Hey! This isn’t the latest NYC live music calendar! This is. Daily updates, more as the summer series announce and update their schedules (Summerstage is pretty lame this year; South St. Seaport, the other downtown parks and Lincoln Center Out of Doors still don’t have a final calendar out yet, stay tuned). As usual, weekly events first, followed by the daily calendar. Because we get some of this info weeks in advance, it’s always good to check with the club (see our venues page) to make sure the show you’re interested in seeing is still happening…check out the weekly shows too, lots of good stuff going on! Apologies for the crazy spacing and fonts – Microsoft Word and WordPress still having hissy fits, they just won’t behave…
Some amazing, brightly rendered images from now-nonagenarian painter Mayer Kirshenblatt. They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust is up at the Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street 5/10-10/1. He’s 92 now, started painting from memory at 73. Some it a little schmaltzy but most of it is not, a sly, exuberant and triumphantly vital body of work.
Fridays & Saturdays, May 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23, the Woman Artist’s Journey – an evening of plays by members of the Brooklyn Playwrights Collective at the WAH Center, 135 Broadway in South Williamsburg, a short 3-minute walk from the J/M train. Three weekends, six performances, Friday and Saturday, dir. by Peter Dizozza. Tickets for the performances are only $10, only available at the theater box office.
Sunday klezmer brunch at City Winery, show starts round 11:30 AM – 2 PM, $10 cover, no minimum, lots of good bands.
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). Free drink with your entree.
The 2008-09 series of organ concerts at St. Thomas Church continues most every Sunday (holidays excepted) at 5:15 sharp, featuring a whole slew of world-renowned performers. Concerts continue through May 17.
Every Sunday the Ear-Regulars, led by trumpeter Jon Kellso and (frequently) 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 May Stephane Wrembel plays Barbes, 9 PM. The guitarist has few if any equals as an interpreter of Django Reinhardt, but it’s where he takes the gypsy jazz influence in his own remarkably original, psychedelic writing – and what he brings to the Django stuff – that makes all the difference. One of the most interesting players in any style of music, anywhere in the world. He also plays Fridays at Bar Tabac on Smith St. in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn at 8.
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 at the Jazz Standard it’s all Mingus, whether with the Mingus Orchestra, Big Band or Mingus Dynasty: you know the material and the players are all first rate. Sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $25 (does that include tax? The club was doing that for awhile).
Also Monday nights Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, a boisterous horn-driven 11-piece 1920s/early 30’s band play Sofia’s Restaurant, downstairs at the Edison Hotel, 221 West 46th Street between Broadway & 8th Ave., 3 sets from 8 to 11, surprisingly cheap $15 cover plus $15 minimum considering what you’re getting. Even before the Flying Neutrinos or the Moonlighters, multi-instrumentalist Giordano was pioneering the oldtimey sound in New York; his long-running residency at the old Cajun on lower 8th Ave. is legendary. He also gets a ton of film work (Giordano wrote the satirical number that Willie Nelson famously sang in Wag the Dog).
Also Mondays the free reggae show that used to be held at Rehab has gravitated to SOB’s, 9ish, free w/rsvp to email@example.com, 21 and over.
Also Mondays in May 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. They’re also playing a Rocks Off cruise around Manhattan on May 15, leaving from 23rd St. and the East River at 7 sharp.
Also Mondays in June 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. When Black Betty closes at the end of June, they’ll be at Union Pool on Mondays.
Tuesdays 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 Tuesday in May Marcellus Hall plays Pete’s Candy Store at 9. The former Railroad Jerk and White Hassle frontman is one of the great songwriters of our time, a hilarious, surreal, wickedly literate lyricist who’s never lost touch with his country-punk roots, equal parts Dylan and Costello. Even though he doesn’t write down half of the things that he should, and he knows it.
Wednesdays in May Brother Joscephus and his 11-piece New Orleans band play 7 PM at Sequoia, 89 South Street, Pier 17 downtown.
Every Wednesday, Michael Arenella & the Dreamland Dance Band play sly yet boisterous oldtimey hot jazz during a brunch set at the Clover Club, 210 Smith St. (Butler/Baltic) in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, 7:30 -10:30 PM.
Every Wednesday in May, 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. He’ll be off on UK tour in June.
Wednesdays in June country/western swing band Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers play at Hill Country, 9 PM to midnight.
Thursdays in May, 8 PM reliably rousing guitar-and-keyboard-driven country act the Basement Band plays upstairs at the National Underground…wait a minute…shouldn’t they be playing downstairs instead???
Every Thursday, at the Delancey on the main floor, 9 PMish Botanica frontman and master of menace Paul Wallfisch presents the edgiest weekly music series in town, playfully called Small Beast, an international mix of some of the most intelligent (and frequently darkest) performers passing through town. It’s free and there’s always some kind of drink special or freebee. If you wish Tonic was still open, Wallfisch is keeping the flame alive. He typically opens the night solo on piano, reason enough to put this on your calendar. May artists include And the Wiremen, Reid Paley, Mattison, Little Annie, Darren Gaines & the Key Party, Alice Texas, and Dan Kaufman of Barbez.
Fridays live Mediterranean music – Greek- Arabic, Turkish Armenian, Israeli fusion with Mike Stoupakis, Christos Zavolas, Sofia on on vocals, Elias Sarkar-oud/vocals, Kostas Konstantinou – drums, plus bellydancers at Lafayette Grill & Bar, 54 Franklin St., downtown,$20 cover, 10ish, free after 1 AM.
Fri May 1 at Barbes – Balkan vocal duo AE blend their beautiful voices at 8 followed at 10 by the absolutely brilliant and frequently hilarious Stagger Back Brass Band – the Spinal Tap of brass bands, with a sensational new album out.
Also Fri May 1, 8 PM Americana siren Jan Bell with spectacular Luminescent Orchestrii violinist Rima Fand at the Puffin Room 435 Broome St Manhattan, in SoHo between Broadway and Crosby, $5
Also Fri May 1 fiery, upbeat canjun and honkytonk with the Doc Marshalls at Zebulon, 10:30 PM.
Also Fri May 1 long-running Spinal Tap-style hair metal spoof rockers Satanicide at Mercury Lounge, midnight, $12.
Sat May 2 classical pianist Sophia Agranovich plays a free recital at Bargemusic, 1 PM, first come first served, early arrival (i.e. half past noon) advised.
Also Sat May 2, 2-3:30 PM at Galapagos, a discussion/performance “combining sounds of popular music with those of the street and the bayous, jazz changed not only music, but other art forms which borrowed its phrasing, rhythm, structure and aesthetics. Jazz critic Gary Giddins joins forces with American poets Jayne Cortez and Bill Zavatsky to explore the birth and life of jazz and how it relates to the written word. With musical accompaniment by the Diane Moser Quintet; moderated by composer Carman Moore.” $10/$8 PEN members/students.
5/2 5-6 PM free mint juleps at the Bell House. That’s drinks, not a band.
Also Sat May 2, 7 PM NYC’s own hypnotic Indonesian gamelan orchestra Gamelan Dharma Swara at Drom $10, also at the Indonesian Consulate, 5 East 68th St., 5/9 at 8 PM and 5/10 at 2, $15/$10 stud/srs.
Also Sat May 2 wild, crazy and dark retro garage stuff with King Khan & The Shrines/Mark Sultan at Maxwell’s $12 adv, also at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on 5/1 PM for $3 extra, and at Santos Party House for $15 with “Georgiana Starlington” opening at 7.
Also Sat May 2 edgy skits and comedy at Moonwork ,9 PM at the Children’s Aid Society, 219 Sullivan Street between Bleecker & West 3rd, $20 feat. Giulia Rozzi, Rich Brooks, the Carnies, Michael Somerville and Shayna Ferm.
Also Sat May 2 a great doublebill at the 92YTribeca with Christopher Hoffman’s cinematic, edgy cello jazz at 9:30 and then darkly hypnotic, haunting Iranian-American rocker Haale and her band, $12
Also Sat May 2 oldschool jazzy ska with Arusha at Shrine, 11 PM.
Also Sat May 2 the dark Nashville gothic and ornate art-rock sound of Ninth House at Don Pedro’s, 11 PM.
Also Sat May 2, 11 PM unbelievably tight, slightly jazzy funk band Baby Daddy at the Parkside.
Also Sat May 2 wild art-punk-noise rockers System Noise at Iridium, midnight, with the talented Michael Isaacs guesting on piano, $10 w/flyer (email noxes [at] verizon.net to get one). By far the loudest band who will ever rock this timid joint!
Sun May 3 oldtimey blues/ragtime siren Mamie Minch at Spikehill, 9 PM.
Also Sun May 3 the Scott Reeves Quintet at 55 Bar sets at 9:30/11. Their new live cd is one of the most hauntingly beautiful melodic jazz albums of recent years. Pianist Jim Ridl is the powerhouse here.
Mon May 4 rock and ska en Espanol with the fiery, gypsyish Escarioka at Mehanata, 9ish
Also Mon May 4 noir songwriter/chanteuse Kerry Kennedy – part David Lynch femme fatale, part Paisley Underground bandleader – is at Zebulon, 9ish. She’s also at Fontana’s at midnight on Thurs 5/7.
Tues May 5 gypsy dance and guitars with St. Petersburg, Russia’s Drago Ensemble at Drom, 8 PM.
Also Tues May 5 -10 at the Jazz Standard the Branford Marsalis Quartet, sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $35.
Also Tues May 5 -10 at the Vanguard the Brad Mehldau Trio with Larry Grenadier on bass, Jeff Ballard on drums.
Weds May 6 the hilarious and lushly psychedelic seventeen-piece all-female accordion combo Main Squeeze Orchestra at the Bell House, 8 PM.
Also Weds May 6 the Parker String Quartet plays Barbes, 8 PM, no idea what’s on the program but they’re excellent, $10 cover.
Also Weds May 6 the NYU Community Orchestra plays Brahms and Rimsky-Korsakov at the Loewe Theatre, 8 PM sharp, 35 W 4th St., free.
