Tag Archives: Free Energy

Free Energy – “Hangin”

Free Energy - Love SignAs 2012 winds down, we’re starting to look ahead at 2013’s anticipated releases. After hearing two strong singles, “Electric Fever” and “Dance All Night,” and a fantastic CMJ performance, Free Energy‘s sophomore album, Love Sign, is definitely near the top of the list.

The band just released another song from it: “Hangin.” It sticks closely to the Free Energy forumla — catchy power-pop hooks, head-bopping rhythm and big guitar solos — and works perfectly. They keep their style without falling into repetition.

Stream “Hangin” below. Love Sign is out January 15 on the band’s own Free People label.


Kind of Bleu’s CMJ 2012 Recap

CMJ’s annual Music Marathon recently took over parts of New York City (mostly Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Williamsburg, Brooklyn). Even without an official badge, it was easy to find a mix of old favorites and bands that could be the next big thing. Here’s our recap:

Paper Garden Records Showcase

While CMJ didn’t start until Tuesday, we spent Monday night watching the Mountain Goats at Bowery Ballroom. The following day, we headed to the Paper Garden Records showcase at the Living Room. Although we didn’t win any of the Schwinn bikes the label was giving away, we did get to see Washington, D.C.-based Pree and Conveyor, one of the buzz bands of this year’s CMJ.

Conveyor at the Paper Garden Records showcase -- The Living Room, Manhattan, New York -- CMJ 2012 -- Tuesday, October 16, 2012 -- Photo by Peter Cauvel

Terrorbird Media/Impose Showcase

Terrorbird Media and Impose’s showcase at Cake Shop on Wednesday featured some of the best performances we saw all week. Early sets from Wild International, Win Win and Michna started the day off great, but the highlight was producer Flume. The 20-year-old Australian performed songs from his upcoming debut album and even mixed in a bit of Notorious B.I.G. into his set.

After Flume, cross-dressing rapper Mykki Blanco gave a fiery performance, moving spastically around the small stage. And then, Prince Rama played songs from their new album, Top Ten Hits of the End of the World, in which they don the personas of ten fictional bands who perished in the apocalypse.

Tell All Your Friends PR Showcase

Tell All Your Friends PR held their party a few doors down at Pianos. Wooden Indian Burial Ground played a gritty, psychedelic rock set in the upstairs lounge to a fairly small crowd, but we did spot NPR’s Bob Boilen right up front.

The Delancey

Finally, we finished off the night by stopping in to see Rochester-favorites the Demos play a set at the Delancey. Despite the weird setup of the venue, the band laid their power pop on thick enough to leave an impression on NYC.

The Demos -- The Delancey, Manhattan, New York -- Wednesday, October 17, 2012 -- Photo by Peter Cauvel


On Friday, we camped out at Union Square Ballroom for KEXP’s annual CMJ event. The Seattle radio station broadcast music and live performances there throughout the week, and on Friday, the tiny room hosted some incredible bands.

Wild Nothing played early in the day, followed by one-man-band Kishi Bashi, who looped his violin and voice to create complex arrangements in the vein of Owen Pallett.

Wild Nothing at KEXP at CMJ -- Union Square Ballroom, Manhattan, New York -- CMJ 2012 -- Friday, October 19, 2012 -- Photo by Peter Cauvel

The Antlers headlined the event, playing mostly songs from their new Undersea EP, like “Drift Dive,” and a few from Burst Apart“No Widows” and “Hounds.”

The Antlers at KEXP at CMJ -- Union Square Ballroom, Manhattan, New York -- CMJ 2012 -- Friday, October 19, 2012 -- Photo by Peter Cauvel

AAM Showcase

On Saturday, AAM hosted their CMJ party at Knitting Factory. The Denzels got rid of any CMJ hangover with the first set of the day. The group, who recently released their new EP, Easy Tiger, gave a powerful performance that got even the most tired concertgoers on their feet.

Fleet Foxes side project Poor Moon filled the room with harmonies, and later, Free Energy closed out the show with a bunch of new jams and favorites.

Free Energy at AAM CMJ Party -- Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY -- October 20, 2012 -- Photo by Peter Cauvel

BrooklynVegan Saturday Day Party

In between Poor Moon and Free Energy, we skipped over to Public Assembly to catch a not-typical CMJ set from Miguel. After some initial setup problems, Miguel charmed the packed room, which left many standing outside. The set was short, only four songs, but he more than proved himself.

