Tag Archives: review

ev2bk Live Music – The Drums

THE_DRUMS_PRESS_SHOT_3 Wednesday night we checked out the fifth-ever show by Florida’s “The Drums.” Going into the show, I was intrigued by one band member’s description of their sound to ev2bk as being “like, 50’s surf pop, combined with electro pop, a little indie rock… It’s very cool.” And I have to say we were not disappointed.

The 50’s surf sound is light-hearted, refreshing, and really fun when combined with the post-punk undertones of the drums and guitar. Everyone at the Annex that night was having a blast, though there were a few technical issues with the sound, and the back-up vocalists were lost in the louder moments. The show we saw was only their fifth performance ever and they already have a residency at the Annex this month, playing every Wednesday night throughout June. The bands frontmen are singer Jonathan Pierce, formerly of Elkland, and guitarist Jacob Graham, formerly of Horse Shoes. Pierce and Graham had been planning on starting a band together for a while, but it took Pierce’s move to Florida to really get things going. They are joined by Adam Kessler on guitar and Connor Hanwick on drums, with Erin Berkey and Ruthy Mirsky as their aptly costumed back-up singers (Berkey designs and makes the costumes). Their sound is as if the Beach Boys were crossed with your favorite 80’s pop band and Ra Ra Riot. They note that their chief influence was The Wake.

They are working on their first EP now, Summertime, and their next show is this Tuesday at the Bell House, opening for The Legends. They are most definitely worth checking out!

You can listen to my favorite track of the evening, “I Felt Stupid,” right here.

The Drums – I Felt Stupid:



Filed under Music, New, Show

ev Restaurant – Table 8

Table 8 2 I recently checked out what all the fuss was about at Table 8, the high-profile restaurant in the newly-opened-boutique Cooper Square Hotel. Head chef Govind Armstrong, who now has five restaurants in three cities – including the original Table 8 in California and another in Miami – designed the “New American” menu around small plates, fish, cured meats, flatbreads, pastas, and salads. The dining room, with its leather-clad wall and bookshelves full of tomes from Housing Works, has little else to adorn it’s simple, sleek interior. The south-facing wall is all glass and offers a view of the patrons on the dining patio and the private garden. There is a central fourteen-seat “salt bar” featuring house-cured meats and fish from which you can order a sampling to start off the meal or you can sit at the bar for a more casual dining experience. For appetizers, the seared Cana de Cabra (goat cheese) with arugula, avocado, red onion, and balsamic was delicious. I also had a piece of Halibut with fava beans, marinated tomatoes, and smoked Halibut toast. The fish was very light and well-complimented by the tomatoes and beans, but the toast with smoked Halibut (in the style of crabmeat) was unnecessary and an overkill of the similar flavors. The grilled baby chicken with short rib hash, cipollini onion jus, and arugula salad was a big hit at my table. Our group also shared a few “small accents” including spinach with grilled watermelon and red onion (so good!), sautéed Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and cauliflower a la plancha (grilled) with dill, capers, and parsley. There’s also the “8 oz.” burger that inspired Armstrong’s burger mini-chain of the same name, plus the short-rib grilled cheese that made it onto Oprah.

Table 8 has two bars, one at ground level and another on the second floor. The second floor bar is surrounded with floor-to-ceiling glass walls which gives the small space an open, airy feel. The doors open onto a 50-seat outdoor patio that offers views of the Bowery when you’re not getting shouted at by noisy neighbors. The second floor bar has a lounge menu from Table 8 as well as a signature cocktail list. A house specialty is the Basil 8, like a vodka mojito with a splash ginger ale and white-grape juice. A Champagne attendant also hovered down a steep flight of stairs near the restrooms offering guests a glass as they exit. A nice thought but a curious setting…

Table 8
25 Cooper Square (On Bowery near 6th Street)
New York, NY


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ev2bk Music: Passion Pit – Manners

Passion Pit wasn’t really supposed to be a band. Back in 2008, Michael Angelakos made a bunch of songs as a Valentine’s Day gift to his ex-girlfriend, which eventually wound up as the six song Chunk of Change EP (released in Sept. 2008). By then word started to spread about the Boston band’s falsetto crooning, clean synth-driven dance pop tracks, and Passion Pit began playing shows all around the Northeast.

