Showing posts with label "Live Reviews 09". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "Live Reviews 09". Show all posts


Novice Theory; Inspiring Charge @ Rockwood Music Hall

Novice Theory

Novice Theory at the Rockwood Music Hall with a full band of supportive and talented musicians was an inspired way to close out a year and get ready for a new one. Whether solo or with a band, Novice Theory's music performance has electrical conductivity directly aimed to charge an audience. Mission accomplished!

Geo Wyeth has the ability to inspire listeners and fellow musicians. This was my first chance to see him with a cast of exceptional musicians. What was so obvious was their genuine love for Geo and how much they enjoyed bringing his music vision to fruition.

The fuller-bodied sound of Jazz offshoots added to Geo's expanded lyrical palette beyond the autobiographical to include a tapestry of uniquely urban wit and insight. Last night they played work from the recently released EP Ordinary Death along with one freshly presented newer song. I like chances like that!
The sandwiched crowd at the small venue begged for an encore, and we were treated to an older song played solo on the accordion that was performed back in 08 on the Jools Holland Show in the UK.
It is wonderful to post this and include The Music Slut's take

Novice Theory
Timothy Johnson - flute; Keith Parker - percussion; Daniel Arnow - bass; Brian Newman - trumpet; Tina Richerson - baritone sax; Geo Wyeth - vocals, guitar, piano, squeezebox;


Showpaper; DIY Invasion

The Eskalators

Showpaper remains true to its original inception producing a bi-monthly all-age music listing fold-out featuring a visual artist on every cover issue. When a concept is fluid, its evolution has few boundaries. Showpaper is branching out to include art and music benefits that support its printing, guerrilla-style music happenings, and participation in art fairs. Passion can be infectious, and Showpaper is worth spreading.

PS1 Art Book Fair

At the NY Art Book Fair housed at PS1 in early October, Showpaper displayed an array of colorful issues on a small ledge below Leandro Erlich's Swimming Pool art installation. Part of the Showpaper's charm is the dedicated rotation of volunteers manning the unofficial site. I spoke with a young woman who was doing a double shift and enthusiastically telling anyone interested about the Showpaper mission.

Vendorbar NYC, Showpaper

Recently Showpaper shared a booth with VendorBar, an exhibitor at The 2009 Editions|Artists' Book Fair showing videos by Flipswitch, Cassettes by Party Labs, and Showpaper editions. Greeting the curious was Joe Ahearn, Showpaper's volunteer impresario. He is constantly finding new ways to bring the Showpaper mission to different audiences. VendorBar, organized by Kirby Gookin and Robin Kahn, had awesome conceptual art editions, including Yoko Ono's Add Color: Imagine Peace -Stenciling Action, Sal Randolf Free money in book form, and printed editions and chewed drawing editions by Larry Miller.

Kirby Gookin and Robin Kahn are both working artists, and VendorBar is their latest curatorial endeavor whose mission is to open up direct lines of communication between artists and the public to make ideas and artwork more accessible.. They represent an older generation with an authentic love of art and an enthusiastic vision to inform. This is rare in adult form and even in the art world. Choosing to share a space with Showpaper proves that the spirit of art can cross generations and go beyond just the selling of products.

Michael Petruzzo, whose music taste I trust, gave me a list of must-see music emphasizing The Eskalators. Showpaper arranged the eighteen pieces to play a set to end the Editions Fair three-day run.

The group assembled at the upstairs entrance with a guitar, toy instruments, violin, array of brass, and a mini megaphone. Their spirited music, full of sing-alongs, great lyrics, and rag-tag fun, was in contrast to any art event's traditional and formal aspects, but what a welcome juxtaposition.

Flickr Set VendorBar / The Eskalators


Paper Garden Records @ 3rd Ward Review

Multiverse Playground event was presented by Paper Garden Records @ 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, a member-based design center. Sponsors included: 3rd Ward, Uncensored Interview, Art Battles, Lomography, 1776, The BLDG, Project Fathom.
Paper Garden Records' current roster, Peasant, Emanuel and the Fear, and Darla Farmer, represent a perfect diverse live line-up. I endured Art Battles and Comedy Central's Kurt Metzger before the bands started. It was an "Experience" for me, but both were enthusiastically received by the crowd.

