Lucid Culture


Concert Review: The Paul Carlon Octet at Cachaca, NYC 8/28/08

Live, the band’s Latin influences really came to the forefront: as thoughtful and remarkably multistylistic as saxist Paul Carlon’s compositions are, this was a fullblown party with a lot of good songs. “We’re going to take a short break,” he joked after his studio engineer had taken forever to introduce the band, going on and on about how good they were. The guy did a great job with the album but should be kept at least five hundred feet from any live mic. The octet then launched into an adventurous but redoubtably tuneful excursion through most of what’s on their new album Roots Propaganda along with some well-chosen covers. The title track came across as far more accommodating than its name: Friendly Rootsy Persuasion would be more like it, Carlon taking a tastefully bluesy, exploratory solo followed by some sweet, overtly Latin playing from pianist John Stenger (who, just as on the album, took every opportunity to turn up the heat with some incisively staccato salsa lines whenever he could squeeze them in). Like the rest of Carlon’s work, it tips its hat to those who came before without being fawning or reverential (Carlon gave a shout-out to Barack Obama with a similar understatement, very warmly received by the crowd).


They’d opened with guest Max Pollak tapdancing along with the band, a brave move but one which ultimately backfired. Todd Londagin used to do the same thing with the Flying Neutrinos, but as a soloist: leaving the rhythm to somebody not in the band is asking for trouble. Vocalist Christelle Durandy provided warm washes of vocalese while the sub trumpet player (working on only one rehearsal) rose to the occasion, especially on the cd’s opening cut, Backstory, with brightness and high spirits that echoed throughout the set.


Their version of Ellington’s Smada (“That’s Adams, backwards,” said a wiseass in the crowd) was a high point, drummer Beaver Bausch pushing it along on a tricked-out vaudeville beat, Stenger contributing a beautifully terse, Satie-esque solo between pensive ensemble passages from the horns. Trombonist Ryan Keberle was given license to take flight on their cover of Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out and made the most of it: the version on the album has a Ray Charles vibe, but this one continued with the night’s Latin inflections. It may seem painfully obvious to say, but tonight was a vivid reminder of why a good band is always worth checking out to see what they can deliver live. Carlon was literally scheduled to play all night, with Grupo Los Santos after the octet’s two sets, but our stamina was no match for his. 





August 31, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | Leave a comment

NYC Live Music Calendar Sept-Oct 2008 Plus Other Events

Stop right there.


This isn’t the latest, most updated calendar here!

This is.


The allday outdoor festivals at South St. Seaport and Riverside Park scheduled for Sat Sept 6 are both rescheduled. See below for further info. 


 If you don’t recognize the place where a show is happening, click our Venues page. And by the way, if you see a listing here like this: Bedford Avenue Pose/Lorimer Street Simper, that means that the Bedford Avenue Pose are opening for the Lorimer Street Simper, not the other way around.


First the weekly stuff, then the daily calendar.


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.


The 2008-09 series of organ concerts at St. Thomas Church kicks off on September 14 and continues most every Sunday (certain holidays excepted) at 5:15 sharp, featuring a whole slew of world-renowned performers. Concerts continue through May 17 of next year.


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


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


Also Mondays in Sept. the Barbes house band, Chicha Libre plays there starting around 9:45. They’re the sole American practitioners of chicha, a style popular in the Peruvian Amazon ghettos in the late 60s and early 70s. With electric accordion, cuatro, surf guitar and a boisterous rhythm section, their hypnotic, reverb-drenched mix of obscure psychedelic surf/cumbia/rock classics and originals is one of the funnest, most danceable things you’ll witness this year. Lately they’ve been expanding their repertoire to include not only their often hilarious, hypnotic originals but also covers of period pieces as well as chichafied rock songs. If you get lucky they’ll play their amped-up version of the Clash classic Guns of Brixton.


Mondays in September (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 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.


Also every Tues in Sept., 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.


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.


Also Wednesdays in September, the Doc Marshalls – equally good at rousing Texas honkytonk and Louisiana Cajun – are at Hill Country,  9 PM.


Fridays in September baritone Brooklyn country crooner Sean Kershaw – who’s been off on a really good Western swing tangent lately – plays Hill Country, 5 PM for happy hour.


The first major JMW Turner exhibit in the US in many moons is up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through 9/21. Now might be a good time to check it out – get there early in the day if you can.


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 Mamie Minch plays Rodeo Bar, 10:30ish. Sounding like what the soundtrack to a 1920s Mississippi road movie would have been if they’d had sound back then, she plays a mean resonator guitar and has a killer new album out.


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.


Also Tues Sept 2 the haunting, hypnotic East African Arab music revivalists Sounds of Taraab play Apt, 419 W.13th St. 10 PM. Their new album is amazing.


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.


Also Weds Sept 3-7, sets at 7:30 and 9:30 PM,  the McBride, Payton & Whitfield Trio: Christian McBride – bass; Nicholas Payton – trumpet; Mark Whitfield – guitar play the Jazz Standard, note that tix are “$30 plus tax.” A good mix of contrasting styles: McBride provides the oomph that terse, trad purists Payton and Whitfield need to get off their asses. Everybody in the group can write, a big plus.


Also Weds Sept 3-8 the Kenny Burrell Quintet (w/Benny Green, Peter Washington, Tivon Pennicott, Clayton Cameron) plays Dizzy’s Club at Rose Hall at Lincoln Center, ticket price TBA, sets at 7:30, 9:30 PM. Jazz guitar legend whose signature style has been imitated by thousands but hardly ever replicated. Excellent band behind him this time out, too.


Also Weds Sept 3 Spindrift play Glasslands, time TBA (both band and club sites say 8 but that’s dubious). Dark southwestern gothic psychedelic garage rock: Gun Club plus Plan 9 divided by Giant Sand, raised to the power of Morricone. Awesome stuff, and a great new vinyl ep out! They’re also at Cake Shop on Thurs Sept 4, 10 PM which is a much better bet because the club has good sound.


Also Weds Sept 3 at Kenny’s Castaways, at 9 PM Bob Petrocelli, the excellent blues guitarist from the Robert Charles Band plays a set of his own stuff followed by the Shithouse Lilies, a rousingly rustic, acoustic all-female country band.


Thurs Sept 4 Rachelle Garniez, who is just as good a piano player as she is on accordion, never tells the same joke twice (and she has a million good ones) and never plays a song the same way twice either, plays Barbes, 10 PM. Two of her albums (Luckyday and Melusine Years) are on our best-of-the-decade list; the latter was our pick for best of 2007.


Also Thurs Sept 4 a killer doublebill at Joe’s Pub with Chicha Libre and Cordero playing the cd release for their new one, 9ish. 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 absolutely essential.


Also Thurs Sept 4 Erin Regan plays Sidewalk, 11 PM. Hard to imagine a better or more apt musical chronicler of the desolation of rural depression life (both mental and economic). She absolutely slayed at her Spikehill gig a couple of weeks ago. And she’s funny too.


Fri Sept 5 one of NYC’s most exhilarating live bands, Melomane returns from a triumphant European tour to play Glasslands, 8 PM sharp. Gorgeously orchestrated, crescendoing art-rock epics, a wicked sense of humor and a spot-on politically aware sensibility. With a new ep out, reputedly their best effort to date.


Also 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  Bogs Visionary Orchestra are playing Think Coffee, 248 Mercer St. (between 3rd St & 4th St), 9 PM. Deliriously good, sprawling bluegrass band, as good M Shanghai String Band and with even more energy.


Also Fri Sept 5 there’s a forro party at Barbes featuring cavaquino player Pedro Ramos, accordionist Rob Curto and special guests, 10 PM.


Also Fri Sept 5, 10 PM  at Rose Bar, Avishai Cohen’s TRIVENI Trio w/Nasheet Waits: drums, Omer Avital:bass, Avishai: trumpet. The rhythm section could rip the roof off the place; Cohen is a subtle, tuneful player who will keep the juggernaut on the rails.


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 the allday outdoor festival at South St. Seaport is POSTPONED to Sun Sept 7. See below for further info. 


Also Sat Sept 6 the allday outdoor festival at Riverside Park is POSTPONED to Sept 13 (see below). 


