Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Sixteen Questions for Benjamin de Menil, Producer of the Bachata Roja Legends

Benjamin de Menil is the head of up-and-coming independent world music label iAso Records and also the acclaimed producer of both Puerto Plata and the Bachata Roja Legends’ albums. Since the Bachata Roja Legends make their historic New York theatre debut tomorrow night, Friday August 1 at the Queens Theatre in the Park at 8:30 PM, we were curious to know more. Lucid Culture hit him with sixteen tough questions. He hit them back to us like Manny Ramirez swatting one into the seats…at Dodger Stadium

Lucid Culture: How did you discover the Bachata Roja Legends?

 

Benjamin de Menil: I was taking New York’s F train uptown. When the doors opened at the 14th street station I heard an incredible voice coming from the platform. It was a Dominican singer I would later work with for many years, Super Uba. I had just begun putting together a home studio at the time, so I invited him over. He arrived with Edilio Paredes, the legendary guitarist of the Bachata Roja Legends. I had never heard the old school bachata before and as soon as Edilio and Uba began playing I knew I had to do something to get this music out to a wider audience.

 

LC: To what degree did the group exist before you got involved?

 

BDM: Edilio, Ramon, El Chivo, and even Soriano have been performing together for many years. Edilio and Ramon first recorded together 42 years ago! The backing band also deserves mention, Edilio’s son, Samuel, on bass, Rando Alejo on bongo and tambora, and Roberto Santos on guira – all incredible musicians and all have worked together for years. So in some sense this is not a new group, though this precise lineup has never existed before.

 

LC: As exciting as their music is, to casual ears, what they play bears little resemblance to today’s bachata. How have audiences in the Dominican community reacted? How about younger audiences?

 

BDM: The Dominican community is very supportive. I think it’s also a good feeling for them to see their culture being appreciated by outsiders – especially because this music has suffered so much humiliation and rejection from some elements of Dominican society. For the older audience, these are the sounds they grew up with and even to the younger audience it’s a familiar sound. The Beatles broke up more than 35 years ago but I think are still very much a part of today’s musical culture.

 

LC: Outside the Dominican community, how much interest has there been?

 

BDM: The difficulty has been getting a foot in the door – once people hear the music they love it.

LC: To what degree, if at all, do you think the Bachata Roja Legends could cross over to an English-speaking American audience?

 

BDM: These days people are open to music in foreign languages – Spanish especially. Plenty of Spanish language music has already hit it big in the USA – from Buena Vista Social Club to reggaeton. And that acceptance goes beyond the art-music audience – look how popular Wyclef was rapping in Haitian kreyol. All our performances so far have been very very well received. And our audiences are culturally mixed.

 

LC: How would you describe the group to an American who might not even know what bachata is?

 

BDM: Blues meets carnival with a smattering of fast paced reggae.

 

LC: Along with salsa and merengue, bachata is one of the three most popular styles of latin music. Was it always this way, and if not, why?

 

BDM: For a long time bachata was suppressed by the Dominican elite. Despite bachata’s popularity, TV and radio stations in the Dominican republic would not play it and neither would the upscale performance venues. That began to change in the late ’80s but there are still remnants of that attitude today. Ironically, because the island’s media powers wouldn’t touch it, bachata flourished for three decades uncensored and without the collaborative co-promotion of music and consumer products which has been so harmful to the state of music worldwide.

When the media censorship lifted, bachata began getting more traction internationally. Also, the wave of Dominican migration to the USA helped spread bachata among the various Latin/Hispanic communities here – and from here it has been spreading to the rest of Latin America and the world.

 

LC: How has the style evolved since the Bachata Roja Legends started?

 

BDM: Bachata went electric in the 1990s and along with that change the music adopted a pop ballad sound. The music of the Legends is more roots – the emotional dynamics are greater and Edilio Paredes on his acoustic requinto (small-body Spanish guitar) takes you places. I’ve been listening to his solos for eight years and am still amazed.

 

LC: Is it fair to say that the Bachata Roja Legends are to today’s popular bachata artists what blues artists like Robert Johnson are to rock bands like Led Zeppelin?

 

BDM: You could look at it that way. The conditions they live in probably resemble the rural south of Johnson’s day. But I think a better analogy is they are Otis Redding to today’s Maria Carey, because the Bachata Roja Legends were and are pop stars – even though this is a version of pop rooted in local Latin American and Dominican traditions.

 

LC: You’ve gone on record saying that as a producer, you prefer to record artists live rather than laying down one track after another. Does that make things difficult, especially when you’re working with older artists who may not have the chops or the stamina they had decades ago?

 

BDM: Recording live has its challenges. All the musicians in the group have to be top notch, if one musician is off it throws the whole group. Also, a studio recording is not like an ordinary live performance. The sound is much clearer, and the recording will be played over and over again, so mistakes that might slide unnoticed in an ordinary live performance become much more evident.

I have the good fortune to be working with some phenomenal musicians. Even the older ones have incredible stamina and in some cases I think they have even improved as musicians since their earlier recordings. This hasn’t always been the case – I’ve had some recording sessions that have nosedived. It’s a hazard that goes with the territory.

 

LC: What producers have influenced you the most, and how?

 

BDM: It’s hard to say, I’ve been influenced by music more directly than by its producers. I never got to see the producers of my favorite music in action – their influence is there I’m sure but their names are mostly lost to history. A producer’s role takes place behind the scenes – invisible.

 

LC: With cd sales plummeting, how do you see your role as a producer in today’s marketplace? Has this changed in the last couple of years?

 

BDM: Well, by the time I launched fully into my own label the catastrophe had already hit so I fortunately have no good times to reminisce about. Things are bad now for recorded music but I’m confident the business will remain viable. The appetite for music is greater than ever. It’s just a question of figuring out how to make that work for us.

 

LC: You’ve said that one of your dreams is to create a network of music schools around the world, whose students and staff can interact and even record with each other. How viable an idea do you think this is? How would someone go about doing this?

 

BDM: Music education is of the utmost importance – making music should not be only the realm of a few professionals, but something which ordinary people can and do take part in on a regular basis. This is true spiritually, because making music is part of what it means to be human and those who aren’t able to experience it are missing out on something almost as fundamental as eating and sleeping. It’s been shown than music education improves intellectual and social performance in all kinds of ways. Finally, education and participation is essential to the survival of music. Why does America produce so many phenomenal basketball players or Brazil and Italy such high quality soccer players? It’s not genetic, it’s because these sports are popular among youths at an amateur level. If we don’t nurture a culture which encourages children to get involved with music, our musical output will suffer.

 

I’m impressed by what Venezuela’s system of youth orchestras has achieved – they’ve managed to get hundreds of thousands of children, many living in difficult economic conditions, enrolled in a rigorous program of music education. They’ve also gotten a lot of support from the community to attend performances. Out of the thousands a few will end up as professionals and a handful as stars. In the meantime, they are raising a generation which will appreciate and support music and which will hopefully pass that on to their children as well.

 

LC: To what degree, if at all, do the big record labels compete with you? If not, who’s your competition?

 

BDM: To some extent, I think the competition is good. Having so many players out there – big and small – helps create the economic system which makes it  possible to produce music. Where things are not so good in the music industry is the lack of openness. It’s a business which is very much relationship-driven – so if your music’s good but you don’t know the right people – good luck! The internet is helping by creating a more direct channel to the public, but I expect this will remain a struggle for years to come.

 

LC: What artists would you most like to produce?

 

BDM: I’m working with them now.

 

LC: After the Bachata Roja Legends, what’s your next project?

 

BDM: A number of solo albums will come out of the Legends project. Beyond that it’s all top secret.

 

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July 31, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | 2 Comments

New York City Live Music Calendar Plus Other Events August-September 2008

Hey – this page isn’t the most updated calendar here. This is.

 As usual, we start with weekly events, followed by the daily calendar. If you don’t recognize one of the places where a show is happening, click on our Venues page.

Sundays from half past noon to 3:30 PM, bluegrass cats Freshly Baked (f.k.a. Graveyard Shift), featuring excellent, incisive fiddle player Diane Stockwell play Nolita House (upstairs over Botanica at 47 E Houston).

 

Every Sunday, Michael Arenella & the Dreamland Dance Band play sly yet boisterous oldtimey hot jazz during a brunch set at Bar Tabac on Smith St. in Brooklyn Heights from about half past noon to 4 PM.

 

Sundays Sean Kershaw & the Terrible Two (that’s the New Jack Ramblers minus a couple fingers & toes) play the upstairs roof deck at Rocky Sullivan’s, 34 Van Dyke St at Dwight St in Red Hook, 1-4 PM. Free ferry from Manhattan (pier 11,Wall St.) and free shuttle buses from the F&G trains at Smith-9th St, the F,M,R at 4th Ave, and the 2,3,4,5,M,N,R at Borough Hall.

 

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.

 

Sundays in August at 9 PM, sensational gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel – who’s been incorporating a lot of other influences, particularly Middle Eastern, into his sound – plays Barbes.

 

Every Sunday, hip-hop MC Big Zoo hosts the long-running End of the Weak rap showcase at the Pyramid, 9 PM, admission $5 before 10, $7 afterward. This is one of the best places to discover some of the hottest under-the-radar hip-hop talent, both short cameos as well as longer sets from both newcomers and established vets

 

Mondays in August (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 is the lead soloist on baritone sax.

 

Tuesdays in August,  El Ritmo Southside plays Rose Bar in Williamsburg, 11 PM. Instrumental covers of classic, Fania-era salsa, mambo, cha-cha, rhumba etc.: Palmieri, Puente, Barretto, et al. featuring superb vibraphonist Tommy Mattioli and a rotating rhythm section.

 

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 68 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.

 

Also every Wednesday, the Nat Lucas Organ Trio plays jazz at Lenox Lounge uptown, sets from 8 PM to midnight.

 

Thursdays through August 7 at 1 PM there are free organ concerts at Trinity Church. This year’s theme is Organ Divas, an impressive mix of women performers. The new digital organ (which replaced the old pipe organ destroyed on 9/11) is virtually indistinguishable from its analog cousin.

Also Thursdays through the end of August, there’s a series of concerts inspired by Salvador Dali in the sculpture garden behind MOMA, two sets at 5:30 and 7 PM, admission free with MOMA’s exorbitant $20 admission (see if you have any friends who have a corporate membership through their jobs). Highlights of the series are listed below in the monthly calendar.

 

The Latino Cultural Festival at the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona continues in August. Check the daily calendar below for highlights.

 

The first major JMW Turner exhibit in the US in many moons is up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through mid-September. Now might be a good time to check it out – get there early in the day if you can.

 

Thurs July 31 in the garden behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Dali festival, Layali El Andalus plays two sets at 5:30 and 7. One of the best bands in New York, they blend classic Levantine dance music with frontman/oud player Halihal’s native Algerian songs as well as Sephardic and – obviously – Andalusian material. You’ll feel like you just wandered into Beirut’s coolest club, circa 1935.

 

Also Thurs July 31 popular, extroverted Irish band Flogging Molly play a bill with even more popular goth-folk O’Death at Pier 54 in Hudson River Park at 14th St. and the water, 6 PM, not sure who’s opening for whom but it should be good either way.

 

Also Thurs July 31, 8 PM-ish Willie Colon plays the bandshell at East River Park, East River Park on the LES between Grand & Jackson Sts. “El Malo,” i.e. the bad-guy trombonist has been a salsa icon – he introduced Hector Lavoe and Ruben Blades to each other – a potent voice in the community and in politics and something of a legend in the NYC music scene for decades.

 

Also Thurs July 31 Via Audio plays Bowery Ballroom, 8-ish. Fetching guy/girl vox, catchy, occasionally loungey pop tunes with guitar and 70s analog synth. Like Scout covering the Cardigans, or vice versa.

 

Also Thurs July 31 Jan Bell & the Cheap Dates play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Hard to think of a better country artist in NYC right now. Or maybe the world. The self-described “Yorkshire lass” has an eerie wail of a voice, an understated poetic sensibility when it comes to lyrics and a killer band behind her. See her now before it costs you a hundred bucks at some big stadium.

 

Also Thurs July 31 Lucky Peterson plays Terra Blues, 10 PM. Otis Rush’s favorite piano player is a triple-threat, also a searing lead guitarist and a fine songwriter, one of the few remaining A-list Chicago blues players around.

 

Fri Aug 1 the amazing Dominican Bachata Roja Legends play their US debut at Queens Theatre in the Park, arguably the high point of this year’s Latino Cultural Festival, 8 PM, tix most cheaply available in the $54 three-pack which gets you three excellent shows at a reduced rate. This is a major event in US music history: these guys’ dark, backwoods acoustic sound is to, say, Raulin Rodriguez what Robert Johnson was to Led Zep. Revered pioneers, they’ve influenced just about every bachatisto alive today. Their frontman “The Outlaw Goat” hasn’t lost a step, just as darkly and uproariously funny as he was in the 60s.

 

Also Fri Aug 1, 8 PM at Central Park Summerstage it’s Max Pollack and Rhumba Tap playing their innovative, multi-stylistic take on classic Cuban and Caribbean music: dance lessons are ostensibly available as well.

 

Also Fri Aug 1 Eli Paperboy Reed plays Union Hall, 7:30 PM. This guy is a simply amazing, stupendously energetic performer. Reed and his killer funk/soul band sound exactly like contemporaries of James Brown, circa 1965, without aping the Godfather of Soul. If old-school soul is your thing, if you can’t get enough of Sharon Jones, if you like to dance til you drop, you have to see this guy.  The little room downstairs here will sell out, advance tix very highly recommended. He’s also at the Knitting Factory the previous night, 7/31 at 8:30, adv tix ridiculously cheap at $8 and highly recommended, and playing for free at roughly 4 PM at McCarren Pool on 8/10.

 

Also Fri Aug 1 the theatrical, satirical, utterly original Witches in Bikinis play the Knitting Factory, 8:30 PM. They’re also at the Wonder Wheel outdoors at Coney Island, two sets at 5 and 7 PM on Aug 2, at Kenny’s Castaways on Aug 7 at 9, and see also Aug 9!

 

Also Fri Aug 1 Tandy plays Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Lush, hypnotic, southwestern gothic jangle with a smartly narrative lyrical feel: thoughtful, often haunting tales from life’s darker side. Their latest album, a double cd release of their previous two, is simply one of the best of the decade

 

Also Fri Aug 1 Bellman Barker play Trash, midnight. Don’t let this DC band’s recent press fool you: they are not twee and sound nothing like Belle and Sebastian. Instead, expect a bouncy, jaunting retro Britpop festival, like the Kinks, the Move or the Enfields!

 

Also Fri Aug 1 Jack Grace plays a rare White Stripes type show (guitar, vocals and drums) at Banjo Jim’s, midnight. One of the great country songwriters of our time, and a very funny performer. Should be very cool to hear him without the band kicking up a racket behind him. He’s also with his band at the Rodeo at 10:30 PM on Fri Aug 8.

 

Sat Aug 2-3 marking the anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riots (a little early), a bunch of bands playing the park in both afternoons. August 2: Planned Collapse, Absurd System, Black September, Rabia, Perdition, Hipster Holocaust, Casa de Chihuahua, D60, Oogle Orphanage. August 3: Leftover Crack, Death Mold, Team Spider, DisAssociate, Witch Hunt, Star Fucking Hipsters, Hungry March Band

 

Sat Aug 2 a cool, diverse ska bill at the Knitting Factory starting at 7 with versatile Staten Island reggae act the Bandulos, amazingly authentic Boston rocksteady throwbacks the Void Union, the smooth, hypnotic, horn-and-organ-driven Bluebeats, Jackmove (the Sublime soundalikes, NOT the Pacific Northwest punk band) and ska-punk Number 23 whose myspace is intriguing and original enough to make them worth checking out.

 

Also Sat Aug 2, 7:30ish a killer triple bill at Arlene’s: power popmeisters the Actual Facts, the ever-more-improvisationally-inclined, guitarishly dazzling new wave revivalists the Larch (riding the wave of their best-ever album) and wickedly literate, amusing janglerock siren Paula Carino and her band.

 

Also Sat Aug 2, 8 PM los Gaiteros de San Jacinto play the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona, part of the ongoing Latino Cultural Festival, tix cheapest in the $54 three-concert pack. This legendary “folklorico” septet play vibrantly percussive, reed-driven traditional dance tunes from Colombia.

 

Also Sat Aug 2, 9 PM the Toneballs fronted by Dan Sallitt (ex-Blow This Nightclub) and featuring Dann Baker from Erica Smith’s band and Love Camp 7 play Freddy’s. Sallitt is a killer songwriter, lyricist and soulful singer. It’s Donna Upton’s birthday! Hey Donna happy birthday, what are you, 26 or something? As a special bonus, fiery highway rockers the Sloe Guns open the night at 8.