Peasant @ 3rd Ward

Peasant's slot was to follow the comic, a difficult feat for a guy with a guitar at best. Fortunately, everyone who slowly reentered the backspace and committed to staying soon realized Peasant (Damien DeRose) is not standard singer-songwriter fare. His is a voice to follow. He played some new songs from Shady Retreat to be released in 2010, and one never performed live. We were treated to two older songs from On the Ground. "Your Good" was fabulous without the drums, and Damien said he usually plays "Manners" when an audience is polite. "Hard Times" was appropriate and gave me pause to think about Peasant's ability to weave topical content without being preachy. Peasant is a quiet but reflective voice of his generation. And his voice penetrates in a subtle but lasting way.

Emanuel and the Fear

Emanuel and the Fear are a great live experience with multi-layers of sophisticated composition and an accomplished orchestra. Emanuel Ayvason, on keys, guitar, and vocals, leads the pit with dynamic zeal and musical prowess. He is a music force with a vision and is willing to fuck with it in a good way. Adding drummer Jeff Gretz's metal magic adds an aggressive contrast to the mix. The sound leaves the listener on edge and shakes things up with untimely structures and raw and in-the-moment vocals without ever losing the sensuous full embodied sound. Aggressive Orchestral Pop!

Darla Farmer
Darla Farmer makes me smile. They are an ambitious six-piece outfit plowed through a lively, diverse set. Take guitar, bass, and drums, mix some horns and keys and grind it out. Their geeky awesomeness is appealing, blurring art rock, noise, metal, Orleans-style jazz, and screamo with the quirkiest nasal vocals of lead singer Bryce Leonard. We were treated to what seemed like impromptu Devo-style Hip Hop with the best awkward dance moves. It was a rip! Darla Farmer's original sound might be a result of geographical southern roots. Whatever the inspiration, I'm looking forward to more. 

At about 1:00 AM, more folks invaded to catch Boy Crisis and Das Racist, and for the young, the night was just starting. I left at 1:30. Flickr Set is not up to par, but I found the staging area too long with little depth making it difficult for band interaction.


Little Teeth Make Folk an Art Form

This is a shout-out to the band Little Teeth from San Francisco. They have embarked on a huge ambitious tour through the US and are also planning a European one. Their debut album, Child Bearing Man, was released in September of 08 on Absolutely Kosher Records. I was going to see them again at Death by Audio tomorrow, but they canceled due to illness. I saw them for the first time at CMJ at Zebulon. I, unfortunately, created a poorly titled post-CMJ Day Three, so I'm hoping for a little more exposure via search with this re-post of the review and Video entry.
Feel Better, Little Teeth

Little Teeth CMJ @ Zebulon

To say I was delighted to see Little Teeth is an understatement. The twosome of Sofia Bell and Dannie Murrie recently added Sean Real to their inner circle. Their original music is Folk as an art form played with a conviction of sensibility and spirit. Their all-out abandon of song structure focused on experimentation, strange but beguiling harmonies, and escalating emphasis on vocals, drumming, cello or banjo.

I was outside socializing when the band set up and was flabbergasted when I moved to the front to find the most intricate found object drum set de jour, including a small xylophone. Dani Murrie strapped on an assortment of shells and bells from ankle to knee.

During the set, they brought out some additional homemade contraptions. The traditional instruments were plucked and bowed with attitude adding to the disjointed samplings of sound that fried my brain from overdrive of the unexpected. The drummer Sean Real has a passion for playing. A joy to watch.

the music sounds like a much looser Coco Rosie or The Roaches scrabbled. They bring it on with guts, punk, and moxie. Halfway through their fifty-state tour, they stated, “We showered tonight.” Everyone cheered.

and if intrigued, this is an awesome video highlighting their musical point of view.


CMJ Day Five

Emanuel and the Fear @ The Delancy rooftop, Afternoon Scores

Emanuel and the Fear CMJ @ The Delancey

Emanuel Ayvas’ brought an ensemble of four and delivered lush scores with tabulators, and music stands in place. His poetic writing and emotionally delivered vocals, accompanied by violin, cello, and guitar, created a toned-down but perfect acoustic orchestral pop and afternoon score for a roof garden space. Their set was a smaller representation of a group.

