David Grubbs & Ryley Walker: December 12, 2021 Public Records

January 9, 2022

Way back in September, which is about a decade ago according to my experience of time, David Grubbs and Ryley Walker got together to release a fantastic collaborative album, A Tap on the Shoulder, via Ryley’s Husky Pants label. The album brings the two former Chicagoans together for the first time for seven loose, explorative guitar tracks with Grubbs also contributing some piano.

Though the pair won’t be touring behind the record (for now, anyway), they did get together last month for a one-off record release show at Public Records in Brooklyn. For fifty minutes they alternate between ruminative wanderings and dizzying freakouts, neither soloing or overwhelming the other. It sounds like they’re listening to each other just as much as they’re playing their own guitars. You don’t see two performers of this caliber get together very often, and I’m glad we were there to capture it.

Ryley Walker isn’t touring with David Grubbs, but you can still catch him live this month and beyond. Check the dates over at his website!

I recorded this show with a pair of MBHO omnidirectional mics positioned at the stage lip. The sound is excellent. Enjoy!

Stream and download the show at the Live Music Archive.

David Grubbs & Ryley Walker
Public Records
Brooklyn, NY

Recorded and produced by Eric PH for nyctaper.com

MBHO KA100DK/603A (stage lip) > Naiant PFA >> Sound Devices MixPre-6 > WAV (24/48) > Audacity 3.0.2 > FLAC


  1. Live at Public Records 2021 (53:12)

Tonstartssbandht: October 28, 2021 Market Hotel

December 12, 2021
Photo by Tod Seelie

In what is perhaps the most NYCTaper-friendly tour announcement ever, last week it was revealed that Ryley Walker and Tonstartssbandht will co-headline a six-date Northeast tour in March that will arrive in New York at Bowery Ballroom on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve already purchased the Bowery tickets, but we’ve had some serious discussions about doing multiple dates on this tour, with the mostly likely being the Portland Maine and Providence Rhode Island dates on the weekend after the Thursday night in New York. We shall see, but suffice to say its an exciting tour that should not be missed by us, or by anyone serious about good music.

But the Bowery will not be the first post-pandemic show in New York for our old friends Andy and Edwin White. In late October, they toured for Petunia, the band’s first proper album in three years and played a sold-out show at our own Market Hotel. I can not properly express how thoroughly renewing it was for us to see one of our favorite bands and favorite people play live again. Nevermind that the crowd also included a bunch of old friends, this night was just magic from start to finish. The band’s set concentrated primarily on the new album material, and flowed as their sets always do, in remarkable continuity. The energy was peak throughout and hit a crescendo during the set-closing “Sorcerer“, ending a wonderful night in truly excellent fashion. We expect more of these peaks on the tour in March.

I recorded this set with the installed Neumann hypercards blended with an excellent board feed mixed by Osaro. We are very pleased with the sound quality of this capture. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream the Complete Show:

nyctaper · Tonstartssbandht – Live at Market Hotel Oct 28 2021

Market Hotel
Brooklyn NY

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard [engineer Osaro] + Neumann KM-150s > Sound Devices 744t > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

[Total Time 1:01:57]
01 Falloff
02 Opening
03 What Has Happened
04 Hey Bad >
05 Breathe – Susie – Last Train Home
06 All of My Children
07 Magic Pig
08 Smilehenge
09 Sorcerer

SUPPORT Tonstartssbandht: Facebook / Bandcamp

Elkhorn: August 31, 2021 Valentino Park Red Hook

December 8, 2021

A few weeks back Elkhorn released The Golden Lag on Blue Hole Recordings, a two-sided cassette of two medium length instrumental tracks consistent with what we’ve come to expect from this ultra-talented guitar duo. This motivated me to finally finish the edit on the recording of this amazing day in the park from August.

Due mostly to the indefatigable efforts of Aaron Stein, the NYC Freaks Day Out pop-up concerts have created magical experiences for the tuned in. Nestled in a corner of Valentino Park in Red Hook, the artists playing these events are presented in a most natural atmosphere and with fans on blankets or beach chairs, and the feel of the event is like a family reunion of the most knowledgeable music fans NYC has to offer. On this beautiful day in August, it all came together for Elkhorn and the Freaks and all was right with the world for a few hours.

