Bishop Allen @ The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY- November 21, 2009

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Making the trip to The Bell House in Park Slope, Brooklyn is always an adventure. Certainly an unlikely place for a venue amongst the family neighborhood and car washing stations, nestled on a loney street corner stands the venue. One of the nicest places you can attend a rock show was home to Bishop Allen’s last show of the year on Saturday night.

Opening the show were two great acts. The first being New York’s own Darwin Deez. Not really knowing what to expect besides the name being mentioned recently, the band came on doing a ’silly’ (and I mean that in a polite way) dance that brought back memories of seeing The Moldy Peaches on stage back in the day. From the moment they played  the first note of “Constellations” everyone in the room dropped their jaws in amazement. Between the incredible songs came more fun dancing that also featured members of Bishop Allen and Throw Me the Statue in the mix. With pop hooks that will knock you dead and an explosive energy, this is one band to watch out for. Up next was Throw Me the Statue who had a hard act to follow but managed to pull it off. Playing familar tunes like “Lolita,” the band made a nice addition to the lineup.

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Around 10:30 Bishop Allen started to set up. No matter how popular they get, you still see singer/guitarist Justin Rice and guitarist Christian Rudder onstage warming up and tuning their own guitars. The band hit the stage at 11 and opened with the classic tune “Rain,” which immediatly had the band excited and dancing. The level of energy Rice and Co. brings to the stage is phenomenal and somehow, they never miss a note. The list of songs was a nice blend of new and old as they are nearly pass the stage of promoting Grrr (Dead Oceans) full on. The pages turned from the EP project tunes like “Winter Coat,” to Broken String tracks such as “The Monitor,” and ”Click Click Click.” Though when the band broke out the new tunes they came in full force.  Stellar performances of “Dimmer” and “Cue the Elephants” in particular were the highlights of the night and had fans singing at the top of their lungs. Darbie Nowatka (aka the new Mrs. Rice) came from behind the keys and woodblocks to sing a few songs on her own but oddly enough not their newest single for “True or False” in which she showcases her vocals full on. Throughout the night Rice provided the crowd with witty banter which had everyone laughing; “I love New York graffiti. I saw one wall that had on it “Don’t be shy” and “You go girl,” and it reminded me why I love New York so much. It’s very uplifting.” The band closed the set with “Middle Management” which was a perfect way to go out with a bang. It’s good to have you back in New York Bishop Allen. We missed you.


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Secondhand Sunday: Bishop Allen “Shanghaied”

This edition of Secondhand Sunday is a bit different. I think it’s pretty obvious right off the bat that neither this song or video is more than a few months old. Well, let me put it this way. For some reason I completely missed that Bishop Allen had put out a video for “Shanghaied,” and yes I know they already have another new one. This is one of my favorite tracks off of Grrr  and the video is just extremely cute. All it entails is Bishop Allen sitting around and singing on a couch, in a hallway, and to a rabbit. One thing I also love about this video is that singer Justin Rice was wearing the same blue hoodie when I interviewed him back in March on the release of this record. The video was directed by Bob Byington, who also made the movie Harmony and Me in which Rice stars in (It comes out 11/17). In other Bishop Allen news the band is on the final week of their tour with the last two stops at Union Hall (Friday, 21+) and The Bell House (Saturday, 18+) in Brooklyn. Fun!

Watch Bishop Allen’s “Shanghaied”