 

Also Sat Aug 2 this month’s Unsteady Freddie surf rock shindig at Otto’s is reliably good, starting at 10 with the smartly retro Mr. Action And The Boss Guitars, somewhat stylistically schizophrenic Tarantinos NYC at 11, Connecticut’s impressively rocking Clams sometime after midnight and then ghoulabilly band Deathbed Bride.

 

Sun Aug 3, 7 PM candombe titan Ruben Rada plays the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona, part of the ongoing Latino Cultural Festival, tix cheapest in the $54 three-concert pack. He’s sort of the official ambassador for his native compositionally complex jazz/traditional fusion, the Jobim of Uruguay.

 

Also Sun Aug 3 the Flying Neutrinos play Rodeo Bar, 10ish. Along with the Moonlighters, this horn-driven N’awlins swing unit pioneered the oldtimey sound in NYC, alternately danceable and dreamy. Always worth checking out to see what they’ve been up to. They’re back here on Aug 10 and 17.

 

Mon Aug 4 Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man (who, true to her name, happens to be a woman) plays the Schimmel Center at Pace Univ. downtown, 7:30 PM, free but adv tix req. Undoubedly they are hard to come by since the theatre seats less than a thousand; the box office on Spruce St. (close to William) opens at 4 PM, get there early if you’re going.

 

Also Mon Aug 4 at the Jazz Standard, sets at 7:30 and 9:30 PM, bandoneon player/bandleader Hector Del Curto’s Eternal Tango Quintet including piano, strings and a rhythm section playing absolutely gorgeous, haunting, classic Piazzola-style compositions. They’re also here on 8/18.

 

Also Mon Aug 4 at Rose Bar, 9 PM it’s psychedelic, organ-driven funk/jam band Polyester Pimpstrap. If Dr. Dre was a musician, this would be his band: they manage to be way-out and completely over-the-top but also devious and smart, and all the while the groove is smacking on your ass.

 

Also Mon Aug 4 the reliably entertaining, boisterous, self-explanatory Ukuladies (they spell their name that way because there’s another band, the Ukeladies, in Australia) play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.

 

Tues Aug 5 multistylistic, extremely popular violinist/composer/singer Jenny Scheinman plays Barbes, 7 PM. She’s also here at 7 on Tues Aug 19.

 

Also Weds Aug 6, 7ish, hip-hop legend Chubb Rock performs at Mahoney Park in Staten Island, intersection of Beechwood Avenue, Crescent Avenue at Cleveland and Jersey Sts. If you’re coming from the Ferry, catch the S24 bus around the corner from the terminal. As this is Shaolin and most everybody drives, the bus doesn’t run all that frequently. Have we scared you off yet? That having been said, this is a real treat for Shaolanders.

 

Also Weds Aug 6 a diverse Americana bill at Kenny’s Castaways: at 7, Jon Sobel of caffeinated, Dylanesque rockers Whisperado playing a mostly solo acoustic set, followed by Hay Jude, who play country covers of Beatles songs, acoustic duo Compton Maddux and then the reliably rousing Mercantillers, a sprawling acoustic band of salty seamen with guitars and accordion whose repertoire consists solely of sea shanteys.

 

Also Weds Aug 6, a killer oldtimey triple bill at Sidewalk (told you they were getting some good acts these days, didn’t we!) starting at 8 with Craig Chesler from Dreamboat followed at 9 by boisterous trombonist J. Walter Hawkes and continuing with the irresistibly smart, romantic harmony-driven Moonlighters at 10.

 

Thurs Aug 7 theremin virtuoso and composer Pamelia Kurstin plays the sculpture garden out behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Salvador Dali tribute, sets at 5:30 and 7 PM. A rare passage worth quoting from a press release: “On an instrument primarily associated with horror and science fiction soundtracks, she creates lyricism. Her pitch, technique, and taste are equally perfect. She can play microtonal puzzles and walking bass lines; she can make her instrument sound like a violin, a human voice, or an analog synthesizer. Out of what was once a symbol of modernism, she plays music of a very emotional order.” She’s also at Barbes on Aug 8 at 8.

 

Also Thurs Aug 7 gypsy jazz guitar monster Stephane Wrembel plays out back of Lincoln Center at Damrosch Park, 7 PM.

 

Also Thurs Aug 7 roots reggae revivalists Taj Weekes & Adowa play at 8 PM free, at Theatre Square at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark. Weekes is a throwback: you’ll think you’ve just been transported back to St. Ann’s Bay, 1977, with Burning Spear and Marley and Tosh and all the rest, he’s that good. High eerie voice, excellent conscious lyrics and a killer band behind him. Take the Path train to Newark. Directions from Newark’s Penn Station: from the main waiting room, leave by the Raymond Plaza West exit, cross the bus and taxi pickup lanes, and turn to your right toward Raymond Boulevard. Turn left on Raymond Boulevard and walk 2 blocks (west) to Mulberry Street. Turn right, crossing Raymond Boulevard, and walk two blocks on Mulberry Street (north) to Center Street. NJPAC is directly across Center Street.

 

Also Thurs Aug 7 popular jazz trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard plays Castle Clinton, 7 PM, get your tix at the fort by 5 if you’re going.

 

Thurs Aug 7 the Brooklyn What play Hank’s, 9 PM. This is the punkish group responsible for the classic song I Don’t Wanna Go to Williamsburg, which, if every one of their other songs sucked (they don’t), would still make this show worth seeing. I DON’T WANNA GO TO NORTHSIX!!! I DON’T WANNA HEAR THE FUCKING HOLD STEADY!!!

 

Also Thurs Aug 7 the Five Points Band plays Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. The staff there love them, and for good reason: they’re a lot of fun, a somewhat bizarrely satirical, funny bluespunk band with good chops and good energy.

 

Fri Aug 8, 1-6 PM, a Performance of Experimental Archeology: a Sound and Stone Carving Piece, composition by Jenny Graf Sheppard (of art-noise combo Harrius and Bjork-esque experimental rockers Metalux), performed by the Stone Carving Orchestra: Jenny Graf, Serena Williams, Miranda Bushey, Shana Palmer and Katherine Porter at the D’amelio Terras Gallery, 525 W 22nd St.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also Fri Aug 8 a nostalgia bill at the Gramercy Theatre. Headliners the Germs are Darby Crash’s dadaesque punk band. Opening the night are dark, Mancunian quartet Joy Division, followed by ex-New York Doll Johnny Thunders, who hasn’t been heard from since he moved to New Orleans. He’s playing a trio show with Kristen Pfaff from Hole on bass and double-bass drum guy John Bonham. Emcee for the evening is the unlikely choice of ancient pop/folk chanteuse Mama Cass Elliott, who’s lost an awful lot of weight since her old band the Mamas & the Papas gave up the ghost.

 

Also Fri Aug 8, 7:30 PM at Joe’s Pub, longtime Elvis Costello keyboardist Steve Nieve collaborates with a drummer named Jokka and a singer named Vic to create a new band called Maybe. Nieve is arguably the greatest noir piano player alive and something of a jokester as well. $25 adv tix absolutely necessary and well worth it.

 

Also Fri Aug 8 Irving Louis Lattin plays Lucille’s, 8 PM. Given the venue, one assumes the Chicago bluesman is playing electric, which he does impressively tersely. He’s back here on the 22nd at 8 as well.

 

Also Fri Aug 8 Tift Merritt plays Bowery Ballroom, 9 PM, adv tix $16 available at the Mercury. Haunting alt-country singer who sounds a lot like Linda Thompson, and whose occasional ventures into Sheryl Crow territory are tuneful and inoffensive. Terminally bland whiteboy Jason Collett opens, reaffirming that some Canadians can be just as dumb and clueless as American.

 

Also Fri Aug 8, 10 PM Delta Dreambox plays Two Boots Brooklyn, 514 Second St. @ 7th Ave in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Pizza and blues after (one hopes) all the yuppies with their rugrats have gone home to bed: this is the guitar version of Bliss Blood’s marvelously oldtimey combo.
 
 
Also Fri Aug 8 popular, tuneful, guy/girl-fronted janglerockers Elk City play the Mercury, 10:30 PM. Female-fronted powerballad band Audio Fiction follow afterward, like an edgier Pat Benatar. No joke.
 
 
 
Also Fri Aug 8 sprawling but supertight, horn-driven ten-piece reggae-jazz band the Superpowers play Zebulon, 10:30 PM, get close to the stage if you can, otherwise you won’t hear anything,

 

Also Fri Aug 8 Daniel Bernstein, former Larval Organs and Whisper Doll frontman plays Sidewalk, midnight, good choice of Friday night entertainment for the angry and the haunted. Recent, revealing song title: Death Is a Charm. Wickedly stream-of-consciousness, tuneful, dark-as-hell songwriting.

 

Sat Aug 9 the excellent, rustic, harmony-driven female-fronted rock en Espanol group Pistolera open for ex-Rank and File guitarist Alejandro Escovedo – who’s playing with a string section – at Central Park Summerstage, 3 PM.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 at 3 PM at the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island, a killer outdoor show starting with riveting, supersonic, Dick Dale-influenced Connecticut surf rockers 9th Wave, blazing upstate surf band the Octomen, reliably entertaining, satirical, theatrical rock act Witches in Bikinis, the Clams and then Witches in Bikinis again!

 

Also Sat Aug 9, 9 PM at the Jalopy Café, Sweet Soubrette plays her charming and funny retro 20s ukelele songs followed by the incomparable French chanson revivalists les Chauds Lapins, $10 cover.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 Lenny Molotov plays Sidewalk with his band, 10 PM. One of the great guitarists of our time, a master of acoustic delta blues but also a force of nature with his own stuff: sort of the American Richard Thompson. Funny, sardonic and all-too-aware of the world outside.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 Rob Curto’s Grupo Sanfona plays their Brazilian forro music at Barbes, 10 PM.

 

Sat Aug 9 Lost Legacy plays Ace of Clubs, 10 PM. Ornate, classically-inflected, not completely over-the-top metal band: they are actually pretty cool. If you like Iron Maiden you’ll probably like Lost Legacy.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 Simon & the Bar Sinisters play Lakeside, 10:15ish (early by Lakeside standards, but Simon likes to play long sets). A true original: raised on punk, addicted to surf, steeped in rockabilly, honest as the day he was born and very funny. And damn, what a guitarist.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 ancient 70s British pub-rock vets Eddie & the Hotrods headline at Maxwell’s, 11:30 PM, adv tix $12 available at the box office and at Other Music. They’re also at the Knit on Aug 10 at 9 PM, adv tix also $12. Amazing, somewhat legendary upstate power popsters the Flashcubes (who sound EXACTLY like the Move and do a killer cover of Blackberry Way), and loud retro glam/punks the Turbo ACs open the Knit show at 7.

 

Sun Aug 10, 2 PM Rawles Balls brings their hilariously chaotic, viciously satirical cover band insanity to Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick, Irving Ave. at Willoughby, L train to DeKalb Ave.

 

Also Sun Aug 10 brilliant surf/western swing/jazz guitarist Jim Campilongo plays with his electric trio at 55 Bar, early, 6 PM.

 

Also Sun Aug 10 the reliably twangalicious country crew Demolition String Band play a fairly rare acoustic show at Banjo Jim’s, 10 PM followed late – around midnight – by hellraise Zane Campbell, who was alt-country here in NYC long before alt-country was cool.

 

Mon Aug 11 veteran Jack Kerouac collaborator David Amram, still undiminished in his 70s, plays keys, French horn and bedevils his bandmates at the Cornelia St. Café, 8:30 PM.

 

Also Mon Aug 11 Gato Loco plays Barbes, 11 PM in place of Chicha Libre, who are on tour. Perhaps the ultimate low-frequency band – baritone guitar, tuba, baritone sax and upright bass. Their stepping-off point is oldtime Cuban music from the 20s; their originals are clever and funny and tunefully fun in a Moisturizer kind of way. They’re also at Bowery Poetry Club on Aug 14 at 8.  .

 

Tues Aug 12-14 at the Jazz Standard, sets at 7:30 and 9:30 PM, the Ron Miles Quartet which in addition to the trumpeter/bandleader features Bill Frisell on guitars and a rhythm section of Reginald Veal and Matt Wilson. If you missed Frisell’s stand at the Vanguard this year, don’t miss this one.

 

Also Tues Aug 12 an interesting double bill at le Poisson Rouge: at 7:30 PM, Shelley Hirsch sings Bernard Herrmann film scores and originals accompanied by Dan Kaufman on guitar, followed by noir neo-Balkan group Barbez, whose darkly slinky, slightly Tom Waits-ish instrumentals far surpass their vocal stuff. Adv tix $12 highly recommended at the box office.

 

Also Tues Aug 12 Michael Arenella’s Dreamland Quintet are at Union Smith Café, 305 Smith St.,  corner of Union, F or G train to Carroll St., 8ish. Dance lessons available. 

 

Also Tues Aug 12 sprawling, hypnotic jazz megaplex Burnt Sugar plays Zebulon, 10 PM.

 

Weds Aug 13, 7 PM timbalero star and bandleader Jimmy Delgado y Orquesta featuring Renzo Padilla play vintage salsa at Wagner Park in Battery Park City.

 

Also Weds Aug 13, 9 PM Katie Elevitch plays Rehab, 9 PM with her band. Fearlessly intense, passionate soul singer. Slinky, sometimes hypnotic grooves, unselfconsciously strong yet subtle vocals and thoughtful lyrics. If you miss the days when Alice Lee was in town and playing random shows at Pete’s, don’t miss this one

 

Also Weds Aug 13, 9 PM the Melvins play the Music Hall of Williamsburg, adv tix $25 available at the Mercury box office. Their recent album backing Jello Biafra shows their Sabbath/hardcore melange absolutely undiminished.

 

Thurs Aug 14 in the sculpture garden out behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Salvador Dali tribute, sets at 5:30 and 7 PM it’s Electric Junkyard Gamelan. From the press release: “Inspired by Indonesian gamelan, this group has invented its own tradition: they play original groove-driven music on improvised instruments and household objects. Haunting melodies and layered, interlocking rhythms are performed on such musical contraptions as the rubarp, sitello, kachapitar, and terraphone. The experience is as visually stimulating as it is aurally exciting.” Terry Dame, Julian Hintz, Mary Feaster, Lee Frisari, and Robin Burdulis are the players. They’re also at Barbes on Aug 20 at 8.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Blonde Redhead plays Pier 54 at West 14th St., Hudson River Park, 6 PM. Somewhat iconic 90s band: started out as Sonic Youth wannabes, branching out to encompass numerous other styles from goth to jangle. You might want to think about getting here an hour later at 7 and catch the part of the show you’d be seeing anyway since you’ll have to wait a half-hour, at least, if you line up along the highway with all the other lemmings before the doors open.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Big Daddy Kane plays Marcus Garvey Park uptown, 7 PM. Wildly popular, macho rapper from the golden age of hip-hop whose career peaked around 1988. No idea what if anything he has left but the posse from those days – whoever’s left – still remember him. Maybe if you’re lucky he’ll do the one about drinking a 22-ounce bottle of malt liquor.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 a pretty amazing triple bill at Barbes: Divahn frontwoman Galeet Dardashti plays Sephardic Jewish vocal music at 7 PM followed by Matt Munisteri and Will Holshouser’s sensational, haunting 1920s Belgian barroom accordion/guitar band Musette Explosion at 8 and then klezmer/bluegrass legend Andy Statman at 10.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Metropolitan Klezmer, who have a sensationally good new live album out, play a special, stripped-down quartet show at 7:30 sharp at the 14th Street Y Rooftop. 344 East 14th St just west of First Avenue (concert will be held indoors in case of rain). This time out it’s accordion/bass/saxes/drums, Y members $15, nonmembers: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, includes wine & cheese following concert & free babysitting with pizza for the children!

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Meg Braun plays Banjo Jim’s, 8 PM. Incorrigible extrovert with a big, powerful soul voice and a love of innovative guitar tunings. And she’s funny too.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14, 8:30 PM at the Cornelia St. Café it’s the Rez Abbasi Group, featuring organ and Indian vocals in addition the the bandleader’s imaginative guitar jazz tunes which blend groove with Indian motifs.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14, 9 PM Rawles Balls, the hilarious, unstoppable, satirical punked-out cover band from hell – over fifty albums in five years and still going strong! – takes over the Parkside.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Body Count plays Europa at 10-ish, $20 cover. They’re also playing Aug 15, early, at 7-ish. Back before Ice-T became a tv actor he was a great rapper (he basically invented gangsta rap) and fronted this rap-metal band, which in addition to two actually decent albums was responsible for the classic single Cop Killer, which achieved notoriety when the record label recalled all the unsold original cds and cassettes containing the song.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 John Brown’s Body play Southpaw, 10-ish, $15. Equally masterful at catchy, upbeat, totally old-school roots reggae and hypnotic dub jams that will take your brain to the edge of the universe.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Secretary feat. Big Boss, which is Moisturizer baritone saxist Paula Henderson’s equally beguiling, smartly fun Hollywood soundtrack side project, plays Cake Shop 11ish.

