Lucid Culture


NYC Live Music Calendar 7/9-16/07

Mon July 9 Erica Smith & the 99 Cent Dreams play what has become a rare live show at Banjo Jim’s, 7 PM, early. They’ve been working on the new album a lot, and this may be their last show for awhile, so see them if you’re a fan. Smith is NYC’s answer to Neko Case, a soul/jazz cat at heart who can write in any style she pleases and make it instantly her own and good and haunting. The band has the versatility to follow wherever she wants to sharpen her claws.  





Tues July 10 Richard Buckner plays the Mercury with a backing band, 10 PM. His stuff can be a mixed bag but when he’s on there is no better songwriter out there: if he plays Lil Wallet Picture, it’ll be worth the price of admission and then some. Haven’t seen him with a band since his William Carlos Williams days, when Laura Cantrell opened for him here and stole the show, but he’s always worth checking out.



Also Tues July 10 the strongest woman in rock, Heather Eatman (it’s either her or Erica Smith) plays Sidewalk, 11 PM. This Canadian songstress’s best material has considerable sinew and lyrical muscle as well. 





Also Tues July 10 Whisper Doll (the name’s a joke) plays Trash, 10 PM. This is songwriter Dan Penta (aka Cockroach Bernstein, ex-Larval Organs frontman) in punk/metal mode, with some of the Organs behind him. Very loud, very pissed, very literate in a stream-of-consciousness stoner way.



Also Tues July 10 at 8 PM sharp at Prospect Park, the NY Philharmonic Orchestra plays the bombast of Berlioz (Le Corsaire Overture), the mischief of Mendelssohn (a violin concerto) and the tsuris of Tchaikovsky (the Pathetique Symphony). OK – the alliteration isn’t quite right, but that’s what you get for nothing.  2 /3 train to Grand Army Plaza, follow the crowd into the park.



Thurs July 12 brilliant art-rockers Melomane play Galapagos, 8 PM. Click on our Reviews page, then scroll down for a look at how good this powerful, politically charged, orchestrated rock unit sounds live.



Also Thurs July 12 Evan Schlansky plays Pete’s at 11 PM with some supporting characters. How such a good rock songwriter manages to fly so far below the radar is one of Brooklyn’s great mysteries. Tunes, check. Lyrics, check. Guitar chops, check. Sense of humor, doublecheck. Dylan and Leonard Cohen look on from behind the glass, darkly and approvingly.



Also Thurs July 12 Willie Nile & the Prisoners of 2nd Ave. (Jimmy Vivino, John Conte, Rich Pagano) play the Cutting Room on 24th St., 8 PM adv tix avail now and highly recommended: he usually packs Bowery Ballroom, so this will sell out fast. Click the Reviews page for a look at his terrific new live album.



Fri July 13 Delta Dreambox – yet another Bliss Blood project, this one an acoustic Delta blues band – plays Barbes, 8 PM. Same dreamy vocals, same edgy sense of humor, somewhat more earthy.



Fri July 13 Secretary – which is Moisturizer frontwoman/baritone sax goddess Paula Henderson’s soundtracky side project – plays 9 PM at the Silo, 388-400 Carroll St. (Bonds/Nevins) in Gowanus/Carroll Gardens. Paula is curating an amazing series that continues on the next two Fridays with great acts like Wilder Zoby from Chin Chin and Beans from Anti-Pop Consortium.



Also Fri July 13 Todd Michaelsen, late of passionate, anthemic Radiohead-influenced rockers My Pet Dragon plays Plan B (the old Drinkland) on 10th west of Ave. B., 9 PM.



Sat July 14 Lianne Smith plays Bowery Poetry Club, 8:30 PM. Reverb-loving guitarslinging rocker who usually plays solo on electric. Utterly unique, great sense of humor, great stories and a fun playful psychedelic side. And DAMN, what a voice. Her sharply literate husband Phil’s band The Scene Is Now plays afterward for anyone with fond memories of their heyday at Brownies a few years back.



