One of the great things about being a music news publication in New York City is that not only do we get to listen to great music from talented artists, but we also get the opportunity to see the music brought to life in a live atmosphere. Since NYC is a major city and a popular destination on many band's tour itineraries, we felt we should share with you our top ten acts that we were privileged enough to see (in no particular order):
Dawes & First Aid Kit at Central Park Summerstage in New York, NY on July 27, 2015
Los Angeles-based band Dawes stopped by Central Park's Summerstage on a beautiful night to rock our souls with great musicianship. They treated the crowd with songs from their 2015 album, All Your Favorite Bands, and dug out a few old gems for the longtime fans. Joining Dawes was Duane Betts on guitar, and First Aid Kit impressed as the opening band.
The Who Bring Their Hits to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on May 26, 2015
Not many bands stick around long enough to celebrate their 50th anniversary, but The Who aren't your ordinary rock and roll band. When they brought their The Who Hits 50! North American tour to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, they proved why they are one of the best. With original members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend in tow, they delivered a 2+ hour set jam packed with such hits as "Behind Blue Eyes," "Pinball Wizard," "Won't Get Fooled Again," and many more. It was a dynamic performance that left our ears ringing for days!
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters Rocked The Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC on September 18, 2015
While it looks like Led Zeppelin may never reform, we still have Robert Plant being as creative as ever and writing new music with his band, the Sensational Space Shifters. On tour for their 2014 album, lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar, the group delivered new material and treated the die-hard Zeppelin fans to such reworked classics like "Black Dog" and "Whole Lotta Love." One of rock's most iconic frontman lived up to his "god-like" status and delivered vocals with passion and authority.
Thunderbitch Delivered Raw, Sweaty Rock & Roll To The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on October 16, 2015
When we heard that Brittany Howard, vocalist and guitarist for rock band Alabama Shakes, was playing at a very small Brooklyn venue with her side project, Thunderbitch, we knew we HAD to be there! Switching from the soulful, southern rock sound she's become associated with in the Alabama Shakes, Thunderbitch allowed Brittney to tap into her more aggressive, garage / punk rock side. They played songs from their 2015 self-titled release, and they packed 110% energy. The performance was a sweaty mess, and worth every second to see one of music's most charismatic frontwoman up close and personal.
Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers and Andrew Combs Wowed The Crowd at Bowery Ballroom in New York City on August 28, 2015
On a beautiful August night, California band Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers delivered a set of Western country, '70s rock & roll, and late '60s psychedelic rock inspired songs to fans for their Loved Wild Lost tour. The night seemed to breeze by in a flash as people danced and sang along all night. Nicki Bluhm engaged the audience with laughter and a Stevie Nicks aura while her band performed a tight set that spanned the band's catalog.
Blackberry Smoke Bring Smokin’ Soulful Rock to Webster Hall, NYC Mar 28, 2015
Saturday night was a perfect time for Georgia band Blackberry Smoke to treat us New Yorkers to a heavy dose of Southern rock that recalled the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top. In support of their 2015 album, Holding All The Roses, the band performed new material as well as a kick-ass cover of Black Sabbath's "Fairies Wear Boots." They rocked, they rolled, and when it was all over, they left us wanting more!
Lettuce Funked Up NYC for “Crush” Album Release Party on Nov 14, 2015
The smell of funk permeated throughout the Playstation Theater as Boston by way of Brooklyn band Lettuce celebrated their Crush album release party. Fans in attendance were treated to a mix of funk inspired jams sprinkled with doses of psychedelic rock that had the room grooving along. The songs were energetic, and brought to life with saxophone and trumped playing from The Shady Horns. 2016 will certainly be a bright year for Lettuce, and an act that any music loving fan shouldn't miss.
The Word and The Wood Brothers Get Down at The 2015 Lowdown Hudson Music Fest in NYC
One of the more fun free concerts we caught this year was the 2015 Lowdown Hudson Music Fest, held in downtown NYC by the World Trade Center towers. The two-day event was closed out by The Wood Brothers and The Word, who blessed fans with authentic, folk and blues inspired rock. The Wood Brothers delivered a feel good set that pulled from a wide range of styles rooted in folksy Americana, while The Word highlighted a night of music that ranged from gospel, blues, and rock.
Gregg Allman’s Laid Back Festival Showcased Legends of Yesteryear, Tomorrow’s Talent at Jones Beach on August 29, 2015
The Allman Brothers Band announced they were retiring from the road in 2014, but Gregg Allman has continued doing his own thing and playing great music. Towards the end of the summer, Gregg held his first ever Laid Back Festival at Jones Beach in Long Island, NY, and it was a success. The acts that participated were Allman with his band, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, The Doobie Brothers, Bernie Williams, Jaimoe's Jasssz Band, Lara Johnston, City of the Sun, and Ruthie Collins. It was a nice variety of music that ensured a little bit of everything.
John Kadlecik Band Brought a Fun Night of Grateful Dead, Beatles, and More To The Hall at MP in Brooklyn, NY on Nov 13, 2015
Former Dark Star Orchestra and Further guitarist John Kadlecik brought with him a talented group of musicians to the new Brooklyn venue and spoiled fans with a jam heavy set of Grateful Dead, Beatles, and other popular covers. Each musician shined on their instrument, and every face could be seen with a smile as the crowd boogied down for a night of positive vibes.
Everclear Turns 2015 Back To 1995 As They Kick Off 20th Anniversary “Sparkle And Fade” Tour In NYC
For one night, we who grew up listening to Everclear during the '90s were transported back in time as the band celebrated the 20th Anniversary of their Sparkle and Fade album. The songs, and our memories of them, were brought back to life as we sang along to popular songs like "Santa Monica" and "Father of Mine."
Blues Traveler Shook Up Irving Plaza in NYC on September 9, 2015
Another '90s flashback concert we really enjoyed was the always fun Blues Traveler at NYC's long running Irving Plaza. A slimmer John Popper displayed his amazing harp skills as the band brought to life songs from their self-titled debut album, four, and Blow up the Moon. The concert was also a reunion of sorts, as fans from the now defunct Wetlands club were in attendance.
Jackie Greene Band Delivered Country Infused Rock to Gramercy Theatre in NYC on September 24, 2015
Singer/songwriter Jackie Greene hyped up a Gramercy Theatre audience with a healthy dose of rock and roll from his 2015 album, Back to Birth, as well as older material. It was an energetic show that featured Jackie displaying his guitar skills as well as playing a few tunes on organ. Covers of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" and an encore of Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street" were greeted with loud applause.