Time Out says
Wed Sep 5 2012
Seth Herzog pulls up stakes and heads to Webster Hall to celebrate eight years of producing one of the best and most consistent stand-up shows in town. No guests have been solidified as of yet, but given Herzog’s track record and standing in the local community, the show won’t disappoint. Plus, there’s always Herzog’s mom.
Time Out says
Alex English and GBH are back with their big electronic-dance-music bash, the Girls & Boys affair, held in Webster Hall’s massive Grand Ballroom. Tonight’s installment is a plus-size edition: Glasgow’s Rustie had one of 2011’s best electronic-music albums in the Warp label’s Glass Swords. It was an album that took in elements of house, rave, dubstep, Detroit techno, Sheffield bleep and plenty more, added a touch of dreamland sparkle and sounded like nothing else out there. Flosstradamus, meanwhile, is the Chicago DJ duo known for a rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness mix of rock, electro, hip-hop, house and more (plenty more). Brenmar, Nightwave and Mess Kid play as well.
Time Out says
Seasoned local outfit Sick of It All can still be counted on for some witheringly brutal yet socially conscious metallic hardcore. Expect a monster pit tonight.
Our music critic’s picks for the season’s hottest concerts
By Maura Johnston Wednesday, Aug 29 2012
By any real definition, the summer concert season comes to a close this weekend. I spent a lot of this summer running around and seeing bands; below are the highlights.
“It doesn’t matter that [Brandon Flowers of the Killers] isn’t Bruce Springsteen; it matters that he thinks he is,” a friend of mine said during the pomp-filled Las Vegas act’s July Webster Hall gig, during which they previewed a couple of songs from their forthcoming album Battle Born. And it’s true; Flowers, even though he has a voice that wiggles around notes more than it lands on them and a sense of lyrical metaphor that seems more phonetically derived than anything (“I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier” is really fun to sing along with, though), plays the rock-star role well. He storms around the stage and leads the crowd into the promised land of sing-alongs and thrusting fists. Even those people who thought his band was kind of overblown at first (cough) will be screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs by the night’s end.
It’s a night of female-fronted metal in the East Village, with L.A. poetic groove-metalists Otep, known for their awesome live sets, in the headline slot. Also on board are “slut rock” forerunners Butcher Babies and coed duo One Eyed Doll, out of Austin, plugging a new one, Dirty.
NEW YORK ROCK TRIO SKATERS ARE READY FOR THEIR BIG BREAK
By Lindsay MaHarry
New York-based trio Skaters are about to explode. With members from L.A. bands Dead Trees and Little Joy, and the guitarist of U.K. phenomenon The Paddingtons, the three chose to meet in the middle, geographically and stylistically, to record an EP in New York. They never left.
The result, Schemers, is available for free on their website, providing a refreshing contrast to the $1.29-per-track iTunes deathtrap or the virus-ridden MediaFire shot in the dark. They’ve been steadily gaining momentum, playing at least one show a month and premiering videos and promoting shows on places like Interview, Vice, and Nylon. This week’s and a headlining show tonight at Webster Hall Studio mark a new high for the band.
I spoke with singer Michael Ian Cummings on living in the city, preparing for the show at Webster Hall, and what we can expect from Skaters in the coming months.
So Skaters is from New York. How do you feel the constant onslaught of stimulation affects your sound?
It’s probably the reason we can’t write slow songs. The energy of New York is totally inescapable—you can’t fight it. It’s better to roll with it. You go hard ‘til you crash in New York City.
How would you describe your music?
I try not to as much as possible. In my slightly biased point of view, I’d say we are like a modern punk band with eclectic and somewhat esoteric influences ranging from ska to tropicallia.
What are your influences, musical and otherwise?
I’m influenced a lot by the city and its people. Walking down the street here is like going to the theater. There’s never a dull moment, and I find myself constantly gaining new insight and inspiration from being around the people. Musically, I’m all over the place. I have my go-to records, of course, but I also keep up on modern pop and new rock acts. Sometimes it’s just as important to listen for what not to do.
You’re starting a zine. Can you talk a bit about that?
We are releasing our first zine called “YONKS” tonight at our show at Webster Hall. The zine will be a way to showcase our favorite artists and friends work to our fans. Many of the people in the zine have done a lot of work with the band already. We really wanted to recognize our community of super talented friends.
You guys gave away your first EP,Schemers, for free. Why?
We just wanted people to hear it. No one is getting rich here. It’s better for us to keep control and give it away openly then force people to download it illegally or through the iTunes middleman. More people will hear it this way, and that’s what really matters.
How is your headlining show at Webster Hall going to differ from your frequent monthly shows around the city?
It’s going to be our biggest show to date. We’re pulling out all the stops. I guess you will just have to show up and see for yourself!
What can we look forward to from you guys this year?
A new record, many music videos, our first tour, a few more zines, and a lot of partying.
Are you skaters?
Figure skaters, maybe. Nope, can’t do that either!
The Sound of New York’s Skaters
By ALEX FRANK AUGUST 13, 2012
Photograph by Taea Thale. Fashion editor: Jason Rider.
Noah Rubin, Michael Cummings, and Josh Hubbard of the band Skaters. All clothing by Folk; odinnewyork.com. On Rubin: Jacket, $345 and shirt, $245. On Cummings: Knit jacket, $395, T-shirt, $105, and shirt, $245. His own necklaces. On Hubbard: Jacket, $400, shirt, $210, and pants, $260. His own baseball cap.