Also Weds May 6 lyrical French tenor player Gael Horellou leads his quartet playing compositions from his new cd Pour la Terre at the Jazz Gallery, sets 9/10:30.
Also Weds May 6, 10 PM John Doe of X & the Sadies play originals and country covers at City Winery, $15 bar seats, $20 at tables.
Also Weds May 6, 11 PM at Otto’s – Los Beardos Raviolis, Americana chanteuse/bassist Carolyn Sills’ surf band.
Thurs May 7, 6-8 PM at the Terminal Warehouse, 269 Eleventh Avenue between 27th and 28th Street it’s the opening night of a very promising group show feat. the artists Jeana Baumgardner, Tyler Coburn, Christina Gundersen, Rebecca Hackemann, Peter Kreider, Chris McCaw, Trever Paglen, Ryan Sullivan, and Mary Temple.
Also Thurs May 7 a night of good bands and ridiculously jarring segues at Spikehill. Hog Trio plays, 8 PM with baritone sax, bass, and drums, instrumentals exactly like Moisturizer, pretty funny too. Followed by the catchy retro 60s psychedelic pop of the Tamboureens at 9, the smart, Hendrix-inflected early 70s funk/metal of Agents of Karma at 10, the retro new wave bass/dums/vox sounds of Hank & Cupcakes at 11.
Also Thurs May 7 the Quavers start the night at Barbes at 8 with their sweeping, atmospheric, loop-driven art-rock – watching them do this live, laying down one after another and they playing over them is fascinating to watch. Followed at 10 by new Friggs bassist Rachelle Garniez, who among other things plays accordion, piano, guitar, some wind instruments, is very funny onstage, writes darkly literate songs in pretty much every retro style and has two albums in our best-of-the-decade list.
Also Thurs May 7 pianist Jeremy Denk plays the Goldberg Variations at Symphony Space, 8 PM adv tix $30.
Also Thurs May 7, 8:30 PM at Symphony Space – Americana rocker Amy Speace and Lucinda Williams soundalike Kristy Kruger, $10 VIP tix available here, save $20 off cover, make sure to mention discount code RNT392.
Also Thurs May 7, 8 PM at Merkin Concert Hall – up-and coming N’Awlins piano jazzcat Jonathan Batiste and the innovative, fearlessly crescendoing Imani Winds playing the NY premiere of pianist Jason Moran’s Cane plus works by Wayne Shorter and Lalo Schifrin, tix $25 at the box office.
Also Thurs May 7 haunting, sophisticated Americana chanteuse Hope deBates & North Forty at Hill Country, 9 PM.
Also Thurs May 7 atmospheric yet intense and socially aware Radiohead-inflected art-rockers My Pet Dragon at the Jalopy Theatre, 10 PM.
Also Thurs May 7, 10:30 PM at the Parkside the darkly literate, smartly Tom Waits-ish Darrin James Band.
Fri May 8, early, 7 PM, the reliably tuneful, fun all-female retro garage rockers the Friggs – featuring the great accordionist/songwriter Rachelle Garniez on bass – followed by the Chrome Cranks reunion show at Santos Party House, $15. The Chrome Cranks are also at Glasslands on 5/15. This is a big deal in NYC rock history, arguably the most ferocious of the noir, bluesy LES bands of the early 90s back together again with all the original members and reputedly as darkly snarling and intense as ever.
Also Fri May 8, 7 PM the Open Music Ensemble, a cooperative of improvising acoustic musicians, presents their fourth and final “Musical Meditation” from 7-9 PM at Tibet House, 22 West 15th St.. “The evening program will begin in silence. After a brief introduction to meditation, members of the audience will be invited to place their attention on the sounds and silences created for the group by the Ensemble, or to engage in any other quiet practice they might prefer, such as yoga or movement, while the musicians perform. After the musicians have finished playing there will be a short period of silence after which the participants will be invited to share their experiences with others present. The program is open to beginning, intermediate, or advanced meditators. There is a requested donation for this portion of the evening in the amount of $10. If planning to attend kindly RSVP by phone M-F 10 AM – 5 PM to Tibet House at 212-807-0563.”
Also Fri May 8 more good stuff (and awful segues) at Spikehill starting at 8 with the Royal Chains’ Oasis-style anthemic 90s guitar-driven Britrock, followed eventually at 11 by Tall Tall Trees which is a bunch of jazz guys playing country, pretty well and then epic violin-and-driven art-rock band Igor’s Egg at midnight
Fri, May 8, 9 PM the McCarron Brothers cd release party at Nublu: guitarist Mark McCarron, saxophonist Paul Carlon, bassist Doug Largent and drummer Russ Meissner: “urban and rural American styles through the compositional talents of McCarron and Carlon, and through choice covers of great songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Wayne Shorter, and Radiohead.”
Also Fri May 8 devious vocoder-and-keys groove/soul/funk band Chin Chin at Union Pool, 10ish, $10.
Also Fri May 8 ghoulabilly with the Memphis Morticians at Maxwell’s, 10ish, $10.
Also Fri May 8, 10 PM the encyclopedically and brilliantly retro Carolyn Sills plays solo – on bass? at Pete’s – could be anything from country to swing to surf.
Also Fri May 8 at Small’s 10:30 PM and midnight – Jay Collins and The Kings County Band. check out this lineup: Jay Collins – Tenor Sax , Dred Scott – Piano , Scott Sharrard – Guitar , Jeff Hanley – Bass , Diego Voglino – Drums , Moses Patrou – Percussion.
Sat May 9, 3 (three) PM purist jazz/blues chanteuse Calley Bliss with her band at Spikehill. She’s also here on 5/16. Demander eventually play at 10 – female-fronted guitar band that veers in and out of focus with occasional noir tinges that they ought to pursue more deeply.
Also Sat May 9 Neil la Bute and cast members from Reasons to Be Pretty conduct a perfornance/discussion at Borders Books & Music, Columbus Circle, 2nd Floor, 5 PM.
Also Sat May 9 guitarist to the stars Homeboy Steve Antonakos plays hiw own clever Americana-inflected stuff at Banjo Jim’s, 7 PM
Sat May 9 at 7:30pm in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, the world premiere of Niña Dance by pioneering violist/composer Ljova Zhurbin. The program also features new vocal cycles by Paola Prestini, Matti Kovler, and David T. Little. “Niña Dance features the Argentine jazz vocalist Sofia Rei Koutsovitis, and scored for a chamber ensemble comprised of trumpet, guitar, accordion, two percussionists, laptop, and Zhurbin performing on the 6-string “famiola”. It is a meditation on the disappearance of women & children in Juárez, Mexico, the poverty and drug-ridden border town, a tribute to victims of femicide throughout history.”
Also Sat May 9 sharply literate, ferociously funny songwriter Joe Pug at the Bell House, $12, 7:30 PM. He’s also at Joe’s Pub at the same hour on 5/12.
Sat May 9, 8 PM deviously multistylistic, sometimes intense, sometimes sultry art-rock keyboard goddess Greta Gertler opens for another equally devious art-rock band, Pierre de Gaillande’s dark, rustic The Snow who play at 9. She’s also at City Winery on May 10 at 9 opening for fellow artsy, politically aware Australian David Bridie (whose rock stuff sounds like vintage Midnight Oil!).
Also Sat May 9, 8 PM Paul Zunno (ex Wilson Pickett lead guitarist) plays acoustic blues at Roy Arias Theater Center, 300 West 43rd Street at 8th Ave, $10.
Also Sat May 9 Persian jazz with Cyminology – Cymin Samawatie (vocals) Benedikt Jahnel (piano) Ralf Schwarz (bass) Ketan Bhatti (drums) – playing compositions from their new CD, As Ney at 9 at Alwan for the Arts
Also Sat May 9, 10 PM Anguile & the High Steppers play hypnotic, smart, 1970’s style Francophone roots reggae at Shrine.
Also Sat May 9, 10 PM intricately jangly, lushly psychedelic, sharply literate 60s throwbacks Love Camp 7 followed at midnight by the LMFAO cover band from hell, Rawles Balls at the Parkside. Love Camp are also at Southpaw on 5/20 at 8 PM for $7.
Also Sat May 9 second-wave garage and classic 1976-era pub rock with Eddie and The Hot Rods at Maxwell’s, time TBA, midnight-ish, $12 adv.
Also Sat May 9 Tammy Faye Starlite’s hilariously obscene, politically aware Stones cover band the Mike Hunt Band at Lakeside, 11 PM.
Also Sat May 9, 11 PM Gaucho, the Bay Area’s #1 gypsy band are back in Brooklyn at Pete’s. They absolutely slayed earlier this year at Barbes.
Sun May 10, 7 PM at Barbes – The Three Sopranos – Judith Berkson, Allyssa Lamb and Emily Hurst (from las Rubias del Norte) return to their roots singing motets by Palestrina, Lassus and Josquin, songs by Schubert, Elizabethan rounds and airs, Hebrew chant, and new works written for the three singers. Followed at 10 by the reliably astonishing and increasingly psychedelic gypsy guitar genius Stephane Wrembel.
Also Sun May 10, 8:15 PM at Otto’s Paranoid Larry & His Imaginary Band who are actually anything but paranoid or imaginary and have a great new snide, cynical political tune on the new Beefstock anthology cd.
Mon May 11 hypnotic ambient instrumental soundscapes by 5707 at Spikehill at 8 followed at 9 by Matt Wigton and his melodic, catchy Budos Band-style jazz compositions and then the Douglas Bradford Group’s playful, exploratory, Ralph Alessi-inflected guitar-and-tenor jazz.
Also Mon May 11 Will Scott plays his hypnotic, fiery Mississippi hill country guitar blues at LIC Bar, 8 PM, 45-58 Vernon Blvd, LIC, Queens. He’s also at Two Boots Brooklyn on May 16 at 10.
Tues May 12 Letizia Romiti of Turin Italy plays the organ at Central Synagogue, half past noon, free.