Also Sept 6, a remarkably good quadruple bill at Issue Project Room at 8 PM. Dunno who’s performing first. David Garland, host of WNYC’s Spinning on Air, play 12-string guitar and sings. He’s sort of the Good Humor Man that Arthur Lee sang about, i.e. he likes everything he hears. Israeli chamber-pop chanteuse Noa Babayof writes excellent, pensive, smartly orchestrated songs with a 60s -psychedelic edge. Australian expat keyboardist Greta Gertler is simply one of the most imaginative writers out there, equally good at sweeping, majestic classically-inflected anthems, clever nuevo-ragtime hits, tongue-in-cheek new wave and darkly evocative piano blues. Guitarist Pete Galub, the original Extrovert from Gertler’s band, has similarly superb chops, purist taste and a playful sense of humor. Irene Trudel from WFMU spins between sets.


Also Sat Sept 6, 8 PM Prana, a nonet of throat singers in the style of Huun Huur Tu sing at Jivamukti Yoga Center, 841 Broadway, 2nd Floor (between 13th and 14th), proceeds to Animal Mukti, a free spay and neuter clinic serving the cats and dogs of New York City. Also available: a workshop on throat singing on 9/7, details at the center.


Also Sat Sept 6 the Plunk Bros., AKA Boo Reiners (of Demolition String Band) and Bob Jones play classic country guitar stuff at Barbes, 8 PM followed by smart, politically aware, somewhat tongue-in-cheek Americana rock duo Kill Henry Sugar at 10.


Also 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 Nanuchka – sort of the Israeli Siouxsie & the Banshees – are at the Mercury Lounge, 10ish.


Also Sat Sept 6 Al Lee Wyer plays Freddy’s, 11 PM. Veteran songwriter with a low-key growl, knows his way around a tune, at his best he mines the same dark bluecollar vein as Springsteen circa the River but without the clichés. See if he’ll play Bethlehem.


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.


Sun Sept 7 an allday free outdoor show at South St. Seaport rescheduled from 9/6 featuring – among others – inventive surf/garage/shoegaze trio the Vivian Girls, Hammond B3 organ jazz legend Dr. Lonnie Smith, imaginative, horn-heavy Chicago hip-hop instrumental band Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, hip-hop artist 4-Ize (whose flow is totally Dirty South even though he’s from Chicago), Icelandic folkie Olof Arnalds and Devin, the funniest man in the history of rap. Trouble is the promoters never posted a schedule. And you definitely don’t want to have to stand through sets by the likes of fifth-rate Japanese Stooges ripoff Boris, tuneless Michigan trendoids Awesome Color, tuneless Brooklyn dilettantes High Places or California nonmusicians Flying Lotus, whose computerized percussion will send you sleepwalking out onto South St. LATEST UPDATE 9/6: this appears to be the schedule: 4-ize 12:45; Hypnotic Brass Ensemble 1:15;

Dr. Lonnie Smith 1:45; Olof Arnalds 2:30; Vivian Girls 3:00 – 3:45, then take a break and return for Devin at 5:30ish. Watch this space for further info or click here for updates.
Also Sat Sept 7, 3 PM the always energizing, often brilliantly psychedelic Liza & the WonderWheels wrap up the video shoot for their latest snarky hit Where’s My Wonder Maid? at Freddy’s. The video will be on their next cd, out next year, and you can be in it. Immortalize yourself!.


Also Sun Sept 7, 7 PM at Barbes music journalist Elisabeth Vincentelli screens vintage footage of Abba as well as numerous Abba parodies. Could be hysterically funny. Followed by gypsy jazz guitar monster Stephane Wrembel at 9 PM. Wrembel’s also here on 9/2.


Also Sun Sept 7, 8:30 hilarious, fearless, dirtymindedly diverse punk rockers Custard Wally plays Don Pedro’s. Ostensibly their new DVD Live at the Spiral (yup, the notorious LES dive where the Strokes honed their exquisite – not – sound) is out.


Mon Sept 8 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.


Tues Sept 9, 9ish Michael Arenella & the Dreamland Orchestra or subset thereof bring their authentic 1920s obscure swing jazz excitement to Union Smith Café, 305 Smith St., at corner of Union St. in Brooklyn, show up earlier and learn how to dance to what they play.


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.


Also Weds Sept 10, most songwriters-in-the-round events are a waste of time: why sit through a bunch of mediocrities so you can see your favorite player do only three or four songs? This one at the Cornelia St. Café starting at 8 PM is a rare exception. Ann Klein may be best-known for her scorching lead guitar work, but she also writes wry, tuneful acoustic pop. Mary Lee Kortes, frontwoman of wickedly smart Americana band Mary Lee’s Corvette, has the distinction of being arguably the best singer AND the best songwriter in all of rock. Trina Hamlin (time to get a drink or take a bathroom break) and Natalia Zukerman – Pinchas’ kid, with her fast, jazzy fingers and slightly Dolly Parton-esque voice – are also on the bill.


Also Weds Sept 10, speaking of good songwriters, Linda Draper plays Sidewalk, 8 PM. Not your typical soft-spoken woman with guitar: imagine Nina Nastasia without all the spooky strings and unrestrained rage. Acerbic  psychopathological commentary, aware of the outside world, deviously funny and a fine guitarist as well. Good stuff.


Also Weds Sept 10 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.


Thurs 9/11 several memorial concerts going on around town starting in the afternoon. The Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra is at Brooklyn Borough Hall at noon; Haunting, gypsyish singer/multi-instrumentalist Marta Topferova is at 1560 Broadway (46/47; might not be a good idea with all the bus alarms going off) at 1 PM; chanteuse Kristin Hoffmann, who mines a more modern, 80s goth-esque vein is at Washington Square Park at 3ish; at 8 PM the Open Music Ensemble plays a free show at the Meta Center, 214 West 29th Street, 16th Floor, Hypnotic 100% improvisational South Indian-influenced instrumentals: imagine Burnt Sugar playing acoustic in a temple in Mumbai. OME are also at the Greenpoint Reformed Church, 136 Milton St. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on 9/27 at 8.


Also 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, 9 PM. If you can’t afford Giant Sand and missed Calexico the last time they swung through town, this is your shot of tequila. Los Angeleno opening act Erich Von Kneip, who opens the show at 8, mines a smokier and jazzier but no less captivatingly noir vein.


Also Fri Sept 12, 9 PM Katie Elevitch, purveyor of darkly slinky, slowly crescendoing rock/soul plays Banjo Jim’s with her brilliant lead guitarist followed on the bill afterward by the odious, simpering Jesse Harris.


Also Fri Sept 12 Chicago expat blues guitarist Irving Louis Lattin plays Lucille’s, 8 PM. Good, terse player, whether on acoustic or electric (probably the latter here): no wasted notes, no histrionic Robert Plant bs. He’s also here on 9/26 at 8.


Also Fri Sept 12 Chet Baker revivalist trumpeter/crooner Leif Arntzen and band play a very worthwhile benefit for producer Scott Harding – who was partially paralyzed in a hit-and-run accident a couple of months ago, and didn’t have the insurance to cover the hospital bill – at the Cornelia St. Café, 8 PM. Leif Arntzen, trumpet, vocals; Matt Miller, saxophones; John Dryden, piano;  Dan McCarthy, vibes; Miles Arntzen, drums; Phil Rowen, bass.


Also Fri Sept 12, 8 PM, Microscopic Septet pianist and co-founder Joel Forrester plays his imimitably witty, astonishingly diverse jazz songs at Barbes, $10 cover, followed at 10 by les Martines playing haunting, danceable musette instrumentals along with “a mixture of high energy contemporary French chanson mixed with Cuban, Yiddish, Italian, Argentinean and musette standards..


Also Fri Sept 12 fiery highway rockers the Sloe Guns play Arlene’s, 9 PM. A lush, twangy Gibson/Fender guitar attack and some anthems that get into your DNA and won’t get out.


Also Fri Sept 12, 9 PM one of the Wu-tang Clan’s frontline lyricists, GZA performs his best album, Liquid Swords all the way through at Irving Plaza, adv tix $25.


Also Fri Sept 12 amazingly authentic retro 60s psychedelic/garage trio Laughing Sky play the Delancey, 9:30 PM. If you like Love Camp 7 or the Fleshtones, take a hit of this.


Also Fri Sept 12 the Disclaimers play Spikehill, 11 PM. Their most recent show here might have been their best-ever, and they didn’t even have their secret weapon, violinist/trombonist/chanteuse Naa Koshie Mills with them. One of the half-dozen best live bands in New York right now, absolute masters of wickedly catchy, purist garage/soul/janglerock anthems with guitar, keys and (hopefully) Mills next time around. Everybody in the band sings too!


