Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

In Memoriam: Hilly Kristal, 1931-2007

Right place, right time. A hippie who worked as a mover and then as booking agent for the Village Vanguard jazz club, Kristal opened his bar in what was then no man’s land, the lower Bowery, in 1970. He changed the name to CBGB/OMFUG in 1973. CBGB stood for Country and Bluegrass Bar: OMFUG stood for Other Music for Uplifting Gourmandizers (the word gourmandizer was apparently a stoner invention of his: it’s supposed to mean connoisseur). The Ramones stumbled upon the place a year later because their drummer Tommy was (and still is) a bluegrass fan. And the rest is history.

In typical New York club owner fashion, Kristal did nothing to promote the scene that sprang up there: it was a spontaneous, underground, word-of-mouth thing and he left it at that. Never particularly ambitious, Kristal let the bands who played there spread the word. Lest any of you oldtimers out there try to romanticize things, the CBGB scene, even in its prime, wasn’t much better than the music scene in New York in the present day, such that it is. Bands didn’t play CBGB because they wanted to: they played there because they couldn’t get a gig at Hurrah’s, or Gildersleeves, or Max’s. Most of the CBs acts were pariahs in the more mainstream clubs because in the late 70s and early 80s, most New York bands sounded pretty much like New Jersey or Long Island bands: everybody wanted to be Aerosmith. As Bob Gruen recounted in the documentary NYC 77, the CBGB clientele was basically just musicians coming out to see their musician friends. Your typical NY music fan didn’t go there because most of the bands who played there weren’t that popular and the club was in a scuzzy neighborhood.

As punk gained popularity, so did CBs and Kristal. A brief stab at starting a record label was a failure; however, the development of hardcore proved a boon to the club and its owner, whose Sunday afternoon hardcore matinees brought in thousands of underage kids from the suburbs to beat each other bloody, drink and puke. This was in the days before Rudy Mussolini.

In the late 80s, booking was taken over by the members of Prong, an atrocious heavy metal trio, and the acts playing the place predictably followed in that direction. As usual, Kristal remained a hands-off owner. His greatest achievement was to open CB’s 313 Gallery in 1992, which quickly became the place for acoustic music in New York: the sound and most of the acts who played there were consistently good, and for awhile the place even served pizza (the pizza ovens were still there when it closed last year). Meanwhile, the main venue went into decline, to the point where in the last couple of years before it closed, they were booking cover bands from New Jersey for Saturday night shows. The Gallery somehow managed to remain a first-class venue until perhaps the final two years.

Kristal was a shy, retiring person who let others take advantage of him: relatives meddled in his affairs, employees stole from him and it was only the licensing of the CBGB clothing line that made him a millionaire. In the battle that saw the venue finally lose its lease, he testified that for a time, it had been difficult to make the rent and there’s no reason to believe he wasn’t telling the truth. His greatest achievement? That he was there, openminded enough to let good things happen (he was a hippie, after all) and didn’t get in the way.

Advertisements

August 29, 2007 Posted by | Music, music, concert, New York City, obituary, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

NYC Live Music Calendar 8/29-9/9/07

Weds Aug 29 supercatchy female-fronted indie rock/popsters Palomar play Luna, 8 PM, $10. Northern State – the lesbian Vanilla Ice –  headline at 10.

  

Also Weds Aug 29 Feist plays McCarren Pool, 8 PM,  ticketmaster has $29 tix. Expensive but worth it. If you aren’t already a convert, believe the hype: Toronto’s Leslie Feist is the real deal, kind of like an electric Erika Simonian, or Randi Russo in a quieter mode, all thorny evil melodies, imaginative chord voicings and an alluring, completely unaffected voice.

  

Weds Aug 29 and Thurs Aug 30 legendary New York twangsters the Hangdogs reunite at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. This fiery, politically charged, Steve Earle-ish band was the closest (and funniest) thing we had to the Dead Kennedys until they broke up a couple years ago. Their final album Wallace ’48, which might be onsale tonight, has to be one of the ten best albums of the past decade.

  

Thurs Aug 30 New York expat Jenifer Jackson plays a trio show at the Rockwood, 7 PM. One of the smartest, most imaginative and compelling songwriters of our time, a slinky jazzcat at heart, Beatlephile and terrific guitarist adept at pretty much any style she wants to play. See our reviews page for a look at her amazing new one The Outskirts of a Giant Town. 

  

Also Thurs Aug 30 jazz guitar monster Matt Munisteri plays an instrumental show with a rhythm section plus the best accordionist in jazz, Joey Barbato (which is kind of like calling the Red Sox the best team to play at Fenway Park – Joey would love that reference)– at the MOMA Sculpture Garden, 6 PM til close, two sets, free w/museum admission (which I know is absurdly high, but if you’ve been thinking of MOMA lately, this is the night you should go).

  

Fri Aug 31 the Freddy’s Bar crew takes over Hank’s, Atlantic Ave. and 3rd Ave. (they intersect), any train to Atlantic Ave. and walk back on Atlantic toward Brooklyn Heights. This night is pretty appropriate since both venues’ days are numbered by encroaching luxury housing, Hank’s by the Ratso Ratner Atlantic Yards goons while Hank’s owner has put the place up for sale as a “development site” – you know what that means. John Sharples and his jangly crew play around 10 followed by Plastic Beef who will have the nonpareil Erica Smith singing this time, and jam the hell out of everything they touch with some pretty way-out results.

  

Sat Sept 1 obscure but excellent 50s rockabilly guitarist Charlie Gracie plays Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. He was the first guy to displace Elvis Presley from the #1 spot on the singles chart. Now in his 70s, he remains a sizzling, fast player. 

  

Sun Sept 2 gypsy jazz virtuoso Stephane Wrembel returns to Barbes, 9 PM, be there by 8 if you’re going.

 

Also Sun Sept 2 Moisturizer plays Sputnik, 262 Taafe Pl. betw Dekalb/Willoughby in Ft. Greene, midnight-ish. Probably the best train is the B to DeKalb or G to Classon. Their first show since May, you know that the moist trio will be super amped for this one. Baritone sax, bass and drums, one of the most interesting bass players on the planet and all of their instrumentals are true stories!

