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The Big Takeover Issue #87
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Boston Calling 2016 - Sia, Robyn, Haim, etc - May 27-28, 2016

31 May 2016

The final chapter of Boston Calling to be held in the brick-lined plaza at City Hall features Sia, Robyn, Sufjan Stevens and a host of others.

Rogue Wave with Hey Marseilles - Thalia Hall (Chicago) - May 26, 2016

27 May 2016

Rogue Wave and Hey Marseilles deliver masterful sets at Thalia Hall, setting off a great series of summer shows in Chicago.

Palehound with Pinkwash and Ursula - The Beat Kitchen (Chicago) - May 20th, 2016

22 May 2016

Palehound delivered a fantastic set at The Beat Kitchen on May 20th, one that lends great credence to the band’s future success.

Parquet Courts 2/18/16

Parquet Courts – Triple Rock Social Club (Minneapolis) – Thursday, February 18, 2016

20 March 2016

A great live band leaves its ancestors in the dust, then channels The Saints.

The Decemberists with Lucius – Radio City Music Hall (New York, NY) – Friday, September 25, 2015

16 December 2015

As this Portland, OR theatrical troupe’s peerless performance proved, glimpsing a papal motorcade was not the only way for New Yorkers to experience divine intervention on this night.

Premature Burial - Record Release Party @ Secret Project Robot (Brooklyn, NY) December 10, 2015

15 December 2015

To celebrate the release of their excellent debut album, The Conjuring, NYC experimental jazz trio, Premature Burial, assembled a group of like-minded musicians for an eclectic night of captivating performances.

Parquet Courts, Pill and Psychic Blood - 3S Artspace, Portsmouth NH - Saturday, December 5, 2015

14 December 2015

The frenetic strumming of The Feelies in full force, married to the upturned lip sneer of Richard Hell and the je ne sais fuck you of Lou Reed.

Haroula Rose – Rockwood Music Hall (New York, NY) – Saturday, September 12, 2015

22 November 2015

With honking horns, squealing sirens, and rowdy revelers creating a headache-inducing clamor just outside the venue on busy Allen Street, the affable, angelic-voiced Rose turned cozy Rockwood Music Hall into a comforting, cathartic refuge.

Ride with The Besnard Lakes – The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ) – Wednesday, September 23, 2015

17 November 2015

With ‘90s UK shoegaze scene stalwarts still speechless from seeing Slowdive’s first U.S. shows in 20 years in 2014, Oxford foursome Ride’s announcement of their first U.S. tour in 23 years sent shockwaves spiraling even further.

Titus Andronicus, Spider Bags, and Baked: a night at the Biltmore with bev davies

6 October 2015

The most striking moment was seeing a couple hundred people shouting along in the most rapturous manner imaginable with the lyric, “you will always be a loser.”

Belle & Sebastian with Real Estate – Radio City Music Hall (New York, NY) – Wednesday, June 10, 2015

4 October 2015

The 19-year-old Glasgow, Scotland group pulled out all the stops at the historic, 6000-capacity Radio City Music Hall, with practically every song accompanied by some elaborate visual bells and whistles.

Riot Fest: Day 2 (Douglas Park, Chicago, IL) – Saturday, September 12, 2015

30 September 2015

Many have crowned Riot Fest as Chicago’s best-curated music festival of the year. The opportunity to see back-to-back sets by Echo & the Bunnymen, funk maestro Bootsy Collins’ Rubber Band and country music legend Merle Haggard was too wonderfully eclectic to miss, crowned shortly afterward by a stage-shredding performance from Iggy Pop.

Boston Calling @ City Hall Plaza (Boston) - September 25-27, 2015

30 September 2015

Boston Calling’s wildly varying lineup tries to be all things to all people and somehow succeeds.

Wire – Union Transfer (Philadelphia, PA) – Friday, June 5, 2015

19 September 2015

Thanks to Union Tranfer’s translucent acoustics, every one of the jagged, sharp-edged riffs bursting from the guitars of frontman Colin Newman and his younger, newer cohort Matthew Simms came through loud and clear.

Jenny Hval 9/1/15

Jenny Hval with Briana Marela – 7th Street Entry (Minneapolis, MN) – Tuesday, September 1, 2015

16 September 2015

Arguably the most death anyone’s ever attempted in music.

Royal Headache, Sheer Mag, The Channels @ Great Scott - Monday, August 24, 2015

11 September 2015

Royal Headache blows away a sold out Great Scott.

Beth Bombara with Everything Turned To Color – 68 Jay Street Bar (DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY) – Saturday, July 24, 2015

7 September 2015

Accompanied by her multi-instrumentalist husband Kit Hamon, Bombara delivered a 17-song early evening opening set that not only showcased the bulk of her 2015 self-titled third album, but plenty more from 2013’s Raise Your Flag EP and 2010’s Wish I Were You.

Lollapalooza Day 1: Paul McCartney (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Friday, July 31, 2015

1 August 2015

Paul McCartney closed the first day of Lollapalooza 2015 with nearly 130 minutes of beloved Beatles, Wings and solo material. He also sprung a few surprises.

Round Eye - Hank's Saloon (Brooklyn, NY) July 24, 2015

30 July 2015

Shanghai, China’s Round Eye returned to New York City in support of their stellar self-titled debut album on Ripping released earlier this year.

The Loft – NYC Popfest @ Cameo Gallery (Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY) – Friday, May 29, 2015

20 July 2015

The folks at NYC Popfest have a reputation for coaxing way-under-the-radar indie pop acts out of the woodwork for their annual shindig. But this criminally unheralded London foursome, playing their first U.S. show, was one of their more unexpected and welcome coups.

Rock The Garden (Minneapolis, MN) – Saturday-Sunday, June 20-21, 2015

6 July 2015

Two days, ten acts: thestand4rd, Lucius, Courtney Barnett, Conor Oberst, Belle & Sebastian, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, JD McPherson, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Babes in Toyland, and Modest Mouse.

Stephin Merritt 5/15/15

Stephin Merritt with Advance Base – Cedar Cultural Center (Minneapolis, MN) – Friday, May 15, 2015

30 June 2015

H is for Hundred Thousand Fireflies — Prolific writer sings his greatest song at last.

Beverly – NYC Popfest @ Cake Shop (New York, NY) – Thursday, May 28, 2015

26 June 2015

The trio of songs this Brooklyn group showcased from their 2014 debut LP Careers all profited from the forceful foursome’s potent punch and Drew Citron’s spirited, sweetly-lilted singing. But I was equally knocked out by the batch of new and/or unfamiliar songs they played.

Lady Lamb - 5/5/15

Lady Lamb – 7th Street Entry (Minneapolis, MN) – Tuesday, May 5, 2015

18 June 2015

A fully arrived performer is greeted by smiling strangers, watched by a few less than billions of eyes.

Death Cab for Cutie - 5/2/15

Death Cab for Cutie with The Antlers – Northrop Auditorium (Minneapolis, MN) – Saturday, May 2, 2015

16 June 2015

Let’s count the ways Ben Gibbard is like Neil Tennant. His eternally boyish and sedate voice has logged enough years to be beyond the reach of detractors, at last.

Boston Calling, Spring 2015: Day 3 with Pixies, Tenacious D, TV On The Radio, Vance Joy, Jason Isbell and more - Boston City Plaza - Sunday, May 24 2015

25 May 2015

The Pixies had a most triumphant homecoming, Jack Black played Jack Black, and both TV On The Radio and St. Vincent transmitted from an exotic, remote location.

BNLX – Cake Shop (New York, NY) – Tuesday, May 12, 2015

25 May 2015

Perhaps Philadelphia won this week’s Twin Cities sweepstakes by hosting The Replacements three days earlier, but BNLX ensured that New York received a similarly raucous and riveting runner-up.

Boston Calling, Spring 2015: Day 2 with My Morning Jacket, Ben Harper, St. Vincent and more - Boston City Plaza - Saturday, May 23 2015

24 May 2015

Photos from Day 2 of Boston Calling, featuring My Morning Jacket, Ben Harper and St. Vincent

Boston Calling, Spring 2015: Day 1 with Beck, Tame Impala, Sharon Van Etten - Boston City Plaza - Friday, May 22 2015

23 May 2015

The Spring edition Boston Calling kicks off with a shimmying set by Beck and a slightly dozy performance by Tame Impala.

Daphne Lee Martin with Cranston Dean and The Overgrowns – Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury Park, NJ) – Thursday, February 19, 2015

19 May 2015

With temperatures hovering around 0°F, New London, CT chanteuse Martin ensured that this show was worth the wearying weeknight trek and fleeting flirtations with frostbite.

Best Coast live at Higher Ground Ballroom S. Burlington, VT April 22, 2015

Best Coast with Swale - Higher Ground Ballroom (S. Burlington, VT) - April 22, 2015

24 April 2015

I know it’s only April and it snowed a little today but it still feels like summer because Best Coast just played my town.

Electric Wizard scares me: live at the Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver

19 April 2015

Hearing that Kasso’s victim kept insisting, while being stabbed to death, that he loved his mother, is heartbreaking, and no less so because I can imagine myself as a young man somewhere in this story, myself.