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 Sept 13 an allday outdoor festival at Riverside Park: Bill Popp & the Tapes – who have been around since 1977, and whom you are destined to see at least once in your life kick things off at 2 PM followed by Amanda Thorpe and Ed Rogers’ gorgeously harmony-driven Britfolk/Britpop revivalists the Bedsit Poets at 3, Irish songwriter Enda Keegan (an acquired taste) at 4, legendary Clash collaborator Ellen Foley – who has never sounded better than she does right now –at 5 and the somewhat legendary, Stones/Pogues hybrid Joe Hurley and Rogue’s March (with James Mastro on guitar!) at 6:30. The show runs till 9; 1 train to 103rd and walk toward the Hudson.


Sat-Sun Sept 13-14 Michael Arenella and the Dreamland Orchestra bring their brilliant, obscure 20s hot swing jazz to Governor’s Island, sets on 9/13 at a quarter to one, 2:30 and 4 PM (with free pie at 3:30!); 9/14 the Boilmaker Jazz Band plays sets at 11:30 AM and 12:45 PM followed by the Dreamland Orchestra at 2, 3:15 and 4:15, the free ferry leaves from the old Shaolin ferry terminal, right next to the new one at the Battery. Be aware that alcohol is strictly prohibited and that you may be searched rigorously prior to boarding the ferry (bring a thermos, that’s how we did it).


Also Sat Sept 13, 4:30 PM a really good, free all-ages punk show at Passout Records, 131 Grand St. in Williamsburg featuring fearlessly funny, kick-ass rockers the Blame, the equally kick-ass, equally funny, somewhat metalish East Coast Scammers, 80s-style throwbacks Sexual Suicide, and others TBA.


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, Mark Sinnis plays Spikehill, 8 PM. The Ninth House frontman has invented his own, beguiling, absolutely haunting genre: gothic country lounge. Good to see him playing here where the sound is excellent and you can hear all the nuances in the vocals. He’s also playing the Slipper Room on Sept 21 at 10 for goth night. Oooh! Spooky!


Also Sat Sept 13, 9ish intoxicatingly good organ-and-guitar-driven gypsy/reggae/groove band Escarioka play Banbalotto, 160 N4th St. in Williamsburg, $10. Wow, what a discovery. Real fun stuff. They’re also playing Otto’s on 9/27 at 10:30.


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 twangy, rustic Americana rockers the Felice Bros. and impressively terse, zeros-generation delta bluesman AA Bondy play Maxwell’s, 9:30 PM, $15.


Also Sat Sept 13, 10ish at Rodeo Bar it’s a Loretta Lynn Tribute featuring The Lonesome Prairie Dogs and the incomparable comedienne/chanteuse/troublemaker Tammy Faye Starlite – the missing link between Lenny Bruce and Jello Biafra, except that she’s way better looking.


Also Sat Sept 13, 10 PM Baby Daddy play Parkside. These are the bluesy rockers responsible for the classic party anthem 700 Beers.


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.


Sun Sept 14, an afternoon of free music at Union Square featuring darkly slinky shoegaze/groove trio El Jezel at 1, others TBA – if anybody knows anything about what else might be happening, please share the intelligence


Also Sun Sept 14, early, 6 PM guitarist Jim Campilongo – spooky composer equally adept at western swing, surf and eerie soundtrack-style instrumentals – plays with his trio at 55 Bar.


Also Sun Sept 14, 8 PM  Paul Shapiro’s Ribs and Brisket Review plays the cd release for their new one Essen at the Cornelia St. Café. Exuberant, over-the-top Yiddish jazz featuring Cab Calloway and Slim Gaillard covers plus similar originals. Obviously this is not a dairy band, although it’s a good one: Paul Shapiro, sax, clarinet, vocal; Babi Floyd, vocals; Cilla Owens, vocals; Brian Mitchell, piano; Booker King, bass; Tony Lewis, drums.. 


Also Sun Sept 14 somewhat legendary Mexican ska rockers Maldita Vecindad play the Gramercy Theatre, 9ish, adv tix $37.50 available at the Irving Plaza box office. They’ve got one of the world’s greatest sax players and a vast back catalog of haunting, somewhat Dead Kennedys-inflected songs.


Also Sun Sept 14, 11 PM the Flanks play Spikehill, 11 PM. Excellent, mostly acoustic, oldtime-flavored traditionalist country band with a sense of humor. They’re also at Southpaw on 9/19.  


Mon Sept 15 Ani Cordero’s relatively new, beautifully rustic, driving rock in Espanol band Pistolera opens for popular, jazzy Mexican ranchera singer Lila Downs – playing with both her band and with the Mariachi Academy of NY at the Town Hall, 8 PM, adv tix $25 at the box office.


Also Mon Sept 15 fast-fingerered Rhode Island swing jazz axemeister Duke Robillard opens for petite but potent blues vocal powerhouse Shemekia Copeland at B.B. King’s, 8 PM, adv tix $25 available at the box office.


Also Mon Sept 15 long-running Brooklyn faux-French garage rockers les Sans Culottes – featuring the sensational Francoise Hardly (AKA Moist Gina from Moisturizer) on bass, play the Mercury, 9:30, a $15 benefit for Planned Parenthood.


Also Mon Sept 15 The 80s Go South play satirical country covers of schlocky 80s hits – Tears for Fears, etc. – at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. Has country become the new punk? Apparently so. 


Tues Sept 16, early, 7:30 PM the world’s only (mostly) all-female, (somewhat) lesbian klezmer group Isle of Klezbos play a free show in the community garden at 346 East Houston St, btw Avenues B & C. This wild, ecstatic crew play a dazzling and danceable mix of alternately rousing and haunting originals and classic, sometimes very obscure cover.


Also Tues Sept 16 the Tim Kuhl Group play Lakeside, 10 PM. Melodic, catchy, smart jazz songs without words. At Lakeside, of all places: somebody must have cancelled. Their loss is your gain.


Also Tues Sept 16 the Actual Facts play Southpaw, 9ish. Catchy, rocking, funny, guitar-driven new wave throwbacks.


Also Tues Sept 16 blue/roots music guitar genius Lenny Molotov plays the Rockwood with his band, 9 PM. Lots of delta blues, some ragtime, many originals, great lyrics and a brutal, sardonic sense of humor.


Also Tues Sept 16, 10ish, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson play the Highline Ballroom, adv tix $25 at the box office. This Australian couple look like trendoids but their stock in trade is gorgeously retro 60s American country music.  One of Steve Earle’s kids opens, earnestly.


Weds Sept 17 at Kenny’s Castaways of all places an intriguing triple bill: wickedly smart, funny janglerock songwriter Ward White opens the show, early, 7 PM playing songs from his new cd Pulling Out which is one of the year’s best; at 8, another jangle guy, Dave Foster of Bubble and at 9, the irrepressible, guitarishly brilliant Pete Galub who’s made everybody from Amy Allison to Greta Gertler sound amazing. With some sort of jam afterward. Good sound at this joint; nice to see some good people playing there.


Also Weds Sept 17, 9 PM, Ansambl Mastika plays Rose Bar. Amazing band with sax, trumpet, guitar and a killer rhythm section who play just about anything that can be played in the Arab scale. Gypsy music is their stepping-off point, but they go deep into klezmer, Levantine dance and Gogol Bordello-land.


Also Weds Sept 17 the Seckou Keita Quintet, led by the noted Senegalese kora (African harp) player plays the cd release for their new one The Silimba Passage at Drom, 9 PM, adv tix $15 very highly recommended at the box office. Keita plays a doublenecked kora in the same vein as Jimmy Page albeit with, um, somewhat more taste and subtlety. The result is sublimely hypnotic, venturing all over the map and often deep into jazz.


Also Weds Sept 17 popular, somewhat noir 90s melodic janglepop band the Dandy Warhols play Terminal 5, 10 PM, adv tix $27 available at the Mercury box office.


Thurs Sept 18 Greek oud virtuoso/composer Mavrothi Kontanis plays Mehanata, 9 PM with his astonishingly good band. Dark, haunting rebetika anthems, sly, tongue-in-cheek drinking songs and a lot of impressively diverse originals. Kontanis – who has two brilliant new albums out – is a hell of a soloist, but it’s his sax player who’s his secret weapon, equal parts Coltrane and refugee from Smyrna. 


Thurs-Fri Sept 18-19 the Hangdogs reunite to play a benefit for Iowa flood survivors at Rodeo Bar, 10ish. Five years ago, they were arguably the best band in New York, the missing link between the Bodeans and the Dead Kennedys, a scorchingly hot twangy rock outfit with a spot-on, politically-fueled sense of humor. Their most recent (one hopes not final) cd Wallace ’48 remains one of the decade’s very best.


