March 4, 2012

Korallreven /Lemonade/Young Magic -The Bowery Ballroom -March 4th

Sunday night was one of those evenings when The Bowery Ballroom was expecting a low turnout. So, they did what they usually do by closing the balcony. I can't say I was pleased but lately I've been getting used to standing in front of the stage instead of taking pictures from above.

The overall show was kind of odd because it felt like the bands were being showcased, as opposed to performing an actual concert. What I mean is that not only were the opening bands set lists short but so were the headliners. Adding to that fact was the first opening band as well as the headlining band didn't say much more to the audience then "thank you" and "goodnight."

Young Magic 

Young Magic opened up the show with a mysterious intensity. From what I remember the band played a long intro, without introducing themselves, before sliding into "Slip Time" which had a musical theme that felt brilliantly playful and horrific at the same time. Young Magic is a Chillwave band out of Australia that now resides in Brooklyn (doesn't every musician.) The Chillwave label pretty much covers Young Magic's very wet and ambient, vocals-behind-the-music 80's synth pop sound which in my mind can also be labeled psychedelic.

Although I really liked everything they played, "You With Air" was my favorite in Young Magic's set. The song's title (chorus) is repeatedly sung by all three members with a breathy quality that sounds as if it expands and collapses. Isaac Emmanuel sang parts of the verses in a way that bordered on rap. Over all it was a very cool song.

The band moved through the somewhat percussive and very dreamy "Sparkly" which was my least favorite even though it's being promoted with a video on the band's MySpace page. The following song "Cobra" was the only song not on the band's current and only full length recording Melt. "Cobra" can actually be found on Maps, a compilation of remixes, b-sides and cuts that didn't make the album. Maps can be downloaded for free by going to Young Magic's website.

During Young Magic's last song was the point I figured out that their music was filled with musical imagery. The song's title was "Night in the Ocean," which is built around a repeating sample of descending diatonic chords that after awhile reminded my of rippling water.

Barring the fact that they could of talked a little more, I really enjoyed Young Magic and hopefully will be seeing them again.

Young Magic's set list
Slip Time
You With Air
Night In The Ocean

Young Magic are:
Isaac Emmanuel - Sampling,percussion, keys and vocals
Melati Malay - guitar and vocals
Michael Italia - drums, vocals and guitar


According to Wikipedia, Lemonade is an alternative dance band that started playing out in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2005. Upon release of their debut recording in 2008, the trio moved to Brooklyn. Currently, Lemonade is preparing to release a second CD which drops May 29th called "Diver."

Unlike the other two bands, lead vocalist Callan Clendenin did take time out to speak to the audience. He didn't do a monologue but at least he introduced the band's songs. However, he did say something I found curious which was that we weren't seeing the usual Lemonade set up.

Lemonades' songs went from mid-tempo ballads like "Neptune" to "Softkiss" which felt very House. I don't remember if Clendenin stated it or not but all the material Lemonade performed was from their forthcoming CD. Though I enjoyed Lemonade's dance pop sound, there was something about their set that didn't feel settled in. It may be due to what Clendenin alluded to or it may just be that they are just beginning to tour with the new material. Whatever the case, I hope to see the band again once the album's been released and they've toured with the new material.

Lemonade's Set List
Infinite Style
Ice Water
Big Changes

Lemonade are:
Callan Clendenin (vocals),
Ben Steidel (synths, bass)
Alex Pasternak (drums, programming)


Korallreven is a band out of Sweden; their name is the Swedish name for Coral Reef. I first became aware of the duo when their publicist sent me a digital copy of their CD. Not long after listening to the digital copy, I heard "The Truest Faith" playing at Starbucks where I usually sit to write postings for this blog.  I didn't immediately love Korallreven because it took me awhile to differentiate between most of their songs which contain the same musical sounds and textures.  But the duo eventually grew on me and I was really looking forward to seeing them.

Korallreven started their set with the prerecorded vocal loop done by Julianna Barwick on their record "Sa Sa Samoa." From that beginning intro Daniel Tjäder and his brother Niklas Tjäder eased into the song as Marcus Joons walked on stage making what looked like it was supposed to be but wasn't quite a grand entrance.

Joons, wearing white slacks, a blue print shirt and a flower over his right ear, looked very summer island casual. Unfortunately, he seemed a bit timid and looked very uncomfortable on stage. I know his vocals were supposed to seem meshed with the music but instead they seemed almost none existent.

Before doing "The Truest Faith," on which his vocals improved, Joons just stood there waiting D.Tjäder to start the song. A woman standing directly behind me, about 3 feet from the stage, kept yelling out "I like your flower." She said it several times. I was almost felt tempted to yell out "just smile and say thank you!" Joons seemed almost embarrassed and looked at D.Tjäder who gently smiled. (I got a sense that the two are lovers and more than the friends their bio suggests - but that's just conjecture.)

Daniel Tjäder was the only musician on stage showing any physicality by playing drums and guitar. So aside from him and the projections happening behind the them, Korallreven
gave the audience very little to look at. But, despite all that the audience seemed to be enjoying Korallreven's set until Joons announced that their 8th song was their last for the evening. The audience then booed, and booed again once Korallreven walked off stage.

That new song, "Trance," had a very techno feel with a lyric describing "a state of mind." It was a cool song but once it ended part of the audience continued to boo especially since they knew they weren't getting on encore. It's hard not to feel the audience's disappointment. We only really heard eight songs with the one of them being a recap of the opening song.

Concert-log is a blog about my concert experience; I'm not writing for the purpose of ragging on any artist or band. So, to be fair, I'm just going to say that I think that Korallreven has a wonderfully layered warm electronic sound but they need work on presenting their music in concert halls. The set Korallreven did felt like it might have been geared toward a dance club instead of concert hall. With a few small tweeks, and at least three more songs, Korallreven could have had the audience yelling for more.

Korallreven's Set List
Sa Sa Samoa I
The Truest Faith
Honey Mine
Sa Sa Samoa II
Keep Your Eyes Shut
As Young As Yesterday
Into Trance

set list taken from stage where Daniel Tjäder stood

Korallreven are:
Marcus Joons - vocals
Daniel Tjäder - laptop, keyboards
Niklas Tjäder - guitar and percussion

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