 

 

Also Sun Sept 2 Moisturizer plays Sputnik, 262 Taafe Pl. betw Dekalb/Willoughby in Ft. Greene, midnight-ish. Probably the best train is the B to DeKalb or G to Classon.

Their first show since May, you know that the moist trio will be super amped for this one. Baritone sax, bass and drums, one of the most interesting bass players on the planet and all of their instrumentals are true stories!

  

Mon Sept 3 sultry Roulette Sisters frontwoman/guitarist Mamie Minch shares a bill with another fine picker, Jan Bell and others doing the oldtimey thing at Barbes, 10 PM, I know it’s late on a Monday but Minch is very popular so early arrival is a must. She’s playing every Monday in September here.

  

Also Mon Sept 3 Rev. Vince Anderson is doing his piano-bashing craziness at Black Betty again, 10:30 PM. With the Labor Day weekend, the Rev. should be in an especially potent, political mood.

 

 

Weds Sept 5 the Gotham 4 play Midway, 9 PM. They’ve been sounding pretty raw and desperate lately, maybe because nobody in the band is 18 or gay or cute and therefore they have no chance of getting a record deal, and the pleasure is all yours. But they’d be the ideal band to do the soundtrack to the 90s nostalgia movie, all big anthemic hooks and guitar atmospherics.

  

Thurs Sept 6 panstylistic rock goddess Rachelle Garniez plays Barbes, 9 PM, get there early. Some say she’s the best songwriter around right now and they might be right. And a hell of a keyboardist (accordion is her main axe), hell of a singer, brilliant lyricist with quite a surreal edge, very fond of retro styles, a terrifically funny and compelling live performer.

  

Fri Sept 7, 10 PM at Lost & Found, Greenpoint Ave. & Franklin St  (G to Greenpoint Ave. or just walk from the Bedford Ave. L, it’s about 20 minutes on foot), a strange bill: Casa de Chihuahua, which is basically a bluegrass band with punkish lyrics opens for surf rockers the Sea Devils, which is half of the original, excellent band plus a new rhythm section. Free hot dog with admission. Be hungry.

  

Also Fri Sept 7, Sir Richard Bishop opens for Smog at the swanky new Highline Ballroom, way west on 16th St. on the same block as the old Roxy, 9 PM, $15. The former loves his Middle Eastern tonalities and plays some captivating, mostly acoustic instrumentals; the headliner still does the sometimes eerie lyrically-driven minimalist, slightly shoegaze thing as well as he’s always done it. The venue wants desperately to be the Supper Club: don’t even think of drinking unless you’re doing it on someone else’s tab and they’re either not your friend or a very, very good one.

  

Also Fri Sept 7 it’s ukelele night at Barbes starting at 8 PM with Bedroom Community (who from the club’s website sound pretty twee), Daria Klotz’s charmingly oldtimey Prewar Ponies at 9, the self-explanatory Ukeladies and the boisterous, always enjoyable J. Walter Hawkes.

  

Also Fri Sept 7 Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars play Lakeside, 11 PM. Wow –  these surf instrumentalists have really gotten tight and have expanded their repertoire: they played the rare Ventures classic Ginza Lights last time they were here.

 

 

Sat Sept 8, 10 PM legendary 90s all-female funk/punk/pop rockers the Maul Girls reunite for a one-off show at Crash Mansion on Bowery. What a fertile band this was: after they split up, various members would go on to form or join the B Loud Three, Noxes Pond, Ssssh and Velvet Mafia. They were a great party and will definitely deliver that and a lot more, considering that this is a free show and that there’s OPEN BAR from 9 to 10, no joke.

 

 

Also Sat Sept 8 Ninth House plays the new MI-5 club, 52 Walker St. in Chinatown, 11 PM with the dangerous, gypsy-inflected Suzy Mitchell on violin. 6/N/R/Q/W/J/M/Z to Canal St. and walk a block south (Walker runs parallel to Canal). Dark 80s-influenced art-rock band with a burgeoning improvisational streak: not a jam band, but they improvise. Who would have thought.

  

Also Sat Sept 8 Steve Wynn plays Lakeside, 11 PM, get here early. He and his backup unit the Miracle 3 are arguably the best rock band on the planet at this point, evil noisy guitar duels punctuating Wynn’s vast catalog of classic, noir songs dating back to the 80s and his legendary band the Dream Syndicate.

  

Sun Sept 9, Greta Gertler & the Extroverts play the Brooklyn Lyceum in the big room downstairs, 7 PM. Click for our review of their most recent, absolutely brilliant set at the Mercury. The venue is right above the Union St. R train stop, otherwise take the F to 4th Ave. and walk back toward Brooklyn Heights about 9 blocks, past the UHaul place.

 

 

Also Sun Sept 9 gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel  is back at Barbes, 9 PM, you know the deal: get here early or don’t bother. 

 

 

We’ll keep this updated regularly – sorry no new posts here for a few days – these are the dog days of August after all. Check back tomorrow for new posts, your contributions are always welcome.

August 28, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | 1 Comment

Concert Review: The Mingus Orchestra/Mingus Big Band at Damrosch Park, NYC 8/26/07

Before the show started, there was a bag lady sitting on the aisle opposite the sound board embroiled in a heated debate with an unseen opponent. Yes, she had been at the Woodstock Hotel and had a torn, greyed scrap of paper to prove it. Slowly, she was surrounded by tourists, and ended up sleeping through most of the show. Apparently whatever hallucination had been giving her a hard time didn’t like Mingus. Or also fell asleep.

Augmenting the musicians onstage was a group of special guests: an energetic chorus of tree frogs. The peepers were into it tonight, and made themselves known with gusto whenever the music got quiet. However, they had no interest in keeping time with the arrangements. There was also a light on the top floor of the highrise building south of the park that kept going on and off, in perfect time, throughout the show. Perhaps Mingus himself was on hand to give a listen.

