Lucid Culture


NYC Live Music Calendar 6/18-27/07

New stuff just added for this weekend: surf music, the Stay-At-Homes doing their sick Runaways cover set, and more… 


Mark your calendars for this Thursday! It’s Make Music NY day, when literally hundreds of artists will be playing outdoors throughout the five boroughs from noon to 10 PM. It’s a great day to check out new acts, see your favorite bands and just have random fun! We’ve listed the best acts we know of on the calendar here: you’ll note that there have been some time/venue changes for some of these acts, check the website

for last-minute updates.Otherwise, it’s a good, diverse week of shows:



Mon June 18 Secretary, which is Moisturizer baritone sax player Paula Henderson’s soundtrack composer project, plays Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Avenue at East 2nd Street as part of a production with short films and dance. Henderson’s solo work in this project is as brilliantly witty and smart as her band and gives her a chance to explore a quieter, more reflective, cinematic side. The excellent Apollo Heights are headliners. Since this is a theatre the bands want you to know that you should be in your seat, snacks safely concealed in your pockets at 8 sharp.   





Also Mon June 18 Barnacle Bill plays Arlene’s, 8 PM. Led by former Rake’s Progress lead guitarist Stu Klinger, they’re a pop band. 20 years ago, they could have been signed to a major label, which is a compliment. Uncommonly smart, funny, catchy, with Klinger’s trademark incisive, fast fretwork.



Also Mon June 18 Girl Friday plays Lakeside, 9 PM. Casually catchy, melodic female-fronted janglerock band. Subtlety defines them. On the quiet side, midtempo, thoughtful and they get under your skin before you know it.



Also Mon June 18 the Roulette Sisters play Barbes, 10 PM. Four women, two guitars, viola and washboard, playing sex songs from the 1920s and 30s with four-part harmonies. Their originals are arguably better than their covers, which says a lot. You must see them sometime. This is Barbes, so, early arrival a must.



Tues June 19 Dina Dean and band play Cave Canem, 24 1st Ave. under Lucky Cheng’s, 8 PM. Brilliantly melodic rock/soul storyteller with a fondness for the weird and obscure. The last time she played Pete’s Candy Store she walked in listening to a Jerry Butler mix, which tells you a lot. She’s a lefty guitarist, meaning you can expect a lot of interesting, incisive chordlets and fills.



Tues June 19 Maynard & the Musties play Lakeside, 9 PM. Frontman Joe Jerry Maynard is one hell of a country songwriter, part David Allan Coe, part A.P. Carter, alternately funny and haunting, and this band rocks a lot harder than his old outfit the Millerite Redeemers did.



Also Tues June 19 the 2 Man Gentleman Band plays Pete’s Candy Store, 11 PM. Ukelele and bass. Old-timey as you can get, frequently funny and surprisingly energetic for just these two instruments.



Weds June 20 it’s Songwriters from Hell at the Parkside. This is Paul Alves aka Sousalves’ quarterly event where a bunch of NYC’s best and frequently darkest songwriting denizens do half-hour sets. The incomparable, velvet-voiced Randi Russo at 8 PM. Also playing: Erika Simonian and Sousalves, among others.



Later Weds June 20 Moisturizer plays Sputnik in Fort Greene, time TBA, as part of their annual Gemini birthday party. 262 Taafe Place, Brooklyn (between DeKalb & Willoughby), you can get there via D train to DeKalb or G to Myrtle/Willoughby and some walking. Worth the trip.



Thurs June 21 – all day long – here’s the best Make Music NY shows we know of, feel free to add your own if it fits:

No Police State Girl (hip-hop), who claims to be “everything No Police State” plays at noon at the garden on E 8th between Ave. B and C

Alash Ensemble (Tuvan throat singing) – wow – 1 PM at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St (between 6th Ave and 7th Ave)

Jack Grace (excellent, funny country band), 4 PM, 27th and 3rd. Ave., outside of Rodeo Bar

System Noise (brilliant guitar-driven art-rock with a dynamic frontwoman) at Bway/3rd St., 4:30 PM

Lianne Smith (uniquely intelligent, counterintuitively funny rock songwriter playing solo electric) at Abingdon Sq. (that triangle at Hudson and Bank Sts), 6 PM. Another smart songwriter, Marykate O’Neil plays afterward

Gretchen Witt (acoustic, nice voice, thoughtful singer/songwriter) in front of the Westside Yaffa Café, 6 PM, Greenwich Ave at Harrison St

The NY Ukelele Ensemble on 1st Ave between 8th and 9th Sts., 6 PM

Sonic Uke (another ukelele band – gotta love that name), 6 PM, 130 W 10th St

at Greenwich Ave

The Sacred Harp Singers  (real old time, i.e. Revolutionary era country gospel) 6 PM,

2nd Avenue F train stop, Houston at Forsythe.

M Shanghai String Band (bluegrass/oldtimey), Brooklyn Bridge entrance in Dumbo, 6:30 PM

Num & Nu Afrika (roots reggae), 7:30 PM, 127th St Playlot, 127th St. between 5th Ave and Lenox Ave.

Brookland (charming oldtimey folk duo) followed by Pinataland (oldtimey accordion band with smart, historically rich lyrics), 37th St at Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Bay Ridge (right tony?), Brooklyn 7 PM (NOTE NEW TIME AND VENUE)

And also at 9 PM legendary Video Music Box host Ralph McDaniels shows vintage & classic hip hop videos at the Tobacco Warehouse, Fulton Ferry State Park, New Dock St

(at the East River) in Dumbo, F train to York St. and a short walk toward the water. Expect a draconian police/rent-a-pig presence.



If you want to see the free Ollabelle/Richard Thompson show at Prospect Park and want a seat, you have two options: you can ditch work early and get there at 5 sharp, join the line, wait a couple of hours; blow off the actually decent opening act and try your luck at around 7:30, when he’s scheduled to go on; or walk around the space and get behind the fence in back of the stage area. F train to 7th Ave., walk uphill, take a left at the park and follow the crowd. In case you don’t know Thompson, he’s arguably the greatest rock guitarist ever and maybe the greatest rock songwriter ever. And his forthcoming album is brilliant even by his standards.



Also Thurs June 21 Amy Allison plays Banjo Jim’s (the old 9C at Ave. C and 9th St.), two sets, 9 PM with brilliant guitarist Pete Galub. At the absolute peak of her power. If you liked her country stuff with the Maudlins you have to check out her new songs. Dark and mesmerizing. But she’s still one of the most hilarious people you’ll ever see onstage.