 

Fri Aug 15 Willie Nile plays a super-rare acoustic set – no idea how long – at J&R Music World downtown on Park Row, half past noon. The legendary New York rock anthem writer is one of the great live performers of our time, making a trip downtown on your lunch hour well worth the trip. He’ll be signing copies of his new cd and DVD Live from the Streets of New York. Click here for samples: volcanically good stuff.

 

Also Fri Aug 15, 8 PM Marta Topferova plays her completely unique, haunting blend of Balkan and latin music at Barbes with accordion, guitar and a rhythm section. Pretty amazing, completely original stuff.

 

Also Fri Aug 15 at 55 Bar, 10 PM it’s Reverend Vince Anderson & The Whispering Thunder Blues Band. A rare Manhattan show by the amazing keyboardist/showman, as adept at Howlin Wolf as he is at funk and gospel. This band features his longtime lead instrumentalist Paula Henderson from Moisturizer on baritone sax as well as a kick-ass rhythm section of Andrew Hall and Brian Woodruff.

 

Also Fri Aug 15 a great tripleheader at Spikehill starting at 9 with wickedly funny outlaw country throwbacks Maynard & the Musties, fresh from the studio after recording with Ryan Adams, then tuneful, tongue-in-cheek janglerockers (you should hear their deadpan Go Go’s cover) the Somebodies followed by the Disclaimers at 11 PM. The headliners are one of NYC’s top half-dozen best live bands, blending hypnotic soul songs into their fiery, organ-and-keyboard-driven garage rock mix. Everybody in the band sings; frontwomen Naa Koshie Mills and Kate Thomason make an especially charismatic twosome with their voices and stage presence. The Disclaimers are also here on Aug 29 at 11.

 

Also Fri Aug 15 tastefully twangy surf instrumental traditionalists Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars are back at Lakeside, 11 PM.

 

Also Fri Aug 15, midnight, sensationally good, hypnotic dub reggae crew Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad play a concert cruise aboard the good ship Half Moon, adv tix $20 and very highly recommended at the box office, 630 9th Avenue Suite 602 Between 44th and 45th streets, Monday-Friday 12 noon-6pm, 212-571-3304. The boat leaves from Skyport Marina, E 23rd St & the FDR a half hour later, but you’ll want to get there early to get a good seat.

 

Sat Aug 16 fiery, horn-driven, often hauntingly minor-key third-wave ska revivalists Tri-State Conspiracy plays an early afternoon show at the Blackwater Inn in the Rockaways, 112-08 Rockaway Beach Blvd,  3 PM. Take the A train to Beach 116th St., the bar is 4 blocks from the subway at 112th St.

 

Also Sat Aug 16 self-described antique songwriter Mamie Minch – equally good at original, haunting delta blues, rustic oldtimey country and pop styles from a hundred years ago plays 68 Jay St. Bar at 9 with the excellent Andy Cotton on bass. Sort of like a one-woman version of the Moonlighters.

 

Also Sat Aug 16 scorchingly funny punk band Custard Wally play the cd release for their surprisingly diverse new one Call Me Walt at Don Pedro’s, 9 PM.

 

Also Sat Aug 16, 9 PM  a free screening of the film “Song Sung Blue” on the lawn at Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island, take the tram at 68th St. Summary: Lightning & Thunder, a homegrown Milwaukee husband and wife Neil Diamond cover band. They fall in love, rise to fame and suffer grave misfortune as they share the music of the “Jewish Elvis” – yeah right –  with the people of Milwaukee. Preceded by live Neil Diamond karaoke, no joke (which, umm, you might want to pass on). Why is Wisconsin seemingly always the setting for all every single atrocity exhibition movie?

 

Also Sat Aug 16, 10ish, the Mess Around play the Shillelagh Tavern, 47-22 30th Ave., Astoria, worth a ride on the N train. One of NYC’s best, most ferocious acts, this scorching garage punk band evoke Radio Birdman in their best, furiously guitar-fueled, cynical moments. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also Sat Aug 16 Spanking Charlene play Lakeside, 11 PM. NYC’s answer to X: guy/girl vocals, dirty Americana-punk songs along with some strikingly pretty country stuff. Frontwoman Charlene McPherson has one hell of a voice

 

Sun Aug 17 at Damrosch Park out back of Lincoln Center, dance and music by Ologunde, Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti, and the Ivoirian Kotchegna Dance Company starting around 2ish.

 

Also Sun Aug 17 keyboard/horn-driven groovemeisters Chin Chin open for acclaimed hip-hop artist Aesop Rock at McCarren Pool, 3ish.

 

Also Sun Aug 17, a rousing season finale at Central Park Summerstage, 3 PM: Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, the Mehahan Street Band (who share members with Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, the Budos Band, and El Michels Affair) followed by the incomparable funk/soul revivalists Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings at around 5. Get there at 3 at the latest if you’re going.

 

Also Sun Aug 17 Michael Arenella’s Dreamland Orchestra plays the new Galapagos, 7-10 PM, $12. 16 Main St. in DUMBO. Directions from the York St. F train: walk downhill on Jay St. one block to Front St., left on Front St. four blocks to Main St., right on Main St, walk two blocks to Water St., Galapagos is on the far corner of Main and Water. Horn player Arenella and his 1920s style jazz orchestra specialize in brilliant obscurities from the early swing era and can really rip up a room when they’re in the mood.

 

Mon Aug 18 a Caribbean bill featuring upcoming soca star Bunji Garlin & Asylum, the ageless calypso warrior Mighty Sparrow (what is he now, about eighty?) and 90s Jamaican lovers rock star Beres Hammond (what is he now, about fifty?) at Wingate Field in Bed Stuy, free, either get there early at 7:30 PM or late at 9, otherwise you’ll be waiting in line for hours before being subjected to a Guantanamo-style security gauntlet.

 

Also Mon Aug 18 at the Jazz Standard, sets at 7:30 and 9:30 PM, bandoneon player/bandleader Hector Del Curto’s Eternal Tango Quintet including piano, strings and a rhythm section playing absolutely gorgeous, haunting, classic Piazzola-style compositions 

 

Tues Aug 19, 7 PM Middle Eastern orchestra Zikrayat plays classic Levantine dance music accompanied by bellydancers at Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. 7 train to Vernon Blvd.-Jackson, walk on 48th Avenue to the East River. The park is in front of the Citylights Building.

 

Also Tues Aug 19 Anthony B plays B.B. King’s, 8-ish, adv tix $20 available at the box office. The self-appointed torchbearer of Peter Tosh’s legacy is a fiery, politically charged lyricist, an intensely charismatic performer and a purveyor of an uncommonly tuneful blend of roots and dancehall reggae,

 

Tues Aug 19 Polka Madre, whose raison d’etre seems to be all things polka, but who mix a dark gypsyish sound with new wave-ish rock en Espanol play Zebulon at 9. They’re also at Fontana’s on 8/23 at 10, and at Hecho en Dumbo, 111 Front St. in Dumbo on 9/11 at 10 for free.

 

Also starting Tues Aug 19, brilliantly panstylistically noir gypsy/klezmer/neoclassical Buffalo group Casperous Vine is in town. With accordion, classical guitar and strings, they play beautifully melodic, often haunting instrumentals with titles like Requiem for Gregor Samsa. On the 19th they’re at Goodbye Blue Monday at 11; at Mehanata on Thurs Aug 21 at 8; at Vox Pop in Crown Heights at 8 on Fri Aug 22 and at Zebulon on Sat Aug 23 at 9.

 

Weds Aug 20, early show at 6 PM at the Rockwood it’s Patrick Glynn & the Lost Americans. Glynn, the talented ex-Rawles Balls multi-instrumentalist, has the expected sense of humor and good chops: his myspace doesn’t seem that he’s taking this new project all that seriously, which would actually be fine. Briana Winter, who knows her way around a catchy pop hit without trying to be Britney or Alanis,  follows eventually at 9

 

 
 
Also Weds Aug 20, 7 PM in Wagner Park in Battery Park City it’s La Excelencia,  a 70s style salsa orchestra playing songs from their new cd Salsa Con Conciencia.

 

 

Also Weds Aug 20, 8 PM a good doublebill at Banjo Jim’s: excellent guitarist Steve Antonakos AKA Homeboy Steve from Love Camp 7, Roots Rock Rebel, Magges and a million other bands followed by jazz violinist/composer Jenny Scheinman, who will probably be singing stuff from her excellent, just-reviewed new cd of Americana and rock songs. Next on the bill is Jerry Dugger, a bassist who once went by the name of Slapmeat Johnson. Doubtlessly his wife or girlfriend is glad he’s decided to give that up.

 

Also Weds Aug 20, 9 PM Black Cop White Cop play Ace of Clubs. If their myspace is any indication, they’re retro, but they’re looking back to a style most bands have never heard: early 80s indie rock, with dirty, melodic basslines, fast tempos and trebly, minor-key guitar work that leaves a long trail of sparks.

 

Also Weds Aug 20 Carolyn Sills & the Poor Man’s Roses sing Patsy Cline covers, uncommonly well, at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.

 

Thurs, Aug 21 in the sculpture garden out behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Salvador Dali tribute, sets at 5:30 and 7 PM it’s Kamikaze Ground Crew playing theatrical, somewhat balkan jazz featuring a ton of killer soloists: Kenny Wollensen on drums, Peter Apfelbaum on tenor, Doug Wieselman on reeds, Steve Bernstein on trumpet and more.

 

Also Thurs Aug 21 Jennifer O’Connor plays a cd release show at Mercury Lounge, 7:30 PM. Fearlessly messy, tuneful songwriter who rocks much harder than most of her other acoustic contemporaries.

 

Also Thurs Aug 21 Bobby Bland plays plays B.B. King’s, 8 PM adv tix $25 available at the box office. You never know whether this guy will phone it in or bring the soul, but it’s worth a shot: B.B. King’s ex-valet is a blues legend and rightfully so, and he still has that growl that brings all the ladies out.

 

Also Thurs Aug 21, 9ish, $10, excellent accordion-driven noir gypsy band Guignol plays Europa, 6ish, opening for Defiance Ohio who at their best are sort of the acoustic Anti-Flag, at their worst the acoustic NOFX.

 

Thurs Aug 21 two sensational Americana specialists: Bob Hoffnar leads a quartet on pedal steel at Barbes at 8 PM followed by guitarist Matt Munisteri at 10.

 

Fri Aug 22 the Brandos with the reliably interesting, always potentially dangerous Eric Ambel on guitar play an intimate show at 8 PM at el Taller Latinoamericano, 2710 Broadway (at W. 104th St.), 3rd Fl., New York, tix $20 at the door. Fiery, first-class highway rock like Steve Earle, the Hangdogs or Bodeans with virtuosic Tex-Mex and Irish instrumental flourishes.

 

Also Fri Aug 22 the Brooklyn What play the Brooklyn Lyceum, one assumes in the big downstairs room, 10 PM. Smartly down-to-earth, frequently hilarious, punkishly tuneful band whose signature song I Don’t Want to Go to Williamsburg has become a NYC classic.

 

Also Fri Aug 22, 10 PM the great harmony-driven, politically aware, musically spectacular Hawaiian swing revivalists the Moonlighters play Barbes.

 

Also Fri Aug 22 10:30 PM Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. play Rodeo Bar, possibly three sets. One of the funniest and most original bands in town, period-perfect, 1953-style with their matching suits, oldtime stage patter, harmonies and often remarkably subtly amusing pre-rockabilly hillbilly songs. All-female Stockholm country/punk trio Baskery open the night at 9ish. SITnDIE are also at Otto’s on 8/28 at 8.

 

Also Fri Aug 22, 11 PM scorching garage/punk rockers the Mess Around – who at the top of their game are just as wildly adrenalizing as Radio Birdman – play Trash Bar. Opening at 10 are dark, female-fronted punk/metal act Vagina Panther.

 

Also Fri Aug 22 the reliably romantic, wickedly smart, ever-more-exciting oldtimey Moonlighters play Barbes, 10 PM followed by Nawlins piano guy Bill Malchow (of Jack Grace’s band) at midnight.

 

Also Fri Aug 22, 1 AM (actually the wee hours of Sat Aug 23) Pennsylvania reggae-rockers Three Legged Fox play Arlene’s. Heavier on the reggae than the rock: this is cool, laid-back stuff, not lousy Sublime wannabe crap.

 

Sat-Sun Aug 23-24 it’s the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, starting at 3 both days. On 8/23 at Marcus Garvey Park; 8/24 at Tompkins Square Park. 8/23: pianist Robert Glasper, legendary drummer Rashied Ali, singer Vanessa Rubin and pianist Hank Jones, in order. 8/24: singer Gretchen Parlato, pianist Eric Lewis, legendary bandleader Jerry Gonzalez & Fort Apache and then headliner pianist Randy Weston.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 veteran two-cello-and-drums trio Rasputina plays the Hiro Ballroom, 8:30 PM, $20 adv tix avail at Ticketbastard locations at Macy’s Herald Square, Disc-O-Rama at Union Square East, Macy’s Fulton St. in Brooklyn or J&R Music World on Park Row downtown, so you can pay cash and save yourself the $100 extra it would cost you to buy tix online. Frontwoman Melora Creager is one of the few rockers with the courage to question the official verdict of what really happened on 9/11, and wrote an absolutely haunting, long suite about it. And has a vast catalog of other classically-inflected, hilariously deadpan songs.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 another Unsteady Freddie show at Otto’s starting 8:30ish. This is one of Freddie’s best, starting with an uncommonly good country/rockabilly band, the Long Goodbyes followed by the somewhat stylistically schizophrenic Tarantinos NYC, absolutely kick-ass surf rockers the Outpatients, scorching Dick Dale soundalikes 9th Wave (who also play killer spy themes), the similarly intense, Dick Dale-influence Nebulas and then even more reverb-drenched ecstasy with the Octomen somewhere around 2.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 southern soul legend Irma Thomas plays out back of Lincoln Center at Damrosch Park, 8:30 PM.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 Amy Allison plays Banjo Jim’s, 10 PM. Good choice of Saturday night act. Pantheonic, Aimee Mann-class songwriter: great voice, brilliant lyricist, and very, very funny onstage. Country was her thing for a long time; dark pop has been her latest fixation, resulting in the best songs of her career. She’s one of Elvis Costello’s favorites, which makes sense.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 Johnny Allen plays Terra Blues, 10 PM. A power hitter on the guitar, with a searing, tastefully crescendoing Chicago blues style, and simply one of the most soulful singers in New York.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 Her & Kings County play upstairs at the National Underground, 10:30 PM. Female-fronted country band with a rotating cast of characters, anything from a tight quartet to a sprawling, four-guitar stoked twangfest.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 ferocious Boston surf band the the Nebulas are at Otto’s, 11 PM .

 

Sun Aug 24 an amazing doublebill with the Knitters (which is X playing country songs and country versions of their own classics) along with Patti Smith at Damrosch Park, Lincoln Ctr., the whole thing starts 5:30 PMish but get there early because it will deservedly be a mobscene.

 

Also Sun Aug 24 Catspaw plays Otto’s, 7 PM. This just in from the frequently fiery, female-fronted rockabilly trio’s publicist Svetlana Monsoon: “Renowned physicist/bassist Banj Foxx has perfected his practical application of the theory of gravitational time dilation and special relativity to build a time portal to 1959 in his basement.  Having pinpointed the exact space/time coordinates of the June 7,1959 Amazing Half-Off Sale at Ralph’s Guitar Emporium in Massapequa, he has made plans to travel back in time in order to expand his collection of vintage Gibson ES-335s.  His historic journey has been temporarily postponed, however, because he has been having difficulty, in today’s depressed economic climate, in obtaining a line of credit that extends beyond the normal boundaries of space/time…Erica [Catspaw’s drummer], meanwhile, has traveled to the Middle East to bail out [frontwoman] Jasmine, who reportedly was deported to Syria after an incident that may have involved inappropriate political humor.  The joke in question has since been classified, and there is no official word on whether or not it was funny.”

 

Also Sun Aug 24 a good, dark acoustic doublebill at Spikehill. Razor-sharp, literate tunesmith Erin Regan opens the night at 9 followed by Mark Sinnis at 10. Solo, the Ninth House frontman mines a dark, rustic, terse Nashville gothic vein, more Johnny Cash than Joy Division.

 

Also Sun Aug 24, fiery rockers System Noise play Arlene’s, 10 PM. For a band this loud and ferocious, they sure are tuneful, and frontwoman Sarah Mucho is a force of nature with her sensational range and powerful pipes. Eerie, virtuosic guitar work and a great new album just out.

