Gig Guide 2/8 – 2/15: NYC’s Top Indie Rock Shows

For some, this week marks the start of Fashion Week, a time when “front row” means sitting stiffly next to editors and celebrities as a barrage of waifs cascade down a lit runway. For music lovers, “front row” this week will mean getting sweated on by The National, Huey Lewis and the News, and Theophilus London. Here’s the best of the week’s musical acts.

Tuesday, February 8th

Who: Deerhoof, Ben Butler & Mousepad, Buke and Gass, Nervous Cop @: Europa Tickets: $15

Who: The National @: The Studio at Webster Hall, 8PM Tickets: Sold Out Details: The “MTV Live in NYC” show sold out in 1 second. Good luck scalping at the door!

Who: Gang of Four, Hollerado @: Webster Hall, 7PM Tickets: $37

Wednesday, February 9th

Who: Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea, The Gay Blades, Mon Khmer @: Bowery Ballroom, 8PM Tickets: $16 advance, $18 door Details: After making some adjustments in her band, which now features Christopher Donofrio on drums, Brad York on guitars, and Anthony Chick on bass, Nicole Atkins has changed the name from “Nicole Atkins and the Sea” to “Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea.” On top of the shuffling, Atkins has severed ties with Columbia Records, and has released her newest album, Mondo Amore, on Razor and Tie Records.

Who: Huey Lewis And The News @: Gramercy Theatre, 8PM Tickets: $49

Who: Soft Landing @: Matchless, 8PM Tickets: Not Listed Details: Here’s a little live bit when Soft Landing played Lit Lounge. Thursday, February 10

Who: Free Blood, Lymbyc System @: Brooklyn Bowl, 8:00PM Tickets: $5 advance, $7 door Details: Brooklyn New York’s Free Blood formed in 2003, and is in the RCRD LBL family. Their catchy dance tunes are more arty than poppy, and are almost sinister in some effect. Bonus point: Their music is featured on the 127 Hours soundtrack, and in this trailer:

Who: Titus Andronicus, Care Bears On Fire, Toy Sugar, Deux Chattes @: Mercury Lounge, 7:30PM Tickets: $20 Details: Shoegaze/Punk rockers Titus team up with the teen rock group, Care Bears On Fire (who started their band before they were 12 years old) for the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls Benefit tonight.

Friday, February 11th

Who: Josh Joplin, Jill Andrews @: 92Y Tribeca Tickets: $12 Details: Josh Joplin’s crooning sounds nearly identical to REM’s Michael Stipe. It’s a little creepy.

Who: Javelin, High Life, Monster Rally @: Glasslands, 8:30PM Tickets: $10 Details: Pitchfork accolades for Javelin, the “Punk/R&B” Brooklyn band, include: “Rising” artist, one of the “Albums of the Year” and has been mentioned under Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” category. They headline Glassland’s “Stuff Hipsters Hate” party.

Who: Colour Revolt, A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, Your Skull My Closet @: Knitting Factory Brooklyn, 8:00PM Tickets: $12 Details: The Mississippi band, Colour Revolt, play pretty, expressive indie rock widely considered to be underrated, which has earned them an enthusiastic following. This is their “music video” for “Mattressess Under Water.”

Saturday, February 12

Who: Sun Airway, Nightlands, Warm Ghost, Dinowalrus @: Glasslands, 8:30PM Tickets: $8 advance, $10 door

Who: Screaming Females, Laura Stevenson & The Cans, Shellshag, Lemuria, Byrds of Paradise @: Music Hall of Williamsburg, 7:00PM Tickets: $10 advance, $12 door Details: Don Giovanni Records Showcase

Who: The Forms @: The Rock Shop, 8:00PM Tickets: $10 Details: Mac Randall of The New York Observer described the band as “aggro-artsy trio fond of awkward time signatures, sly rhythmic manipulation, curlicuing vocal lines, and giving one song two separate track numbers for no obvious reason.” This is their album release party for “Derealization + Icarus.”

Who: Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band @: Webster Hall, 7:00PM Tickets: $25

Who: The Library Is On Fire, The Party of Helicopters @: Tliofhq Loft Space, 8:00PM Tickets: Not Priced Details: Loft party alert! See the swaggering, concrete punk rockers, TLIOF at their head quarters: The Tliofhq Loft Space at 114 Forrest St. 3c in Brooklyn!

Sunday, February 13th

Who: Wild Nothing, Abe Vigoda, MINKS @: Bowery Ballroom, 8:00PM Tickets: $13 advance, $15 door

Who: Bear Hands @: In Vino Wine Bar, 7:30PM Tickets: $25 Details: Tickets to see this post-punk/experimental/indie rock act includes 4 glasses of wine.

Monday, February 15th

Who: Theophilus London, PoPo, New Look @: Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8:00PM Tickets: $13 advance, $15 door Details: Theophilus London is a mixtape man (This Charming Man tape mashed up The Smiths and Elvis Costello) and joined Mark Ronson to form the band Chauffeur.