Also Thurs Sept 18 Bogs Visionary Orchestra plays Banjo Jim’s, 10 PM  Deliriously good, sprawling bluegrass band, as good M Shanghai String Band and with even more energy. Superbly retro, funny ragtime banjoist Curtis Eller opens the night at 8.


Also Fri Sept 19 Matt Keating plays Housing Works Bookstore on Crosby just south of Houston, 8 PM. Fiery, cynical, often devastatingly literate janglerock songwriter riding the wave of his new, best-ever album, a double cd of the kind of tuneful broadsides Elvis Costello used to write before he decided to be a jazz guy.


Also Fri Sept 19 Musette Explosion featuring killer accordionist Will Holshouser and reliably excellent guitarist Matt Munisteri (who also plays banjo in this unit)plays Barbes, 8 PM. Musette is dark, gypsyish, blue-collar barroom music from France and Belgium from the 20s and 30s.


Also Fri Sept 19, Squeeze plays Radio City, 8ish, adv tix. very expensive ($39.50 at the box office). No idea how much they have left as a unit, but guitarist Glenn Tilbrook still wails and his co-writer Chris Difford can still write. One of the best of the British new wave bands, they have a massive back catalog of classics: Pulling Mussels, Another Nail in My Heart, Slightly Drunk, and, oh yeah, that wretched hit single that they didn’t write.


Also Fri Sept 19 the first night of two country nights at Southpaw starting at 8 PM featuring the excellent guy/girl vocal and steel guitar-driven Newton Gang, the hyperkinetic hollering of oldtimey ragtime/hokum guitarist Brownbird Rudy Relic and the excellent, oldtimey Flanks.


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


Also Fri Sept 19, 9:30ish, purist, wickedly smart and amusing punk rockers the Brooklyn What play Don Pedro’s. Their show last month at the Brooklyn Lyceum was the single best rock show we’ve seen all year…and we’ve seen over a hundred so far. See what you missed right here! Headlining are the bizarre but funny, slightly Devo-esque Australian garage/surf band the Ooga Boogas


Also Fri Sept 19 retro 60s garage psychedelic throwbacks the Brian Jonestown Massacre plays the Music Hall of Williamsburg, 10ish, tix $25 available at the Mercury box office.


Also Fri Sept 19 twangy, growling, somewhat Steve Earle-inflected former Backslider Chip Robinson plays Lakeside with the Roscoe Trio, 10ish – expect a long set.


Also Fri Sept 19 the actually good, psychedelic, horn-driven, female-fronted self-explanatory NY Funk Exchange plays Sullivan Hall, 10 PM.


Sat Sept 20 Senegalese bandleader Claude Gomis – son of Orchestra Baobab co-founder Rudy Gomis – brings his danceable funk/ska/dancehall stuff to the Brooklyn Public Library main branch at Grand Army Plaza, outdoors, free, at 3ish. There’s a real fun, Moisturizer-ish feel to them, with that baritone sax. Steel band CASYM opens at 2


Also Sept 20, early, 6 PM the second all-country night of the weekend at Southpaw featuring upbeat vintage 60s style cats Alex Battles & The Whiskey Rebellion, the alternately hilarious and haunting Jack Grace Band, the fiery, spirited Jessica Rose & The High Life, western swing/rockabilly guys Sean Kershaw & The New Jack Ramblers, the sprawling and impressively diverse M Shanghai String Band and Dock Oscar & The Ambassadors Of Love.


Also Sat Sept 20, 8 PM at Symphony Space, Rupayan plays North Indian desert music featuring percussion, Sufi songs, sarangi (bowed lute) and algoza (double flute), tix $30 available at the World Music Institute box office.


Also Sat Sept 20, 8 PM at Barbes: “Paris-based Balval ((”the wind” in Romanes,) blends East and West, Latin, and Oriental music with traditional Roma songs and puts their own musical compositions to the words of contemporary Roma poets. Featuring Awena Burgess – vocals; Rosalie Hartog – violin; Daniel Mizrahi – guitar; Benjamin Body – bass and Bachar Khalife, percussion” Followed by ex-Johnny Cash sideman Smokey Hormel’s Roundup, an excellent cast of characters playing western swing, including Charley Burnham – fiddle; Tim Luntzel – string bass; Konrad Meisner  – drums.


Also Sept 20 the gorgeously violin-and-guitar-driven Sadies (who frequently back Neko Case, and have Douce Gimlet’s old drummer) play the Highline Ballroom (looks like that place is getting all of the best acts that used to play Luna), 8 PM, adv tix $17 at the box office. Headliners Blue Rodeo were the first of the 80s alt-junkie Velvets wannabes.


Also Sat Sept 20, 8 PM the Ureuk Symphony plays Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony Op.8., the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor Op.64 and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C Major Op.56 at Merkin Concert Hall, tix $30.


Also Sat Sept 20 excellent DC retro 60s Britpop/rockers Bellman Barker play the Mercury, early, 7 PM. They’re also at Union Pool on Sun Sept 21 at 9.


Also Sat Sept 20 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.


Also Sat Sept 20 wild, hard-rocking, uncommonly good Irish band Finn’s Fury play Connolly’s, 9:30 PM. Equal parts punk and virtuoso violin-driven celtic dance band, should be a real fun night.


Also Sat Sept 20 Burnt Sugar plays the Blue Note at midnight, no doubt for a vastly reduced cover charge. Greg Tate’s sprawling, psychedelic drone-jazz megaplex is always good if you’re in a thoughtful mood. Moist Paula from Moisturizer on baritone sax!


Sun Sept 21, early afternoon, 3 PM an astonishingly good, introspective bill with solo jazz trumpet at the Eldridge St. Synagogue, 12 Eldridge just north of Division, F train to East Broadway, walk west, right on Allen St., left on Division, right on Eldridge. Performers are klezmer genius Frank London; “the human crescendo,” composer and Hazmat Modine star Pam Fleming, Rev. Dr. Mark Harvey of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Japanese adventurer Natsuki Tamura and cool jazzcat Nate Wooley.


Also Sun Sept 21, an afternoon concert at Symphony Space, 4 PM, Leon Botstein & the American Symphony Orchestra play Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs (he didn’t plan them to be, but these saturnine, often haunting works are among his finest), tix $25.


Also Sun Sept 21 Julie Fowlis, the “first Gaelic crossover artist” sings beguiling, tasteful traditional Scottish songs from across the centuries at Joe’s Pub, 9:30 PM, adv tix $20 and highly recommended at the box office.


Also Sun Sept 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.


Also Sun Sept 21 one of the original haunting Southwestern gothic units, Giant Sand play the Gramercy Theatre, 9ish, adv tix relatively cheap, $15 at the Irving Plaza box office.


Mon Sept 22 reliably provocative, politically spot-on multi-instrumentalist hip-hop/rock songwriter Stephan Said plays a benefit for Iraq war refugees at Joe’s Pub, 7 PM sharp, adv tix $20 and worth it (this will sell out) at the box office. Said, FKA Stephan Smith, is using this show to reclaim his original Arabic name, and also taping the night for the video of his cover of the 1937 Mohammed Abdel Wahab classic Aheb Aisht Al Huriya (I Love the Life of Freedom).


Also Mon Sept 22 Kal (Roma for black) plays Drom, 8 PM. Fiery, haunting, politically and historically aware gypsy band from the suburbs of Belgrade. Keenly aware that they’re keeping a great tradition alive in the face of the encroachment of computerized disco and prejudice on all sorts of levels, fired by righteous anger. Could be very intense and just as fun.


Also Mon Sept 22 Toots & the Maytals play B.B. King’s, 8 PM, adv tix $26.50 at the box office. Toots Hibbert was there when ska morphed into rocksteady and then into reggae: story is that his off-the-cuff hit Do the Reggay gave the style its name. Still a vital and intense performer in his sixties, with a huge back catalog of classics (Pressure Drop, Get Up Stand Up, 54-46 Was My Number) and a good band who will vamp on them for fifteen minutes at a clip.


Also Mon Sept 22 Tidawt, an excellent, hypnotic yet upbeat Tuareg desert blues/rock band from Niger plays the Highline Ballroom, 9 PM. More melodically varied, driven by dynamic shifts and less outright haunting than Tinariwen or Toumast. They can undoubtedly reaffirm that there was no uranium destined for Saddam Hussein in their native land.


Also Mon Sept 22 lush, atmospheric female-fronted dreampop group This Reporter plays Lakeside of all places, 10 PM.


