Jack Daniel’s ‘Live at the Landmark’

Jack Daniel's 'Live at the Landmark' series began at Grand Central Terminal with Okkervil River & Chris Mills....
Jack Daniel's Live at the Landmark

Jack Daniel's Live at the Landmark

See enough shows, and they all kind of run together – especially in New York.  How many bands have you seen play Bowery Ballroom (QRO venue review) or Webster Hall (QRO venue review)?  And what about outdoor spaces – it can be hard to separate one summer at South Street Seaport (QRO venue review) from the next.

The same goes for alcohol-sponsored events.  You may have showed up to drink for free, but it’s not just the drinks that make you forget who it was who handed out the free liquor.  One has to stretch to even remember what type of booze was Will Sheff of Okkervil Riverbacking the event, let alone the brand.

Chris MillsThis was not the case with Jack Daniel’s ‘Live at the Landmark’ series, where the iconic whiskey is bringing bands to play landmarks across the country, starting with Okkervil River & Chris Mills at New York’s ultra-iconic Grand Central Terminal on Monday, April 8th.

Okkervil River

Lauren GurgioloFirst things first: attendees only got one drink ticket (unless they were VIP), because Grand Central made Jack Daniel’s keep the free drinking low (and no one’s ever stumbled around drunk at the train & subway station before…).  However, Jack Daniel’s was allowed to also have a cash bar – though with the same price for beer as for Jack, it did tip the tipplers towards the whiskey.  And at least your drink ticket got you something from the top shelf.

Also, Jack Daniel’s provided a seemingly never-ending amount of free pizza.  They didn’t want people to drink on an empty stomach – of course, if you’d been responsible and eaten before you go there, you didn’t have as much room for the ‘za.


chandelierThe event was held just inside the 42nd Street entrance to Grand Central, with high ceilings, chandeliers, and marble all around – no dingy rock club or dark nightclub for this event.  Will Sheff, frontman for Okkervil River, remarked on the acoustics of the setting, which allowed him to do his “prettier, quieter songs” – “Well, prettier is subjective, but certainly quieter…”  While that included him doing the older & rarer “Just Gimme Time” solo, the group stuck mostly to their most recent release I Am Very Far (QRO review) and 2007’s The Stage Names (QRO review), along with the album in-between, 2008’s The Stand-Ins (QRO review).  They opened with Stage’s “Plus Ones” (something regular attendees didn’t have – but did have a chance at winning a free guitar), then Far’s “Wake and Be Fine” and “Rider” (presumably Okkervil’s included a lot of Jack).  Sheff even said at one point that he’d never been drunker – probably a joke, but he did seem to ramble on at times.  There were Stage hits like “A Girl In Port”, “John Allen Smith Sails”, “Unless It Kicks”, and single “Our Life Is Not a Movie Or Maybe”, but also older pieces like “Gimme” and “Love To a Monster”.

spittin' SheffThe set-up wasn’t perfect – the space was longer than it was wide, with free bar, free pizza, and free t-shirts farther in the back, drawing the crowd away from the stage at the other end.  Plus, having some of New York’s Finest as security can’t help any show – they were presumably required for the landmark/terrorist target, and at least there weren’t any soldiers in cammo with automatic rifles as has been seen at times in Grand Central.  And one can always want more free drinks.  But it was not an evening soon to be forgot – no matter how many shows you go to or how much Jack you have…

Okkervil River

Jack Daniel’s is doing three more ‘Live at Landmark’ events:

4/14/13: San Diego, CA – Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears aboard the U.S.S. Midway

Jack Daniel's Live at the Landmark4/29/13: San Antonio, TX – Metric @ Pearl Stable

5/10/13: Los Angeles, CA – TBA @ Playboy Mansion

Live at Grand Central Terminal

Concert Reviews
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