Maybe so, because this was arguably the best show we’ve seen this year, right up there with the Avengers at Bowery Ballroom, Big Lazy at Luna and Paula Carino at the Parkside. Composer/bassist Charles Mingus (1922-79) wrote in several different idioms, but his best work is a blend of jazz, classical and horror movie soundtrack. It’s difficult, richly composed, deeply troubled music. Heavy stuff, not for the faint of heart. They played a lot of that tonight along with some more lighthearted fare, a brave thing to do considering that this was a free outdoor show (part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival) which mysteriously draws a mostly neighborhood crowd along with a scattering of tourists. Perhaps the group’s ubiquity on the concert circuit had something to do with it (the Big Band had a Thursday residency at Fez for ages back in the 90s), or, that for the crowd who can actually afford to see them in clubs, money is no object. Whatever the case, there were still a lot of empty seats which grew as the night went on: clearly, the dark side of Mingus is not for everyone.

The Orchestra, conducted by Gunther Schuller and ironically smaller than the Big Band with only 10 players, opened with a couple of breezily, eerily swinging numbers that evoked something akin to Miles Davis doing Gil Evans arrangements, only better (hubris, I know). Mingus was an angry man, and these tunes had a smirk, as if to say, I just picked your pocket for $20 and now I’m taking a cab down to Toots Shor’s to spend it. Both the Orchestra and Big Band are repertory units, they know this material inside out and mined the melodies for every deliciously evil nuance. Then they did Half-Mast Inhibition, which Mingus composed at age 17. A lot of his material is narrative: this one’s not about impotence, but instead Mingus’ reluctance to meditate his way off the face of the earth (at the time, he thought he could). It’s a deliberately ostentatious, rigorously knotty piece that goes through all sorts of permutations. Hardly his best composition, but the band emphasized the unexpected squeals, squalls and rhythmic innovations that would become trademarks of his later work.

Mingus’s widow Sue, who introduced both sets told the audience that “Against all common wisdom and tradition…normally you open with a swinging, uptempo beat,” the 14-piece Mingus Big Band (minus guitar and bass clarinet, plus more horns) was going to begin the second half of the program with The Children’s Hour of Dream from his three-hour masterwork, Epitaph. This is no ordinary dream, it’s a fullscale nightmare complete with scary figures in the shadows, a chase scene and a shootout, all jumpy chromatic runs and scary trills from every instrument including the piano. They then segued into a jaunty, pretty generic jump blues written as a celebration of the birth of bassist Oscar Pettiford’s new baby boy, a suitable vehicle for the band members to dazzle with their chops. Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Wayne Oscoffery on tenor and Ku-umba Frank Lacy on trombone all contributed suitably ebullient solos. They followed with the murky, exasperated Noon, Night, one of Mingus’ most famous songs. The rest of the show was upbeat material, including Pinky Please Don’t Come Back to the Moon (Mingus LOVED odd titles) and the deliriously passionate Freedom, Mingus’ acerbic, vitriolic lyrics rapped by the trombonist.  A Civil Rights-era anthem, it ends caustically: freedom for you, not me. Bassist Boris Kozlov directed the ensemble from behind Mingus’ own lionshead bass. What a treat it must be to play this music and in particular Mingus’ basslines on the composer’s instrument. At the end of the show, the band went through a series of false endings, an appropriate way to wind up this gorgeously haunting, surprise-filled evening.

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

Concert Review: Amanda Thorpe/Randi Russo/Ninth House at Hank’s Saloon, Brooklyn NY 8/25/07

Amanda Thorpe has made a career out of joining bands that are ok and making them suddenly great. She did that with the Wirebirds, and recently with the Bedsit Poets. Tonight she showed how, with just her voice, her songs and her new Christian guitar (it’s a gospel model that New York musicians apparently love to play in the guitar store until they notice the big white cross on the headstock). She opened with a Richard Thompson song, a-capella.“That’s as close to Linda Thompson as I can get,” Thorpe sheepishly told the crowd, but what could have been pure hubris wasn’t. As a singer, British expat Thorpe is in the same league, with a similarly haunting, resigned delivery. But she can also belt and wail and has a very playful, jazzy side that she showed off tonight. If and when Norah Jones falls off the radar – not that she should – Thorpe could very well take her place.

She played a lot of material from her forthcoming cd Union Square, including its understatedly wistful, beautifully melancholy title track. Her Bedsit Poets bandmate Edward Rogers joined her onstage for a duet on the sad, knowing The Highs Can’t Beat the Lows. A couple of times, she tried to engage the audience in a singalong, but this fell flat: everybody was too busy listening. The crowd here drinks and gabs: that she got them to shut up pretty much says it all. Her best songs were an unreleased number called the River Song, a bitter tale of rejection and betrayal, and the morbid, 6/8 Bedsit Poets sea chantey Around and Around. She also did a marvelously nuanced version of Leonard Cohen’s Bird on a Wire, jazzed up the Mama Cass hit Dream a Little Dream of Me and closed with a breathtakingly powerful version of the Steve Wynn classic For All I Care, bringing out every ounce of the lyrics’ suicidal wrath.

The only complaint about Randi Russo’s show was that it was too quiet. Otherwise, she and her trio (minus her lead guitarist Lenny Molotov, who was out of town) played a set of some of her most powerful songs, including the hypnotic, pounding, Velvets-inflected One Track Mind (from her obscure Live at CB’s Gallery ep), the eerie, chromatic Adored, the towering, 6/8 alienation anthem Prey and the scathing minor-key dayjob-from-hell number Battle on the Periphery. She’s been playing lead guitar in the Oxygen Ponies lately, and the careening, noisy solo she took toward the end of the unreleased Hurt Me Now turned the atmospheric, melancholy song into a blazing rocker as the rhythm section channeled Joy Division. Tonight, for some reason, all the bands were quiet: at least this put her cutting lyrics and velvety vocals out front and center.

Ninth House frontman Mark Sinnis was celebrating his birthday, and they predictably packed the place. They’ve shuffled their lineup yet again, with a new guitarist. Despite not having had the chance to do much rehearsing, the Anti-Dave, as he calls himself attacked the songs with passion and imagination. Until very recently Ninth House had a very 80s dark anthemic feel, and while the majesty of the songs remains, there’s a newly bluesy, somewhat improvisatory feel to the music, particularly in the interplay between the keyboards and the guitar: an unexpected and very promising development. They burned their way through the swinging, country-inflected When the Sun Bows to the Moon and Mistaken for Love, found some new, bluesy energy in Injury Home (from their second cd Swim in the Silence) and closed with a blistering cover of Ghost Riders in the Sky.