Also Mon Sept 22 the Silos play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM, probably gearing up for a tour. Indie rock legends with a new bass player in place of the late, much missed Drew Glackin but missing none of their usual Americana-inflected guitar fire and snarling melodicism.


Tues Sept 23, 7 PM at Barbes it’s Bob Hoffnar’s Mood Illusion: “deconstructed lounge music, sub-standards from the pre-rock era and Bee Gees tunes.” Ron Caswell – Tuba; Andrew Borger – Drums; Samoa – vocals; Bob Hoffnar – pedal steel.


Also Tues Sept 23, 8 PM Katie Elevitch plays Rose Bar in Williamsburg with her band. Darkly slinky, slowly crescendoing rock/soul equally imbued with riveting intensity and sly humor. She belts, she wails, has a great band behind her and writes great songs. If you miss the days of Alice Lee playing Pete’s on the random Saturday night, or when Randi Russo had a loud band behind her, check her out. What a discovery.


Weds Sept 24, 6:30 PM at Cooper Union (Seventh St. and Third Ave.), free, early arrival suggested, Dr. Oliver Sacks, noted neurologist and author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and now Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, discusses the interaction between music and the human brain — how music moves us, heals and haunts us. Perhaps he can explain the painkilling properties of Stars of Warburton by Midnight Oil and how Chicha Libre induces the same euphoria as cocaine but without the side effects.


Also Weds Sept 24-30 it’s the Droma Gypsy Festival at Drom featuring a whole caravan of good bands, highlights below.


Weds Sept 24 Turkish gypsy dub band Baba Zula – how’s that for cross-cultural psychedelia? – who’ve recorded with Mad Professor and others, play Drom at 9 PM, adv tix $20 very highly recommended at the box ofc 


Also Weds Sept 24 the reliably romantic, musically sensational Hawaiian/swing/blues/all things retro stars Moonlighters play at 9 at Fort Greene strip club Barrette, 601 Vanderbilt Avenue at Bergen St., 2/3 to Bergen or C to Clinton/Washington.


Also Weds Sept 24 tuneful, politically aware Atlanta Americana rock songwriter Kirk McMillan and his band play a benefit for Tuesday’s Children (charity which mentors kids who lost relatives on 9/11) at Spikehill, 9 PM.  Check out his song Corporate Cross on his myspace. Here’s what you get with a donation: $10 kirk4kids GROUPIE – Cover Charge for Event; $25 kirk4kids ROADIE – CD and kirk4kids t-shirt; $50 kirk4kids TOUR MANAGER – CD, kirk4kids t-shirt, 2 FREE drinks; $100 kirk4kids BAND MEMBER – CD, kirk4kids t-shirt, FREE drinks and food.


Thurs Sept 25 the haunting, Middle Eastern-inflected yet extremely danceable oldtime Zanzibar revivalists Sounds of Taraab play a harbor cruise on the good ship Star of Palm Beach, leaving from Pier 40, Houston St. & the highway; boarding from 6:30-7:30, then cruise till 10 PM rain or shine. Adv tix insanely cheap, $10, get ‘em from the band.


Also Thurs Sept 25 Botanica plays Europa, 8 PM, insanely cheap at $8. Menacing, urbane, noir rockers with a fiery, charismatic keyboardist/frontman and eerie reverb guitar, who offer some of the most beautifully anguished moments of transcendent, epic grandeur you will ever experience at a rock show.


Also Thurs Sept 25 the NY Gypsy All-Stars under the leadership of the wildly jazzy Macedonian/Turkish clarinet virtuoso Ismail Lumanovski play Drom,  9 PM, $13 adv tix at the box office very highly recommended.


Also Thurs Sept 25 at Barbes, 10 PM: Jay Vilnai’s Vampire Suit – “Combining elements from jazz, world music, classical and other musical traditions Vampire Suit creates a musical blend of that takes you from the tribal dances of Northern Africa to the marshes of the Balkans to the cotton fields of the Delta.” Wild, intense stuff. With Jay vilnai -Guitars ; Skye Steele – Violin; Gary Pickard – Reeds; Greg Heffernan – cello and Rich Stein– Percussio.


Fri Sept 26 it’s the Dumbo arts festival with country siren Jan Bell, many others on the bill, times TBA.


Also Fri Sept 26 Junior Brown plays Maxwell’s, 7:30 PM, adv tix available at Other Music. One of the great guitarists of our time, he plays his own custom-made “guit-steel” on which he proves equally astounding doing country, western swing, surf and Texas blues. Plus he’s one hell of a singer and not without a sense of humor either. He’s also at the Highline Ballroom on Sat Sept 27, 8 PM, adv tix $25, an all-ages show.


Also Fri Sept 26 Prasanna plays classical South Indian music on electric guitar plus Hendrix covers, accompanied by a percussion ensemble at Symphony Space, 8 PM, tix $28 avail at the World Music Institute box ofc.


Also Fri and Sun Sept 26 and 28 world-renowned organist Cameron Carpenter will perform three concerts at Middle Collegiate Church, 50 East 7th St at Second Avenue. General admission tix $30 at the church office; open rehearsal free to members of the public 9/24 and 9/25, 8-midnight! Friday’s program features pieces by Bach, Messiaen, Shostakovich and a John Williams piece from a Harry Potter movie…and three improvisations by the organist! The Sunday 3 PM show features lots of Bach and Liszt; the 8 PM Sunday recital features more Liszt, Reger, Demessieux, Jongen and Carpenter’s own original work from his new cd Revolutionary. Concerts will also be webcast live here.


Also Fri Sept 26 (semi) classic hip-hop album night with Black Moon performing Enta Da Stage and Smif N Wessun doing Da Shinin at the Knit, 9 PM, adv tix. $15 at the box office.


Also Fri Sept 26 Eastern Bloc FKA the Goran Ivanovic Group play their haunting electric gypsy guitar jazz along with Serbian-influenced klezmer group Mames Babaganoush at Drom, 9 PM, adv tix $13 very highly recommended at the box office. Dunno who’s playing first, but it really doesn’t matter since they’re both good.


Also Fri Sept 26,  9:30 PM bassist Bruce Foxton & drummer Rick Buckler of the Jam are at the Gramercy Theatre, adv tix $29.50 at the Irving Plaza box office. Admittedly this is something akin to the Dead Kennedys without Jello, but Paul Weller hasn’t written a good song in 25 years and didn’t want to tour. And this is one of the alltime great rhythm sections, playing all the classics: That’s Entertainment, Private Hell, Down in the Tube Station at Midnight…the list goes on and on.


Also Fri Sept 26 Sister Anne plays Fontana’s, 10:30 PM . Cleverly amusing metal/punk/garage band from Brooklyn with two bass players. No joke. They sound like they’re a lot of fun live.


Sat Sept 27 there’s another free punk show at Tompkins Square Park, details TK


Also Sat Sept 27 at Banjo Jim’s an uncommonly good female-fronted country night starting with the traditionalist Jessica Star at 7:30, the raucous Shithouse Lillies at 8:15 (who do a song about eminent domain abuse!),  the equally raucous Jamie Lyn & the Red Tail Hawk Band at 9, the much quieter, more pensive Kara Suzanne and the Gojo Hearts at 10, Serena Jean and the Whisky Trippers and then the gorgeously retro 60s style Carin Gorrell and the Newton Gang at midnight


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.


Also Sat Sept 27, charming, slyly innuendo-driven French chanson revivalists Les Chauds Lapins at le Poisson Rouge, 7:30 PM, $25.


Also Sat Sept 27 Savina Yannatou plays Symphony Space, 8 PM, tix $25 available at the World Music Institute box office. Purist Greek chanteuse with an insatiable sense of adventure, a jazzy playfulness and an addiction to haunting minor keys. If it’s Mediterranean, or Arab, or Sephardic, she can sing it and has a band who can play it.


Also Sat Sept 27, 9 PM 12-piece Balkan brass band Zlatne Uste plays Drom, the club says 9 PM but it may be later, adv tix $13 available cheap at the club box office. 


Also Sat Sept 27 punk/new wave legend Wreckless Eric – who has a million great stories  – plays with the brilliantly dark and funny Amy Rigby at Southpaw, 9 PM.


Also Sat Sept 27 an excellent doublebill at Union Pool, 9ish with the totally punk, frequently very funny Headless Hookers along with brilliant country band Jerry Teel & the Big City Stompers (featuring Jerome O’Brien from the Dog Show on bass),not sure who’s playing first but they make a good, fun segue.


