Wednesday, December 7, 2011
You know Zgress, right? Ithaca College graduate, Master of piano pop, Battle of the bands winner, and owner of many nice shirts? Good. He's great.
Zgress on Ice revived itself again for the Christmas season, this weekend at Delilah's. Just as last year, the crowd enjoyed a night full of friends, dance, a sweater contest, and raffles for questionable items. Despite a brief scandal in which a sweater-vest won the sweater competition (gasp!) the party went off in grand style. Zgress, along with local buddies Kinship opening the show, provided the perfect musical score to a warming winter night. See pics below for a look at the fun flashy time!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Guys, it was everything you'd want it to be and more.
Nearly 50 years after starting The Kinks with his brother Dave Davies, and coming over with The Beatles, Dusty Springfield, and The Who during the British Invasion, Ray sounded as fresh as the day he picked up a guitar. He begun the show with an acoustic guitar on a barstool, as good shows that become great are wont to begin. With only one other gentleman providing backup vocals, we got eight beautiful acoustic renditions of Waterloo Sunset and See My Friends. With tunes wistful yet earnest, Ray upheld his status as one of the few folks for whom the term "legendary" has not become hyperbole.
The set with the full band, though, is when stuff got good. So good in fact, that I apparently completely forgot to take photographs. I promise though, you would have done the same.
With a wonderful mix of energy, humor, and shirt-changes, Davies and his band took us through many Kinks Klassics (kill me) including You Really Got Me and Misfits, as well as rarer treats, like a Ron Sexsmith cover. With every song, 3 years seemed to drop off his age, until he was a 24 year old playing songs for screaming girls at his first show in L.A. Except, the screaming girls might have been fellow 50 year old men in this case. It was awesome.
Yes, he did play L.O.L.A. It was his last encore and it broke everyone's heart.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Oh dear it's been a week since this show! 'Scuse me while I wipe the cranberries from my chin and digest for a little. Hope y'all had a good Thanksgiving, ours was filled with surprisingly warm (for Ithaca) fall weather, and a local bird from Ludgate Farms. Speaking of things I'm thankful for...
Deer Tick's show at Castaways on the 17th was everything that you could expect and hope for from a Deer Tick show. Having played Ithaca several times in the past few years supporting the Hold Steady as well as headlining, the place was packed with people who knew and loved John McCauley and his tunes. Unfortunately, John didn't look so happy for the first part of the show. Rather, he looked a bit like we were an unwelcome inconvenience to his demanding drinking schedule. As he played on though, both he and the band got more invested in the music and in us, the hopelessly beautiful fan-base. Starting off the set with one of my favorites "Easy" from 2009's Born on Flag Day, the setlist and musicianship was spectacular all the way through.
We've seen them here many times before, and despite the surliness, Deer Tick will always be a worthwhile way to spend a night with good friends. Photos below!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
While most of us have managed to see the Felice Brothers at least once in the last five years, (Castaways, Stewart park, Castaways a couple more times) at their show Wednesday they brought some wonderful companions in the world of hard-drinking southern rock. The Drive by Truckers made, I believe, their first appearance in Ithaca and all anyone could think was "Why didn't this happen sooner?" Oh and also, "What a great beard!"
There was a great mix of Felice and Truckers fans around the front of the crowd. By the end of the show though, everyone could soundly call themselves fans of both. The Felice Brothers treated us first to a raucous set full of wailing accordion, an amazing fiddle, and whiskey within whiskey (on their part). Drive By Truckers classed it up just a little bit, lending some emotional edge to their roots-rock-ness, but not too much to take away the party.
It was the kind of night where you wanted to stomp, rather than clapping. Simple applause isn't nearly rowdy enough for Brother Truckers.
Monday, November 21, 2011
When the biggest complaint you have about a show was the order of bands, you know you're doing something right. Johnny Dowd, Jesse Sykes, and the Sadies played to a lamentably un-full house on Saturday, filling a frosty night with some of the finest alt-country from near and far.
Dowd opened the show and warmed up the crowd with a set full of his trademark absurdity and beautifully wailing guitar. An institution in Ithaca, It was great to see Johnny Dowd love once again. It's hard not to feel as if some kind of Tom Waits-esque musical god has descended into your midst. Totally legendary.
Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hearafter took the stage next, and while the music was adequately entertaining, it was her voice that blew me away. Throaty and haunting against the backdrop of complementary quasi-country tunes. Heard the crowd muttering about a collaboration she recently did with SunO))) and Boris, made a mental note to check that out.
Headlining the whole shebang was The Sadies, a band I was familiar with from their collaboration with Neko Case in the late 90s (collaborations, they do a band good!) While last year's album Darker Circles on Yep Roc Records wasn't my favorite of the year, they proved on Saturday night that their live show is anything but lacking. Theirs was one of those shows where you have to sit back for a half-second and just think: "What a band." Every member contributed something beautiful and unique, and the end result was so much more than the sum of its parts. They're welcome to come make me dance on any frosty night in the future. Pics below!
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