Lucid Culture


NYC Live Music Calendar Plus Other Things Mid-March – April 2008

Many new shows added for the end of March and the whole of April! If you don’t recognize the venue where a particularly intriguing show is happening, click on Venues to your right and scroll down to find it.  If you feel like going out tonight and didn’t see anything here that you liked the last time you checked in, check back later: just like us, you could be surprised.

Sorry about the spacing – computer gremlins at play.

As usual, we begin with this month’s weekly events: Every Sunday the Ear-Regulars, led by trumpeter Jon Kellso and (usually) guitarist Matt Munisteri play NYC’s only weekly hot jazz session starting around 8 PM at the Ear Inn on Spring St.  Hard to believe, in the city that springboarded the careers of thousands of jazz legends, but true. This is by far the best value in town for marquee-caliber jazz: for the price of a drink and a tip for the band, you can see world-famous players (and brilliant obscure ones) you’d usually have to drop $100 for at some big-ticket room. The material is mostly old-time stuff from the 30s and 40s, but the players (especially Kellso and Munisteri, who have a chemistry that goes back several years) push it into some deliciously unexpected places.

Also every Sunday excellent country twangsters Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers play Hank’s in Brooklyn around 9:30ish, frequently with special guests or a guest band after the previous event, the weekly rock jam, is over. No cover, with free barbecue and sausage. Definitely your best bet if your stomach is empty and you like this sort of thing. 

Also on Sundays, there are free, 5:15 PM organ recitals at St. Thomas Church. This is a prestige venue for touring organists from around the world, the sonics are spectacularly good and so is the old Skinner organ.

Mondays in March (and pretty much every month, when he’s not on tour), Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play Black Betty in Williamsburg, two sets starting around 10:30 PM. The Rev. is one of the great keyboardists around, equally thrilling on organ or electric piano, an expert at Billy Preston style funk, honkytonk, gospel and blues. He writes very funny, very politically astute, frequently salacious original gospel songs and is one of the great live performers of our time. Moist Paula from Moisturizer on baritone sax

Also Mondays the Barbes house band, Chicha Libre plays there starting around 10:30. They’ve singlehandedly resurrected an amazing subgenre, chicha, which was popular in the Peruvian Amazon in the late 60s and early 70s. With electric accordion, cuatro, surf guitar and a boisterous rhythm section, their mix of obscure classics and originals is one of the funnest, most danceable things you’ll witness this year. Perhaps not so strangely, they sound a lot like Finnish surf rockers Laika and the Cosmonauts in their most imaginative moments.

Every Tuesday at 7 PM multi-stylistic violinist/composer Jenny Scheinman plays her diverse, edgy, frequently pretty dark, klezmer-tinged music with a rotating cast of characters followed by the boisterous and very popular brass-heavy gypsy jazz band Slavic Soul Party at 9. Get here as soon as you can for both if you’re planning on seeing the show.   

Pretty much every Wednesday, Will Scott and drummer Wylie Wirth play mesmerizing, hypnotic, completely authentic Mississippi hill country blues along with Scott’s own melodic, tuneful blues originals at Jay St. Bar in Dumbo, starting around 8:30 PM. Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside and Asie Payton are sadly gone but Scott continues their tradition of music that is as danceable as it is trance-inducing, and does his influences justice.

Saturdays in March las Rubias del Norte play Barbes, 10 PM. Fronted by two women with roots in both Americana and classical choral music, the band plays pretty, authentic-sounding, harmony-driven oldtimey romantic songs from all over South America and Mexico. If you like the Moonlighters you’ll probably enjoy las Rubias just as much.   

Weds March 12 the excellent, haunting all-female klezmer band Isle of Klezbos featuring the human crescendo, Pam Fleming on trumpet, a slinky frontwoman and the astonishingly inventive Eve Sicular on drums opens for satirical jazz kittens the Lascivious Biddies at the new Drom, 85 Ave. A  between 5/6, 8 PM 

Also Weds March 12 Rev. Vince Anderson trombonist Dave Smith’s jazz group Who Put the Bad Mouth on Me plays Black Betty, time TBA. He’s an exceptionally terse, bluesy purist; these guys can go way out there in a Sun Ra kind of way. Should be interesting.

Thurs March 13 Tom Clark & the High Action Boys play Midway, 10 PM. The last time we saw Clark he absolutely slayed us with his solos. Whether he’s going for the jugular, jangling or twanging or just doing interesting little fills, the guy can flat-out play, generally on a twangy Americana/Neil Young tip. And the sound here is excellent. 

Also Thurs March 13 the charming, oldtimey, Hawaiian-inflected, politically astute Moonlighters bring some class to Spikehill on the dreaded Bedford Ave. strip, 9 PM. They’re also at Barbes on March 14 and 19 at 10.


 Also Thurs March 13 Musette Explosion with Will Holshouser – accordion; Matt Munisteri -guitar and banjo and Marcus Rojas – tuba play haunting, classic covers of Belgian and French instrumentals at 10 PM. 


Also Thurs March 13 Wayne “the Train” Hancock brings his potently amusing, guitar-stoked country songs to Rodeo Bar, 11 PM. He calls himself the “king of juke joint swing” and he’s not joking: there’s some unbelievably awesome live stuff on his myspace at the moment.  



Fri March 14 the Ulrich/Ziegler duo play Zebulon at 11. Since the whole Big Lazy crew apparently can’t make it, these guys will do a lot of guitarist Steve Ulrich’s scary, macabre, reverb-drenched instrumentals: the result, predictably, is basically Big Lazy without drums. Get close to the stage if you can because otherwise you may not be able to hear anything.


Also Fri March 14 for fans of happier guitar tones, Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars  play authentically classic surf covers and instrumental versions of pop hits at Lakeside, 11 PM. They’re also here on April 18 at 11.


Also Fri March 14 hilarious, long-running faux-French garage rockers Les Sans Culottes – featuring the amazing Gina Rodriguez from Moisturizer on bass – play the Mercury at 9 followed by the excellent, ever-increasingly catchy indie rock quintet Elk City and their guy/girl vocals at 10.



