Over the past week, I took in two shows that were quite different from each other but equally enjoyable. Read on for my thoughts about seeing Crocodiles at Glasslands and Town Hall's album release show at The Studio at Webster Hall.
Crocodiles are preparing for the June 5th release of their new album Endless Flowers, and I'm sure a few cuts from it were played live. I'm only really familiar with the single "Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9)" from the upcoming work – check out the new video for the song below – but of the new stuff that did surface, it all fit together quite well with the rest of the set. The band is tight and in command when performing. It felt like a treat to see them in a venue like Glasslands when their energy, sound, and skill could easily translate to much larger stages. Singer Brandon Welchez was a compelling frontman and the group's fusion of different styles into a fresh brand of indie rock sounded very good live. I really dug the opening act Endless Summers out of Roanoke, VA as well. They played brisk, catchy indie pop numbers and would definitely be worth checking out if they come back through NYC in the future.
At the Studio at Webster Hall, Town Hall put on a big party for the release of their debut full-length album Roots and Bells. Their excitement was infectious, and it was a great atmosphere. Joined by friends, family, and a large crowd of fans, the band played two sets, a more subdued acoustic set to open the night and a more rocking one to close it out. All of the band members couldn't have been more proud to have their album out, which you can all check out here. The songs from it sounded really good. Some were flat out stunning. And several of their enjoyable covers made appearances in the sets, including Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" and Ja Rule & Ashanti's "Always on Time" (which we've shared here on Valentine's Day).
I hope Town Hall continues to make music for a long time. Besides their talent, I liked that the band had some fun ideas to share their music and "incentivize" the live show. Throughout the night, they sold raffle tickets, but instead of numbers, each had a fortune on it. The prizes included CD and vinyl versions of Roots And Bells, a large portrait of the band, the chance to have the band cook you dinner, and the chance to choose the band's next cover song. All of this is very cool. They also created a very communal atmosphere by sharing the spotlight quite generously with their friends in other bands: Flearoy and Emefe. Various performers helped out in each other's sets and it was announced that some had helped Town Hall make their album. This collaborative spirit is awesome. Flearoy played blues-rock with Southern elements, Emefe is a ten-piece funk/world/jazz explosion and both bands really tore it up. There was even a performance of "I'm Just a Bill" from Schoolhouse Rock.
All told, both shows were a lot of fun and just a small glimpse at the amazing things happening on any given night in New York. But wherever you are, we hope you keep on digging your live scene. Also, be sure to look for some more exciting things featuring Town Hall on Those Who Dig in a few weeks and you can expect plenty more concert coverage of NYC and Baltimore from the digsters.