Also Sat July 14 Johnny Chan & the New Dynasty Six play the Magnetic Field on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn Neights, 9ish. The band is back after a 5 year hiatus; they did the retro Yardbirds wannabe thing as well as anybody back in the day. This venue is rapidly becoming Brooklyn R&R Central and is worth checking out on a random night: they have more adventurous booking here than pretty much anywhere in NYC except maybe Luna or Hank’s.



Also Sat July 14 Ninth House plays Hank’s, 10 PM to celebrate the drummer’s birthday. The keyboardist moved over to guitar and can now show off his terrific chops; the new keyboarist is also a hell of a player, making their Joy Division/Johnny Cash amalgam better than it’s been in a long time.



Also Sat Jan 14 Johnny Allen plays Terra Blues, Bleecker just west of LaGuardia, 10 PM. One of the best blues singers, and also the best blues guitarists left. When he hits that sustain pedal and starts to solo, look out. He also does a killer cover of the Albert Collins classic I Ain’t Drunk (I’m Just Drinking).

Sun July 15 virtuoso gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel channels Django Reinhardt at Barbes, 9 PM. Very popular, get there at least by 8 if you want a seat.



Also Sun July 15 the Flying Neutrinos play Rodeo Bar, 10 PM. Not clear how many of the original members will be onstage for this one, but back in the late 90s this band, along with the Moonlighters, ruled the old-timey, swing/jazz/blues/country scene here.

July 8, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | 5 Comments

Concert Review: Erase Errata at McCarren Pool, Brooklyn NY 7/8/07

Further proof that the audience for rock music is New York City has scattered: Erase Errata were totally kicking ass, the show was free, but the old swimming pool basin was about a third full. There was a small crowd of a couple hundred people gathered close to the stage, where the band was actually audible (away from the stage, it’s a predictably muddy ooze of low frequencies), but those scattered around the perimeter seemed more interested in sunning themselves. Then again, if money is no object, and you have the option of seeing the band at an airconditioned club for, say, $60…well, in the immortal words of Cyndi Lauper, money changes everything.

Sad, because Erase Errata’s searing set, clocking in at barely 45 minutes, was all too brief. Particularly impressive considering this was a scorching hot afternoon. Erase Errata are a very high-energy band, most of the material they played today was very fast, and the trio was obviously getting a hell of a workout. Bianca the drummer played a lot of impressively long, intense, marvelously precise 16th-note runs; bassist Ellie kept in perfect sync with the drums, stealing a drumstick and using it for a slide at one point (though this was barely audible). Guitarist Jenny somehow makes her furious up-and-down strumming and tremolo picking look effortless. When she wasn’t slamming out screechy, trebly chords, she threw out some tasty flamenco-inflected lines, as well as a lot of deliriously evil firestorms of overtones and wild noise. For the most part, she delivered her vocals spoken-word style rather than singing, and most of what she was talking about was lost in the mix, but what she was doing came across as comfortably conversational rather than contrived.

In the few moments she wasn’t wailing, she played den mom to the audience: “Are you all hydrated? Wearing your sunscreen?” A lot of this band’s songs are supremely danceable, but nobody moved a muscle. Then again, this is Williamsburg, Roger Waters’ Trial in full effect: “Showing feelings of an almost human nature? This will not do! Call the schoolmaster!!!!!”

July 8, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Concert Review: LJ Murphy, Ninth House and Others at Galapagos, Brooklyn NY 7/5-7/07

The probability of two good things happening at Galapagos in the span of a week is about as high as Bono retracting his support for the privatization of third world nations’ water supplies and police forces in exchange for debt forgiveness. But this week it happened (the shows, not Bono coming to his senses and telling the Jeffrey Sachs crowd to fuck off). While both performances were excellent, the lesser-attended of the two was the greater success.