The Church with the Sharp Things, Bowery Ballroom, March 13, 2015

15 March 2015

The entire production was rather like a stoned symphony, with Kilbey as the ringmaster.

The Successful Failures with The Paper Jets – Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, PA) – Saturday, January 17, 2015

10 March 2015

The Chesterfield, NJ foursome played a blowout, 18-song opening set, including a handful from their fantastic new 2014 fifth album Captains of Industry, Captains of War.

The Damned with T.S.O.L. – The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ) – Saturday, November 1, 2014

8 March 2015

If this show at this long-running beachfront venue was not quite as epic in scope as their October 2011 show at NYC’s Irving Plaza, when they tore through their 1977 debut Damned Damned Damned and 1980 fourth LP The Black Album in their entireties, it was still just as scorching.

The New Lines, Jet Black, Soft Science, and Pale Lights – The Big Takeover 35th Anniversary Show @ Cake Shop (New York, NY) – Saturday, February 7, 2015

26 February 2015

By showcasing four up-and-coming, under-the-radar bands – all of which had new releases reviewed by energetic editor Jack Rabid in the mag’s last two issues – the night was as equally entertaining as The Big Takeover’s blowout, 15-band, two-day 30th anniversary festival at Brooklyn’s Bell House.

Dum Dum Girls with Ex Cops and Christines – Brooklyn Bowl (Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY) – Thursday, October 30, 2014

17 February 2015

Compared to their triumphant free show at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park the previous June, the Dum Dums’ follow-up NYC gig at this spacious Williamsburg venue/restaurant/bowling alley was a more low-key affair. But it was still heaps of fun, not least because it took place on the night before Halloween.

Alvvays – Boot & Saddle (Philadelphia, PA) – Monday, November 10, 2014

2 February 2015

This Toronto five-piece whipped through a short but sweet set, hitting every one of the their shimmering, surf-splashed self-titled debut LP’s songs save its closer “Red Planet.”

New Pornographers / Stars (First Avenue)

The New Pornographers | Stars – First Avenue (Minneapolis) – Nov. 12, 2014 | Nov. 19, 2014

20 January 2015

If I’d designed the variables and controls myself, I couldn’t have come up with any better experiment to discover a general principle of aging among touring artists.

New Year's Eve Bash - Beast of Bourbon (Brooklyn) December 31, 2014

7 January 2015

Since it opened, Beast of Bourbon in Bed-Stuy has proved to be not only an enticing neighborhood bar, but a great venue for events as well, so, logically, it was the spot of choice for New Year’s Eve, with no knowledge of what would be in store.

Poi Dog Pondering – City Winery (Chicago, IL) – Sunday, December 28, 2014

30 December 2014

Poi Dog Pondering recently wrapped a four-night stand at City Winery Chicago in support of new project Everybody’s Got a Star. Rock photographer Philamonjaro was on hand to document night three.

The Replacements – Forest Hills Tennis Stadium (Forest Hills, Queens, NY) – Friday, September 19, 2014

21 November 2014

While the long trek from New Jersey to Queens during Friday rush hour was a drag, and the outdoor stadium’s 10 o’clock curfew left the band scrambling for time, this show by these reunited Minneapolis marvels more than exceeded my expectations.

Teenage Fanclub – Hudson River Park @ Pier 84 (New York, NY) – Thursday, July 24, 2014

14 November 2014

This free mid-summer River Rocks soiree was a Murderer’s Row of Fanclub favorites, all dripping with their trademark three-part harmonies and Byrds-ian melodies.

Gruff Rhys - Brighton Music Hall - Friday, November 7, 2014

13 November 2014

Did the Welsh settle America? Find out what Prince Madog and John Evans have been up to.

Ty Segall 9/24/14

Ty Segall with La Luz – Turf Club (St. Paul, MN) – Wednesday, September 24, 2014

11 November 2014

In which Segall christens the remodeled Turf’s most distinctive and enduring feature and re-inaugurates the club as vital.

Pentagram, Bang, and Kings Destroy @ The Met - Providence, RI - Sunday, November 2, 2014

8 November 2014

The very roots of metal, on display in two different forms.

Mary Gauthier 9/14/14

Mary Gauthier and Sam Baker – Cedar Cultural Center (Minneapolis, MN) – Sunday, September 14, 2014

1 November 2014

“Music is just because you have to have it,” says the songwriter.

Live Review and Photos: Sharon Van Etten @ Thalia Hall in Chicago 10/10/2014

12 October 2014

Van Etten has also grown better at projecting her voice to fill larger venues in a way that doesn’t seem forced but more emotionally in depth in a way that makes the songs greater than ever. When she thanks her audience for coming, it’s just as heartfelt.