My first encounter with the band was at the Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Festival last year, when I tried to ask my sister a question at the bar and she got pissed at me for ruining her conversation with “the lead singer of Passion Pit.” Oops! I quickly checked them out on Myspace and became briefly obsessed with uber-danceable “Sleepyhead:”

Then this February I happened to be in London and managed to catch them playing at Cargo, since our good friends Bear Hands were also on the bill (and are definitely also worth checking out!). The show was sold out and the venue was absolutely packed, but this didn’t stop anyone from getting down with some serious booty shaking/sing alongs, and the entire set was really high-energy and enjoyable:

Passion Pit @ Cargo, London - Feb 09

Passion Pit @ Cargo, London - Feb 09

Passion Pit @ Cargo, London - Feb 09

Passion Pit @ Cargo, London - Feb 09

Passion Pit @ Cargo, London - Feb 09

Passion Pit @ Cargo, London - Feb 09

After the European jaunt, the band hit up a little U.S. tour, including some dates at SXSW, which leads us up to this week and the release of their first full length album, Manners (Frenchkiss Records). To celebrate, on Tuesday the boys played what looks to have been a raucous and celebratory show on a boat cruise in the Hudson. Apparently, the band has really tightened up over the past few months, especially on the new tracks from the LP. Even MTV was there filming! Val Loper, the bassist from Bear Hands, was at the boat show and told me last night that they were “fucking amazing.”

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Manners, especially after “The Reeling,” the album’s first single, sounded hella over-produced. After the first listen I was thinking I was maybe right. But so far each listen has only made me get more into this expanded sonic repertoire. Sure, the lead singer’s voice can get a little grating/distracting sometimes, like in the chorus of “Folds in Your Hands,” interrupting an otherwise charging opening. But there are lot of nice surprising touches that I guess come from working with a big label producer, like the funky baritone sax at the end of “To Kingdom Come,” or the kid choruses (in “The Reeling” and “Little Sectrets”) ala Pink Floyd.

The standout tracks for me were “Little Secrets,” “Swimming in the Flood,” and – even though the LP version seems to me to be essentially unchanged from the EP – “Sleepyhead” is still a dope song. A lot of the other joints seem to me to suffer from too much ambition or good beginnings gone awry into spacey-synth jams and too-high vocal flights. But overall I’d say that the disc is pretty solid and worth more than a few spins.



Filed under Music, New

ev Restaurant – Tonda

Tonda BarWhen Tonda opened in late-March, they claimed that they would have New York’s “best fire-baked pizza.” True to their word, their menu highlights, including the thin-crust pizzas, paninis, foccaccia, flatbreads, and calzones, are all baked on a rotating stone pivot in an 8-foot-wide wood-burning oven (which maintains 1,000-degree temps). Located near the corner of 4th Street and Avenue B, Tonda has taken over the large space previously inhabited by the now-shuttered restaurant, The E.U. The rustic layout of Tonda makes it an inviting space with tables for different-sized parties, a small lounge area, and a large bar located adjacent to the wood-burning oven. To take advantage of the warmer months ahead, they also have tables set-up on their front-patio (i.e. sidewalk with an awning) with enough room to seat 26.

We first checked out Tonda in March and the authentic Neapolitan pies did not disappoint. The margherita pizza and the prosciutto di parma and arugula pizza were both delicious and both featured an excellent tomato sauce base. They were so good in fact that we went back to sample some more of the goods this past weekend. Unfortunately, we did find a few things lacking this time around. The arugula and parmesan salad which was stellar last time, was over-salted and oily and the white pies that we tried (one featuring sausage and broccoli di rape and the other featuring fresh cherry tomatoes) were both a little dry. Having tried these different styles, I would definitely recommend going with one of the traditional tomato-sauce-based pizzas. Overall, the place is worth checking out even if there are high and low notes on the menu because, in a neighborhood of some pretty stiff pizza competition (Artichoke and Luzzo’s to name a few), Tonda is offering something unique. The thin-crust of their pies is authentic and outstanding.

Their head-chef Michele Sceral was flown in from Naples to supervise the creation of the menu “in the tradition and high standard he garnered at the Napolitan Pizzaiolo Association” as their press release claims. Michele Sceral has 15 years of experience and the Tonda website explains that he uses “mostly locally-sourced nutritious ingredients and flours.” … and “special water will also be used to make the crusts for all menu items.” I’m not sure what kind of “special water” this is but that crust sure is tasty.

Owner Bob Giraldi collaborated on the Tonda concept, menu, and hospitality staffing with restaurateurs Luigi Comandatore and Dario Milanin, with whom he is partners in the popular Bread Tribeca restaurant located downtown.

Tonda also has a wine list offering primarily Italian whites, reds, and rosés. Delivery in the immediate neighborhood (lucky me!) is also available. You can check out the menu here.

In a creative marketing decision, Tonda has also launched their own blog on which they are posting information about their owners, their menu updates, and are seemingly trying to create some general buzz for the new eatery.

235 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10009


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