Freedom To Love Now! A Concert For Marriage Equality ($250 Premium Ticket), Doveman, Rufus Wainwright, fun., The National, Beth Orton, They Might Be Giants, Toshi Reagon, Justin Vivian Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Sam Amidon, Cibo Matto

Freedom To Love Now! A Concert For Marriage Equality ($250 Premium Ticket)

This Premium Ticket Package includes a preferred VIP location seat, a poster, and acknowledgment in the concert program and on the Freedom To Love Now website. The funds raised from this event benefit the Freedom To Marry organization.


Although keyboardist Thomas Bartlett cut his teeth as a sideman for Bebel Gilberto, the Swell Season, the National, and David Byrne, he also earned his own accolades as the frontman of Doveman. Bartlett founded the project in 2005 with the release of The Acrobat, a moody debut that highlighted his whispered vocals and ambient, jazz-influenced arrangements. He returned to the solo game two years later, focusing heavily on instrumental numbers with the sophomore effort With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead, before becoming the toast of the blogosphere with a track-by-track re-creation of the Footloose soundtrack in 2008. While continuing to handle keyboard duties for other artists, he found time to record a third album of original material, The Conformist, which arrived in 2009.

Rufus Wainwright

The last few years have been quite a journey for Rufus Wainwright. Creatively, he put pop music aside and concentrated on his other interests, from his Grammy-nominated recreation of Judy Garland's fabled Carnegie Hall concert to the 2009 premiere of his opera, Prima Donna. Wainwright's personal life has been even more dramatic, witnessing the birth of his daughter, Viva; the death of his mother, singer/songwriter Kate McGarrigle; and his engagement to partner Jorn Weisbrodt.

All of these experiences inform his seventh studio album, Out of the Game, along with the input of a new collaborator, celebrated producer Mark Ronson. The results are the loosest, most accessible music of Wainwright's career, retaining his distinctive narrative sense and wry wit while adding classic pop pleasures.

"What I wanted was a warmth and a depth in terms of quality of sound, and a certain clarity that's still easy on the ears," he says. "I've done that whole ponderous, pseudo-genius thing, so it was fun to get in there and work really fast and do something that was more about the songs."

Wainwright and Ronson knew each other socially, but the idea of matching them in the studio was the idea of their mutual friend and publicist Barbara Charone (who, in turn, is paid tribute on the album's track "Barbara"). Ronson—winner of the 2008 Grammy for "Producer of the Year," known for his work with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Christina Aguilera—says that initially he was unsure why the singer was turning to him, but that he was instantly inspired by the demo recording of the song that would become the album's title track.

"Hearing 'Out of the Game' set this warm, '70s, slightly Laurel Canyon-meets- Young Americans tone," he says. "I started to hear sounds and ideas as soon as I heard that demo."

Wainwright and Ronson both credit the influence of the great recordings of the 1970s on Out of the Game. They reference such giants as Elton John, Harry Nilsson, and Steely Dan, and the genre-blending and sense of songwriting ambition that characterized the best music of that era.

"We were both born in the '70s and that's the first music that we heard," says Wainwright. "I think it kind of gives us a right to pull from that, because our generation really was the last one that was actually there."

After the brief, initial demo session, they spent six months reviewing the new songs and listening to some of Wainwright's older, unreleased material. By the time the recording began, they had enough preparation and, as Wainwright says, "were getting along like a house on fire," and found that they were able to work at a very productive pace, tracking sixteen songs in just eight days.

"There was nothing precious about the recordings," says Ronson. "The band was playing live, with Rufus singing on a couch in the control room. For the most part the songs are what was recorded in that take, and it feels like you're sitting there with the band."

The sounds on Out of the Game range from the grand horns-and-strings arrangement of "Jericho" to the sparse, hypnotic "Montauk." On "Rashida," Ronson displays his signature love of doo-wop/girl group harmonies, while Wainwright says that "Bitter Tears" allowed the producer to "flex his dance muscles a little bit." He describes "Welcome to the Ball" as the rare pop song that "goes on a serious journey through different musical perspectives."

