Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Love Letter to (The) Tony Castles

I've seen and documented (The) Tony Castles several times, and have watched them evolve over the past few months from a band I enjoyed watching and listening to, to one that has created some of the most blissful music I've heard this year.

The talented trio recently played Bowery Ballroom, which I unfortunately had to miss. Someone captured this video of this new song, "Korea."  I thought they had reached the heights of my love with "Black Girls in Dresses" but "Korea" is transcendent.  Wistful and ardent, the guys have never looked or played better. 

Check it out.

They're playing Jan. 20 at Glasslands in Brooklyn.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bluejay and Delicate Steve Played Brooklyn Bowl Dec. 13

Checked out my first show at Brooklyn Bowl last week. A bit of a haul from the subway in the snow and frigid air, but The Boy, The Bone Collector, the Future Texan and I slogged through, and it was more than worth it. The place is huge, sells homemade pork cracklin's and has a decent craft beer selection. And then there were the bands.

Bluejay was first up and includes Young B on guitar. He is the quintessential designer by day, rock star by night. He works at The Boy's office, so we had to make the trip out there to represent.

They kept the crowd lively with their toe-tappin tunes, and Young B showed an effervescence not often seen at the office.

Following their set was Delicate Steve, masterminded by, um Steve, but played with considerable abandon by a band of five. While Steve may be the mastermind, the drummer is doubtless a conspirator in this music democracy, and he exhibited the most agile, physical and amazing drumming I've seen up close. He had the audience mesmerized. As befits such a democracy, the drummer was at the front of the stage, equal with the rest of the band and better for viewing his considerable skills. And while the rest of the band exuded a practiced cool, the drummer gave off a whiff of band nerd, quickly dispelled when he picked up his sticks. Awesome. Check out the pics.

All photos by Shanda Boyett. Copyright 2010.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Best Coast Played Music Hall of Williamsburg

I can't help it. I love the lo-fi surfer sound of Best Coast and their bitchy lead singer Bethany Cosantino who is my BFF on twitter. Most of the songs sound the same, but "Boyfriend", "Crazy for You", and "Honey" have stolen my heart. 

Plus, i was super-impressed during the show. Bethany is actually very talented. Great voice. Sound was great. She has a chick drummer - I always love that - and bassist is so fucking sexy in the most hair band, nerd way. I mean, he is like the male version of Botticelli's Birth of Venus. Kind of. It's the hair.

Anyyyywayyyy, I loved the show, and like the band even better after seeing them live. (Unlike the Village Voice, which totally hated on Bethany for no good reason.)

Check out my pics, and how much the bass player looks like a chunky male Venus.

Concert photos by Shanda Boyett.  Copyright 2010.

The Spaceship Photos - Broken Social Scene

The Boy and I walked over to Central Park Sept. 21 to catch Sea and Cake and Broken Social Scene at Rumsey Playfield.

We can't ever get over the convenience of walking to a concert, having a few beers, seeing a great show, and walking home.

The Boy pointed out the similarities between Sea and Cake and Broken Social Scene to The Grateful Dead. And Broken Social Scene, a music collective with no fewer than 6 front people playing at a time could be the greatest jam band ever - if they actually took time to jam.

From the start with Texaxo Bitches from the new album and Fire Eyed Boy from their self-titled album, it was beautiful and perfect, like listening to your i-phone.

While i applaud and respect the ability to recreate that kind of quality in the real world, I so wanted them to digress and take a chance and see what happened. I mean, there's so many of them, i can't believe this doesn't happen organically on a regular basis.

At one point, Kevin Drew, the "lead" singer and master of ceremonies, introduced himself to a new musician whom he had not met.

To be fair, later in the show, they did improvise a bit. But they could really take it further, becoming the next great jam band and going beyond explicit renditions of their songs, beautiful as they are.

And I think they have the spirit. At the end, Drew led the audience in a chant. "Fuck you. I won't do what you tell me." I wish BSS would do the same.

Nevertheless, I took some cool shots of the show that look like alien ships. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pics of Regal Degal at Union Pool

Photos by Shanda Boyett  Copyright 2010.