 

Mon Aug 25 Irish expat Vincent Cross & Good Company bring their authentically raw and rustic sounds to the Parkside, early, 7:15ish to kick off a night of bluegrass.

 

Tues Aug 26, 7 PM darkly moody, female-fronted janglerockers Noirceur play Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. 7 train to Vernon Blvd.-Jackson, walk on 48th Avenue to the East River. The park is in front of the Citylights Building. Also on the bill: the Japanese-American Uzuhi, who alternate between bouncy, upbeat jangly guitar/keyboard pop and generic hardcore.

 

Also Tues Aug 26 panstylistic art-rock rock keyboard goddess Greta Gertler plays the Zipper Theatre at 8 PM – with a string section and special guests.

 

Also Tues Aug 26-31 the Kenny Barron Quartet with Dana Stevens on tenor plus a rhythm section of Kiyoshi Kitagawa and Francisco Mela plays the Village Vanguard, sets at 9 and 11. Popular pianist Barron plays with an intense, percussive physicality which is even more impressive considering how damn fast the guy is: if you like adrenaline and crescendos, this is your fun for the week.

 

Weds Aug 27, 7 PM Latin jazz bassist Ray Martinez plays with his band at Wagner Park.

 

Also Weds Aug 27 Fire in July plays two sets at Caffe Vivaldi, 7:30 and 9:30. Cellist/songstress Jodi Redhage and her band fuse jazz, classical and pop with the same quirky, artsy charm and intelligence as the Penguin Café Orchestra did 20 years ago.

 

Also Weds Aug 27 Alex Battles & the Whisky Rebellion squeeze into the Rockwood, 9 PM. The banjoist/guitarist is one of the best on the Cash/Hank tip right now and has a following that knows it; early arrival advised.

 

Also Weds Aug 27 Reckon So plays Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Guitarist Danny Weiss lives and breathes in the lower registers, the most soulful part of the instrument; his wife and partner in harmonies, Mary Olive Smith has a casually enchanting voice, and the two write some fine, old-school country tunes as well. They’re back here on 9/10 as well.

 

Thurs Aug 28 in the sculpture garden out behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Salvador Dali tribute, sets at 5:30 and 7 PM: Enso String Quartet violinist John Marcus presents a program of quartets, trios, and duos incl. Bach, Ravel and Webern.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who’s created quite a buzz in classical circles, plays Bach, Beethoven and more at a cd release show at le Poisson Rouge, 6:30 PM, cheap $15 adv tix at the box office highly recommended.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 the politically fearless, deliriously fun third-wave ska band the Slackers play a booze cruise aboard the Temptress, leaving 41st St. & the highway at 8, boarding at 7, adv tix $25, absolutely necessary and available at the box ofc, 630 9th Avenue Suite 602 Between 44th and 45th.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 the Paul Carlon Octet plays Cachaca, 35 W 8th, 7 PM. Sax player leads Ellingtonian latin jazz band playing an impressive mix of everything from delta blues to cumbias. This is the cd release show for their new one Roots Propaganda.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 at Issue Project Room, 8 PM, $10, Jozef Van Wissum who “will perform pieces from A Priori on 13 course baroque lute and pieces from Station of the Cross [by Dupre?] for Baroque Lute and manipulated field recordings made at airport lounges and train stations. A priori is minimal hypnotic trance lute palindromes. Sometimes bottleneck is applied on the lute now.” Quiet, minimalist, cerebral yet playful.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 the Robert Charles Band plays Lucille’s Bar, two sets at 8 PM. Back in the late 90s this band had a real good thing going, remarkably terse and potently crescendoing, and the frontman didn’t Pearl Jam his vocals. Worth checking out to see what they’re up to now.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28, 8 PM Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. play Otto’s, 2 sets at 8. One of the funniest and most original bands in town, period-perfect, 1953-style with their matching suits, oldtime stage patter, harmonies and often remarkably subtly amusing pre-rockabilly hillbilly songs. They’re also at Rodeo Bar on 9/4 at 10:30.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28, 8:30 PM alternately haunting and deliciously groove-driven shoegaze/dreampop rockers El Jezel play songs from their new cd The Warm Frequency at Union Hall. Word on the street is that it’s the excellent album that Portishead should have made this year but didn’t.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 recently reunited Austin alt-country satirists the Gourds, best known for their hilarious cover of the Snoop Dogg classic Gin & Juice play the Music Hall of Williamsburg, 10ish, adv tix $15 available at the Mercury box office.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 the Mercenaries play Lakeside, 10 PM. Rock quartet who sound sometimes like Guided by Voices at their most tuneful, otherwise a cut above your average Stonesy bar band like the Izzys.

 

Fri Aug 29 an excellent doublebill at the Jalopy Café with Mississippi hill country-style bluesman Will Scott at 8 and Jan Bell, the British expat who’s better at hauntingly beautiful oldschool American country music than most Yanks, at 9:30. Bell is also at Riverside Park on 9/14 at 2ish for an afternoon show.

 

Also Fri Aug 29 the Figgs play the Knitting Factory, 9ish, no discounted adv tix available. Legendary powerpop trio whose work with Graham Parker is a good indication of how many sparks they can shoot out on their own.

 

Sat Aug 30 the Motels play B.B. King’s, 8 PM, adv tix $25 available at the box office. One of the last of the “good top 40” bands, originally lumped in with the punk movement even though frontwoman Martha Davis was more of a pop siren. And she’s still got that full-throated wail. Take the L!

 

Also Sat Aug 30 one of NYC’s funnest party bands, badass Greek rebetika revivalists Magges play Mehanata, 10 PM. They’re also at Teneleven on Ave. C at 8:30 on 9/28

 

Also Sun Aug 31 roots reggae legend Burning Spear plays Irving Plaza, 10ish, adv tix $35 at the box office and absolutely recommended. Long, hypnotic grooves, dub interludes and a vault full of classic songs: Marcus Garvey, Slavery Days, Columbus, Door Peep, the list goes on and on. Spear’s voice is still there, and his forthcoming studio album is his best in years.

 

 

Mon Sept 1, the annual Coney Island Rockabilly Festival, starting in the afternoon: Catspaw play 3-ish, many more on the bill.

 

Also Mon Sept 1 the pretty much self-explanatory Ukuladies are at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Two “U”s in the name to distinguish themselves from their Australian counterparts. Reputedly they hand out bacon and lottery tix to the audience mid-serenade.

 

 

 

Tues Sept 2 Luminescent Orchestrii play Joe’s Pub, 9:30 PM, adv tix $15 and absolutely necessary: this will sell out. One of the world’s great gypsy bands, fresh off the Dresden Dolls tour, ready to evoke the ghost of every Ukrainian who ever died within a ten-block radius.

 

 

 

Weds Sept 3 the Latin Giants of Jazz (Tito Puente’s backup band) are at Wagner Park, 7 PM. Wow. This is the kind of act you usually see playing huge arenas. Early arrival very strongly advised if you can.

 

 

Thurs Sept 4 a killer doublebill at Joe’s Pub with Chicha Libre and Cordero playing the cd release for their new one. The former play intoxicatingly danceable, psychedelic Peruvian-style surf music, are just as fun live as Gogol Bordello, and you probably know all about them. The latter are Ani Cordero’s first highly-regarded rock en Espanol project (she’s also in Pistolera) which just keeps getting more and more tuneful. This will sell out, adv tix $15 at the box office.

 

Fri Sept 5, NYC’s reigning champion of authentically oldtimey ragtime banjo songs, the drop-dead hilarious Al Duvall plays Hank’s, 9 PM. He’s also at the Jalopy with CW Stoneking (see below) on 9/17 and at Pete’s on 9/18 at 9.

 

Also Fri Sept 5 Randi Russo plays Sidewalk, midnight. Impossible to imagine a better midnight act: dark, brooding outsider anthems, brilliant lyrics, casually graceful charisma and a voice like bloodstained velvet. One of the great songwriters of our time, end of story,

Sat Sept 6 reliably entertaining 60’s style country throwbacks the Jack Grace Band open for semi-legendary Canadian bluegrass band Luther Wright & the Wrongs (you know, the guys who did the bluegrass version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall) play Rodeo Bar, 9 PM.

Also Sat Sept 6 the Coffin Daggers play Otto’s, 11 PM. Still one of the half-dozen best live bands in New York, they’ve stripped down their sound, going back to the tersely macabre, furiously loud guitar-and-organ surf punk sound they started with ten years ago, with richly rewarding results.

Tues Sept 9 Delusions of Grand Street – love that name – play Trash, 9 PM. Refreshingly down-to-earth, smart female-fronted janglepop/rock band. Defiant, funny, tuneful and indelibly New York. Out-of-towners may not get them, but we do.

 

Beginning Weds Sept 10, C.W. Stoneking, the hilarious and strikingly authentic Australian king of oldtimey American hokum blues and minstrel music, plays the Dives of New York Tour in support of his new album Jungle Blues which is reputedly amazing. Several shows here this Sept: 9/10 at the Rockwood, 8 PM; 9/11 at Nublu, 9 PM with Smitty from Otto’s on steel guitar; 9/13 at 9 PM at Pete’s Candy Store with Brownbird Rudy Relic; 9/14 at 9 PM at Barbes with the always excellent Mamie Minch and concluding on 9/17 at 9:30 PM at the Jalopy Theater with the equally sensational, retro Al Duvall.

 

Thurs 9/11 Elisa Flynn plays Sidewalk, 8 PM. Smartly tuneful, imaginatively diverse rocker with a sense of humor, somebody who just gets better and better. Click her myspace for the killer track Soul Minor Daughter.

 

Also Thurs 9/11 the Boss Martians play Don Pedro’s, 9ish, opening for popular, improper, retro Bostonians Muck & the Mires. Wow, what a discovery! Radio Birdman meets the Dickies: crazy sense of humor, murderous city tunes and razorwire guitar. This is the kind of band that could become your favorite in the span of about three minutes. Next time they come through town they should do a doublebill with the Mess Around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri Sept 12 brilliantly melodic southwestern gothic rocker James Apollo plays Pete’s Candy Store, 8 PM. If you can’t afford Giant Sand and missed Calexico the last time they swung through town, this is your shot of tequila.

 

Also Fri Sept 12, if you like your surf music authentically jangly and low-key, Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars play classic and brilliantly obscure covers at Lakeside, 11 PM. If you get lucky they’ll do the formerly obscure Ventures classic Ginza Lights.

 

Sat-Sun Sept 13-14 Michael Arenella and the Dreamland Orchestra bring their brilliant, obscure 20s hot swing jazz to Governor’s Island, daytime shows, watch this space for details.

 

Also Sat Sept 13 the haunting, psychedelic, danceable Arab/African band Sounds of Taraab play Bush Baby, 1197 Fulton St at Bedford Ave in Bed-Stuy, 8 PM.

 

Also Sat Sept 13 intriguing and imaginative Mexican acid jazz band los Musicos de Jose play Joe’s Pub 9:30 PM, adv tix $12 recommended.

 

Also Sat Sept 13 Simon & the Bar Sinisters play Lakeside, 10:15ish (early by Lakeside standards, but Simon likes to play long sets). A true original: raised on punk, addicted to surf, steeped in rockabilly, honest as the day he was born and very funny. And damn, what a guitarist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming: we’ll get links and descriptive info up sooner than later:

 
 

 

 

9/14 Maldita Vecindad at the Gramercy Theatre, adv tix $37.50 available at the Irving Plaza box office

9/15 Pistolera/Lila Downs with her band and with the Mariachi Academy of NY at the Town Hall 8 PM adv tix $25

9/16 Isle of Klezbos at Le Petit Versailles Garden stage  (7:30pm, free!), 346 East Houston St, btw Avenues B & C

9/17 the Dandy Warhols at Terminal 5, 10 PM, adv tix $27 available at the Mercury box office

9/18 Mavrothi Kontanis at Mehanata, 9 PM

9/18-19 the Hangdogs reunite to play a benefit for Iowa flood survivors at Rodeo Bar, 10ish

9/19 Ververitse, an anarchically fun, improvisationally dazzling Balkan brass band featuring members of Ansambl Mastika, Hungry March Band and Romashka play the Jalopy Café, 9 PM.

9/19 Squeeze plays Radio City, adv tix. $39.50 available at the box office

9/19 Matt Keating at Housing Works, time TBA

9/19 guitar just as good and a whole lot cheaper: Chip Robinson plays Lakeside with the Roscoe Trio, 10ish

9/20 Spanking Charlene at Lakeside, 11 PM

9/21 Miss Tess & the Bon Ton Parade play the Jalopy Café, 9 PM. Contralto chanteuse/guitarist fronting an oldtimey band playing everything from ragtime to rockabilly. Historically aware, funny and fun: she’ll take you back for a brisk ride through several decades that were better than this one.

9/21 Giant Sand at the Gramercy Theatre, adv tix $15 at the Irving Plaza box office

9/22 female-fronted dreampop group This Reporter plays Lakeside of all places, 10 PM.

9/26 Dumbo arts festival – Jan Bell, many others

9/27 a free punk show at Tompkins Square Park

Also Sat Sept 27 Pierce Turner plays Joe’s Pub, early, 7 PM, adv tix pricy ($23) available at the box office. Irish singer/songwriter who’s something of the missing link between the Pogues and the Moody Blues, a tremendously good singer and high-voltage live performer.

9/27 Les Chauds Lapins at le Poisson Rouge, 7:30 PM, $25

9/27 Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby at Southpaw, 9 PM

9/27 the Headless Hookers/Jerry Teel & the Big City Stompers at Union Pool, 9 PM.

9/28 Ljova & the Kontraband cd release for their new one Mnemosyne at Joe’s Pub, 7:30 PM, adv tix $18 a must (this will sell out). Frontman/violist Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin is an astonishingly diverse, talented composer who does a ton of film work and has arranged for lots of people including Kayhan Kalhor. This is his ecstatically fun gypsy party band.

10/8 the Wedding Present at Bowery Ballroom, time TBA

10/9 the Wedding Present at Southpaw, time TBA cheaper than Bowery but the sound isn’t as good.

 

10/18 legendary, artsy, psychedelic rock en Espanol band Jaguares at the Nokia Theatre, adv tix $37.50 available at their box office open Mon-Sat noon-6 PM

 

10/18 Kayhan Kalhor at Carnegie Hall, 8:30 PM, adv tix $36 available at the World Music Institute box office

 

10/23 Metropolitan Klezmer at Jalopy Café 8 PM

 

10/25 Los Straitjackets/Laika & the Cosmonauts at Southpaw, 9 PM, adv tix ridiculously cheap at $13 on sale now.

 

10/30 Cypress Hill at the Nokia Theatre, time TBA, adv tix $36 available at their box office Mon-Sat noon-6 PM

 

11/20 Liu Fang (Chinese pipa virtuoso) Symphony Space, 7:30 PM, adv tix $28 at the World Music Institue box office

 

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July 31, 2008 Posted by | Art, Live Events, Music, New York City, NYC Live Music Calendar | 2 Comments

CD Review: Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara – Soul Science

Feel-good story: a friend of British guitarist Justin Adams gives a copy of one of his albums to renowned Gambian singer and ritti (one-string fiddle) player Juldeh Camara. Camara promptly calls Adams, hoping to collaborate. Adams is flattered and immediately agrees. It turns out that Adams has known Camara’s playing for a long time, having heard him, uncredited, on an album of traditional music. Within a half-hour of meeting, the chemistry between the two musicians is electric, and they starting writing songs. Fortuitously, they made an album out of it.

 

What it sounds like is Ali Farka Toure on speed. Adams has gone on record as saying that he eschews flashy playing, but that’s not exactly true. As the lead guitarist in Jah Wobble’s band in the late 80s and early 90s, Adams dazzled with his ability to play an astonishing number of different styles, and wasn’t exactly averse to setting the crowd ablaze with a solo or two. But having come up during the punk movement, Adams also plays with a remarkable terseness, preferring to bring an idea or emotion to life rather than indulging in any kind of overt ostentation. For the most part here, it’s Camara who gets to show off his blazing speed and love of rapid runs punctuated by double stops, or hammer-ons as the stylistic device would be called in guitar terminology. This album is syncretism raised to a power: the melodies may be mostly hypnotic, African desert blues, but intermingled with tunes and motifs from literally all over the map. One of the tracks on the album begins with languid, expressive blues guitar straight out of the Junior Kimbrough songbook – and then Camara comes in with his fiddle, playing an Irish jig melody. Another song is set to a straight-up Bo Diddley beat. They also do a one-chord boogie that could be proto-John Lee Hooker. Musicologists will have their hands full with plenty of chicken-or-the-egg questions here, but regardless of whether it was the African or the westerner who brought it to the party, it’s all good. This culminates as the album goes along, particularly when the two players lay down a trip-hop beat. Except that there’s no drum machine: it’s just a swinging 4/4 beat, emphasis on the one and the three. To call this psychedelic is a vast understatement.

