By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
TRL success and jokes about guyliner, and he did so deftly. At the Studio at Webster Hall last month, he was supremely confident, blowing through the ebullient "Everybody Wants Somebody" and the swaggering one-last-drink resolution "Run Dry (X Heart X Fingers)" in such a way to expand the basement room's walls to arena size.
tUnE-yArDs. The fearless way with which Merrill Garbus attacks her instruments (I'm including her voice, which she loops live on stage) is inspiring, bringing up urges to seize the day as soon as humanly possible. That the show coincided with Bastille Day turned out to be a wonderful coincidence; as the last notes of the defiant "Killa" rang out, fireworks went off across the Hudson. Even though they technically were part of a Bastille Day celebration, they might as well have served as the night's final pyrotechnic exclamation point.
Honorable Mentions: Battles at Webster Hall (three musicians at the top of their game); blink-182 at Jones Beach (bratty pop-punk turns into the ideal soundtrack for oceanside splashing); Ke$ha at Jones Beach (a loft party gets blown up to shed size); The Olivia Tremor Control at (le) poisson rouge (underground psych-pop icons prove that they can still make a glorious mess after all these years); Razika at Cameo Gallery (Norwegian twee in the crucial moments before they were devoured by the Internet); Wild Flag at the Rock Shop ('90s refugees refusing to rest on nostalgic laurels).