The Standard Hotel

Ian and Chad at The Standard Hotel

Send to Kindle

Ian and Chad is the new name for what used to be known as Ian Axel (which always featured Chad Vaccarino). Last night they headlined a show at The Standard Hotel (formerly known as The Cooper Square Hotel). They announced it as their first show of 2012. If you accept the notion of officially sanctioned shows then that’s true.

IanAndChad

On March 29th, they played a secret show (so it wasn’t real). We were there and I wrote about it. I thought that part of the reason for the secret show was to test some new material in public, before debuting it officially last night. As such, I assumed that I could save a lot of typing by pointing people at that post and saying “Read that, but imagine it in a more stunning setting.” To a large extent that was true, but the deviations surprised me.

IanAxelChadVaccarino

I’ll talk a bit about the venue and the promoter below, but first let’s dive into the performance.

Last names weren’t even mentioned. They introduced themselves separately, simply as Ian and Chad. They opened with the same sequence of three songs as they did at the secret show: 1) Cheer Up, 2) Rockstar, 3) This is the New Year. Again, they reversed which verses they sang in This is the New Year. Both did a great job with the other’s verses, but in the first surprise of the evening, the same spot that Chad came in late at the secret show (“I pass it back to you”), caused him a bit of trouble again last night. At both shows that ended up being a charming/disarming moment.

At the secret show, that was the only song performed that is on the current CD (same title, This is the New Year). Quick aside, you can download that entire CD and pay whatever you want!

This is where my big surprise came. After that song, Chad left the stage. I expected Ian to play the same brand-new song he played at Rockwood, a song about/for his parents, and his love of/for them.

Instead, he played Gone (also a song written for his parents). I wonder whether he’s simply not ready to play that song in front of his parents just yet (they were there last night, but not at the secret show). Still, in rebranding themselves Ian and Chad, he picked a song that was on the current Ian Axel CD. OK, no biggie.

IanAxelSinging

At the secret show, each played a single solo song. I expected Chad to come right back up (either solo, or for another song together). Instead, Ian played two more songs solo, Waltz and Say Something. Both are on the current CD (again, much to my surprise). Ian was amazing on all three solo numbers, so I’m not complaining, but it was totally unexpected (perhaps that’s a good thing!).

Chad did play his one solo song on the guitar. It’s gorgeous and I look forward to more of his efforts on the guitar and singing from his heart. I don’t know if the song has an official title, but I’d call it “I Don’t Want to Love Somebody Else”. Awesome.

ChadVaccarinoGuitar

Chad had a special seat for when he played the guitar. Winking smile

ChadSpecialSeat

Mike Campbell joined Ian and Chad for two numbers. Mike played acoustic guitar and sang harmony. Ian played the ukulele on both. The first was a song they all co-wrote, Amory. It would be hard to describe how incredible their harmony was and how absolutely pin-drop quiet the packed-in crowd was.

MikeCampbellMikeCampbellChadVaccarinoIanAxel

They followed that up with their signature Shorty Don’t Wait, which Chad crushed (as did Ian and Mike).

ChadVaccarinoSinging

Ian and Chad closed out the show with Homeward Bound/The More We Love/I Really Want It (no, not three songs, an untitled song, with any of those three titles fitting perfectly, so take your pick!). Winking smile

That brings me to a general observation. This was one of the most amazing crowds I’ve been a part of, both for Ian and Chad, and the opener, Elizabeth and the Catapult as well. Absolutely hushed silence during the songs, followed by thunderous (and long) applause, whoops, cat-calls, etc., the second every single song was over. Exactly as it should be for such spectacular performances.

Back to the venue and the promoter. We’ve been to this venue once before, when it was called The Cooper Square Hotel. It was also to see Ian and Chad (though then they were called Ian Axel). That night, they were the openers.