In our previous experiences with Elkhorn, the band has played as a guitar duo featuring Jesse Sheppard on a 12-string acoustic guitar and Drew Gardner on primarily electric guitar. The intricate interplay between Jesse’s melodic lines and Drew’s crunchy strat is both mesmerizing and compelling. On this particular day, the band added Ian McColm on drums, a sought-after talent who has appeared elsewhere on these pages. The first set was familiar to fans with the guitar interplay supplemented by Ian’s tasty fills. A thirty minute piece of pure bliss, it was one of those time-stands-still kind of sets that you never want to end.

But it was the second set that threw us for a bit of a loop. Jesse strapped on an electric bass and proceeded to riff on a funky groove and Drew worked the wah wah to perfection. The thirty minute set weaved in and out of a few different themes but ultimately proved that this band has an infinite number of genres to explore in its future and we’ll be happy to capture them all.

I recorded this set with the outdoor-friendly large diaphragm Neumann microphones set up directly center in front of the band, and the sound quality is stunning. Sure there are a few dog barks and children, but that’s exactly the atmosphere of this terrific day and we are so happy with this recording. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream the Complete Show:

nyctaper · Elkhorn – Live in Red Hook Aug 29 2021

Valentino Park – Red Hook
Brooklyn NY

Digital Master Recording
On Stage

Neumann KLM-102s > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced
by nyctaper

Set 1 [Total Time 30:07]
01 Improvisation 1
Set 2 [Total Time 31:41]
02 Improvisation 2
03 Improvisation 3

Jesse Sheppard: acoustic guitar, bass
Drew Gardner: electric guitar
Ian McColm: drums

SUPPORT ELKHORN: website / bandcamp

Ryley Walker: September 12, 2021 Tubby’s (Kingston, NY)

November 1, 2021

Since my last post here (on March 9, 2020) New Yorkers have sought refuge in all kinds of places and a bewildering number of distractions. Vinyl record sales surged even more, Instagram overflowed with DIY baking, sedentary people discovered hiking, gym rats discovered the joys of being sedentary. New Yorkers moved to the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Florida or farther-flung destinations.

Ryley Walker ended up in Vermont, running his nascent but growing label, Husky Pants and, as is his norm, recording and releasing a slew of new music. Course In Fable, the follow-up to 2018’s Deafman Glance, represents another stunning evolution in his sound. Prog-rock courses through its compositions, recorded with pristine sonics by Tortoise vet John McEntire. If anyone worried whether Ryley’s first post-sobriety album would lose the magic of his blurrier past, the answer is not only no, but the exact opposite. This is Walker’s most self-possessed work to date, bringing all of collaborators Ryan Jewell, Andrew Scott Young, and Bill McKay’s musical strengths firmly under one voice, with lyrics that can be evocative but obtuse as well as devastatingly direct. If Course In Fable is remembered as the finest album of Walker’s career, it will be worthy of the title.

It made sense to see these songs in the tiny but welcoming back room of Tubby’s, a venerable Kingston bar reinvented as a serious live music venue. The space itself feels like a refuge; its size compels an intimacy and familiarity that have been hard to come by for most of us in this part of the world recently. I’m not sure I’ve been to another venue of its size that has bookings at the level they do, and I hope Tubby’s keeps it up.

This show featured most of the Course In Fable lineup, with Walker joined by Jewell and Young, and the trio moved through this set of later-period (Course and Deafman Glance) tunes with aplomb. The Course tunes stayed fairly true to their original arrangements, with “The Halfwit In Me” serving as the 18-minute improvisational centerpiece of the set. While I’d love to hear some of those talents applied to the live new songs eventually, for this go, the thrill came in hearing the original arrangements live in a room, that special kind they were written for.

Ryley is on a west coast swing right now, and will be back east supporting Dinosaur Jr. to close out the year, followed by… well, his usual slew of tour dates in 2022. Just how it should be. See his tour dates here.