Sat March 15 Devi frontwoman Deb DeSalvo plays a rare 7 PM solo acoustic show at Shrine, 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd btw 133-134. She’s a terrific singer as well as a killer guitarist who knows her blues inside and out; here’s a chance to discover how well those fiery, often melancholy songs stand up without all the pyrotechnics.

Also Sat March 15, 8 PM a very appealing if expensive bill at Merkin Concert Hall: Music from Medieval Andalusia by the Omar Metioui Ensemble (lute, viola, zither, percussion & vocals), adv tix $38 available at the box office.  

Also Sat March 15, 8 PM an expensive blues show at Town Hall: Chicago clubowner/vocal legend Koko Taylor headlines. Also on the bill: Robert Johnson’s ageless childhood friend, fingerstyle delta guitarist David “Honeyboy” Edwards, gloweringly incisive Muddy Waters/Howlin Wolf pianist Henry Gray along with NPR faves Cephas & Wiggins.   




Also Sat March 15 hypnotic, atmospheric, sometimes amusingly lyrical art-rockers the Quavers play the upstairs BAM Café at 9 PM. They build songs out of loops, live: it’s a real feat and amazing to watch as they lay down one hook after another, layering each on top of the rest until they have a fully orchestrated song.



Also Sat March 15 Magges bring their deliriously danceable Greek music to Mehanata, 10 PM, free before 10:30 PM, $10 afterward so get there earlier. On any given night these guys (and girl, with the incomparable Susan Mitchell doing her amazing gypsy stuff on violin) could be the funnest live band in town.



Also Sat March 15 legendary Nashville gothic punk Mike Ness, of Social Distortion fame, plays a “secret” unadvertised show at Maxwell’s, 11ish, adv tix still available at the club as of this writing.



Also Sat March 15 the Jack Grace Band play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. They have two drummers, a la the Grateful Dead now along with the soaring steel guitar and honkytonk piano and the frontguy’s killer, authentically 50s/60s style country songs. And they still do the silly segues into BeeGees and Led Zep from time to time. They’re also at Lakeside on the 29th



Also Sat March 15 the most exciting acoustic gypsy band in town, Luminescent Orchestrii play Southpaw a little after 11. La Strada and Michael Winograds Infection open.




Also Sat March 15 Brainfinger, featuring the former drummer and keyboardist from the Coffin Daggers play Otto’s at midnight. If you like the dark, Doorsy, psychedelic side of that band, see these guys.

Sun March 16 Ralph Stanley plays B.B. King’s, 8 PM with his band the Clinch Mountain Boys, $30 adv tix available at the box office. He doesn’t play much anymore and serves mostly as the orchestrator of this killer bluegrass band, but the voice is still there after all these years and he can still whip a quick solo for a few bars to prove he’s still vital. He’s earned his legendary status, somebody you should see sooner than later if you like this stuff.




Also Sun March 16 highly regarded baritone country crooner Matty Charles plays Pete’s at 8:30 PM as he did for several years earlier in the decade. The show repeats 3/23.



Also Sun March 16, Ninth House frontman Mark Sinnis plays the cd release show for his brilliant solo debut Into an Unhidden Future at the Slipper Room, 10 PM. Fans of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Shane McGowan will love his darkly glimmering acoustic Nashville gothic solo stuff.


Mon March 17, St. Paddy’s day Black 47 play at 7 PM (probably because the drunks who’ve been drinking all day won’t be able to stay on their feet much longer) at B.B. King’s, $25 adv tix available at the box office. Their new cd Iraq is reputedly these rousing Irish expats best and most potently political album, and since the band pretty much lives on the road, they always put on an exhuberant show.  

Tues March 18 through 23 the Joshua Redman Trio with Reuben Rogers on bass and Brian Blade on drums plays the Village Vanguard. The tenor player has settled into a comfortably bluesy style that still manages to surprise. Forget all the hype: the guy has vastly more subtlety than he gets credit for.  

Also Tues March 18 fiery art/punk/noise rockers System Noise blast into Arlene’s, 9 PM. Their frontwoman Sarah Mucho is a rising star on the cabaret circuit, and might just be the most explosively powerful singer in all of rock. Their guitarist is a darkly chromatic guy equally good at pretty melody and ugly squalls, and the drums have jazz inventiveness and metal power. And plenty of righteous, politically-charged rage and good lyrics.  

Also Tues March 18 former Fordfalconblue frontman Richard Wallace plays a very rare band show with Eric Alter from another fiery highway rock band, the Sloe Guns on lead guitar at Banjo Jim’s, 10 PM. Fordfalconblue’s album was a delicious feast of twangy guitar textures and soaring country-inflected tunesmithing; it’s weird that they never made it beyond the Lower East Side underground scene. Here’s a chance to see what you missed.   

Also Tues March 18 Elisa Flynn plays Union Hall, free, 10 PM. Indie rocker who’s too young to be a veteran but too well-traveled – and well-regarded – to be up-and-coming. As good a guitarist as she is a singer, fond of incisive minor key tunes and imaginative, counterintuitive song structures.  

Also Tues March 18 Basement play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Country band with a keyboard and a lot of good original songs.  

Weds March 19 country/rock/pop star Tift Merritt plays the  Mercury, 7 PM. With that riveting, understatedly melancholy voice, she’s the closest thing to a young Linda Thompson we have these days. Some of the songs venture into Sheryl Crow territory, but it’s hard to imagine anyone better at country ballads than Merritt.  

Also Weds March 19 Paula Carino, one of the funniest frontwomen in rock plays her clever, melodic, brilliantly lyrical tunes at 7:30 PM, followed eventually by Patti Smith lead guitarist Lenny Kaye on oud and lapsteel (!?!?!) at 9:45 at Banjo Jim’s. If you’re planning on seeing Lenny you’re pretty much locked into seeing Paula and whoever’s on the bill between them because otherwise you’ll never get in.

Also Weds March 19 New Model Army plays Maxwell’s, 10:30 PM. Since the tragic death of their drummer Rob Heaton, frontman Justin Sullivan has been doing acoustic versions of his powerfully anthemic songs. Back in the early 90s they were one of the best bands on the planet, sort of the missing link between Midnight Oil and the Clash. Nobody ever did a more spot-on critique of the failings of the left than these guys.  They’re also playing the Mercury on April 18 at 11.