Miguel at BrooklynVegan Day Party - CMJ 2012 - Public Assembly, Brooklyn, NY - October 20, 2012 - Photo by Peter Cauvel

The Launch Pad

We finished CMJ at Spike Hill, where Baeblemusic held their Launch Pad event. Choir of Young Believers played their final show at CMJ. All the way from Denmark, the band’s dark orchestral pop was definitely a standout of this year’s lineup.

Choir of Young Believers at Spike Hill, Brooklyn, NY -- CMJ 2012 -- October 20, 2012 -- Photo by Peter Cauvel

Free Energy – “Dance All Night”

Free Energy - Dance All NightFree Energy‘s sophomore album, Love Sign, is coming out early next year on their own label Free People. The group released “Electric Fever” this summer, and now they’ve got another new one: “Dance All Night.”

The new single is slower, but still a great Free Energy jam.

Stream “Dance All Night” and check out the official album teaser below. Love Sign is out January 15 via Free People.

Free Energy – “Electric Fever”

Free Energy - Electric FeverFree Energy has returned with a predictably upbeat and awesome new track.

“Electric Fever” is exactly what Free Energy does best — a sing-along, dance-along anthem. It’s the first song released from their upcoming album, Love Sign. It’s got soaring guitar solos, plenty of whoa-ohs and one hell of a cowbell pounding out the rhythm.

I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more Free Energy.

Top Shows of 2011

10. Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes – Rochester Jazz Festival – Rochester, N.Y. – June 11
Southside Johnny may never have reached Bruce Springsteen’s level of success, but he still puts on a decent show. The Jukes aren’t exactly a “must-see” band, but their free show in Rochester was full of upbeat songs like “Talk to Me,” “I Don’t Want to Go Home,” and “Having a Party.”

So So Glos/Night Manager poster - The Suffolk July 1, 20119. So So Glos and Night Manager – Suffolk – New York, N.Y. – July 1
Night Manager’s record release show was a pretty small event, which was perfect. So So Glos headlined the show, featuring a slew of other bands. The sound system was questionable but certainly not the worst I’ve ever heard. So So Glos blistered through their set — fast and loud. They’ve played bigger shows, but I have to think that the ones in New York City dive bars are their best.

8. Nana Grizol and Defiance, Ohio – Community School of Music and Art – Ithaca, N.Y. – June 23
I used to love going to DIY shows, but I kind of outgrew the music. Nana Grizol is one of the few bands that brings back the feeling of youth and plays music I still love. Frontman Theo Hilton played a double set. He’s also in Defiance, Ohio, but Nana Grizol was still my favorite — full of wistful horns and sing-a-long lyrics.

7. The Mountain Goats – Artpark – Lewiston, N.Y. – July 27
Honestly, the Mountain Goats should be much higher on this list. The band played an excellent set, full of John Darnielle’s stories and some of the Mountain Goats’ best songs, at Artpark. But headliner Bright Eyes was a big downer. Not only did Conor Oberst seem like he’d rather be anywhere else, their set was just lackluster. If the Mountain Goats had headlined, this might have topped the list.

6. Punch Brothers and Justin Townes Earle – Prospect Park – Brooklyn, N.Y. – June 30
This show was another case of “might have been higher under other circumstances.” I like Justin Townes Earle, but I was there to see Punch Brothers. They definitely didn’t disappoint. Chris Thile is one of the greatest mandolin players out there, and the rest of the band makes it look easy to keep up with him. They played some of their best originals and a fantastic cover of Beck’s “Sexx Laws.” JTE played a decent set but had a few setbacks — slowed down songs, no drummer and tempo problems. He played well, but the Punch Brothers set was too tight for him to follow. Had the order been reversed, it might’ve gone unnoticed. Still a great show, though.

5. Furthur – CMAC – Canandaigua, N.Y. – July 26
This Furthur show was my first live Grateful Dead experience. I had heard what to expect, mostly regarding the Dead Heads, but was still completely caught off guard. People watching alone might have been worth the price of a ticket. Even without the strange parade of people, Furthur’s performance was worth the money we paid. Their two sets were full of classics like “Truckin’,” “Uncle John’s Band” and “Dark Star,” plus the usual assortment of covers and rarer songs. It was the first of, most likely, many Furthur/Dead shows.

4. Free Energy with Sports – St. Bonaventure University – April 30
Free Energy was the last concert I booked at St. Bonaventure, and it couldn’t have gone better. The weather was beautiful (it was outdoors), and both bands definitely had good vibes. Free Energy is the only band I’ve ever seen that even comes close to how fun, laid back and genuinely happy Limbeck is. I got the band Sports from Rochester to open, and they were awesome. It was my third time seeing Free Energy, and this was probably my favorite. They played almost all of their songs, including a crowd sing-a-long of “Something in Common,” and a surprise cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” It was definitely a high point of my senior year.

