Thursday, November 12, 2009

Making music on the move

By Meredith Deliso

It’s déjà vu all over again.

This time last year, Brooklyn’s Bishop Allen were touring in support of their new release, playing two shows in the borough.

This month, they’re touring in support of their new release, playing – you guessed it – two shows in the borough.

For the pop rockers, it’s all about keeping busy and moving, especially as they’re currently on the road.

“You never have a lot of time to stop, because you’re constantly in motion,” says frontman Justin Rice, who lives in Greenpoint. “It’s nice to be constantly moving, it appeals to me and helps me keep my mind going. There’s always something new and invigorating thought-wise. You definitely have to get used to being flexible and being able to live in the moment.”

On the road for the month, the band makes the final stretch end a homecoming, with their last two shows November 20 at Union Hall in Park Slope and November 21 at the Bell House in Gowanus. While they are touring in support of their third album, “Grrr…,” a youthful, literate, undeniably catchy collection of 13 songs out on Dead Oceans, the band looks to make it somewhat of a retrospective at the two shows.

“I feel like a show becomes the greatest hits you like the most live,” says Rice. “If you feel like you’re just promoting a record and not going on tour as a thing in and of itself, it doesn’t feel right.”

For a more intimate show, head to Union Hall, which, thanks to its smaller size, should make for a raucous show (well, as raucous as you can with marimbas, ukuleles and group choruses). Or, for a bit more elbow room, head to the Bell House, where the band, comprised of Christian Rudder on guitar and vocals, Darbie Nowatka on percussion and vocals, Michael Tapper on drums, and Keith Poulson on bass, looks to make it a party.

In addition to music, the band also has a presence on screens large and small. Both Rice and Poulson have starred in films by Andrew Bujalski (Rice: 2005’s “Mutual Appreciation”; Poulson: 2002’s “Funny Ha Ha”), and the band gained some new followers after appearing in last year’s “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.” More recently, Rice has been kept busy with the films “Harmony and Me” and “Alexander the Last,” both released this year, and an web series called “Dead & Lonely.”

Despite Rice’s growing credits on, there’s no question as to which job comes first.

“I don’t really wake up in the morning and figure out how to make a movie,” says Rice. “I wake up and figure out how to write a better song.”

That’s how you’ll most likely find him when the band returns home to Brooklyn, as it’s back to work writing new material out of their “office” – a studio in East Williamsburg studio.

With that in mind, better mark your calendars now, as this busy Brooklyn band will sure to be at it again this time, oh, say, same time next year.

Of course, catch them now, when Bishop Allen play Union Hall (702 Union St.) November 21 at 8 p.m. With Twin Thousands and Spanish Prisoners. Tickets are $15. 21+. For more information, call 718-638-4400. The next night, you can find them at the Bell House (149 7th St.) at 8 p.m. With Throw Me the Statue and Darwin Deez. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 day of the show. 18+. For more, call 718-643-6510.

Also watch their new video for the single, "True or False," featuring lead vocals from Darbie Nowatka Rice:

Photo by Sebastian Mlynarski


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