Thurs March 20 a killer oldtimey triple bill at Hank’s: at 9 PM the devastatingly funny master of innuendo-filled banjo ragtime songs, Al Duvall; at 10, the self-explanatory Ukeladies and at 11 Moonlighters’ frontwoman Bliss Blood’s sensational, piano-driven barrelhouse blues band Delta Dreambox. Reputedly Al Duvall will be sitting in with them at this gig as well.  

Also Thurs March 20 the Mercenaries play Lakeside, 10 PM. Saying that they play somewhat Stonesy meat-and-potatoes rock doesn’t provide the full picture: they have a sense of humor and a far more ambitious musical outlook than other bands of that ilk like the Izzys. If you like Guided by Voices at their most tuneful, check them out.  

Also Thurs March 20 guitar god Matt Munisteri is back from Europe and playing Barbes 10 PM. 

Also Thurs March 20, 10:30 PM Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. play their spot-on, early 1950s style pre-rockabilly country swing tunes at Rodeo Bar. They look exactly like they stepped off the stage at the Ryman, 1953, right down to their suits, although their lyrics are set in the here-and-now and are very funny. 

Fri March 21 former Industrial Tepee frontman Tom Shaner plays Lakeside, 11 PM. Last time here he had Tom Clark playing amazing lead guitar, and sounded just as good, catchy and insightful as his old somewhat southwestern gothic band.  

Also Fri March 21 the Dub Nomads play Zebulon, 11 PM. Umm, not the ideal place to hear these Brooklynites’ spacy, spot-on oldschool dub reggae instrumentals, but get as close to the stage as you can so you can hear guest baritone saxist Paula Henderson moisturize the sound!

Sat March 22 El Jezel plays an early show at 7:30 PM at COCO 66, 66 Greenpoint Ave. (b/w Franklin and West) in Greenpoint. They alternate between darkly moody, atmospheric, downtempo shoegaze grooves – think the live Portishead album – and a more upbeat, fun side. Guy/girl vox and some killer basslines from southpaw Jess Jezel.

Also Sat March 22 pan-global 2-harmonica 2-guitar gypsy/blues/jazz behemoths Hazmat Modine  (who are also at Drom on April 5 at 10) open for Russian art-rockers Auktyon at Irving Plaza, 8 PM. Good segue: the Hazmats are as boisterous and riveting a live band as Gogol Bordello yet thrive on subtleties, as the best improvisers always do. Auktyon’s albums have gnomic lyrics in Russian (that’s what you have to do when the KGB is watching your every move) and although their recorded work can be deliberately weird, live they sound like peak-era Psychedelic Furs with their ominous Balkan melodies and driving rhythm.

Also Sat March 22 Rachelle Garniez plays at the Tea Lounge branch in Park Slope, 9 PM, 837 Union St. (6th & 7th Ave), a long walk uphill from the N/R Union St. stop or if the 2 is running take it to Grand Army Plaza and walk downhill. Worth the walk. Maybe she’s playing solo on accordion, maybe not, but either way she’ll probably be doing stuff from her latest album Melusine Years which is an incredibly moving, richly beautiful elegy for a cool, underground New York now gone forever.



Also Sat March 22 for those (i.e. 99.999 percent of you) who missed Beefstock upstate last week, here’s your chance to catch some of the great songwriters and wild jam-rockers who played there, with the incomparably charismatic and funny keyboardist/singer Tom Warnick and his band at 9:30 and continuing literally all night at Freddy’s in Brooklyn.  

Also Sat March 22 Iranian expat chanteuse Haale does a band show featuring Iranian gaychak and electric guitars, setting Rumi lyrics to original melodies at  BAM Café at 9 PM. She’s also at Drom on 3/23 at 7:30 PM with Divahn, who mine the centuries-old tradition of Persian music. Memo to General Betrayus: this is what we stand to lose if the Persian Gulf is turned into one big nuclear waste dump courtesy of all those American-manufactured bombs packed with depleted uranium. Not that he or his ilk would care…

Also Sat March 22 the Sweet Bitters, which is songwriting sirens Nina Soka and Sharon Goldman’s new project plays from 9 to 11 at the Perch Café, 365 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, free. Two of the best and subtlest singers on the NYC scene. Soka is a jazzcat at heart and is very funny. Goldman is equally amusing and one of the great melodic pop stylists around. Harmonies are their thing. If you miss the glory days of Aimee Van Dyne’s band, or DollHouse, don’t miss this one. They also play Pete’s on April 5 at 10 PM.  

Also Sat March 22, 9:30 PM Kristin Hoffmann plays Caffe Vivaldi. Somewhat evocative of the semi-goth chanteuses (Lida Husik, for one) who were popular in the late 80s, but with a darker, more rocking noir cabaret feel.  

Also Sat March 22 amusing garage rockers Jesse Bates’ Flying Guitars play Lakeside, 11 PM. Bates is the last guy you’d expect to be fronting a band: he can’t really sing, but he’s very funny and when he comes off the stage, right up to you and says he wants to be your neighbor, you actually take him seriously (although he doesn’t) and say, why not? Ken Fox and Keith Streng from the Fleshtones are also usually in the band.   

Also Sat March 22, Greg Tate’s sprawling, psychedelic, ambient, downtempo instrumental orchestra Burnt Sugar play half past midnight at the Blue Note 12:3 (i.e. the wee hours of 3/23), only $8 for a table! They’re also at Black Betty on 3/26, time TBA.  

Sun March 23 it’s the Porn Rock Easter Ball at Don Hill’s…or you could set your sights a little higher and go see the Tarras Band at Barbes at 7.  From the Barbes website: “dedicated to the repertoire of Yiddish-American clarinetist and composer Dave Tarras. Michael Winograd (cl), Ben Holmes (tpt), Jim Guttman (bs), Richie Barshay (drums), and featuring Klezmer legend and long-time Tarras accompanist Pete Sokolow (piano).” Semi-legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel plays afterward at 9.