Fleet Foxes - Mountain Park - Holyoke, Mass. poster3. Fleet Foxes – Mountain Park – Holyoke, Mass. – September 25
Is there a better band to see on the side of a mountain than Fleet Foxes? Doubtful. The setting of Mountain Park in Holyoke, Mass. was seemingly made for them. Their lush harmonies echoed beautifully off Mt. Tom, filling the unusually warm September air. Fortunately, with a small catalog, they played most of their songs, including my favorites like “Helplessness Blues,” “Montezuma,” “Ragged Wood,” “Mykonos” and “White Winter Hymnal.”

1. (tie) Elvis Costello – Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre – Rochester, N.Y. – June 17
These top two shows are really a toss-up. Elvis Costello’s performance at the Rochester Jazz Festival was one of the best I’ve seen. His songs are great, but he still knows how to make it fun. I loved the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, and even though the set list was partly left to chance, the show was crammed with classics. Elvis and the Imposters ended up playing around 40 songs, including “Radio, Radio,” “Alison,” “Pump It Up,” and the closer “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.”

Avett Brothers - Smith Opera House poster1. (tie) Avett Brothers with David Mayfield Parade – Smith Opera House – Geneva, N.Y. – February 20
My other favorite show of the year was the Avett Brothers, who will probably make this list every year they play near me. What made this sold-out show even better was that it was in my small city of Geneva, N.Y. We only get a few shows a year, and even fewer good ones. David Mayfield Parade opened and really got the crowd going. As always, the Avett Brothers played their hearts out — screaming and pounding their instruments. They have a charisma that few bands can capture. They don’t need anything fancy to boost their shows. They just give it 100% of what they’ve got, every time.

Free Energy at St. Bonaventure University

Free Energy came to St. Bonaventure on Saturday, April 30 to play the university’s Spring Weekend. The name of the event usually implies nice weather, but it was cold and rainy on Friday (and Sunday and Monday).

Sports - St. Bonaventure Spring Weekend

Saturday was a break in the clouds, literally. The sun was out and everyone was feeling good, and the bands definitely added to the good vibes.

Sports, from Rochester, N.Y., opened the afternoon show with a forty-five-minute set. The band’s indie rock is strongly influenced by R&B and soul music, which creates a classic combination of Vampire Weekend and Elvis Costello. Their debut self-titled album is available on their website, sportsrochester.com, and is strongly recommended. Look for them to break out of western New York soon.

Free Energy - St. Bonaventure Spring WeekendFree Energy took the stage shortly after. Almost all of their songs are upbeat and perfect for singing and dancing. As performers, they have an undeniable swagger — always moving and looking like true rock stars. Catchy anthems from their debut album Stuck on Nothing like “Free Energy” and “Bang Pop” won over the crowd, and a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” turned into a massive sing-a-long.

The crowd favorite was probably “Something in Common,” from their self-titled EP. The funky bass line got everyone moving, and lead singer Paul Sprangers led the crowd in a chorus of “whoa oh oh” before stepping off the stage and handing off the mic to a group of students.

Nick Shuminsky (Free Energy) and Chris Radey playing basketballThey closed their set with “Hope Child,” and stuck around for a bit, mingling with students and selling merch. Drummer Nick Shuminsky even played a game of one-on-one basketball on Bob Lanier Court against junior Chris Radey. The day will surely be remembered by Bonaventure students as one of the most entertaining concerts the school has had.

Check out more photos from the show on my Flickr.

Top 20 of 2010: 2. Free Energy – Stuck on Nothing

2. Free Energy – Stuck on Nothing

Free Energy - Stuck on NothingYou could argue that the best music comes from the past, so it makes sense that nostalgia plays a big role in today’s music. Plenty of bands wear their influences on their sleeves, but Free Energy do it best.

Their debut album, Stuck on Nothing, features no interpretations or reinventions of classic sounds, just three- or four-chord riffs, big guitar solos and sing-along hooks. But Free Energy’s honest charisma and earnestness completely overrules all possible cheesiness and any chance of sounding like a bad cover band.

Singer Paul Sprangers seems to speak for a whole generation with unabashed lyrics like “Hey, we’re coming out. Kid across town, dream like there’s nothing to scream about.” Everything is so instantly positive, it’s nearly impossible not to sing along.

Stuck on Nothing feels classic. Some day, it’ll take its rightful place with Born to Run or Weezer’s Blue album, where youth never fades.