A Summer of Live Music, From Stadiums to Clubs

todayAugust 29, 2023 4

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Listen along on Spotify as you read.

Let’s start with the most recent one: Last Wednesday, I caught an excellent double bill in Prospect Park, as a part of BRIC Arts Media’s annual Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. The Canadian dream-pop band Alvvays played first; its last album, “Blue Rev,” was one of my favorites of 2022, and I especially love this fuzzed out, gently melancholic second track. (Listen on YouTube)

And here’s the other half of that double bill, the Philadelphia indie musician Alex G, who also released one of my favorite albums of last year, the strange and poignant “God Save the Animals.” Alex’s live shows are always a bit louder and more raucous than his records would lead you to believe; I have actually seen mosh pits break out when he plays this seemingly subdued standout from his great 2019 album, “House of Sugar.” (Listen on YouTube)

I have been known to refer to this one as “The Sagittarius National Anthem.” The more I think about Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour — and there are plenty of opportunities to do so; it’s still all anybody wants to talk about — the more I think my favorite stretch of the concert was the first one, when she finally got to play some songs from her 2019 album “Lover.” Here she is at her most minimalist, and her most antiheroic, as she punctures her own good-girl image on “The Archer”: “I see right through me, I see right through me.” (Listen on YouTube)

When I traveled to the Gorge in Washington earlier this summer to catch Brandi Carlile’s Echoes Through the Canyon festival — and, you know, a certain very, very special headliner — I was lucky enough to catch an early evening set by the country icon Tanya Tucker. My second favorite part of the show was when she played “Delta Dawn,” which she recorded at age 13, and every single person there sang along at the top of their lungs. My first favorite part was when Tucker uncorked a bottle of her signature tequila and passed it around the front row. (Listen on YouTube)

The headliners that final night of Echoes Through the Canyon were the Highwomen, a country supergroup that features Carlile, Maren Morris, Natalie Hemby and the fiery fiddle player and singer-songwriter Amanda Shires. Each Highwoman played a solo cover during the set, and Shires wowed me with a poignant rendition of “Always on My Mind,” which she dedicated to Bobbie Nelson. Luckily, you didn’t just have to be there: The studio recording of the song, on which Nelson played piano shortly before she died last year, is gorgeous, and quite close to the version Shires played live. (Listen on YouTube)

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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todayAugust 29, 2023 4

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