Also Sun March 23 at 8:30 PM at Southpaw psychedelic groovemeisters Chin Chin , with their Zapp and Roger vocoder funk stylings, play  a special 10-piece show. What this means is that they probably have the Antibalas horn section for this gig. True story about a Chin Chin show: one of the crew here at Lucid Culture is a notorious non-dancer. At a Chin Chin show, two beautiful women walked up to him, plied him with champagne (he was drinking a 40, in plain view, but that didn’t deter them) and then they dragged him out on the floor. And he danced. This could happen to you.    

Also Sun March 23 all-female UK punk/funk/reggae legends the Slits (including two of the original members, one of them presumably being Ari Upp) make a midnight appearance at Don Pedro’s in South Williamsburg.  

Weds March 26 through Sat March 29 the Rutles – Neil Innes and some other Monty Python folks – play the Gramercy Theatre, 7 PM, advance tix expensive, $35 at the Irving Plaza box office but worth it if they can pull off live what they did on their two albums: the spot-on hilarious soundtrack to their mid-70s mockumentary about a band that sounded and looked exactly like the Beatles, and then Archaeology, which came out after the first Beatles Anthology (get it?). They absolutely nail every Beatlism (particularly the silly ones) and even get the Fab Four’s voices right.

Also Weds March 26 fiery politically charged third-wave punk rockers Anti-Flag play a free all ages show at the Knitting Factory, doors are are 8 but get there an hour early and suffer in line if you’re planning on it. Whatever you feel about the snotty NOFX California kid sound, Anti-Flag’s politics are spot-on, the only rockers we know of who ever wrote a song like Depleted Uranium Is a War Crime. Brooklyn’s own Outernational, the “world music Rage Against the Machine” according to Tom Morello are the opening act, considerably more musically diverse, with ska, tropicalia and calypso influences, than that endorsement would imply.

Also Weds March 26 Sasha Zand plays the dreaded 169 Bar in Chinatown, 8 PM. Eastern bloc expatriate with an uncommonly tuneful songwriting style, the rare tunesmith who actually merits a comparison with Elvis Costello. Lyrically, he’s still learning English but otherwise the songs are there.

Also Weds March 26 tuneful, often hypnotically atmospheric rocker Samara Lubelski plays Glasslands, 10 PM-ish. The night opens with  Artsy Dutch ambient noise purveyor Stellar Om Source Ocean Woman at around 9 (?) ; the gallery’s owners headline with their headache-inducing Jandek-esque “experimental” stuff after Lubelski is done.

Also Weds March 26 the eerily psychedelic Apollo Heights play Trash Bar, 10 PM. Sheets of guitar noise and then surprisingly tuneful melodies over hypnotic rhythms: it’s all about the trance and the dance and the passion, and not a computer in sight.

Thurs March 27, 7 PM at Barbes it’s “OUD-OFF II: ALL ABOUT OUD. An evening of classic repertoire and improvisations with Brooklyn’s Palestinian oudists of distinction: Zafer Tawil and Georges Ziadeh. Zafer Tawil plays violin, oud , percussion, and qanoun, he has performed with some of the Arab world’s most celebrated artists, including violinist and oud master Simon Shaheen, and rai singer Cheb Mami. George Ziadeh was born in Birzeit, Palestine oud with Simon Shaheen and classical singing and voice with Youssef Kassab.” WOW. You can bet we’re going to this one.  

Also Thurs March 27 pan-orientalists Pharaoh’s Daughter bring their alternately haunting and ecstatic, traditional Middle Eastern and sometimes jazz-inflected songs to Banjo Jim’s, early, 7:30 PM. They’re very popular, get there on time if you want a seat.

Also Thurs March 27, 8 PM, in the spirit of the late, lamented Tonic, Min/Wu/Xu play a show with sample/computer guy Carl Stone at the Abrons Art Ctr. at the Henry St. Settlement,  466 Grand St. on the LES. The group is the amazing expat Chinese pipa player Min Xiao-Fen with a couple of similarly adventurous types on various Chinese stringed and woodwind instruments. Their sound can get way, way out there: they’re very noisy. The program repeats on Sat March 29 in the afternoon, 2:30 PM at the Queens Public Library; one can only wonder how long it’ll take some librarian to shush them. 

Also Thurs March 27, some weird segues but a trio of worthwhile acts at the Rockwood starting at 8 with subtly political Americana rocker Amy Speace – whose plainspun narratives have a Cindy Sheehan-esque authenticity – followed at 9 by jazzy chanteuse Sasha Dobson – whose stylings Norah Jones ought to spend some time listening to – and then the boisterous keyboard-driven country band Basement at 10.

Also Thurs March 27 once-and-future White Hassle frontman Marcellus Hall plays Union Pool, 9 PM. His guitar chops have never been better, his Americana and early Dylan-inflected tunes are catchier than ever and as a lyricist, he is unsurpassed, potently satirical and very, very funny. 

Also Thurs March 27 Maynard & the Musties celebrate frontman Joe Maynard’s birthday at Lakeside, 10 PM. Authentic 70s style outlaw country throwback with a gut-bustingly funny, literate wit, backed by a bunch of indie rockers who seem to have a blast playing his catchy, alternately hilarious and haunting songs.

Also Thurs March 27 ageless faux-French garage rockers Les Sans Culottes play Magnetic Field at 11 PM.  

Fri March 28, as you’ve been able to see from our front page for the past month, Jenifer Jackson is playing Joe’s Pub, early, 7:30 PM, $15 and worth it. We continue to be amazed that this unassumingly talented panstylistic rock goddess is not yet a household word. Her vocals are pure solace, her tunes completely out-of-the-box mesmerizing.  The show is a celebration of her latest album The Outskirts of a Giant Town, recorded live in the studio. One of the most imaginative and gently riveting performers you will ever see, adept at any style she chooses: jazz, Beatlesque pop, Nashville gothic, psychedelia, samba, bossa nova, everything except for surf rock and she could undoubtedly play that too if she felt like it.  

Also Fri March 28 a killer country show with bluegrass cats M Shanghai String Band, Jackass Flats and then the Jack Grace Band at Ace of Clubs starting at 8 PM.

