Mikal Cronin celebrated the release of his third solo record with a packed Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday night. The new album (helpfully titled MCIII) has a fuller, more lush sound than its predecessor, with strings and keyboards more prominent, while his ear for a pop hook is still on top form.
Openers EZTV play a laidback, almost horizontal blend of twee indie pop, deliberately never getting out of second gear. It’s endearing and the twin guitars work well with each other. The band have recently signed to Captured Tracks and are set to release a debut 7″.
Up next was William Tyler, who is probably best known for his work in Lambchop, but the minute he started playing his acoustic guitar, the noisey chatter that had been present until this point stopped immediately. For the opening two numbers, Tyler mesmerised the audience with his virtuoso guitar playing. It almost seemed a shame when he switched to electric afterwards, crafting soundscapes and loops while reminiscing of how The Eagles’ Hotel California produces a Clockwork Orange-like response in him. I know I have to fend off the urge to vomit every time I hear that song, too. If ever there was a beacon of mediocrity, it’s Hotel California. Tyler definitely had the crowd’s attention and I’m sure made many new fans.
Mikal Cronin has a different band behind him since I saw him last, but there didn’t seem to be any early-tour jitters or looseness about them, fresh from a performance on Conan, the band played a large part of the latest record, with a healthy sprinkling of earlier material.
The latest promotional video for the record, Turn Around, parodies Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn, and it has already been met with approval from the Aussie herself, much to the delight of Cronin.
The sound at Bowery is usually pretty reliable, but there’s a bit too much boom echoing around the room tonight, belying the record’s bright and shiny production. The band give it their all, and Cronin breaks one of his 12-strings during the first song (last time I saw him at Webster Hall he ended the show with only 2 left).
A well deserved encore sees the band race through Change from MCII and it seems like a race to the merch table ensues to pick up his latest effort. With an impressive growing discography and performances like this, you start to wonder just how far he can go, it seems as though the sky is the limit.
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