Industry Insiders: Torsten Gross, Hardheaded Philanthropist

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation supports innovative research for spinal cord injury and works with individuals living with paralysis. A noble cause like this one needs the right direction, the right planning, and the right foundation. In comes Torsten Gross. An active member of the Foundation and wheelchair-bound himself, he is also the producer and organizer of fundraising events. Most recently, he underwrote and organized Reeve Rocks at Le Poisson Rouge in New York. BlackBook caught up with the busy philanthropist post-soiree.

How was the first Reeve Rocks event? I was very pleasantly surprised to say the least. We don’t know the exact count yet, but we’ll find out how many walk-ups we had. Even if we make just a little bit of money, if you do a couple of these, it adds up. I think we got a good enough turnout through auctions that we’re going to see a return. This was the first one; we’ve learned our lessons.

You underwrote this fundraiser yourself, and secured great sponsors. Getting a big auction list is a good thing. The next time around, we’ll have amazing pictures, video, something big and small. The sponsors we got really cared — either they knew the Reeve Foundation, or they knew me. To make it synergistic, we got some weird things given to us, and no, I’m not going to tell you what they are. The point is to raise money and keep costs low. The not-for-profit community has rules, but I wouldn’t have been able to pull off the event without the help of a lot of really dedicated people.

What makes for a successful event? Having the right people come together for the right reasons. I thought I would just be giving the money to make the thing happen, and then I fell in love with what I was doing. We didn’t get international donations, or 300,000 people, but what I care about is the 400 people who said “Holy shit, I didn’t expect this. I want to go to the next one!” So money or no money this go around, we’re in for the long haul.

When’s the next Reeve rave, and where will the underwriting come from? Chances are, the next one will come out of our pockets again. Where the money goes is up to the Foundation, so it’s not just spinal cord research, but it’s also today’s care for paraplegics. That’s why the Foundation is behind the operation. It won’t go into a bank account to accrue money to have a bigger and better event; it will go back into the Foundation.

So, why you? Because I’m the one who rebranded all of the Foundation’s work. One of the things we came across was that in 15 years, nobody’s going to remember just that Chris Reeve had an accident — they’ll remember Christopher Reeve the personality, the actor. This is one of the ways to bring awareness to the possibilities.

What do you do when you’re not planning events? I’m the CEO of Innovation Consultancy.

Tell us about Innovative Consultancy. We’re very new, and we’re growing fast because we developed a business model no one has done yet, especially in the innovation space. It’s happened more quickly than we’d ever hoped. We don’t deal with promotion, marketing, or communications; we deal with innovation and the product itself. Consumers are so geared toward what they want, as they’re scrupulous with their money, that companies are looking to us for new stuff — and they need it now.

Who do you work with? I’m New York based, but we innovate everywhere. My company’s name is Fatbaby Innovation. Before I invented it, I was working at an ad agency and rebranded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. I really started to fall in love with what they do and who they are. I’m in a wheelchair myself. I had an injury 15 years ago in a diving accident. So in one way, shape, or form, I’ve always had something to do with the Reeve Foundation. I now have the ways and means to be able to help out. The face of the Foundation is suffering a bit now that Chris and Dana are no longer here, so we need to bring a younger group of activists and supporters into the mix. We (Matt Reeve and I) wanted a show, and I decided to personally put down all of the money for it.

How would you describe yourself? I’m insanely attractive and on a roll. Pun intended. I can never sit still. If there’s something that needs to be done; I want to be in the mix at all times. I think a lot of times people pass things off too easily, especially when it comes to charity. When somebody has the ways and means, this is the time for the right people to step up. And I practice that.

What are your spots? In Vino on East 4th, because they’re a local, amazing restaurant, and the people there make it the world a better place. Knife + Fork because the chef, Damian, is the only person in the kitchen. He gets up with all the food and serves it in a 30-seat place. Lastly, the back room of Double Crown is a hidden room that’s absolutely fantastic. It’s a great place to go and have a drink with friends and not have to deal with the riffraff. It’s not snobby or elitist; on the contrary it’s very laid back, so I don’t know why they let assholes like me in there.

Name two people you admire. This will sound so cliché and retarded, but my parents. And then I’d say Matt Seiler, the global CEO of Universal McCann. He’s a brilliant, out-of-the-box thinker.

What are the trends with philanthropy now? I’m sure I’ll get flamed from rich people, but young people have the heart for it, and they want to get involved. If a lot of people donate $20, it’s a lot of money.

Any big negatives recently? Giving without heart is just awful. Giving money with your heart behind it is important. To give as a tax deduction is great, but at the same time, why not put a little bit of heart into it? Your giving doesn’t only mean money, it also means time. The Reeve Foundation is about finding the cure, but it’s also about quality of life for people in wheelchairs.

Something that people might not know about you? I’m so loud and obnoxious. Everybody knows everything because I don’t shut up!