A2G’s Art Picks for New York in May 2015

Posted by The G on May 12, 2015 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos and words by G.  Art by Various Artists.

Spring has arrived in New York (thank god!) and now that you can leave your dwelling without wearing 10 layers and still freezing your ass off, take yourself on an art adventure!  Here’s a handful of exhibits you should see, According to G.

David Shrigley

David Shrigley

David Shrigley by David Shrigley at Anton Kern Gallery, located at 532 West 20th Street.  Now showing through May 23, 2015.

Beau - Mechanical Shark Week

Beau – Mechanical Shark Week

“Mechanical Shark Week” by BEAU at Ami Li Projects, located at 66 Mott Street in Chinatown through June 3, 2015.

Cecily Brown at Maccarone

Cecily Brown at Maccarone

“The English Garden” by Cecily Brown at Maccarone, located at 98 Morton Street through June 20, 2015.

Ron English Mural Bowery and Houston

Ron English “Baby Hulk” Mural Bowery and Houston

Ron English’s “Baby Hulk” Mural at the corner of Bowery and Houston.  Ongoing (at least until June, 2015) and viewable 24/7.

Closeup of "Baby Hulk" by Ron English

Closeup of “Baby Hulk” by Ron English.  Click to enlarge!

Click on the photo to see all the awesome (and hilarious detail).

Christopher Wool at Luhring Augustine

Christopher Wool at Luhring Augustine (Chelsea exhibit pictured)

Christopher Wool at Luhring Augustine.  Located at 531 West 24th Street in Manhattan and 25 Knickerbocker Ave., Brooklyn.  Through June 20, 2015.

Yayoi Kusama - Give Me Love 5

Yayoi Kusama – Give Me Love

“Give Me Love” by Yayoi Kusama at David Zwirner, located at 519 & 525 West 19th Street through June 13, 2015.

Dan Flavin

Dan Flavin

Brancusi: Pioneer of American Minimalism (Featuring historically significant works by Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Ryman and Frank Stella), at Paul Kasmin Gallery located at 515 West 27th Street until July 10, 2015.

The Luminous Poem by Airan Kang

The Luminous Poem by Airan Kang

“The Luminous Poem” by Airan Kang at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, located at 505 West 24th Street through June 13, 2015.

The Whitney Museum.  Now Located in the Meat Packing District.

The Whitney Museum. Now Located in the Meat Packing District.  Photo by Gail Worley.

The Whitney Museum,  now located at 99 Gansevoort Street in New York.

Happy Spring!

Spring 2015 Tulips

Spring 2015 Tulips

 

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Review: Spandau Ballet’s First New York Show in 30 Years

Posted by The G on May 4, 2015 under G Reviews | 2 Comments to Read

Photos and words by G.

From left to right:  Martin Kemp, Steve Norman, Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley - Spandau Ballet!

From left to right: Martin Kemp, Steve Norman, Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley – Spandau Ballet!

This much is true – to say I loved every second of Spandau Ballet’s first full concert in New York in 30 years is an understatement.  The British quintet played a sold out show at New York’s legendary Beacon Theatre on May 2, 2015 and everything about the night was legendary.

Tony Hadley and Steve Norman

Tony Hadley and Steve Norman

Aside from being a fan of Spandau Ballet since I was young, lead singer Tony Hadley was the first rock star I ever did a phone interview with (which you can read here and here), which is something I will probably never entirely get over, and at the time he was doing a solo tour where he exclusively added “Chant No. 1″ to his setlist for readers of According2g.com!  I also want to throw out there that if you can hear Tony Hadley’s cover of “Life on Mars” by David Bowie, he sings the hell out of that chours and you should really try to track it down because it’s amazing.  But I digress… Seeing that show made me fall in love with Spandau Ballet all over again and I kept hope alive that they would one day tour the USA again.  On May 2, all New York fans got their wish and Spandau Ballet reunited for their first show in 30 years!

Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet

Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet

If you know nothing of the group, the Spandau Ballet story has been depicted in the excellent documentary “Soul Boys of the Western World,” and in it, you’ll hear about their global success with massive hits such as “True” and “Gold,” as well as their 20 year hiatus, which saw an acrimonious break up over song royalties.  They have since patched up their differences and they showed the audience exactly why they became superstars over 30 years ago.