Also Thurs June 21, genius uncategorizable guitarist Matt Munisteri plays Barbes, 10 PM. He cut his chops on bluegrass, became a jazzcat who played with a bunch of legends, has a passion for the offbeat and twisted. Great musical wit. Get there early if you’re going.



Fri June 22 bluegrass cats James Reams & the Barnstormers open for the legendary octogenarian Ralph Stanley at Prospect Park, showtime 7:30 PM. See above for suggestions on how to either get in or hear the music: this might not be such a good idea to go to unless you’re prepared to wait forever for a seat since the sound probably won’t carry well. Stanley doesn’t sing as much, play hardly at all but, what can you say, he’s all that’s left of the Stanley Bros. and that’s pretty special.



Also Fri June 22 songwriter Linda Draper plays Cake Shop,  8 PM, back from her national tour. See our reviews page for a look at her superb new one Traces of.


Also Fri June 22 the Stay-At-Homes play the Runaways obscure live-in-Japan album all the way through at the Magnetic Field on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn Heights, 8 PM. This is the amazing Tammy Faye Starlite backed by all-female garage punk rockers Sit N Spin plus Steve Wynn’s amazing drummer Linda Pitmon. The joke is that these are excellent musicians covering songs originally done by a teenage band from the late 70s (Joan Jett was the frontwoman) who could barely play. Light on the stage banter, but the musical jokes abound.




Also Fri June 22 it’s Moist Paula’s Birthday Throwdown with her incomparably fun baritone sax/bass/drums instrumental trio, Moisturizer, groovemeisters Chin Chin & surprise guests (probably half of Antibalas) at BPM, 137 Kent Avenue  in Williamsburg, 10 PM. What an amazingly good night. See you there. You will be dancing unless you’re in a wheelchair and in that case you’ll be popping wheelies.


Also Fri June 22 Coffin Daggers spinoff Brainfinger play at 10:30 at Guero, 9 Avenue A, free. If you like the Ray Manzarek Balkan funeral music side of the Coffin Daggers – or, hell, the Doors – you should check out these dark, macabre, rhythmically nimble instrumentalists.



Also Fri June 22 Tandy plays Lakeside, 11 PM. Louder, janglier, more melodic and crescendoing than ever. Their mid-period Wilco days are just a distant memory. Good band.




Sat June 23 a good doublebill at Freddy’s on Dean St. in Brooklyn: fiery pub rock revivalists the Larch open for the politically charged, sometimes deliriously psychedelic Liza & the WonderWheels, 9 PM. It’s drummer Tom Pope’s birthday show and he’s playing with 4 band but not the Wheels.



Also Sat June 23 the Moonlighters, now with Ken Mosher of the late, great Squirrel Nut Zippers on guitar play Barbes, 10 PM. Remember, get there early. Bliss Blood’s charming yet politically potent Hawaiian/retro unit has been through a bunch of band members, but every incarnation we’ve seen has been superb.


Also Sat June 23 (actually the wee hours of June 24), half past midnight, cover band hellions Rawles Balls play upstairs at the Living Room. See our reviews page of their alltime worst/best show here a little while ago. When they’re on, they are the absolutely funniest band in town and when they’re not they’re still worth busting your way through the throngs of limo-riding fratboys and sorority girls from the adjacent states.


Sun June 24, 3 (three) PM  Les Chauds Lapins play the cd release for their new one at the Temporary Museum, 118 N.11th St, 2fl. in Williamsburg. Word on the street aka the band’s website indicates that there will be OPEN BAR for those nursing a hangover from Friday night. The band is sort of the French equivalent of the Roulette Sisters: French songs from the 20s and 30s, which are all about sex. Kurt Hoffmann (ex-Ordinaires) and Meg Reichardt (Roulette Sisters) front the band on banjo ukes; they will also have strings and a rhythm section. What fun.



Mon June 25 Girl Friday finishes their Monday residency at Lakeside, 9 PM.



Also Mon June 25 Mamie Minch of the Roulette Sisters plays with Andy Cotton on bass and Peter Kohman on guitar at Barbes, 10 PM. Minch’s solo stuff is very funny and very authentic – she’s a huge Rev. Gary Davis/Jorma fan


 Weds June 27 keyboardist Greta Gertler plays Barbes, 8 PM with a full band. See our reviews page for a look at her tremendously good new one.


Also Weds June 27 the Sloe Guns play the Slipper Room, 9 PM. An unusually sedate venue for this fiery, Steve Earle-ish twangy rock band. Maybe they’ll do some of the quieter, more acoustic stuff. See our reviews page for a look at their hubristic but successful Sun Sessions cd.

June 18, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | 4 Comments

CD Review: Ninth House – Realize and It’s Gone

The fourth and possibly final cd from this long-running New York “cemetery and western” unit. This isn’t a country album by any means: it’s a dark, desperate, angry rock record. Aside from some of the songwriting (frontman/bassist Mark Sinnis continues in this promising direction in his solo work), the only concession to Nashville is that the vocals are mixed noticeably louder than the instrumentation, in the style of country records from the 1930s and 40s. Ninth House bridge the gap between Joy Division and Johnny Cash. The production values are strictly punk/new wave: layers of distorted and watery electric guitars, ominous string synthesizer and organ, and melodic bass, usually set to a fast 2/4 beat. The cd opens with a roar, on the magnificently ferocious chorus of the single Long Stray Whim (a deliriously good live take of this song was previously issued on the band’s sadly out-of-print Aerosol album). It’s a transcendentally powerful escape anthem:

This morning I stopped
It’s boring, I strayed
I’m on a long stray whim
It started
For a moment I fought it
I couldn’t persuade me
I’m on a long stray whim

In a dark, passionate baritone, Sinnis – one of the greatest male singers in all of rock – builds his case for getting away from it all. It’s ELO’s Eldorado for a new generation. The band follows this with the wickedly anthemic Burn, about a cremation. Ninth House frequently get pegged as a goth band, and while they’re much more diverse, this song makes it easy to see how they got that label. The next two tracks, Stretch Marks and Quiet Change could easily have fit onto a mid-80s Cure album like Head on the Door, although they crunch rather than jangle. After that, the slow What Are You Waiting For builds to a soaring crescendo of vocals and guitars.