Also Tues May 12 a songwriter circle with three of the best: Mary Lee Kortes, Amanda Thorpe and Tom Clark at the National Underground, 8 PM. The former gets props for her unearthly powerful voice but is also a brilliant lyricist and tunesmith, whether writing Americana or any number of other styles; Thorpe alternates between moody Britfolk and a cerebral jazziness; Clark is one of the great rock guitarslingers around and writes a mean tune as well.
Also Tues May 12-17 at the Vanguard the Bill Frisell Trio with Tony Scherr on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums. Just the basics, the loop pedal, a great room and you.
Also Tues May 12 Federico Aubele playing swinging, reggae-inflected, electrified tangos and boleros from his new cd Amatoria at Joes Pub, 9:30 PM, $16 adv tix highly recommended.
Also Tues May 12 Erin Regan at Sidewalk, 10 PM. Terse, vividly imagistic, brilliantly literate lyricist, strong singer, and just when you think that everything she writes is in some way a portrait of clinical depression, she’ll hit you upside the head with a jaunty, fun ragtime song.
Weds May 13 best band name/concept: the Ludes, a Carpenters cover band at Kenny’s Castaways.
Also Weds May 13 the Harlem Parlour Music Club which is a bunch of A-list players doing an acoustic blend of Applachian music crossed with vintage 60s soul. Members include Mary Lee Kortes, Ann Klein and Andy Burton. At the recently reopened Village Underground, 130 W 3rd St., 8 PM.
Also Weds May 13 Blue Number Nine play horn-driven funk with lush soul harmonies at R Bar, 8 PM.
Also Weds May 13 at le Poisson Rouge ,7:30 PM Lady Gag’s Haitian-American violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) does his starkly atmospheric trip-hop instrumental thing, $15.
Also Weds May 13 the French Exit at 9:30ish at Local 269, 269 E Houston at Suffolk (the old Meow Mix space). With distant echoes of avenging blues abgels like Bessie Smith, this smoldering noir trio deliver pitchblende intensity with goth-ish keys and eerie reverb guitar.
Thurs May 14 Vlada Tomova’s Balkan Tales at Trinity Church, 1 PM.
Also Thursday May 14 Fernández-Guy-López which is Agustí Fernández – piano, Barry Guy – bass, Ramón López – drums putting an imaginative Catalan spin on jazz at the Jazz Standard, $20, sets 7:30/9:30.
Also Thurs May 14, 8 PM at Banjo Jim’s an excellent bill with three compelling acts bending oldtimey sounds and instrumentation with the here-and-now. Robin Aigner writes smashingly literate period-perfect songs, knows her history and has a period-perfect voice to match. Curtis Eller is a wild, physically intense performer, also with a wicked lyricism and an absolutely unforgiving memory for all things fascist. Thinguma Jigsaw who play at 10 do ominous and ccaptivating, rustic-tinged things with banjo and musical saw.
Also Thurs May 14 at Spikehill at 8 PM Lily Claire Nussbaum, who does captivating jazz-inflected nuevo-pop similar to the Secret History followed eventually at 10 by smoky, potently literate up-and-coming jazz/soul star Natalie John and her talented band.
Also Thurs May 14 blues guitarist Spiros Soukis, equally influenced by late 60s British blues and his own Greek heritage at Lucille’s, 8 PM
Also Thurs May 14 the always surprising Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch, smart retro-pop keyboard stylists Mattison and the ferocious, fearless noir force of nature Reid Paley at Small Beast at the Delancey, upstairs, 9 PM.
Also Thursday May 14 Die Pretty play fun, chirpy female-fronted bubblegum punk at R Bar, 10 PM.
Also Thurs May 14 the Damned at Irving Plaza, 10ish, adv tix $29 at the box office. No idea who’s left, which version (the punks, the goths or the lame pop banfdthey were at the very end back in the mid-80s) or how much they have left in the tank.
Also Thurs May 14 veteran indie Americana rockers the Silos – who’ve had Roscoe Ambel on guitar lately – at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
Also Thurs May 14 alt-country/Americana siren Jan Bell at Barbes, 8 PM.
Also Thurs May 14 the Howlin Thurstons play fiery surf music and Link Wray-influenced instrumentals at Lakeside, 10 PM.
Fri May 15 the world’s best chicha band (there, we said it) Chicha Libre plays the Rocks Off Concert Cruise, leaving at 7 sharp from 23rd St. and the FDR, adv tix $20 absolutely necessary, this will sell out.
Also Fri May 15, 7 PM pioneering string ensembles the Knights (celebrating the release of a live DVD of Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony) and Brooklyn Rider play Osvaldo Golijov’s “She Was Here”, as well as music by Beethoven, Ives, Glass and Schubert. Hosted by Fred Child of Performance Today. Free, at the Angel Orensanz Foundation (Norfolk betw. Houston/Stanton), early arrival advised.
Also Fri May 15 the OAM trio with Aaron Goldberg – piano, Omer Avital – double bass and Marc Miralta on drums at the Jazz Standard, sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $20.
Also Fri May 15, 7:30 PM Vanessa Fadial, piano, plays Rachmaninoff, Ravel, and Schoenberg at the Third St. Music School Settlement, free.
Also Fri May 15 terse, soulful blues guitarist Irving Louis Lattin at Lucille’s, 8 PM.
Also Fri May 15 the Grand Masters of Gypsy Music at Mehanata, 9 PM. They’re also here on 5/29.
Also Fri May 15, 10 PM, spectacular, wrenchingly potent yet very subtle Syrian song stylist Gaida and her Ensemble play what they call “Levantine Indulgence,” i.e habibi music with an edge with special guest Liz Longley at Bowery Poetry Club, $12 adv tix highly rec.
Also Fri May 15-16 the Yosvany Terry Big Band at the Jazz Gallery, sets 9/10:30.
Also Fri May 15, 9 PM Buffalo play virtuosic grasscore and quieter acoustic Americana at Shrine
Also Fri May 15-16 second-wave ska with what’s left of iconic punk-era British band the English Beat at Maxwell’s, 10ish, $25. You know, Mirror in the Bathroom, Save It for Later etc.
Also Fri May 15 roots reggae with International Generation at Coco 66, 10 PM.
Also Fri May 15 oldtimey guitar god Lenny Molotov at Sidewalk, 10 PM doing ferociously smart, literate originals, classic delta blues and songs about baseball and boxing.
Also Fri May 15 Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars play tasteful classic and obscure surf songs and instrumental versions of iconic 60s pop hits at Lakeside, 11 PM.
Sat May 16 at Spikehill jazz chanteuse Calley Bliss at 3 with her band followed eventually at 10 by noise-rockers Reminbi who rip off every conceivable 80s band from Sonic Youth to the Cure but do it energetically and entertainingly.
Also Sat May 16 powerful, fearless blue-eyed soul siren and incorrigible extrovert Meg Braun plays the cd release show for her new one at Kenny’s Castaways, 7 PM.
Also Sat May 16 the astonishingly spot-on retro 60s country and occasionally haunting, Waits-ish sounds of the Jack Grace Band at Joe’s Pub, 7:30 PM, $15. They’re also at Barbes on 5/22 at 10.
Also Sat May 16 the eerie and intense “new flamenco sound” with the Chano Domínguez Quartet at the Jazz Standard with Chano Domínguez – piano; Blas Córdoba – cantaor; Israel Suárez, Piraña – cajón; Tomasito – dance and palmas, sets at 7:30 & 9:30 PM, $30.
Also Sat May 16 and 23 virtuoso blues axemeister Bobby Radcliff – who sounds nothing like Eric Clapton – at Lucille’s, 8 PM.
Also Sat May 16, 8 PM at Bargemusic, repeating May 17 at 3 PM – the Haydn String Quartet No. 43 in G Major, Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello and Beethoven String Quartet No. 4 in Cm played by Mark Peskanov, Violin; Andy Simionescu, Violin; Dimitri Murrath, Viola; Matt Haimovitz, Cello, $35 adv tix advised as this may sell out.
Also Sat May 16, 8:45 PM wild, scorching, retro garage punk in the style of Radio Birdman with the Mess Around at Trash, followed eventually by the equally soulful, slighty quieter garage/gospel Lost Crusaders at midnight .
Also Sat May 16 New York’s most ferociously smart, funniest new band, the punk-inflected, multistylistic, mischievous Brooklyn What at Mehanata, 10ish. Their new cd The Brooklyn What for Borough President is at the top of the Lucid Culture list for best album of 2009 at this point. Smart, catchy, politically aware acoustic/Balkan/Irish punks Mischief Brew open the night at around 9.
Also Sat May 16, 10ish, ferocious, tuneful, guitar-fueled semi-punk all-female rockers Beluga at Public Assembly. A big buzz band, see ’em now before the trendoids discover them.
Also Sat May 16 the Secret History play artsy, European-style keyboard-driven female-fronted pop at the Bell House, 9 PM, $16.
Also Sat May 16 8-10 PM noir rockers Darren Gaines & the Key Party at the Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th St. btwn 5th and Madison, $10 all ages, free wine (21 plus) with Paul Wallfisch of Botanica opening the show solo on piano playing Paul Bowles songs!
Also Sat May 16, 8 PM an adventurous, boisterous Argentinian-flavored night at Drom with Avanganto’s Pablo Aslan and his own band and also pianist Roger Davidson playing new original jazz tango compositions, adv tix $12 highly recommended.
Also Sat May 16, 8-piece gypsy rockers Panonian Wave – who’re a dead ringer for Gogol Bordello – play their “world music meltdown” at Nublu, 9 PM.
Also Sat May 16 an amazing night of Arab music and improvisation with Souhail Kaspar on percussion and Rachid Halihal, vocals and oud plus special guests at Alwan for the Arts, 8:30 PM, $20/$15 stud.
Also Sat May 16 another loud, fearless, fun band, all-female punk/noise/indie rockers Beluga at Public Assembly, 10ish.
Also Sat May 16 roots reggae with John Brown’s Body at Southpaw, 10ish, $15 gen adm.
Also Sat May 16 alt-country pioneer and wildman Zane Campbell at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
Also Sat May 16 roaring, wailing Americana punk rockers Spanking Charlene at Lakeside, 11 PM.