Also Fri March 28 it’s the Trapezoids at 8 PM at Barbes featuring Ila Cantor- guitar; Chris Higgins- bass; Bryson Kern- drums. As the name tells you, they are not squares. Just out of college, Cantor is a jazz guitarist with a seemingly effortless, fluid legato and a subtle chordal style, discovered by Stephane Wrembel when still in her teens. Gypsy jazz is another fascination of hers. You heard about her here first, remember that.  

Also Fri March 28 and also Sun March 30 an oldschool outsider jazz evening at the Tea Lounge branch at 837 Union St. (6th & 7th Ave), a long walk uphill from the N/R Union St. stop or if the 2 is running take it to Grand Army Plaza and walk downhill. At 9 PM the tongue-in-cheek chanteuse stylings of Sylvie Courvoisier, then at 10:30 PM it’s the Moodswing Orchestra. Check out this lineup: Ben Perowsky, Glenn Patscha, Raz Mesinai, Markus Miller,Marcus Rojas, Doug Wieselman, Steven Bernstein, and Elysian Fields frontwoman Jennifer Charles plus special guests.. Perowsky also plays two sets here on Sunday the 29th starting at 9 with his quartet.

Also Fri March 28 a good triple bill at Desmond’s, of all places. At 9 PM female-fronted janglerockers Swagg, who blend an early 90s British dreampop sound with tasty 60s rock/pop stylings; at 10, the impressively Stonesy cover band the Blue Mountain Dogs and scorching punk/garage rockers 18 at 11.

Also Fri March 28 Lindy Loo & Her Cell Block 7 play Hank’s, 10:30 PM. The completely over-the-top country warbler/promoter/emcee  is reliably funny, a good singer and her backing band is first-rate. She’s also at Rodeo Bar on April 1 at 10:30.

Also Fri March 28 Groove Collective plays Luna, 10:30 PM. They’ve been around forever but still bring the funk better than just about anybody in town. Long, hypnotic jams are their thing. Very psychedelic, with an amazing bass player.  

Sat March 29 the charming, harmony and banjo uke-driven Les Chauds Lapins play innuendo-laden 1930s/40s French chanson at 8 followed by the equally charming Las Rubias del Norte at 10 at Barbes. 

Also Sun March 29 the wildly popular, very stylistically diverse and very good bluegrass unit M Shanghai String Band pack themselves into Banjo Jim’s, 9:30 PM.

Also Sat March 29 authentic old-school Chicago-style blues guitarist/singer Johnny Allen plays Terra Blues, 10 PM. A great soloist with a biting, incisive edge and one of the finest real soul singers of our time. He is the real deal, not a wannabe. And he’s been doing this for what seems like 20 years now.  

Sun March 30 the Greenwich Village Orchestra plays Sibelius’ famous Valse Triste, a Hindemith piece and then Carl Nielsen’s “Unextinguishable” Fourth Symphony at Washington Irving HS Auditorium, Irving Place at 16th St. cattycorner from Irving Plaza. This orchestra’s two most recent shows here this season have been nothing short of transcendent, and they’re ridiculously inexpensive, just a $15 donation gets you in.




Also Sun March 30, early evening, 7 PM more Asian outsider jazz/uncategorizable trailblazing new music with Xu Fengxia/Min Xiao-Fen/Ned Rothenberg at the Issue Project Room.


In a very strange coincidence, Mon March 31 at 1 PM the NY Scandia Symphony plays Nielsen and Sibelius at Trinity Church. Wouldn’t it be the weirdest thing if they also did Valse Triste and the “Unextinguishable Symphony?”


Also Mon March 31 legendary Texas “guit-steel” player and baritone crooner Junior Brown plays Maxwell’s 9:30 PM, a rare chance to see this pantheonic player – equally dazzling at country, surf and western swing – up close. He’s also playing Joe’s Pub for $25 on 3/29.



Tues Apr 1 (no joke) – Brooklyn Matters, the must-see documentary about the struggle over the Atlantic Yards project is being screened, with panel discussions, at 7 PM at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, 357 Clermont Avenue, Brooklyn (btwn. Greene & Lafayette Aves.). If you know little (or even a lot) about the proposed Atlantic Yards basketball arena/luxury housing development, this film is for you.

Also Tues Apr 1  – no joke – and  every Tuesday in April, Royal Pine plays Pete’s Candy Store at 9. Frontwoman Robin Aigner is one of the most effortlessly exhilarating voices in oldtimey music, with some real smart songs to match.

Also Tues Apr 1 for those with fond memories of the first high school sniper song, there’s something of a Boomtown Rats reunion at the newly reopened Blu Lounge in Williamsburg, 11 PM. Not the entire original cast: Sir Bob will be backed by Erica Smith’s bass player, who’s been waiting his whole life for this gig, along with ELO’s Richard Tandy, who will don pyjamas before sitting down behind the keys. Tandy is here because “secret,” unadvertised opening act the Electric Light Orchestra reunite their 1972 lineup (with just the two original string players) to play their classic, apocalyptic chamber-rock monstrosity ELO II in its entirety at around 10. The Jack Grace Band – who have this mysterious way of getting onto every good bill in town – play afterward at around 2 in the morning.





Weds Apr 2 Alan Parsons plays Irving Plaz, av adv tix $35 at the box office. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, the Alan Parsons Project was the poor man’s Pink Floyd, putting out a succession of frequently excellent albums of artsy pop, sometimes venturing into lush, orchestrated art-rock. You’ve undoubtedly heard their radio hits: Eye in the Sky, I Wouldn’t Wanna Be Like You, Time, etc., but their album cuts are their best. Can’t vouch for what they might still have left in the tank – they all have to be close to 60 by now – but when they ditched the “Project” and hit the road for the first time back in the 90s, they were amazing live. Parsons isn’t the frontman: he plays a little guitar, a little keys and some percussion while a succession of singers run on and off the stage.


Also Weds Apr 2 through 5 jazz chanteuse Karin Allyson plays Birdland, shows at 8:30/11 PM, tix are $30 and reservations are recommended. One of the great, understated singers of our time with a beautiful, clear, low soprano with just a tinge of grit, great taste in covers, surprisingly good piano chops and a casual, laid-back persona, no diva BS here.


