On August 10th, the Mountain Goats gave a free outdoor performance in East River Park at sunset, in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge. The amphitheater quickly filled with fans as the day’s heat burned off and the night became cooler.
Largely playing tracks off this year’s In League with Dragons, the Mountain Goats also peppered their sets with even more impassioned versions of fan favorites like “This Year” and of course, “No Children,” which had everyone standing and singing along in the dark.
The most poignant moment was “Going Invisible 2,” the very last song of the encore. Singing near the edge of the stage with only a microphone, frontman John Darnielle lead the crowd in a chorus of “I’m gonna burn it all down today” over and over again, in a moment of communal sound.
With two sold-out shows in the New York City area at both Brooklyn Steel and Webster Hall, Snail Mail, fronted by Lindsey Jordan, is blowing up. At just 20 years old, Jordan already has two records under her belt: 2018’s Lush and 2016’s Habit EP. With Habit’s irresistibly infectious opening track, “Thinning,” Jordan began to catch the larger industry’s eye.
Signing to seminal indie label, Matador, Lush was an immediate success, gaining Jordan a devoted fanbase. She set to work playing show after show, no matter how big the venue. Between smaller shows at Brooklyn’s Warsaw and then larger shows, such as her performance at the legendary Madison Square Garden, opening for Interpol, Jordan knows how to work a crowd. And frankly, the reason why she resonates so much with others is that she is simply and unapologeticly herself. Nowhere is this more evident than in her lyrics. With sparse, straightforward lines, Jordan is able to effectively and powerfully communicate day-to-day emotions in an understated way. In “Pristine,” Lush’s opening track, Jordan sings about never loving anyone ever again, a statement that, at first glance, seems hyperbolic. However, when one is in the throes of love lost, it’s this emotion that seems to grab us and take hold, as unrealistic as it is. That feeling in and of itself is worth exploring, and listening to Jordan express sentiments that many prefer hide is cathartic. The act of saying something out loud, no matter how seemingly silly or embarrassing, is important. It holds up a mirror to ourselves and our experiences, and compels us towards reexamination.
Further, Jordan’s fans are of all different ages. At Webster Hall, the crowd, many of whom lined up hours early in order to obtain first-row spots, ranged from teens to those in their mid-forties. This speaks directly to the shared human experience and the way music can bring people of various generations together.
Jordan’s set, consisting of both records, was mostly sung with the audience in tow. Almost every track, especially that of “Pristine,” was a group effort. And “Pristine” itself had the added effect of the venue’s disco ball, with lights streaming around the room as squeals from the crowd heralded their addition. Ending with “Iris,” a Goo Goo Dolls cover, Jordan’s dynamic performance came to a close.
Jordan’s career is just beginning, and she’s already accomplished so much. Snail Mail is taking over the world.
Snail Mail Setlist
2) Heat Wave
5) Golden Dream
7) Deep Sea
8) Full Control
9) Let’s Find An Out
11) Speaking Terms
13) Iris (Goo Goo Dolls cover)
Yola performed an intimate live set for YouTube Space in New York City’s Chelsea Market on July 22nd. Surrounded by cameras in a small studio, Yola and her band were unfazed by the fanfare, playing an energetic, infectious set as if no one else was in the room. Yola is an extraordinary performer; her voice takes flight, soaring on the wings of its own power, immediately capturing the listener. With her latest record, Walk Through Fire, Yola leaves no one untamed.
Largely performing tracks off Walk Through Fire, Yola peppered her set with a cover of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “What You Do” off 2016’s Orphan Offering.
Just four days later, Yola performed at the iconic Newport Folk Festival. She also made appearances during other sets, joining Dawes and Brandi Carlile’s The Highwomen, along with luminary Sheryl Crow. Most incredibly, she joined Dolly Parton herself.
On August 10th, she’ll be opening for Patty Griffin at Lincoln Center’s Roots of American Music Weekend: Americanafest.
Keep up with Yola here.
On the heels of their latest release, Phases, Chase Atlantic’s hardcore fanbase stormed into a sold-out Webster Hall for the final show of the Phases tour. Often referred to as “alternative pop,” Chase Atlantic, hailing from Australia, also integrates both R&B and rock into their unmistakeable sound. It’s this fusion that draws fans with different musical tastes together, resulting in an eclectic audience decked out in all kinds of dress.
Taking the stage amid thick smoke and low lighting, strobes flashed on and off, lending itself to a joyfully chaotic atmosphere that allowed the music to speak for itself. The interaction between crowd and creators was unmatched, with the band members spending more time at the edge of the stage than further back. They jumped around, holding the mic out to the audience and enthusiastically encouraging them to sing along.
It was a perfect show to conclude a triumphant tour.
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Erin Rae performed at New York City’s Rough Trade on June 19th, opening for Dylan LeBlanc. Rae recently released an EP of demos off last year’s record, Putting On Airs. In front of an audience still filing in and getting drinks, Rae was unmoved, focusing on her performance and her connection to those already in the crowd. Her set was poignant, speaking of pain and empathy, and the room swelled larger with each subsequent song. By the end, she held the audience in her hand, and thunderous applause broke out.
Rae is on tour from July through November. For more information, please go to: https://www.erinraemusic.com/tour