The Kooks Make Beautiful Music Once Again @ Bowery Ballroom – 6/27/11

Wow, it’s been just over three years since the last time I saw the Kooks perform live in concert. So I was pretty darn excited to see the British wunderkids at the intimate setting of the Bowery Ballroom.

Just before 10pm, the guys swaggered onto the stage, and the young ladies (let’s call them “Kookies”) in the front of course went mad — screaming and outstretching their arms before a single note was played. When I looked over at Luke Pritchard, I was pleased to see his burning love of V-neck shirts had not been forgotten after all these years — there he was in all his acute angle-loving glory, sporting a red V-neck shirt (seriously, this man has never met a V-neck he couldn’t love), skinny jeans, and boots (obvs.).

The Kooks hit the stage and the crowd went bezerkies.

I don’t know what it is, but there is something so magical about seeing The Kooks live. Without fail, I always have a great time and leave the venue with a smile on my face — and this time was no exception. I started off the show perched in the balcony, but (as anyone who has ever been to a concert with me) about 4 or 5 songs in I could barely contain myself — so I headed down to the floor to be with the “real” fans, and shake my groove thaannng.

The set was a mix of old favorites, like “Naive,” “Seaside” (encore), “Shine On,” and new songs off their forthcoming album, Junk of the Heart, like Lou Reed “Satellite of Love”-esque piano-based B-side “The Saboteur” and the extremely catchy “How D’Ya Like That“.

Pretty lights.


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Anna Calvi @ Bowery Ballroom – 5/25/11

With the death of LCD Soundsystem and the re-emergence of The Strokes, of late I’ve been reconnecting/running into a lot of folks from what I like to call “the good ol’ days” — people who I met through going to shows, and being in that whole scene, during the early 2000s. For those of you who are younger, you’re not going to understand this, so let me say this very plainly — when you get old, you don’t go out to parties/concerts as much, so you don’t see people randomly all that often.

In any case, I’ve noticed that a lot of these old time friends have all been mentioning to me that they love that I still have my blog, which strikes me as extremely funny. Because telling me that it’s soooo amazing that I still do my blog is basically the internet equivalent of congratulating me on walking down a flight of stairs or being able to chew solid foods (I can still do both of those things — kinda). So yeah, you definitely realize you’ve been in the game for a long time when several folks start giving you props for doing something you don’t even really consciously think about. Don’t get me wrong, I love every person who tells me that, but it’s definitely a bellweather of my continued descent into the abyss of Old.

So as some feeble attempt to somehow rid myself of that mothball-y, musky “old people smell” I’m sure I reek of at this point, I gathered up all my strength to hobble over to the Bowery Ballroom alongside fellow old timer, Melody Nelson, to check out the hot new UK rock goddess import, Anna Calvi.


Maybe The Rapture was a couple days late?

Sitting downstairs until Anna Calvi’s 11PM set time, we reminisced about how during CMJ 2002 I fell asleep on the very black leather couch upon which we were perched, waiting for the late late show by The Walkmen. As I looked around at the crowd, it was a weird mix of lithe Lissy Trullie-type hipsters, bridge and tunnel-y people, and slightly older people of obviously discerning taste. (All the trendy kids must’ve been at the Friendly Fires show at Webster Hall.) The highest ranking celeb of the night was Mr. David Byrne, who was there with daughter Malu Abeni and some of her friends.

When the time came to head upstairs, for some reason it was impossibly hot and sweaty, despite the fact that the venue was not fully packed. But as soon as the lights went down, and the fog machine kicked in, all was forgotten and I was transported into the glamorous, dramatic, and enchanting world of Anna Calvi.
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Let’s Juicebox Their Faces Off – The Strokes @ Coachella


Video of The Strokes performing “Juicebox” live at Coachella 2011

I kind of want to live by these words.

I wonder what that would look like…

Thnx Julian Casablancas and your wonderful stage banter! What a perfect Casablancasism.