Listening to Emanuel and the Fear recordings exemplifies the lush, ambitious arrangements full of complexities and swelling of orchestral passages with smart, lyrically emotionally delivered vocals.

Bryan Vaughan, founder of their label Paper Garden Records has a passion for music he loves and believes in, so I should have followed through and heard them sooner.

Flickr Set

Drink Up Buttercup CMJ @ The Delancey

                     Drink Up Buttercup @ The Delancey rooftop, Acoustic Muscle

Drink Up Buttercup is a very different band in the early afternoon. But this is not Drink Up Buttercup Lite, anything but. Although they abandoned their drums, amps, garbage cans, and kinesthetic body contortions, they highlighted the muscle of their vocal muscle. They stretched their harmonic layering of show-stopping standards, adding detailed appendages. Showing off their incredible versatility and giving the tired genre "Barbershop" a vibrato edge.

Flickr Set

Cale Parks CMJ @ The Delancey

Cale Parks 2 The Delaney Warmth to Techno

Cale Parks brings warmth to Techno, blending cascading dance beats and looping of original music with synth and drum machine. Live Cale Parks drumsticks twirl through the air and hit his mark. The baton twirler, soft crooner, and synth composer do it with precision and finesse. Adding two new players on guitar, bass, and keys to his live line-up. Performing as a one-man band is hard, he said as he introduced his new bandmates, saying, “how nice it was not do this alone.” The packed, dank basement at the Delancey was the perfect setting to be transformed into another place. Cale Parks and Company took me there.

Flickr Set


CMJ Day Three

                       Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned @ Zebulon, Word of Choice Amazing

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned CMJ @ Zebulon

Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Banned packed the house and the stage with eight musicians and every imaginable brass and string instrument. I love the Hobos and have seen them several times. Their instruments were in full force featuring many songs off their new EP. They played the title track, "A March Through Charles Mingus' Garbage Pile," which featured a vibrant mix of Folk and Jazz, a direction they are forging ahead with. The two new songs they debuted forecast a vital and original direction.

The musicianship is something to behold they have become a much tighter entity without losing their energy and heart, displaying the joy of playing together. What is also fascinating is the seamless exchange of instruments throughout the set. Whether blowing, singing, or strumming, everything works. This is a democratic collective where various members share the lead vocal helm adding diversity to the mix.

Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Banned were full of bite. All the instruments and vocals united and filled the space with joy and substance. When the set was over, I walked through the crowd, and the word choice was amazing.

Flickr Set

Pink Noise @ Zebulon Invigorating Smart Noise

Pink Noise @ CMJ Zebulon

Pink Noise makes lots of noise from metal shredding guitar and bass and pounding drums but could not drown out the hefty and soulful vocals of Sharon Sulami This was a set of pure intensity with incredible exchanges between instruments. The noise of exhilaration and contrast played with the force of unpredictability. Invigorating smart noise.

Flickr Set

Little Teeth form San Francisco @ Zebulon Scrabbled Experimentation

Little Teeth CMJ @ Zebulon

To say I was delighted to see Little Teeth is an understatement. The twosome of Sofia Bell and Dannie Murrie recently added Sean Real to their inner circle. Their original music is Folk as an art form played with a conviction of sensibility and spirit. Their all-out abandon of song structure focused on experimentation, strange but beguiling harmonies, and escalating emphasis on vocals, drumming, cello or banjo.

I was outside socializing when the band set up and was flabbergasted when I moved to the front to find the most intricate found object drum set de jour, including a small xylophone. Dani Murrie strapped on an assortment of shells and bells from ankle to knee.

During the set, they brought out some additional homemade contraptions. The traditional instruments were plucked and bowed with attitude adding to the disjointed samplings of sound that fried my brain from overdrive of the unexpected. The drummer Sean Real has a passion for playing. A joy to watch.

the music sounds like a much looser Coco Rosie or The Roaches scrabbled. They bring it on with guts, punk, and moxie. Halfway through their fifty-state tour, they stated, “We showered tonight.” Everyone cheered.

Little Teeth CMJ @ Zebulon

Flickr Set

I would be remiss not to mention how much I enjoyed Zebulon. I loved the music played between sets, the food, and the great staff!