This recording was an extra-special collaboration between Kliked and I, using a combination of my Schoeps omnidirectional mics up front, his MBHO’s at the soundboard, and Zoots’ feed of the (mostly) vocals. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the recording at the Live Music Archive [MP3] | [FLAC]

Ryley Walker
Kingston, NY  USA

Recorded and produced by Kliked and acidjack

Source 1: Schoeps MK5o>KCY>Z-PFA (stage lip, PAS)>Sound Devices MixPre6Source 2: MBHO 440 (at SBD) + Soundboard (engineer: Zoots)>Sound Devices MixPre3
Source 1 24/48 WAV + Source 2 24/48 WAV>Audacity (time align, EQ, fades, tracking, limiter, compression)>24/48 WAV>FLAC ( level 8 )

Ryley Walker
Ryan Jewell – Percussion
Andrew Scott Young – Bass

Tracks [Total Time:59:28]
01 Striking Down Your Big Premiere
02 Rang Dizzy
03 [banter1]
04 Opposite Middle
05 [banter2]
06 Telluride Speed
07 [banter3]
08 The Halfwit In Me
09 [banter4]
10 Shiva With Dustpan
11 [banter5]
12 22 Days

Please support Ryley Walker: [bandcamp] | [website]

Phish: August 14, 2021 Atlantic City

August 22, 2021

The bright sunlight of a crystal clear Saturday morning reflected off the Atlantic Ocean and offered some hope of redemption from the negative energy of Friday night’s gaseous debauchery. Overnight, the unfortunate souls tasked with cleaning the boardwalk had removed nearly all evidence of the previous evening’s wreckage and with the arrival of weekend vacationers, Atlantic City seemed to breath fresh again.

We had the pleasure of spending a little time in the Phan Art exhibition on Saturday afternoon and those gentle vibes reinvigorated me and gave us a sense that maybe the positive elements of the scene could rise above the darkness that still lurked in the shadows. The threats of rain having dissipated, we entered the beach with a sense that this night could be special.

Perhaps Phish got wind of the negative energy, as they closed the first set with the dark cautionary tale “Squirming Coil”, advising all to steer clear of “Satan on the beach”. The balance of the first set was an up and down affair, as the trainwreck opening of “Ya Mar” was offset by a near-perfect run through of the intricate “Reba” jam.

But it was the meat of the second set where this show really began to shine. Phish covered the entire Quadrophenia album for Halloween 1995, and fortunately the epic “Drowned” has remained in occasional rotation, making a couple of appearances a year. The jam out of Drowned went into the familiar Jersey territory, as Trey clearly teased Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” before transitioning to a nice spooky “Ghost”. Further buoyed by the opportunity to stretch out and explore, Trey seemed to be heading into a reprise of Drowned, which somehow then weirdly morphed into the middle portion of Scents and Subtle Sounds, which sadly petered out after about five minutes. The band refocused and launched into a gnarly Chalkdust that went into deep space before emerging through a fog of noise towards the gentle keyboard opening of Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”. At this point, the weekend had achieved musically exactly what I had hoped to see — a band playing at the peak of their powers and delivering transcendent moments in a troubling time of confusion and despair. We live for these peaks, and when Phish reprised Friday night’s “Tweezer” as the second encore to bookend my own person weekend experience, it was quite emotional. No nefarious post-show Boardwalk shenanigans could bring me down on this night, as we floated home through the magical mist of a sweet Summer night.

I recorded this show in the exact same manner as the previous night, with the mic stand only a few feet away from the Friday location. The Neumann hypers again delivered their magic and cut through the elements to deliver a sharp and bright recording. We’re extremely pleased again with this recording and hope you are too. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream “Chalkdust Torture > No Quarter”:

nyctaper · Phish – Live in Atlantic City August 14 2021

The Beach
Atlantic City NJ

Digital Master Recording
Tapers Section at Soundboard

Neumann KM-150 Hypers > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Set 1 [Total Time 1:20:54]
01 Llama
02 Tube
03 Destiny Unbound
04 Ya Mar
05 46 Days
06 Reba
07 Soul Shakedown Party
08 Split Open and Melt
09 The Squirming Coil

Set 2 [Total Time 1:24:54]

10 I Never Needed You Like This Before
11 Drowned
12 Ghost
13 Scents and Subtle Sounds
14 Chalk Dust Torture
15 No Quarter
16 Slave to the Traffic Light
17 Suzy Greenberg
18 [encore break]
19 A Life Beyond The Dream
20 Tweezer Reprise

SUPPORT Phish: Website | Store

Phish: August 13, 2021 Atlantic City

August 17, 2021

Other than two stops for higher education, I’ve lived my whole life in New York State. This means that I have a complicated relationship with the State of New Jersey. Yes, I accept that there are beautiful sections of New Jersey — the lakes and mountains in the North of the State, the breathtaking scenes along the Delaware River in the West of the State, and of course the many wonderful beaches on the state-long Atlantic coast.