“None of us can skateboard. We just don’t have the coordination, I guess,” says Michael Ian Cummings, the lead singer for a band called, of all things, Skaters. “The name just reminds me of my youth and the way I felt listening to music and hanging out with my friends running around the city being a hooligan.” The self-invented, devil-may-care attitude that’s characterized both skate culture and the irreverent sound of so many New York bands (the Ramones and Suicide come to mind) has had a big influence on Skaters, who released their debut EP, “Schemers,” for free on the Web earlier this year. A rose-colored, wistful affection for the city is shared by the group’s three members — Cummings, Noah Rubin (drums) and Joshua Hubbard (guitar) — and can be heard loud and clear in songs like “Good Weird Woman,” with its subway-station-sounding saxophone, and “Are We Just Doomed?” a bittersweet account of leaving home and hardly sleeping, something any New York band worth its salt knows intimately. “I couldn’t imagine making or listening to this music in any other environment,” Cummings says. And even without the skateboards or skills, Skaters do look the part. Dressed in the British men’s-wear label Folk, as they were for their T photo shoot, there’s no covering up their romantically ragged edges.
From Nuanced to Bold, Liqueurs are the Most Versatile Assets on the Backbar: Are You Cashing In?
The numbers don’t lie. Total sales of liqueur and cordials declined in 2010, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). Value-brand sales totaled 7.4 million 9-liter cases in 2010, a 2.8% drop from 2009. Things weren’t any sunnier in the super-premium slot, in which 8 million 9-liter cases were sold, a 13% decrease from 2009.
Does this mean you should yank the Jägermeister off the shelf? Say “no thanks” to Grand Marnier? Not in the least. Liqueurs and cordials have a very high rate of success in the hands of the right bartenders. Like most good things, liqueurs have been hurt by a slow economy, but the numbers from DISCUS are total sales, meaning retail sales for at-home consumption are included. It’s fairly safe to say that when consumers are mixing at home, only a handful of liqueurs figure into that equation.
When imbibing in a bar, club or restaurant, patrons seek a top-notch flavor experience. A savvy bartender with the right arsenal of quality, flavorful liqueurs will inspire and inform his drink offerings, which attract guests and keep them on their barstools. It’s now more important than ever to evaluate where, how and why liqueurs work in your operation.
The Status Quo
While there has been a lot of hype about esoteric liqueurs lately, rest easy: This is one category that works well with others. For the majority of venues, the liqueur and cordial selection stocked behind the bar is most operational in cocktails already on a menu and, later in the evening, highly versatile in the form of creative shooters. Cordials and liqueurs comprise about 10% of the total U.S. spirits market, and leading brands include Jägermeister, DeKuyper, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Southern Comfort and Kahlua. While it’s crucial to stock these known entities, smart operators are scrutinizing their liqueur choices more carefully than in the past, seeking styles and flavors that work best for them.
Austin Brown, bar manager at Smoke in Dallas, uses flavorful liqueurs to create interesting new cocktails to satisfy guests’ changing palates.
“We were very much on autopilot for many years with regards to our distributors and liquor reps, and I think we took one another for granted,” offers Rich Pawelczyk, chief operating officer of Webster Hall Entertainment Corp. in New York City. “They sold and we bought, and, for years, we didn’t change much.” That’s no longer the case at the company’s venues, which includes Webster Hall — a massive four-level, multi-concept nightclub and concert venue in Manhattan and winner of the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Nightclub of the Year award — a sister property called Rebel in Manhattan and a new operation, City Beer Hall in Albany, N.Y.
“The recession has reminded every business owner that costs are the No. 1 contributor to the bottom line,” Pawelczyk says. “Sales volume is great, but if you are spending $10 to make a $9.99 drink, you won’t get anywhere.”
The need to sharpen pencils pushed Pawelczyk and many like him to leverage their relationships with suppliers, looking closely at cocktail lists and the way liqueurs help sell drinks.
Beauty & Essex in Manhattan is a high-volume venue, so bartenders turn to liqueurs to efficiently add flavor to cocktails.
With guests coming from all over New York and the world, Pawelczyk says they “get a lot of interesting requests, and I think it’s important that we offer a lot of interesting options. Many of our guests are here on vacation, which translates to a willingness to try something new. You can see the ‘wow’ factor when we come up with cool cocktails, and it shows up in sales.”
One way he is giving guests something new is by adding a club within Webster Hall’s main room this fall. The balcony section overlooking the stage will be enclosed to create a separate, new venue, Hanky Panky. Inside, guests will find a menu of twists on classic cocktails, featuring an array of liqueurs, such as St-Germain and amaros, alongside revived pre-Prohibition liqueurs, including Rothman & Winter crème de violette. Knowing the power of major brands, Pawelczyk is giving well-known liqueur labels space on the backbar, as well.
In the main room, several bottles of Jägermeister move per week, thanks to promotions that help other products, such as domestic beer, flow more freely.
Pawelczyk says spirits are decided based on market research, what people buy among the current stock and requests from customers. “With the younger demo, I find that people drink what we — in a subtle way — tell them to. Price and promotion can make it someone’s favorite request,” he explains.
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