The Bowery Presents
Guster, Jack's Mannequin


Jack's Mannequin

Boy & Bear

Mon, August 8, 2011

Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 6:00 pm

SummerStage, Central Park

New York, NY


Sold Out

This event is all ages

Proceeds from this concert help make possible the free programs of SummerStage

“I guess we could have called it Live at Various Theaters” says drummer Brian Rosenworcel, referencing the fact that the songs on the album were culled from many performances and not just one. “Actually, I wish we’d called it Live at Various Theaters. Is it too late to call it Live at Various Theaters?”

It’s been eight years since Guster released a proper live album - 2004’s upbeat Guster On Ice - and on January 1st, the renowned live band will offer up new live material with Guster: Live Acoustic. Recorded during their 2012 acoustic tour, the sixteen tracks are a musical tribute to the varied faces and places that made last year’s travels one of the most remarkable in Guster’s impressive career.

For a band that has experienced a drastic sonic overhaul during its two decades, the acoustic presentation acts as the glue, bridging material as varied as the somber, percussive “Rocketship” from 1996’s Goldfly and the pop charmer “Do You Love Me” from 2010’s Easy Wonderful. The band digs deep and rediscovers “Rise and Shine,” a B-side from Ganging Up on the Sun, as well as reinventing 2006’s “Beginning of the End” as an angry acoustic hoe-down of sorts.

The acoustic sound is nothing new for Guster, who began their career in the early 90s writing songs in their dorm room at Tufts University on acoustic guitars and hand drums. After 1999’s seminal Lost and Gone Forever launched their stripped down sound into the national spotlight, the band threw a wrench into their instrumentation and surprised fans with a deeper, more textured album, Keep It Together (2003). The trajectory only continued with the more experimental Ganging Up on the Sun (2006), which featured the hit “Satellite” and saw the band branching out with its arrangements and styles. Pop masterpiece Easy Wonderful (2010) was hailed as their most mature and complete album-to-date.

Last spring’s unorthodox, stripped-down tour is par for the course for a band that has always done what’s necessary to keep things interesting for themselves as they’ve transitioned from college band to vaulted songsmiths. The band has been known to open up for themselves in disguise as psychedelic rockers “Trippin’ Balls” and as Christian Southern Rock outfit “The Peace Soldiers.” And Guster has joined forces with the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony in recent years, with another show scheduled with the Dallas Symphony in January.

Singer Ryan Miller has branched out into film scoring, soundtracking 2012’s beloved Sundance standout Safety Not Guaranteed, and bandmate Adam Gardner has achieved great success greening the music industry through his non-profit “Reverb,” which works with bands, artists, and venues to reduce the music industry’s environmental footprint.

While the members of the band mainly stick to the acoustic guitars on Live Acoustic, the songs are fleshed out with Charlene Huang on violin and April Guthrie on cello – helping to bring out the parts and arrangements that have made Guster’s studio recordings such mainstays.

Rosenworcel plays a drum kit adorned with glockenspiel and percussive drums like djembe and hand snare, while newest member Luke Reynolds alternates with bandmates Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner on acoustic guitar, bass, piano and ukelele. The melodies and harmonies that have made Guster famous have never been more purely on display. Guster: Live Acoustic is an album that pulls from an impressive fifteen year discography and makes a case for Guster’s place amongst the best pop bands and songwriters of their era.
Jack's Mannequin
Jack's Mannequin
While Something Corporate's other songwriter and lead guitarist Josh Partington created a side project of his own called Firescape, McMahon started writing his own songs. He never expected the songs to be released. McMahon took a more therapeutic approach in writing these songs, resulting in a more personal and intimate testament of his songwriting. They dealt with "coming home, and having home be way different than I had remembered it [...], abandoning a lot of people, and things, that I had normally been so attached to [...], exploring and being okay with myself, and not having to make excuses for who I am, and accepting who I am", McMahon stated in an interview. Although he just planned on recording them, the songs really began to take shape collectively. He paid for the production out of his own pocket, which ultimately led to a record deal with Maverick Records.
Boy & Bear
Boy & Bear
Within weeks of finishing work on 2011’s award-winning, internationally renowned debut LP, Moonfire — months before it was even released — singer / songwriter Dave Hosking was hit by a creative tsunami. Boy & Bear is a band that likes to follow their muse — and the new songs were flowing.

