Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
This week's NYC Scene Report is about one of my favorite aspects of the scene – all the live music you can see on any given night! Longtime readers know how often I implore folks to go out, experience live indie music, and discover a new favorite band. This is something that is inexpensive, as most indie shows range from free to $10, and can be done on literally any night of the week. The following are six acts I saw for the first time over the course of two nights in the city.
* On June 18th I went into the city to check out Mother Feather at one of my favorite venues, The Bowery Electric. There's a nice authenticity to The Bowery Electric, as it still has some of that old school LES feel to it. Mother Feather, prepping for Warped Tour, hit the stage at around 10pm, and banged out their 30 minute Warped Tour set. Lead vocalist Ann Courtney was a force of nature on stage. A powerful ball of rock energy, she seemed to have one goal in mind, and that goal was to kick ass. Check out Mother Feather’s video for "Living, Breathing," which was, coincidentally, filmed at the very stage I saw them on.
* Not wanting to hit the city for just one show, I arrived early to check out what was going on over on the Map Room stage at The Bowery Electric. Up first I was introduced to the music of Rev Rev. A three piece band from the city, Rev Rev gave me happy flashbacks to the heavier side of 90s alt-rock scene, when both grunge, and traditional hard rock, were equally influential. As someone who still loves the 90s, I really enjoyed what I heard. Check out this live clip from a previous show.
* When I first saw the lineup for the Map Room stage I was immediately intrigued by The Production. Who wouldn't want to know more about a rock band with their faces powdered white, and with wild hair, and equally wild makeup? Their look is attention grabbing, to say the least. As I would come to find out, their sound is attention grabbing, as well. Punk rock, with some other subgenres of rock thrown in, and powerful vocals from lead singer Nikolina the Terrible, The Production were there to rock everyone’s face off. Give the video for their song "Good Ol' Fashioned Bloodletting" a spin.
* On June 22nd I hit Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, because KYOSi was playing, and I'd been wanting to see her live for a while now. An electro-pop artist who not only sings, but works all of her production equipment while on stage, what blew me away most about KYOSi's performance was that her vocals were flawless. While I already knew she sang well from listening to her recorded music, the crystal clarity of her live vocals was really something to hear. I hope she starts booking more show dates, because she's someone I'll be bringing friends to see next time she has a show.
* I always do a little research before hitting the city, so I knew that KYOSi's set would be followed by fellow electro-pop artist I Am Snow Angel. I had only just familiarized myself with I Am Snow Angel's work the day before the show, but I had an idea she would create a downtempo soul kind of feeling in the room. I'd say I was about 75% on the mark with that prediction, as I Am Snow Angel, with her breathy vocals, and chill, synthy, production, created a sultry vibe that had me ready to make out with someone. Sadly, I attended the show alone. Maybe next time!
* The true surprise of the night came when I arrived so early I hit up Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1, just to see who was performing, and catch another live act. As I walked in I heard a country-ish vibe coming from the stage, and some terrific vocals from Austin, Texas' Laura Lee Bishop. The crowd was sparse, as it was 6:30pm on a Saturday, so most folks were thinking about dinner, not drinks and music, so I watched what became an intimate show. It was a great way to start the night, and she made me glad I arrived early.
All of these acts are great examples as to why I keep telling people to go out and see some live music. The city is filled with great artists just waiting for you to discover them. Spend the $0-$10 to get in, find a new favorite band, say hi to them afterwards, and pick up an album, it makes for a fantastic night.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.