The shows are held in the Penthouse, which I believe has more outdoor than indoor space. The wrap-around deck/terrace is one of the wonders of NYC. While it’s only 24 (or so) floors up, there are no other tall buildings around, so the view is quite sweeping, including the Empire State Building, MetLife and Chrysler Buildings, etc. The start time for the show allows for the full transition from bright sunlight, through twilight, to complete night-time scenes of NYC. That the music complements and exceeds the visuals makes the entire experience all the more amazing.

StandardHotelPenthouseDeckNYC-Skyline

Both shows that we attended are part of a series put on by Annie Ohayon, called the Annie O. Music Series. There used to be a page dedicated to that on the Cooper Square site. I’m sure The Standard will put one up when they get around to it.

AnnieOhayon

Anyway, Annie O. has great taste in music and will continue showcasing Ian and Chad (I believe the next show is on May 7th, same place, with Teddy Geiger opening). She’s already announced a few other acts later this month. Get on her mailing list and be prepared to be wowed by her musical choices and the venue she has partnered with.

Lois didn’t get to capture everyone that we knew who attended, but she caught a representative sample:

AliceRachelJonJasonRebeccaJon

JonHadarJasonKristaJason

LinaElyseTerryElyseTerry

HadarDougNellDoug

RachelChockyStacey

Elizabeth and the Catapult at The Standard Hotel

Send to Kindle

Elizabeth and the Catapult opened a show at The Standard Hotel last night. Well, to be honest, there were no catapult in sight, so let’s also give credit to her as a solo artist, Elizabeth Ziman. She mentioned that last night was her first-ever solo show. A bit hard to believe, but I have no evidence to refute that, so let’s go with it.

ElizabethZimanPreShowPose

It’s a bit hard to believe that we’ve only seen Elizabeth and the Catapult (E&TC) once before. That was 2.5 years ago, when they co-billed with The Paper Raincoat for TPR’s CD Release show at Joe’s Pub. Here’s what I had to say about Elizabeth that night:

Elizabeth Ziman is the heart and soul of the group. She has an absolutely extraordinary voice, completely captivating. She plays the piano exceptionally well. She played accordion (well) on one number, and guitar on one other number. Still, even though her piano skills are top notch, it’s the voice, the voice, seriously, it’s the voice!

Every word I said then was true last night (except that she didn’t play an accordion). That said, without any other instruments supporting her, I might tone down the last sentence and tone up the piano skills to mesmerizing. The voice was a good as I remembered it (so I don’t mean to downgrade it), but the piano (actually an electronic keyboard) was an equal match.

ElizabethZiman

In the opening number, Elizabeth’s fingers were in a constant wave of motion up and down the keyboard throughout the song. This wasn’t just chords, nor constant lead (melody) either, but an actual wave (like you might see going on at a sports stadium). Fast, silky smooth and to repeat myself, mesmerizing.

Later in the set she played a piece where the piano was straight out of an extraordinary classical piano concerto, yet she was singing jazz-like vocals/melody over it. Wildly impressive piano play and a cool song to boot.

Sorry about the quality of this shot, it’s the only one we have of her playing the guitar:

ElizabethZimanGuitar

She opened the show with Thank You for Nothing. I loved the entire song, and all of the lyrics, but I promised myself I’d remember the following lines (and I did!):

Thank you for loving me
Thank you for leaving

I won’t be able to name the rest of the songs. Not only didn’t Elizabeth have a set list, she seemed to change her mind early on and decided to play a few new songs, including one on acoustic guitar. She also played a cover of a new Greg Laswell number (beautiful song, performed equally well). Elizabeth is opening for Greg on his upcoming tour (starting in about a month).

Like I said above, it’s a little surprising that it’s taken this long to catch another E&TC show, even though technically, we caught an E show last night. I won’t let that happen over the next 2.5 years…

As you can see in some of the photos, the space itself is quite magical. I’ll spend a few more words on that in the next post.

In addition to Lois capturing photos during her performance, Manish Gosalia was right to her left snapping away throughout the set. It seemed only fair for one photographer (with the toy camera) to capture the other one (the professional) with the performer. Smile

ManishGosaliaElizabethZiman