There was a time in my life when five concerts in one week wasn’t all that rare. But those days are long gone and now I’ve reached a point where one show a week can be a lot to deal with on a regular basis. But I find myself especially excited about five shows I will be attending in the next five weeks.
This list also serves as proof just how spoiled someone living in NYC really is in terms of music. There really are dozens of choices on any given night and anytime you are looking to hear some great music, you can always find something. Alright, let’s get down to it…
1. Elton John – Madison Square Garden – Wednesday, March 30
Elton John has more hits than most artists have songs and he has been a longtime member on my “bucket list” of artists I need to see before they stop touring. That list also includes David Bowie and Jeff Mangum (see you in October at Town Hall). Elton had his “number” retired at MSG back in 2007 when he performed his 60th show at the venue on his 60th birthday.
Take away the good (Almost Famous) and bad (27 Dresses) Hollywood singalongs, and Elton is still one of the most prolific and productive rockers of all time. Playing his greatest hits and selections off his album with Leon Russell, this show should be well worth the somewhat steep price of admission.
READ ON for the other four show’s Luke will be hitting…
Bright Eyes @ Radio City Music Hall, March 9
Words: Jeffrey Greenblatt
Images: Jeremy Gordon
It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since Conor Oberst last recorded under his longtime moniker Bright Eyes, an eternity for a guy that is known for his prolific output. Since the 2007 release of Cassadaga, Oberst has stayed busy by releasing two “solo” albums of breezy, folk-rock with the Mystic Valley Band along with his contributions to the Monsters Of Folk – a band which features his pals Jim James, M. Ward and Mike Mogis. The Omaha native, who has dusted off his Bright Eyes project for the occasional benefit gig in the last few years, finally deemed it time to return to his roots in 2011 with the release of his seventh studio album, The People’s Key.
The album, which may or may not be his last as Bright Eyes depending on who you want to believe, is a sonic departure from his recent work. Oberst has traded in his acoustic guitar for an electric, and his Americana-drenched sound for a maudlin, synth-driven, straight ahead rock one.
Last week, Oberst and his latest version of Bright Eyes – which has featured a rotating lineup over the years, but typically includes multi-instrumentalists Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis – pulled into the Big Apple for a two-night stand at the majestic and cavernous Radio City Music Hall. It was a curious night to be a Bright Eyes fan as the crowd was vocally and visibly excited for the band’s live return to the room they had last played in November of ’07. However, the audience’s enthusiasm seemed to ebb and flow over the course of the two hour show in sync with the crowd’s familiarity with the set list, which included a number of deep cuts.
READ ON for more thoughts on the show and a full picture gallery…
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…