CMJ Day One

                                          Blood Warrior at Piano’s, Edgy Twist to Folk

Blood Warrior's brand of Folk is weighty with thump-stomping percussion, great choral harmonies, and the vocal awesomeness of Greg Jamie. The music can soothe like a lullaby but don’t get too comfortable because these gentle warriors can bring up the volume. Their voices swell; electric guitar leads and acoustic strumming intertwine with shakers and emphasized bass drum, giving traditional Folk an edgy twist.

                             Max Vernon @ Kenny's Castaways, Master of Design

Max Vernon CMJ 09

Making a fashion statement at CMJ is an anomaly, but Max Vernon intends to please both visually and sonically. He walked onto the stage wearing an asymmetrical googly eye ensemble of his design.

He started the set by saying, "please excuse my unnecessary banter, I have to fill this forty-minute set," and fill he did. Max Vernon's verbal acuity does wonders for in-between songs, but that gift translates well to songwriting.

Standing confidently at 6’4 behind his keyboard and almost strutting, he played complex pop/jazz arrangements. His vocals dared go from low to falsetto, adding unexpected touches to his recorded material. What I found the most fascinating was his ability to seamlessly create the backup vocals. In between, he played three songs on the guitar.

A highlight was "Around Your Finger," with friend Emily singing the chorus / I hate to tell you / that I had more fun / When you were hooked on drugs /. "Psycho Bitch" a new one, is a song in the same vein. His second new offering had a haunting juxtaposition between an irregular chord repetition and a beautiful vocal. He ended with a Liz Phair cover, "Canary."

Flickr Set

Download a slew of songs here


Issue Project Courtyard Great Lineup to End Summer

Issue Project
The Issue Project courtyard on a beautiful afternoon was a perfect site to hear a selection of music by three different musicians. Greg Jamie's pure unadorned set was sandwiched between two experimental improvisational sets by Sacred Harp from Virginia and Honne Wells with Juan Comas.

Sacred Harp @ Issue Project

Sacred Harp’s compositional arrangements with instruments, amplification, and accouterments created a trance, not for sleeping or contemplating but a welcome space from ear to head.

The instrumental set featured finger picking on a classical guitar, bowing of an electric, and anything but typical on a sitar. Utilizing a looping percussion of scrubbed strings was an effective background for a guitar instrumental.

Greg Jamie @ Issue Project
Greg Jamie's solo set consisted of songs from his newly formed outfit Blood Warriors and one song off a 7” collaboration with Honne Wells. Going solo is a rare occasion for a man that fronts two bands. So his apparent shyness was charming to watch. Playing guitar, and harpsichord and hearing his straightforward vocals were delightful.

Honne Wells and Juan Comas

The sun was setting as Honne Wells and Juan Comas was on stage, and the quietness of the night took hold, guiding the sound to resonate off the concrete and bricks. Starting with a five-minute compositional movement that struck time like a broken clock tower. Guitar string pings applied in various measures broke up the composition and were contrasted by Honne Wells grunting low vocals.

This spectacular collaboration is something to witness. The guitar, slide guitar, banjo, mouth harp, stomping, and vocals are melded together to create unique sounds that are unfamiliar and offsetting. Familiarity is not their forte but creating dramatic and mesmerizing tension is.

Flicker Set Here

Blood Warrior from [dog]and[pony] on Vimeo.


Brief Excursion To After The Jump Fest

Get Haunted

When I say briefly it was, but I was happy to catch Get Haunted, and I’m Turning Into and the tail end of The Octagon. Get Haunted is a bit of Buddy Holly, Rockabilly, speed strum bottleneck, and a pounding drum kit. Their shoes were waxed, and a tuxedo shirt and sharp glasses set the stage for fancy footwork and great showmanship. So refreshing to not hear we’re from Brooklyn. Although the group hasn’t had many shows, they are obviously not new to music or performing. The banjo and drum were the details, but the soaring outcomes of Kevin on the slide guitar shredded the joint. The drummer Sarah kept a rudimentary beat, finesse did not apply, but enthusiastic smiles and downright pounding did! Lead singer and banjo strummer Joey Macrino had awesome dance moves and an outstanding command of the stage vocally and personally. Although all the songs were full of life, one outstanding exception was that they were dedicated to Blood Warrior. The song had levels of intrigue and several time changes that built to a frenetic beat. This made the New York debut for this three-piece from New London, Connecticut, one to remember for them and me.