 

Camara sings and writes the lyrics, a mix of indigenous languages. The cd’s lyric booklet provides a somewhat literal translation, revealing a considerable sense of humor. In one song, he pokes fun at tribal names, accusing the Jawos of gluttony. But, “In as much as I tease the Jawos, they are also great people. They love their culture and they adore and promote their musicians.” Go Jawos!

 

In Ngamen (Let’s Dance), Camara promises that “If you wish, I can stay up and play all night for you. Or, if it happens to be morning, I will play til noon.” And on the following track, he urges us to “remember the people of Fuladu; they love to party.” Anyone who feels kinship with the people of Fuladu (or who enjoys Ali Farka Toure, or Tinariwen, Toumast or their brethren) will enjoy this album immensely.

July 30, 2008 Posted by | Music, Reviews | 1 Comment

Newsville Washington with Lisa Lost and Frankie Monroe Live in NYC 7/30/08

This summer’s latest reminder that if a band can perform even reasonably well under nasty circumstances, they’re definitely worth seeing at a more comfortable hour of the night in an airconditioned club. Ever see a singer-songwriter with a good melodic sense play solo and wish they had a good band behind them? Today Newsville Washington had the good sense to do just that. Washington writes catchy, tuneful, upbeat pop with an occasional ska or rocksteady edge and sings in a pleasant, thoughtful voice with just the hint of a rasp. He also has something of a social conscience, starting his outdoor, noontime set at Liberty Park in the Financial District solo, backed by just a beatbox, delivering a Linton Kwesi Johnson-inflected rap deploring guns and violence. Then he picked up his acoustic guitar and played a politically charged number possibly titled World of Denial before bringing up the rest of the crew.

 

Which was the story of the day: Washington had brought along Lisa Lost and Frankie Monroe from DollHouse. For a couple of years around the turn of the century, the noir rockers were arguably the best live band in New York. With their eerie three-part harmonies, ominous tunesmithing and surreal lyrics about suicide attempts, monster marriages and people who only come out at night, DollHouse pretty much ruled the small clubs until they broke up a couple of years later. Playing with Washington, Lost played rock-solid rhythm through a watery chorus effect pedal and sang characteristically crystalline harmonies while Monroe – one of the smartest bass players in all of rock – essentially served as lead guitarist while propelling the unit with his innovative, surprise-packed, fluidly reggae-inflected lines. They ran through a bunch of pleasantly breezy originals, a couple of love songs and an aptly timed number about chilling out during the summer when it gets too hot to function.

 

“I think we should all support the troops,” Lost said emphatically while introducing a somewhat darker song possibly called Soldiering On. “We should make sure they get the hospitalization, and the medical care they need. We should bring them all home – we don’t belong over there anyway.”  Spoken just a stone’s throw away from the belly of the beast, Wall Street, her comments took on a special significance.

 

Then they played the DollHouse classic Smile. It’s a fast, upbeat, pretty ska number on the theme of unity and coming together that bounces off an irresistible, major-to-minor hook and builds from there. Lost sang it with the same effortless joy as she did in her old band, a poignant reminder of a better time and place before 9/11 and the explosion of multimillion-dollar plastic luxury condos. After about 45 minutes under a makeshift tent provided by the Parks Department, the trio called it an afternoon. The only thing marring the show – other than the awful weather – was the drum machine that kept cutting in and out throughout the set, inevitably returning in places where it was especially unwelcome. Lost and Monroe both have excellent timing: why even bring the thing?

 

Aside from that, if intelligent, fun songwriting is your thing, Washington is someone well worth seeing. Especially if he has Lost and Monroe behind him.

July 30, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | 1 Comment

Concert Review from the Archives: The Moody Blues at River Stage, NYC 7/30/90

[Editor’s note: it’s not like we haven’t been out in awhile. The Lenny Molotov/Les Chauds Lapins doublebill at Pete’s last Thursday was a sonic fiasco but excellent nonetheless. A trip upstate over the weekend proved to be no respite from the heat. Back on Monday, we decided to treat ourselves to Chicha Libre’s last Barbes show of the summer (they’ll be back in September after a tour), and then a quick couple of trains over to Williamsburg to catch Rev. Vince Anderson’s first set. But all of these people you know, that is, if you know this site at all (if you don’t, we’ve given these acts a lot of press, because they’re so good: you can find out all about them if you go to the index). In the meantime, to keep the front page fresh, here’s one from way, way back in the day.]

Veteran cosmic rockers the Moody Blues gave a sweeping, majestic performance – far from being over the hill, the band looks better than ever, and the chemistry between band members is impressive. It’s hard to imagine another band looking so relaxed and having such a good time onstage. Their new sound is a mix of lush synth orchestration combined with frontman/guitarist Justin Hayward’s powerful, jangly rhythm playing. The sound mix was superb, especially for an outdoor show, allowing Hayward’s invariably interesting solos and Marty Willson-Piper style chordal work to cut through the huge, majestic wash of string synth. With such an interesting treatment, all the old chestnuts sounded brand-new. They opened with Never Comes the Day, a surprising choice considering that it was an album cut that didn’t get radio airplay, but it set the tone of the night as they dug in and cranked it up loud. Nights in White Satin (without the long spoken-word intro on the album, or the gong at the end, for that matter) was the big crowd-pleaser, also turned into a big, blazing rocker in contrast to the lush, uber-romantic version on the album. Likewise, an energetic version of Tuesday Afternoon was short and sweet. The Voice was surprisingly hot, driven by fiery, distorted Hayward guitar work. Story in Your Eyes was as loud and driving as anticipated, but not up to the level of fury on the record. The high point of the night was a towering, guitar-driven version of I Know You’re Out There Somewhere. With all the cheesy electronics and slick production, the single doesn’t pack much of a punch, but this did. Stripped down to just the four band members – who’ve been together as a unit since Days of Future Passed – along with the duo of backup singers and Patrick Moraz on keys – it was reinvented as a janglerock anthem, Hayward playing his big, vintage red Gretsch with propulsive, clanging fire. Ultimately, it’s a song about redemption, about finally finding your muse after having lost it for a long time, and the longing and exhilaration of that struggle couldn’t have been more intensely put across than it was tonight.

They closed the show segueing from Legend of a Mind into The Question and then their usual closer, the riff-rocking Ride My See-Saw. By the end of the show, we’d finished a whole bottle of rum, smoked probably a pack of Newports and then, seeing the popcorn stand unattended, made off with a gigantic, four-foot brick of crunchy deliciousness that would ultimately last more than a week. No doubt all this enhanced the overall experience.

July 30, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | Leave a comment

Concert Review from the Archives: Joe Louis Walker, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Scotty Moore and Ike Turner in Central Park 7/26/97

A fair approximation of what the Robert Cray/Albert Collins/Johnny Copeland album Showdown might have sounded like, live. Roomful of Blues opened the outdoor show with a set of pedestrian, swingy blues. Joe Louis Walker followed, backed by an excellent band featuring a terrific rhythm guitarist who only got one solo all night long but made the most of it. Walker is the absolute real deal: the guy can play. His opening tune was a long, extended number, possibly titled Hip Shaking Mama, featuring all kinds of searing, distorted solos on a black Gibson solidbody. Another original, Slipping and Sliding was next, and just as long, Walker switching to a Les Paul, playing with in an open tuning with a slide and this was as good as Sonny Rhodes at his best. It was pretty obvious that Walker knew this would be a shootout, and he was trying his best to establish himself as the meanest guitarslinger onstage before the others appeared.

Matt “Guitar” Murphy, of Blues Brothers fame, was the first to join him. Early on, he tried several of his trademark lightining-fast triplets and couldn’t get off the ground with them, so he stuck wailing furiously up and down on chords and burning through innumerable, supersonic blues runs, and ended up stealing the show. It’s hard to imagine Murphy, or for that matter any lead guitarist, turning in a more exciting performance than Murphy’s today: pretty impressive, considering the rest of the crew who would be up there with him. After a gentle, jazz-inflected solo in the duo’s first song together, he took a fiery, searing one in the next tune that had everything a good solo should have: spectacular speed, melodicism and a point to drive home, hard. Later he took another one but lost focus and fell back into triplet mode. At that point, Walker, who was playing rhythm, hit his distortion pedal and really slammed out his chords, as if to say, Matt, get your act together. Which Murphy did, spectacularly.

Scotty Moore, the legendary lead player in Elvis Presley’s original band then joined them, somewhat of a fish out of water. He comes from an earlier era, a jazzier, more reflective school of lead playing, like Les Paul or an even mellower Jimmy Rogers. He looked lost up there more often than not, surrounded by so much adrenaline: ostentation is not his thing. Walker savagely stepped all over the outro to one of Moore’s solos, bringing the intensity up to redline again in seconds flat.

Then Ike Turner joined the fray, first playing sensationally good, fast, brightly chordal blues piano, then wailing on a Strat running through all kinds of effects: chorus, digital delay and then a phaser. Which was showy, assuring him the spotlight whenever he took a solo, regardless of what he played. Although he was also excellent, using short bursts a la Albert Collins from time to time and with the phaser, this was intense and extremely entertaining. They did Rocket 88 as Turner returned to the piano and sang it; vocally, he’s lost quite a bit. Later, they all did Mystery Train, showcasing Moore again. Their lone encore had all five of the guitarists soloing and playing off each other and rather than sounding like Phish, this was amazing, Moore even being swept up in the madness and turning in his most incisive, bluesy solo of the night. A frequently transcendent, historically significant show.

July 26, 2008 Posted by | blues music, concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CD Review: Tim Kuhl – Ghost

If you’re familiar with the popular bar band the Izzys (who’ve been playing Saturday nights at Lakeside off and on for the better part of two years now) and wonder where they get that swinging Charlie Watts groove, that’s Tim Kuhl behind the drums. Kuhl also leads a first-class jazz sextet. This cd, Ghost, is their auspicious debut. It’s an impressively diverse collection of melodically and rhythmically captivating songs without words. Kuhl’s compositions are remarkably tuneful, and the crew he’s assembled: Mark Aanderud on piano; Nir Felder on electric guitar; JC Kuhl on saxes; Rick Parker on trombone and Jeff Reed on bass sink their teeth into them with gusto.

Predictably, the cd’s upbeat opening track Versus kicks off with a brief drum figure, anchored by soaring, tandem horns over vividly incisive piano and frenetic guitar runs. The title track is a beautiful song, even if it’s not particularly sepulchral, starting slowly with pensive electric guitar chords, in fact an indie rock chord progression, followed by buoyant horns. Eventually the piano comes in, comfortable and loungey, running down from the tinkling upper registers and back again. Then the trombone kicks in and the pace picks up before reverting to the original theme, the horns holding everything together. Dr. Doom builds over a spy theme in 9/4 on the piano as the guitar and horns mix and match and intermingle crazily. Nemesis reverts to a darkly thoughtful vibe, Aanderud’s coloristic piano matched by JC Kuhl’s balmy, ambient lines.

The tongue-in-cheek Eye of the Beholder begins with a drum solo, a strikingly terse fanfare on mostly the snare and the toms, the kind of thing you’d play if you were in a brick-lined room so as not to damage your ears or drive out the crowd with all the high frequencies bouncing off the walls. Likewise, Boogie Monsters of Swing is neither a boogie nor straight-up swing; instead, the rhythm section and piano get busy while the horns announce an action theme before jumping into the pandemonium. The cd concludes with a brief guitar fragment that might have fallen out onto the cutting room floor. Rating: four smacks upside the head with a drumstick – it’s not everyday that you hear original jazz as melodic or interesting as this. Kuhl’s next jazz gig is August 17 at 8 at the Lucky Cat with a new crew: stay tuned.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CD Review: Marcel Khalifé – Taqasim

One of the most intensely beautiful albums of recent years, a high point in the career of the world-renowned, Lebanese-born oud player, songwriter and composer. Time may well judge this cd to be a classic. Khalifé has emphasized that he wanted it to be plaintive without being maudlin. His methodology: to write strictly for the low tonalities of the oud, upright bass and percussion. The result is perhaps more successful than anyone could have imagined, an extraordinarily lyrical achievement, the low frequencies making it as hypnotic as it is riveting. Taqasim (Arabic for jam or improvisation) is a suite consisting of three roughly 20-minute instrumentals. It’s deep, rich, and gorgeously melodic, yet at the same time very disquieting.

Taqasim is first and foremost a homage to controversial, maverick Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, a writer who has profoundly influenced Khalifé’s work over the years. “The man who is in harmony with his society, his culture, with himself, cannot be a creator,” Darwish wrote, and this album bolsters his argument. Not everything here is troubled: there are several upbeat, frankly optimistic passages, but ultimately this is an anguished, tormented work, something one would expect from a composer who’s been exiled for fighting for peace and refusing to submit to the status quo for decades.

Part one begins with Khalifé introducing a stately, resignedly mournful theme, to which bassist Peter Herbert responds deliberately and methodically. From there, it builds to a surprisingly upbeat dance. Part two is set mostly in darkness: this time, the bass introduces its theme with quiet anguish, bowed notes quietly wailing into the upper registers, a melody that a violin or ney flute would typically carry. This time Khalifé responds with aplomb. But in stark contrast with the suite’s first movement, the dance moves deeper and deeper into the shadows, a nimbly negotiated labyrinth of permutations of the ominous Arabic hijaz scale. The third movement quickly grows lush, and pitch black. Khalifé’s theme is apprehensive, climbing briskly to a false exit with a bass solo and then, with what sounds like an oud orchestra, building to another long, eerie dance. Cinematically, it’s rain in an olive grove. But it’s unseasonably cold, and the wind grows harsh, tearing at everything in its path. The outcome looks bleak, but the group perseveres. And then it’s over.

Recorded at Water Music in Hoboken, NJ (a studio quickly gaining the legendary status of places like Abbey Road or the Hit Factory), the room where the group recorded has amazing natural reverb, the result being a vast wash of echoey textures that make the three instruments here frequently sound like thirty. Khalifé is one of the great innovators of our time, a musician who refuses to accept any preconceived limitation on his oud playing. Characteristically, Taqasim is a showcase for both his remarkably chordal approach and his lightning-fast attack on the strings. Both bassist Herbert and percussionist Bachar Khalifé (Marcel’s son, who also plays with the genre-bending Parisian psychedelic Middle Eastern jazz group Bace Quartet) play with an intuitive sense that borders on the telepathic. If this is just a jam (though from the intricacy of the melodies here, it’s likely a good percentage of it was composed beforehand), it ranks with Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue as one of the best ever captured live.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Music, Reviews | Leave a comment

Joyce Jones in Concert at Trinity Church, NYC 7/24/08

The reliably superb, annual summertime festival of organ concerts at Trinity Church always has a theme, and this year’s is “Organ Divas.” The artist who played today is perhaps the prototype. A legend in organ circles, Baylor University Professor Joyce Jones is something of a ham, a performer just as likely to play a supersonic Flight of the Bumblebee on the pedals as she is to keep the audience in stitches with a seemingly endless supply of puns, some of them pretty corny, delivered in a deadpan Texas accent. Self-effacing, down-home persona aside, Jones reaffirmed what an extraordinarily imaginative, sensitive and original a player she is.

Virtually every organist good enough to tour major cities has superior chops, and Jones’ are among the best. But what invariably impresses the most is how different her approach is, and how much fun she clearly has playing. Today “The Accidental Organist,” as she bills herself – a piano major in college, she hurt her hand and only turned to the organ as a way to practice to keep herself sharp until it healed – opened with Leo Sowerby’s Pageant. As the title implies, it’s a big, stately, optimistic piece that opens with the kind of pedal figure that Jones has made her trademark. She followed that with an idiosyncratic but absolutely brilliant version of the famous Bach Passaglia and Fugue in C Minor (BMV 582). Introducing the piece, she told the crowd that while a student, her playing had come to sound “like it was sprayed with Lysol disinfectant” due to overwork and perhaps overthinking. But this was anything but sterile. A lot of organists hurry through it to get to the big crescendos, but Jones took her time, making it a casual but deliberate stroll through the work’s swells and ebbs, using several different registrations to vary the tonal quality of particular sections she’d singled out. In Bach’s day, registrations were left pretty much up to the individual organist, meaning that Jones was fully within her rights to do this. And it was stunning, particularly when she balanced a fast pedal solo with screaming, upper-register chords, against which the pedal melody was only semi-audible.