"I know some stuff about pop music, but I'm really more centered in the classical world, so I was ready to deliver the goods to Mark and have him take over," says Wainwright. "I think I sound the best of any album I've made—I'm hitting a plateau with my voice that's very exciting."

Ronson, who brought in many of the same players he used on sessions with such modern soul masters as Winehouse and D'Angelo—including the hardhitting Dap-Kings—plus guests like Sean Lennon and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs says that Wainwright made an indelible impression. "These guys are the best musicians I know of my generation, but they don't get excited," he says. "And they were saying, 'This is the best album I've ever played on.' For the backing vocals, we used three soul singers that I've used before, but having Rufus's ear for harmonies, they were kind of blown away, singing harmonies and chords they'd never sung before."

Wainwright's relationship with Weisbrodt is explored in "Song Of You" and "Respectable Dive," but the spirit that looms the largest over Out of the Game is Kate McGarrigle, who passed away in early 2010 following a long battle with cancer. "In a lot of ways, while my mother was still alive, I was singing to her," says Wainwright. "She was my toughest critic and my biggest fan. With her not having been around for this album, there was a kind of release, a necessity to get to the next step.

"There's a famous saying that your mother gives birth to you twice—once when you're born and once when you die. So having a slightly tougher, wiser attitude on this record, I think I only could have done that after her passing."

With grace and humor, craft and confidence, Out of the Game is a remarkable return to the pop world for Rufus Wainwright. The scope of sounds and styles is unified by both his incomparable voice and the lucidity of his vision. "Because I'm older and I've had different experiences, there's a diversity in my life that I wanted the record to express," he says. "Maybe in the past, it would get a little confusing to people, but this time we were able to maintain that mountain range of an existence with something tying it together, a certain sound or warmth, which makes all the difference.

"That's always been my mission," Wainwright concludes, "to make albums with variety and a sense of perspective on all that music can be."

fun. has not stopped living up to its name since their 2009 debut, Aim & Ignite. A year after the debut they were opening for Paramore on their headlining tour and performing at Coachella along with The Strokes and Jay-Z. Now they've 2 teamed up with Janelle Monáe, a melodic collaboration on display in one of three videos for "We Are Young." In addition, the TV series "Glee" just plucked "We Are Young" off Some Nights to cover on the show, an experience that meant the world to a band that prides itself on appealing to any demographic that might feel disenfranchised or just plain odd. "None have us have ever felt like anything but outcasts our entire lives," says Jack, "and I know that's something that has resonated with fun. fans. They are the same people as us — kids who never fully latched onto a specific music scene because it couldn't define them." With a trail of accolades behind them, fun. knew they had to step up their game in an unexpected way when it came to producing their second record. "I got really got into hip-hop," says Nate, "I mean really into it. Songs started coming to me in the middle of the night, and I would hear them with breakbeats and samples, and it all made sense… I told everyone I wanted the next record to
sound like a hip-hop album, and I don't think they were unsupportive, but they were definitely confused." Then, a few hours before a show in Phoenix, the band snuck into a music room at Arizona State University. Nate doesn't play any instruments, but by now Jack and Andrew have learned to "crack the code." This time the code was for the track that would become "Some Nights." Andrew pounded out the chords out on a piano, while Nate sang, and Jack stomped his feet and clapped as hard as he could to establish the pulse of the song. "That moment really brought us together as the band that was going to be making this album….I just had to explain how the MPC (Music Production Center) would be our new best friend."
When pressed by their label and management for a list of potential producers, Nate consulted the albums he loved most. The name that appeared time and time again was "Jeff Bhasker."
The legendary Grammy-winning producer for Alicia Keys and Kanye West had his hands full at the time, working with Beyoncé, and the band worried that they might not have a chance to meet him. Finally, one night late at The Bowery Hotel, Nate got his chance. Their relationship was one that fit nicely into the grand tradition of fun. "Jeff wasn't very, shall we say, warm. He had been working on Beyoncé all day, and he really gave the vibe that he didn't want to be meeting with me...but thank God for alcohol. We ended up hitting it off, and since I was drunk and lacking self-awareness, I decided to sing him something I had been working on. I remember singing the chorus for "We Are Young" kind of loud and out of key. That's when I learned that Jeff does this thing when he's excited where his eyes perk up and somehow his ears move all the way to the top of his head. He told me we had to work together." fun. was on their way to becoming the band that would — that could — produce Some Nights.

