Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Concert Review: Erin Regan and Randi Russo at Sidewalk, NYC 11/17/07

As if we need more proof of how New York has gone to hell, a girl playing onstage early here tonight did a pro-gentrification song. It used to go without saying that at least you could count on the music community here to stand up against the destruction of working-class and minority neighborhoods. Not anymore. Maybe the girl likes having a Starbucks on every corner, or she can’t wait to push that Humvee stroller straight down the middle of the sidewalk, scattering less fortunate people left and right. Or maybe her song was a thank-you card to mom for buying her that $3 million condo in Park Slope.

As inauspiciously as the night began, Erin Regan turned everything around in a matter of seconds. If you saw Ghost World and instantly wanted the Thora Burch character for your best friend, Regan is for you. She doesn’t do the movie’s almost over-the-top personification of clinical depression – she actually smiled and joked a little with the audience. But her songs would do Enid proud. Regan’s vocal delivery is deadpan and sullen, with an icy dismissiveness. Whatever wounds she’s sustained still seem fresh (probably a simple case of having grown up as a cool kid surrounded by morons – it’s a common injury, but it can take years before it’s safe to look back and just laugh). Her stage persona may say stay the hell away from me, but her bleak, outsider chronicles are welcoming and inclusive, and will resonate hard with any other cool kids who’ve been liberated (or long to be liberated) from a stifling environment. She made a great segue with Randi Russo. Her best number was a snide, bitter look back at a wasted youth spent bumming cigarettes from older kids and stealing things: if only things were simple then, she mused sarcastically. But they’re not. It might have been just Regan and her acoustic guitar onstage tonight, but she packed a wallop. Add her to your must-see list.

Russo and her band are too loud and too popular for a room this size. Credit Somer the soundwoman for keeping their sonic onslaught at a listenable level. Since returning from her solo European tour this past summer, she’s been working the band out a lot more than she was earlier this year and they’ve benefited from it, two blazing electric guitars (Russo being one of them) and a pummeling rhythm section who have really pulled it together. Nobody writes a more potent outsider anthem than Russo, and tonight she and her supporting cast played a bunch of them. After opening with the stomping, Velvets-esque One Track Mind (“Stay true to the one,” she admonished the audience: don’t sell out, don’t let the bastards wear you down), she led the band through the pretty, backbeat-driven escape ballad Get Me Over, the fiery, slightly funky workday alienation number Battle on the Periphery, the towering, sarcastic epic Wonderland (which has become something of a signature song for her) and the stomping That Corpse, which sounds completely macabre until you listen closely and then it’s obvious that it’s a joke, like something the Cramps would do. The high point of the set was new one, a 3-section partita that begins with a relentless, driving drum and bassline, eventually morphing into a blistering, guitar-fueled outro where the bass eventually picks up on a recurrent Middle Eastern riff. “Keep your head high while you lie low,” Russo intoned over the maelstrom. They closed with the uncharacteristically sunny, optimistic, ambient Ceiling Fire, with lead guitarist Lenny Molotov playing gorgeous, Byrds-like jangle melody on the choruses. The sound woman then took over the stage, playing solo through a big amp. From what we could tell, she had good energy, but the place was clearing out and we had places to go and things to do.

Advertisements

November 19, 2007 - Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Yikes! A three million dollar condo! Does your mother know about this. Your father fainted when he heard about this! Keep up the good work and one of these days we will surprise you. You’ll look look out at your audience and see us sitting there.

    Comment by Don | December 7, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] Concert Review: Rachelle Garni…NYC Live Events Cale… on Concert Review: Chicha Libre a…Don on Concert Review: Erin Regan/Ran…delarue on Four Headliners for the Price …nannyhoot on Four Headliners for the Price […]

    Pingback by Index « Lucid Culture | December 10, 2007 | Reply

  3. […] Comments Index Lucid Cultur… on Concert Review: Erin Regan/Ran…Index Lucid Cultur… on Cabaret Review: Sarah Mucho in…Index Lucid Cultur… on Concert Review: […]

    Pingback by Index « Lucid Culture | December 10, 2007 | Reply

  4. Erin Regan oh yea
    I saw her play at a music festival in NC a year or so ago and I must agree with the reviewer. She did one song ( ithink it’s two and twenty)that reminded me of a cross between Pete Townsend and Joni Mitchell. Incredible stuff.

    Comment by Loonmeat | December 18, 2007 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.