cantata Singers‘ Britten season. Should be fun.
Saturday, February 7 (8 p.m., First Church in Cambridge): Sarasa Ensemble, Music of Handel, Purcell, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Dominique Labelle, soprano and Michael Chance, countertenor: Part of the Boston Early Music Festival.
Sunday, February 8: Momenta Quartet: Also part of the Boston Conservatory’s New Music Festival. Featuring Glass’s Quartet #5 and a premiere by faculty member Dalit Warshaw for theremin and string quartet with the composer playing theremin. This evening also includes a prelude concert by the Ludovico Ensemble, Morton Feldman’s Crippled Symmetry.
Sunday, February 15 (3 p.m.): Chameleon Arts Ensemble “a tale that’s told in ancient song”. Especially looking forward to violinist Joanna Kurkowicz‘s performance of Ravel’s fiery crowd-pleaser Tzigane. You can get 1/2-price tickets from goldstar.com and if you register using this link I get a small commission. Whoo!
Sunday, February 15: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Pants Yell! and The Depreciation Guild Upstairs at The Middle East (18+, $9). Another show M wanted to go to, but I quickly got into The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s shoegaze-y brand of pop as well as The Depreciation Guild’s dreamy electronics. If you like M83, you’ll probably like The Depreciation Guild, and in fact at the moment I actually prefer the latter.
Phew! Looks like it’s going to be a marthon two weeks. Hopefully I’ll have enough stamina to get through it all. Stay tuned …
So M83 was downstairs at the Middle East last Tuesday, November 18. Missed the opening group School of Seven Bells, but still managed to get a decent view of M83. Eventually, that is, because the floor was packed. This guy in front of me was really invading my personal space, but by the middle of the set enough people had shuffled around that I could actually see something other than the back of his fat head. Ha.
Not that there was much to see, because this was definitely one of the most dimly-lit shows I’ve been to. Which was kind of an interesting concept, but also made the show rather more monotonous than it needed to be, particularly since the setlist favored their older album (from 2005), Before the Dawn Heals Us, instead of their newer one, Saturdays=Youth. The latter was noted for being more accessible, with more vocals, more hooks, and just generally catchier songs instead of instrumental mood pieces. Even though I could happily listen to pretty much any and all synth music, the songs on the older album just weren’t interesting enough to keep me enthralled. The crowd didn’t seem to mind at all, though, and clapped along whenever they detected a faster beat. Main man Anthony Gonzalez had a tendency to look like he was humping his keyboard during these faster tunes which was somewhat distracting, and I still haven’t heard for sure why they keep the drummer behind a Plexiglas wall. Still, all in all the show was enjoyable, helped in part because of the saving grace of Morgan Kibby, who, reprising her role on Saturdays=Youth, contributed her light, catchy vocals to the proceedings (as well as playing keyboards). Oh, and a special mention must be made of the encore, “Couleurs”, which received a rockin’ arrangement and was a great closer. And fret not, my fellow Cantabridgians: if you missed them this time around apparently as soon as the group winds up this tour they’re going to be touring with the Killers and back in Boston at ye olde Agganis Arena January 26.
The most accurate setlist I’ve been able to find so far has been
for the show in Atlanta just a few days before the one in Cambridge (I thought they’d also played “You appearing” but I could be wrong):
1. Run Into Flowers
3. Moon Child
4. Kim & Jessie
5. We Own the Sky
6. Graveyard Girl
8. Teen Angst
9. Highway of Endless Dreams
10. Don’t Save Us From the Flames
11. Skin of the Night
12. Guitar and a Heart
13. Couleurs (encore)
Some pics from this tour are floating around:
– A few pics and a short review of the Boston show at mel.opho.be
– Nice set of pics from the NY show at BrooklynVegan
– Random Flickr set from the Atlanta show
There’s also a cool set of videos of studio performances from May with the same touring band at KCRW on YouTube. And here’s an enthusiastic review of the Boston show at the Boston Herald.