We went to Superfine afterward and were reassured to find this place as good a choice of late-night hang as it’s always been: all the yuppies go home by 1 AM, and the crowd that remains is pretty much like any other crowd you’d find in what used to be New York, a motley crew that keeps to themselves and doesn’t annoy.

August 26, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Concert Review: 18 at Union Pool, Brooklyn NY 8/24/07

The place used to be a pool dealership. Not real pools, but the glorified hot tubs you can see from the air out behind seemingly every single-family home in Queens as you land at LaGuardia. From the looks of it, total market saturation put an end to the original Union Pool. In the same lazy vein as Pete’s Candy Store and Arlene Grocery, when the new owners took over the spot, they kept the name. It was rockabilly central for awhile back in the 90s, the curb outside typically lined with life-size Hot Wheels vehicles, antique Fords and Hudsons from the 40s and 50s chopped and customized to the point where their book value was a tiny fraction of it would have been had the cars been restored or even left in their original junk condition. Now the place is more like Jersey central – or central Jersey. At least that’s how it was at the bar tonight, a bunch of fresh-faced yuppie puppies dancing awkwardly to hip-hop. But out back in the music building, it was like the old days, a decidedly mixed crowd: totally Williamsburg, 1997. We missed the tight, Stonesy cover band the Blue Mountain Dogs and janglerockers Swagg. Guitar/drums instrumental duo Cocaine & Abel were already into their set when we got there, playing what you might call sludgecore, slow, pounding drums and screeching, overtone-laden, nails-down-the-blackboard guitar. When they sped it up lickety-split to 200 BPM, it was just silly, but the downtempo stuff was pretty cool. As more than one audience member said in the courtyard outside, more people would have stuck around had they not been so excruciatingly loud. The room here isn’t tiny like Barbes – it has nice high ceilings and a little balcony in the back – but there’s absolutely no need to lug in a huge Marshall stack like Cocaine (or was it Abel) did. But maybe that’s the whole point of the band.

18 headlined, playing their cd release show, and brought a big crowd. The first thing you noticed about this band is that people were dancing, and in this part of town, that’s frowned upon, as if the Pentecostals had taken over. The next thing that was obvious is that most everybody was pretty drunk. Memo to club owners: this band brings a big drinking crowd. Union Pool just paid next month’s rent with what they made at the bar tonight. Another striking thing is how tight the band was: like a lot of classic punk bands, they’d finish a song and then jump right into another, often without even stopping. Bits and pieces of familiar tunes floated to the surface of their sonic tsunami: TV Eye, Should I Stay or Should I Go, Pretty Vacant, Blitzkrieg Bop. This Williamsburg quartet use the same basic riff-rock building blocks as a million other garage/punk bands before them but then smash them to pieces with uncommon ferocity and skill. 18 is a very democratic band: everybody sings, including the drummer (who happens to be their best singer). They also don’t take themselves seriously at all: “Drank so much I almost drowned,” the bass player deadpanned during his first number. In 18’s world, everything’s either a party or a joke and that’s perfectly ok because we need bands who A) bring the party with them and B) know the difference between telling a joke and being one.

Their best songs were a twisted portrait of a Hells Kitchen character, sung by the drummer; an amusing faux-country song about a “milk-fed girl from out of town” who really loves to eat, at everybody else’s expense, and a snide garage tune called Squaresville, which as the Telecaster player made clear at the end of the song was a Williamsburg reference. They played a long set: wham, wham, wham, one song after another with barely room in between for anyone in the band to even take a hit of beer. Like some of the other bands in our most recent review, they would have fit in perfectly at CBGB, 1981. That’s a compliment. We went to legendary, now vastly overpriced neighborhood greasepit Kellogg’s Diner around the corner afterward for onion rings. If that’s not rock n roll, you tell me what is.

August 26, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Concert Review: Erin Regan and Mark Sinnis at Spike Hill, Brooklyn NY 8/24/08

Playing solo acoustic, Erin Regan turned in a riveting set of stark, bleak, clear-eyed, tersely imagistic tales of life on the fringes. Suicide, divorce, poverty, alienation and despair figure heavily in her songs, delivered with a calm assurance over fluidly fingerpicked guitar. But she’s less Tom Waits than Barbara Ehrenreich, vividly evoking the desolate stripmall hell that lies beyond the yuppies in the exurbs, that the media pretends doesn’t exist. Her characters drive around aimlessly, contemplate petty crime, casually disrespect each other and seem mostly to have given up completely. But just when it seemed that this was her defining style, she flipped the script with a jaunty ragtime song that wouldn’t be out of place in the Moonlighters catalog, sung with a remarkably jazzy panache. Keep your eye on her: if word of her spreads among the kids she chronicles, she will be very popular. She’s playing Sidewalk on Sept 4 at 11.

 

Mark Sinnis’ long-running band Ninth House has been through several incarnations and is currently going through yet another: an educated guess has them mixing the artsy, Psychedelic Furs-ish, 80s vein they were mining about eight years ago with the guitar-stoked Nashville gothic material they’ve been playing lately. Playing solo, he’s invented his own genre: gothic country lounge. Casually fingerpicking his acoustic guitar and backed by Brunch of the Living Dead’s Sara Landeau playing eerie, reverberating, minimalist Twin Peaks lead guitar, Sinnis held the audience captive with a mix of new material and often drastically reworked versions of Ninth House songs. For a guy, he’s a terrific song stylist (why are women so much better singers than the men these days? Blame it on Nirvana?), especially when he doesn’t have to roar over a loud band. If he liked jazz, he’d be good at it. Among the highlights of the set: the opener, a haunting, Tom Waits-inflected minor-key blues perhaps titled There’s No Heaven, another darkly existential ballad on the same theme that appeared later on and a slowly unwinding version of the Ninth House country-goth ballad Your Past May Come Back to Haunt Me. If Nick Cave is too pricy for you, Sinnis makes a good substitute.