Also Sat May 16, 1 AM (actually the wee hours of 5/17) cello metal rockers Blues in Space at the Rockwood, 1 AM
Sun May 17 Metropolitan Klezmer plays Jewish Museum Family Day, 2 sets starting half past noon, free w/museum adm. – $12, $10/srs./$7.50 stud., under 12 free.
Also Sun May 17 the 5th Ave (Brooklyn) Street fair feat. Chin Chin in front of Southpaw, plus others all afternoon.
Also Sun May 17, 3-5 PM the Americana Family Jamboree at Rodeo Bar, free, members of Demolition String Band playing country/bluegrass classics. Get the kids listening to this before they hear Nickelback so they can tell what’s good.
Also Sun May 17 noir-ish cabaret-tinged chanteuse Jeanne Marie Boes brings her powerful contralto and piano chops to LIC Bar in Long Island City where she’s playing the cd release for her new one, 7 PM.
Also Sun May 17 psychedelic purist Spanish jazz with the Jordi Rossy Trio plus special guests Félix Rossy & Chris Cheek: Jordi Rossy – piano (ex-Bloomdaddies); Albert Sanz – Hammond B3 organ; R.J. Miller – drums; Fèlix Rossy – trumpet Chris Cheek (also ex-Bloomdaddies) on tenor sax at the Jazz Standard. sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $25 adv tix very highly rec.
Also Sun May 17 an excellent Americana night at Spikehill starting at7 with Frankenpine playing pretty, Pete’s Candy Store-style oldtimey folk/bluegrass at Spikehill, followed eventually by at 9 by Bobtown, who go for dark and haunting and usually succeed – and they kick O’Death’s ass – then Cady Wire doing more pleasant, wistful Pete’s Candy Store country at 10 and finally at 11 a detour way way deep into the Balkans with Veveritse Brass Band who are a hundred times more haunting than anything else on the bill.
Also Sun May 17, 9 PM at Drom – Newpoli playing little-known southern Italian folk music, mainly from Campania and Puglia, integrating a wide variety of styles such as Tarantella-Pizzica, Tammuriata, etc., $10.
Also Sun May 17 and 24 Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers – who’ve been mining a purist Western Swing thing like Smokey Hormel recently – at Hank’s, 9ish.
Also Sun May 17 alt-country siren Alana Amram & her killer band the Rough Gems at the Loving Cup Cafe in the Cameo Gallery out back, 9ish.
Mon May 18 at Ace of Clubs, 8 PM, Out Of Print: An unauthorized evening with the “Cheney Family” as they read excerpts from Lynne Cheney’s fairly PG-rated lesbian pulp novel novel “Sisters,” $10.
Also Mon May 18 8:30 PM at the Cornalia St. Cafe – the Jacob Garchik Trio with Jacob Garchik, trombone (Slavic Soul Party) ; Jacob Sacks, piano (White Rocket); Dan Weiss, drums. Could be scary and Balkan.
Also Tues May 19 New York noir rock legend LJ Murphy Banjo Jim’s is CANCELLED due to illness. One of the great charismatic performers of our time, and a hell of a song stylist. Young Republicans, masochists and people who lie – to themselves or anyone else – do not fare well in his dark, blues- and soul-inflected songs. He’ll be back, no worries.
Also Tues May 19 oldtimey hellraisers the Asylum St. Spankers – whose fearless, ferociously funny new double live album is amazing – are at the Bell House. Sultry delta blues/oldtimey star Mamie Minch opens the night at 7:3oish, adv tix $20 recommended.
Also Tues May 19 and 20 sly, subversive pianist/crooner Michael Isaacs in “Michael Isaacs: Isaacs Shmisaacs” covering Nilsson songs with the incomparable Bobby Peaco on piano plus Kristine Zbornik directing, System Noise’s Sarah Mucho playing guitar at Don’t Tell Mama, 9:30 PM, $12, 2 drink min., res. very highly rec. to 212-757-0788.
Weds May 20 Gail Archer plays her continuing series Mendelssohn in the Romantic Century featuring organ pieces by Felix (and Fanny, if you’re lucky) along with their 19th century contemporaries at Central Synagogue, 7:30 PM.
Also Weds May 20, 8 PM at Merkin Concert Hall, Elaine Comparone, harpsichord & the Queen’s Chamber Band play a program including Alan Broadbent’s Distant Music, Thomas Pasatieri’s Concerto for Harpsichord, Harold Farberman’s Three Pieces for the Queen’s Band, Christopher Lyndon-Gee’s Études Canoniques for 2 Violins, Cello & Harpsichord and David Shohl’s Two Poems for countertenor and instruments; as well as selections from J. S. Bach’s the Art of the Fugue, $25 adv tix highly recommended.
Also Weds May 20 the Five Cents play retro 60s psychedelic pop with BJM/Coral overtones at Spikehill, 10 PM.
Also Weds May 20 all kinds of good country and bluegrass styles with the M Shanghai String Band at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
Weds May 20 iconic Dead Boys and Rocket From the Tombs axeman Cheetah Chrome at Maxwell’s, 10ish, $10 like the old days.
Also Weds May 20 at Black Betty, 11 PM adventurous groove jazz with the Perfect Man feat. Dave Smith (electric trombone), Jeremy Wilms (electric bass), Yusuke Yamamoto (moog synth), and Greg Gonzalez (drums).
Thurs May 21 fiery Metropolitan Klezmer spinoff Isle of Klezbos – sort of the female Gogol Bortdello of oldtimey Eastern European Jewish drinking music – at Trinity Church, 1 PM.
Also Thurs May 21 mesmerizing, hypnotic dub reggae with Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and the Easy Star Allstars (including some psychedelic Beatles covers from their new Sgt. Pepper cover album, no doubt) at BB King’s, 8 PM.
Also Thurs May 21 the New Collisions play the Delancey, downstairs, 9 PM. Absolutely killer new wave throwbacks from Boston with chirpy, infectious, defiant vocals, sly 80s synth, fiery guitar and some of the best tunes you’ll hear this year. Their show last month at Arlene’s was deliriously fun, one of the best of the year so far.
Also Thurs May 21 upstairs at the Delancey, 9 PM it’s Small Beast, NYC’s edgiest weekly live show, this time opening with MC/master of menace Paul Wallfisch of Botanica solo on piano, followed by brilliant cellist Peter Lewy, brilliant Pacific Northwest gothic songwriter Whiting Tennis (ex-Scholars) and Dan Kaufman of the eerie, Balkan-inflected Barbez.
Also Thurs May 21 jazz guitar great Matt Munisteri at Barbes, 10 PM.
Also Thurs May 21 darkly funny bluespunks the Five Points Band at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. If you miss the Cramps, they deliver the same kind of vibe.
Also Thurs May 21 McGinty & White play the release show for their predictably sensational debut cd at Bowery Electric (the old Remote Lounge), 11 PM. They’re doing what Costello tried to pull off on that Bacharach cd except these guys succeed at it.
Also Fri May 22 , 7 – 10 PM, jam band fun and intensity with Plastic Beef, Liza & The Wonder Wheels, supertight funksters Baby Daddy & others at the Wicked Monk, 84th St. & 5th Ave., Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Fri May 22 saxist Jacam Manricks plays the cd release for his new one Labyrinth (featuring jazz quintet and 40-piece chamber orchestra, on the cd at least) at Smalls, 9/10:30 PM sets, $20 includes a drink ticket.
Also Fri May 22 sizzling electric bluegrass guitar, X-ish guy/girl vox and fiery mandolin with the Demolition String Band at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
Sat May 23 at Sullivan Hall a ska fest with Bigger Thomas, Kofi, The Rudie Crew, Across The Aisle, and Animus, early, 6 (six) PM.
Also Sat May 23 Thomas Piercy on clarinet, Pablo Aslan – of Avantango -on double bass and Claudine Hickman on piano playing classic and obscure Piazzolla tangos at at Caffe Vivaldi, 8 PM. Reviewed here last year playing a similar program, they were extraordinary.
Also Sat May 23, 8 PM, repeating Sun May 24 at 3 PM at Bargemusic the Bach Sonata in b minor for Violin and Piano, Beethoven String Trio No. 1 in G Major, Fauré Piano Quartet No. 1 in Cm played by Mark Peskanov, violin; Jeanne Mallow, viola; Barbara Mallow, cello; Doris Stevenson, piano, adv tix $35.
Also Sat May 23 multistylistic, haunting yet deliriously exuberant traditional Greek party monsters Magges – with the incomparable Susan Mitchell on violin – play Mehanata, 9 PM.
Also Sat May 23, 10 PM, QQQ play every light and dark shade of Scandinavian-inflected Americana with guitar, violin and viola at Pete’s, 10 PM.
Also Sat May 23 Special Patrol Group at Lakeside, 11 PM. Not the typical band you find here – they’re more like vintage, mid-90s Blur, with an ornate, artsy Btitrock feel, tricky time changes, smartly sardonic lyrics and an effortlessly compelling frontwoman.
Sun May 24 Electric Junkyard Gamelan – whose imaginative take on Indonesian music on homemade instruments is both fascinating and funny – play at Barbes, 8 PM
Also Sun May 24, 9:30 PM Cape Verde chanteuse Maria de Barros at Joe’s Pub $20
Also Sun May 24 the Passport to Taiwan festival at Union Square Park featuring the wild and ferocious metal instrumental sounds of the Hsu-Nami, show starts at 1 PM.
Mon May 25 romantic oldtimey ragtime and hillbilly music with Daria Grace & the Prewar Ponies at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
Tues-Weds May 26 – 27 at the Jazz Standard purist trumpeter and frequent Bill Frisell collaborator Ron Miles with his Quartet featuring Jason Moran on piano, Todd Sickafoose on bass, Matt Wilson on drums. sets 7:30/9:30 PM.
Also Tues May 26-30 8:30 & 11 PM ;egendary sax monster Pharaoh Sanders at Birdland, $35 gen adm.
Also Tues May 26 multistylistic rock goddess Jenifer Jackson plays bossa, Beatlesque pop, haunting Nashville gothic and more at the Rockwood, 9 PM.
