Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What We're Spinning: February 25

Phantogram, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and more!

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Maybe it's a New Year's resolution. Maybe we want to dispel the myth that newspaper editors live in a bubble and aren't living, breathing people like everyone else. Or maybe we just want to share more music with the world.

Whatever it is, City is proud to launch a new weekly feature, "What We're Spinning," which every Tuesday will give you a personal look inside the brains, and music playlists, of various City editors and staff members. And, just because we love you, when possible, we'll even find the song for you. Are your ears ready?

Frank De Blase, Music writer: Scott H. Biram, "Nothin’ But Blood”



Tim Macaluso, news writer: Tracey Thorn “Love and its Opposite”

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Willie Clark, Music editor: The Killers



Jeremy Moule, news writer: Kylesa, “Ultraviolet”



Mark Chamberlin, designer: Phantogram, “Voices”

Christine Fien, News editor: O Brother, Where Art Though

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Matt DeTurck, art director/production manager: Joe Smooth "Promised Land"



Christine Kubarycz, advertising: Franz Ferdinand



Kate Stathis, circulation manager: Bill Nelson, “Tender Is The Night”



Tracey Mykins, advertising: The Devil Makes Three

Concert Announcement: 2014 Jazz Fest announces additional headliners

Janelle Monae, Fourplay, and Michael McDonald shows added

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 11:10 AM

In addition to the already sold out Steve Martin and Earth, Wind, and Fire shows, today the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival has announced three additional headliners for this year's festival.

Show details are as follows:

[ R&B ] XRIJF: Janelle Monae Friday, June 20. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 26 Gibbs St. $55-$95. 8 p.m. rochesterjazz.com

[ Jazz ] XRIJF: Fourplay Tuesday, June 24. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 26 Gibbs St. $40-$85. 8 p.m. rochesterjazz.com

[ Pop/Rock ] XRIJF: Michael McDonald Wednesday, June 25. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 26 Gibbs St. $80-$105. 8 p.m. rochesterjazz.com

Tickets to these shows go on sale Friday, February 28, at 10 a.m. at rochesterjazz.com, or by phone at 585-454-2060.

The festival also said that it will announce the final headliner on March 18 to coincide with the reveal of the full festival lineup.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What We're Spinning: February 18

Temples, Bastile, Queen, and more!

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Maybe it's a New Year's resolution. Maybe we want to dispel the myth that newspaper editors live in a bubble and aren't living, breathing people like everyone else. Or maybe we just want to share more music with the world.

Whatever it is, City is proud to launch a new weekly feature, "What We're Spinning," which every Tuesday will give you a personal look inside the brains, and music playlists, of various City editors and staff members. And, just because we love you, when possible, we'll even find the song for you. Are your ears ready?


Eric Rezsnyak, Features editor: Temples, "Sun Structures”

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Tim Macaluso, news writer: Colton Ford, “The Way I Am”



Willie Clark, Music editor: Queen


Jeremy Moule, news writer: His Hero Is Gone


Aubrey Berardini, designer: Bastile


Mark Chamberlin, designer: MisterWives, “Reflections”


Matt Walsh, assistant to the publishers: Bombay Bicycle Club


Upcoming Concerts: Week of Feburuary 19

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:06 AM

[ Acoustic/Folk ] Crystal Bowersox Wednesday, April 2. Zeppa Auditorium. 315 Gregory St. 8 p.m. $25-$30. zeppabistro.com

[ R&B ] Diana Ross Wednesday, June 18. CMAC. 3355 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua. $56-$96. 8 p.m. 758-5330. cmacevents.com

[ Acoustic/Folk ] Willie Nelson & Family Saturday, June 21. CMAC. 3355 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua. $30-$85. 7 p.m. 758-5330. cmacevents.com

Monday, February 17, 2014

Concert Review: Air Traffic Controller, Mochester at Lovin' Cup

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 10:57 AM

With my valentine in tow, I traipsed out to Lovin' Cup Friday night to see two bands. One I knew rather well -- Mochester -- and one I had never heard -- Air Traffic Controller. This is where my curiosity and writing shines, according to my editor. And I have to agree; when I have no benchmark or anticipated response, I end up enjoying myself immensely.

Deriving its name from frontman Dave Munro's previous gig with the military, Air Traffic Controller took the stage fortified with a plethora of acoustic and electric instruments, with which all members of the band exhibited proficiency. I initially thought the band would be more folky than it wound up sounding. It was drenched in hooks, and fortified by the simple honesty found in Munro's lyrics sung in his reedy tenor.

The band ventured into stark territory, where it built tunes seemingly from the ground up a la The Head and the Heart or The Lumineers. And speaking of voices, bassist Casey Sullivan was a study in two parts. The notes would first leave her throat freely, only to be pinched at the end with a haunting vibrato. It was a subtle and beautiful approach that I'm not sure she's fully aware of -- it was that natural. Multi-instrumentalist Steve Scott kept it glued together with as much texture as actual notes, which served Munro's simple salvos exquisitely.

I've seen Mochester play barefoot before, but this particular night was cold, so the band took the stage in socks. I'm not sure why. Maybe the members forgot their stage slippers? Anyhow, here's a band that knows how to implement a twin-guitar attack. The crowd, sufficiently warmed up by Air Traffic Controller's set, seemed primed and ready, hollering out requests and generally digging the band. Mochester kicked ass even if it was without shoes.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Concert Review: Greyhound Bandits at La Casa

Posted By on Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 8:57 PM

For some people Valentine's Day is about candy, hearts, chocolate, and love. For others it can be about pints of ice cream and sitting at home missing something they used to have, or never had at all. Or I guess it could come down to a combination of the two options.

My choice this year was Mexican food and music. City has already told you about the food offerings at La Casa (93 Alexander St.), but the South Wedge Mexican restaurant has started to add live music to the mix as well. For Friday night's Valentine's Day festivities the restaurant brought in self-described street-folk group The Greyhound Bandits.

After opting for a little more room than what was allowed by the initial doorway staging area, the trio (two electric guitars, one acoustic) decided to set up and sit down in a tight booth on the lower floor of the restaurant. The unconventional placement meant that the music was a bit hard to hear over the dining-room murmur, and it was even harder to tell exactly when and where the songs began and the jamming ended.

What resulted was players that looked lost, but not lost in the music. It was as if each musician was having a personal jam session in his head, instead of sharing one as a trio. The music as a whole seemed based more in the improvisational world than anything folk. One guitarist would solo while the other two pattered between chords, not really centering around an apparent theme or any solid idea as a base. I couldn't tell if these were actually pre-planned songs (one, with vocals, I'm guessing must have been) or just repeated chord changes and heads being soloed over until somebody in the group decided it was time for things to end, and for something else to start. Even with just three people, the group didn't seem to be on the same page musically, and the pieces didn't mesh together.

A restaurant gig is obviously going to have different expectations placed on it than on one performed on a stage, in a more traditional venue. And the atmosphere at La Casa was more geared toward background dinner music than anything else. But I don't think this band has yet found its niche, at least not based on what I saw Friday night.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Concert Review: "Echoes of the Middle Ages" at Memorial Art Gallery

A lovely collaboration between MAG and Eastman School of Music

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM

A sustained -- and deserved -- applause rang through the Fountain Court of the Memorial Art Gallery following Thursday night's concert, "Echoes of the Middle Ages," presented by the Schola Cantorum of Christ Church and organist Naomi Gregory.

The program, centered on the music and art of the 14th through the 16th centuries, was beautifully conceived and executed. The audience program listed the 11 musical selections with lyrics in their original languages and with English translation, along with a corresponding piece of fine art on display at the museum. After the performance in the Fountain Court, the audience wandered through adjoining galleries, locating the paired works of art. The one-hour concert extended into another hour enjoying the museum before it closed.

The musical selections were diverse and yet flowed naturally. Schola Cantorum began with three male voices in a "Kyrie" from "Mass of Tournai" (1349), performed a cappella. Every tone was pure and clear. The acoustics of the gallery provided a monastery-like effect.

From songs of the liturgy to songs to honor saints in the second section of the program, Schola Cantorum (singers included Michael Anderson, Adelaide Boedecker, David Chin, Mark Helms, Aaron James, Lydia Kirkpatrick, Thatcher Lyman, Reagan McNamee-King, Sarah McConnell, Prince Nyatanga, Derek Remeš, and Michael E. Ruhling) sang a lovely motet for St. Sebastian, "O beateSebastiane" (by Gaspar van Weerbeke, c.1445-c.1516). That opened into a free-flowing counterpoint. The third section, works for private devotion, included an intoned gospel reading of John 1:1-14 (the creation). Thatcher Lyman, the organ soloist in the Fountain Court, delivered a moving and well-articulated performance, and the responsive singers (who were unseen and in adjoining galleries) achieved the desired effect.

Another element of the concert was an organ piece for the Court of Philip the Bold (also known as Philip II, Duke of Burgundy), written in the modern day, but inspired by three motets of his day (1342-1404). Eastman DMA organ student Naomi Gregory spoke of her composition and of the tuning adjustments made to the Baroque organ to more closely mimic the sound of the late 14th century. Gregory's composition was at once witty and authentic.

Michael Alan Anderson, assistant professor of musicology at ESM, also spoke before each piece. Typically, I cringe at spoken interruptions during musical performances - my preference is to allow the music to speak for itself. But, for this program and in this setting, the remarks were historically and musically interesting, and also well delivered. The audience left with much to think about, considering that the evening started with remarks from Nancy Norwood, curator of European art at the MAG, and continued with Anderson's research, and included Gregory's composer's insights.

This was a truly inspired concert program in a perfect setting. I look forward to announcements of future collaborative concerts between ESM and the MAG. I will only give you the advance warning that already last night there wasn't a seat left in the house. Whatever program is next, get there early and plan to stay late. In the meantime, if you haven't already been to the Sunday afternoon Italian Baroque organ recitals, the 25-minute performances are at 1 and 3 p.m., and are included in MAG admission.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What We're Spinning: February 11

The Knocks, Dianne Reeves, Lady Gaga, and more

Posted By on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Maybe it's a New Year's resolution. Maybe we want to dispel the myth that newspaper editors live in a bubble and aren't living, breathing people like everyone else. Or maybe we just want to share more music with the world.

Whatever it is, City is proud to launch a new weekly feature, "What We're Spinning," which every Tuesday will give you a personal look inside the brains, and music playlists, of various City editors and staff members. And, just because we love you, when possible, we'll even find the song for you. Are your ears ready?

Frank De Blase, Music writer: Richie Ramone, "Entitled"



Rebecca Rafferty, Calendar editor: Blur, “Think Tank”




Eric Rezsnyak, Features editor: The Knocks, "Comfortable”



Tim Macaluso, news writer: Dianne Reeves, “Beautiful Life”




Christine Fien, News editor: Bette Midler, “Some People’s Lives”




Matt DeTurck, art director/production manager: Foster The People, "Coming of Age"




Willie Clark, Music editor: SR-71




Tom Decker, advertising: Jim White



Christine Kubarycz, advertising: Lady Gaga, “The Fame Monster”



Kate Stathis, circulation manager: The Avalanches, “Since I Left You”


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Upcoming Concerts: Week of February 12

The Hold Steady, RPO does John Williams, Chris Wilson

Posted By on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 10:09 AM

[ Pop/Rock ] The Hold Steady Monday, April 21. Water Street Music Hall, 204 N. Water St. $20-$23. 8 p.m. 352-5600. waterstreetmusic.com

[ Classical] RPO: The Music of John Williams Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 26 Gibbs St. $18-$92. 8 p.m. rpo.org

[ R&B ] Chris Wilson Sunday, May 11. Auditorium Theatre, 885 East Main St. $52.50-$128. 7 p.m. 222-5000. rbtl.org

Monday, February 10, 2014

Concert Review: Falling Hollywood at Lovin' Cup

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Saw quite an interesting band Saturday night at Lovin' Cup. Interesting in its poppy meld of genres, interesting in the strength of its songwriting, interesting in its rhythm and lead guitar flip-flop, and interesting that all of that overshadowed the group's growing pains.

Hailing from Erie ,PA, Falling Hollywood came out with a reserved swing, with the acoustic guitar initially doing lead duty as the electric guitar provided the percussive chop. The band was devoid of any country twang, but initially brought to mind The Old 97's. The harmonies were right on -- and dead on -- throughout a fantastic set of original popified rock 'n' roll.

But as the band built up both in complexity and volume --- with both guitars electrified --- over the course of the nearly 90-minute set, it became clear that the bassist was either in the wrong band, or wasn't aware he was in a band at all. He clearly knew his way around his instrument, and as a performer he was engaging. But he overplayed everything, from scales to octave stunts. It proved very distracting from what otherwise was a good set, and it hindered what I feel would have been a dancing crowd (which still dug the band regardless).

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