The cocoon-like existence of working together in a strange new environment — Nashville, in the case of Moonfire — generated its share of magic, but Hosking and his fellow Boy & Bears wanted to bring it all back home, to get back to where their musical journey began in 2009. His band mates Tim Hart, Killian Gavin, Jon Hart and new(ish) addition, bassist (and table tennis ace) David Symes, agreed. ‘Good art is personal,’ says Hosking, ‘it comes from a really personal place. These new songs started in my living room, and it made sense to keep this local, and let our personalities and experiences filter into the record.’

The record in question is Harlequin Dream, their bold and brave new album, conceived and ‘birthed’ in their hometown of Sydney. And they couldn’t have picked a more appropriate venue in which to make the magic happen: the legendary Alberts studio, the spiritual home of AC/DC, the Easybeats and many, many other homegrown legends. It may no longer be in its original CBD base, but Alberts remains Oz music ground zero, a sacred site. The perfect place for Boy & Bear to make their new musical statement, with the able guidance of ARIA award winning producer Wayne Connolly, who the band first met when they worked together on a cover of Neil Finn’s ‘Fall at your feet’, a live favourite and a hit single. ‘Once we got home from Nashville,’ Hosking continues, ‘we thought, “Bugger it, let’s do it more effectively next time.” ’ Alberts proved to be just the place.

Drawn from a number of sessions dating back to October 2012, recording Harlequin Dream was a totally different sensation for the band. No longer was their only escape from the studio a late night trip to the convenience store for chips and beer, as it had been in Nashville. This time they worked almost regular hours and went home to family and friends. Lived a real life. Their music only went offshore when takes were sent to Phil Ek in Seattle, who’s worked with such bands as Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes and Modest Mouse, to be mixed. It was the perfect arrangement for this very Sydney band.

‘With Moonfire,’ says Hosking, ‘we were trying so hard to not sound like other bands; it was such a driving force, trying to find our identity. This time around we just followed what we felt was musical and embraced more pop structures.’ Guitarist Killian Gavin feels it’s an ‘older sounding record’ than their debut. The lead single, ‘Southern Sun’, has a powerful urgency, not unlike the best of Bruce Springsteen or Fleetwood Mac, while a sprinkling of strings and brass — played by living, breathing humans, not machines — brings life and colour to such standouts as ‘Back down the Black’, ‘Old Town Blues’ and ‘Stranger’. There’s even a swinging sax solo on title track ‘Harlequin Dream’, a first for the band.
‘Sharing some music from the 70s was a clear decision that we made,’ says Gavin, when asked about the inspiration for much of the album. ‘What we’ve made feels older and more rounded than the first record. It’s more pop, less folk.’ Moonfire connected with a huge audience. The record took them to some places they never thought they’d see, including several tours of Europe and America. And any debut that claims five ARIAs, including Album of the year, clearly had something going for it.

‘I didn’t honestly think I’d ever be at the ARIAs, let alone winning any,’ says Tim Hart, with no small amount of wonder. ‘It wasn’t even on our radar, but it blew me away.’ In typical Boy & Bear fashion, they resumed touring the day after their big night. There were standout gigs at the Paradiso club in Amsterdam — just metres from where the Church’s ‘Under the milky way’ had been conceived — and at the Falls Festival, where their new song ‘Southern Sun’ came to life, and in places as far-flung as Sweden. They were even mistaken for Flaming Lips’ groupies by Wayne Coyne, who kept bumping into the band in airport lounges.

‘It’s really cool to do something you love,’ Hosking figures, and rightfully so, ‘and it’s even cooler when it becomes your ticket to seeing parts of the world you may not ever see.’
‘For me,’ adds Gavin, ‘getting up on stage and seeing a lot of people singing your songs . . . it blows me away. How do you know us? Why do you like us? It’s great.’

‘When the band becomes such a big focus in your life’ says Hosking, a man who chooses his words with the same care he uses to craft his songs, ‘you get so embedded in it. You can isolate yourself a little bit. It’s exciting, but when you get back home you realise your family and friends are getting on with their lives. You have to be careful about not neglecting those other parts of your life. You have to get that balance right.

‘I think that’s a recurring theme with the record.’ ‘It sounds different,’ sums up Jon Hart, as talk returns to Harlequin Dream. ‘I get a great vibe listening to these songs — it makes me tap my feet and nod my head, it gets me in. It’s an energy thing. I couldn’t tell you the formula,’ he says, looking at his Boy & Bear bandmates, ‘but it works.’
Venue Information:
SummerStage, Central Park
69th St. at Fifth Ave
New York, NY, 10019