But with that beauty comes some ugliness. Each of the major towns along the coast have commercialized boardwalks, and while the music of artists like The Drifters, Bobby Rydell, and Bruce Springsteen have glorified life along the Shore, the boardwalks are mostly just depressingly seedy. What is particularly depressing about Atlantic City in particular is that a hundred feet north of the boardwalk across the entire expanse of the town is even worse. Sure, there are casinos — America’s most blatant and unabashed grift — but there are also countless empty stores, vacant lots, and lost souls.

The arrival of the traveling circus that is Phish tour took this carnie atmosphere to an entire other level. This was not just a culture clash, but a multi-layered appropriation of a socially and morally bankrupt city by an out of control bacchanalia that sucked the last vestige of pride from the town. When I left Friday night’s show and walked back to my sad motel, I traversed a balloon orgy — a never-ending row of nitrous tanks where the underbelly of local criminals fed an insatiable suburban youth with the hiss of an addictive but terribly fleeting high. These scenes played out before midnight, but I am told that the hiss of evil lasted at least until 3:30 am.

I don’t have any reason to know if Phish themselves know any of this. They very clearly should know because like it or not, their name and reputation are tied to these events. But the sad confluence of a decaying scene and a band at the top of their game is not lost among those of us who are there for the music. This is not the late-era 1990s Grateful Dead, whose decline as a band in many ways paralleled the disintegration of the “scene”. What is coming from the Phish stage are consistently excellent performances, and that is part of what makes so infuriating the dangerously cavalier behavior of those who are going to ruin this for all of us.

It was against this dark backdrop that Phish took the stage on Friday night and proceeded to reference New Jersey and the beach setting from note one and throughout. The show opening “Cars Trucks and Buses” is both a Phish song and the less traveled right three lanes of the split NJ Turnpike between exits 6 and 15. The set closing “Sand” was everywhere, including stuck to everyone by the end of the night. In between, the band played one of the most solid first sets of the tour, highlighted by a bouncy and driven “Blaze On”. The second set was equally strong, with a notable Trey solo in “Possum” and the always-welcome Hood. But the highlight of the evening for me was certainly the thirty-five minutes of “Tweezer > Bathtub Gin”. At 22 minutes, this Tweezer wasn’t a long as the version from earlier in the tour, but the jams were all precise and focused. This might be the best single song played this Summer by this band.

The oasis of chunky jams now over, the trek from the Missouri Avenue Exit One off the beach to quieter confines was both physically difficult and psychically draining. While it was impossible to avoid the utter anarchy of the overrun Boardwalk, there was always Saturday to hope for some measure of redemption.

I recorded this set with the Neumann hypercards from a very advantageous location at the soundboard cage, shielded from the ocean wind by the tent (along with some extra custom “windcutter” screens). The live mix was sublimely perfect and loud enough to rise above the crowd din. The resulting recording is superb and exceeds any expectations tempered by this difficult taping location. I’ll be playing this one loud for a long time to come, and I hope you do too. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream Tweezer > Bathtub Gin:

nyctaper · Phish – Live in Atlantic City August 13, 2021

The Beach
Atlantic City NJ

Digital Master Recording
Tapers Section at Soundboard

Neumann KM-150 Hypers > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Set 1 [Total Time 1:04:29]
01 Cars Trucks Buses
02 AC DC Bag
03 Blaze On
04 Wolfman’s Brother
05 I Didn’t Know
06 Funky Bitch
07 Rift
08 Sand

Set 2 [Total Time 1:30:40]
09 Tweezer
10 Bathtub Gin
11 Everything’s Right
12 Possum
13 Also Sprach Zarathustra
14 Rise Come Together
15 Harry Hood
16 More
17 [encore break]
18 Loving Cup

SUPPORT Phish: Website | Store

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