Posts tagged New York Fashion Week
[Night Out] Wrabel @ Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) 9/10/2014

Personal update: I'm trying to get back into the groove of going to at least two shows a week. I'm also I really exhausted from all the emails we get about bands I've never heard of and will most likely will never hear of because they're just "okay". To combat this, I've mostly been ignoring the majority of the emails that I get and just digging around the internet to find things on my own. Back in the day, I used to wander around record stores looking at album artwork and taking chances on art that I felt the most connected to and either give them a listen if they were at the listening bar or just straight up buy the album and take a chance. I found a lot of great music this way (VHS or Beta, Josh Rouse, Junior Jack, etc.). 

I started doing this again fairly recently on Rdio and Spotify for every New Music Tuesday. I just scroll around and look for things that are interesting and give them a try. It's less sexy than the thrill of buying an album and being like, "God I hope this is good," but whatever. This is how I stumbled across Wrabel (pronounnced RAY-bell, at first I thought it was rabble, lol) about a month ago. Purely judging a book by its cover, his EP, Sideways, felt familiar. I think it's because he looks like an American version of Mr. Hudson to me. Familiarity has continued to be an ongoing theme for me with Wrabel. His voice, subject matter, etc. all sounds and feels very familiar. Kind of like I've always known him. Obviously since you are reading this post he clearly was able to tick all the boxes I require to decide to keep tabs on him. 

After adding him to my extensive Twitter list to keep an eye on him, I noticed he was playing a show at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2. We should get one thing clear: I love Bowery Ballroom more than anything in this world, but there's something about Rockwood Music Hall (both original and stage 2) that holds a special place in my heart. A chance to experience any artist at Rockwood is a thing you should always do, so I decided to venture solo to see how an intimate performance from this newcomer would pan out. 

First things first, this guy's voice is nothing short of solid. Dude has a very strong set of pipes that probably need little to no pitch correction in the studio or anything like that, so much respect in that sense. I soaked in every last second of him pounding away on the piano and serenading a disappointly semi-empty room sipping some white wine, a true "This Is Why I Love Rockwood" kind of moment. It must have been a weird juxtaposition for him though considering he casually mentioned at one point between songs that the night prior he performed "10 Feet Tall" alongside Afrojack at Fashion Rocks over at the Barclays Center, but he never made it feel that way in terms of his performance. Between songs he was very friendly and laid back. At one point he even joked, "My mom keeps telling me to write happy songs and I was like, 'I wrote one!'" It's refreshing for me to know that although he was fairly recently signed to Island that it hasn't gone to his head. It's a shame that that's an exception and not the standard. 

Wrabel performing at Fashion Rocks at Barclays Center, September 8, 2014. Source: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America 

As I headed home last night, I put on Sideways to refresh myself on the recorded version of what I had just heard. I started feeling the parallel with him and Mr. Hudson again like the day that I first stumbled across him. Remember before his Kayne moment with Straight No Chaser when he was Mr. Hudson and The Library and had a sound of his own that he could really dig into (a la A Tale Of Two Cities)? I worry that the direction in terms of sound that they're nudging him into is going to get him lost into the Flavor of the Week pile. It's both a blessing and a curse that his voice has moments of Chris Martin, Sam Smith, and Landon Pigg, with hints of Mat Kearney peppered throughout. It's my hope for him that Island didn't just go, "Oh crap, we need a Sam Smith! Ooo! This guy seems nice. *SIGNS*" I don't mind the synthy bits in "Sideways". I get that bassy EDM + pretty vocals on top = Ca$h Money Hoe$ right now. I guess my hope is that as he assumingly starts working on his debut full length that he doesn't allow himself to get overwhelmed by people trying to tell him to be trendy for the sake of moving units this moment. Or that if he does that he knows exactly what he's doing and plans to be in the spotlight for 4 seconds and then when he has a pile of money he just runs off and does whatever the heck he wants. 

Fact of the matter is, Wrabel is a voice your ears need to hear and I think if he plays his cards right that he will be staying around with us for awhile. 

Wrabel is on the internet in various places like Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud. Follow/like/add as you will. His debut EPSideways is available for purchase on iTunes if you're into that as well. 

[Night Out] Civil Twilight @ Yuna Yang Afterparty (9/7/2012)

credit: @sproutdrOther than a Fashion's Night Out or two I've never really been one to actively participate during New York Fashion Week. It may be my desire to mostly wear rock band t-shirt, hoodies and flip flops that I do not particularly think that I am one of "their people". Imagine my surprise when we received an invite to come out to Yuna Yang's afterparty in celebration of her latest collection that was shown earlier on Friday evening. I was admittedly a little confused about the invite at first until I realized that South African rock band Civil Twilight was perfoming. I was really hoping it was because I had successfully started the trend of wearing flip flops in 50 degree weather, but no. *Sigh* Sprout is more of a fashionista than I am and I have enjoyed the handful of songs from the band so we headed above 14th Street for the first time in months to see what kind of trouble we could get into.

Having not gone to Yang's fashion show earlier in the evening, I missed out on #1- hearing Civil Twilight's music featured in her show and #2- having my memory refreshed of what Yuna Yang looked like so I didn't make a fool of myself. Within 5 minutes of Yang being in the building, two excited fans of hers approached me and asked if I would take a photo of them with this other woman (who ended up being Yang) on their iPhone with a crappy screen protector on it. Being a Florida native and used to tourists making this request, I happily obliged. After directing them to stand in better lighting, I snapped a photo. I turned the phone towards the fashionistas to confirm that they were happy with the photo when one of the girls makes a face and says, "Um, could you actually take one and make it more....vertical?" You could tell by the looks on their faces that I was rocking a confused expression until all of my synapses finally fired and it occurred to me that in the fashion world they want photos of their full outfits. This rarely happens when you're out with music people because we don't want to show off how bloated we are from all of the excessive drinking. Either way I felt pretty silly for not knowing any better, but I guess it was better that I got the NYFW N00b-ness out of the way nice and early. I got over it pretty quickly by making fun of the fact that they only had the two Justice full-lengths to hold everyone over till showtime.

It wasn't too long after that awkward moment that the room filled up nicely and the band took to the stage. For it just being a semi-impromptu set inside a gallery, the sound was amazing. I should have walked over to the sound guy and shook his hand. Civil Twilight was great. I think I actually like them better as a live band. They had killer energy and it was totally infectious, even with the fashion elite in the crowd. They were really feeling it, too. No doubt it was a spillover of the love fest that happened during the fashion show. Speaking of love fest, I loved watching Yuna Yang during the set. She was doing her very best to retain her coolness all the while cheerfully dancing around amongst other party goers. Considering their music inspired her so much that she based the collection she showed on their music, I'd say she was free to do whatever the heck she felt like. I had to fight the urge to go dance up next to her, since she already had such a wonderful impression of me as previously mentioned.

I also want to point out that of how ever many hundred people who were squeezed into the gallery for the event, as far as I could tell I was the ONLY person who had ear plugs in during the set. Do fashion people really not know that there's no point in looking really good if you can't hear people tell you how good you look? It was good and loud in there, too, so it's not like people weren't going to be speaking extra loudly over their temporary tinnitus in addition to the usual buzz of a crowded room. If you don't wear ear plugs to shows, you totally should be. It makes a HUGE difference.

Make sure you check out Civil Twilight's latest video for "Fire Escape" below:

They should have a proper music video for their newest single, "River" pretty soon. For now you can check out the lyric video for it:

For more of Sprout's photos from that night, you can peep the slideshow below or head over to her photo stream on Flickr to check them out