She then played Marcel Dupre’s brief Fileuse, a striking contrast and showcase for speed with its somewhat hypnotic, circular upper-register motif, something akin to the Flight of the Bumblebee as the melody circles against an airy, repetitive arpeggio. Introducing the final number on the program, Liszt’s remarkably melodic, climactic Fantasie and Fugue on the hymn Ad Nos, ad Salutarem Undam, she explained how it was influenced by the composer’s student Julius Reubke (who went on to write the legendary, vengeful Sonata on the 94th Psalm) as well the Merrybeer opera The Prophet. Which makes sense: Liszt seems like someone who would be especially fond of bombast. Jones made the point that the work could be called the first real organ symphony, considering how long and segmented it is, and like the Bach she absolutely nailed it. Afterward, she rewarded the audience for their two standing ovations with a brief, percussive transcription of a Prokofiev piano toccata – a sort of organist’s revenge for all the piano and orchestral transcriptions of classic organ works – and then a classicized arrangement of The Church in the Wildwood. “If you didn’t hear this growing up, well then, you were deprived,” Jones deadpanned. No doubt she would have kept playing, and the audience would have stayed much longer, had this been possible.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | classical music, concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New York City Live Music Calendar – End of July/August 2008

This calendar was new last week but it’s not this week! Here’s a link to the new one!

Constant updates: this thing is growing like Jason Giambi’s head. As usual, we start with weekly events, followed by the daily calendar. If you don’t recognize one of the places where a show is happening, click on our Venues page.

 

Sundays from half past noon to 3:30 PM, bluegrass cats Freshly Baked (f.k.a. Graveyard Shift), featuring excellent, incisive fiddle player Diane Stockwell play Nolita House (upstairs over Botanica at 47 E Houston).

 

Every Sunday, Michael Arenella & the Dreamland Dance Band play sly yet boisterous oldtimey hot jazz during a brunch set at Bar Tabac on Smith St. in Brooklyn Heights from about half past noon to 4 PM.

 

Sundays Sean Kershaw & the Terrible Two (that’s the New Jack Ramblers minus a couple fingers & toes) play the upstairs roof deck at Rocky Sullivan’s, 34 Van Dyke St at Dwight St in Red Hook, 1-4 PM. Free ferry from Manhattan (pier 11,Wall St.) and free shuttle buses from the F&G trains at Smith-9th St, the F,M,R at 4th Ave, and the 2,3,4,5,M,N,R at Borough Hall.

 

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.

 

Every Sunday in July at Rehab (note that the series is not happening in August) it’s Reminisce Reggae Sunday, in tribute to the great series at the now-defunct Reminisce Lounge on the upper east with live bands starting at 8 PM. No cover, and what promises to be as comfortably multicultural a hang as it was ten years ago.

 

Sundays in July Sasha Dobson plays Pete’s Candy Store at 8:30 PM. Jazz chanteuse on the serious Brazilian tip: musically, she’s where Snorah Jones should hope to be in five years.

 

Sundays in August at 9 PM, sensational gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel – who’s been incorporating a lot of other influences, particularly Middle Eastern, into his sound – plays Barbes.

 

Every Sunday, hip-hop MC Big Zoo hosts the long-running End of the Weak rap showcase at the Pyramid, 9 PM, admission $5 before 10, $7 afterward. This is one of the best places to discover some of the hottest under-the-radar hip-hop talent, both short cameos as well as longer sets from both newcomers and established vets

 

Mondays in July (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 is the lead soloist on baritone sax.

 

Also Mondays in July (note that they’re NOT playing here in August) the Barbes house band, Chicha Libre plays there starting around 9:30. 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 in July at 9 PM – note that the band will not be here in August – the boisterous and very popular brass-heavy gypsy jazz band Slavic Soul Party plays Barbes at 9. Get here as soon as you can as the opening act is usually popular as well.

 

Tuesdays in July,  El Ritmo Southside plays Rose Bar in Williamsburg, 11 PM. A classic-style NYC Latin descarga playing the salsa, mambo, cha-cha, rhumba etc. of the masters: Palmieri, Puente, Barretto, the Fania era, featuring Antonio Rodriguez – congas, Jon Uman – timbales, Tommy Mattioli – vibraphone, Andy Cotton – bass

 

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 68 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.

 

Also every Wednesday, the Nat Lucas Organ Trio plays jazz at Lenox Lounge uptown, sets from 8 PM to midnight.

 

Thursdays in July, through August 7 at 1 PM there are free organ concerts at Trinity Church. This year’s theme is Organ Divas, an impressive mix of women performers. The new digital organ (which replaced the old pipe organ destroyed on 9/11) is virtually indistinguishable from its analog cousin.

 

Also Thursdays starting July 13, there’s a series of concerts inspired by Salvador Dali in the sculpture garden behind MOMA, two sets at 5:30 and 7 PM, admission free with MOMA’s exorbitant $20 admission (see if you have any friends who have a corporate membership through their jobs). Highlights of the series are listed below in the monthly calendar.

 

The Latino Cultural Festival at the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona begins July 23.Check the daily calendar below for highlights.

 

 

The first major JMW Turner exhibit in the US in many moons is up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through mid-September. Might be a good idea to wait til, say, August to check it out (or get there early in the day if you can).

 

Mon-Tues July 21-22 Alanna Fugate plays Banjo Jim’s, 8 PM. Rootsy, rustic fingerstyle guitarist/songwriter from Louisville, something like a more oldtimey Kirsten Williams. Smarter than your average folkie, nice country gospel voice.

 

Tues July 22 the Dirty Jerz’ finest hip-hop veterans, Naughty by Nature play Queensbridge Park, 41 Ave., Bridge Plaza, Vernon Blvd. & East River, 7 PM arrival highly advised.

 

Also Tues July 22 Jarvis Cocker plays Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen, 10ish, adv tix $37.50 available at the Mercury box office. Expensive, sure, but the guy was the frontman in Pulp, the best British band of the 90s. He still has that withering cynicism and simmering rage and can still write a lyric with the best of them.

 

Tues July 22 the Second Fiddles play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM, with the irrepressible and wickedly fun Bliss Blood from the Moonlighters sitting in on ukelele and vocals. Catchy, smartly arranged, obscure and original hokum blues and hillbilly tunes from the 20s and 30s.

 

Also Weds July 23 Al Duvall plays at 6:30 PM followed eventually on the bill by the Wiyos playing their rousing oldtimey stuff around 8:30 at the Tobacco Warehouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, free.

 

Also Weds July 23, 7 PM at Rockefeller Park downtown it’s the Punch Brothers playing bluegrass, featuring Chris Thile (ex-Nickel Creek mandolinist).

 

Also Weds July 23 Bahamadia plays Brower Park, Brooklyn Ave. & Prospect Park Pl in Crown Heights, C train to Kingston Ave., 7 PM. One of hip-hop’s finest women lyricists, someone who can rock the party and make you smile while she brings the smart, intensely conscious vibes.

 

Weds July 23 Aphrodesia plays Shrine uptown at 8 PM. Tight, tuneful, completely original Bay area Afrobeat band mixing reggae, soukous, hi-life and more into a fiery, horn-driven blend, some of it quiet and downtempo, the rest as rousing as you would expect. If you like Antibalas you’ll like this crew. They’re also at Zebulon the night before, 7/22 if sound quality isn’t important to you.

 

Thursday, July 24 in the garden behind MOMA, sets at 5:30 and 7 as part of the ongoing Dali festival: Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra, a big brass band playing obscure “voodoo jazz” from the 20s along with cartoon and silent film scores.

 

Also Thurs July 24, 7 PM in East River Park at the Band Shell along the East River between Grand & Jackson Sts., a performance by KRS-One. One of the greats from the golden age of hip-hop, his freestyles back in the 80s and 90s are the stuff of legend. He’s become awfully preachy and hasn’t put out a good album in ages, but the potential for some mind-altering lyricism is always there.

 

Also Thurs July 24, 7 PM at Banjo Jim’s NYC sirens Amanda Thorpe and Lianne Smith play as part of the Mad Ripple Hootenany, a series of pickup band shows put together to feature popular Minneapolis musicians playing with some of the crème de la crème here. Just hearing Thorpe and Smith on the same stage could be transcendent, especially if the backing unit is up to it.

 

Also Thurs July 24 jazzy Peruvian chanteuse Corina Bartra plays the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona, out past the tennis stadium, 8 PM. Adv tix cheapest if you get the $54 three-pack which gets you three concerts at this year’s Latino Cultural Festival, ridiculously inexpensive considering the quality of the acts on the bill. Other festival highlights listed below.

 

Also Thurs July 24 Smokey Robinson plays a free concert at Asser Levy Park at Coney Island, 8 PM. This is the only one of this summer’s concert series here that’s worth seeing: his voice isn’t what it used to be, but so what, he still has a ton of classics and he’ll probably pull a lot of them out of the bag.

 

Also Thurs July 24 a killer double bill at Pete’s with brilliant blues guitarist and songwriter Lenny Molotov and his rustic trio followed by lush, romantic, charming French chanson revivalists les Chauds Lapins, 9 PM.

 

Also Thurs July 24 virtuoso bluegrass cats Vincent Cross & Good Company play Hill Country, two sets at 9.

 

Also Thurs July 24 the Mercenaries play Lakeside, 10 PM. Rock quartet who sound sometimes like Guided by Voices at their most tuneful, otherwise a cut above your average Stonesy bar band like the Izzys.

 

Also Thurs July 24 Mighty High plays Trash, 10 PM. Completely over the top, Spinal Tap-ish early 70s style metal, i.e. they just want to get MIGHTY HIGH. Nobody in the band seems to take themselves all that seriously, a big plus. Could be a lot of fun if you’re in the, um, mood.

 

Thurs July 24 the Phantom Rockers play better-than-average ghoulabilly (is there such a thing as average ghoulabilly?) at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.

 

Fri July 25, 6:30 PM, free with museum admission it’s Moroccan night at the Queens Museum of Art featuring sensational oud player/bandleader Rachid Halihal (a longtime member of Rachid Taha’s band), plus dance, plus a 90-minute documentary, I Love Hip-Hop in Morocco. 7 train to Shea Stadium and walk through the park across the street from Shea.

 

Also Fri July 25, 9:30 PM Elysian Fields play Joe’s Pub, adv tix $15 and absolutely necessary, this will sell out. One of the great New York noir rock bands, Jennifer Charles’ dark, sultry vocals mingling with Oren Bloedow’s eerie guitar soundscapes.

 

Also Fri July 25 Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 play his old band the Dream Syndicate’s classic album Days of Wine & Roses all the way through at Maxwell’s, 10ish, $15. Recorded live in the studio in just two days, the record is one of the greatest noise-rock albums of alltime, enormously influential on scores of dirty guitar bands who came afterward. Live, drummer Linda Pitmon sings the one that DS bassist Kendra Smith sang on the album, and the rest of the band do justice to the original with an unbridled ferocity.

 

Also Fri July 25, the Brian Jonestown Massacre play Terminal 5, 10ish, adv tix available at the Mercury box office. Kind of pricy for a garage band, but these guys sound just like they stepped out of 1967, both sonically and songwise.


Also Fri July 25 Moonlighters’ frontwoman Bliss Blood’s spectacularly good barrelhouse blues band Delta Dreambox plays Barbes, 10 PM.

 

Also Fri July 25 the Demolition String Band play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Like the country side of X, but better: guy/girl vocals, a mandolinist frontwoman who can match her scorching lead guitarist in intensity and an insanely catchy, good new album out.

 

Sat July 26, there’s a Johnny Cash tribute feat. great country/rock chanteuse Laura Cantrell, oldtimey harmony group Ollabelle, John Doe of X, Jay Farrar, cantorial riff-rockers Sway Machinery, soul/blues siren Catherine Russell et al. at the World Financial Ctr., 7 PM

 

Also Sat July 26 an amazingly hip, free doublebill at Kingsborough Community College Arts Performing Arts Ctr., of all places, in Brighton Beach. Rob Curto’s Sanfonia Project who open at 7:30 are another of the noted accordionist’s Brazilian jazz combos; the spectacular Sounds of Taarab, who headline, play music from Zanzibar, hauntingly slinky Arab melodies over bouncy African beats and have one of the most adrenalizing accordionists around as well as a great new album.

 

Also Sat July 26 the Asylum Street Spankers play two separate shows, 7:30 and 11:30 PM at Joe’s Pub, adv tix $20 and absolutely necessary. The late show is especially recommended since these wild, somewhat theatrical oldtimey Texas throwbacks will probably have had a few by then. Hokum blues, hillbilly tunes, satirical country covers of punk songs and more.

 

Also Sat July 26 Washington, DC blues guitarist Bobby Radcliff plays Lucille’s Bar, 8 PM, two sets. A rare player who doesn’t let his blinding speed distract him from terseness and melody. As good at funk as darkly meandering, minor-key blues, he also bears something of a resemblance to Chewbacca the wookie! He’s back here on Aug 9 at 8 also

 

Also Sat July 26 the Sweet Bitters play Pete’s Candy Store, 9 PM. Good choice for a Saturday night: Sharon Goldman and Nina Soka, the two irrepressible sirens in this ultra-catchy, very smart harmony-pop group are both deviously funny and have a terrific way with a catchy hook. They’ve got a great new ep out.

 

Also Sat July 26 the Brooklyn What play Freddy’s Bar, 10ish. This is the punkish group responsible for the classic song I Don’t Wanna Go to Williamsburg, which, if every one of their other songs sucked (they don’t), would still make this show worth seeing. I DON’T WANNA GO TO NORTHSIX!!! I DON’T WANNA HEAR THE FUCKING HOLD STEADY!!!

 

Also Sat July 26, 10 PM, from the Barbes website: “La Cumbiamba Eneye: La Cumbiamba blends traditional instruments from the African Diaspora in Colombia, with indigenous and European instruments to play the traditional Colombian music that developed through the colonial era and continues to evolve.” I.E. this is the roots of what Chicha Libre plays: if you like them, you should go to this show.

 

Also Sat July 26 NYC rockabilly/western swing stars Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers play Hill Country, 10 PM.

 

Also Sun July 27 Argentinian jangle/flamenco rockers Los Pinguos, whoever’s left of Jamaican ska inventors the Skatalites and then acoustic blues/folk guy Taj Mahal are at Central Park Summerstage, 3 PM.

 

Sun July 27 alternately jazzy and atmospherically haunting, female-fronted pan-Orientalist band Pharaoh’s Daughter play Pier 1 on the upper West, 7 PM, songs in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

 

Also Sun July 27 the incomparably fun low-frequency trio Moisturizer – bass, drums and baritone sax, and spawling, ambient, psychedelic jazz megaplex Burnt Sugar are at Zebulon, 10ish.

 

Mon July 28 a great old-school punk bill at Europa starting at 9ish with the False Prophets, Bad Luck Charms feat. Kerry Martinez of US Bombs and then Shattered Faith. The openers were one of NYC’s best punk bands in the 80s, an amusingly theatrical, musically ambitious crew; the Bad Luck Charms have a Dead Boys/Dolls feel; the headliners go way, way back to the early 80s and wrote one of the era’s great Reagan assasination songs. No idea which original members of any of them are left. VOTE REAGAN…IN 1984!!!!!

 

Also Mon July 28 Daria Grace & the Prewar Ponies play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Grace was Bliss Blood’s original foil in the Moonlighters; since then, she’s gone on to play bass in Melomane as well as her husband Jack’s excellent band. This is her own gorgeously rustic, romantic oldtimey project.

 

Tues July 29 sensational Venezuelan acoustic guitarist Aquiles Baez plays the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona, 8 PM as part of the ongoing Latino Cultural Festival, tix ridiculously cheap at $10. He brings a smartly rustic, original sensibility to a wide range of genres from jazz to classical.


Also Tues July 29, 10:30 PM Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. play Rodeo Bar, possibly three sets, this time with strippers (according to the Rodeo Bar website). One of the funniest and most original bands in town, period-perfect, 1953-style with their matching suits, oldtime stage patter, harmonies and often remarkably subtly amusing pre-rockabilly hillbilly songs
.

 

Weds July 30, half past noon, Jamaican expat reggae singer Newsville Washington plays a free outdoor show with the former frontwoman and bassist from NY noir rock legends DollHouse (the great Lisa Lost and Frankie Monroe) at Liberty Park (Liberty btw Broadway/Church) downtown.


Also Weds July 30 the Theremin Project opens for John Zorn’s Cobra at the Tobacco Warehouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park, free, 7:30ish. The former promises to be impressively lyrical and melodic; the latter, possibly Zorn’s most-played piece manages to steer clear of the annoying kitsch that’s plagued his otherwise frequently eerie, klezmerish work.

 

Also Weds July 30 through Aug 2 brilliant Jamaican jazz pianist Monty Alexander plays Birdland with his trio 7/30-31 & Caribbean Sextet 8/1-2, shows at 9 and 11, your best bet is general admission for $30. Vividly tuneful, proudly Jamaican, he’s come a long way since his days as a generically bluesy guy back in the 70s. His collaborations with guitarist Ernie Ranglin are the stuff of legend, especially the live shows. No matter what he’s up to now, he’s worth seeing.