Martin and Gary Kemp

Martin and Gary Kemp

I am not sure what magic elixir the Soul Boys have tasted from, but they look and sound better than ever.  Their 2 hour set was a mutual love fest, as the audience lost their minds when the hits were played and Spandau Ballet seemed so relaxed and humbled by the response of the crowd.

Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet

Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet

Tony Hadley’s voice showed no signs of aging and as the night went on, you realize how many of their songs have extremely high notes, and Tony nailed every single one of them flawlessly, and if I may suggest it, I think Tony Hadley’s voice sounds better now than it did on the records!  Songs from every stage of their career were played, from the new track “Soul Boy” to their reunion song “Once More” as well as some of their earliest songs such as “Reformation,” “Mandolin” and “The Freeze.”

Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet

Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet

The “secret weapon” of the band is Steve Norman who not only played those amazing sax solos you remember from so many Spandau hits, but he also sang back up, played guitar and percussion!

Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet

Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet

In between playing global smashes like “Communication,” “Highly Strung,” “Only When You Leave,” “To Cut A Long Story Short,” “Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On),” “Instinction,” “Lifeline,” “True” and “Gold” (which was played both acoustically and with the full band – and made the audience go absolutely bonkers both times), Tony Hadley played a bit of percussion.

Gary Kemp

Gary Kemp

Gary Kemp promised the crowd that it will not be another 30 years before we get to see Spandau Ballet perform again and I speak for all Spandau fans by saying “YES!!!!!!!”  When the show was over, the audience didn’t want to see the band go, and the crowd rushed the stage and the band shook hands with members of the audience for several minutes before retreating back stage.  Despite having seen Eric Clapton the night before in concert, this was the most fun I’ve had at a show in quite some time.

Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet

Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet

Thanks again to the Soul Boys for an amazing night and again, on behalf of all Spandau Ballet fans, we look forward to many more new albums and tours!  PS.  Original drummer John Keeble is in the band, but I had a bad vantage point to get a decent photo (despite being in the 5th row), so apologies that he is not pictured.

The setlist was: Soul Boy / Highly Strung / Only When You Leave / How Many Lies? / Round and Round / This Is the Love / Steal / Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) / Reformation / Mandolin / Confused / The Freeze / To Cut a Long Story Short / Raw / Glow / Empty Spaces / Gold (acoustic) / Once More / I’ll Fly For You / Instinction / Communication / Lifeline / True.

Encore: Through The Barricades / Gold.

Review: Eric Clapton’s 70th Birthday Concert at Madison Square Garden (Night One)

Posted by The G on under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos and words by G.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton!  The legendary rocker celebrated his 70th birthday (a bit late as his actual birthday is March 30) with a pair of sold out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  I attended the first show on May 1, 2015.  I’ve seen nearly every living rock and roll legend in some fashion over the years, but this was my first glimpse of Eric Clapton, so you can imagine my excitement.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

Saying very little to the crowd (aside from “thank yous” after each song), Eric Clapton brought out his first guest star 3 songs in – John Mayer.  The two jammed on the song “Pretending.”   For what Clapton lacked in saying in words, he sure made up for it by playing some amazing guitar solos all night that let you know without a doubt you made the right choice by attending the concert.

John Mayer

John Mayer and Jimmie Vaughan

John Mayer was not the only guest of the night as Clapton also brought out Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks.  Also in his band was Paul Carrack, who sang a few songs including “You Are So Beautiful.”  Clapton also saluted Ben E. King, who died earlier in the day and dedicated “Driftin’ Blues” to him.

Doyle Bramhall, Derek Trucks

Doyle Bramhall, Derek Trucks

Aside from the absence of Cream songs, Eric Clapton played songs from all eras of his career from “Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith to the acoustic rendition of “Layla” that he’d made famous decades earlier with his group Derek and the Dominoes.  He also played “Tears in Heaven,” which resulted in tears in Madison Square Garden from the audience as the song is about the death of his child.