Also Tues May 26 catchy virtuosic fun oldtimey hokum blues with the Second Fiddles at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
Also Weds May 27 Brooklyn’s own haunting, innovative all-female Balkan a-capalla quartet Black Sea Hotel – who have an amazing debut cd coming out – play Union Hall, 8:30 PM, $10. Toronto chanteuse Melissa McClelland opens at 7:30 with her fearlessly intense, smart Americana stylings – anybody who refers to tourists as “American scum” gets out thumbs-up. We got ’em here too, honey, and most of them live in Williamsburg.
Also Weds May 27 reliably rousing bluegrass with Vincent Cross and Good Company at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
Thurs May 28 the world-class, adventurous, pioneering NY Scandia Symphony at Trinity Church, 1 (one) PM, free, playing the N.Y. premiere of C.E.F. Weyse’s Symphony No. 6, (baroque) and the U.S. premiere of Gunnar Berg’s Hymnos (honoring the centennial of the composer’s birth) along with Friedrich Kuhlau’s The Robbers Castle Overture and Johan Halvorsen’s Suite Ancienne.
Also Thurs May 28 kick-ass purist garage rock with the sometimes soul/funk infused Nouvellas and the legendary, undiminished Fleshtones on the Rocks Off Concert Cruise, boarding at 7 at 23rd and the FDR, adv tix $20 highly recommended
Also Thurs May 28 legendary rocksteady/roots reggae crooner Gregory Isaacs at B.B. King’s, 8 PM, $22.50 adv tix at the box ofc.
Thurs May 28 at Bargemusic, 8 PM jazz pianist Liz Magnes $35 , $30/srs/$20 stud.
Also Thurs May 28 the JD Allen Trio at Smalls 9/10:30 PM with JD Allen – tenor sax , Gregg August – bass, Rudy Royston – drums. Simply one of the most exciting things happening in jazz right now. Their most recent cd I Am I Am is a haunting, thematic masterpiece.
Also Thurs May 28 upstairs at the Delancey, 9 PM it’s Small Beast, NYC’s edgiest weekly live show, this time opening with MC/master of menace Paul Wallfisch of Botanica solo on piano, plus noir cabaret chanteuse/legend Little Annie plus others
Also Thurs May 28 Band of Outsiders – who were doing the drony neo-Velvets thing 20 years before Brian Jonestown Massacre – at Lakeside, 10 PM.
Fri May 29 multistylistic, devious art-rock keyboard goddess Greta Gertler plays at 7PM at the Brooklyn Society For Ethical Culture Good Coffeehouse Music Parlour (longest venue name in town!), 53 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, F to 7th Ave.
Fri May 29 Damian Quinones plays Beatlesque, psychedelic chamber rock with latin tinges with his band at Tillie’s in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, 7:30 PM.
Also Fri May 29 at Galapagos, 8 PM the World Premiere of innovative keyboardist/composer Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar operetta featuring NOW Ensemble and films by Stephen Taylor.
Also Fri May 29 Libby York and her band at the Metropolitan Room, 10 PM, with understatedly compelling, uncluttered vocals reminiscent of Chris Connor or June Christy – or Bliss Blood for that matter. Res. recommended to 212-206-0440, $20
Also Fri May 29-31 John Ellis’ Dreamscapes big band at the Jazz Gallery, sets 9/10:30
Also Fri May 29-31 X at Bowery Ballroom 9:30ish adv tix $27 at the Mercury
Also Fri May 29 3 floors of ska, 8ish at the Knitting Factory, adv tix $17 with ska punks Mustard Plug, 60s style reggae/ska from DC by Eastern Standard Time, the similarly inclined Void Union and Shaolin’s very own Royal City Riot, the Hub City Stompers (not from Boston), multistylistic and hypnotically dubwise King Django, fiery ska/hardcore outfit Brunt of It, and more beautifully retro horn-driven stuff with Silver Dollar. Good show!
Also Fri May 29 Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra – who mine the archives for some of the most ferocious, fun and occasionally haunting 1920s swing jazz obscurities you’ll ever hear – at Barbes, 8 PM followed by Smokey Hormel’s Roundup playing western swing at 10
Also Fri May 29 smart, funny, lyrically-charged, quintessentially New York, female-fronted purist popsters Delusions of Grand St. at Trash, 9 PM.
Also Fri May 29 the Disclaimers at Spikehill, 10 PM. The best rock band in Brooklyn? Maybe. Two charismatic sirens fronting the band, two guitars, keys, and a ferociously smart bunch of songs that run from Costello clever to Big Star catchy to Syd Barrett eerie.
Also Fri May 29 scorching original punk-infused rockabilly and surf music with Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside, 10:15ish.
Sat, May 30, noon – the Three Orchestras Concert at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery (10th Street & 2nd Avenue), no idea of what’s on the bill, but these shows tend to be very adventurous.
Also Sat May 30 oldtimey country hellraisers Alex Battles & the Whisky Rebellion, 4 PM at the F train station at Riverwalk Commons, Roosevelt Island.
Also Sat May 30 the Manhattan Valley Ramblers (Bill Christophersen and John Saroyan) play bow bending fiddle tunes and ballads at the Morningside Bookshop (SW corner of Broadway and west 114th St) this Saturday some time between 6 and 8; the shop is closing sometime soon so if this is your hood it’s a last chance to say goodbye…
Also Sat May 30 at Vox Pop in Crown Heights a wild night starting at 8 with Raya Brass Band, the Brazilian sounds of the Old Goats, Luminescent Orchestrii frontman Sxip Shirey and the brass and banjo punk intensity of Apocalypse Five & Dime.
Also Sat May 30 at Merkin Concert Hall, 8:30 PM: Writing Jazz: string quartet the Lark Chamber Artists, Zephyros Winds, and pianist Anthony de Mare doing genre-bending jazz/classical including the premiere of a commissioned work by David Rakowski.
Also Sat, May 30 brilliantly lyrical harmony-pop duo the Sweet Bitters cd release show Kenny’s Castaways, 7 PM.
Also Sat May 30 smart, somewhat noir garage rocker/chanteuse Peg Simone at Trash, 8 PM just in time for open bar.
Also Sat May 30, 9 PM Amy Allison plays the cd release show for her reputedly best-ever new one (featuring Elvis Costello among others) Banjo Jim’s.
Sat, May 30 legendary Armenian reed player Souren Baronian and Taksim at Alwan for the Arts, 9 PM, $20/$15 stud.
Also Sat, May 30, 9 PM Tortoise at the Bell House, adv tix $20 recommended.
Also Sat, May 30, 9:30 PM haunting, goth-tinged art-rock pianist/chanteuse Kristin Hoffmann at Caffe Vivaldi.
Also Sat May 30 the gorgeously harmony-driven, hauntingly pan-American las Rubias del Norte at Barbes, 10 PM, $10 cover.
Sun May 31 the Bang on a Can Marathon for all you new music types starting at no0n – yawn – and going til midnight at the World Financial Center Winter Garden, performances by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Bill Frisell, Tortoise, plus others ,and compositions by Gavin Bryars, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Evan Ziporyn, et al.
Sun May 31, 12 noon at Joe’s Pub Barbara Maier presents: Depression Brunch – Idol Idle Idyll Worship Sacred and Profane featuring Justin Bond, Tammy Faye Starlite and Toby Keith Hartel, Our Lady J, and Lisa Faith Phillips who will bring their sure-fire spirit-lifting performances to help you through these dark days. Enjoy songs of depression, despondency and despair, and also get tips on how to become a successful mistress (a gal’s gotta make a living – witness Rielle Hunter). Hosted by Miss Tammy Faye Starlite (who will explain why Jesus hates Obama). Bring your own brown bag brunch! Come be a part of the solution – not the problem. P.S. – This counts as church.
Sun May 31 Ann Marie McDermott plays Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and others at Town Hall, free, 5 PM, early arrival advised, tix at the box ofc at noon.
Also Sun May 31 the Ben Holmes Trio at Barbes,7 PM. Balkan trumpet and rhythm section, could be scary good.
Also Sun May 31 Mark Sinnis at Pete’s 9:30 PM after Sasha Dobson. Good segue – two world-weary, old souls with some good original tunes, hers saloon jazz, his Nashville gothic including some gems from his band Ninth House.
6/1, 7:30 PM fiery Hungarian gypsy violin duels with former Noir Desir collaborator Felix Lajko and Antal Brasnyo at the Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, 3 Spruce Street, free, tix required, available after 4 PM, day of show at the box office.
6/1, 8 PM at the Douglass Street Music Collective, 295 Douglass St, Brooklyn, $10 sugg. don. On the bill: 8PM: Negative Nancy (Devin Gray, drums; Aryeh Kobrinsky, bass; Owen Stewart-Robertson, guitar; Jacob Wick, trumpet); 9PM: Carl Maguire’s Floriculture incl. Stephanie Griffin, viola; John Hebert, bass.
6/4 Zikrayat, brilliant revivalists of classic and obscure Egyptian film music from the 40s to the 60s play a highly recommended 8 PM show at Galapagos, adv tix $12 highly suggested.
6/4 Sxip Shirey, then Black Sea Hotel playing the cd release for their amazing debut, followed by Veveritse and the Stumblebum Brass Band at Union Pool, 9ish, wow, what a good Balkan night!
6/4, 10 PM Rachelle Garniez ( songs, accordion, piano, etc.) will be playing Barbes with Matt Munisteri on guitar and Tim Luntzel on bass. The great chanteuse/raconteuse’s last show here til fall, definitely not one to miss…
6/5 Beluga at Spikehill, 10 PM.
6/5 the Howlin Thurstons at Lakeside, 11 PM.
6/6-7 Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra play 3 sets of brilliant obscure 1920s swing jazz starting around noon at Governor’s Island, $5 cover, kids under 7 free. Also: antique car rides, pie judging contest (rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org), vintage ’78 records spun on 1920s Victor Credenza phonograph machine by Matthew Hinson, junk shop clothes, special literature/ephemera booths and readings by the Dorothy Parker Society & F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, horseshoe toss, tug of war, parade of hats (Sunday only).