The National

Though The National have been building steam in rock circles for awhile now, the band's latest album, High Violet, helped them find success all over the world. After making the summer festival rounds and completing a full European tour, the emotive rockers are returning to the States. Along with seminal New York band Yo La Tengo and Baltimore-based folk outfit Wye Oak, The National are making a stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion for a night of high-caliber music.

"Singer/songwriter Beth Orton combined the passionate beauty of the acoustic folk tradition with the electronic beats of trip-hop to create a fresh, distinct fusion of roots and rhythm.

Born in Norwich, England in December 1970, Orton debuted as one half of the duo Spill, a one-off project with William Orbit which released a cover of John Martyn's "Don't Wanna Know About Evil." She continued with Orbit on his 1993 LP "Strange Cargo 3", co-writing and singing the track "Water From a Vine Leaf" before appearing with the group Red Snapper on their first singles "Snapper" and "In Deep" .

In 1995 Orton teamed with the Chemical Brothers for "Alive: Alone," the ultimate track on their "Exit Planet Dust" LP. After assembling a backing band comprised of double bassist Ali Friend, guitarist Ted Barnes, keyboardist Lee Spencer and drummer Wildcat Will, she finally issued her 1996 debut EP "She Cries Your Name"; her stunning full-length bow "Trailer Park", produced in part by Andrew Weatherall, followed later in the year. In 1997, Orton released the superb "Best Bit EP", a move towards a more organic, soulful sound highlighted by a pair of duets with folk-jazz legend Terry Callier; the full-length "Central Reservation" followed in 1999. "Stolen Car" was a moderate hit among college radio and tours across the U.S. were also successful. Three years later, Orton emerged refreshed with her third album "Daybreaker". This time around, she collaborated with ex-Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams and the Chemical Brothers. In early 2006, Orton released her fourth album, "Comfort of Strangers". - Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

They Might Be Giants

How many times has a band's 15th album been one of their best? The answer is four. And one of them is Join Us, the new album by They Might Be Giants. Join Us finds John Flansburgh and John Linnell on a creative roll, making music that positively swarms with energy, invention, and an impeccable grasp of the miraculous synergy of words and music.

To understand where this artistry comes from, it helps to remember They Might Be Giants' beginnings: as a key part of the early '80s explosion of visual art, music, and performance art that put New York's East Village on the cultural map. But while most cutting-edge rock at the time was bruising and nihilistic, the two Johns were making Dadaist, truly post-modern pop, forming a branch of underground music whose membership consisted entirely of themselves. "We're fully aware of the musical worlds both to the left of us and to the right of us — we've heard avant garde music, we've heard popular music," says Flansburgh. "That's given us the notion that we can be as original as we can be and still make worthwhile songs."

In 1990, They Might Be Giants created some of their greatest work just as alternative rock was cresting — and went platinum with the classic Flood. In the ensuing 20 years, they've become a beloved and fully diversified institution, conquering all media throughout the known universe, contributing to film and TV soundtracks, making hit DVDs, winning two Grammy awards, becoming Musical Ambassadors for International Space Year, appearing as cartoon characters, writing music for a robot ballet, topping the iTunes podcast charts, and being the subject of the acclaimed documentary Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns. And now the very aptly titled Join Us.