Also Weds Apr 2 another great singer, this guy a baritone R&B-style shouter, LJ Murphy plays the Knitting Factory with his band at 8. Also a great lyricist, a volcanically intense performer, very funny and despite the showmanship, no diva BS here either.


Thurs Apr 3 if you like LJ Murphy, Matt Keating comes from the same place where bullshit is not tolerated and lyricists are not to be messed with because they always get even in the end. Keating’s new stuff finds him back in catchy janglerock mode after a detour into Americana the last time around, and it is as good as anything he’s ever done. He’s at Southpaw at 8 PM.


Also Thurs Apr 3 the no-diva approach continues with keyboardist/songwriter Rachelle Garniez at Barbes, 10 PM. She could get away with it if she wanted, but she’d rather make you laugh, make your pulse race and make you want to firebomb the tourist trap that her old stomping grounds on the Lower East Side neighborhood have become. Arguably the finest, most relevant, politically aware and rivetingly entertaining songwriter on the planet, with a fiery, somewhat elegiac new album out.


Also Weds Apr 3, Milwaukee highway rock legends the Bodeans motor into Irving Plaza, 10ish, adv tix available at the box office. Still vital 20 years after they hit with the ridiculously catchy She’s a Runaway (which they still manage to play with fresh abandon). Their double live album Homegrown from about a year and a half ago is killer and proves they can still write great, rousing, singalong rock anthems.


Thurs Apr 4 Chicha Libre plays the cd release for their debut Sonido Amazonico at Drom, 85 Ave. A (5/6), 10 PM, sharing numerous musicians with the charming las Rubias del Norte who open the show at 9. If you like Chicha Libre’s live shows the cd is a must-own – take the party home with you!  


Also Thurs Apr 4 legendary second-wave British punks the Anti-Nowhere League play Europa, time TBA, could be late. Word on the street is that they’re undiminished, mixing their trademark good humor with a scorching two-guitar attack and a bunch of songs that may have sounded generic in 1985 but have become classic over time.


Also Thurs Apr 4 Steve Wynn and his band the Miracle 3 play Luna, 10:30 PM. What the Stones were to 1969, what the Clash were to 1979, what the Church were to 1989, what…hmmm…Big Lazy? were to 1999, Steve Wynn and crew are today, the best straight-up rock band on the planet. The ex-Dream Syndicate bandleader has a vast back catalog of classic songs and the band is unsurpassed at exhilarating noise jams, equal parts menace and adrenaline. 


Also Thurs Apr 4 at 10 PM at Barbes it’s THE SOUNDS OF TARAAB. From the Barbes website” “Music of Zanzibar. A little over 100 years ago, the Sultan of Zanzibar sent his court musicians abroad to study. They returned and ‘Taraab’ was born. A spicy blend of East African Rhythms, Arabic modalities, and Indian influences,’Taraab’ is sung in Kiswahili and is popular in the coastal cities of Tanzania and Kenya. “The Sounds of Taraab” features vocalist Alsarah accompanied by oud master Haig Manookian, Ismail Butera on accordion and vocals, Michael Hess on violin and nai flute, and a duo percussion team of Tiye Giraud and Nicole Lecorgne.” What it sounds like? Peak-era Oum Kaltsoum (the doyenne of Arab music) with just a tinge of vintage Indian film music. And you have to choose between this and Steve Wynn. Not fair.


Fri Apr 5 blues guitarist  Bobby Radcliff plays Terra Blues, 7 PM, not sure if this an acoustic or electric show but it really doesn’t matter because this sensationally good player is his own source of power. A recent show at Lucille’s showed him better than ever. He’s followed by another first-rate blues guitarist (and singer), Johnny Allen at 10, for whom there will probably be separate admission.


Also Sat Apr 5 smart, charming, witty oldtimey, accordion-driven “historical orchestrette” Pinataland play Barbes at 10 PM.


Sun Apr 6 banjoist/songwriter Curtis Eller plays his authentically oldtimey songs with his band followed by Bliss Blood’s blissfully good piano-based barrelhouse blues band Delta Dreambox at Spikehill, 9 PM.


Also Sun Apr 6 it’s the Amstel Quartet, a Dutch sax quartet at Barbes at 7 PM playing new arrangements of classical pieces (insert beer joke here), followed by the great gypsy guitarist Stephane Wrembel at 9. Early arrival advised. Wrembel is also here at 9 on Apr 27.


Tues Apr 8 sprawling, incredibly imaginative Williamsburg vocal jazz group the Old Rugged Sauce play Lakeside 10 PM. If they have the organ in addition to the horns and guitar, that’ll be an even bigger plus. You’ll never hear anybody play more inspired covers of standards than this completely under-the-radar crew, who are clearly in it strictly for the fun.


Weds Apr 9 The Mess Around play Cake Shop, 9 PM. One of New York’s best bands:  a fiery, kick-ass garage punk unit who competently cover Radio Birdman and whose guitar-fueled originals rip and burn with the same blazing, stomping energy of that legendary Australian band.


Thurs Apr 10, 1 PM at Trinity Church the Trovao String Quartet plays Mendelssohn and Shostakovich. Not sure which pieces, but the series here has been excellent this year.



Also Thurs Apr 10, 6-8 PM it’s the opening reception for expat Argentinian painter Andrea Cukier at the Consulate General of Argentina, 12 W 56th St. Cukier is an absolute master of haunting, ethereal textures. Her oils frequently utilize an imaginative point of view looking in from the shadows at often very dark, compelling subject matter.



Also Thurs Apr 8, 8 PM at Drom, Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate plays with his band.

Also Thurs Apr 10, 8 PM deliriously fun, psychedelic, horn-driven African groove-jazz revivalists and Fela devotees Antibalas play SOB’s. They’re also at Southpaw on April 11 and 12 at 8 although given the iffy sound there, you’d do best to catch the SOB’s show if you’re interested.


Also Thur Apr 10 long-running West Coast hip-hop drunkies the Alkaholiks play the Knit, midnight -ish, $15 adv tix available at the box office. Security will be out in full, steroid-raging force for this one, so watch your back. What Cypress Hill is to pot, these guys are to Olde English. Apparently their livers are all still functioning, more or less. For a group whose rhymes are basically all the same joke – lookit the crazy stuff we do when we’re loaded! –  their albums from the 90s displayed a remarkably smart, literate, East Coast flow and somehow they make it work live.