6/6 artsy metal legends Blue Oyster Cult at B.B. King’s, shows at 7:30/10, adv tix $27.50.
6/6, 7 PM at Barbes guitarist and composer Jay Vilnai hosts an evening of chamber works presented by emerging composers and performers “including selections from Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments, and Liza Lim’s Inguz. Original compositions by Vilnai and fellow composer Whitney George include Vilnai’s Pisces for string trio and setting of the “Mourning Song” from Cymbeline and George’s Stained Glass for flute, violin and percussion, and a new piece for oboe solo. The concert features veteran NYC musicians such as violinist Skye Steele, violist Leanne Darling, cellist Greg (Cosmo D) Heffernen, Ensemble AI and mezzo-soprano Fabienne Seveillac.”
6/6, 7:30 PM AA Bondy at the Bell House, tix $12
6/6, 8 PM at BAM Moroccan and Syrian sufi music with the Aissawa Ensemble and Al Taybah Ensemble, adv tix $20-35 very highly recommended.
6/6 Three Legged Fox at Arlene’s 8 PM
6/6 the Jazz Funeral at Ace of Clubs
6/6, 9 PM at the Delancey roaring guitar/drums bluespunk duo the Courtesy Tier followed by Your 33 Black Angels who wear their 80s influences on their sleeves, but those influences – 1982-era indie to Violent Femmes to early New Order – are good; the Courtesy Tier also at the Rockwood 6/4, 9 PM.
6/6 Electric Engine at Parkside 9 PM followed by Joe the drummer’s band from Philly, 56 Men.
6/6 the Back CCs at Don Pedro’s, 9:30 PM. They’re doing all these support slots for the Mummies, so they have to be good, plus they have this evil over-the-top Cramps thing going on. But no Poison Ivy, but that’s ok.
6/6 That loopy little country-gospel chanteuse, Tammy Faye Starlite pays tribute to the original blonde wild-child of Tennessee, Miss Carlene Carter. Tammy will perform Carlene’s two sublime Nick Lowe-produced albums, “Musical Shapes” (1980) and “Blue Nun” (1981) at Rodeo Bar at 10pm with a band that includes Keith Hartel (bass and vocals), Dave Dunton (keyboards), Mike Dvorkin (electric guitar), Heidi Lieb (acoustic guitar) and Maria McKenna (drums). Songs include “Baby Ride Easy”, “Foggy Mountain Top,”, “I’m So Cool,” “Oh How Happy,” “Too Many Teardrops,” “Born To Move” and a new wave maximum-bass version of “Ring Of Fire.” ‘Twill be a fab and glitter-neon country- early ’80’s eve, replete with leather miniskirts, high-heeled Fryes and maybe even a Dave Edmunds-inspired pink tie. Carlene once famously said (at the old Bottom Line) that she’d like to put the cunt back in country, and well, Tammy Faye surely qualifies as a cunt (in the literal sense of the word only).
6/6 Gogol Bordello style gypsy punk with Panonian Wave at Mehanata, 10 PM.
6/7 Eldridge St. Synagogue festival starts at noon with Metropolitan Klezmer’s marching unit ?!?!
6/7 El Pueblo play dub reggae in Espanol at Shrine, 8 PM.
6/7 Balkan Beat Box at the Bell House adv tix $25.
6/7 Elisa Flynn at Spikehill
6/8 harmony-driven bluegrass band the NYCity Slickers, 6 PM at Pier 84 (44th Street and the water)
6/9-10 Sherisse Rogers’ Uprising at the Jazz Gallery, sets 9/10:30
6/10 garage/surf madmen the Mummies at Southpaw are $old out.
6/11, 8:30 PM Goran Bregovic and his wedding/funeral band – kinda allpurpose isn’t he! – at Prospect Park Bandshell.
6/11 Bliss Blood solo at Banjo Jim’s with Curtis Eller & Al Duvall, 8:30ish
Thurs June 11 & Fri June 12 at 7:30 PM at the Asia Society Wallace Auditorium, 725 Park Ave (at 70th St.) classical Iranian singer Parissa sings the words of the poet Rumi, accompanied by two instrumentalists on tar (traditional plucked lute) and daf (frame drum). Ethnomusicologists Stephen Blum and Ameneh Youssefzadeh provide a pre-performance lecture on both nights at 6. $35 adv tix ($25 stud/srs) highly recommended.
Later Thurs June 11 & Fri June 12 at 9:30 PM at the Asia Society Wallace Auditorium, 725 Park Ave (at 70th St.) oudist/chanteuse Kamilya Jubran of Palestine singing modern poetry from Palestine, Iraq, and beyond (maybe including a Hendrix cover) , $35 adv tix ($25 stud/srs) highly recommended.
6/12, 8 PM pianist Katya Grineva plays standard romantic repertoire: Chopin, Schubert, Ravel, Satie, Debussy and more at Carnegie Hall, $25 tix avail, kids under 15 free with adult tix purchase.
6/12, 9:30 PM at BAM Cafe, free, noted oud rocker Brahim Fribgane,, with Kashmiri-born indie alternative rock band Zerobridge opening the show.
6/12, 8 PM at the Knit, Black 47 with Shilelagh Law opening.
6/12 Maia Macdonald at Sidewalk, 10 PM
6/13, 8ish at Joe’s Pub the Georges Brassens Translation Project, $15
6/13 the Bluebeats at Shrine, 10 PM
6/13 Plastic Beef night at Freddy’s feat. Tom Warnick, the John Sharples Band, Liza Garelik and Ian Roure and Baby Daddy.
6/13 Spanking Charlene at Lakeside, 11 PM.
6/14 violinist Hilary Hahn free at Town Hall, 5 PM, tix available at the box ofc at noon.
6/15, 7:30 PM adventurous Americana-inspired violin virtuosity with Mark O’Connor & Friends at the Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, 3 Spruce St., free, tix required, available after 4 PM, day of show at the box office.
6/14 Laura MacLean at Banjo Jim’s 8 PM.
6/16 Beyond the Pale at Drom time TBA
6/17, 7 PM the “Godfather of Go-Go” Chuck Brown at Rockefeller Park.
6/18 Natalie John at 55 Bar, 7 PM. Jazz siren with great band, no relation to Elton.
6/19, 9:30 PM Randi Russo at the Brooklyn Lyceum
6/19, 9:30 PM at Joe’s Pub, Americana rocker Amy Speace plays cd release show for her new one The Killer in Me which is reputedly killer, $15.
6/19 Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars play retro, tasteful surf and instrumebtal covers of 69s hits at Lakeside, 11 PM.
6/20 Ethel & Gutbucket play a live score to the Mexican schlock film classic La Nave des Mostruos at Prospect Park Bandshell 7:30 PM
6/20 Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti plus Kakande led by balafon master Famoro Dioubate at Drom, 8 PM
6/20 Toussaint Liberator w/Buru Style at Shrine 10 PM.
6/20 Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside, 10:15ish.
6/21 Isle of Klezbos at City Winery 11:30ish for brunch.
6/21 is the all-day Make Music NY outdoor festival – we’ll set up a separate page when we know the full schedule. Some highlights: the French Exit at Goodbye Blue Monday, 2 PM. Also Punk Island at Governors Island starting around noon, be careful, no alcohol allowed on the ferry, they search very thoroughly.
6/21 free at Town Hall, 5 PM, the Emerson String Quartet, tix avail at the box ofc starting at noon.
6/22 the Mercantillers 6 PM at Clinton Cove Park (55th Street and the water)
6/22, 7:30 PM cellist Soo Bae at the Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, 3 Spruce St., free, tix required, available after 4 PM, day of show at the box office.
6/22 George Usher at Lakeside, 10 PM.
6/24, 7 PM Ian Hunter at Rockefeller Park. Legendary noirish songwriter whose long career included a distinguished collaboration with Mick Ronson and a lot of artsy, Lou Reed-inflected dark rock anthems. Maybe his pal Willie Nile will show up for a cameo.
6/25 the Brooklyn What at Southpaw, 8ish, – Gentrification Rock EP release show/party with Box of Crayons and Warm Hats who are also both good.
6/25 Paul Wallfisch, Marni Rice and Elisa Flynn at Small Beast at the Delancey, 9 PM.
6/26 Blonde Redhead at Prospect Park Bandshell 7:30 PM
6/26 Purple K’nif at Lakeside 10 PM
6/26 the Moonlighters at Barbes 10 PM
6/27 at Central Park Summerstage, free, 3 PM, Serdar Ilhan has really taken things to a new level, if you love Middle Eastern or world music don’t miss this one: Istanbulive: The Sounds & Colors of Turkey, Mazhar-Fuat-Özkan, Painted on Water featuring Sertab Erener & Demir Demirkan plus the NY Gypsy All-Stars with Hüsnü Senlendirici and special guests.
6/28, 8 PM Martha Davis & the Motels at B.B. King’s adv tix $25 highly recommended.
6/30 Caithlin de Marrais/Balthrop Alabama at Joe’s Pub, 7 PM, $24 for both shows.
6/30, 9 PM at Douglass St. Music Collective: Cowboy (Andrew D’Angelo, alto sax & bass clarinet; Aryeh Kobrinsky, bass; Mike Pride, drums; Jacob Wick, trumpet), then at 10 PM: Make a Circus (Adam Kinner, saxophone; Liam O’Neill, drums; Owen Stewart-Robertson, guitar).
7/1, 8ish Tift Merritt plays Rockefeller Park. Worth seeing if her writing has caught up with her absolutely spin-tingling, austere, Linda Thompson-inflected voice.
7/2 Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys at the Jewish Museum, 7:30 PM, free with $15 museum adm.
7/4, 3:30 PM Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley at State Street and Battery Place downtown. The show organizers weren’t clear whether she’ll be inside the park or not – if yes, could be a disaster. Just FYI.
7/4 Alex Battles & the Whisky Rebellion at the Brooklyn Museum, 5 PM, free
7/5 Meta & the Cornerstones and McRad at le Poisson Rouge
7/6 the Wallflowers at Irving Plaza 10ish adv tix $30.