The following cut Mistaken for Love is one of two straight-up country songs on the album, although the band – particularly guitarist Bernard San Juan, who has since left – gives it a rock treatment. It’s a savage look back at a failed marriage: Sinnis’ cold ending will send chills down your spine. Similarly, the next track Skeletons has country swing but an 80s rock sound. The tempo picks up even more on the relentless, minor-key Out of Reach, a concert favorite. Then it’s back to Nashville gothic with When the Sun Bows to the Moon, a gorgeous, catchy country anthem, a broadside fired at point-blank range at somebody who can’t get over herself:

You live in your own atmosphere
You create your own demise
Breathe your own tainted air

It’s taken on a particularly poignant significance in the wake of 9/11. The next song Cause You Want To is a slow, crescendoing, death-obsessed number that belies its catchy, major-key melody. The album closes with a blistering rock version of perhaps the original Nashville gothic song, Ghost Riders in the Sky and then the epic title track, which builds from a catchy, thorny major-key first section into a hypnotically dark, crashing, descending progression. And then it’s over.

Sinnis’ lyrics are terse and crystallized, the band is tight and the overall intensity of the album never lets up. This is serious stuff, a good album to blast at top volume after a rough day at work or school. Definitely one of the best half-dozen albums of the year to date, as consistently good as Ninth House’s two previous studio records. Five shots of bourbon, no chaser. Albums are available online, in better independent record stores and at shows. Ninth House plays the cd release show on July 7 at Galapagos at midnight.

June 17, 2007 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Memoriam: Central Park Summerstage

Oldtimers will tell you about the time they saw Springsteen here in 1974. Back then the concerts were held on the 72nd St. playfield. The sound was so loud that Eastsiders would routinely call the cops and complain.


Another generation will tell you triumphantly how their college buddy can be seen in the crowd on the cover of that awful Simon & Garfunkel album recorded here in the early 80s. Chances are that even if they don’t like the band, they bought the album as a vicarious souvenir. Willie Nile’s blazing 1981 set here was also recorded and released several years later on cd.


In the 90s, corporate creepiness settled in, with the Summerstage series’ pompous producers subjecting crowds to a litany of commercial announcements before every show. But it was still a destination that just about every New York music fan made it to at least a couple of times a year. The Master Musicians of Jajouka, immortalized by Brian Jones on their 1968 cult album, played their first-ever US show here on an unseasonably cold, drizzly afternoon. Reggae fans still speak in awe of the Ernie Ranglin/Monty Alexander show here in the late 90s. Whatever pretentious vibe the producers gave off, there can be no disputing their legacy of imaginative, eclectic and occasionally transcendent shows.


It wasn’t 9/11 that changed things so drastically, although that doubtlessly contributed to the series’ rapid decline. Ecstasy was the culprit. Although this had traditionally been a music series with the occasional dance performance or poetry reading, in 2000 they started booking non-musical acts where dj’s would plug in their equipment and blast computer-simulated percussive noise. After a couple of highly publicized overdoses, a labyrinth of wire fences that doubled as holding pens was built. Prospective concertgoers would have to cool their heels there, packed in tightly for sometimes for hours on end before being allowed to finally enter the concert space. There were ways to beat the system: you could show up precisely at showtime, or wait for a rainy day when the turnout would be predictably light, but if you wanted to see a popular act, you either had to show up a half-hour before the gates opened, or, most likely, you simply wouldn’t get in. Not that you’d want to; the early zeros were a wasteland of boring, trendy indie rock, the occasional NPR-style world music act du jour, and of course the non-music events that all the druggies went to.


This afternoon I decided to check to see how viable Summerstage is this year and the bad news is that it’s not. It’s over, folks. I got there at five on the nose. The back bleachers, which are now reserved seating for corporate sponsors, were completely full (by the way, don’t forget that this is your tax dollars going to pay for free shows for corporate bigwigs and their spawn, most of whom could afford their own private show by whoever’s playing here). The standing-room area was visibly about half-full. And the rent-a-pigs who do security here weren’t letting anybody in. There was a line 500 deep, virtually all well-dressed white people. A little incongruous, since it was  Ivory Coast reggae act Tiken Jah Fakoly who was scheduled to play next. And then it hit me: the Ivoirians were hip to this. They stayed home.


If this had been the 70s, the hippies would have bumrushed the stage. If it was the 80s the punks and hip-hop kids and West Indians would have done the same thing. Was it the Reagan era that changed things, that turned the crowd completely docile, oblivious to the fact that they were being treated like cattle? No. It was the crowd itself. As recently as a few years ago, people came here because it was free, quite possibly because they couldn’t afford to plunk down, say, $60 to see Monty Alexander at the Blue Note, or $35 for the Master Musicians of Jajouka at Town Hall, or if they liked David Poe but didn’t feel like shelling out for the $10 cover plus a two-drink minimum at stuffy, overcrowded old Fez.


Those people aren’t coming to New York anymore because they can’t afford to. It’s a new paradigm and a new crowd, suburbanites from across the nation who’ve never experienced the great times New Yorkers could have here til recently.  If you remember those days, hold onto those memories because you won’t be making any more of them.


[postscript: there is a happy ending. Lucid Culture published its first review of a Summerstage show the following year, followed by others, and there was never any problem getting in. While it’s still a good idea to show up early, the ridiculous lines – at least when the gates open – seem to be a thing of the past, as are the Nazi security gauntlet and labyrinth of wire fences that made it next to impossible to see shows here during 2006-07]

June 17, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Rant | 6 Comments

Concert Review: The Roscoe Trio at Lakeside Lounge 6/15/07

A clinic in good guitar and good fun. Besides being Lakeside head honcho, producer of note, Steve Earle’s lead guitarist and member of the Yayhoos, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel sometimes finds the time to play in this self-described “party band.” With an open date on the Lakeside calendar, he’d apparently had enough of a break in his schedule to pull a show together. This was a pickup band of sorts, Phil Cimino on drums and Alison Jones on bass. It didn’t seem that anybody had the chance to rehearse much for this, but Jones is a quick study and Cimino can pretty much play anything. Tonight they played a lot of blues, but it wasn’t lame whiteboy blues, a bunch of aging fratboys hollering their way through Sweet Home Chicago and similar. “Craft” is a favorite word of Ambel’s, and tonight was a chance to watch an artisan pulling good stuff out of thin air and making it work every time.

Ambel is one of the most dynamic, interesting guitarists out there, a four-on-the-floor, purist rock guy at heart but equally adept at pretty much any Americana genre. In Steve Earle’s band the Dukes he plays a lot of wrenchingly beautiful stuff along with his usual twang; this band gives him the chance to parse his own back catalog and cut loose on some covers. Tonight he was in typically terse, soulful mode: he can solo like crazy when he wants to, which is hardly ever. This show was all about thoughtful, sometimes exploratory licks and fills with a few tantalizingly good moments of evil noise. With Ambel, melody is always front and center, but he’s a hell of a noise-rock player  – think Neil Young in a particularly pathological, electric moment – when the mood strikes him.