(The) Tony Castles Played Union Pool for Record Release Party, with Regal Degal and Safe

Just two days after releasing the video for the haunting “Black Girls in Dresses,” (The) Tony Castles - Paul Sicilian (vocals and

bass) Willie Miesmer (guitar and keyboards) and Gabriel Wurzel (drums) celebrated the release of their new EP, “No Service,” with a show at Union Pool.
Regal Degal and Safe opened.
With a giant Zync from American Express card poster defamed with “TONY” in giant red letters hanging behind them, the trio kicked off an amazing set that included “No Service” and “Dream Job”. A guest guitarist provided some punch to “Adequate Sheen,” and the vocalist from Safe provided backup for “Black Girls in Dresses.”
Despite a few technical snags that had Willie crawling around on the floor mid-set, the trio produced a solid and exuberant show that pleased the crowd packed into Union Pool. And there wasn’t a lot of emotional dwelling on the release of the new EP. The guys were there to play and celebrate with friends, and if someone bought the record that was great, too.
Willie summed it up, “Our goddamn record is in the back of the place and you should buy it if that is what you want to do.”
You can order the EPand watch the “Black Girls in Dresses” video at

Photos by me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heavy Cream Played Union Pool

Heavy Cream, a 3/4 girl punk band, played Union Pool in Brooklyn a few weeks ago.

I caught their set in between tacos from the taco truck outside, and their uncanny channeling of The Runaways blew me away.

Check out my pics from the show.

Photos by Shanda Boyett.  Copyright 2010

Boobs Night Out

While everyone else was celebrating fashion night out all over the city, I dragged The Boy and The West Side Beauty to the LES to see the Beach Fossils at The Bowery Ballroom. I drank Magic Hat beer, which smells like Fruity Pebbles, and watched the Sundelles and the Beach Fossils with a room full of people half my age. There was even a bit of semi-mosh pit action at the end where i distinguished myself by spilling my beer and bending down for my purse. Legitimately cool.

When we left the show to seek out food, the real show actually started. The LES was a carnival, from giant, stick-like scantily-clad transvestites being filmed reality-show style, to frat boys puking on the street, to waiflike models gliding through the crowds in a hunger-induced haze, it was a scene, man.

But nothing compared to our meal at Pulinos. Well, not the meal, exactly, which was just OK, although they do have Mother's Milk on tap, and that doesn't suck. First of all, the staff was POLITE and FRIENDLY. That just doesn't happen at cool places in New York. Second of all, when a couple of bone bags showed up inquiring about being seated immediately, and by bone bags i mean beautiful, leggy models, the hostess told them there were people in front of them and refused to be taken in by their cheekbones. Perhaps she knew they weren't really going to eat. I was smitten. Love you Pulinos hostess.

Anyway, we got seated in the middle of the room. Great vantage point for people watching. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a giant hat enter the room atop a scraggly woman wearing a military-inspired bolero jacket and a white tutu. Turns out, that was all she was wearing, which i realized when she turned around and the impression of her nipples was burned into my retinas. She had no problem posing for the many cameras that appeared to capture her nearly-naked 'fit. But endearingly, the staff at Pulinos told her to button up and keep her nips under wraps. They were not amused. But The Boy was, having had occasion to unexpectedly view strange boobs while swilling beer and eating pizza. Really, a perfect night for all.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Magical Night In The City - Wizards, Waffles and Commerce

The Boy and I, along with The Bone Collector and the Future Texan, went out for a grown-up dinner last night in Greenwich Village, with drinks at 8th Street Wine Cellar followed by dinner at one of our new fave places, Commerce. Check out their yummy menu.

This being New York, the food and wine were only part of the draw. We saw a wizard on the way to the restaurant. I'm pretty sure it was Dumbledore. He wasn't dressed as elaborately as in the movies, but did have on a long robe and wizarding cap, with a chock of white beard blowing across his chest. He was pushing a cart which was probably another wizard in disguise. Probably.

Later we got hooted at by a car of unruly teens who obviously thought our hotness was too smoldering to go unrecognized. Or they were drunk. They seemed to be hooting at any passerby, really, now that I think of it. Anyway. . .