Fri Apr 11 eerie violin-and-guitar Canadian gothic rockers the Sadies play Luna, 11:30 PM. They backed Neko Case on her most recent couple of tours and have Douce Gimlet’s old drummer.


Also Fri Apr 11 slightly punked out, occasionally skronky surf instrumentalists the Howlin Thurstons play Lakeside, 11 PM.


At 8 PM on Sat Apr 12 at Symphony Space it’s sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan, son of the late Ustad Vilayat Khan. He’s recorded with the Ghazal Ensemble, playing with a remarkably lyrical tone that mimics the human voice. With tabla accompaniment by Subhankar Banerjee, $35 adv tix available at the World Music Institute box office.


Also Sat Apr 12 iconoclastic, punkish garage rockers Des Roar play Cake Shop, time TBA (check the band’s myspace closer to show date). Their song Ted Bundy Was a Ladies’ Man is a genuine classic, as catchy as it is over-the-top amusing.


Also Sat Apr 12 Simon & the Bar Sinisters blast into Lakeside, 10:30 PM. Old-school LES squatter punk who cleaned up his act and became one of the great rockabilly/surf guitarists (and bassists!) around. If you’re lucky they’ll do their dirty Batman theme and the ska cover of In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida.


Sun Apr 13, 9 PM at Barbes it’s the KAMIKAZE GROUND CREW. From the Barbes website: “Founded in 1983 as a pit orchestra for the juggling Flying Karamazov Brothers, the band “is by turns an oom-pah-pah circus band, an earnest pit orchestra and a bluesy jazz septet…The Kamikaze Ground Crew juggles styles as easily as the Karamazovs juggle cutlery,” (The New York Times). Featuring Gina Leishman, co-leader, alto and baritone sax, bass clarinet, accordion, piano, vocals; Doug Wieselman, co-leader, Eb, Bb & bass clarinets, tenor & baritone sax, guitar; Peter Apfelbaum, tenor sax; Steven Bernstein, trumpet & slide trumpet; Art Baron, trombone; Marcus Rojas, tuba and Kenny Wollesen, drums & percussion.” Talk about an A-list group! Boisterous fun will be the vibe tonight.


Tues Apr 15 through 20 it’s the Jim Hall/Ron Carter duo at the Blue Note, $35 tables which is pretty cheap for what these guys deliver. Hall is one of the great subtle jazz guitarists out there; bassist Carter is a legend and deservedly so, coming off a stand with his nonet at Birdland so this ought to put him in much terser mode which is what he does best.


Also Tues Apr 15 through Apr 27 the Bill Frisell Quartet – Jenny Scheinman on violin, Tony Scherr on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums is at the Village Vanguard. The East side of the guitarist’s double live East/West cd was recorded here with this rhythm section, and the addition of Scheinman to the casually brilliant other three could make for a subtly transcendent bunch of shows.


Weds Apr 16 the reliably and casually riveting, Kitty Wells-inspired chanteuse Laura Cantrell is at Joe’s Pub, 7:30 PM, adv tix $15. She sings her most recent rock songs as well as the older country stuff, and will play plenty of that too. Nice to see her back on the circuit after having the kid.


Also Weds Apr 16 Jah Division – who play instrumental dub reggae covers of Joy Division songs – play the Mercury, 8 PM, tickets from their postponed 3/3 show will be honored. OK, now for the requisite jokes: dance to jah radio? Where will it end, bumba clot, WHERE WILL IT END!?!?!?


Thurs Apr 17, 1 PM at Trinity Church, German cello quartet Quattrocelli make their New York debut, performing works by Bach, Morricone and Gershwin. Pretty cool, huh! Don’t forget to turn off your phone before the show starts.


Also Thurs Apr 17 the Robert Charles Band plays Lucille’s Bar, two sets at 8 PM. About eight years ago this local blues band was really cooking. The singer/bandleader doesn’t try to Robert Plant everything and the rest of the band has a shockingly terse, soulful feel for their predictable repertoire of Muddy Waters and Son House classics.



Also Thurs Apr 17 a killer gypsy music bill at Drom at 10 PM with Luminescent Orchestrii and Gypsy All. You might want to stop by the club box office for advance tickets for this one.  


Also Thurs Apr 17 Nina Nastasia and Dirty Three drummer Jim White play Bowery Ballroom, 9:30 PM, advance tix available at the Mercury box office. Their sold-out show at the Mercury last year was absolutely riveting: she’s never sung more vengefully, never written more acerbically and White’s drumming is exquisitely subtle.


Also Thurs Apr 17 jazz guitar monster Matt Munisteri plays and sings his own excellent, smartly amusing, virtuosic tunes at Barbes, 9 PM


Fri Apr 18, 8 PM at Symphony Space it’s Etran Finatawa. From the Symphony Space website: “Etran Finatawa, from the West African country of Niger, incorporates the diverse traditions of two nomadic cultures–the Wodaabe, known for their striking face painting, percussion and polyphonic songs, and the Kel Tamashek (Tuareg), noted for their “desert blues.” This is their New York debut. $32 adv tix available at the World Music Institute box office.


Sat Apr 19 dis one’s for de massive, yeah mon. Don’t let the fact that these guys are white scare you away: if dub reggae is your thing, Giant Panda Gorilla Dub Squad and John Brown’s Body are playing Bowery Ballroom, 9 PM, adv tix available at the Mercury. The openers are woozily good instrumentalists, related to the headliners, who hail from Ithaca, of all places but sound like they just stepped off the plane from St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica circa 1977.



Also Sat Apr 19 the excellent country band Jerry Teel & Big City Stompers play Union Pool, 10 PM. Teel has had quite a career, with noise-rockers the Honeymoon Killers, the late, great Chrome Cranks and retro garage guys the Knoxville Girls. He ran the legendary Fun House studios here on the Lower East Side til relocating to New Orleans – where he lost pretty much everything when the levees broke. Now back in the area, Teel and his velvet-voiced wife Pauline are backed by a killer band featuring JJ Jenkins on lead guitar and the Dog Show’s Jerome O’Brien on bass. They’re also here on 5/2 at 10.