 

Also Weds July 30, Aimee Mann‘s show at Highline Ballroom and the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Aug 1 are SOLD OUT.

 

Weds July 30 the Unknown Invisibles play Ace of Clubs, 9 PM. Pretty good stuff, stylistically all over the place: Tom Waits, 80s art-rock like the Church, Neil Young-inflected rock.

 

Thurs July 31 in the garden behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Dali festival, Layali El Andalus plays two sets at 5:30 and 7. One of the best bands in New York, they blend classic Levantine dance music with frontman/oud player Halihal’s native Algerian songs as well as Sephardic and – obviously – Andalusian material. You’ll feel like you just wandered into Beirut’s coolest club, circa 1935.

 

Also Thurs July 31 popular, extroverted Irish band Flogging Molly play a bill with even more popular goth-folk guy/girl duo O’Death at Pier 54 in Hudson River Park at 14th St. and the water, 6 PM, not sure who’s opening for whom but it should be good either way.

 

Also Thurs July 31, 8 PM-ish Willie Colon plays the bandshell at East River Park, East River Park on the LES between Grand & Jackson Sts. “El Malo,” i.e. the bad-guy trombonist has been a salsa icon – he introduced Hector Lavoe and Ruben Blades to each other – a potent voice in the community and in politics and something of a legend in the NYC music scene for decades.

 

Also Thurs July 31 Via Audio plays Bowery Ballroom, 8-ish. Fetching guy/girl vox, catchy, occasionally loungey pop tunes with guitar and 70s analog synth. Like Scout covering the Cardigans, or vice versa.

 

Also Thurs July 31 Jan Bell & the Cheap Dates play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Hard to think of a better country artist in NYC right now. Or maybe the world. The self-described “Yorkshire lass” has an eerie wail of a voice, an understated poetic sensibility when it comes to lyrics and a killer band behind her. See her now before it costs you a hundred bucks at some big stadium.

 

Also Thurs July 31 Lucky Peterson plays Terra Blues, 10 PM. Otis Rush’s favorite piano player is a triple-threat, also a searing lead guitarist and a fine songwriter, one of the few remaining A-list Chicago blues players around.

 

Fri Aug 1 the amazing Dominican Bachata Roja Legends play their US debut at Queens Theatre in the Park, arguably the high point of this year’s Latino Cultural Festival, 8 PM, tix most cheaply available in the $54 three-pack which gets you three excellent shows at a reduced rate. This is a major event in US music history: these guys’ dark, backwoods acoustic sound is to, say, Raulin Rodriguez what Robert Johnson was to Led Zep. Revered pioneers, they’ve influenced just about every bachatisto alive today. Their frontman “The Outlaw Goat” hasn’t lost a step, just as darkly and uproariously funny as he was on their old 45s from the 60s.

 

Also Fri Aug 1, 8 PM at Central Park Summerstage it’s Max Pollack and Rhumba Tap playing their innovative, multi-stylistic take on classic Cuban and Caribbean music: dance lessons are ostensibly available as well.  

 

Also Fri Aug 1 Eli Paperboy Reed plays Union Hall, 7:30 PM. This guy is a simply amazing, stupendously energetic performer. Reed and his killer funk/soul band sound exactly like contemporaries of James Brown, circa 1965, without aping the Godfather of Soul. If old-school soul is your thing, if you can’t get enough of Sharon Jones, if you like to dance til you drop, you have to see this guy.  The little room downstairs here will sell out, advance tix very highly recommended. He’s also at the Knitting Factory the previous night, 7/31 at 8:30, adv tix ridiculously cheap at $8 and highly recommended, and playing for free at roughly 4 PM at McCarren Pool on 8/10.

 

Also Fri Aug 1 the theatrical, satirical, utterly original Witches in Bikinis play the Knitting Factory, 8:30 PM. They’re also at the Wonder Wheel outdoors at Coney Island, two sets at 5 and 7 PM on Aug 2, at Kenny’s Castaways on Aug 7 at 9, and see also Aug 9!

 

Also Fri Aug 1 Tandy plays Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Lush, hypnotic, southwestern gothic jangle with a smartly narrative lyrical feel: thoughtful, often haunting tales from life’s darker side. Their latest album, a double cd release of their previous two, is simply one of the best of the decade 

 

Also Fri Aug 1 Bellman Barker play Trash, midnight. Don’t let this DC band’s recent press fool you: they are not twee and sound nothing like Belle and Sebastian. Instead, expect a bouncy, jaunting retro Britpop festival, like the Kinks, the Move or the Enfields!

 

Also Fri Aug 1 Jack Grace plays a rare White Stripes type show (guitar, vocals and drums) at Banjo Jim’s, midnight. One of the great country songwriters of our time, and a very funny performer. Should be very cool to hear him without the band kicking up a racket behind him. He’s also with his band at the Rodeo at 10:30 PM on Fri Aug 8. 

 

Sat Aug 2-3 marking the anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riots (a little early), a bunch of bands playing the park in both afternoons. August 2: Planned Collapse, Absurd System, Black September, Rabia, Perdition, Hipster Holocaust, Casa de Chihuahua, D60, Oogle Orphanage. August 3: Leftover Crack, Death Mold, Team Spider, DisAssociate, Witch Hunt, Star Fucking Hipsters, Hungry March Band

 

Sat Aug 2 a cool, diverse ska bill at the Knitting Factory starting at 7 with versatile Staten Island reggae act the Bandulos, amazingly authentic Boston rocksteady throwbacks the Void Union, the smooth, hypnotic, horn-and-organ-driven Bluebeats, Jackmove (the Sublime soundalikes, NOT the Pacific Northwest punk band) and ska-punk Number 23 whose myspace is intriguing and original enough to make them worth checking out.

 

Also Sat Aug 2, 7:30ish a killer triple bill at Arlene’s: power popmeisters the Actual Facts, the ever-more-improvisationally-inclined, guitarishly dazzling new wave revivalists the Larch (riding the wave of their best-ever album) and another excellent retro 80s act, and wickedly literate, amusing janglerock siren Paula Carino and her band. 

 

Also Sat Aug 2, 8 PM los Gaiteros de San Jacinto play the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona, part of the ongoing Latino Cultural Festival, tix cheapest in the $54 three-concert pack. This legendary “folklorico” septet play vibrantly percussive, reed-driven traditional dance tunes from Colombia.

 

Also Sat Aug 2, 9 PM the Toneballs fronted by Dan Sallitt (ex-Blow This Nightclub) and featuring Dann Baker from Erica Smith’s band and Love Camp 7 play Freddy’s. Sallitt is a killer songwriter, lyricist and soulful singer. It’s Donna Upton’s birthday! Hey Donna happy birthday, what are you, 26 or something? As a special bonus, fiery highway rockers the Sloe Guns open the night at 8.

 

Also Sat Aug 2 this month’s Unsteady Freddie surf rock shindig at Otto’s is reliably good, starting at 10 with the smartly retro Mr. Action And The Boss Guitars, somewhat stylistically schizophrenic Tarantinos NYC at 11, Connecticut’s impressively rocking Clams sometime after midnight and then ghoulabilly band Deathbed Bride.

 

Sun Aug 3, 7 PM candombe titan Ruben Rada plays the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona, part of the ongoing Latino Cultural Festival, tix cheapest in the $54 three-concert pack. He’s sort of the official ambassador for his native compositionally complex jazz/traditional fusion, the Jobim of Uruguay.

 

Also Sun Aug 3 the Flying Neutrinos play Rodeo Bar, 10ish. Along with the Moonlighters, this horn-driven N’awlins swing unit pioneered the oldtimey sound in NYC, alternately danceable and dreamy. Always worth checking out to see what they’ve been up to. They’re back here on Aug 10 and 17.

 

Mon Aug 4 Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man (who, true to her name, happens to be a woman) plays the Schimmel Center at Pace Univ. downtown, 7:30 PM, free but adv tix req. Undoubedly they are hard to come by since the theatre seats less than a thousand; the box office on Spruce St. (close to William) opens at 4 PM, get there early if you’re going.

 

Also Mon Aug 4 at the Jazz Standard, sets at 7:30 and 9:30 PM, bandoneon player/bandleader Hector Del Curto’s Eternal Tango Quintet including piano, strings and a rhythm section playing absolutely gorgeous, haunting, classic Piazzola-style compositions. They’re also here on 8/18.

 

Also Mon Aug 4 at Rose Bar, 9 PM it’s psychedelic, organ-driven funk/jam band Polyester Pimpstrap. If Dr. Dre was a musician, this would be his band: they manage to be way-out and completely over-the-top but also devious and smart, and all the while the groove is smacking on your ass.

 

Also Mon Aug 4 the reliably entertaining, boisterous, self-explanatory Ukuladies (they spell their name that way because there’s another band, the Ukeladies, in Australia) play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.

 

Tues Aug 5 multistylistic, extremely popular violinist/composer/singer Jenny Scheinman plays Barbes, 7 PM. She’s also here at 7 on Tues Aug 19.

 

Also Weds Aug 6, 7ish, hip-hop legend Chubb Rock performs at Mahoney Park in Staten Island, intersection of Beechwood Avenue, Crescent Avenue at Cleveland and Jersey Sts. If you’re coming from the Ferry, catch the S24 bus around the corner from the terminal. As this is Shaolin and most everybody drives, the bus doesn’t run all that frequently. Have we scared you off yet? That having been said, this is a real treat for Shaolanders.

 

Also Weds Aug 6 a diverse Americana bill at Kenny’s Castaways: at 7, Jon Sobel of caffeinated, Dylanesque rockers Whisperado playing a mostly solo acoustic set, followed by Hay Jude, who play country covers of Beatles songs, acoustic duo Compton Maddux and then the reliably rousing Mercantillers, a sprawling acoustic band of salty seamen with guitars and accordion whose repertoire consists solely of sea shanteys.

 

Also Weds Aug 6, a killer oldtimey triple bill at Sidewalk (told you they were getting some good acts these days, didn’t we!) starting at 8 with Craig Chesler from Dreamboat followed at 9 by boisterous trombonist J. Walter Hawkes and continuing with the irresistibly smart, romantic harmony-driven Moonlighters at 10.

 

Thurs Aug 7 theremin virtuoso and composer Pamelia Kurstin plays the sculpture garden out behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Salvador Dali tribute, sets at 5:30 and 7 PM. A rare passage worth quoting from a press release: “On an instrument primarily associated with horror and science fiction soundtracks, she creates lyricism. Her pitch, technique, and taste are equally perfect. She can play microtonal puzzles and walking bass lines; she can make her instrument sound like a violin, a human voice, or an analog synthesizer. Out of what was once a symbol of modernism, she plays music of a very emotional order.” She’s also at Barbes on Aug 8 at 8.

 

Also Thurs Aug 7 gypsy jazz guitar monster Stephane Wrembel plays out back of Lincoln Center at Damrosch Park, 7 PM.

 

Also Thurs Aug 7 roots reggae revivalists Taj Weekes & Adowa play at 8 PM free, at Theatre Square at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark. Weekes is a throwback: you’ll think you’ve just been transported back to St. Ann’s Bay, 1977, with Burning Spear and Marley and Tosh and all the rest, he’s that good. High eerie voice, excellent conscious lyrics and a killer band behind him. Take the Path train to Newark. Directions from Newark’s Penn Station: from the main waiting room, leave by the Raymond Plaza West exit, cross the bus and taxi pickup lanes, and turn to your right toward Raymond Boulevard. Turn left on Raymond Boulevard and walk 2 blocks (west) to Mulberry Street. Turn right, crossing Raymond Boulevard, and walk two blocks on Mulberry Street (north) to Center Street. NJPAC is directly across Center Street.

 

Also Thurs Aug 7 popular jazz trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard plays Castle Clinton, 7 PM, get your tix at the fort by 5 if you’re going.

 

Thurs Aug 7 the Brooklyn What play Hank’s, time TBA. This is the punkish group responsible for the classic song I Don’t Wanna Go to Williamsburg, which, if every one of their other songs sucked (they don’t), would still make this show worth seeing. I DON’T WANNA GO TO NORTHSIX!!! I DON’T WANNA HEAR THE FUCKING HOLD STEADY!!!

 

Fri Aug 8, 7:30 PM at Joe’s Pub, longtime Elvis Costello keyboardist Steve Nieve collaborates with a drummer named Jokka and a singer named Vic to create a new band called Maybe. Nieve is arguably the greatest noir piano player alive and something of a jokester as well. $25 adv tix absolutely necessary and well worth it.

 

Also Fri Aug 8 Irving Louis Lattin plays Lucille’s, 8 PM. Given the venue, one assumes the Chicago bluesman is playing electric, which he does impressively tersely. He’s back here on the 22nd at 8 as well.

 

Also Fri Aug 8 Tift Merritt plays Bowery Ballroom, 9 PM, adv tix $16 available at the Mercury. Haunting alt-country singer who sounds a lot like Linda Thompson, and whose occasional ventures into Sheryl Crow territory are tuneful and inoffensive. Terminally bland whiteboy Jason Collett opens, reaffirming that some Canadians can be just as dumb and clueless as American.

 

Also Fri Aug 8 popular, tuneful, guy/girl-fronted janglerockers Elk City play the Mercury, 10:30 PM.  Female-fronted powerballad band Audio Fiction follow afterward, like an edgier Pat Benatar. No joke.

 

Also Fri Aug 8 sprawling but supertight, horn-driven ten-piece reggae-jazz band the Superpowers play Zebulon, 10:30 PM, get close to the stage if you can, otherwise you won’t hear anything,

 

Also Fri Aug 8 Daniel Bernstein, former Larval Organs and Whisper Doll frontman plays Sidewalk, midnight, good choice of Friday night entertainment for the angry and the haunted. Recent, revealing song title: Death Is a Charm. Wickedly stream-of-consciousness, tuneful, dark-as-hell songwriting.

 

Sat Aug 9 the excellent, rustic, harmony-driven female-fronted rock en Espanol group Pistolera open for ex-Rank and File guitarist Alejandro Escovedo – who’s playing with a string section – at Central Park Summerstage, 3 PM.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 at 3 PM at the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island, a killer outdoor show starting with riveting, supersonic, Dick Dale-influenced Connecticut surf rockers 9th Wave, blazing upstate surf band the Octomen, reliably entertaining, satirical, theatrical rock act Witches in Bikinis, the Clams and then Witches in Bikinis again!

 

Also Sat Aug 9, 9 PM at the Jalopy Café, Sweet Soubrette plays her charming and funny retro 20s ukelele songs followed by the incomparable French chanson revivalists les Chauds Lapins, $10 cover.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 Lenny Molotov plays Sidewalk with his band, 10 PM. One of the great guitarists of our time, a master of acoustic delta blues but also a force of nature with his own stuff: sort of the American Richard Thompson. Funny, sardonic and all-too-aware of the world outside.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 Rob Curto’s Grupo Sanfona plays their Brazilian forro music at Barbes, 10 PM.

 

Sat Aug 9 Lost Legacy plays Ace of Clubs, 10 PM. Ornate, classically-inflected, not completely over-the-top metal band: they are actually pretty cool. If you like Iron Maiden you’ll probably like Lost Legacy.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 Simon & the Bar Sinisters play Lakeside, 10:15ish (early by Lakeside standards, but Simon likes to play long sets). A true original: raised on punk, addicted to surf, steeped in rockabilly, honest as the day he was born and very funny. And damn, what a guitarist.

 

Also Sat Aug 9 ancient 70s British pub-rock vets Eddie & the Hotrods headline at Maxwell’s, 11:30 PM, adv tix $12 available at the box office and at Other Music. They’re also at the Knit on Aug 10 at 9 PM, adv tix also $12. Amazing, somewhat legendary upstate power popsters the Flashcubes (who sound EXACTLY like the Move and do a killer cover of Blackberry Way), and loud retro glam/punks the Turbo ACs open the Knit show at 7.

 

Sun Aug 10 brilliant surf/western swing/jazz guitarist Jim Campilongo plays with his electric trio at 55 Bar, early, 6 PM.

 

Mon Aug 11 veteran Jack Kerouac collaborator David Amram, still undiminished in his 70s, plays keys, French horn and bedevils his bandmates at the Cornelia St. Café, 8:30 PM.

 

Tues Aug 12-14 at the Jazz Standard, sets at 7:30 and 9:30 PM, the Ron Miles Quartet which in addition to the trumpeter/bandleader features Bill Frisell on guitars and a rhythm section of Reginald Veal and Matt Wilson. If you missed Frisell’s stand at the Vanguard this year, don’t miss this one.

 

Also Tues Aug 12 an interesting double bill at le Poisson Rouge: at 7:30 PM, Shelley Hirsch sings Bernard Herrmann film scores and originals accompanied by Dan Kaufman on guitar, followed by noir neo-Balkan group Barbez, whose darkly slinky, slightly Tom Waits-ish instrumentals far surpass their vocal stuff. Adv tix $12 highly recommended at the box office.