As we walked along 7th Avenue between drinks and dinner, we saw a glittering yellow light in the distance. The fabled Waffle Truck was in our midst. We were momentarily seduced by the fragrant sweet air that enveloped the block. The bacon waffle beckoned, and we promised to come back for dessert.

Alas, the dessert menu at Commerce leveled it's own seductive force. A Banana's Foster sundae with banana pudding and vanilla ice cream and a caramel sundae with chocolate brownie bits edged out our notions of waffles in that moment. The great ambiance, comfortable seats and steaming coffee and espresso put them over the line.

We walked wistfully past the Waffle Truck again on our way home, vowing that we would meet one another again some day. I've got the twitter feed. I won't need a wizard to find it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Celebrate Brooklyn: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings or How Brooklyn is Different From Manhattan

The Boy and I trekked out to Brooklyn last Saturday night to check out the Celebrate Brooklyn show of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings in Prospect Park. We not only got to hear some great music, but also learned a little bit about the difference between the two major boroughs.

We met the Occasional Empty Nesters who thankfully had arrived early and staked a claim at the top of the sloping hill facing the stage.

By the time we got there, after navigating
several service change delays on the subway, we had missed the first band and 19,800 of the 20,000 people who showed up for the show were blocking easy movement. Somehow, The Boy spotted the Occasional Empty Nesters and we clamored over picnic-ers with the zeal of spawning salmon.

The mood was lively with lots of dancers and hula-hoopers around us gulping wine from boxes. No glass or cans allowed!

Then a weird thing happened and i knew we weren't in Manhattan anymore. As the show ended and the lights came up, an authoritative voice from the stage thanked everyone for coming and prevailed on all of us to clean up after ourselves and leave the park as clean as we left it.

Now just a week or so before at Summer Stage to see Flaming Lips, there was no call-to-clean-up action when the show ended. We waded our way through pathways ankle deep in cans which no one made any effort to transport to the trash bins. When I remarked about the clean up request to the Occasional Empty Nesters, their retort was, "This is Brooklyn."

So I guess Brooklyn is Manhattan's more anal sibling, who invites everyone to a party and then asks them to clean up before they leave.

Friday, August 06, 2010

(The) Tony Castles, Caveman, Monogold at Merc Lounge

A social acquaintance turned me on to (The) Tony Castles (photos above), so I decided to check them out live at The Mercury Lounge this week.

Three-piece Brooklyn-band Monogold opened. The lyrical falsetto of guitarist and vocalist Keith Kelly gives their sound a feathery, angelic quality, which was unfortunately not presented to best advantage at the Merc. However, bassist Mike Falotico distracted me from their technical issues by being an "8" on the Magically Babalicious, Long-Haired Emaciated Rock Dude scale.

When Caveman approached the stage, I honestly thought they looked like a bunch of douches. But as soon as they started to play, they completely endeared me. Thoughtful, layered, slightly haunting music sets a dreamy mood. Lead vocalist Matty Pickles blends charisma, amazing voice and percussion skills to land at an "8" on the Vince Vaughan-With-A-Guitar Doppleganger Rock Dude scale. You just want to cuddle him.

The comparatively large scale of Caveman made the three-piece Tony Castles seem spare as they took the stage, but their performance was anything but. In fact, I enjoyed their live performance more than the tracks I've been listening to for weeks. Psyched that they have a 5 song debut EP entitled "NO SERVICE" that will be officially released by Famous Class Records in both vinyl and digital formats on September 21, 2010.

No hot rock dude scale here. Just good music. : )

Photos of (The) Tony Castles by Shanda Boyett. Copyright 2010.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Big Night Out on the West Side

Checked out Lincoln Center Out Of Doors this week with couple friends.

The string quartet ETHEL was playing with special guest singers and songwriters ADAM SCHLESINGER, MIKE VIOLA, DAYNA KURTZ, JUANA MOLINA, and TOM VERLAINE and PATRICK DERIVAZ.

The Boy was not a big fan of the music which he thought was slightly less annoying than My Bloody Valentine.

So about three quarters of the way through, we packed up and headed to Shake Shack where he had his way with a Purple Cow and I got intimate with a hot fudge sundae. Mmmm.

Sharing some photos here of our
big night out on the West Side.

Photos by Shanda Boyett.  Copyright 2010.