Also Sat Sept 27 sensationally good, shapeshifting retro 60s psychedelic rock throwbacks Love Camp 7 play the Parkside, 10 PM followed by the always enjoyably sinister, noir Reid Paley Trio with special guest chanteuse Peg Simone.


Sun Sept 28, an intriguing afternoon recital, 3 PM at Merkin Concert Hall with former Victor Borge collaborator Sahan Arzruni playing Armenian piano music.


Also Sun Sept 28 the frequently scorching, diversely musical Metropolitan Klezmer spinoff Isle of Klezbos – equally good at fiery wedding dances, haunting klezmer dirges and smart multstylistic originals play the YM-YWHA of Brighton Beach, 3300 Coney Island Ave. in Brooklyn, early, 6 PM, tix $12 at the door, B/Q train to Brighton Beach.


Also Sun Sept 28, 7 PM at Barbes: the Tarras Band, who dedicate themselves to the repertoire of the legendary Yiddish-American clarinetist and composer Dave Tarras. Michael Winograd (cl), Ben Holmes (tpt), Jim Guttman (bs), Richie Barshay (drums), and featuring klezmer legend and long-time Tarras accompanist Pete Sokolow (piano).


Also Sun Sept 28 Ljova & the Kontraband play the 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 exuberant, classically inflected, ecstatically multistylistic string band with something of a cinematic feel, simply one of the very best bands in town.


Also Sun Sept 28, 8 PM classical Persian music by the ensemble Oumoumi at Symphony Space, balcony and rear orchestra seats $30 which will sell out fast, available at the box office Tues-Sun noon-7 PM. Especially well-timed considering the threat of a Bush regime hail-mary pass (or hundred) headed straight at the people of Iran.


Also Sun Sept 28, 8 PM an interesting doublebill at Drom with theatrical chanteuse Sandra Weigl and inventive guitarist/singer Dotschy Reinhardt, continuing the dynastic legacy of gypsy jazz.


Mon Sept 29 a good jazz night at Spikehill starting at 8 with Italian expat guitarist Nico Sofiato and  his quartet followed by excellent drummer/composer/bandleader Tim Kuhl at 9; at 10, indie rock with the somewhat all-over-the-place Dave Treut; headlining at 11 are superb, imaginative guitarist Ila Cantor and piano player Sean Wayland.


Also Mon Sept 29 Daria Grace & the Prewar Ponies play their beautifully lush, romantic, oldtime country/ragtime/pop at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.


Tues Sept 30 Jack Grace and his band play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM, with strippers. Daria, you might want to talk to your husband about this.



Weds Oct 1 Frederick Teardo plays the 1830 Appleton Organ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3:30 PM in the musical instruments section, free with museum admission.




Also Weds Oct 1 exhilarating, danceable pan-Balkan rockers Ansambl Mastika – with horns, guitar and a propulsive rhythm section – play Drom, 9 PM along with hypnotic, female fronted Marseilles rai/rap/dance pop band Watcha Clan


Also Weds Oct 1 Bogs Visionary Orchestra play Sidewalk, 10 PM. Fiery, upbeat bluegrass band whose originals could be standards from 50 years ago. Good stuff.


Thurs Oct 2 Boston rockers Aloud play Trash Bar, time TBA. Cool guy/girl vox, a blend of punchy garage riff-rock and tasty, twangy jangle. Now if only they’d record with the same reckless abandon as they play live.


Also Thurs Oct 2 through Sat Oct 4 Stereolab play Irving Plaza, 11ish, adv tix $25 available at the box office. The crew here is divided on these guys: one faction thinks their drony, ambient sound is tuneless and pretentious; the other thinks they’re totally unique and their politics are spot-on.


Fri Oct 3 one of the world’s great klezmer trumpeters, Frank London plays Drom, 9 PM.


Sat Oct 4 and continuing on 10/11, 10/18, 11/8, 11/15 and 11/22 John Scott plays a marathon of the complete organ works of Messiaen at St. Thomas Church, 4 PM. He’s done the complete works of Buxtehude not once but twice; his recording of the complete Mendelssohn organ sonatas is probably the best extant. Of all the great performances of the Messiaen centenary, these could be the most exciting.


Sun Oct 5, 3 PM the world-class Greenwich Village Orchestra plays Beethoven – Symphony No.6 “Pastorale” and Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor” at the Washington Irving HS auditorium, tix insanely cheap, $15 at the door


Weds Oct 8 the Wedding Present plays Bowery Ballroom, 10ish. British cult faves from the late 80s/90s mixing elements of garage, punk and occasionally buffoonish pop. They’re also playing Southpaw the following night, but the sound there isn’t nearly as good.


Thurs Oct 9 Canadian banjoist Jayme Stone & Malian kora player Mansa Sissoko play Drom, 8 PM. Pretty much what you’d expect: a mix of traditional bluegrass and African styles, but rather than being jarring, they alternate between styles. The bluegrass is typically rousing, the African stuff gorgeously hypnotic.


Sat Oct 11, 3 PM at ABC No Rio, Bay area punks Acts of Sedition, our own Hipster Holocaust (three cheers) and also Bad Blood (NOT the Neil Sedaka song).


Also Sat Oct 11 legendary, vital salsa vet Eddie Palmieri plays a doublebill with the Latin Giants of Jazz – Tito Puente’s backup band, whose show last month downtown was something beyond exhilarating  – play the Lehman Ctr, 8 PM, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, D train to Bedford Pk Blvd, tix pricy ($35 is cheapest) but worth it at the box ofc.  


Also Sat Oct 11 fiery noise/punk/art-rockers System Noise play Connolly’s, 10 PM. Dark macabre virtuoso guitar, a pummeling rhythm section, good lyrics and the spectacular Sarah Mucho out front wailing over the squall. One of the half-dozen best live bands in NYC, maybe the world right now.


Also Sat Oct 11 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 Oct 11 Rosalia plays BAM, 8 PM; she’s at at Barbes at 7 on 10/12. Spanish guitarist Rosalia Roio is an utterly original, captivating player versed in a dazzling array of classical, jazz and world music styles, a great improviser with a signature sound. Sometimes hypnotic, sometimes bracing, always interesting.


Tues Oct 14 the incomparable Jenifer Jackson plays the Rockwood, 9 PM. This is the show we want you to go see. Equally adept at lush Beatlesque psychedelia, romantic samba and soulful Americana, Jackson sings with a completely unaffected, warmly wise voice that will lift your spirits if you’ve had a rough day. It’s a free show, what have you got to lose but your troubles.


Weds Oct 15 popular, tuneful all-female (one assumes) jangle/garage/punk lo-fi rock trio the Vivian Girls play Bowery Ballroom 9:30ish, adv tix $10 at the Mercury recommended – this may sell out.



Thurs Oct 16 blue/roots music guitar genius Lenny Molotov plays Pete’s Candy Store with his band, 9 PM. Lots of delta blues, some ragtime, many originals, great lyrics and a brutal, sardonic sense of humor.




Fri Oct 17 the Ventures play B.B. King’s, adv tix. $36 at the box ofc. and worth it. What the Beatles were to pop, what the Stones were to rock, what whiskey is to thirst, the Ventures are to instrumental rock. Nearly fifty years after they started, original members Don Wilson, Bob Bogle and Nokie Edwards are still going strong. Scream and see if they play Ginza Lights!


Also Fri Oct 17, Method Man & Redman perform at the Nokia Theatre, 8 PM, adv tix $35 available at their box office open Mon-Sat noon-6 PM. Back before they became tv actors, they put out one of the great hip-hop collaborations of alltime,  Blackout. This time around they’re doing what they call the Still High Tour, which is probably accurate.


Sat Oct 18, a march against the Atlantic Yards luxury condo/arena project. Registration starts at 5:15 PM, march at 6:15 PM, gather in front of Bob Law’s Seafood Cafe (637 Vanderbilt/ btwn St. Marks and Prospect Place) and conclude with an after party including free food and live music (TBA) at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 4th Avenue at Union Street).


Also Sat Oct 18 legendary Iranian spike fiddle player/composer Kayhan Kalhor – who’s just released a sensational new album with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider   plays Carnegie Hall, 8:30 PM, adv tix $36 available at the World Music Institute box office.


 Also Sat Oct 18 legendary, artsy, psychedelic rock en Espanol band Jaguares at the Nokia Theatre, 9:30 PM, adv tix $37.50 available at their box office open Mon-Sat noon-6 PM.


