Shilpa Ray, Drink Up Buttercup; Piano's review

I specifically went out tonight to see the first night of Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers residency at Piano’s. Drink Up Buttercup opening was added incentive for a late Wednesday night out.

Drink Up Buttercup never disappoints. In Late April, they opened a two-night stint for Dr. Dog in front of an 800-capacity crowd. Tonight they came with the five remaining copies of their beautifully packaged 7" release on Kanine Records.

DUB live set had new intensity. Their movements on stage were faster and harder to capture on film without proper speed adjustments. They were quite adventurous, transitioning from one song into another, adding some edgy, unexpected noise, featuring a new rollicking rock song, and morphing song standards. Most bands profess a style and do variations on it. Not DUB. They change styles and genres within songs, making variety part of the mix. Last night only exemplified that which sets them apart.

Listen @ Muxtape
DUB Flickr Set

Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers
There are not too many female-fronted bands that I feel strongly about. Feeling privileged to have seen Tina Turner with Ike, Janis Joplin, Patty Smith, and Tracy Nelson reminded me of how much I miss hearing female vocalists with deep powerful effects.

Shilpa Ray has the WOW FACTOR. Her raw, gritty sincerity can be felt. It isn’t just about wow she can belt, it is the authenticity of lyrics mixed with sincerity of delivery. I love her foal-mouth lyrics and how she unabashedly owns them.

Shilpa Ray was center stage directly behind her Harmonium and flanked on either side by the solid tight band of four male Happy Hookers. The band can deliver a punch, and their thriving presence was heightened by Shilpa’s vocal acuity. And it was loud, hard, and strong.

Watching Shilpa play the Harmonium and sing was fascinating to witness. Leaning forward, she undulated above and below the instrument. At times she laid her head below that, affording her pacing and build-up between wails into the mic. The drumming was powerful and masculine. The small Casio, guitar, and bass created orchestrated pop of magnitude and awesome noise. The only subtlety was the occasional vocal harmonies and shaker.

Shilpa Ray can Rant!

It was an unusual night for my first introduction. Upfront with all the other Photographers / Bloggers, I took shots (Photos) while listening to the music. We were many, lining the entire width of the stage. In a larger venue, our numbers wouldn’t look so imposing, but at Piano’s, it felt wrong. After the first song, she went into a rant, starting with “Fuck all you Bloggers.” At that, I immediately put my camera down. She said, “I’m drunk and probably will forget all the words, I don’t give a shit what you think.” To that effect. 
I felt pangs of guilt and self-doubt, thinking, who am I anyway. And she was right. I stopped to live for the moment and to feel the music along with the enthusiastic fans. The uninhibited rants of truth continued for the rest of the set, but the music is what penetrated and sustained a lasting impression. Catch them for their last residency show at Piano's on May 27th!

I purchased eight songs self-released EP, A Fish Hook An Open Eye, and listened for the late ride home. Still listening! Review soon

Apologies to Wild Yaks. They opened, and I heard great things about their set.
Shilpa Ray Flickr Set


Viva The Lisps

Three more dates are left to see Futurity the Musical by the four-piece vaudevillian art/rock folk group The Lisps and the assembled cast. In January, they concluded a two-night stint at the now-defunct Zipper Factory. Futurity has found a new temporary home at Joe's Pub of which there are three dates left. OCM 1/12/ 09 review snippet: César Alvarez’s inventive play spars between the asymmetrical romantic notions of a writer and the symmetrical logistic concepts of a mathematician. Inventively he explores the juxtaposition of the envisioned possibilities of the all-powerful machine with the inevitable tides of war. Their altruistic visions are crushed along with the hopes of a promising future. Alvarez creates a black comedy with much room for contemplation. Full review Lisps defy boundaries. 

Recently they posted an informative blog entry to their fans.

What you may not know about us is that we are not JUST a band that performs live and records albums, although we love doing both those things. We are each other’s family and community, and we consider ourselves life-long artistic collaborators. We are not just musicians, but actors, poets, publishers, composers, writers, painters and inventors, and we are committed to developing and creating projects together that are both band-related and in support of our individual artistic interests.

I think this applies to creative people who don’t consider anything they do as a side project but as a continuum of the whole. Creativity holds no boundaries, and The Lisps exemplify this spirit in their music and the lives they have chosen to live. Viva The Lisps and Futurity!
Saturday May 16 @ 9:30 Friday May 22 @ 8:00 Sunday May 24 @ 7:30


Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Banned; New Ep Review

I like the way the Hobos do things! Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned New EP A March Though Charles Mingus' Garbage Pile is an invigorating big band splash of energy that is muscular and celebratory. The remnants of folk styling are weighted and lifted with bursts of brass, choral harmonies, and pulsating time. All six tracks transform their influences into an original layered and uplifting direction. Live this new material is awesome, and it translates on this EP! OCM Breakdown "Everything is, Pt. III": The clack and claps of percussion leave room for Alex Muro’s vocals to intertwine with a chorus and singing saw. “Carrot On a String”: Brass led polka beat with Alex Muro’s strained passionate vocals and a mighty band upsurge with the commanding chorus. “A March Through Charles Mingus’ Garbage Pile”: Great infusion of folk and jazz like a stomping New Orleans style funeral procession with standout solo trumpet and full chorus getaway. The Table & The Cup”: Heavy brass emphasis broke up with the folky charm of Tim Koch's vocals and acoustic plucking. Goin Nowhere”: Revamped and re-released the track with a faster pace, jazz breakouts of the sax, and trumpet with claps. I Am the Past”: Includes the listener into the hobo’s circle of jokes and talk. The fun really begins with guitar plucking and uplifting harmonies.
Enjoy the Video "I Am The Past"

Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned Live at the Linda from Tom Muro on Vimeo.