Bowery Ballroom, file photo (Robin Schatell).
The owners of the Lower East Side music clubs, Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge, are teaming up with Live Nation, the corporate concert conglomerate.
Michael Swier, who founded both clubs, made the announcement today, saying that the Live Nation partnership would mean the creation of a new booking entity called Mercury East Presents. Live Nation already controlled big NYC venues, such as Irving Plaza, Gramercy Theater and the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island. The company also runs the Governors Ball Festival. As the New York Times reported, “The deal reflects the rapid consolidation of a local market that until recently had been dominated by scrappy independents.”
Live Nation’s chief rival, AEG, acquired the booking company, Bowery Presents, earlier this year. But the Lower East Side clubs were not part of the deal. AEG is now renovating Webster Hall, and operates Terminal Hall, among other local venues.
Swier told the Times, “The way the landscape has changed these days, with consolidation, this is the counterbalance one would need to exist and compete with the formidable Bowery Presents-AEG alliance… Going it alone was not an option.”
TLD contributor Flora Theden caught up with Ages and Ages, who will perform Monday at Mercury Lounge and Tuesday at Bowery Ballroom.
Seven-piece choral pop/rock band Ages and Ages will perform at Mercury Lounge on March 31 and Bowery Ballroom with Lake Street Dive on April 1 to celebrate their sophomore record, Divisionary, which was released earlier this week. More of a collective than a band, Ages and Ages is gaining acclaim for their choral rock sound produced by overlapping harmonies created from the vocals of all seven members. Accompanied by hand claps, shakers and noisemakers, don’t be surprised if the contagious group singing ignites the urge to frolic through fields of wildflowers, a la the Flaming Lips and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
Ages and Ages is returning to Mercury Lounge and performing at Bowery Ballroom for the first time, a venue which Rob Oberdorfer, bassist and vocalist, says is one of his favorite in the country. “Both shows should be cool for different reasons,” says Oberdorfer. “A little packed room has a different energy than a big, classy theater.”
The single, Do The Right Thing, is a secular gospel song with inspirational harmonies, piano and violin. The track came to life in Oberdorfer’s room when he haphazardly struck a C chord and stomped out a beat on the floor. “This mechanical mantra voice came out with the words ‘do the right thing, do the right thing…’ and the rest just started to fall in place,” he says.
The verses of the track address the complexities of doing right amidst a culture of greed and destructiveness.
“I wanted to paint a line between being correct – or following rules – and being right regardless of rules or expectations. That idea actually gets to the point of the word ‘Divisionary’ because it makes the case that doing what’s right often means you’re gonna piss some people off in the process. Which makes it confusing sometimes,” says Oberdorfer.
Tim Perry, guitarist and vocalist, spent ten days on a silent mediation retreat formulating the direction of Divisionary in his head while he was unable to read, write or speak. He attributes the calm, centered vision at the core of the album to a thoughtful and spontaneous writing process, which is evident from the celebratory vocals, triumphant melodies and introspective lyrics.
“Tim writes the songs, presumably by transcribing the voices of angels he hears in his head,” says Oberdorfer. “Everyone seems to have a different evolution. Some of the tracks on the new record were essentially built up from his bare bones demos, and others were more hashed out through practice and live shows.”
Monday, March 31 // $12 // Doors at 6:30pm, show at 7:30pm // 217 East Houston Street
Tuesday, April 1 // $20 // Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm // 6 Delancey Street
Bob Mould with bassist Jason Narducy (Split Single, Verbow) and drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats). They’ll be at the Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday, Feb. 26th and Weds., Feb. 27th.
Old-school punk and alternative rock pioneer Bob Mould is celebrating his influential career with his latest album, Silver Age. In a return to what’s been coined “aggressive pop,” the album came together after a series of electric solo dates in 2011 supporting the Foo Fighters. From the hardcore punk sounds of Hüsker Dü (1979-87) that later turned into what helped define the sound of “alt-rock” through the band Sugar (1992-95), to his many successful solo endeavors, it’s hard to ignore Mould as someone who has heavily influenced generations of rock stars.
Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez.
If you’re in the mood to catch some new music this week, here’s a suggestion. Buke & Gase, the experimental New York-based duo, will be at Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night to kick off a national tour in support of their new album, “General Dome.” Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez first attracted attention in 2010 for building their own instruments. The sophomore effort, which was released today, seems to be convincing at least some critics that there’s a lot more than a gimmick behind Buke and Gase.
I dropped in to the Bowery Ballroom over the weekend to check out Chavez play a “warm-up” concert before they embark on a European tour where they’ll be playing at All Tomorrow’s Parties in London, the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, and at David Lynch’s private club in Paris. Not bad for a band that first appeared on the downtown scene in 1992, eh? Well the show was anything but warm. In fact in was pretty hot in there with a capacity crowd swarming the stage to get a closer look at their favorite alternative/math rock band.
Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side this week:
KATY GUNN – Fri. Apr 8 | 9PM at The Living Room
Brooklyn singer/songwriter Katy Gunn plays the Living Room this Friday, behind the release of her self-titled debut CD. An energetic offering of jazz/pop fusion, Gunn sings tunes reminiscent of Adele or Fiona Apple – adding bouncy string arrangements and danceable beats to her uniquely soulful vocals . FREE//154 Ludlow St.
Nuyorican Poets Cafe will be hosting their Nuyorican Grand Slam Champ Revival this evening at 7:00pm.
The event is hosted by Mahogany L. Browne and features Kahlil Almustafa, Regie Cabico, Jamaal St John, Ion, Kirk Nugent, Andrew Tyree, Julian Curry, and special guests. 236 East 3rd St. (Between Ave B & C)
Everyone is excited to catch post-rock Japanes instrumentalists, Mono, at Bowery Ballroom tonight at 8:00pm ($15) but if you can't get a ticket head over to the Delancey to hear Man Bird Lion + Emma & the Swedes (FREE) while enjoying "Laid-Off-Mondays" – two-for-one drinks and free shot of tequilla with proof of unemployment.