Clapton Unplugged

Clapton Unplugged

Other highlights of the night were covers of “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” “Cross Road Blues” “Hoochie Coochie Man” as well as “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Cocaine.”  You can imagine how cool it was to have the whole of Madison Square Garden shout out in unison – “COCAINE!”  The show ended with an all star jam on the Joe Cocker cover “High Time We Went.”  Eric Clapton told the audience that this was the best birthday he’s ever had and with that, the 2 hour show was over.

The Finale at Eric Clapton's 70th birthday show

The Finale at Eric Clapton’s 70th birthday show (from left: Eric’s backing singers, Paul Carrack, John Mayer, Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, Nathan East)

The setlist was:

Somebody’s Knocking / Keys to the Highway / Pretending (with John Mayer) / Hoochie Coochie Man / You Are So Beautiful (with Paul Carrack) / Can’t Find My Way Home (with Nathan East) / I Shot The Sheriff / Driftin’ Blues (acoustic) / Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (acoustic) / Tears In Heaven (acoustic) / Layla (acoustic) / Before You Accuse Me (with Jimmie Vaughan) / Wonderful Tonight / Let it Rain (with Derek Trucks and Doyle Brahmhall II) / Cross Road Blues / Little Queen of Spades / Cocaine.

Encore: High Time We Went (all star jam)

Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Clapton

Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Clapton

Penguin Prison is back!

Posted by The G on March 13, 2015 under G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison

Great news music fans!  Penguin Prison is back!  After touring the world as a DJ and producing remixes for the likes of Lana Del Rey and Imagine Dragons (just to name a few), Chris Glover and his band Penguin Prison have announced their second album “Lost In New York,” which drops on May 5, 2015.  Penguin Prison debuted a handful of new tracks at a sold out show, their first full band show in 2 years, at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on March 12, 2015.  If you liked the funky and extremely catchy dance/ pop songs on their debut, you will not be disappointed with the material on “Lost in New York.”  Pre-order the new album at this link (which will open in a new window).

You can stream the new track “Try To Lose” below.

 

After the show, Chris revealed that Penguin Prison will be playing Music Hall of Williamsburg some time during the release week for “Lost In New York,” so be sure you don’t miss it.  Welcome back Penguin Prison!  We’ve missed you!!!

Penguin Prison - Rough Trade Setlist

Penguin Prison – Rough Trade Setlist

The setlist was:

Calling Out (new song) / Golden Train / The Worse It Gets / Try To Lose (new song) / Multi-Millionaire / Caught In A Daze (new song) / Never Gets Old (new song) / Don’t Tell Me (new song) / Show Me The Way (new song) / Don’t Fuck With My Money.

Encore:

Hollywood

 

Report: “Bjork” at MoMA

Posted by The G on March 9, 2015 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.  Various Artists.

Bjork wears Marjan Pejoski’s Swan Dress (2001)

Bjork wears Marjan Pejoski’s Swan Dress (2001)

As a big fan of singer/artist Bjork, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Museum of Modern Art would host a “mid-career retrospective” on the Icelandic goddess in 2015.  I will report on the exhibit in a moment because by now, if you’ve seen any press on this exhibit, it has been overwhelmingly negative.  I have to agree, but only because Bjork is such a unique and amazing artist, the exhibit does not do her career much justice, especially to those who use this exhibit to get an education in all things Bjork.  I enjoyed myself, but for a retrospective, so many great possibilities for a wonderful exhibit fell through the cracks.

Partial gallery view of Bjork's singles covers.

Partial gallery view of Bjork’s singles covers.

The show opened to the public on March 8, 2015, so naturally Gail of Worleygig and I checked the show out on the first day.  I cannot say this is how your experience will go, but we got to the museum around 11 o’clock am and our timed ticket to view the exhibit was for 12:45, but you may want to prepare for a longer line, just in case.  The exhibit consists of 3 parts:  1. A screening room with a video for the song “Black Lake,” which has been specially commissioned for this exhibit.  The video is about 10 minutes long and is about Bjork’s breakup with artist Matthew Barney (whose collaborations with Bjork are ignored in the exhibit).  Second (and this is what you need timed tickets for) is “Songlines,” a quasi-immersive experience into each of Bjork’s solo albums, featuring handwritten lyrics, costumes and miscellaneous ephemera from her solo work.  Last, a screening room features all of Bjork’s music videos (though her last album “Biophilia”).