Sun Apr 20 Bostonian Middle Eastern-inflected semi-goth rockers Black Fortress of Opium play Midway, 9 PM. They have a new album out and it promises to be excellent.



Tues Apr 22 excellent Brazilian percussionist Nanny Assis leads his band at Lucille’s Bar, 8 PM. Especially adept at danceable, hypnotic forro music, he’s an unlikely but excellent choice to play here with the club’s good sound and comfortable surroundings.




Weds Apr 23 Greek-American blues guitarist Spiros Soukis plays Lucille’s Bar, 8 PM. He grew up in Greece, a fan of late 60s British players like Peter Green, and mixes Greek motifs into his music, a mix of covers and originals. Whatever you may think of this guy, you can’t say he’s not original.


Also Weds Apr 23 the “French Gogol Bordello,” gypsy rockers Babylon Circus make their New York debut at Drom, 9 PM. Should be an ecstatic, politically powerful show: during last year’s worldwide “la Fete de la Musique,” known here as Make Music NY, they were the first Western band to play in Syria in solidarity with the locals and the refugees from Iraq.


Thurs Apr 24, 7 PM, early, Metropolitan Klezmer play Drom. Met Klez feature a lot of the same folks from Isle of Klezbos (soaring, soulful, mischievous trumpeter Pam Fleming and slinky frontwoman Deborah Karpel, among others) and play a lot of haunting yet head-bopping originals.




Also Thurs Apr 24 Orientalist song stylists Pharaoh’s Daughter play Joe’s Pub, 9:30 PM. Frontwoman Basya Schechter is an effortlessly compelling singer in both Hebrew and Arabic and her band is equally inspired. Living proof that if we took the politicians and the mullahs out of the equation and left everything to the musicians, there would be peace in the Middle East.




Fri Apr 25 long-running Austin oldtimey band Poi Dog Pondering plays  Bowery Ballroom, 9:30 PM, $20 adv tix available at the Mercury. These guys invented the Pete’s Candy Store ten years before there was a Pete’s Candy Store, and still crank out a fun, psychedelic, danceable stew.




Also Fri Apr 25 art-rockers Melomane – one of the best live bands in the world right now – play the little room downstairs at Union Hall, 10 PM as a warmup for their upcoming European tour. Here’s your chance to get to see what the Europeans pay big bucks to see for next to nothing. Their stock in trade is powerful, politically charged, somewhat creepy, lushly orchestrated songs with roots in dark, chromatic 60s garage music.



Sat Apr 26, 3 (three) PM,  for those wishing to learn how to play the musical saw, the Saw Lady AKA Natalia Paruz gives a free demonstration and performance with piano accompaniment at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, Bruno Walter auditorium, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza (Broadway at 65th street). Paruz is reputedly very entertaining to watch. There are certain advantages to playing the saw: it never goes out of tune, you don’t need to change the strings and in a pinch it’ll do as a defensive weapon. And it’s a whole lot cheaper than a Stratocaster.


Also Sat Apr 26 Hazmat Modine plays two delirious sets of their sprawling, pan-global, gypsy-inflected party music at around 7:30 PM at Terra Blues. Frontman Wade Schuman has Iggy Pop-level charisma, playing a mean chromatic blues harp and steel guitar as well. The rest of the cast: more harmonica, trumpet (that’s Pam Fleming, y’all), two evil lead guitarists, tuba and drums reaches ecstatic heights as well. Minor keys have never been so much fun.




Also Sat Apr 26 Rachelle Garniez plays Joe’s Pub, 9:30 PM, advance tix highly recommended since her posse – what’s left of the cool, pre-luxury condo LES contingent – always shows up in droves.



Also Sat Apr 26 stone-cold authentic early 50s pre-rockabilly country types Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co open for dark, intense Nashville gothic rockers Ninth House at Hank’s, 10 PM.



Also Sat Apr 26 for the adventurous at 10 PM at the Stone it’s Whoopie Pie with Mike Pride on drums, Bill McHenry on tenor sax and longtime Hank’s denizen Jamie Saft on bass. The club characterizes them as a “Down-east blues power trio.” See how much purist punk rock Jamie can bring to this crew. Or maybe they’ll totally surprise you.




Mon Apr 28 at 1 PM at St. Paul’s Chapel the La Vita Williams Guitar Duo (Bret Williams and Giacomo La Vita) performs works by Assad, Scarlatti and Albeniz.





Also Mon Apr 28 powerful blues/jazz guitarist Marvin Sewell and his group play two cheap sets (?!?!?) at the Blue Note. Looks like somebody cancelled, so the club had to get somebody actually good! Sewell particularly excels at slide work – he is absolutely evil.




Tues Apr 29 Goldfrapp plays the Beacon, 8 PM, $35 adv tix available at the box office. Pricy, but if you’re into this sort of thing – Alison and her brother’s breathy downtempo sex music – they pull it off live, more or less (hard to imagine them not having at least something on tape). What Everything but the Girl or Massive Attack were to the 90s, Goldfrapp is to the zeros.




Also Tues Apr 29 and Weds Apr 30 Feist plays Manhattan Center, tix $30 and available at the Irving Plaza box office. If you haven’t already become a convert, check her out: her indie rock glimmers darkly and imaginatively in a Randi Russo kind of way, and her most recent ventures into more danceable terrain see her doing stuff like Nina Simone covers: imagine a coherent Bjork. If such a thing might be possible.



Upcoming in May (don’t laugh):


5/6 Tammy Faye Starlite at Joe’s Pub

5/7 The regrouped and bizarrely reinvigorated Electric Prunes at B.B.King’s

5/8 Jan Bell & the Cheap Dates at Highline Ballroom

5/17 Wall to Wall Bach starting at 11 AM at Symphony Space, a free, daylong festival featuring Leon Botstein conducting the American Symphony Orchestra, playing preludes, fugues, cantatas, suites, concerti, sonatas and more (what about the Klavierubung!!!!) , concluding with the B minor Mass at god only knows what hour.


March 12, 2008 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, NYC Live Music Calendar

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