I go to a lot of concerts. Most “new” bands I go see are based on being open minded and interested to see if a ‘buzz band’ lives up to the hype. More often than not, I am pleasantly surprised. If you know me, you will know that I am VERY easy to please. I want to be entertained. I want the rocker to do their job and turn a complete stranger (me) into a fan after walking into the concert with little or no knowledge of their music in advance of seeing them right before my eyes. That is not too much to ask for. My track record for this formula has resulted on me falling on the ‘love’ side so much more than the ‘dislike’ side, but occasionally I make a huge error in judgment. Before you call me a hater for the sake of hating, please send me a list of the concerts you’ve been to in the last 5 years and if it is not more than several hundred a year like I’ve been to, I am discrediting your opinion. With that being said, I saw Swedish duo Icona Pop at an allegedly sold out show at New York’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on September 25, 2013. There were scalpers for days outside the venue, unable to unload their tickets and inside the venue, there was ample room to move around, which is not the norm when a show is actually sold out.
Typically when I dislike a show as much as I disliked Icona Pop, I tend not to waste my time and energy by writing a shitty review. But I just feel like I need to warn you, dear readers, not to waste your money with this band. First off, calling Icona Pop a ‘band’ is a huge stretch. Performing to backing tracks, I was not entirely sure if they were singing live, however, hearing their voices crack several times, throughout their paltry hour long set, I am sure the microphones were at least turned on occasionally.
Aino Jawo (on the right in the above picture) pretended to play guitar (it wasn’t plugged into anything) and Caroline Hjelt (on the left in the above picture) pretended to play keyboards while flashing lights did their best to distract the audience from the fact that they paid $25 (plus service fees) to hear their 2 minute mega-hit “I Love It,” which was smartly and obviously the last song of the night. It looked like people tried to be into the show at first, but once the audience realized that Icona Pop have one good song (and they didn’t even write it), the crowd looked bored and everyone resumed texting instead of watching the show.
The crowd got thinner and thinner as the night wore on because it became apparent early on that “I Love It” would be saved for last and their music was not good enough to satisfy the crowd. I will say that the lighting was nice and it certainly was a good distraction from focusing on how bad Icona Pop’s music is, but you can see cool lighting on your computer screen and not waste your time trekking out to Brooklyn on a week night to do so! There were a few botched attempts at crowd sing-a-longs when the audience didn’t appear to get the words right or in time, but it matched the numerous times Icona Pop screwed up the lyrics of their own songs too. Throughout the whole show, the crowd all but shouted out “One Hit Wonder” after each song, but for those that were left, when they finally got around to playing “I Love It,” the crowd finally came alive. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.
Sadly, I felt the merch table was the best part of the show, but I just didn’t envision myself forking out $25 on a shirt that says “I Love It,” when in actuality, I loathed it. When Icona Flop Pop comes to your town, on what will possibly be the new group’s farewell tour, do yourself a favor and skip it!
Icona Pop – The Merch
The setlist was:
We Got the World /In the Stars / Then We Kiss /Good for You / Girlfriend /New Song /Manners /On the Road Again /Top Rated /Weekend /All Night
Do not think that is a typo. Scottish synth-pop trio Chvrches (pronounced “Churches”) will not be releasing their debut album until September 2013, but they are gaining huge momentum by already selling out some medium sized venues in New York, including June 18, 2013 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. All their music sounds pretty similar, so if you like this song, you will like every song by Chvrches. Just press play and maybe you’ll fall in love!
If you like disco or funky grooves, become a fan of Escort. The 17 piece band (yes!) performed to a packed house at Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 24, 2013 and for an hour and a half, the venue was transformed into a giant dance floor. All of Escort’s songs make you groove and you’d swear these tracks were originally released in the 70s, yet they are Escort originals. Escort has everything you’d want in a funky band – amazing grooves, a horn section, great backing vocals and all upbeat songs! The world is currently buzzing about the new Daft Punk album as there are some Chic-esque tracks courtesy of their collaborations with Nile Rodgers but for me, it’s all about Escort. Their songs absolutely transcendent and I guarantee that when you check out their music, you will have no choice but to bust a move.
The Disco Ball!
I spoke with lead singer Adeline Michele after the show and I told her that I’ve seen Prince perform over 50 times and Escort’s grooves definitely give Prince a run for his money! We both fantasized out loud that it would be amazing to see Escort open for Prince some day, so Prince if you are out there, please make this happen!
After the jump, see the setlist (which included a disco-fied cover of “Hollywood,” the Chris Glover of Penguin Prison/RAC collaboration that was given away for free last year). Thanks again Escort for a great show! Can’t wait to see you again!
Ms. Lauryn Hill is amazing! She’s only released a few albums in her career but they are genius. She is sometimes as noted for her outbursts in the press and her reclusive nature as much as her music and she may be serving prison time for tax problems. With that kind of reputation and an amazing career, you’d think she might not be the friendliest person around, but I am here to tell you, Ms. Lauryn Hill was absolutely delightful in person. She gladly signed autographs and took photos with a couple of fans who waited quite a while to meet her. As she signed album covers, she told us some of the behind the scenes stories about the photo shoots and was not rushed at all. I was so pleasantly surprised by how cool she was and we returned the love because a talent like hers does not come around very often. Thanks so much Ms. Hill! I really hope she avoids serving a prison term because we all know that paying taxes is the equivalent of taking a torch to your hard earned money, but that’s a conversation for a different day. As I said to Ms. Hill, I hope to see her again very soon and no matter how long it takes or what happens before she comes around again, myself and her legion of fans be waiting for her! Thanks again Lauryn! Love you sister!
The Johnny Marr concert last week in Brooklyn was so epic, it’s hard to even put it into words. Just to see Johnny play the guitar was a treat, but also his new solo album “The Messenger” is great, he played a handful of Smiths songs, Andy Rourke of The Smiths guested on stage giving us probably the closest thing to a Smiths reunion that we’ll ever see and also did a pair of songs by Electronic! Wow! The video you are about to see is “Getting Away With It,” the first single by supergroup Electronic. The studio version of the song is a duet between Bernard Sumner of Joy Division and New Order and Neil Tenant of Pet Shop Boys and as you are about to see, Johnny Marr makes it his own! Go Johnny, go!