Lucid Culture


NYC Live Music Calendar 6/27-7/5/07

Kind of a slow week in terms of live music: everybody gearing up for the July 4th weekend, getting out town. But some good things happening if you’re sticking around:


Weds June 27 Demolition String Band plays an acoustic show at Banjo Jim’s, 9 PM. Probably a good chance that they’ll do some stuff from their awesome Ola Belle Reed cover album of a couple of years ago.


Also Fri June 29 the Howlin Thurstons play Lakeside, 11 PM. Putatively a surf band but they also have a noisy, occasionally skronky indie rock side. All instrumental and completely unique.


Also Fri June 29 the 4th St. Nite Owls share a double bill with Jack Grace at Barbes, 8 PM. The openers are a tremendous barrelhouse blues band with great guitar and keyboards; the headliner is one of the funniest guys in country music and also a hell of a songwriter in an old school, 50s mode with a touch of Tom Waits barroom jazz.


Also Fri June 29 System Noise plays the Blaggard on 38th St. west of 5th Ave., 10:30 PM. If you want to get away from the crowds of tourists, there will assuredly be none here at this midtown Irish pub. See our review of La Fete de la Musique on our Reviews page for a look at what these scorching rockers sounded like last week playing on the street.


Sat June 30 Greta Gertler & the Extroverts open for One Ring Zero at Barbes, 8 PM. See our Reviews page for a look at the opening act, a brilliant keyboardist and art-rock songwriter now taking a stroll through Retroville. The headliner have an oldtimey feel, use antique instruments and have a good sense of humor.


Also Sat June 30 Big plays Magnetic Field in Brooklyn Heights, 8 PM. The joke is that all 3 women in this Joy Division-influenced trio are all about five feet tall. Sit N Spin guitarist Mony Falcone fronts the unit, which portends very good things.


Sun July 1 Stephane Wrembel plays Barbes, 9 PM. This amazing gypsy jazz guitarist channels Django Reinhardt, I kid you not, and he’s very popular, if you’re going to the show get there at least an hour early.


Also Mon July 2 Rev. Vince Anderson returns to Black Betty, two sets at 10:30 PM. Who needs fireworks when the Rev.’s playing: pyrotechnic piano/organ work, a spectacularly authentic old-school 60s gospel vibe, the Rev.’s great stories and pure spiritual vocals. If you are in a party mood this is your destination. 


If you’re in town on the 4th there are a couple of things going on. Canadian power popsters the New Pornographers play Battery Park in the afternoon: I say afternoon because your best best is to show up around 1 and scope out the area for a place to park your ass. Last time we were there it was a labyrinth of fences worthy of the King of Minos


Later on the 4th Mercurochrome plays Cake Shop, 9:30 PM. Sonic Youth ripoff, better than most, although nobody in the band can sing. Then again nobody in Sonic Youth could sing either.


Thurs July 5 Duke Robillard plays Wagner Park, north of Chambers on the west side, 7 PM. Don’t let his past with Roomful of Blues scare you away: the guy can play. Sort of the Stevie Ray Vaughan of jazzy blues. A million notes, a mile a minute, but he has a sense of how to build a solo and most of them hit the mark.


 Later Thurs July 5 the incomparable Rachelle Garniez plays Barbes, 10 PM. One of the most charismatic rockers in the world, an accordionist adept at just about every style of music that existed prior to 1990. And a damn fine lyricist, and a hell of a singer, and she has guitarist Matt Munisteri in the band. What more could you want. Just get there early.

June 27, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | 2 Comments

Concert Review: Make Music New York, 6/21/07

The start of what could be a very good thing, if it doesn’t rain. This is the American version of La Fete de la Musique, a French tradition which literally dates back centuries: on June 21, everybody breaks out their instruments and plays on the street. Thanks to the organizers, who worked with the city to make sure permits were made available to the musicians, there were an impressive number of bands on the street by the time people started leaving work. It was harder to gauge what was going on during the day. At noon, I went over to the garden on 8th between Ave. B and C to see No Police State Girl do hip-hop. No idea who she is or what she does, but you gotta love the concept.  She wasn’t there. Let’s hope that minivan with tinted windows at 9th and C wasn’t Blackwater operatives who grabbed her off the street and put her on a flight to Romania.


After work, there was noise everywhere, not all of it good, but an improvement over the usual screech of bus alarms, car alarms and such. Many acts chose to play outside music venues: Jack Grace in front of the temporarily shuttered Rodeo Bar, a bunch of white guys playing reggae outside Otto’s. A country-rock band set up at Broadway and West 4th, and the loud, artsy quartet System Noise played a block south. Although many of the creme de la creme of New York musicians play on the street, they were by far the best thing we saw. Dynamic frontwoman with a spectacular range and ability to project (keep in mind that this was outdoors, and she was competing with a lot of extraneous noise); virtuoso rhythm section including a bass player who basically doubled as rhythm guitarist, playing a lot of chords; and fiery Strat player who has a thing for eerie chromatics. They like odd time signatures and complex song structures, things typically associated with prog bands. But their songwriting is a lot more terse and their material is a lot louder. They have a Pink Floyd-esque anguish, but also a sense of humor, which came to the forefront on a ridiculously catchy funk number directed at Fox News and the people who hang out there. A bevy of friends of the band worked the corner, handing out flyers for their show at the Blaggard at 10:30 this Friday; from the crowd’s response, their show will be well-attended.


Then the rains came, and we were off to see a HORRIBLE art opening on 57th St. And then to Lakeside for drinks, and after that a block east to see Amy Allison. But that’s a story for another day.  

June 27, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | Leave a comment