For some unknown reason I thought The Notwist wasn’t going to have an opening band for their show this past Sunday at the Roxy. I guess I was thinking the Roxy was more of a dance club and I was assuming they’d have an early concert and have a club night afterwards, but anyway luckily the opening band was someone I wanted to see, namely Dosh . Dosh is this guy named Martin Dosh who does very loop-based, ambient-type instrumental electronica, reminescent of The Album Leaf. Live he spent most of his time on the keyboard and mixer, although he’d also jump onto his drum set every so often, oftentimes at the climax of a song. He was joined by Mike Lewis who apparently he’s been playing with for a while. Lewis provided saxophone loops and bass. Although I’m not a fan of saxophone in general, it wasn’t obtrusive, and I definitely enjoyed their set. The songs generally seemed to develop in the same kind of way, but I think this was probably more due to the limitations of live mixing than anything else, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of their recordings. You can download some live recordings from last year on his official website along with quite a few other live recordings.
As for The Notwist, I definitely enjoyed them as well. It’s easy for me to be unimpressed by albums, but I’m much more accepting of live music. I knew The Notwist’s latest album, The Devil, You + Me, fairly well, and they played a fair amount from that album. I definitely preferred the songs live, although I still can’t quite reconcile their almost-sentimental guitar-based songs with their noisy electronic-based rock (although the crowd seemed a bit more responsive to the former). The band also played quite a bit off of their previous album, Neon Golden, including “Pick Up The Phone”, “This Room”, “One With The Freaks”, and a really great version of “Pilot” that was the highlight of the show for me and I suspect many others. The song began with an extended section repeating the sample “different cars and trains” and then made its way through various sections, hitting the chorus several times including one final time for good measure as a surprise coda. Like Dosh the songs tended to climax in the same way, but otherwise there was a fair amount of variety in the setlist. The setup included the totally crazy drummer, the typically laconic bassist, the lead singer also on guitar, a guitarist/keyboardist, and a keyboardist/mixer guy who at various points was playing with hacked Wii remotes. Sweet.
BrooklynVegan has some really great photos from the NYC show that was the following night.
Don’t think I have much up next until the M83 show at the Middle East. I need some suggestions!
I was feeling really ill at Certainly, Sir‘s show at at T.T.’s this past Thursday, so I didn’t stick around for the following bands. Certainly, Sir played a fairly short set, probably clocking in under 40 minutes, and featured almost all entirely new stuff. I was a bit disappointed that they seem to have traded their poppier sound for a crunchier sound and moodier textures with tracks that are much less song based (emphasized by the rather too-low volume of the vocals). Regardless, I’m a sucker for the synths and I still enjoyed it, although live instruments (particularly drums) would’ve been nice.
Next up: the Notwist tonight at the Roxy. Not a big fan of them, but still interested in seeing how they are live.
Been a casual fan of Certainly, Sir for a while now, and saw them at the Enormous Room a couple of years ago and enjoyed them despite the less-than-ideal setting. At that performance it was just the singer and the drummer plus backing tracks, but both were entertaining enough that it was worthwhile. They’re going to be playing at T.T.’s this Thursday from 10-11, along with Coralcola (at 9), Triangle Forest (at 11), and Matters & Dunaway (at midnight). I’m particularly curious about their note on their MySpace page which reads: “Change is afoot in C,SirLand: New faces, new voices, a table of stuff, a will and a prayer.” Checked out the other three bands online who I wasn’t familiar with. Of the three Matters & Dunaway caught my interest the most, but as it’s a school night I doubt I’ll hang around until midnight unless the third band is particularly good. Hoping the show means C,Sir is putting out some new music soon!
Getting a bit behind. Saw Australian bands Cut Copy and the Presets at the Paradise last Tuesday. I’d randomly gotten a promo copy of Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours and immediately liked their 80’s new wave sound, enough to pick up their second album, Bright Like Neon Love. I’d also heard and quite liked the Presets’ song “This Boy’s in Love” (I’m a sucker for falsetto), so I was rather looking forward to them as well.