Also Sat Oct 18 loud, punkish rockers Spanking Charlene – sort of NYC’s answer to X – play Lakeside, 11 PM. Frontwoman Charlene McPherson has one of those voices you’ll never forget once you hear it – she can really wail.


Sun Oct 19, early evening, 5 PM smartly oldtimey acoustic act Royal Pine – featuring another tremendously good singer, Robin Aigner – play the Gardens of Union, Union St. near 4th Ave., Brooklyn.


Also Sun Oct 19 Kal (Roma for black) play Joe’s Pub, 9:30 PM. Fiery, haunting, politically and historically aware gypsy band from the suburbs of Belgrade. Keenly aware that they’re keeping a great tradition alive in the face of the encroachment of computerized disco and prejudice on all sorts of levels, fired by righteous anger. Could be very intense and just as fun, adv tix $22 at the box office.


Tues Oct 21 haunting, danceable, innovatively shape-shifting Middle Eastern combo Zikrayat play with noted percussionist Faisal Zedan at Barbes, 7 PM.


Thurs Oct 23 Metropolitan Klezmer – who play every haunting style of klezmer music ever invented, and have a sensationally good live album out – play the Jalopy Café in Red Hook, 8 PM.


Fri Oct 24 supersonically fast surf rockers los Straitjackets play an absurdly good doublebill with legendary Finnish surf rockers Laika & the Cosmonauts at Maxwell’s, adv tix $13 at the club and at Other Music. They’re at Southpaw at 9 on 10/25 for the same price, which should be just as good since they’re both instrumental bands and don’t need vocals.


Mon Oct 27 somewhat legendary powerpop songwriter (and recently, Edward Rogers collaborator) George Usher – who’s written for Laura Cantrell, among many others –  plays his reliably tuneful stuff at Lakeside, 10 PM.


Thurs Oct 30 the reliably excellent, politically spot-on, scorchingly guitarish female-fronted art/noise/punk rockers System Noise play a book release party for Iraq Veterans Against the War at Sullivan Hall, 8 PM.


Also Thurs Oct 30 Cypress Hill play their annual NYC Halloween show a day early at the Nokia Theatre, early, 8ish, adv tix $36 available at their box office Mon-Sat noon-6 PM. Hey – don’t laugh – their rap-metal was actually GOOD. And even though they only have one joke, it still resonates if you’re, um…now what were we talking about?


Fri, Halloween, the possibly 18-piece, definitely all-female Main Squeeze Orchestra plays meticulously arranged, psychedelic, frequently hilarious accordion music at the Zipper Theatre. If you’re lucky they’ll do Love Will Tear Us Apart AND Bohemian Rhapsody.


Also Fri, Halloween, 1 AM (actually the wee hours of 11/1), Massachusetts reggae/jazz megaplex the Superpowers play the Blue Note, 1 AM. Their festival show early in the summer uptown was sensationally good.


11/1 at the Knit, 8ish, “3 floors of ska” incl. the Toasters, Pietasters, Hub City Stompers, Deals Gone Bad, Sonice Boom Six, Kofre, Warsaw, The Void Union, Green Room Rockers, Los Landrones, Unlikely Alibi, Jonny Meyers, adv tix $17 at the box office









11/1 Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad at Sullivan Hall, 11 PM

11/6 Bad Brains (original members? dunno) at Irving Plaza, 8:30 PM adv tix $26.50

11/6 John Brown’s Body at Bowery Ballroom, 10ish, $15 adv tix at the Mercury

11/9 the Turtle Island String Quartet plays Coltrane’s A Love Supreme at Merkin Concert Hall, tix $30

11/12 Susan Tedeschi at Irving Plaza, 9ish, adv tix expensive $31.50 at the box office

11/13 Carol Lipnik & Spoookarama at the Zipper Theatre, 8 PM

11/13 Willie Nile solo at the Cutting Room 8 PM

11/14 8:30 PM Nicole Atkins & the Sea at Bowery Ballroom, adv tix $16 at the Mercury

11/15-16 Rev. Horton Heat at the Gramercy Theatre, adv tix $26 at the Irving Plaza box office

11/16, 3 PM the Greenwich Village Orchestra plays Saint Saens – Cello Concerto;  Dvorak – Silent Woods, and Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique at Washington Irving HS Aud., tix insanely cheap, $15

Black 47 dates at Connolly’s: Saturdays Nov. 15/21; Dec. 6/13 and 31st (New Year’s Eve).

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

11/21 the Coffin Daggers at Branch Brook Park Roller Skating Center

7th Ave & Clifton Ave, Newark, time TBA

11/23 Huun Huur Tu at le Poisson Rouge




August 31, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, NYC Live Music Calendar | 5 Comments

New Rules for New Orleans

As Ray Nagin said, we’ve learned a lot from Katrina. Here’s what residents of that poor city have to look forward to this time around:


Only Halliburton employees, or employees of other corporate mercenary firms, will be allowed to participate in looting.


Anyone who gets on the bad side of Halliburton personnel or other mercenaries may be summarily executed. Those not executed will be sentenced indefinitely to Angola State Prison without trial.  This includes New Orleans police, fire and emergency services personnel and National Guard soldiers as well as survivors awaiting rescue.


The Superdome will not be open this time around: anyone seeking shelter inside may be summarily executed.


Any homeowners or displaced persons unwilling to be fingerprinted and processed through the criminal justice system will not be allowed to receive any government aid after the storm, no matter how dire the circumstance.


Real estate speculators are encouraged to visit and bid on destroyed property after the storm recedes. The same applies to casino and upscale resort proprietors.


Louisiana state residents can look forward to a tax increase to pay the profits made by Halliburton or other mercenary companies occupying New Orleans after the hurricane.


No private citizens, other than employees of Halliburton or other corporate mercenary firms, will be allowed near the movie set built for the visit from President Bush after the storm, created to give the illusion that the city isn’t a waterlogged wasteland.


Only employees of Goldman, Sachs & Co. (whose former CEO is now Treasury Secretary) will be allowed to sell short any stock that could be adversely affected by the hurricane.


For the second time in three years, New Orleans will serve as a test case to see how American citizens react when Constitutional law is suspended and law enforcement is put into the hands of for-profit corporations. 

August 31, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Rant | Leave a comment

A Vote for Obama Is a Vote Against Walmart

Yet another persuasive reason to vote for Obama.

August 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Art Review: Walk-Ins Welcome at Umbrella Arts, NYC

It’s unclear how long this exhibit will be open (the gallery website doesn’t say, and although the opening was this past Thursday, there’s a new show going up on 9/11), but if you’re around the East Village this weekend this is very much worth checking out. As usual, it’s a group show with a whole smorgasbord of paintings and other visuals, some of it very good.


Linda Griggs steals the show with her oil Cheating the Bat, a gently pretty, soft-focus midnight blue twilight scene featuring bats, one of them in hot pursuit of a bright orange Cheeto. Richard Sandler has a totally Diane Arbus style photo of an old woman resolutely holding onto the center pole at the back of a car on the old CC train, most likely taken in the 70s. Remember that one? Breaking Silence, a mixed media work by Dianne Bowen provocatively spills white wax over a sharply threatening bunch of nails and wire. Robert Garey’s black-and-white photo Shepard’s Bread may have been posed, or maybe not, but either way the scruffy old guy in the baseball hat holding a tall can of Bud in a paper bag is an indelible image. Juri Morioka’s clever painting Night Walkers is a brightly surreal, focus-shifting, slightly cubist street view dabbled with pawprints.


Jill Gewirtz has another one of her sharp black-and-white photos up, this one an East Village parking lot behind barbwire, the building behind it festooned with signs reading BAST. Shelley Haven’s oil Merchants Mill Pond is a bright yet gritty shore scene; Theresa Valla’s deliberately roughhewn collage The Moon Still Glorious depicts a woman laden down with nails, her shadowy construction paper form lugging them by moonlight. A good, diverse representation of talent. Umbrella Arts is at 317 E 9th St. between 1st and 2nd Ave., open Thursday through Sunday 1PM – 6PM.

August 30, 2008 Posted by | Art, Reviews | Leave a comment

Best Congressional Speech of the Year – Maybe the Decade

Here’s legendary prosecutor and Helter Skelter author Vincent Bugliosi testifying before Congress, urging the prosecution of George W. Bush for murder (the title of Bugliosi’s impassioned new book). Bugliosi- one of the most fair-minded people you will find anywhere, a maverick who supported John McCain in 2000, and a man who wouldn’t bring anything to trial unless it was ironclad – provides a passionate but irrefutable case against Bush and his cronies. This ranks with the US Army’s Joseph Welch’s “have you no decency” rejoinder to Joe McCarthy as one of the great Congressional moments.


