jump to navigation

The Pines, City Winery, NYC: Into the sky where falling stars disappear March 29, 2012

Posted by Anton A in American music, Pines.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

The Pines are, at the core, the duo of Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt. (For those who follow pedigrees, Benson is the son of Bo Ramsey, who produces recordings and plays guitar for folk legend Greg Brown.) The two hail from Iowa and are currently based in Minneapolis. A rotating cast fills out the band; five musicians enhanced their latest album, Dark So Gold. For this tour, the duo played acoustic guitars and were accompanied by Benson’s brother Alex Ramsey on keyboards.

The Pines’ music is haunting and hypnotic. They sing of fading Midwestern landscapes, darkling skies over endless farms in the spaces that their characters inhabit. Their voices and guitars harmonize brilliantly, as if to emphasize that something always shines, however fleetingly, in the night. Their lyrics evoke a world of constant change where relationships that may or may not last are the only saving grace.

This is not a band that will leave you stomping and grinning; they’re nonetheless compelling. They touch something real in every song with the textures that they build from such sparse elements. They’re creating the most interesting folk-based music that I’ve heard in a long time. I won’t hesitate to see them again.

Advertisements

The Church, City Winery, NYC: An Intimate Space April 22, 2010

Posted by Anton A in Australian music, Church.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment
The Church show was incredible, of course, how could it be anything else? They were so on top of every song. Marty played Rickenbacker bass on quite a few of them while Kilbey either played guitar or simply sang. Peter switched between 12 string, 6 string, mandolin, & keys; he also had a neckstand harmonica for several tunes, including the “lead” break in Milky Way. Powles was brilliant despite an injured right hand, which he had wrapped in bandage tape for the performance.
 
We fans all know the setlist already but I’ll post it again below. So many amazing moments. Marty pounding on a kettle drum to punctuate Space Needle. The whole band just rocking the hell out of Invisible, probably the best performance of the night, but there were many contenders. Comedown was gorgeous, 10,000 Miles shimmered, and they drained everything out of the encore set. It’s remarkable, the richness & sonic depth they created with such sparse instrumentation & their voices.

We hung out for an hour & a half after the show ended, chatted with Tim & Marty and unexpectedly wound up in a long conversation with Peter Koppes. (Kilbey made a brief appearance in the room but kept himself backstage for the most part.) The City Winery had bottled a special Church wine with a “Deadman’s Wine” label, which they sold at the bar; during the show, Kilbey urged us to buy a bottle & stay afterwards to get the labels autographed, at which point we could sell it on eBay. My friend Landon bought a bottle so that was a natural lead-in to speaking with the guys, though we never got to Kilbey. They were all very gracious, & we could have gotten Steve to sign if we’d moved faster.

After getting the signatures, Landon would proceed to tell everyone about the tea book he is writing; that stuck a chord with Peter, who is a fellow tea drinker. He gave Landon a quote for the book (I think it was “I’ve never regretted drinking any cup of tea”) & the conversation spiralled out from there. Peter says that the one Australian band we need to listen to, apart from The Church, is Ice House.

Marty confirmed that, for the next tour, they are thinking of doing a “classic album” run, playing one old album & one new one straight through, likely Starfish and Untitled #23. He stresses that this is far from definite so don’t get too excited yet.

Afterwards, still exhilarated, we walked up from Vandam St. through the Village to where I was parked at 5th Ave. & 18th St.  I got home at 2:30. THAT was a New York City night.

A note about the club: it’s like what BB King’s ought to be if that place were properly run. You’re still packed in but the tables aren’t quite so close together. The staff is, without exception, pleasant & courteous. The servers time their movements so that they do stuff between songs & during the set breaks; someone has obviously put thought into that aspect of running the club & they do a great job of minimizing distractions from the performance. I would not hesitate to see other acts there.

Finally: 

Set 1: Pangaea, Space Needle, Reptile, Ionian Blues, The Unguarded Moment, Appalatia, Invisible, Louisiana, Comedown, My Little Problem
 
Set 2: Mistress, Metropolis, Under the Milky Way, Already Yesterday, 10,000 Miles, Fly, Almost With You, Tear It All Away

Encores: Disarm, Space Saviour, Grind