 

Weds Aug 13, 7 PM timbalero star and bandleader Jimmy Delgado y Orquesta featuring Renzo Padilla play vintage salsa at Wagner Park in Battery Park City

 

Also Weds Aug 13, 9 PM the Melvins play the Music Hall of Williamsburg, adv tix $25 available at the Mercury box office. Their recent album backing Jello Biafra shows their Sabbath/hardcore melange absolutely undiminished.

 

Thurs Aug 14 in the sculpture garden out behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Salvador Dali tribute, sets at 5:30 and 7 PM it’s Electric Junkyard Gamelan. From the press release: “Inspired by Indonesian gamelan, this group has invented its own tradition: they play original groove-driven music on improvised instruments and household objects. Haunting melodies and layered, interlocking rhythms are performed on such musical contraptions as the rubarp, sitello, kachapitar, and terraphone. The experience is as visually stimulating as it is aurally exciting.” Terry Dame, Julian Hintz, Mary Feaster, Lee Frisari, and Robin Burdulis are the players. They’re also at Barbes on Aug 20 at 8.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Blonde Redhead plays Pier 54 at West 14th St., Hudson River Park, 6 PM. Somewhat iconic 90s band: started out as Sonic Youth wannabes, branching out to encompass numerous other styles from goth to jangle.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Big Daddy Kane plays Marcus Garvey Park uptown, 7 PM. Wildly popular, macho rapper from the golden age of hip-hop whose career peaked around 1988. No idea what if anything he has left but the posse from those days – whoever’s left – still remember him. Maybe if you’re lucky he’ll do the one about drinking a 22-ounce bottle of malt liquor.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 a pretty amazing triple bill at Barbes: Divahn frontwoman Galeet Dardashti plays Sephardic Jewish vocal music at 7 PM followed by Matt Munisteri and Will Holshouser’s sensational, haunting 1920s Belgian barroom accordion/guitar band Musette Explosion at 8 and then klezmer/bluegrass legend Andy Statman at 10.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Metropolitan Klezmer, who have a sensationally good new live album out, play a special, stripped-down quartet show at 7:30 sharp at the 14th Street Y Rooftop. 344 East 14th St just west of First Avenue (concert will be held indoors in case of rain). This time out it’s accordion/bass/saxes/drums, Y members $15, nonmembers: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, includes wine & cheese following concert & free babysitting with pizza for the children!

 

Also Thurs Aug 14, 8:30 PM at the Cornelia St. Café it’s the Rez Abbasi Group, featuring organ and Indian vocals in addition the the bandleader’s imaginative guitar jazz tunes which blend groove with Indian motifs

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 Body Count plays Europa at 10-ish, $20 cover. They’re also playing Aug 15, early, at 7-ish. Back before Ice-T became a tv actor he was a great rapper (he basically invented gangsta rap) and fronted this rap-metal band, which in addition to two actually decent albums was responsible for the classic single Cop Killer, which achieved notoriety when the record label recalled all the unsold original cds and cassettes containing the song.

 

Also Thurs Aug 14 John Brown’s Body play Southpaw, 10-ish, $15. Equally masterful at catchy, upbeat, totally old-school roots reggae and hypnotic dub jams that will take your brain to the edge of the universe.

 

Fri Aug 15, 8 PM Marta Topferova plays her completely unique, haunting blend of Balkan and latin music at Barbes with accordion, guitar and a rhythm section. Pretty amazing, completely original stuff.

 

Also Fri Aug 15 at 55 Bar, 10 PM it’s Reverend Vince Anderson & The Whispering Thunder Blues Band. A rare NYC show by the amazing keyboardist/showman, as adept at Howlin Wolf as he is at funk and gospel. This band features his longtime lead instrumentalist Paula Henderson from Moisturizer on baritone sax as well as a kick-ass rhythm section of Andrew Hall and Brian Woodruff.

 

Also Fri Aug 15 the Disclaimers play Spikehill, 11 PM. One of NYC’s top half-dozen best live bands, blending hypnotic soul songs into their fiery, organ-and-keyboard-driven garage rock mix. Everybody in the band sings; frontwomen Naa Koshie Mills and Kate Thomason make an especially charismatic twosome with their voices and stage presence.

 

Also Fri Aug 15 tastefully twangy surf instrumental traditionalists Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars are back at Lakeside, 11 PM.

 

Also Fri Aug 15, midnight, sensationally good, hypnotic dub reggae crew Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad play a concert cruise aboard the good ship Half Moon, adv tix $20 and very highly recommended at the box office, 630 9th Avenue Suite 602 Between 44th and 45th streets, Monday-Friday 12 noon-6pm, 212-571-3304. The boat leaves from Skyport Marina, E 23rd St & the FDR a half hour later, but you’ll want to get there early to get a good seat.

 

Sat Aug 16 scorchingly funny punk band Custard Wally play the cd release for their surprisingly diverse new one Call Me Walt at Don Pedro’s, 9 PM.

 

Also Sat Aug 16 Spanking Charlene play Lakeside, 11 PM. NYC’s answer to X: guy/girl vocals, dirty Americana-punk songs along with some strikingly pretty country stuff. Frontwoman Charlene McPherson has one hell of a voice

 

Sun Aug 17 at Damrosch Park out back of Lincoln Center, dance and music by Ologunde, Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti, and the Ivoirian Kotchegna Dance Company.

 

Also Sun Aug 17 keyboard/horn-driven groovemeisters Chin Chin open for acclaimed hip-hop artist Aesop Rock at McCarren Pool, 3ish.

 

Also Sun Aug 17, a rousing season finale at Central Park Summerstage, 3 PM: Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, the Mehahan Street Band (who shares members with Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, the Budos Band, and El Michels Affair) followed by the incomparable funk/soul revivalists Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings at around 5. Get there at 3 at the latest if you’re going.

 

Mon Aug 18 a Caribbean bill featuring upcoming soca star Bunji Garlin & Asylum, the ageless calypso warrior Mighty Sparrow (what is he now, about eighty?) and 90s Jamaican lovers rock star Beres Hammond (what is he now, about fifty?) at Wingate Field in Bed Stuy, free, either get there early at 7:30 PM or late at 9, otherwise you’ll be waiting in line for hours before being subjected to a Guantanamo-style security gauntlet.

 

Tues Aug 19, 7 PM Middle Eastern orchestra Zikrayat plays classic Levantine dance music accompanied by bellydancers at Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. 7 train to Vernon Blvd.-Jackson, walk on 48th Avenue to the East River. The park is in front of the Citylights Building.

 

Also Tues Aug 19 Anthony B plays B.B. King’s, 8-ish, adv tix $20 available at the box office. The self-appointed torchbearer of Peter Tosh’s legacy is a fiery, politically charged lyricist, an intensely charismatic performer and a purveyor of an uncommonly tuneful blend of roots and dancehall reggae.

 

Weds Aug 20, 7 PM in Wagner Park in Battery Park City it’s La Excelencia,  a 70s style salsa orchestra playing songs from their new cd Salsa Con Conciencia.

 

Weds Aug 20, 9 PM Black Cop White Cop play Ace of Clubs. If their myspace is any indication, they’re retro, but they’re looking back to a style most bands have never heard: early 80s indie rock, with dirty, melodic basslines, fast tempos and trebly, minor-key guitarwork that leaves a long trail of sparks.

 

Also Weds Aug 20 Carolyn Sills & the Poor Man’s Roses sing Patsy Cline covers, uncommonly well, at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.

 

Thursday, August 21 in the sculpture garden out behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Salvador Dali tribute, sets at 5:30 and 7 PM it’s Kamikaze Ground Crew playing theatrical, somewhat balkan jazz featuring a ton of killer soloists: Kenny Wollensen on drums, Peter Apfelbaum on tenor, Doug Wieselman on reeds, Steve Bernstein on trumpet and more.

 

Also Thurs Aug 21 Jennifer O’Connor plays a cd release show at Mercury Lounge, 7:30 PM. Fearlessly messy, tuneful songwriter who rocks much harder than most of her other acoustic contemporaries.

 

Also Thurs Aug 21 Bobby Bland plays plays B.B. King’s, 8 PM adv tix $25 available at the box office. You never know whether this guy will phone it in or bring the soul, but it’s worth a shot: B.B. King’s ex-valet is a blues legend and rightfully so, and he still has that growl that brings all the ladies out.

 

Thurs Aug 21 two sensational Americana specialists: Bob Hoffnar leads a quartet on pedal steel at Barbes at 8 PM followed by guitarist Matt Munisteri at 10.

 

Also Fri Aug 22 10:30 PM Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. play Rodeo Bar, possibly three sets. One of the funniest and most original bands in town, period-perfect, 1953-style with their matching suits, oldtime stage patter, harmonies and often remarkably subtly amusing pre-rockabilly hillbilly songs. All-female Stockholm country/punk trio Baskery open the night at 9ish. SITnDIE are also at Otto’s on 8/28 at 8.

 

Fri Aug 22, 11 PM scorching garage/punk rockers the Mess Around – who at the top of their game are just as wildly adrenalizing as Radio Birdman – play Trash Bar. Opening at 10 are dark, female-fronted punk/metal act Vagina Panther.

 

Also Fri Aug 22 the reliably romantic, wickedly smart, ever-more-exciting oldtimey Moonlighters play Barbes, 10 PM followed by Nawlins piano guy Bill Malchow (of Jack Grace’s band) at midnight.

 

Sat-Sun Aug 23-24 it’s the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, starting at 3 both days. On 8/23 at Marcus Garvey Park; 8/24 at Tompkins Square Park. 8/23: pianist Robert Glasper, legendary drummer Rashied Ali, singer Vanessa Rubin and pianist Hank Jones, in order. 8/24: singer Gretchen Parlato, pianist Eric Lewis, legendary bandleader Jerry Gonzalez & Fort Apache and then headliner pianist Randy Weston.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 southern soul legend Irma Thomas plays out back of Lincoln Center at Damrosch Park, 8:30 PM.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 Johnny Allen plays Terra Blues, 10 PM. A power hitter on the guitar, with a searing, tastefully crescendoing Chicago blues style, and simply one of the most soulful singers in New York.

 

Also Sat Aug 23 Her & Kings County play upstairs at the National Underground, 10:30 PM. Female-fronted country band with a rotating cast of characters, anything from a tight quartet to a sprawling, four-guitar stoked twangfest.

 

Sun Aug 24 an amazing doublebill with the Knitters (which is X playing country songs and country versions of their own classics) along with Patti Smith at Damrosch Park, Lincoln Ctr., the whole thing starts 5:30 PMish but get there early because it will deservedly be a mobscene.

 

Tues Aug 26, 7 PM darkly moody, female-fronted janglerockers Noirceur play Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. 7 train to Vernon Blvd.-Jackson, walk on 48th Avenue to the East River. The park is in front of the Citylights Building. Also on the bill: the Japanese-American Uzuhi, who alternate between bouncy, upbeat jangly guitar/keyboard pop and generic hardcore.

 

Also Tues Aug 26 panstylistic art-rock rock keyboard goddess Greta Gertler plays the Zipper Theatre at 8 PM – with a string section and special guests.

 

Also Tues Aug 26-31 the Kenny Barron Quartet with Dana Stevens on tenor plus a rhythm section of Kiyoshi Kitagawa and Francisco Mela plays the Village Vanguard, sets at 9 and 11. Popular pianist Barron plays with an intense, percussive physicality which is even more impressive considering how damn fast the guy is: if you like adrenaline and crescendos, this is your fun for the week.

 

Weds Aug 27, 7 PM Latin jazz bassist Ray Martinez plays with his band at Wagner Park.

 

Also Weds Aug 27 Reckon So plays Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Guitarist Danny Weiss lives and breathes in the lower registers, the most soulful part of the instrument; his wife and partner in harmonies, Mary Olive Smith has a casually enchanting voice, and the two write some fine, old-school country tunes as well. They’re back here on 9/10 as well.

 

Thurs Aug 28 in the sculpture garden out behind MOMA as part of the ongoing Salvador Dali tribute, sets at 5:30 and 7 PM: Enso String Quartet violinist John Marcus presents a program of quartets, trios, and duos incl. Bach, Ravel and Webern.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who’s created quite a buzz going on in classical circles, plays Bach, Beethoven and more at a cd release show at le Poisson Rouge, 6:30 PM, cheap $15 adv tix at the box office highly recommended.

 

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 at Issue Project Room, 8 PM, $10, Jozef Van Wissum who “will perform pieces from A Priori on 13 course baroque lute and pieces from Station of the Cross [by Dupre?] for Baroque Lute and manipulated field recordings made at airport lounges and train stations. A priori is minimal hypnotic trance lute palindromes. Sometimes bottleneck is applied on the lute now.” Quiet, minimalist, cerebral yet playful.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 the Robert Charles Band plays Lucille’s Bar, two sets at 8 PM. Back in the late 90s this band had a real good thing going, remarkably terse and potently crescendoing, and the frontman didn’t Pearl Jam his vocals. Worth checking out to see what they’re up to now.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28, 8:30 PM alternately haunting and deliciously groove-driven shoegaze/dreampop rockers El Jezel play songs from their new cd The Warm Frequency at Union Hall. Word on the street is that it’s the excellent album that Portishead should have made this year but didn’t.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 recently reunited Austin alt-country satirists the Gourds, best known for their hilarious cover of the Snoop Dogg classic Gin & Juice play the Music Hall of Williamsburg, 10ish, adv tix $15 available at the Mercury box office.

 

Also Thurs Aug 28 the Mercenaries play Lakeside, 10 PM. Rock quartet who sound sometimes like Guided by Voices at their most tuneful, otherwise a cut above your average Stonesy bar band like the Izzys.

 

Fri Aug 29 the Figgs play the Knitting Factory, 9ish, no discounted adv tix available. Legendary powerpop trio whose work with Graham Parker is a good indication of how many sparks they can shoot out on their own.

 

Sat Aug 30 the Motels play B.B. King’s, 8 PM, adv tix $25 available at the box office. One of the last of the “good top 40” bands, originally lumped in with the punk movement even though frontwoman Martha Davis was more of a pop siren. And she’s still got that full-throated wail. Take the L!

 

Also Sun Aug 31 roots reggae legend Burning Spear plays Irving Plaza, 10ish, adv tix $35 at the box office and absolutely recommended. Long, hypnotic grooves, dub interludes and a vault full of classic songs: Marcus Garvey, Slavery Days, Columbus, Door Peep, the list goes on and on. Spear’s voice is still there, and his forthcoming studio album is his best in years

 

Upcoming in September:

 

9/1 the Ukuladies at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM

9/3 Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM

9/3 Latin Giants of Jazz (Tito Puente’s backup band) at Wagner Park, 7 PM

Saturday and Sunday, September 13th and 14th Michael Arenella and the Dreamland Orchestra at Governor’s Island.

9/6 the Jack Grace Band open for Luther Wright & the Wrongs at Rodeo Bar, 9ish

9/12 Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars at Lakeside, 11 PM

9/13 Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside, 10ish

9/17 the Dandy Warhols at Terminal 5, 10 PM, adv tix $27 available at the Mercury box office

9/19 Squeeze plays Radio City, adv tix. $39.50 available at the box office

9/19 guitar just as good and a whole lot cheaper: Chip Robinson plays Lakeside with the Roscoe Trio, 10ish

9/20 Spanking Charlene at Lakeside, 11 PM

9/22 female-fronted dreampop group This Reporter plays Lakeside of all places, 10 PM.

9/27 a free punk show at Tompkins Square Park

9/27 Les Chauds Lapins at le Poisson Rouge, 7:30 PM, $25

9/27 Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby at Southpaw, 9 PM

9/27 the Headless Hookers/Jerry Teel & the Big City Stompers at Union Pool, 9 PM.

10/8 the Wedding Present at Bowery Ballroom, time TBA

10/9 the Wedding Present at Southpaw, time TBA cheaper than Bowery but the sound isn’t as good.

 

10/18 legendary, artsy, psychedelic rock en Espanol band Jaguares at the Nokia Theatre, adv tix $37.50 available at their box office open Mon-Sat noon-6 PM

 

10/18 Kayhan Kalhor at Carnegie Hall, 8:30 PM, adv tix $36 available at the World Music Institute box office

 

10/25 Los Straitjackets/Laika & the Cosmonauts at Southpaw, 9 PM, adv tix ridiculously cheap at $13 on sale now.

 

10/30 Cypress Hill at the Nokia Theatre, time TBA, adv tix $36 available at their box office Mon-Sat noon-6 PM

 

 

11/20 Liu Fang (Chinese pipa virtuoso) Symphony Space, 7:30 PM, adv tix $28 at the World Music Institue box office

 

 

July 21, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, NYC Live Music Calendar | 5 Comments