We arrived to find the band burning through Merle Haggard’s Workingman’s Blues. They then did a quietly captivating take on the old blues standard Ain’t Having No Fun, followed by J.J. Cale’s eerie The Sensitive Kind, which began with a long, darkly glimmering Ambel solo. A little later, they played an obscure Steve Earle tune, Usual Time of the Night, a cut from Ambel’s most recent solo album Knucklehead. It’s Earle’s attempt at writing a Jimmy Reed song, and tonight they did justice to the old bluesman, calmly wringing out every ounce of sly, late-night seductiveness.

They also played a really cool, slow surf instrumental; an amusingly upbeat, chromatically-fueled theme called How ‘Bout It (an expression, Ambel told the audience, that he used to death for a couple of years); the angry, blazing indie rock tune Song for the Walls (the opening track on Ambel’s Loud & Lonesome album); and closed the set with a rousing version of his classic song Garbagehead, written in about five minutes for a Lakeside New Year’s Eve show a few years ago. They wrapped it up with a completely over-the-top, heavy metal finale. Fucking A, fucking right. Fucking A, fucking A, Friday night, gimme five more beers and a snootfull of garbagehead. Who needs garbagehead when you can go out and see a show like this instead. For free. Even though it was past midnight by this point and therefore past Lakeside’s strict curfew (they’re trying to be good neighbors), the audience wasn’t about to let them go without an encore, so Ambel obliged them with the soul-inflected Hurting Thing, from the Yayhoos’ most recent album.

June 16, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Neither Super nor Fine

“Welcome to Superfine!” exclaimed the eager-beaver waitress with the microphone. “Tonight we have Blood Bliss and her new band Nightcall here for the first time!”

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, Hoobert Heever.

Superfine in Dumbo may be a fine drink destination late on a Saturday night if you’re in the neighborhood. They have random bands here, but as a venue it is suitable only for death metal. The roar of the yuppies and trendoids that greets customers as they enter is rivaled only by an indoor jet engine testing facility. Rush Limbaugh could have wandered naked among the tables handing out free Oxycontin while Paris Hilton shot up Roger Clemens in the ass with steroids onstage, and nobody would have paid the slightest attention.

We showed up to see Bliss Blood’s new project for the second time this week. Having anointed them the most exciting new band in town, it made sense to see if Nightcall could replicate the brilliance they showed at their previous show on Sunday. There was no way of knowing. Seated scarcely two feet from the stage, it was impossible to hear. The band seemed to be able to hear themselves to a certain extent, but when the loudest thing coming through the PA is amplified upright bass, you know something’s drastically wrong.

Which is too bad. Although the food is pricy, the waitstaff here is uncommonly nice – aside from the random server who appeared out of nowhere and stole an unfinished beer off our table. No doubt they’re used to people who order $12 cosmos and then don’t drink them.

June 15, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, Rant, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Concert Review: Booker T & the MG’s with Sharon Jones at Metrotech Park, Brooklyn NY 6/14/07

Daytime shows tend to be lacklustre because they’re a bitch to play. Musicians are by nature nocturnal creatures, and these guys were forced to take the stage a few minutes after noon. Meaning that they’d had to soundcheck at some ridiculously early hour of the morning, as if they’d had to get up for a dayjob.

Now imagine doing that if you’re in your sixties and you’ve been on tour for awhile. That’s the task legendary soul instrumentalists Booker T & the MG’s were facing. Yet not only did they manage to acquit themselves decently, they turned in an inspired performance that built slowly and finished on an ecstatic note. Sadly, the one most important person in the band was missing (and has been missing for a long time): drummer Al Jackson Jr., who died in 1975. Booker T & the MG’s without Al Jackson Jr. is kind of like the Stooges without Iggy, Sabbath without Ozzie or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs without that trust fund kid (which one, you ask? The girl in the raggedy dress). Jackson more than anyone defined their sound: simple, always in the groove, a minimalist who could make your hips move one way or the other with just a flick at the cymbals.

Instead, they had Anton Fig, who plays in the house band on one of those network tv gabfests. To his credit, he stayed in the background and other than a solo early on, didn’t clutter the songs. Instead, organist/bandleader Booker T. Jones, bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn and guitarist Steve Cropper held down the fort. They opened with a slowly shuffling, psychedelic groove version of Dylan’s You Gotta Serve Somebody, which was basically unrecognizable (which is probably why Jones told the crowd what it was). They continued in this vein for awhile. On the Gershwin standard Summertime, Cropper took an admirably lean, meaningful solo, like Albert King without all the long, sustained bends. By the time they got to their big 60s hit Hip-Hug Her, they’d picked up the pace. Soon after that, they played Green Onions and basically phoned it in, a tad fast. Essentially, it became the basis for another Cropper solo. It’s a silly little ditty, probably not what the band envisioned would become their signature song, and they played it as if they just wanted to get it out of the way and get on with the show.

The high point of their instrumentals was the classic Time Is Tight, which started out all churchified, just Jones’ organ and Dunn’s bass, sounded like Georgia on My Mind. Then Cropper’s guitar came in and they went into Theme from a Summer place for a couple of bars, which was delectably funny. Then Dunn started into his famous bassline, and they played a long, 10-minute version. Dunn has incredible touch: his melodic phrasing can change the meaning of a whole verse with just a subtle adjustment of how his fingers attack the strings, and this was fascinating to watch.

In their 60s heyday Booker T & the MG’s backed a whole pantheon of great soul and blues artists at various times, most notably Albert King, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, so it was only natural that this era’s greatest soul singer, New York’s own Sharon Jones, would be invited up to front the band for the latter half of the show. Though her own band the Dap-Kings are a mighty, authentic funk/soul group, today’s show was pretty close to a marriage made in heaven. Like Tina Turner, Jones uses her lower register most of the time (although her voice is considerably higher and clearer), exuding an earthy sensuality. Yet she exhibited equal amounts of subtlety, intelligence and taste in her phrasing. She only really kicks it into overdrive when she needs to: she’s a universe removed from the melismaddicts of corporate, so-called “R&B” who dream of becoming Beyonce’s replacement in the reunited Destiny’s Child.

Sharon Jones did a matter-of-fact take of the Wilson Pickett classic In the Midnight Hour, then Dunn launched into the most famous bass hammer-on in the history of rock, and the audience picked up on it right away. After the first couple of verses, the frontwoman brought Sitting on the Dock of the Bay way down and tried to get the audience to whistle along with the solo. Nobody, even the band, could do it. It was just as well: whistling is annoying, anyway, especially if it’s amplified. Then she took it even further down, sat down at the edge of the stage, then went into the audience for a bit. She took another Otis Redding standard, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, even further down and ended on a whisper after a trick ending that was so quiet the audience missed it. The sky looked ominous and a sprinkle of rain could be felt through the trees, so they closed the show with Knock on Wood. Again, Dunn stole the show with this one, leaving the blues scale and reaching up to the high sixth note on the verses’ central hook. Jones got the obligatory solo from each band member as she introduced them.

This is a weekly Thursday noontime summer series booked by the Brooklyn Academy of Music featuring mostly older Black artists, and once in awhile they get someone really good. Props to whoever was responsible for scoring Booker T. There are additional shows worth seeing here on July 26 with Muddy Waters’ harp player James Cotton and his band, and on August 9 with roots reggae vets the Itals. And Sharon Jones plays a free show with her own band at Castle Clinton in Battery Park, also on July 26, with two free tickets per person being given away at the table in front of the fort starting at 5 PM.

June 14, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CD Review: Greta Gertler & the Extroverts – Edible Restaurant

David Byrne got it right: we need more songs about buildings and food. This album doesn’t have much of the former, but there’s a lot of the latter. How delicious. This is Australian expat singer/keyboardist Greta Gertler’s third consecutive brilliant album. Her first one, The Baby That Brought Bad Weather (recorded after her second one), was a meticulously arranged pop masterpiece. Her second one, Nervous Breakthroughs, was a richly melodic orchestral rock record and even better than the first. This comes as quite a change: it’s a gorgeously stark, retro, mostly acoustic album, tastefully produced with grand piano, electric guitar, tuba, drums and occasional strings. Unsurprisingly, the whole cd has a somewhat old-timey, ragtimish feel to it.

The album opens with Wrist Slasher, a blithely eerie number that’s mostly just voice and solo piano: the narrator sometimes dreams of “floating away on the back of a stingray in a glass of champagne.” Gertler sings in a high, cheery soprano, which occasionally seems at odds with her frequently pensive songwriting. It gives the listener pause: she may want music, and happiness, that’s “good and simple,” as she explains on another track here, but there’s always a lot going on in her songs. Most usually it’s absolutely fascinating.

The album’s title track vividly evokes the chaos of a busy eatery at peak hour, an endless series of unexpected shifts: staccato piano, tuba and guitar, then horror-movie chromatics on the chorus, then back to bouncy, then the eerie piano again. It winds up with a slow, swinging passage straight out of 70s art-rockers Supertramp. The first time around, there’s a dirty, skronky guitar solo by head Extrovert Pete Galub, then a bluesy one by dangerous retro virtuoso Michael Gomez (who also plays lead in Hazmat Modine). The lyrics are a hoot, but they’re poignant as well:

This piano is out of tune
The neighbourhood is filled with gloom
I’m bumping into chairs
I’m spilling drinks on tables
Some may say I’m a nervous wreck
No therapist can cure my debt
I want to find a place
Where I know how to relax
Here I came from a lucky land
Sometimes I miss the grass and sand
An immigrant without a plan
Just a shitload of luggage
Now I’ve circled the city seven times
Like a conservative Jewish bride
And for the reception
I’d like to invite you all to
The Edible Restaurant
Where you can even take a bite out of the waitress

The next track, Bessie is a mostly slow piano ballad, an inscrutably wistful number, seemingly about a friend who’s gone AWOL. Gomez contributes a beautiful, deceptively dark David Gilmour-esque solo on lapsteel. After that, on the hustling, bustling Bergen Street, the narrator finds herself “caught in the middle of a passive aggressive storm,” yet intent on pursuing the object of her desires. The following track If Bob Was God is an intense, heartfelt ballad, electric with longing and desire:

I don’t want to be
One of the boys again
It’s happened to me
Ever since the age of ten…
I have to let you know tonight

This album is littered with New York references and this is one of the most evocative.

The next song, Aching Melody is a slinky, sexy tune, Wurlitzer and drum machine, which Gertler will employ occasionally to entertaining effect at solo shows. She follows that with a powerful antiwar anthem, Uniform, which could be for the zeros what Supertramp’s Crime of the Century was for the 70s. Told from the point of view of a nameless, nationless draftee who did everything to avoid joining in the killing, it’s the most powerful song on the album. The cd’s next track, Veselka, brings some substantial, stick-to-your-ribs comic relief: it’s a tribute to the legendary Ukrainian pierogi joint on Second Avenue. Apparently Gertler had been away from the place for awhile and the waitstaff missed her. “See the years passing by, Veselka still serves the oldest recipes!” Gertler blissfully exclaims. There’s a very witty Balkan interlude toward the end of the song, with some juicy guitar from Gomez (Gertler knows her gypsy music: see Nervous Breakthroughs for her sizzling instrumental The Hot Bulgar). The cd concludes with a brief instrumental reprise of the opening track. What a great album, definitely one of the two or three best of the year so far. Five pierogies. With applesauce and sour cream and several beers. CD’s are available at shows, in Australia and online. Incidentally, if you read the small print at the bottom of the cd case, you’ll see that the album was produced with the assistance of the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Now just imagine the NEA giving, say, Randi Russo a grant. Makes you want to…well, shouldn’t say here, not since everyone’s eating.

June 13, 2007 Posted by | Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Film review: The Waitress

 I Wonder if Heaven is filled with Pie…

By Christine Lloyd


The Waitress has the mixed blessing of being actress/director and writer Adrienne Shelly’s wide-screen release directorial debut and swan song. Prior to the The Waitress, Shelly directed four small, little known films: Lois Lives a Little, Sudden Manhattan, I’ll Take You There, and The Shadows of Bob & Zelda. The Waitress is Shelly’s first film to make it into the top ten Box Office films, and win critical recognition at Sundance.


As anyone living in New York knows by now, the media reported that Shelly was murdered in her bathroom last year by a construction worker who’d been doing some work on the floor below. According to news reports, Shelly had complained about noise below her apartment and threatened to call the authorities. Police reported that an argument ensued, the worker (a Salvadoran immigrant) allegedly killer her and tried to cover up the crime by making it appear to be a suicide. Tragic, considering the actress left behind a small child: Shelly died before her film was accepted into Sundance or was distributed to theaters. Her husband,  Andrew Ostroy, set up the Adrienne Shelly Foundation ( to award film scholarships and grants to women filmmakers. 


