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Shows, Shows, Shows: The Low Anthem, Frontier Ruckus, Matthew And The Atlas, Melanie Penn and Andrew Gregory

July 11, 2011

Our list of great Americana shows in NYC this summer is far from over, but I wanted to recap some of the good stuff I’ve seen so far…

  • The Low Anthem at Music Hall of Williamsburg – key takeaway: all of these guys play everything. It almost made me dizzy to watch them switch out instruments. While the sound at the Music Hall that night could have been a little better, I was spellbound at the variety in the set, which included soft quiet numbers like “Charlie Darwin” and louder rock songs like “Boeing 737.”
  • Frontier Ruckus at The Mercury Lounge – seeing these guys with a crowd of about 100 people made for a really intimate show. Unfortunately, there were some Michigan folks there that only paid attention when the band said something about their home state of Michigan and otherwise just chatted away (even during some off-the-mic songs). That sucked, but band’s set still gripped most of the crowd with their mesmerizing lyrics and fun stage presence. One bummer: they didn’t play Dark Autumn Holler, which is my ring tone.
  • Matthew And The Atlas at The Rock Shop – whoa. WHOA. These guys are absolutely incredible. This show, which followed by another at The Mercury Lounge the same week, totally blew me away. Few of the crowd members knew the songs off of the band’s two EPs, but all jaws were dropped at how polished the sound was. I got the chance to chat with the band after the show and they couldn’t have been nicer.
  • Melanie Penn & Andrew Rose Gregory at Rockwood Music Hall – somehow Melanie Penn and Andrew Gregory each (individually) both wrote albums inspired by the Old Testament’s Song of Songs. Melanie kicked off the night with a solid group of accompaniments before she hopped on a plane to record her album in Nashville. The range of her voice and the depth of her writing built some heavy anticipation for the new album. Andrew Gregory followed with a stunning and impactful arrangement of songs. His band included his family (The Gregory Brothers), Justin KellerBrian T. Murphy and others. The set moved back and forth from quiet ballads to brassy numbers to tell this ancient story of love with a Sufjan-esque sound.
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