Make a resolution to see them in a live setting soon, because before long Geographer will undoubtedly be selling out venues of all sizes for years to come.
Monday night’s show at the Bowery Ballroom reinforced that while Tegan and Sara are dabbling in the genre of electronic/dance, they will never forget where they come from, and will continue writing inspired music accessible to all of their devoted fans. It’s an ongoing love affair, and it’s a whole lot of fun.
For the uninitiated, simply seeing one’s favorite bands or musicians in the live setting might be enough, but around these parts – where our average reader sees upwards of 50 shows per year – we’re pretty picky about our venues. Our staff and our readers like to see our favorite acts, but we like to see them in an ideal setting, with the perfect acoustics, unobstructed views and ample room – all while washing down some frosty craft brews. Over the next year we aim to detail the best venues in San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and New York City. We’ve started at home here in NYC.
In order to tackle this highly subjective topic, we asked our NYC-area staff members and a few local residents who see upwards of 100 shows a year to rank every venue we could think up – over 60 in total – from 1 to 20. Once we got the scores in from everybody, we utilized a highly complex algorithm called “averaging,” whereby we churned out our aggregated list of Hidden Track’s Best New York City Music Venues, fifteen to be exact.
1) Brooklyn Bowl – 61 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, NY 11211
History – Make no mistake, while it seems pretty New Yorky of us to pick the new kid on the block as the top venue, it’s not the novelty of newness that makes Brooklyn Bowl our favorite. True, the venue did just open July 7th, 2009, but the “for us, by us” nature of the venue – which comes from the same bloodlines as former NYC jam mecca, the Wetlands Preserve – assures that this place will hold court for many of the great NYC concerts for years to come. READ ON for more on our top NYC venues…
On paper there is nothing cool about Vampire Weekend. They’re four Ivy League graduates that play indie-pop music inspired by African rhythms and guitar with lyrics full of literary references, visits to foreign countries and summers spent in New England on records put out by a small UK-based label. With barely two-dozen songs in their catalog, these fresh-faced early 20-somethings have managed a meteoric rise in a just a few short years selling close to half a million copies of their infectious self-titled debut, and more recently dropping their sophomore effort Contra on January 12.
[All Photos By Jeremy Gordon]
Last week Ezra Koening & Co. returned to New York City, playing their first proper hometown headlining shows since December of 2008 taking over three different size venues over the course of three nights. VW played a 3,000+ person theater, a mid-size and small club – all of which sold out within minutes. The second of their mini-NYC tour brought them to the historic Webster Hall – a venue that these splits time between hosting concerts and dance parties – located in a nebulous area between Manhattan’s Union Square and East Village.
Decorated with a giant backdrop that featured the cover art for Contra, Vampire Weekend strolled onto the stage shortly after 10 PM to the strains of DJ Kool’s club anthem Let Me Clear My Throat, before launching straight into the synth-y, drum machine laced White Sky to the roar of a packed house of enthusiastic fans – many of which, from eavesdropped conversations, were college classmates with the foursome. Over the next hour and change the band ran through almost every song in their repertoire as the floor bounced and pulsed from the dancing and pogo-ing masses.
READ ON for more of my thoughts and Jeremy’s fantastic pictures…
Words By: Jonathan “Kos” Kosakow
Nils Edenloff, Amy Cole and Paul Banwatt, who together comprise The Rural Alberta Advantage, occupied many nights of their 2005 lives at an open mic night in Cabbagetown, outside of Toronto. Three years later, the trio released their first album, Hometowns, and was soon after signed by Saddle Creek Records. The RAA’s new-found success allowed them to spend most of the past year consistently touring Canada and the U.S.
It was apparent that they were still getting used to this success on Wednesday night, when a near capacity crowd at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom played host to one of their last scheduled shows of the year. Between songs, Cole and Banwatt shuffled back and forth between instruments (they both switched between percussion and synthesizer, though Banwatt favored the full drum-kit). Edenloff nervously stopped to remark on their thankfulness for playing in front of such dedicated fans. Though when the music started, it was clear that they were in their element. READ ON for more of Jonathan’s experience seeing RAA…
Photos by Earl Gardner of Buckethead’s Giant Robot live performance at the Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY on July 23, 2004.