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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Jack White and Stephen Colbert Love-fest @ The Highline – 6/24/11

Capping of a three-day guest run on the Colbert Report (see below), Jack White and Stephen Colbert teamed up once again on Friday to promote Stephen’s new single on Third Man Records, “Charlene II (I’m Over You)” with a special live appearance at the Lot at the Highline (30th Street and 10th Avenue).

Hitting the stage around 12:15pm — the set was extremely short, with Stephen and Jack singing the National Anthem together:

And then Stephen later hitting the stage with the Black Belles to do his soon to be number 1 hit single:

After they did their two songs, Stephen announced that he and Jack would be signing any albums folks bought from the Third Man Rolling Record Store “until as long as it takes — or until we decide to leave.” Hilarious. Was so lucky to be there. They definitely let the good times roll!


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

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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March Madness: The End Has No End

Well folks, today is the last official day of Strokes March Madness. *Sniff sniff* It’s been a wild and crazy journey through the last 10 years of Strokes memories. I want to thank everyone for being so kind and encouraging me through this insane exploration into fandom. You’ve all been oh so nice and supportive.

Above is a photo of the first ever Strokes t-shirt that I bought, at my first ever Strokes show. It’s still my favorite Strokes shirt, and luckily I can still get into it. It’s a comfy piece of clothing that’s quite timeless — just like The Strokes.

Tomorrow I’ll be at the first public Strokes show in New York since 2006. I’m going to predict that it’s going to be pretty effing awesome.

Here are some of my favorite posts over the last month:

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….
Continue reading “LCD Soundsystem’s Farewell Concert Series @ Terminal 5 – 3/28/11”

March Madness: My Homemade Strokes T-Shirt

Ok guys, it’s about to get real personal right now. Over the course of Strokes March Madness I’ve shown you Strokes shoelaces, old concert photos taken on 35mm film, old newspaper flyers, and even shared a mp3 of a cassette tape recording of a live Strokes show from 2001, but I have yet to put up anything I actually made with my own two hands.

Now again, this was 10 years ago and my much much younger self thought that it would be soooo funny to make my own conversational Strokes t-shirt to wear at non-Strokes concerts. I was really into weird novelty t-shirts at the time, so I believed a cleverly-phrased custom shirt was a way to let fellow concertgoers know about my interest in The Strokes while being cool enough to make fun of the fact that I was a Strokes fan.

(You have to remember, in the early 2000s the Strokes were the most hyped band in the US and the UK, so anyone from New York had to also be mildly blase about the fact that they were a fan. Being too outwardly enthusiastic about them could be perceived as very uncool — like wearing a t-shirt of the band you are going to see.)

So what was a girl to do? Get out some scissors, fabric paint, and a stencil set of course!

Well the front seems pretty normal, right?


Continue reading “March Madness: My Homemade Strokes T-Shirt”

March Madness: My First Strokes Show – Sept 28, 2001 in Providence, RI (with Live MP3)

One day when I was going through my stuff for Strokes March Madness I had a sudden epiphany — In the early 2000s I had a bizarre habit of recording tons of stuff on cassette tape, so I wondered if I might have recorded anything Strokes related.

Lo and behold, I found a 90 minute red Maxell UR tape labeled “THE STROKES – 9/28/01 – LUPO’S HEARTBREAK HOTEL PROVIDENCE, RI”.

Ohhh yeahhh…

This particular show is especially close to my heart because it was my very first Strokes gig.

Originally the show was supposed to be held at the much smaller sister venue, The Met Cafe, but due to demand they bumped the show up to Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel just around the corner. My friend J and her friend M got a ride up to the show from some totally random older dudes that M kinda knew.

The three of us sat in the back seat of the tiny compact car as the five of us drove for what felt like hours and hours in the midst of a torrential downpour. I distinctly remember seeing the red and blue Lupo’s neon sign through the raindrop-covered car window and thinking “wow, I’m going to see The Strokes!”

Of course it was one of the greatest concert nights of my life. I had already been totally obsessed with them for months and this show was the ignition point for my subsequent decade-long fandom. (I was originally supposed to see them for the first time on September 14th at Irving Plaza during that year’s CMJ, but then all the shows were canceled after 9/11.)

The crowd was really intense, with all these huge dudes pushing and shoving all us little kids in the front. It actually got so bad that I had to pull myself out of the crowd and I watched the rest of the show from the upstairs balcony.

It was because I was all the way up there that I witnessed what I consider to be a “classic” early Strokes moment:

In the middle of a song, Julian was looking into the crowd — then all of a sudden he throws down the microphone stand and LAUNCHES himself into the audience, causing a scuffle. The rest of the guys continue to play, but both Nick and Albert start edging their way to the front of the stage, nearly throwing down their own instruments and jumping in. At first no one can tell what was happening — but then within seconds the club bouncers are rushing to pull Julian — who’s fist was raised at this point — away from some dude in the crowd.

The bouncers pull the target of Julian’s ire out of the venue and JC climbs back up on the stage and the rest of the show goes on without incident.

Pretty much amazing, right?

So if you ever wondered what it might have sounded like to be at the September 28, 2001 show at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, it’s your day. Here’s a MP3 conversion of my crappy cassette tape recording of The Strokes playing “Last Nite” from that show:

“Last Nite” (live) by The Strokes by missmodernage

UPDATE: View the signed setlist from the show.


Every day in for Strokes March Madness I’ll be posting something from my Strokes archive. Please tweet or FB like if you enjoy where this is going.

March Madness: The Strokes Roseland Magnet

Got this hugenormous magnet of the Roseland Ballroom marquee when The Strokes played from the Alone, Together fan club.

At the time I thought it was soooo hilarious that it read “THE STROKES – SOLD OUT”

Ah, memories…

Every day in for Strokes March Madness I’ll be posting something from my Strokes archive. Please tweet or FB like if you enjoy where this is going.