Because my concert buddy was busy and had our tickets (the jerk, haha) I missed the first band, Heartbreak, who I couldn’t really find anything about beforehand but seems to have a similar 80’s sound. I probably would’ve checked them out otherwise, but as it was we got in just as the Presets were starting. The Presets were actually slightly more subdued than I thought they would be. The songs could’ve easily withstood a more jump around sort of delivery, but for the most part the singer/keyboardist Julian Hamilton (dressed in a neon pink jacket) didn’t move too far away from his array of fiddly knobs. Which is not to say that he wasn’t energetic; the crowd was actually very responsive. The drums were a bit routine and some songs got a bit long, but otherwise their set was enjoyable. The highlight was definitely their extended, shimmering intro to “This Boy’s in Love”, of which I happened to find a clip of on YouTube (the same poster has a couple of other short clips from the show as well).
As for Cut Copy, it was pretty clear the crowd was there for them. Neither the Presets nor Cut Copy’s performances strayed too far from the album versions (although there was a great, much faster version of the latter’s song “Time Stands Still”, from their first album), although the Presets’ sparser texture was a nice contrast to Cut Copy’s more orchestrated sound. Both of them had their fair share of cheesy “work the crowd” type moments, although the rest of the fairly young-ish crowd ate it up. All in all both were definitely worth seeing and worth seeing again. It seems that Cut Copy were in Boston only a few months back, in May, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for when they’re next in town.
Didn’t find anything online in terms of reviews of the show, but in this preview of the show at Boston.com the writer mentions how unusually rowdy (for Boston) the crowd got at their previous show. This show was indeed surprisingly rowdy for Boston, helped no doubt by the number of young ‘uns, which was a nice change. Makes me feel a bit less like the old-timer I am. 😉
D’s boyfriend had gone to one of these “Dancing On The Charles” events before last year, and so I tagged along. Basically it’s a series of electronic dance nights outdoors by the Charles River held throughout the summer and organized by this Boston DJ duo called Soul Clap. They bring in various DJ’s so there’s a fair amount of variety throughout the evening (7 p.m. to 1 a.m.), and apparently the events have gotten pretty popular. More facts about the events can be found here.
So how was it? Deb and I met in Harvard Square and it takes a little less than 1/2 an hour to walk there from the T stop. We got there right at 9 so the cover was still $10, although apparently it was $20 after that. Deb got an Anna Taqueria-style beef burrito for $6 which was nothing special (they had tacos as well apparently) and a beer. When we first got there it was fairly empty, but by 10 there was a decent-sized crowd that was still getting bigger. By the time I left around 10:45 (because of a previous engagement, not because I was bored) the area had gotten pretty full. Not a lot of people were dancing even by then, although there were more than a few who had brought their trusty glow sticks. The music wasn’t particularly memorable overall, although the rotating DJ’s did provide variety. Personally I most enjoyed the music when we first got there, which was more funk-based. There was a rather too-long stretch of fairly generic, sparse techno, the type with dreary old sci-fi movie samples, and when I was leaving the music had changed again to more Latin-flavored electronica. Accompanying the music were two screens with the usual screensaver-like visuals, which were rather better assembled than many I’ve seen, although in general they didn’t seem to be very closely tied to the music.
It seems odd to think that the music at the event was actually the least memorable thing about it to me. Although it was a somewhat chilly evening I enjoyed hanging out under the stars just chatting, and it was definitely a nice alternative to the usual club scene. The crowd was generally fairly indie but not unfriendly, although someone else who went told me he was bothered by all the smokers which I hadn’t really noticed at all. Overall it wasn’t something I’m dying to check out again, but it would be a nice thing to check out on a warm summer night, so if someone I knew wanted to go next year I would definitely go. There was a photographer apparently from the Boston Globe there, but I haven’t seen anything on their site about it, although I did come across this this fairly uninformative entry on one of the Globe’s blogs about one of the events in August.
Update: Here’s the link to the pics the Globe took, accompanied by fairly generic captions.