Oh My God Charlie Darwin

Review: The Low Anthem @ The Allen Room

Situated on the sixth floor of the Time Warner Center on Manhattan’s Upper Wide Side, lies arguably the city’s best kept secret of a music venue – Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Allen Room – a venue which typically caters to a more affluent audience, than its downtown rock club peers. Set up like an amphitheater, it boasts easily the most amazing views you’re ever going to get at a concert hall in an urban environment with its gigantic floor to ceiling glass windows, that directly overlooks the passing traffic going around Columbus Circle and a stretch of 59th Street that you can see clear all the way to the East Side.

Last night, the Allen Room played host to the kick off concert for Lincoln Center’s thirteenth season of its American Songbook Series, with a show from folk-rockers The Low Anthem. Dressed liked they had just stepped straight out of  Greenwich Village’s pass-the-hat folk circuit circa-1964, and surrounded by a mix of both familiar and slightly obscure, and long forgotten instruments, which included a gigantic church organ they had specially brought in just for this show, graciously paid for by the folks at Lincoln Center. The band took to the stage to a mesmerizing view of glowing head and tail lights, and flickering lights from the posh apartments that surround Central Park West.

The Providence-based act, fresh off their second appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman the night before, used nearly all of their hour and a half-long set to showcase the songs from their upcoming studio album Smart Flesh, which is due out on February 22. Ben Knox Miller & company set the tone for the night by opening with the hushed To The Ghosts Who Write History Books from their critically acclaimed sophomore album Oh My God Charlie Darwin, sung in Knox Miller’s striking falsetto vocals that conjures up comparisons to an odd mix between Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Tom Waits.

READ ON for more on The Low Anthem’s show…

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Noise Report: The Low Anthem

Words: Jonathan ” Kos” Kosakow

Video & Photos: Curtis Stiles

In August of 2007, a blue station wagon pulled up to the Rockwood Music Hall on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. After checking to make sure they were legally parked, Jeff Prystowsky and Ben Knox Miller unloaded their own gear and carted it to the small stage. Rockwood, though comfortable and with pristine sound, only holds a handful of people, so it’s not spacious enough to host any large band – or even a small one with a large following. On that night, the room was hardly at capacity, but the two members who comprised The Low Anthem were able to grab hold the ears of every listener in the small, dimly lit brick room. And, based on the post-show conversation, I was not the only one who felt they had a music-making future ahead of them.


I saw them again two years later at The Bell House in Brooklyn, in August of 2009, opening for Surprise Me Mr. Davis featuring Marco Benevento (a welcome addition to the bill). As Miller told me, Surprise Me Mr. Davis was the first band to ask The Low Anthem to tour with them, so it was a comfortable match-up for both (and it made for a nice encore as they joined forces on a couple of tunes). The video below is a gospel standard the trio played that night, Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around…

Though I had seen the Anthem multiple times between these two shows, it was interesting and inspiring to watch the group, now a trio including Jocie Adams, gain popularity while also growing musically.

READ ON for more from the Noise Report…

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Friday Mix Tape: The SXSW Edition

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