Note the Bush operatives trying to shush Bugliosi before he drives his point home.

August 29, 2008 Posted by | Literature, Politics | Leave a comment

Best Speech of the DNC

While you were at work, or at school, or doing whatever, 4 PM Tuesday, Dennis Kucinich gave the best speech of the entire convention. Five minutes and fifty seconds of brilliant, lyrical relevance. The only network who broadcast this was C-Span. If you aren’t fired up about Obama already, you will be after seeing this.

August 29, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

This Would Never Happen at Fenway Park

For many months, fans have been complaining about club security attempting to restrict the movement of customers during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium. Now it seems the rumors are true: according to the New York Daily News, a fan was ejected from the ballpark for leaving his seat to use the bathroom while God Bless America played over the PA.

Yet another reason to laugh while the Yankees play out the string as another disappointing season winds down.

August 28, 2008 Posted by | Culture, New York City | Leave a comment

Concert Review: Rev. Vince Anderson at Black Betty, Brooklyn NY 8/25/08

As regular readers of this space know, Rev. Vince Anderson is always found near the top of the regularly updated NYC live music calendar here. For what seems like an eternity, Anderson and his backup band the Love Choir have been playing a regular Monday night residency at Black Betty in Williamsburg. Since Anderson is a real minister, the weekly gig serves as both worship service (to the extent that it can, under the circumstances), and live rehearsal – although his bandmates are such good musicians, and know his material so inside-out that he can throw a new one at them every once in awhile knowing they won’t miss a beat. Anderson has been through several different incarnations (he went through a brief noir cabaret phase and then a long gypsy rock tangent), but since the start of the Black Betty residency he and his crew have become a jam band in the finest sense of the word. If the idea of going to see a jam band appeals to you about as much as a third term for George W. Bush, the Reverend will convert you. Forget for a second that Phish or Dave Matthews ever existed. 


They started out psychedelic. Anderson laid down a bluesy groove on his Nord Electro keyboard and the band launched into the swaying, wee-hours instrumental New Orleans, 4 AM. The horns got the solos. Trombonist Dave Smith is a purist, a real bluesman who makes every note count for something yet always manages to surprise, and his first solo of the night was an emphatic statement that said exactly that. With a wink and a grin, baritone saxist Paula Henderson (frontwoman of the delightful and paradigm-shifting dance instrumental trio Moisturizer) added color with a series of coy, fast flourishes. On the next song, Deep in the Water, from Anderson’s latest cd 100% Jesus, he toyed with his settings, eventually settling on a crazy, distorted tone that he used sparingly for some bright accents over the rhythm section’s undulating pulse. Bassist George Rush gave a clinic in how to jam out on a single chord for minutes on end without sounding wanky or obtrusive, and guitarist Jaleel Bunton played what might be the best solo he’s ever taken with this group, beautifully plaintive and terse. He’s discovered reverb, and it’s transformed his sound in this unit.


The hymn Precious Lord, Take My Hand was reinvented as a delirious barrelhouse stomp. Then Anderson played what might be his signature song, Get Out of My Way. The version on his second album has an eerie Balkan feel, reflecting what he was doing at the time. Since then, he’s recast it as a scorching funk jam and scaled back the lyrics: unless you know the original, it’s hard to hear this as gospel at all. Anderson got the crowd laughing when he introduced it, recalling how an audience member once took exception to it. “I really liked your set,” she told him, “But I don’t appreciate you yelling at me. [the lyric goes, ‘Get out of my way, I’ve got to praise my Lord today.’].”


After the heartwrenching ballad I Had a Ring in My Pocket, She Had Leaving on Her Mind, they did a brand-new one possibly titled Hard Time (as in “I had a hard time saying goodnight to you”), a real departure for Anderson set to a doo-wop melody as the early Beatles might have played it. By the time the band got to the fast, bruising blues Forgive Me, Anderson was crowdsurfing.


Considering how long the Rev. has been playing the dives of New York, the Lucid Culture crew have witnessed him live, cumulatively speaking, several dozen times. We’re talking at least sixty or seventy shows here, and this had to be one of the alltime top five. Vince Anderson is the Nolan Ryan of the gospel keyboard: after all these years, he still brings it, maybe better than ever, and maybe fifty pounds lighter than he was a couple of years ago. And the most heartwarming thing of all? The kids have discovered the Rev. Although there were a few grizzled faces among the crowd, this was one of the youngest audiences we’ve seen all year. Proof that the new generation hasn’t been hoodwinked into believing that they should have any interest in the French Kicks, the Ting Tings or the rest of their ilk. There’s new movement springing up right here, and it’s going to drive the money-changers out of the temple and open it up again for the rest of us. This guy’s as good a candidate as any to lead the charge. 


By the way – don’t let the religious nature of his lyrics scare you off. Anderson doesn’t proselytize: he’s aware that a sizeable percentage of his fan base are atheists.

August 28, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | Leave a comment

Concert Review: Randi Russo on the Coney Island Boardwalk; 9th Wave at Otto’s, NYC 8/23/08

Since the Knitters were playing an early evening show opening for Patti Smith the following day, the original game plan was to go uptown, early afternoon, for the first day of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival at Marcus Garvey Park. Last-minute word of Randi Russo’s afternoon show at Coney Island changed all that: sea breezes versus stifling city heat? No contest.


Standing resolutely on the boardwalk against the sky in front of the Dreamland roller rink, way out past the baseball stadium, Russo was an image straight out of Magritte. The promoters had cleverly set up a frame with curtains painted on it simulating a stage, a mirror ball hanging ominously over Russo’s head, the sky blue behind her. Inscrutable behind her sunglasses and playing solo on her beautiful red Gibson SG guitar (why don’t more rockers do solo electric shows?), she cut a striking figure, hardly missing a band behind her. Since this was an outdoor show, the PA was turned up loud, for the most part drowning out the gas generator sputtering just a few feet away.


Hearing the songs stripped down to just guitar and vocals was a revelation. She opened with her signature song, the caustic anthem Wonderland, a sarcastic dig at an ex-friend spoiled rotten by just fifteen minutes of fame. Much of Russo’s work has a sardonic edge that sometimes boils over into bitterness and rage, and that one is a prime example. But that’s not to say that Russo is all about that: with her vocals up in the mix, the catchy garage rocker Matchless revealed itself as a very funny song: “Now I stink, and no one will go near me,” she sang, which was laughably wrong: Russo is well-liked in the underground music community and adored by her fans. Likewise, the Cramps-y rocker That Corpse, chock-full of silly grossout humor. The rich, lush complexity of Russo’s melodies also came to the forefront, particularly on the gorgeously stately series of chords that opened her live staple Push/Pull and, even more impressively, the way she got the imaginatively catchy opening chords of Invisible, an unreleased number, to play off a reverberating open string. She also did a couple of new numbers, the best being Venus on Saturn, a viciously dismissive slap upside the head of a drama queen. This is why solo gigs by great artists are just as good as band shows. She’s playing Sidewalk on Friday, Sept. 5 at midnight.


Later in the evening we ended up at Otto’s if only for the reason that it’s close to Union Square (and vastly preferable to the odious Doc Holliday’s, where a troupe of aging fratboys and sorority girls were whooping along to Glory Days by Springsteen, rudely jostling anyone within arm’s length and spilling their drinks). By a stroke of good fortune, this was one of Unsteady Freddie’s surf music nights. The Tarantinos NYC were just winding up their set when we got there, followed by the Outpatients, who are all fine musicians, but this was not their night. For the second time in about a week, 9th Wave reminded why they’re so highly regarded in the surf music scene, and reminded also how eerily similar they are to Randi Russo. She’s about as surf as they are indie rock, but the two acts share a sardonic humor: 9th Wave guitarist Mike “Staccato” Rosado plays his lightning-fast, pointillistic Dick Dale-inflected melodies with an edge and a bite that can be either gleefully sarcastic or burn with an undercurrent of anger and disappointment: one would think that someone this good deserves to command a bigger stage than the one at Otto’s on a Saturday night. But that’s New York, 2008. In yet another weird coincidence, they’d also played the Coney Island boardwalk about a week ago, and their set was pretty much the same as what they played there with the exception of their best song of the night, a tensely burning, midtempo minor-key tune. As they reached the end of their show, one of the entourage at the bar had reached her limit, so it was time to call it a day. Imagine this happening just about anywhere else.

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | Leave a comment