Join Us is a great leap forward for They Might Be Giants — in part because in several ways, it's a "get back" record. On their previous album, 2007's The Else, the two Johns worked with

producers the Dust Brothers (Beck, Beastie Boys); this time, they produced themselves, along with (very) long-time co-conspirator Pat Dillett, and took a new approach that was actually an old approach. If The Else was a self-consciously rock record, this one strives to be unself-conscious. "We got back to our beginners' mind about how ugly it could be, how strange it could be," says Flansburgh. "We're flying our freak flag super high on this one."

You can't step in the same river twice, though, and Join Us finds the two Johns 30 years wiser and more sophisticated than they were on their debut. The studio wizardry, while understated, is state-of-the-art and the performances draw on the ineffable chemistry of an ace live band — drummer Marty Beller, guitarist Dan Miller, and bassist Danny Weinkauf — that has remained virtually unchanged for a decade.

The simplicity of the arrangements also recalls their very earliest work. "Half the time, there are only three instruments playing at any given moment," Flansburgh points out. "And often we're both singing. We wanted to have music that we could sing together. That's all very much a return to our first couple of records."

And yet, Linnell adds, "There was a lot of discovery going on. It's experimental music. You're experimenting and then after a series of blind alleys you suddenly find something really interesting and everyone goes wow." Take, for instance, the intro to "The Lady and the Tiger." "We were plugging things into different effects — and suddenly this whistling came out," Linnell says. "Nobody was expecting that, but immediately it seemed like a really important element in the recording. It's like it's trying to say something but you can't quite say what it is. A lot of the best things about music are like that." And more specifically, a lot of the best things about They Might Be Giants are like that.

If the band's lyrics seem enigmatic at first (and, usually, third or fourth) glance, it's because they're reaching for things that can only be expressed with a song. So don't look for much in the way of autobiography. "We don't write songs about our own largely dull lives," Linnell says. "We mostly rely on the time-tested gimmick of making shit up." Still, it's tempting to try to knit together the strands of this album: the double meaning of the title, the theme of defiance that runs through the songs, the cryptic self-references… it's as if there's a concept in there somewhere, waiting for some clever person to ferret out what it is.

The songs of Join Us are largely populated by sleazebags, oddballs, jerks, and people who are barely hanging on to their sanity (or not). Check out the uncomfortably unctuous guy in "You Probably Get That a Lot." (Don't know what a cephalophore is? Well, look it up! It's interesting! ) Then there's the possibly schizophrenic narrator of "Cloisonné," and the character of "In Fact" who admits with some understatement, "I'm a mess." It's cathartic to sing along to these songs — because it was even more cathartic to write them. "Mucking around in the mind of an unreliable narrator," says Flansburgh, "is about halfway between a pleasant short vacation and self-induced mental illness, and this album is about as chock-full of that as anything we've ever done."

The music is so catchy and beguiling that it's easy to miss the subtle and often complex darkness that lurks in many of these songs, something that's been true since the band's 1986 self-titled debut. So listen closely to the opener, "Can't Keep Johnny Down," or the existential despair of "The Lady and the Tiger," the actually kind of disturbing "Cloisonné," or the way the heraldic folk rock of "Old Pine Box" is actually about a broken-down screw-up. And then there's the heartbreaking closer "You Don't Like Me." "What might not be obvious from a distance in our music is how adult the themes are," says Flansburgh. "Adult lives are filled with disappointment and how to reconcile yourself to the life you ended up with."

It's not all ominous though — there are songs that harbor truth and keen insight within a meticulously crafted pop song, like the sublime party jam "Celebration," the perfect pop of "Let Your Hair Hang Down," and the exuberant Who homage "Judy Is Your Vietnam." "Canajoharie" might be one of the band's greatest songs ever: Not only will it get you to heartily sing the name of an obscure town in upstate New York, but if you dig deeper, it's a powerful insight into the nature of nostalgia.

They Might Be Giants both recall and reinvent pop songwriting; they're in a league with modern masters like Elvis Costello, Sparks and XTC, echoes of whom you can hear in Join Us. As Flansburgh notes, "We're rock people — we grew up in this hypnotizing moment when there was nothing more persuasive than popular song. It was so good, it stole the minds of an entire generation.

