Live Concert Photography: New York Public Radio Live at Brooklyn Bowl 6/13/19 feat. Real Estate with Red Baraat and High and Mighty Brass Band
Over the course of the past 40 some odd days of social distancing guidelines and quarantines, I’ve had more free time than normal. And although it’s been very lonely, it’s allowed me to start going through a deep archive of unedited photos that goes back some close to five years or so. Certainly for me (and presumably for you, reader), much of this work will serve as uncomfortably eerie reminders of the things we had — and will not get back for the foreseeable future.
New York Public Radio WNYC 93.9FM AND 820AM, New York’s flagship public radio stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio Exchange, BBC World Service and a wide range of award-winning local programming. Last year, New York Public Radio hosted a benefit party at Brooklyn Bowl (the longtime unofficial home office of JOVM) in support of WNYC and Gothamist that featured live music from Real Estate, Red Baraat and High and Mighty Brass Band. Check out live performance photos from the party below.
Brooklyn-based indie rock act Real Estate — currently, founding members Martin Courtney (vocals, guitar) and Alex Bleeker (bass, vocals) — can trace their origins back to Ridgewood, NJ. Founding members Courtney, Bleeker and Matt Mondanile (guitar, vocals) were all childhood friends: Courtney and Bleeker first met in third grade and became friends in eighth grade, bonding over a mutual interest in Weezer, Built to Spill and Pavement. While Courtney and Bleeker were attending Ridgewood High School, Courtney met Mondamile, who was a year older and a grade above him on the school bus.
Mondamile was listening to The Impossibles on his Walkman and asked Courtney, if he wanted to listen. From that point forward Courtney had become acquainted with Mondamile and his friends, even auditioning to join the older Mondamile’s band — before being rejected in favor of an older kid, who had a car. Adding to a larger sense of six degrees of separation, Mondamile and Bleeker took guitar lessons from the same teacher, along with school friend and future Real Estate guitarist Julian Lunch. Interestingly, Mondamile used to teach Bleeker how to play Pixies songs. Meanwhile, Courtney had developed a reputation for being a proficient bassist, playing in the school’s jazz band.
On Courtney’s 15th birthday, he organized a show in his parents’ backyard featuring the bands of his friends — and it turned out to be the first time that the founding members of Real Estate performed live together. And throughout the rest of high school’s the trio would play in various bands at the school’s Open Mic Nights. After graduating from high school, the trio went on their separate ways for college: Courtney attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA; Mondamile attended Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, where he made a name for himself in the town’s noise rock scene with his recording project Ducktails; and Bleeker attended Bennington College in Bennington, VT. While in college, Real Estate’s founding trio continued to write songs individually, often passing them among each other.
During one summer break, Courtney, Mondamlie and Bleeker reunited with their high school friend Julian Lynch and Mondamile’s Massachusetts friend Pierre Duguay as Lese Majesty, an act that recorded their debut album at Courtney’s uncle’s house in Maine, which they supported with a US tour — although Courtney had to opt out because of school.
Interestingly, Courtney’s songs inspired the others to suggest that they should start another band to perform them. When Courtney and Mondamile returned to Ridgewood, they wrote the material that would help inspire the formation of Real Estate. After recording several songs Bleeker and Duguay joins them to complete the band’s initial lineup. Spurred by the success of local bands like Titus Andronicus and Vivian Girls, they decided to take the band much more seriously.
Since their formation, the band has released five albums 2009’s self-titled debut, 2011’s Days, 2014’s Atlas, 2017’s In Mind and this year’s The Main Thing — all while going through a series of lineup changes. But the one consistent thing is a shimmering and earnest take on indie rock, inspired by The Feelies and others.
The fund-raising party also featured Brooklyn-based world music, JOVM mainstays Red Baraat and High and Mighty Brass Band. Check out photos from the show below.
Led by its creative mastermind and founding member, Sunny Jain (dhol), the Brooklyn-based world music collective Red Baraat — Jain, Chris Eddleton (drums), Sonny Singh (trumpet), Lynn Ligammari (soprano sax), John Alteri (sousaphone), Kenny Bentley (sousaphone), Jonathan Goldberger (guitar) and Smoota (trombone) — is a pioneering outfit that has received praise globally for a unique sound that meshes North Indian bhangra with hip-hop, jazz and punk rock energy. Throughout their history, the band has managed to attain the sort of critical and commercial success that countless bands across the world would envy: their sophomore album Shruggy Ji debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music Charts and led to an extensive touring schedule across the global festival circuit that included set sat Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, WOMAD, globalFEST, Lincoln Center, New Orleans Jazz Fest and sold out shows at clubs, rooms and venues that included the Luxembourg Philharmonic and the Bowery Ballroom. Adding to a growing national and international profile, the band played at The White House at the request of the Obama Administration, TED and the Olympic Games. The Brooklyn-based act’s fifth and latest album 2018’s Sound The People landed on the Top 10 of the European World Music Charts and was hailed by Stereogum as the soundtrack of the South Asian Diaspora, Interestingly, the act has built and developing a reputation for being a must-see live act — and for maintaining a busy touring schedule all over the world, playing music that’s meant to unify diverse audiences under funky grooves and the universal language of music — while celebrating devotion, agitation and revolution in a way that recalls Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.
Featuring bandmembers from New Orleans, New York and elsewhere, High and Mighty Brass Band — Evan Howard (drums, band leader), Chauncey Yearwood (percussion, vocals), Andrew McGovern (trumpet), Gabriel King Medd (trumpet), Frank Cohen (trombone), Nadav Nirenberg (trombone), Andrew Miramonti (guitar) and Steve Duffey (sousaphone) — have established and then developed a reputation for a sound that combines elements of classic New Orleans brass band funk, R&B, Afrobeat and hip-hop. And as a result of a broad sonic palette, the members of the collective have collaborated with Galactic, DJ Logic, Dr. John, Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty among others.