August 25, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review: Liza & the WonderWheels/Skelter/System Noise at Kenny’s Castaways, NYC 8/23/07

Everbody makes fun of the Bleecker Street strip. It’s so NOT New York, right? Wide-eyed, blue-collar Jersey/Long Island tourists, cheap jewelry stores, faux Italian bistros and so-bad-they’re-funny suburban bands playing the clubs, trapped in a time warp where U2 is considered cutting-edge. Predictably, there was a gaggle of overdressed, fake-tanned girls from Deer Park or Marlton or somewhere the same, all nervous and self-conscious to be for perhaps the first time in their lives inside a place that’s not advertised on network tv. Just as predictably, when the first band started, they were gone in less than a minute.

Over the arch where the main room here starts, there’s a purple neon sign announcing that “Through these portals amble the famous,” or something equally stilted, followed by two exclamation points. Maybe one of Phil Collins’ backup singers walked in here once, thinking it was the Bottom Line, then realized where she was and promptly exited. Over the bar, there are framed gold records by 80s New Jersey REM wannabes the Smithereens (after the band had run its course, the notoriously right-wing nutjob who fronted the band had a brief run as a wannabe politician). This could be anywhere: Deer Park, Marlton, El Cajon. It’s the last place anyone would expect to see the bands on the bill tonight.

And it was Continental loud. For those who don’t get the reference, the sound at the Continental on Bowery just north of St. Mark’s was earsplitting. Then they stopped having bands a couple of years ago. It’s now a tourist bar. Maybe that’s where Mallory, Alexis, Madison, Keighleigh, Kelceigh, AshLee, Prada and Taylor were headed next as they went east armed with their parents’ credit cards. And that’s too bad, because if they’d stuck around they actually might have enjoyed Liza & the WonderWheels. This band looks and sounds like something you’d see in a movie set in New York circa 1981 in the requisite CBGB scene: catchy hooks and cheery vocals, with a quirky 80s vibe. If they were around at that time, they’d also undoubtedly have a record deal and probably at least a couple of radio hits. They have a tight, powerful rhythm section, a dynamic frontwoman and an equally captivating lead guitarist. Their hooks are simple, memorable and driven by the vocals rather than the songs’ chord structures. Frontwoman Liza Garelik was in a great mood tonight because she could actually hear herself onstage, and the sound in the room was equally good: her vocals were coming through strong, all the way to the front door. They ran through a bunch of mostly upbeat, fast material and closed with what has become their signature song, Eddie Come Down, a typically warped number about getting a psycho to chill out that begins slowly and eventually builds to a long jam on a single chord. Tonight the bass and drums pushed it hard as Ian Roure’s guitar screamed through a wah-wah pedal. They built it up, then brought it down, they went up again, then went all quiet and it was Garelik’s rhythm guitar ringing starkly and quietly evil, like the spirit of Bob Weir against drummer Joe Filosa’s sepulchral cymbals, that provided the set’s most mesmerizing moment.

We should be grateful for bands like Skelter, who came next on the bill. This comfortably melodic, garagey upstate trio stays within the world of major and minor chords, and they’re all proficient on their instruments. In a world where most of the descendants of Sonic Youth play like they’ve never seen a guitar in their lives, much less held one, these guys are a pleasure: one audience member compared them to Oasis, and while they don’t steal Beatles licks, they definitely have a sense of drama. And a tendency toward garish guitar and drum flourishes, which they should avoid. But since this was their ten-year anniversary show, there’s little chance of that happening. Their myspace has a very catchy, jangly garage rock song called Ghost Town, and they played that tonight, but with distortion, and it sounded pretty indistinguishable from everything else. Bands like this sound better the more you drink.

Headliners System Noise are arguably the best live band in New York, in fact, arguably the best live band anywhere. “Progressive punk,” one audience member called them. Lithe, cat-eyed frontwoman Sarah Mucho is a force of nature: tonight she belted like Grace Slick raised to the power of ten, wailed like Mary Lee Kortes at her most scary-beautiful, teased and seduced the crowd like Erica Smith. It’s hard to think of anyone outside the world of, say, opera or gospel who can unleash such a mighty, pitch-perfect blast of beautiful sound. They rhythm section handled a lot of tricky time changes and odd tempos with aplomb and the lead guitarist alternated between fiery, virtuosic riffs and sheets of blistering noise. For a band this loud, and this noisy, they are amazingly tuneful. They burned through an all-too-brief, barely 35-minute set including a lot of unreleased material. The macabre Good Enough to Eat, a song about cannibalism, began with a percussive, chromatic hook that wouldn’t be out of place in an Iron Maiden song. Perhaps their strongest number was the equally dark, fiery No One Saw What I Saw, Mucho’s vocals taking flight in the chorus after a relentless, pounding run through the wilderness of the verse.

The night’s big crowd-pleaser was the slow, towering anthem Daydreaming. “A power ballad,” Mucho sarcastically called it, which built in an instant from a mysterious, ominously quiet verse to a literally breathtaking crescendo, then subsided almost as fast. It was heartwarming to hear the crowd’s awestruck, spontaneous applause when the band did this the first time around, affirming that there are still people in town who can appreciate that kind of thing in rock music. The set ended with a ridiculously catchy, Talking Heads-ish funk number from the band’s self-titled ep, with a snide, overtly political lyric that Mucho rapped. What a great night: three bands for eight bucks, the sound was good if a little loud and we weren’t surrounded by assholes. Somebody should start a Take Back Bleecker Street campaign: get all the good bands who used to play Tonic, for example, and bring them down here. It’s easy to get to on the subway and it sure beats Ludlow Street.

From there, we went east to Banjo Jim’s – again (we didn’t see Mallory, Alexis, Madison, Keighleigh, Kelceigh, AshLee, Prada or Taylor – perhaps their Humvee stretch limo had picked them up before they collectively turned into pumpkins). What a pleasant surprise, there was actually somebody good onstage here. Will Scott really has a handle on hypnotic, Mississippi hill country blues. It was just him playing acoustic, backed by a boisterous drummer. It actually would have been nice if they had been louder: people might have danced. This guy gets it: an unabashed T-Model Ford/R.L. Burnside fan, he understands that this is party music. Tonight he played it with fierce abandon, judicious use of guitar chops and without Pearl Jamming the vocals. He’s been playing Wednesdays at 68 Jay St. Bar in Dumbo for awhile. If you miss ole R.L. or have a lot of the Fat Possum catalog in your collection or on your ipod, go see this guy, you won’t be disappointed.