Prior to directing, writing and acting in The Waitress – a story that deals with Shelly’s own experience as a struggling artist about to have an unwanted child – Shelly was best known for her work in several independent films by director Hal Hartley,  notably The Unbelievable Truth.


Knowing this doesn’t affect your enjoyment or appreciation of the movie all that much, except perhaps to make it more bittersweet, particularly when you realize which character Shelly is playing – a somewhat pasty-faced, not overly attractive co-worker and friend of the lead.


The film stars Keri Russell (from the tv sitcom Felicity) as Jenna; Ms. Shelly, as Jenna’s close friend and co-worker, Dawn; Andy Griffith – of Matlock and the Andy Griffith Show fame – as Joe, owner of the diner where Jenna works; Nathan Fillion, most recently seen in the television series Drive, as well as the feature films Slither and Serenity; Jeremy Sisto, as Jenna’s husband Earl; and Cheryl Hines as Becky, Jenna’s older co-worker.


With a running time of approximately an hour and thirty minutes, The Waitress is a feel-good character piece centered around the lead, who makes pies at Joe’s Pie Diner, a small, somewhat beaten down joint in central New Jersey. Jenna lives and breathes pies and has created over 147 different types throughout her career, a new one every day. She dreams up her pies while arguing with her abusive and controlling husband, or while sitting at the bus station.


The film is shot from Jenna’s perspective: we only see the other characters when she’s present, and only see what they tell Jenna or Jenna thinks about them. Shelly, unlike other directors, never cheats or pulls back from her lead’s point of view and utilizes dream sequences where Jenna is dreaming up a new brand of pie as a means of exploring her inner turmoil in a comedic way. For example, when Jenna discovers in the first five minutes of the film that she is pregnant by her no-account husband, she dreams up Bad Baby Pie, describes the filling and how it will be cooked. The next day, we see Joe, played by Andy Griffith, asking Jenna – after he learns of her pregnancy – to bring him a piece. When she visits her obstetrician,  she brings Marshmallow Mermaid Pie, which she holds like a shield against her stomach as she envisions all the pregnant women around her naked, cringing at the thought.


The story’s central arc addresses Jenna’s struggles to come to terms with her pregnancy and having a baby, how it will change her life, how it will effect her relationships and her dreams. At first, she hates the child within her belly. She sees it as an inconvenience and a parasite that will take away everything she has worked so hard to accomplish,  notably her chance to leave her husband and start a new life. As her co-workers make clear at the beginning, while Jenna is prettier than they are, has an attractive husband and a talent for piemaking, they wouldn’t want to be in her shoes. We find out why when we meet him. In the first ten minutes of the film, we see Jenna retreating into herself out of fear and loathing. We never see Earl outside of Jenna’s perspective, so he remains the film’s only two – dimensional character.


Yet, as testament to the director’s talent, there’s never a black-and-white villain. We come to know why Jenna got involved with him: there are glimpses of vulnerablity and insecurity beneath the sneers and abuse. Earl objectivizes Jenna, treating her as a possession without regard for her emotional wellbeing. Without falling into cliché, Shelly depicts a marriage gone bad.


The other male lead, a doctor portrayed by Nathan Fillion, is perhaps more complex and three-dimensional. He’s nebulous, yet empathetic, comical with a charm and restraint evocative of Cary Grant or a young Tom Hanks. At once bemused and taken aback by Jenna’s attraction to him, he seems more perplexed than manipulative, the happily married man who can’t help but find himself falling in love with the waitress who reminds him a bit too much of his childhood crush. Their relationship is both funny and bittersweet, but also manages to avoid cliche.


Outside of Earl and the Doctor, whose name escapes me – she rarely calls him by his first name – the other two characters portrayed in the film are Dawn and Becky, an older waitress, who has a little secret that Jenna discovers mid-way through. All three are fully developed characters, yet we never see them outside of Jenna. Unlike most romantic comedies, The Waitress does not employ stock characters in supporting roles: no “quirky best friend and confidant,” “wiser older friend,” or “wise old man.” At first glance, each of these characters may appear to fit those models, but their lives are their own, and it’s clear that they don’t simply revolve around Jenna. For example, there is a short and sweet little romantic subplot involving Dawn and a blind date, who stalks her with spontaneous poetry until she eventually accedes, much to her friends’ alarm. Shelly’s characters, unlike the typical blockbuster movie personage, have great verisimilitude: they actually resemble the kind of people you could meet and befriend in a small New Jersey diner, if only for a little while.


The film’s only weakness may well be its surreal ending, which in jarring contrast to the rest of the picture is filmed in bright cheery colors and flashes. Is it a dream or is it real? We’re not sure. Upon first viewing, I assumed it was meant to be real, but after discussing it with a friend, I am no longer certain. Without giving too much away, it is shown as a montage and does not quite fit with the overall tone, style, and color scheme of the rest of the picture. It is a slight difference, but enough of one to make you ponder its intent. If it is meant as a dream, then the film is an artistic achievement for reasons you will understand when you see it. If not, the fact that there is a question mark about it gives it a resonance it may have lacked otherwise.


The Waitress, albeit a small film in an action-packed summer of bigger, shinier fare, is that rare piece that resonates with you long after it is over, much like Little Miss Sunshine last year. It is a testament to Shelly’s craft and in a way a fitting memorial to her life, however tragic and shortlived.


June 13, 2007 Posted by | Film, Reviews | 2 Comments

Concert Review: LJ Murphy at the Knitting Factory, NYC 6/12/07

One of the most charismatic performers in rock, LJ Murphy and his band blazed through an incendiary performance including a lot of recent, unreleased material. Murphy was rocking his usual black suit, porkpie hat and Ray Charles shades, so it was impossible to see the expression on his face, but it was obvious from the start that he was especially amped for this show. This time around, in addition to his rhythm section, he had Jerome O’Brien from the Dog Show guesting on Rickenbacker guitar. O’Brien’s judiciously percussive fills and chordal work added a lush, jangling waterfall of textures to Murphy’s usual careening, blues-inflected sound. From beginning to end, Murphy belted his sharp, biting lyrics in a raspy baritone, with a characteristic panache that sometimes bordered on the theatrical. He’s quite the showman.

They opened with the tersely powerful Geneva Conventional, a minor-key cautionary tale about the dangers of selling out. They followed that with the bouncy, Elvis Costello-esque Damaged Goods. On the long, surreal Falling Backwards Up the Stairs, drummer Jonathan Levy set the tone for the rest of the night, flailing on the top of his ride cymbal as the song grew to a crescendo.

