Antony & the Johnsons @ Radio City Music Hall

Antony with the incredible lazers and overhead installation (via Pitchfork)

I don’t have many words to do this show justice, so here’s an excerpt from the New York Times summarizing the show:

Wonderment and sorrow course through the songs of Antony Hegarty, who leads Antony and the Johnsons. Those are immense emotions, and on Thursday night he performed in a place to match their scale: Radio City Music Hall.

There he poured out his uncanny voice: a preternaturally sustained, androgynous croon, steeped in melancholy and awe. I’ve never heard a Radio City audience keep so silent during ballads.

The lasers sketched curvilinear phantoms, diagonal grids or a crystalline cage; in one song tiny red lights flickered like fireflies. Mr. Hegarty himself was a modest figure within the larger tableaus, sometimes very still, sometimes gesturing. The focus was on the music, not the performer.

Antony played with the LA Phil a few years ago, and I’ve beat myself up since for not going. When I saw that this event was happening, I jumped for joy.

It was spectacular to say the least.

This was my first time at Radio City Music Hall. When I walked into the main performance space, I was blown away at the size of the place. To me the hall is essentially an indoor version of the Hollywood Bowl with the domed shell of a ceiling. Because I’m still new to New York, I appreciate things here and there everyday, but places like this and events like this really only happen in a few places around the world, and I feel so lucky to be able to witness them.

The show opened with an abstract repetitive dance piece by Johanna Constantine, and then we were lucky enough to have Julia Yasuda (who’s voice is instantly recognizable from “Free At Last”, a track from I Am A Bird Now) introduce Antony. The summary above describes the show more succinctly than I might be able to, so I’ll leave you with a video of “I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy.” Watch it to the end to see one level of the transformations the stage made throughout the night.


Times when I’ve listened to SebastiAn #coachella2012

Here are some times when I have listened to SebastiAn. They are fairly random.

  1. Mowing the lawn back in 2007 when I first discovered the Ross Ross Ross EP. He made some of the only music that had dynamics mad enough to be heard through my headphones over the lawnmower’s engine.
  2. Waiting anxiously for the Daft Punk Alive 2007 show to begin. He opened alongside Kavinsky. It was a great set, but a great set doesn’t really compete when the GREATEST SHOW IN THE WORLD is coming on in a couple hours (and after Ratatat, who also opened the show.)
  3. Walking  around Vienna this summer. His new album came out with relatively little hype (then again, I had relatively little computer access this summer), and I remember being surprised when it showed up in my feeds. It’s a good album. Will totally blow out your eardrums if you let it.

Really hope I can catch his set at Coachella this year. I feel like I might have caught a bit of him at Coachella before, maybe during an Ed Rec block of time in the Sahara, who knows…

Sebastian – Ross Ross Ross

Santigold @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

It’s been eight months since I’ve written about a show! While don’t have much of a clue as to how that’s happened considering that I’ve been to tons of shows in the meantime, seeing Santigold with a little bit of Spank Rock (I got there a bit late) last night has made me jump back into this.

So yes, last night I went to see one of Santigold’s sold out shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It’s been four years since I saw her back in 2007 at Steve Aoki’s Neighborhood Fest in Expo Park. Back then, her amazing debut album hadn’t come out yet, but she was building on the success of the early Creator/L.E.S. Artists EP (I had no idea what the L.E.S. was until I lived there three years later.) Not to get too nostalgic or anything (that was the first show I went to as a freshman at USC), but I only spent $40 to go to a show with Spank Rock, Santigold, Crystal Castles, Chromeo, Kid Sister, DJ AM, and The Faint! I think Spank Rock, Chromeo, and The Faint were the only artists with legit LPs out, and I remember thinking that Crystal Castles with Alice chugging a handle of vodka on stage were pretty out-there.

Back to last night’s show. It was exactly what I wanted it to be: fun. Obviously, you go to different shows with different intentions and expectations. I don’t always expect to have fun at the shows I go to. For example, I saw Girls and Real Estate on Saturday, and while it was a great show (Girls reeeaallly got their stuff together with their live show for the new album), I wouldn’t describe it as fun.

Santigold started off with “Go”, and Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs came out to do her spot on the song! From there, the setlist continued with a majority of the songs off the first album and probably about four new songs that’ll be on her upcoming sophomore effort. Stuff like “Creator”, “L.E.S. Artists”, “Lights Out”, and “Say Aha” went off perfectly. The new material all sounded great. I remember thinking that while the beats were fast, her delivery was more laid back – like she was riding the beat more than on her first album. But that’s just a first judgement of songs heard live. We also got some of the tracks that aren’t Santigold originals like Major Lazer’s “Hold the Line” and “B.O.O.T.A.Y.” was the finale of the whole show with Spank Rock coming back out to perform it alongside her.

Aside from the awesome music, Santi has really put together a fully-fledged show for her upcoming tour. Along with two costume changes, she had two backup singers / dancers who had choreographed moves for every moment of every song. She also had a three piece band consisting of a drummer and two multi-instrumentalists backing her rather than just a DJ. And in my opinion, the difference that this makes is hard to overstate.

Like I said, it was a fun show. The crowd was dancing throughout, and it seemed like everyone knew her first album really well. Shows are so much better when the crowd knows the material. The artist loves that the crowd loves them, and the crowd loves that the artist is having a great time. That’s exactly what happened last night.