Bjork - All Is Full of Love

Bjork – All Is Full of Love

I guess this is as good as any place to start talking about what the exhibit lacks.  Bjork’s early career is completely ignored – from her childhood singing (she released her first album in 1977, in case you didn’t know) to her beginnings in various Icelandic punk bands (and one of them was called Tippi Tikarrass which translates to “Cork the Bitch’s Ass.”  The public at large should be educated in this!)  Also ignored, the band that put Bjork on the world map in the late 1980s – The Sugarcubes.  Instead, you start with Bjork’s solo album “Debut” (1993).  You walk through a hallway that features running loops of each of Bjork’s tours – packaged in a room that is not conducive to spending lots of time and makes the non-diehard gloss over the amazing performance artist that Bjork is in concert.  You are given a headset and you get to hear a story that has nothing to do with the recording of the music and instead tells you the journey of a girl, whose story may or may not be true, but again taking the focus away from all the rules Bjork was breaking as she embarked on her solo career – working with cutting edge producers, making artistic videos, making singles that had extremely diverse (even if sometimes annoying) remixes, her usage of interesting artwork for her releases and most of all, her carving out a place in the music landscape with her unique lyrics and quirky personality, never selling out by going mainstream and always remaining a true avant-garde artist.

Bjork - Venus as a Boy Lyrics

Bjork – Venus as a Boy Lyrics

Typically each room focuses on one of her solo albums (aside from the remix album “Telegram,” the soundtrack to her collaboration with Matthew Barney “Drawing Restraint 9″ her own “Selmasongs” record, which is the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed film she starred in called “Dancer in the Dark” and even the “Army of Me” cover album, where 20 versions of that song which were submitted by fans and the moneys from the project went to 2004 Tsunami victim relief).  The exhibit does not benefit from having the music videos separated from the props on display from each album because as you see the evolution of her videos, you will also hear the evolution of her music.  For the die-hards, we already know this, but to someone discovering the world of Bjork for the first time, they have to dig really deep to get some answers, and Bjork’s music can be extremely challenging at times.  Besides, seeing clips of appropriate videos would at least give the uninitiated a bigger clue into what Bjork is all about, as they are not likely to sit down for 2 hours to watch Bjork’s videos in a separate part of the museum.

Bjork by Alexander McQueen

Bjork by Alexander McQueen

Some of the most iconic outfits Bjork has worn are on display from a dress made by Alexander McQueen to the infamous Swan Dress, and in fact, the mannequins look eerily like Bjork.  There’s nothing in the exhibit to tell you how she ended up working with these people or how the costumes fit into the theme from the album.  Also absent are sales figures, track lists, several officially released coffee table books about Bjork’s work, awards and any sort of mention of her collaborations with the likes of Thom Yorke of Radiohead or writing the title track for Madonna’s album “Bedtime Stories.”  Even the groundbreaking interactive “Biophilia” app, which was acquired by MoMA, doesn’t even make an appearance!  Whoever curated this exhibit did a huge disservice to Bjork’s career.

Bjork - Biophilia Era

Bjork – Biophilia Era

The items on display are certainly cool and interesting, and if you are a die-hard, seeing so many infamous Bjork-items are a treat, so I enjoyed the exhibit, as did Gail, a lover of art and not a huge fan of Bjork’s music.  However, there have been many exhibits where I was unfamiliar with the artist on display as I walked into the show and when I left, I felt I had a much better understanding of their work.  With this Bjork show, it is definitely not the case.

Bjork - Volta Era

Bjork – Volta Era

I think you can appreciate this exhibit no matter what your level of Bjork fandom, but if you don’t take the time to dig deep with her work, which many viewers will not, the true artistry of Bjork’s career will not be seen or heard, and that is a tragedy.  Let us know what you think if you go in the comments section.

Bjork” at MoMa runs through June 7, 2015.

Bjork - Volta Era

Bjork – Volta Era

Bjork - Joga Costume

Bjork – Joga Costume

Bjork - Hyperballad Shoes

Bjork – Hyperballad Shoes

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