7/8 amazingly retro, danceable British soul/funk/groove instrumentalists the New Master Sounds play the Rocks Off Concert Cruise, boarding at 8 PM at 41st St Pier on the westside, adv tix $25 highly recommended.
7/8 the Church at Irving Plaza 10ish.
7/9, half past noon, amazing, haunting gypsy band Luminescent Orchestrii on the World Financial Center Plaza.
7/9 Musette Explosion at the Jewish Museum, 7:30 PM, free with $15 museum adm.
7/10 Those Darlins at Southpaw 10 PM $10.
7/10 Delta Dreambox at Barbes 10 PM
7/10 Des Roar at Fontana’s
7/11 the Main Squeeze Accordion Festival at Pier One, 70th St. and the highway, 3 PM
7/11 los Fabulosos Cadillacs at Central Park Summerstage, doors at 3, free.
7/11 a great New Orleans doublebill with the Flying Neutrinos and Brother Joscephus, 4 PM at the F train station at Riverwalk Commons, Roosevelt Island.
7/11 the Subhumans at the Knit, 10 PM
7/13-15 Aimee Mann at City Winery bar seating $30 time TBA.
7/14 Barrington Levy at B.B. King’s 8 PM adv tix $22.
7/14 Bliss Blood of the Moonlighters solo at Pete’s with the Tavo Carbone band
7/15, 7 PM, Luisito Rosario y Su Orquesta playing salsa at Wagner Park, Battery Place and West Street.
7/16, half past noon piano jazz with the Emmet Cohen Trio in the World Financial Center Winter Garden. They’ll also be at One New York Plaza, corner of Whitehall and Water Streets, same time the following day.
7/16, 7 PM Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra plays Sly & The Family Stone at Castle Clinton, tix available 2 per person, outside Castle Clinton, first-come, first-served basis starting at 5 PM day of show.
7/16 Slavic Soul Party at the Jewish Museum, 7:30 PM, free with $15 museum adm.
7/17 The Sweet Divines and Robert Cray at Prospect Park Bandshell, 7:30 PM.
7/18 Nation Beat playing Brazilian forro music, 4 PM at the F train station at Riverwalk Commons, Roosevelt Island
7/19 midnight-ish the Anti-Nowhere League at Europa $20 18+
7/19 at Central Park Summerstage, 3 PM doors, global roots reggae stars Alpha Blondy & The Solar System, Lee “Scratch” Perry & Dubblestandart Subatomic Sound System.
7/19, 7 PM Frank London’s Klezmer Allstars at Pier One on the upper west
7/23, half past noon veteran jazz pianist Junior Mance in the World Financial Center Winter Garden. He’ll be at One New York Plaza, corner of Whitehall and Water Streets, same time the following day.
7/23 Ljova and the Kontraband at the Jewish Museum, 7:30 PM, free with $15 museum adm.
7/24 half past noon legendary jazz pianist Junior Mance at One New York Plaza, corner of Whitehall and Water Streets.
7/24 Black Moth Super Rainbow – the Cocteau Twins meet Radiohead – at South St. Seaport, 8ish
7/26 bellydance goddess Nourhan Sharif presents a night of classic Middle Eastern music and dance with Mohamed El Hossein & Karim Nagi at Lafayette Grill & Bar.
7/27 La Sovietika, 3 PM at Sudaca/Bronx @ Haven Arts Gallery, 50 Bruckner Blvd, Building A, 6 Train to 138th St.
7/29, 7 PM Cuban son jazz jams with Químbombó at Wagner Park.
7/30, half past noon Australian blueswoman Fiona Boyes on the World Financial Center Plaza, 220 Vesey Street, also at One New York Plaza, corner of Whitehall and Water Streets, same time the next day.
7/30, 7 PM Arlo Guthrie at Castle Clinton, tix available 2 per person, outside Castle Clinton, first-come, first-served starting 5 PM day of show.
7/30 Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens and Burning Spear at Prospect Park Bandshell, 7:30 PM.
7/30 Jarvis Cocker at Terminal 5, adv tix $35 at the Mercury
7/31 Polvo at South St. Seaport, 8ish
8/1 Hawke & Owl and the Flanks playing oldtime country and Americana, 4 PM at the F train station at Riverwalk Commons, Roosevelt Island.
8/1, 8 PM Urban Sun play funk on the Rocks Off Concert Cruise, boarding at 7 at 23rd and the FDR, adv tix $20 highly recommended.
8/3, 7:30 PM, Toumani Diabate (Malian kora virtuoso) at Central Park Summerstage, free.
8/7 best show of the year – the Brooklyn What at Trash Bar w/Escarioka, Palmyra Delran, Warm Hats and This Blue Heaven.
8/9, 7 PM Romashka at Pier One on the upper west
8/9, 8 PM the Electric Prunes, a Love cover band and Sky Saxon of the Seeds at B.B. King’s, adv tix $30
8/22 Chicha Libre at the F train station at Riverwalk Commons, Roosevelt Island, 4 PM
Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Thursday’s song is #454:
Siouxsie & the Banshees – Arabian Nights
John McGeoch’s beautiful, haunting, watery guitar floating floating over a pounding rhythm section, carrying Siouxsie’s eerily microtonal, accusatory vocals. From the Juju album, 1982; the link above is a youtube stream of the original video. Mp3s are everywhere.
This album is all about joie de vivre. At 87, Chico Hamilton is happily ensconsed in the jazz pantheon – the percussionist decades ago passsed the point where he had anything left to prove. Yet here he is again, having fun. While this might sound like your typical Sunday afternoon jazz at a distance, or at low volume – and it’s a marvelous choice for a Sunday afternoon – it’s a lot more than that. It’s best experienced on headphones. Hamilton’s stock in trade has always been subtlety and nuance, rare qualities for a percussionist, and as usual he’s not here to jolt anyone out of their socks. But this album is anything but saturnine: it resonates with a confident, gentle warmth.
Most of the cuts here aren’t long, clocking in at under four minutes at a clip. Some of them are sketches. Many of them are confidently swaying, slow-to-midtempo swing blues. The rhythm is carried as much here by Paul Ramsey’s Fender Bass as it is by anything else, cutting through the mix with the trebly, slightly oscillating tone common to electric jazz bass around forty years ago. Cary DeNigris plays guitar, giving an absolutely marvelous, spot-on Ernie Ranglin-style chordal feel to the casual hangout number Steinway, anchoring the brief and beautifully lyrical Americana number On the Trail and gently keeping things on the rails while guest George Bohanon’s trombone signifies jauntily on George, a gift of appreciation from Hamilton. The percussionist himself takes a typically understated star turn on several occasions, riding the cymbals with an altered clave beat on the Wes Montgomery-ish Penthouse, spicing the mallets-and-vocals-only Lazy Afternoon and pointedly punctuating the early 70s style latin shuffle Raoul. If this album intrigues you, you can enter to win a free copy courtesy of Giant Step (contest expires May 15, 2009). New York listeners also have a golden opportunity to see him live for free on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 PM (early arrival obviously advised) at Borders Books & Music in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle on the second floor.
Exciting stuff. In addition to playing guitar in boisterous NYC gypsy dance hellraisers Romashka, Jay Vilnai also leads this adventurous, innovative group. Its underpinnings are gypsy and Balkan music, but there’s a lot more to it than that: Ljova and the Kontraband, with their Russian, classical and jazz influences are a good comparison, although Vilnai’s songs are all instrumentals and with the guitar have more of a jagged, careening feel. Another good comparison is pan-Balkan juggernaut Ansambl Mastika, although Vilnai’s music has a less improvisational focus. This stuff is all about crescendos: pretty much everything eventually builds to some kind of big coda or whirling cauldron of sound, but it’s about how they get there, the fanning of the flames as much as the inevitable big blaze. Like many of the great blues guitarists (Matt Murphy particularly comes to mind), Vilnai plays a lot of horn lines and with the distortion on, giving him an incisive edge that stays just thisfar from total Balkan savagery, the effect is intense. While many of the songs here are very fast and fiery, nobody’s wasting any notes, a welcome touch.
The title track jumps in, dizzying and polyrhythmic, ominous washes of distorted guitar building to a biting solo replete with evil chromatic percussive intensity. That feel recurs dramatically from time to time throughout the cd. The second cut, Serpent Dance is authentically serpentine, winding, twisting and jazzy. The sarcastically titled Lento evokes Ljova & the Kontraband, pretty pastoral violin from the reliably excellent Skye Steele followed by edgy rumbling guitar into a jazzily expansive solo that gets all pretty and anything but lento!
The bouncily stark Jasmine kicks off with cello and resolute 8th-note guitar, growing darker as Vilnai goes up the scale. And then there’s a frenetic, out of breath clarinet solo from the band’s reed man, Greg Pickard. Tabur, with its tricky, rattling rhythm under ambient strings builds to a typical crescendo and a nice bass solo as the string section goes crazy in a whirling cauldron of noise. The cinematically-tinged Marketplace morphs from a pretty much straight up Bulgarian dance, casual and midtempo into a sizzling Balkan guitar solo followed by a more astringent one by Steele. The most overtly jazzy number here, Circe features Vilnai getting all frenetic yet precise in something of an Allan Holdsworth mode followed by some playful eeriness from Pickard, the spaces between the notes just as ominous as what’s being played. Arguably the best song on the cd, Shelter Me Beneath Thy Pinion gets going with an ominous buildup, whirling strings, cymbals and some understatedly slashing chordal work from Vilnai into a completely savage Middle Eastern jazz/metal solo, another wild crescendo with the strings screaming and then a long, strange, atmospheric outro. If the band is half as good live as they are on this cd they must be amazing in concert. Watch this space for NY area live dates.
Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Wednesday’s song is #455:
Richard Thompson – I Still Dream
The greatest rock songwriter ever? The greatest rock guitarist ever? Many would say that the answer to both questions is no-brainer and it’s this guy. This wrenching Britfolk-style ballad is a showcase for all kinds of chops: lyrical, compositional and musical. From the Amnesia album, 1987. The link above is a stream of the studio version; here’s a slightly lo-fi but still sweet live take from four years later.