O’Brien added some welcome twang to the haunting country song Long Way to Lose. The dark undercurrent continued with the swinging, understatedly ominous Sleeping Mind, one of the most accurate depictions of clinical depression ever sung. Then they did the title track from Murphy’s latest album, Mad Within Reason, a Weimar blues with a scathing lyric that sounds as if it was written about the Bush regime (it wasn’t: it’s more of a general critique of creeping fascism). The beautiful, sad, 6/8 ballad Saturday’s Down, a vividly imagistic, symbolically loaded look at how fast the weekend goes by, was an audience singalong: the crowd of young women closest to the stage became an accidental choir. Murphy then played a brand-new song, possibly titled Lesson I Never Learned, a chronicle of misadventures in romance. After the bluesy Buffalo Red and the supercharged rocker Imperfect Strangers, he and the band closed the set with a bruising take of what is arguably his most potent song, the Velvet Underground-inflected Happy Hour. It’s an indelible portrait of the idiocy that sticks to you even after the workday is over:

Swallowing the two-for-ones
Dressed in chewing-gum cologne
Dancing in corporate uniforms
To the exalted metronome
As the aging dollies chuckle
At a joke that no one gets
Their daytime dramas wait at home
On videocassette

Then it was over, the band high-fiving each other, the lights went up and the house music went on.

Now what’s up with this new trend, not giving bands an encore? The audience screamed and roared for a long time while somebody’s ipod played over the PA. The sound guy fled the booth, not wanting to deal with the wrath of the crowd. Memo to venues: there’s an overproliferation of you. Alienate your customers and you’ll lose them. There are literally scoress of other places for people to see their favorite bands.

June 13, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NYC Live Music Calendar 6/12-21/07

Before you go anywhere, mark your calendar for June 21: it’s Make Music NY day, where literally hundreds of acts will be playing on the street throughout the five boroughs, beginning in late afternoon. At the bottom of this page you’ll find a listing of the best artists involved, such as we know. We’ll keep updating this as new information comes in over the transom. Otherwise, it’s an uncommonly good week for live music:

Tues June 12 LJ Murphy plays the Knitting Factory, 8 PM. Sharply dressed, charismatic baritone frontman, noir lyrical genius and hookmeister playing songs off his latest cd Mad Within Reason which is one of the five or six best albums of the last decade. Jerome O’Brien of the Dog Show on lead guitar. This show promises to rock especially hard, get there on time so you don’t miss anything.


Later Tues June 12 Moisturizer plays Bar 9, 807 9th Avenue between 54th & 53rd, 9 PM, free. A rare chance to see the funnest band in NYC without a cover charge. Moist Paula on baritone sax, Moist Gina on bass, and Moist Drummer. Booty music. They started out as basically a surf band with bari sax instead of guitar; now they play a ridiculously danceable, fluid style that’s uniquely their own. Check out those amazing basslines, yum.


Thurs June 14 Booker T & the MGs with NYC legend Sharon Jones on vocals play the Metrotech park out by the Jay St. F train stop in downtown Brooklyn, noon, free. This weekly outdoor series features Black music and sometimes has some really good acts, i.e. this show. Jones does the James Brown thing magnificently; the band is sadly missing the late Al Jackson Jr. (greatest rock/soul drummer ever, maybe) but they still have Booker T. Jones on organ, Duck Dunn on bass and Steve Cropper on guitar. Three reasons to see them, beyond mere legendary status. In case you don’t know these guys, they backed a gazillion good soul/R&B/blues singers in the 1960s and had a bunch of hits themselves like Green Onions (which ironically was probably their worst song).


Also Thurs June 14 the Neville Bros. play Prospect Park,  8 PM showtime. Semi-legendary New Orleans funk, and in this band Ivan Neville doesn’t do his awful Luther Vandross shit. A fairly recent show saw them invigorated and invigorating. Something you need to know about this outdoor series: either you have to get there EARLY (like, 5 PM) and stand in line for eons before they finally let you in, or, you show up promptly at showtime, or, you can take your chances and hang out beyond the fences in the back, which means you will have to do some walking around the space because the cops have roped everything off. F train to 7th Ave., walk up the hill, take a left, you’ll see the crowd.


Also Thurs June 14 passionate, intense, Radiohead-influenced art-rocker Todd Michaelsen  plays with his wife, dancer Reena Shah at Midway, Ave. B and 2nd St., 8 PM. Soaring anthems, epic grandeur, fearless politics, lots of reverb. Michaelsen was one of the mainstays of the Blu Lounge scene in Brooklyn right up to the end.


Also Thurs June 14 Mark McKay, formerly of the Backsliders plays Lakeside. Growly, twangy heartland rock in the Steve Earle vein. Melodic, intelligent, fun.


Also Thurs June 14 NYC’s best new band, Nightcall plays Superfine in Dumbo, 9 PM 2 sets. This is Bliss Blood’s new side project for her “snuff torch” songs. They’re amazing. You must see them. Check our reviews page for their killer show at the Living Room last weekend. The venue is easy to get to, a two-minute walk from the York St. F train stop.


Fri June 15 the Roscoe Trio plays Lakeside, 11 PM. This is Steve Earle lead guitarist Eric Ambel’s occasional side project. The guy’s work ethic is impressive: even in this unit, which is basically a party band, everybody gives 150%. It’s a set piece for Ambel’s laugh-out-loud musical wit as well as his smoking guitar chops: if great fretwork gets your pulse racing, you should see this guy sometime. And bassist Keith Christopher is no slouch either.


Sat June 16 Television headlines a free bill at Central Park Summerstage, 5 PM-ish but you will need to get there by 2:45 if you want to get in. Last time we were there, the cops had taken down some of the labyrinth of fences, but you still have to run the gauntlet to get inside: be prepared to be searched, be aware that you can’t bring in anything to drink (i.e. H2O) and that if you need to use the bathroom, use the porta-potties at the back of the space. If you leave, they will not let you back in. And you’ll have to stand through two hours of annoying trendoid rock by the Dragons of Zynth and soporific, stoned meandering from the Apples in Stereo. In case you don’t know the headliners, they were a 70s CBGB band that conventional wisdom says were part of the punk movement (although they were actually the furthest thing from punk) who played frequently exhilarating, psychedelic janglerock with long, dazzling guitar solos. Reportedly they still have it. If you have all afternoon to kill, if you are a big big fan of the band or are totally broke – and can go awhile without a drink in the hot sun – this is for you.


