Paul Simon @ Webster Hall, June 6
Queens native Paul Simon played his first hometown “club gig” in quite some time last night at Manhattan’s Webster Hall and by the time his two hour-plus set was through, he had given the intimate crowd a taste of each period of his illustrious career as well as a guest spot from David Byrne that will be remembered as a highlight of 2011 for many in attendance.
Simon has never been one to just play the hits, but the soon-to-be 70-year-old performer also knows his crowd and doesn’t shy away from mixing in plenty of material from Graceland, his debut album and a few choice Simon & Garfunkel nuggets. Paul’s eight-piece band showed off their talent from the get go with an energetic take on Boy In The Bubble that would’ve got the crowd on the jammed-packed floor moving if it wasn’t “butts to nuts” down there. Webster Hall was packed to the gills for this Brooklyn Vegan-sponsored show.
Last month Simon released So Beautiful or So What, his first studio album since 2006 and in my mind his best effort since 1990’s Rhythm of the Saints. Paul offered just a handful of tunes from So Beautiful or So What scattered amongst the rest of the set in a way that never allowed a lull to develop. The playful Rewrite allowed Simon’s band of utility players to work their multi-instrumentalist magic on the many details found within the song. Nearly every member of the group filled multiple roles giving Simon so much flexibility in his live arrangements.
READ ON for more from last night’s Paul Simon show…
Yesterday, we published the first part of a two-part B List penned by HT photo editor Jeremy Gordon in which he shared five of his favorite photos and the stories behind them. Today, Jeremy returns to tell the tales of his other five favorite shots. Take it away, JG…
6. The Forgotten Photo
[Coca-Cola sign Times Square]
It was my first time photographing the Disco Biscuits and, man, was I excited. This was going to be the biggest band I had shot up to that time, and only the second time I had shot at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square. I got there early and talked to a few people, including some other photographers. Then I grabbed a few shots of Simon Posford as he spun discs for the crowd. Finally it was time for the Biscuits to take the stage leading to three songs and about 15 minutes of me running around looking for angles, trying to grab focus, and guessing shutter speeds against the pulsating lights, all while the crowd was screaming behind me.
Later in the show, I was invited side stage to get some more shots before adjourning backstage for a slice of Famous Ray’s and a beer. Then it was on to the aftershow to catch Bassnectar at B.B. King. So where does this photo fit into that long and rambling story? It ended up being just one of three shots taken after a friend and I left the concert and headed to Times Square in search of an ATM. There, at 3:00 in the morning, workers were repairing the Coca-Cola sign. For one reason or another I wasn’t happy with the shot, and it sat untouched for eight months until I finally got bored and worked on this forgotten shot. I’m glad I did.
READ ON for four more amazing photos and the stories behind them…
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…