August 24, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

NYC Live Music Calendar 8/23-9/6/07

Thurs Aug 23, 9 PM Maynard & the Musties play Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn. Smart, very funny, authentic Nashville country music cat with a surprisingly rocking band behind him. If you like Uncle Leon & the Alibis or Amy Allison you’ll love Maynard & the Musties.

 

 

Thurs Aug 23 a terrific show at Kenny’s Castaways on Bleecker St., of all places: soaring, politically smart psychedelic 80s throwbacks Liza & the WonderWheels open at 8, followed by fiery upstate garage rockers Skelter at 9. Headliners System Noise, who play at 10 have a spectacularly powerful frontwoman, good lyrics, amazing eerie guitar, a new bass player and are pyrotechnically good live.

 

 

Also Thurs Aug 23 Jes Hudak plays the Rockwood on Allen St. at midnight. Amazing voice with amazing range and uncommon subtlety. If only, if only, someday her material might be remotely as good.

  

Fri Aug 24 it’s the cd release party for scorching garage/punk rockers 18 at Union Pool. Show starts at 8 with “the blues soul sound of The Blue Shadow Dogs, continues with the jangle pop sounds of Swagg, onto the discordant sounds of Cocaine and Able and then Eighteen takes the stage at 11pm.”  Lyres authenticity, Ramones energy, unbelievable tightness and if the album sounds anything like the demos we heard a few months ago, it’s the real deal.

 

 

Also Fri Aug 24 the 4th St. Nite Owls play Barbes, 10 PM. Again: early arrival a must, the back room here is SMALL. The band are a terrific guitar/piano barrelhouse blues band, with a little country and a little ragtime.

 

 

Also Fri Aug 24 Marcellus Hall & the Headliners play Lakeside, 11 PM. The New Yorker illustrator and once-and-future White Hassle frontman is at the absolute peak of his powers as retro hookmeister and dazzlingly literate, funny wordsmith. He also plays Pete’s on Aug 29 at 11, probably solo.

 

 

Sat Aug 25 at  3 PM it’s the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, uptown at Marcus Garvey Park, 3 PM with Abbey Lincoln, Chico Hamilton, Marc Cary and Lezlie Harrison. Sunday’s show at Tompkins Square Park also starts at three and features Abbey Lincoln, Chico Hamilton, Todd Williams and Maurice Brown

 

 

Later Sat Aug 25 there’s an amazing show at Hank’s in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Atlantic Ave. and 3rd Ave., take any train to Atlantic Ave and walk a block on Atlantic toward Brooklyn Heights. Haunting Britfolk-inflected siren Amanda Thorpe, sounding better than ever, opens the show at 9 followed by the equally haunting and much louder Randi Russo and her band who will be in a serious hard-rocking mode tonight.  Long-running, black-as-coal Nashville gothic headliners Ninth House have shuffled their lineup yet again and are better off for it, should be a lot of surprises tonight.

 

 

Sun Aug 26 the Mingus Big Band AND the Mingus Orchestra play the Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival this month at Damrosch Park, out back, show starts at 8 PM but get there an hour early if you want a seat.

 

 

For a cozier but equally good show, gypsy jazz guitar genius Stephane Wrembel – who literally channels Django – plays Barbes, show starts at 9 but be there by 8, tops, if you want to see the show.

 

 

Later Sun Aug 26 Matty Charles & the Valentines winds up their mellow, soulful country residency this month at Pete’s Candy Store, 10 PM

 

 

Mon Aug 27 salsa siren La India wraps up the Lincoln Center outdoor festival at Damrosch Park, behind the concert halls at 8 PM. The little Puerto Rican firecracker has a big, growly contralto and a fine band behind her, mixing up traditional salsa styles along with contemporary baladas.

 

 

Also Mon Aug 27 bass goddess Daria Klotz’s charming oldtimey Prewar Ponies open for her husband Jack Grace’s sick-beyond-words country Van Halen cover band, Van Hayride at Rodeo Bar, 8 PM. If you like Rawles Balls – or Tenacious D or Spinal Tap –  you must see Van Hayride.

 

 

Also Mon Aug 27 Rev. Vince Anderson leads his wild, psychedelic, outre gospel group from behind the keyboard at Black Betty, two sets starting at 10:30. He’s someone that every New Yorker should see at least once and maybe twice. Moist Paula from Moisturizer is his secret weapon on baritone sax.

 

 

Weds Aug 29 supercatchy female-fronted indie rock/popsters Palomar play Luna, 8 PM $10. Northern State – the lesbian Vanilla Ice –  headline at 10

 

 

Also Weds Aug 29 Feist plays McCarren Pool, 8 PM,  ticketmaster has $29 tix. Expensive but worth it. If you aren’t already a convert, believe the hype: Toronto’s Leslie Feist is the real deal, kind of like an electric Erika Simonian, or Randi Russo in a quieter mode, all thorny evil melodies, imaginative chord voicings and an alluring, completely unaffected voice.

 

 

Weds Aug 29 and Thurs Aug 30 legendary New York twangsters the Hangdogs reunite at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. This fiery, politically charged, Steve Earle-ish band was the closest (and funniest) thing we had to the Dead Kennedys until they broke up a couple years ago. Their final album Wallace ’48, which might be onsale tonight, has to be one of the ten best albums of the past decade.

 

 

Thurs Aug 30 New York expat Jenifer Jackson plays a trio show at the Rockwood, 7 PM. One of the smartest, most imaginative and compelling songwriters of our time, a slinky jazzcat at heart, Beatlephile and terrific guitarist adept at pretty much any style she wants to play. See our reviews page (click on April, to your right) for a look at her amazing new one The Outskirts of a Giant Town. 

 

 

Sat Sept 1 obscure but excellent 50s rockabilly guitarist Charlie Gracie plays Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. He was the first guy to displace Elvis Presley from the #1 spot on the singles chart. Now in his 70s, he remains a sizzling, fast player. 

 

 

Sun Sept 2 gypsy jazz virtuoso Stephane Wrembel returns to Barbes, 9 PM, be there by 8 if you’re going.

 

 

Mon Sept 3 sultry Roulette Sisters frontwoman/guitarist shares a bill with another fine picker, Jan Bell and others doing the oldtimey thing at Barbes, 10 PM, I know it’s late on a Monday but Minch is very popular so early arrival is a must. She’s playing every Monday in September here.