Also Sat June 16, a bill worth the trek to Red Hook, at local watering hole the Hook, organized by Mike Corsi of the superb and rarely seen Secrets. It’s basically a night of Freddy’s Bar acts transplanted to the boonies  (where, incidentally, McMansion multinational Toll Bros. is building a whole tract of multimillion-dollar “homes” guaranteed to fall apart in a few years’ time).

5:45 PM Paula Carino – one of the best songwriters in rock, as sharp and lyrically dazzling as Richard Thompson or Elvis Costello in their youth. See our reviews page for a taste of her most recent live show.

6:30 PM The Secrets – brilliant janglerock band, great hooks, alternately haunting and funny. They totally and completely kick ass and are worth seeing under pretty much any circumstances.

7:15 PM Zeke Carey Band – Irish rock? Wild guess

8:00 PM The Kitchen – Soul music? Wild guess.

8:45 PM The Shirts – is this Annie Golden’s band? Theatrical female-fronted cabaret-rock from the late 70s with a hell of a lead singer who supposedly went on to a successful Broadway career?

9:30 PM Liza & the WonderWheels – check our reviews page for a look at how good this devious somewhat 80s janglerock unit sounds live.

10:15 PM John Sharples Band- more jangle. This guy can write a real good melody

11:00 PM The G.O.D. – Hasidic rock? Wild guess.

11:45 PM Out of Order – Bathroom rock? Wild guess.

12:30 AM Plastic Beef – the jam band to end all jam bands

How to get to the venue: B61 bus which stops on Fulton St. in downtown Brooklyn. F to Jay St or 2/4 to Borough Hall, if you can get to the corner of Court and Fulton you can find the bus, it runs on Fulton til it takes a right on Boerum Place. You can also catch it just south of Sahadi’s on Atlantic Ave., going uphill. Take the bus to the last stop and walk back a little way, the way you came, then make a left, you’ll see the bar.  If the L train is accessible to you, you can also catch the B61 as it goes down Driggs Ave in Williamsburg: on the way back from Red Hook, it runs down Bedford to Long Island City.


Also Sat June 16, Akiva plays Zebulon in Williamsburg, 10 PM. I know, I know…it’s trendoid central, nobody gives a shit who’s playing and the place is a dull-to-megadecibel roar depending on how close you are to the stage (it’s quieter up there). But the band (featuring LJ Murphy’s bass player) is good. They’re billed as afropop but what they really are is a 1965-style James Brown-ish groove band. They bounce into it and they just keep going, horns, multiple percussionists and all.


Sun June 17, 5 PM showtime, Ivory Coast roots reggae singer Tiken Jah Fakoly plays Central Park Summerstage. This show is less likely to be packed than Saturday’s, so arrival around showtime should be safe: however, as this is a reggae event, concertgoers will undoubtedly be subjected to unusually high hostility and draconian search procedures by the wannabe cops who do security here. Watch your back.


Also Sun June 17 the incomparable  Rachelle Garniez plays Barbes, early, 7 PM as part of a 3-day accordion festival. Sort of the prototypical panstylistic rock goddess: she started out doing nouveau-cabaret but her roots are strictly punk rock. She’s a retro type, knows her jazz and blues and classical too, writes great lyrics and is one of the two or three most charismatic performers in rock right now. Quirky, interesting old-timey act One Ring Zero with multi-instrumentalist Josh Camp play at 9. Early arrival (i.e. an hour in advance) highly recommended, this is a small room.


Mon June 18 Barnacle Bill plays Arlene’s, 8 PM. Thoughtful, melodic, musically virtuosic janglepop act led by the former Rake’s Progress lead guitarist. Very cerebral stuff with a sense of humor.


Also Mon June 18 Girl Friday plays Lakeside, 9 PM. Casually catchy, melodic female-fronted janglerock band. Seeing this band for the first time is something akin to seeing the late, great Scout: about three quarters of the way through the show it suddenly hits you upside the head, damn, these songs are excellent!


Also Mon June 18 the Roulette Sisters play Barbes, 10 PM. Four women, two guitars, viola and washboard, playing sex songs from the 1920s and 30s with four-part harmonies. They are hilarious and amazing. You must see them sometime. Again: this is Barbes, early arrival a must.


Tues June 19 Maynard & the Musties play Lakeside, 9 PM. Frontman Joe Jerry Maynard is one hell of a country songwriter, part David Allan Coe, part A.P. Carter, alternately funny and haunting, and this band rocks a lot harder than his old outfit the Millerite Redeemers did.


Also Tues June 19 the 2 Man Gentleman Band plays Pete’s Candy Store, 11 PM. Ukelele and washboard. Old-timey as you can get, frequently funny and surprisingly energetic for just these two instruments.


Weds June 20 it’s Songwriters from Hell at the Parkside. This is Paul Alves aka Sousalves’ quarterly event where a bunch of NYC’s best and frequently darkest songwriting denizens do half-hour sets. The incomparable, velvet-voiced Randi Russo at 8 PM. Also playing: Erika Simonian and Sousalves, among others.


Later Weds June 20 Moisturizer plays Sputnik in Fort Greene, time TBA. 262 Taafe Place, Brooklyn (between DeKalb & Willoughby), you can get there via D train to DeKalb or G to Myrtle/Willoughby and some walking. Worth the trip.

Check back here for additions to the Make Music NY calendar for June 21. The website is

but as of June 12 it’s far from complete: several acts that we know are playing are not yet listed there. Here’s what we know of so far that’s worth seeing:

System Noise at Bway/3rd St., 4:30 PM

Lianne Smith at Abingdon Sq., 5 PM

The NY Ukelele Ensemble on 1st Ave between 8th and 9th Sts., 6 PM

The Sacred Harp Singers (real old time, i.e. Revolutionary War era country gospel), 6 PM,

2nd Avenue F train stop, outside, Houston at Forsythe St..

M Shanghai String Band (bluegrass/oldtimey), Brooklyn Bridge entrance in Dumbo, 6:30 PM

Num & Nu Afrika (roots reggae), 7:30 PM, 127th St Playlot, 127th Stbetween 5th Ave and Lenox Ave.

Pinataland, Ave C/9th St., 9 PM

And also at 9 PM legendary Video Music Box host Ralph McDaniels shows vintage & classic hip hop videos at the (roofless) Tobacco Warehouse, Fulton Ferry State Park, New Dock St. at the river in Dumbo, F train to York St. and a short walk toward the water. Expect a draconian police/rent-a-pig presence.

June 12, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | 1 Comment