Thursday night LJ Murphy did a rare solo show in the club’s front room, hot on the heels of his scorching performance at the Knitting Factory last month, and it was no surprise to see him come out swinging. The sound was good and LOUD, just the way it ought to be at rock shows. Like Stephane Wrembel, Murphy knows that the guitar is a percussion instrument: how he manages to avoid breaking strings all the time is a mystery. He wailed through an all-too-short set of his more upbeat material, including a furious version of the Weimar blues Mad Within Reason (the title track to his latest album) and a commanding take of the careening Blue Silence (which was anything but silent tonight). But nobody – nobody – was listening. Maybe it was because the evening was billed as an old-school English variety show: you know, music, random entertainers and of course strippers. And of course, at these events, it’s obvious what the crowd comes out for. Now people should be able to see strippers whenever they want, but does every venue in town have to turn into a strip club? Isn’t this Brave New World all over again? And the funniest thing is how they try to make it all gentrified and upscale and call it “burlesque.” I defy you to identify any substantial difference between the Bada Bing Club just off Exit 11 of the Jersey Turnpike, and Le Choque du Monde at Chez Madame in the East Village.

In his excellent book The Making of American Audiences, Richard Butsch chronicled the shifting tides of communal meeting places. In the early 1800s, in urban areas, the public hangout of choice was the music hall, where crowds of drunks would holler at each other over the orchestra (in that sense, Galapagos got their history right Thursday night). Fifty years later, it was the vaudeville hall. And let’s not forget the “bowling ground” that B.B. King immortalized in Three O’Clock Blues. While it’s hardly obligatory for an audience to pay attention to whatever’s put in front of them, you’d think that somebody – SOMEBODY – would have been interested in what Murphy was doing up onstage. The guy fucking wailed. Toward the end of the set, he launched into a swinging, upbeat new one, then abruptly changed his mind, worked his way down the scale and segued into a punked-out take of his song Parking Lot Ball. “Taught you how to genuflect, taught you how to bow!” he roared, and not a soul in the crowd got it. The excellent ska band Tri-State Conspiracy was scheduled to play after him, but the long delay between acts proved too much to wait through.

Then last night Ninth House headlined in the back room, playing the cd release show for their new one Realize and It’s Gone (see our review of the album), and while it was a good night it wasn’t in the same league as Murphy’s absolutely riveting set. Yet it was a considerable success. The Whores opened, just guitar and drums, playing a bunch of generic mid-80s hardcore. Then they invited Ninth House’s new keyboardist up onstage to play bass, and finished the second half of the set with some decently melodic punk rock. The highlight was a halfspeed cover of We’re Desperate by X, where the guitarist and the female drummer traded off on the John Doe/Exene parts and to their credit it was actually better than the original.

The quartet Abraham Van were next. All that needs to be said about them is that they really want a major label deal but they aren’t goodlooking enough to get it. Forget about the music: the corporations these days have no interest in that. Or whether the band wants to be Matchbox 20 or the Goo Goo Dolls (hard to tell), or whether or not the rhythm section can keep time (they can’t).

Ninth House finally took the stage around 1 AM, after an hourlong delay while the evening’s projectionist struggled to get his gear working. This could have been a real long night for them, since their old keyboardist Zach has now switched to guitar, and this was his first show wielding an axe (a beautiful Epiphone ES355 copy). There were moments where they stumbled like a wounded beast, but this beast was always dangerous, from the opening crash of the new single Long Stray Whim through the blistering cover of Ghost Riders in the Sky that the audience begged for, that closed the show. It was heartwarming to see a good crowd turn out, enthusiastic about real rock music at a place that’s pretty much Trendoid Central (if you really have to know, there was a stripper, but she wasn’t the evening’s main attraction). Ninth House frontman/bassist Mark Sinnis is moving toward a pretty traditional, Nashville gothic sound these days, but tonight’s show proved that this band is still viable if he wants to keep it going. They’re also playing Hank’s Saloon on July 14 at 10.

July 8, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment