Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Concerts: Blitzen Trapper, The Morning Benders, Memory Tapes and more

June was an incredible month for the New York music scene, partly because of the Northside Music Festival and the "Gone to Governor's" free concert series on Governor's Island. Though I had a very busy month, I was able to catch Blitzen Trapper (with Moondoggies) at Webster Hall, The Morning Benders (with Wild Nothing and Freelance Whales) at the beach at Governor's Island, and Memory Tapes (with ZaZa, Dom and Twin Sister) at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Each show was nothing short of spectacular....

Blitzen Trapper showcased their new album, Destroyer of the Void, at Webster Hall in the East Village. This was the third time I've seen Blitzen, and I have to say that they never fail to impress me. Lead singer Eric Earley's soulful lyrics really come alive on stage. Another interesting side note-- Blitzen Trapper shows tend to have the most random, mixed-bag crowds (You'll see what I mean if you ever attend one of their shows, which I highly, highly recommend). Some standout tracks from the new album are "The Man Who Would Speak True," "Love and Hate," "The Tree" and "Below the Hurricane."

Blitzen Trapper at Webster Hall

Next up-- a free Morning Benders show at the beach at Governor's Island. This was quite the experience. We took a beautiful water taxi (aka mini-ferry) ride from the financial district across to Governor's Island just as the sun was setting. It was an absolutely gorgeous night. From the "beach," we could see the statue of liberty and the skyscrapers across the water, and we watched the bands play their sets on an outdoor stage flanked by fluorescent palm trees and city lights while we danced, ate parched corn and drank lots and lots of sangria. Wild Nothing and Freelance Whales played great (although extremely short) sets. The Morning Benders blew us away; despite the band's juvenile appearance (they're all in their late teens/early twenties) they were 100% on point, and they played two gorgeous covers-- Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" and New Order's "Ceremony" (one of my personal favorite songs). Some standout tracks from their new album, Big Echo, are "Promises," "Excuses," "Cold War" and "Wet Cement." They even gave us free stickers after the show!

a view of the city from the water taxi

the fluorescent palm trees

The Morning Benders

Here's a video from the show of The Morning Benders covering Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams":

The last show I saw (on my second-to-last night in New York) was Memory Tapes with ZaZa, Dom and Twin Sister at The Music Hall of Williamsburg (my personal favorite venue). I'd never heard of ZaZa before the show, but really got into the intense, moody coldwave off their year-old album, Cameo. Next up was Dom, a band I've been really into lately. "Dom" himself, the lead singer and guitarist, had a very interesting hairdo, but they played a great set (quite a rowdy crowd though, I must say... lots of beer spillage and moshing) complete with a video slideshow in the background that fit with the music. If you haven't heard them, I suggest the tracks "Jesus" and "Rude as Jude" from their new album, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods. Twin Sister were lovely as well, showcasing their new EP, Color Your Life, but Memory Tapes were absolutely incredible. Seek Magic was one of my favorite albums of '09, and they did not disappoint. Not only was the drummer one of the most talented I've ever seen live, but the light show in the background was out of this world. Some of my favorite songs are "Green Knight" and "Plain Material."

guitarist of ZaZa

Dom at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Twin Sister at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Memory Tapes at Music Hall... eye contact from the drummer?! Sweet

I'll say no more, but go and download some of these bands if you don't have them already! And if you're in New York this summer, don't forget to take advantage of the free concert series at Governor's Island... you won't regret it.

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