Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Concert Review: El Pussycat at Otto’s, NYC 10/5/08

As this sensationally good eight-piece old-school ska band took the stage at eleven on a Sunday night, the obvious question was, why weren’t they playing Saturday night instead? A peep at El Pussycat’s website provided the answer: they were at the Knit Saturday; apparently they were doing this one for beer money for departing for their native England. While there wasn’t much of a crowd in the bar, those who remained there quickly gathered in the back by the stage where an impromptu dance party began. With a skintight rhythm section, percussion, keys, trombone, sax, guitar and an utterly charming frontwoman, they absolutely slayed during their barely hourlong set. Their sound is pure Kingston, 1966 albeit with better quality instruments and amps. Their cover of the Laurel Aitken hit Bad Minded Women featured excellent solos from both the guitar and piano, the singer channeling the Skatalites‘ Doreen Shaffer at her most casually alluring. They followed that one with a tersely danceable ska version of These Boots Are Made for Walking but without the walk down the scale at the end. Their version of the eerie Dawn Penn hit No No No blew away the original, with the horns wailing away on the bluesy hook in the break after the chorus. The high point of the night was Skaravan (the ska version of the Ellington classic Caravan), featuring wah wah guitar and eventually a deliciously chordal guitar solo followed by a jazzy one from the keyboardist while the singer provided some fetching vocalese. They encored with the Toots & the Maytals classic Monkey Man. What was the likelihood? Let’s hope they make it over here again. In the meantime, check their myspace page, where in lieu of band member bios they have a menu of each of the band’s signature sandwiches! 

October 6, 2008 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | , , ,

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