Join Us? By all means.

Toshi Reagon

Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely started out in 1996. Since then they have played all over the US. They call our shows church.

Justin Vivian Bond

Tony Award nominee JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND returns to the Castro Theater for a full fledged concert event in celebration of the release of the first solo full length CD "DENDROPHILE". Acclaimed by the New Yorker as "the greatest cabaret artist of his artful truth telling illusionist " Juston will perform -accompanied by a live band- a selection of songs from the new CD and spin a magical web of spellbinding stories that is sure to delight!

Bond last performed at the historic Castro Theater Valentine's Day 2010 in an unforgettable concert of Carpenters tunes entitled JUSTIN BOND:CLOSE TO YOU.

This latest cd release gala event - again produced by "Marc Huestis Presents"- of "DENDROPHILE" (which denotes a person who derives an erotic charge from nature) is sure to be a combination of glittering entertainment and SF scene-making not to be missed. After the event, Justin Vivian Bond will be hosting a CD signing in the Castro Mezzanine.

Sam Amidon (who also produced one album under the name "Samamidon") is an American independent folk artist born in Brattleboro, Vermont, June 3, 1981. His parents are folk artists Peter and Mary Alice Amidon. Sam currently lives near New York City. His second album, All is Well, was produced, recorded and mixed in Iceland by Valgeir Sigurðsson at Greenhouse Studios. His third album, I See the Sign -- also produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson -- was released in 2010

Cibo Matto

Cibo Matto (meaning crazy food in Italian) is a New York City-based band formed by two Japanese women, Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori.

After working together in the noise rock band Leitoh Lychee, they formed Cibo Matto in 1994. The band name is an Italian phrase that roughly translates to "Crazy Food", a twist of the name of an Italian movie from the 70's called "Sesso Matto". In 1995, Cibo Matto released a self-titled EP on El Diablo Records. The EP caught the attention of Warner Bros. Records, who signed Cibo Matto later in the year. Under Warner Bros., the duo released their first major album, "Viva! La Woman", produced by Mitchell Froom, which stayed at #1 on CMJ college chart for six weeks. Their songs featured lyrics that played with food-related ideas, including "Know Your Chicken", "Apple", and "Birthday Cake". Their single "Sugar Water" was a modest college radio and dance hit. The song was accompanied by an innovative split screen music video directed by Michel Gondry, wherein each side showed the same footage – one side going forward, and one backwards, meeting mid-song in a sort of visual/narrative palindrome. Cibo Matto made appearances on various television shows such as Oddville, Viva Variety, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "Birthday Cake" was heavily featured in the videogame Jet Set Radio Future. In 1996, Cibo Matto contributed their version of the Jobim classic "Águas De Março (Waters of March)" to the AIDS benefit album "Silencio=Muerte: Red Hot + Latin", produced by the Red Hot Organization.

In 1997 Cibo Matto released an EP entitled "Super Relax" which included remixes of the song "Sugar Water" (including versions by Mike D of Beastie Boys and by Cold Cut of Ninja Tune) alongside rarities and oddities such as their version of "Águas De Março" and The Rolling Stones' "Sing This All Together".

Cibo Matto went on to release their second (and final) album "Stereo ? Type A" in 1999. Although it was a departure from the much-loved sound of "Viva! La Woman", "Stereo ? Type A" was well-received by fans and the music critics alike.

The group continued to tour until disbanding in 2001.

All of the members of Cibo Matto have gone on to release solo material and continued to collaborate with each other.

Miho & Yuka announced their reunion on March 18th, 2011 when they performed as part of a benefit concert for victims of the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami. The concert, which took place on March 27th at Columbia University in New York City, also included YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND, John Zorn, Sonic Youth, and Mike Patton. Following the success of this show, Cibo Matto performed again at a second benefit on the 29th of the same month, which also featured YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND and Patti Smith Group. Lou Reed and Antony of Antony and Johnsons were surprise guests at this event.



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