 

 

Also Mon Sept 3 Rev. Vince Anderson is doing his piano-bashing craziness at Black Betty again, 10:30 PM. With the Labor Day weekend, the Rev. should be in an especially potent, political mood.

 

 

 

Thurs Sept 6 panstylistic rock goddess Rachelle Garniez plays Barbes, 9 PM, get there early. Some say she’s the best songwriter around right now and they might be right. And a hell of a keyboardist (accordion is her main axe), hell of a singer, brilliant lyricist with quite a surreal edge, very fond of retro styles, terrifically funny and compelling live performer.

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | 3 Comments

Concert Review: Rockabilly Night at Lincoln Center 8/18/07

The Dixie Hummingbirds opened, playing to a shockingly small crowd in the park out behind the concert hall complex. They were fantastic. Established in 1920, this gospel group gives new meaning to the term long-running. Their oldest member joined as a 13-year-old in 1938 and proved that he still has his pipes, even if he’s due for a knee operation. “You get old, it happens,” he waxed. Backed by a rock-solid rhythm section and a superb guitarist, the gospel harmonizers left no doubt where the soul stars of the 60s got their inspiration, their melodies and even their arrangements and choreography. They may have been playing religious music, but for them it is clearly a religion of passion. Their young bass singer stole the show with some low notes to rival Huun Huur Tu, and their guitarist wound up their set with a long, spectacularly good solo to rival any coda Tony Iommi ever lit into. One would have thought that the Harlem church contingent would have come out in full force, especially as this was a free show, but they didn’t.

Now who wants to hear about a bunch of old geezers playing stuff that every bar band in the country knows by heart. Yawn, right?

Was a time that this stuff was revolutionary. Hard to fathom in the gangsta rap age, until you realize that the songs they played tonight were just as much IF NOT MORE reviled than the raunchiest Fitty number you can imagine. And the guys onstage got it right, making sure they included plenty of R&B – real R&B, not the stuff that Macy Gray does – and gospel and blues and a Chuck Berry number to go along with the barrelhouse boogie and the country and the embryonic rock they played tonight. Half a century ago, racists across the country would stage bonfires of rock records because they were terrified that their precious, virginal children would listen to black music and actually prefer it to Pat Boone. Allen Freed ended up going to jail for playing rock music. Hard to imagine that happening today to, say, Funkmaster Flex. The songs the band played tonight may sound pretty tame to jaded late-zeros ears, but the band onstage wasn’t. Major props to these guys for taking stuff they must have played literally thousands of times, over and over again and giving it a defiance and passion worthy of players a third their age. It was as if they were just glad to be alive.

One of the reasons that a lot of 50s rock recordings sound pretty harmless compared to what came later is that the people who were making them were using such primitive instruments, amps and studio gear. As guest singer Dale Hawkins told it, in his native Arkansas there weren’t any recording studios. To make a record, you had to go to a radio station between midnight and 1 AM when they were switching between transmission towers. Tonight, with some big Fender tube amps roaring and screaming, it seemed that these musicians were finally giving voice to their songs as they’d originally envisioned them, wild and fiery and absolutely unstoppable.

Backed by a drummer who doubled on harmonica, a young bassist and aptly named piano player David Keys, 67-year-old baritone rockabilly legend Sleepy LaBeef ran through a whole lot of 50s favorites. While there were some excellent performances tonight, this was his cavalcade of stars and he was its leader. He’s a hell of a guitar player, equally adept at blues as rockabilly, and with his big beautiful hollowbody Gibson roaring with overtones and distortion, he wailed all night long. The songs were familiar: My Gal Is Red Hot, Waltz Across Texas, Polk Salad Annie and something of a surprise, These Boots Are Made for Walking. Keys dazzled on a brief Jerry Lee Lewis medley, and LaBeef did a great job with the Johnny Cash numbers. A couple of times, the band wound up the songs with trick endings followed by excerpts from surf songs.

After about half an hour, LaBeef brought up the night’s first special guest, blues guitarist Larry Johnson, whose amp was stuck on standby for awhile before the roadies finally got it to work. “I’ve had moments like this,” he told the crowd. “One time I got to a club and the mic didn’t work, so I got paid and left.” He then did Mystery Train and then the haunting, minor-key gospel tune Can’t You Hear the Angels Crying.

Philadelphia singer Charlie Gracie – “the only Yankee on the bill,” as he put it – sang Butterfly, the relatively innocuous pop single that knocked Elvis Presley off of #1 on the charts for the first time, and then delivered an absolutely sizzling guitar instrumental. If anything, he’s twice as good as he was fifty years ago: something to aspire to. Dale Hawkins reminded the crowd how important gospel was to early rock, leading the crowd in a singalong with a jaunty version of his signature song Susie Q (a gospel ripoff, he explained), strikingly similar to the Creedence cover. In a particularly talkative mood, he demonstrated how Willie Dixon turned a Sister Rosetta Tharp gospel number into My Baby Don’t Stand No Fooling (a hit for both Hawkins and Little Walter). He also led the band through a particularly soulful version of the Ray Charles classic I Got a Woman, complete with an excellent harmonica solo from the drummer and an even more energetic one from Keys.

The night’s only Branson moments came toward the end, when 60s Texas white funk singer Roy Head – who seemed pretty drunk – took the stage and did a forgettable James Brown impersonation. Naturally, it was this clown that the crowd decided to get up and dance to. At the end, the whole crew wrapped it up with a medley, Will the Circle Be Unbroken (a final nod to the bluegrass influence in early rock) and then a singalong on Amazing Grace. A clinic in American music from some of its more inspired practitioners.

August 19, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Nightcrawling 8/17/07

The evening started at Barbes. If you’re thinking of hitting this cozy little Park Slope, Brooklyn backroom, take heed of the warning that reliably pops up on the weekly music calendar page here wherever there’s a Barbes listing: you simply have to get here way early. This Francophilic little joint is far too small for the acts they book, a sad testament to the state of the New York music scene: so many excellent acts pack this place week after week because they have enough of a following to sell out little Barbes but not enough to take it to the next level. A violinist was onstage when we arrived, and what was quietly wafting from behind the curtain sounded intriguing. But it was literally impossible to get inside.