BTW, “Under Control” is pretty much one of my favorite Strokes songs ever:

Win Tickets to Hank & Cupcakes @ The Studio at Webster Hall – 4/9/11

I’m just barely recovering from the Strokes/LCD marathon, but I wanted to surface for air long enough to offer up a chance to win a pair of tickets to this Saturday’s Hank & Cupcakes show at The Studio at Webster Hall.

I caught Hank & Cupcakes in 2009 during CMJ at a show at the Delancey and was totally blown away by this dynamic duo. They’re like the White Stripes meets Elastica.

Want to win this pair of tickets to not only see Hank & Cupcakes but Turkuaz, Navegante, and Dolchnakov Brigade? Email contest @ themodernage.org by 4/7/11, 11pm with your name and email. I’ll notify the winner that same day.

Good luck and keep rockin on!

Greatest Week in NYC: The Strokes Return and LCD Soundsystem Say Goodbye @ MSG – 4/1/11 and 4/2/11

This week has been completely insane — I witnessed over 9 hours of LCD Soundsystem (yup, I was at the LCD MSG show as well), and one glorious night of The Strokes all in one week. I think I sweated off my body weight about three times over, dancing myself clean, moshing in multiple pits, and just freaking out in anticipation.

I’ll admit, it’s hard for me to try to figure out what to say that hasn’t already been said. Probably by now you hard core fans have already read all the reviews, you know the set list, you’ve heard what happened at the show.


I love how happy Julian looks in this photo. He’s stoked he’s singing with Elvis Costello!

Yes, Elvis Costello opened up for The Strokes with a surprise 15-minute set playing “Pump It Up,” “Radio Radio,” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love And Understanding.” And yes, before playing “Taken for a Fool,” Julian mentioned the song’s chorus had an Elvis Costello-quality to it, and that he should probably just come out and sing it — then immediately defusing any expectation of him making a second April Fools’ appearance by laughing and saying “April Fools’! I’m kidding, he’s not doing it, but he should have. Next time.”

Then of course the joke was on all of us when Elvis DID actually come out and perform the song with the band! So crazy!

Rolling Stone video

Seriously, how FUN was that?
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The Strokes Return to NYC @ Madison Square Garden (MSG) – 4/1/11

So there’s the band called The Strokes. They are originally from right here in New York City, and you may have figured it out by now, but I really like them.

They played their first public hometown gig in over five years and this was definitely a heroes welcome. The guys were in fine form and everyone (the crowd and the band) was pretty freaking pumped up after the show. Smiles all around.

I had an amazing time/night, and it truly felt like old times. Never have I thought I could recreate those feelings and memories of 2001-2003, but tonight certainly came close. I saw so many old friends, sang along to so many classic tunes, fantastic all the way around.

I want to thank YOU GUYS for making it such a fun show — so many of the faces I saw were of young folks — kids who weren’t old enough to even ride a two-wheeler when Is This It came out, but there you all were up in the front, smiling, so happy, and enthusiastic about seeing The Strokes. You kids are so awesome. You totally rock!

The birds are tweeting outside and the sun is coming up, so I’ll try to jot down some stuff before my eyes fall out of my head:

I’ll start with the end — The very last song, in typical Strokes fashion, was “Take It Or Leave It” — but this time singer Julian Casablancas took it upon himself to bring the music to the people — well, specifically to the people in the seated section stage left. Climbing up on the stage left speakers, and then grabbing onto the side railing, Julian positioned himself in the midst of the raised seated floor section, where upon everyone started grabbing on to him from behind.

At one point, Julian jumped down to the floor, and the barricade felt as if it were going to tip over — terrifying me because that’s where the handicapped folks were sitting. Luckily, Julian moved back up and further over into the crowd, bringing the rest of the song to the front section of the room, and a bit to stage right at the end, finally finishing on the stage.

You can check out the entire song below — excuse the sort of crazy Cloverfield-style look of the middle — I could never be a war correspondent with that kind of sloppy camera work, but the beginning is pretty awesome if I do say so myself:

VIDEO: “Take It Or Leave It” – The Strokes @ MSG – 4/1/11

The tone of the night was set when “mystery” guest Elvis Costello performed a 15-minute set as an April Fools’ joke on all of us. Julian had been tweeting about “accidentally” running into Elvis three times that week, so it was a semi-surprise to see the man himself get on stage and actually start singing. What a great way to start the show!
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LCD Soundsystem Blow My Mind with a Harry Nilsson Cover – 3/30/11

Wow. My second LCD Soundsystem farewell show @ Terminal 5. Definitely way crazier than the first night’s gig.

I nearly DIED when they broke into my absolute favorite Harry Nilsson song, “Jump Into the Fire,” during their encore. Check out Bromander-in-Chief James Murphy totally killing it in this video I took of the song:

VIDEO: “Jump Into the Fire” by LCD Soundsystem (Nilsson cover)


“I love you New York, but you’re bringing me down.”

Some random observations:

I kinda love LCD shows because it totally brings out the most ridiculously outfitted men:

  • So MANY freaking dudes in white shirts and black ties. I call it the “broniform.”
  • One dude wore a leather jacket the entire time while in the pit. Necessary.
  • Two guys behind me had homemade “DANCE YRSELF CLEAN” t-shirts (Hanes tees with Sharpie writing on them). I’m going to assume they came together…and that they went to braid each other’s hair and talk about James Murphy after the show.

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March Madness: The Strokes at the Theater at Madison Square Garden

I thought it would only be appropriate to revisit The Strokes‘ previous set of shows at the sister venue to Madison Square Garden — the Theater at MSG.

In 2003, the band did three sold out shows to promote their newly released second album, Room on Fire.

I distinctly remembering complaining about having to watch Regina Spektor, who I was not enamored with at the time (think I called her a Tori Amos wannabe), three nights in a row.

Kings of Leon were the second openers, and although I did like some of their songs, never again did I ever want to see them three nights in a row — especially with their ridiculous Stillwater hair and mustaches.

During this time period Julian had a preference for gas attendant shirts.

The second night was chock-full-o’ celebs: Drew, Liv, Mos Def, David Cross, and Julian jumped into the audience.

By the third night I’d lost my steam, choosing to hang back in the surprisingly roomy back area of the GA pit.

LCD Soundsystem’s Farewell Concert Series @ Terminal 5 – 3/28/11

A last minute ticket came through for tonight’s LCD Soundsystem final shows blowout at Terminal 5. It’s been years and years since I last saw LCD Soundsystem, but they have always remained in my mind as one of the premiere effortlessly cool bands from NYC.

Up at the front it was a dirty, sticky, absolutely sweaty mess. I have never felt so much back sweat from so many different people.


Sure this looks like fun, but what you don’t see is everyone’s back sweat dripping down the sides of my arms.

Bromance was in full effect, with weirdly a majority of the audience on the floor being made up of bros. Bros who were just happy to be with their fellow bros, dancing to the tunes of the head bro, James Murphy.


All by myseeeeelllfffffffff….
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March Madness: The Strokes/White Stripes Show @ Irving Plaza and Radio City Music Hall

My brain exploded twice in one week when both the Strokes and the White Stripes played a double headlining bill first at Irving Plaza (August 14, 2002) and then at Radio City Music Hall (August 15, 2002) in New York City.

The Irving Plaza show was insane of course, with the White Stripes opening, and Strokes playing to the hometown crowd. At that time Julian Casblancas had an injured knee, so he did both shows sitting down on a stool. During the Radio City show Jack White came out during “New York City Cops” and did the guitar solo. Mindbogglingly weird!

According to my blog entry after the Irving Plaza show, even though the White Stripes were one of my most favorite bands ever, they couldn’t compare to the five guys from NYC:

I’m sorry, I really can’t explain it, but as much as I love the White Stripes, it was really all about The Strokes last night. Totally. It’s the first show they’ve done in New York in… 8 months… and it’s just… *sigh* dunno. Great.

Anyone else remember these two epic nights in music history?