Concert Review: The American String Quartet Plays Robert Sirota, Irving Fine and Others at Bargemusic, Brooklyn NY 4/26/09
The American String Quartet had played the Brooklyn debut of Manhattan School of Music President Robert Sirota’s 9/11-themed Triptych suite the previous night. Looking across the river at Manhattan from inside the barge the following afternoon, the Twin Towers’ absence became more and more striking as the first movement built to a frantic, chaotic, horror-stricken crescendo of tritones and dissonance. From an audience perspective (particularly as witnessed by someone who was three blocks away when Tower Two blew up), the music was viscerally harrowing. Lucid Culture puts up a year-end “best New York concerts” list, and while being far from definitive, you can bet this performance will be on it.
Sirota was in New York on 9/11 and over the following months, writing the suite in tandem with Deborah Patterson’s painting of the same name – the artists’ intent was for the music to reinforce the painting and vice versa. To say that both are impactful would be a ridiculous understatement. The suite’s first movement, Desecration began with a shock, immediately followed by frenetic anguish that eventually fell apart, leading to a mournful solo by violinist Peter Winograd and eventually an evocation of car alarms (Sirota imagined that the destruction of the towers would have set off every one of them in Manhattan, an insult added to injury that thankfully didn’t occur) followed by a brief, single siren played on violin, fading into the distance.
The second movement, Lamentation began stark and modernist, growing more insistent, anguish finally turning to outrage, the impossibility of being able to fathom the enormity of the event intensely and vividly captured by a tentative cello line eventually passed to the other instruments, ending with a simple, defeated fade to solo violin. It’s not known how deeply the composer was able to investigate the mystery surrounding the tragedy, or whether this is simply a rendering of the city’s collective emotional state.
At last, some consonance appeared in the final movement, Prayer, reaching for solace and not finding it, interestingly with less of a feeling of communion and inclusiveness than there was at the time. While the months afterward brought out in many respects a beautiful and unforgettable period of camaraderie and compassion among New Yorkers, the conclusion of Sirota’s work rightfully maintains a persistent and unavoidable sense of loss. As riveting and heartbreaking as the piece is to witness in concert, one can only imagine how difficult it must be to play, especially for a New York group such as this, but the musicians didn’t let on.
The rest of the bill was a thicket of knotty cerebrality, but the Quartet accentuated its emotion and also its frequent good humor. They’d opened with Irving Fine’s 1952 String Quartet, an astonishing and powerfully Stravinskian work delivering many of the tropes of Romanticism in a completely different language, jeweled with suspense, horror-movie cadences and complete defiance in places. Winograd related an amusing anecdote about how his father, also a noted musician, knew Fine, who was notoriously prickly. After hearing the piece, the story made perfect sense. The ensemble also tackled Henry Cowell’s strange and often boisterously witty, improvisationally-driven String Quartet No. 3, the “Mosaic,” named for its interwoven, deceptively simple themes designed to be repeated as the performers see fit. They closed with Walter Piston’s String Quartet No. 1, another work which cast numerous codas and cadenzas straight out of Brahms or Beethoven straight into the drink where they landed dazed. Did Mingus know Piston’s work? One would think so from hearing this piece.
Shock of shocks, the barge wasn’t sold out, either. Fault of the depression? Maybe. The challenging nature of the program? That would be strange – Ives and his ilk don’t usually scare the crowds off. From the looks of it these days, Bargemusic could be something you could decide on at the spur of the moment, a wonderfully romantic idea.
Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Tuesday’s song is #456:
The Church – Field of Mars
Unlike the best-of lists at those ineffable other music sites (no names), anything goes here – we didn’t put any kind of limit on how many songs a single band can have on this list. If you’ve been following the daily countdown here, you’ve noticed that this is the first appearance by these iconic Australian art-rockers. There will be many more. Matching the jangle and clang of the Byrds, the epic grandeur of Pink Floyd and the visionary lyricism of Elvis Costello, the Church were arguably the best rock band of the 80s and are inarguably one of the best of alltime. This isn’t frontman Steve Kilbey’s first song about a ghost, but it is one of his best, punctuated by a rich, watery Peter Koppes guitar solo. Twelve-string player Marty Willson-Piper sings. The Field of Mars referred to here isn’t the one in Paris, it’s a cemetery in Sydney, Australia. From The Blurred Crusade, 1982 (link will take you to a download). Look for the band on US tour this summer, and a new album as well as solo efforts from Kilbey and Willson-Piper.
Another pretty amazing group show up at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center. This one features a “younger generation” of women born after 1950, up through the end of May. Many highlights, probably as many as last year’s vastly diverse exhibit.
Nivi Alroy contributes an intense collection of mixed media, notably a tall (seven-foot) sculpture of a bombed-out house sitting in an upturned dresser drawer, the scorched face of a stuffed rabbit fixing its stare from a second story window. There’s also a rustic woodcut of a collapsing industrial area juxtaposed with a reflection below, a daguerreotype-style view of workers staring at themselves in the water. Andrea Cukier has three green-tinted, stylized medieval Chinese-inflected pondscapes: as with so much of her work, she makes the heat and humidity visceral.
Shan Shan Sheng has a number of strikingly colorful, heavy glass sculptures here including an absolutely haunting, orange-tinted undersea scene and a couple of massive bells, one of them abruptly upturned. Bahar Behbahani has both a murky, out-of-focus wallsize umber-tinged portrait of a family staring out from their couch, Arabic calligraphy and musical notes floating overhead, as well as an unsettling 3-D piece, a dense mandala-like figure on a screen a couple of inches above a second, painted level, obscuring more calligraphy and a dead sheep on its back.
Even more provocative were a series of bombs (their noses, to be precise, seemingly fashioned from restaurant-sized carbon dioxide canisters) by Leonor Mendoza. Adorned with earrings, peace signs, an animal figurine, lockets, charms, and most ominously, melted green plastic peoploids, they’re poignant and as understated as bombs can be.
Of the best-known artists on display here, Judy Chicago is represented by a trio of black-and-white woodcuts, the earth mother under siege, as well as a sculpture study from The Dinner Party, part of the plate eerily peeling back. There are also prints and a striking, colorful wallsize painted quilt depicting a jazz trio and its unperturbable frontwoman from Faith Ringgold.
But the most striking of all the images here was the live installation by Olek (Agata Oleksiak) and Naomi White. They’d positioned a group of people in colorful, full-body knitwear, their faces hidden, lazing around a living room, watching tv, the screen depicting the struggles of someone in an all-white bodysuit, seemingly in a lot of pain and trying to escape. Abu Graib, anybody? Talk about making an impact!
Over by the Nivi Alroy section, classical guitarist Margaret Slovak played warmly and virtuosically. You probably won’t get to hear her or be taken in by the Olek/Naomi White installation, but the show is a must-see if you’re in Williamsburg – it’s only a couple of minutes from the J/M stop at Marcy Ave., 135 Broadway on the south side of Williamsburg, about a block past Bedford as you walk toward the water. Hours are Saturday-Sunday noon-6 PM.
The sold-out club was treated to a show mostly reprising the self-described “most popular African band in the world”‘s fascinating, spikily hypnotic new dvd Live in London.What was most striking about Tinariwen’s show was how lyrically-driven their songs are. There was plenty of improvisation, but most of it was carefully, patiently cached in the nooks and crannies of their intricately meandering songs: all indications to the contrary, the expat Malian Tuareg rockers are not a jam band. One can only wonder what these guys have been thinking, singing in their native Tamashek to American audiences: they could be saying “Bite me,” over and over and nobody would know the difference. Reputedly their lyrics have the same fiery and fearless, politically-charged fury as the Clash along with a generous dash of desert mysticism. As with the dvd, they opened quietly as a trio with the song Chet Boghassa, one of the guitarists holding down a steadily rhythmic one-chord pattern over which the starkest of guitar sketches could be drawn before bringing up the full six-piece contingent. Resplendent in their desert robes and shesh headcoverings, they delivered the songs methodically without much interplay with the crowd. On a few occasions, members of the band (especially the bassist, who proved to be most gregarious, and something of a ham) would make a tentative inquiry in French to see if they could connect with anyone. Not much response, and no fellow Tuaregs in the house either (their diaspora is mostly urban European).
As with their big inspiration Ali Farka Toure, chord changes are few and far between in Tinariwen’s music, meaning that dynamics are everything, not only volume-wise but notably in the attack and sustain of the band’s mosaic of sound. On a couple of occasions, once merely as an aside while tuning up, one of the guitarists showed off remarkably blazing speed with a handful of almost bluegrass runs up the scale. Otherwise, the group and the songs formed a cohesive whole, the bassist taking the longest solo of the night, all of twelve cascading, smartly chosen, bluesy notes to end one of the more driving numbers. The most overtly bluesy, western-influenced number, Assawt N’Chet Tamashek, was held back just a hair enough to keep it from careening into a mad stomp, the percussion echoing the bouncy edginess of the guitars. The rest of the show was a dusky clang, overtones quickly rising and then just as quickly fading as the resonance died. Their guitar sound is very 1960s, and on a single occasion one of the players quickly tossed off a tongue-in-cheek Mike Bloomfield lick, perhaps to see if anybody else would be in on the joke.
Hassan Hakmoun opened with a very brief, four-song set which was absolute heaven for fans of low frequencies, playing a loudly amplified sintir (Moroccan three-string bass lute) and backed only by his longtime percussionist. Playing with his thumb, Hakmoun would find a phrase and run it over and over again while the percussion crackled and sparkled above the booming atmospherics. Then he’d slap at the strings like an American funk bassist, which proved far less interesting. He’s starting a restaurant in the East Village (424 E 9th) named after his instrument, grousing about how much the local block association “just wants to see you suffer,” but apparently Sintir has won out and will be opening soon.
The concert’s only drawback was completely beyond control of the bands. Some moron in the far corner felt compelled to whistle at earsplitting volume whenever there was the slightest pause, or the music got quiet (this is not a Tuareg custom). We ought to amend the law to allow amnesty for those of us who might be tempted to exercise vigilante justice on fools like that.