Afterward, some of the crowd cleared out and former Rasputina multi-instrumentalist Serena Jost took the stage. Alternating between acoustic guitar, cello and piano, she and her inspired backing trio played a delightfully captivating set of hook-driven art-rock. The fun these players have onstage is contagious: drummer Rob DiPietro got his ride cymbal to make a big WHOOOSH with his brushes while guitarist Julian Maile punctuated the melodies with incisive, punchy, reverby fills from his Gibson SG. Upright bassist Rob Jost came close to stealing the show with his melodic, fluid playing, using a bow for some haunting cello-like tones when he wasn’t pushing the songs along with sinuous riffs and climbs. Although he and the frontwoman share the same last name – what’s the likelihood? – they pronounce it differently, she like the Milwaukee Brewers manager, he with a hard “j” as in journey.

Serena Jost writes cerebral, counterintuitive, incredibly catchy songs. Her vocals have a melancholy, sometimes dreamy feel, but the music is pure fun. She likes syncopation, bridges that appear seemingly out of nowhere and the occasional odd time signature. She’s been compared to Jeff Lynne here, and that’s accurate in the sense that she seamlessly merges classical and pop melodies. One of tonight’s best songs, Vertical World began with a slow, gospel crescendo at the beginning, just this side of sarcastic, morphing into a ridiculously catchy, bouncy piano-driven hit. I Wait, which came toward the end of the set also built slowly on the intro to a slinky snakecharmer melody, Maile taking a long, thoughtful solo, part surf and part skronk, like what Marc Ribot might sound like if he didn’t overintellectualize everything. Throughout the night, subtle interplay between the musicians abounded.

Serena Jost joked about people seeing her on the street with her cello case and calling her Yo-Yo Ma, or, “Pablo Casals for all you old school people.” It was that kind of crowd: most of her audience seems to be her peers, A-list New York rockers, by nature a pretty tough and critical bunch, and tonight she held them in the palm of her hand.

“You know what Pablo Casals said when he broke his hand mountain climbing?” Rob Jost asked the crowd. “Good. That means I don’t have to practice anymore.”

The East Village was our next stop, so it made sense to kill some time at Lakeside. Nice to be able to get a seat there on a Friday night (imagine doing that five years ago: impossible), but it was disheartening to see such a sparse crowd, even if it was mostly suburban tourists from the adjoining states. Goes to show that most real New Yorkers have given up on going out on the weekends anymore. The surf band Mr. Action and the Boss Guitars were playing, a whole lot tighter than they were last time we caught them here. According to the Northeast Surf Music Alliance, there are about sixty surf bands just in the Northeast alone: add the Eastern Seaboard, Florida and California and suddenly it becomes clear that twangy, mariachi- and Middle Eastern-inflected instrumental rock is probably bigger now than it was in the 60s. This band is the former Supertones rhythm section (Mr. Action is the drummer, “Long Island’s answer to Mel Taylor,” as the bassist called him) plus those two boss guitars. They all wear matching uniforms and if they have their act together, they probably make a fortune playing weddings and corporate year-end functions. But they’re also self-aware: “Continuing in the 1967 bar mitzvah vein,” the bassist joked as they launched into yet another instro version of a 60s pop hit. They did that for the first half of the show, and just as the early Beach Boys and Beatles tunes and stuff like It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To were starting to get old, they did a spot-on version of the obscure Ventures classic Ginza Lights, which was at one time the alltime bestselling single in Japan. Surf music fans are a notoriously obsessive bunch, and the crowd was clearly gassed: the Ventures virtually never play that song live, and until the days of file sharing it was extremely hard to find.

Then the band played Pipeline, and even if their version didn’t have the beautiful electric piano of the Chantays’ original, or the menace of the Agent Orange version or the evil cocaine intensity of the Heartbreakers’ cover (did I say something about how people become completely obsessed with this stuff?), it’s such a great song that pretty much anybody can play it and it still sounds good. They also did the requisite Wipeout, and I found myself wishing I’d picked up that live Surfaris album I saw in my favorite used record store a couple of months ago.

Then it was over to Banjo Jim’s to see Susan Mitchell play violin with Mark Sinnis’ trio. Sinnis is the frontman in Ninth House, who’ve received a lot of ink here lately. Although that band has gone further in the Nashville gothic direction that characterizes Sinnis’ solo work, they still have a 80s Joy Division/Cure/Psychedelic Furs feel. This unit, by contrast, plays what are basically country songs with a darkly bluesy feel. Mitchell, formerly with Kundera and currently playing in a number of good projects, is one of the most gripping soloists in New York: when she gets her swooping, sliding gypsy sound going, she is incredible. Tonight’s show, by contrast, was about interplay between her smooth legato lines and the biting, bluesy ferocity of Sinnis’ new guitarist the Anti-Dave (who also plays in Vulgaras). Sinnis gave the songs a heavy chassis with his ominous baritone voice and acoustic guitar, and his two soloists fleshed out the body, like an old black Cadillac filled with moonshine barreling down a back road somewhere near the Canadian border, its running boards whipping against the weeds and grass alongside the road. The best songs of the night were Sinnis’ original Mistaken for Love, with its brutal lyric and surprise cold ending; a new, slow shuffle with a 50s rockabilly feel, the drunk driving anthem Follow the Line with its fiery electric guitar, and the closer, a stark, surprisingly effective cover of the Sisters of Mercy song Nine While Nine that ended on an incredibly intense, haunting note as the electric guitar played half of the song’s eerie, reverberating central hook. After that, we closed down a couple of bars, watching crowds of tourists slowly stumble back to their stretch limos while we made sure the most inebriated among us didn’t lose their stuff. The sun came up as I made my way down Avenue A, the surprising chill of the early-morning air a final treat to cap off the kind of great night that only a few years ago could happen pretty much randomly at any time, but these days, all too seldom.

Maybe once oil really starts to run out and the peasants start to swarm back to the cities, just like in China, there’ll be a real urban contingent in the East Village again. A dangerous one, quite likely. Maybe then the tourists will stay in their parents’ McMansions – if they haven’t collapsed around them by then – instead of turning this city into a facsimile of New Jersey/Long Island/Los Angeles stripmall hell.

August 18, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments