Rumsey Playfield, Central Park September 12, 2012
A pair of odd short sets by Deadalus and Tanlines followed by Yeasayer's emphatic eclectecism
Wednesday's Bowery Presents show at the Central Park SummerStage provided a contrast of styles.
Daedalus began the show dressed, as usual, in his Regency era garb - the dandy perhaps being the hipster of the 19th Century. The crowd sat politely cross legged as he punched the buttons on his monome, expertly manipulating the tracks and samples with uncommon precision and inventiveness. But in the daylight, without the benefit of a dramatic light show, the performance fell a bit flat. Cantering the monome to face the audience provides something to look at and coupled with the anachronistic fashion and twitching gestures, Daedalus makes for an interesting tableau. But on this occasion it felt as though there was too much space for his music to fill up.
Don't you hate it when you are about to play a song and your laptop crashes? This was a set Tanlines probably want to forget as a few awkward minutes of technical difficulty struck between their first and second songs. This is the danger of being a duo with mostly electronic production. When they resumed, the sleepy vocals did not help their cause. There were definitely some good tunes amid the mostly maudlin sounds most notably "Real Life" which begins with an almost reggaeton drum beat and "Green Grass" another up-tempo, catchy song.
Perhaps a bit of unintentional upstaging by the audio booth, New Orders "True Faith" was played almost inaudibly over the PA while Yeasayer were setting up. It was a striking if unflattering comparison. Although an extremely high bar to be measured against hearing that song made clear what Tanlines are aspiring for and just how far short they fell.
Yeasayer's hippie psychedelic prog rock was what everyone came to see. A borderline epileptic light show coupled with the band's unique syncopation immediately inflicted dance and dizziness on the crowd. Yeasayer seem to be able to combine discordant sounds harmoniously a talent reminiscent of but more consistent than The Mars Volta whose form branches off into free-form jazz. Yeasayer supported their new album, "Fragrant World" well, opening with "Blue Paper" and "Henrietta" and mixing new tracks in with old favorites throughout the show. Yeasayer are at their best when their eclectic influences coalesce around a repeatable hook. "Ambling Alp", the hit off their sophomore album "Odd Blood" is a perfect example of this as is "2080" a sprawling song that evokes Yes, ELO, and the Moody Blues. "Henrietta" begins with a radioactive reggae guitar riff and rolls into a choral refrain. With an abundance of talent and inventiveness, Yeasayer are a band to watch. - Lee Wilson
Marina and the Diamonds
Webster Hall August 16, 2012
Marina Diamandis, the Welsh born Greek named singer who refers to herself in the plural, performed at Webster Hall in New York City last night, Thursday August 16, 2012 in support of her recently released sophomore album, Electra Heart .
Comparisons to Madonna and Lady Gaga are practically obligatory and while Diamandis certainly owes a debt her artistry is hers alone. Where Madonna’s sexuality was overt, Marina & the Diamonds’ is more matter of fact. Lady Gaga’s spectacle can become cloying, Marina’s is more sincere.
There is a difference musically, as well. Diamandis seems to put more effort and emphasis on her lyrics. The result is pop songs that are slightly less infectious, a bit more interesting, and with the social commentary only occasionally feeling forced.
Marina & the Diamonds live show does not disappoint. The costume changes were plentiful as Diamandis changed from a midriff baring, Madonna inspired deconstructed wedding dress, to a pink party dress worthy of Holly Golightly, to a sparkling princess outfit.
The stage was lit with pink neon spelling out the name of her album and the lighting was arranged to evoke a surreal haziness worthy of Instagram.
The crowd needed no time to warm up and in a scene that was somewhat bewildering to a newcomer to her music, the show was from the outset, an energetic sing-along. Fans thronged the stage, chanted every song, pogo-danced to the dance tracks, and swayed to the slow ones.
It is rare to walk into a show in New York City and be overtaken by the energy of the fans and their communion with the singer but Marina & the Diamonds show was certainly one of those times, which is just about all you can ask of a concert experience. - Lee Wilson