I'm Turning Into

I'm Turning Into is a multi-instrumentalist threesome of rotating players adept at playing and singing. Fast-paced punky rock mixed with experimental vocal loop effects and fast rhythmic drumming. They played the ultimate upbeat song, “Would It Matter.” Other songs showed off how well they could play, whether it was a long and dynamic jam excursion, “Nonlocal,” or unusual vocal arrangements with perfectly intact harmonies interspersed with yodel-like howling and human beatbox. Some performance quirks are due to instrument changes, but they have a lot to offer. Edd Chittenden, Jhon Grewell, Steve Tarkington guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Check this out on myspace you won't be disappointed.

Blood Warriors

Got to get me some balls and learn the subway system and try to brave the night. Now that I live part-time in the city, I thought this would be easier, but it presents other difficulties. Besides seeing some music, I wanted to show my support to the Bloggers from After The Jump Fest who worked so hard to put this event together. Although some of the groups on the fest roster have garnered some press, it usually starts with one curated blog post, download, live review, or pictures. 

Although I would have loved to stay later to especially see Blood Warrior. I got to hang out, talk, and take pictures of Greg Jamie and Kristen Kellas-Jamie, two members of BW, a few hours before their 10:00 o’clock set. I have seen Greg Jamie with o’death and was lucky to catch him for Tonic's official last night doing a special guest appearance with Honne Wells. Blood Warrior finished their first small tour making their last stop after the Jump Fest. Featuring the great vocal styling of Greg Jamie with the spirited chorus, some shakers, and drunken drum beats sound like a patchwork folk collage. My Flickr Set Here Photographer Maryanne Ventrice documented the whole Fest at Prefix Day #3


The Beets / The Virgins / Animal Collective DJ @ Santos

The Virgins / Crowd shot

Santos Party House is an amazing place. The atmosphere is immediately welcoming. It has the most fabulous sound system. Few can compete because this place was specifically designed for musicians and listeners. Also, a great place to hold a benefit for a good cause to save a neighborhood Indie video store Cinema Nolita.

The Santos Party House sticks to a schedule. To my dismay, I took my sweet time and strolled the four blocks to arrive around 9:00, only to see The Beets on stage playing their final song to an appreciative, engaged crowd.

The Beets

I caught them at CMJ in 08 and loved their set. So I approached them after the set with apologies and asked them a few questions about the upcoming tour with Vivian Girls and their feelings about playing at Santos. My lead-in should read; The Beets Had A Sound Check!! Seriously that is a big deal, and in this place, sound checks are worth doing because it works. They have played outdoors at DIY events, beaches, rooftops, and unofficial all-age shows. Although that is a great way to see music, it is not always the best way to hear it. The sweetest thing to watch was all the patrons complimenting the band on their set. I Informed them that they were the lead in the picture at the Brooklyn Vegan segment "What's Going On Monday". As they embark on a tour with Vivian Girls starting August 25th, they have a very positive experience to draw on. I love the mix of all-girl and all-boy bands on the same bill.

The Virgins

I rarely see groups like The Virgins. I came out to see The Beets and usually concentrate more on emerging talent. I thoroughly enjoyed their fantastic seamless set. Tight and focused is what I have to say. The frontman and lead singer, Donald Cumming was barefoot, wearing optical leggings and a tee. His long, lean body is in constant motion showing off his less-than-fluid geeky ballet gestures. It was endearing. The guitarist broke out, occasionally exaggerating a long strum with an extended arm or an occasional knee dip.

They played a mashed-up disco/ new york / new wave with edgy, catchy hooks. At first, I felt everything sounded repetitive, but they scaffolded and built energy with the electric leads, some Reggie beats, and funk. I liked when Cumming's sang alone and pulled out an unexpected harmonica. Slowly the others weighed in. The very enthusiastic female crowd, including me, took it all in. They have a great European fall tour doing major festivals with one detour in Texas at Austin City Limits.

Animal Collective DJ Set

Animal Collective DJ (Avey Tare and Geologist) set started out with little fanfare. It's possible that during a restroom break, I might have missed the introduction. When I returned, they were busy in the DJ loft to the right of the stage. The surroundings were transformed, and the large disco ball rotated in the center of the space with fog and laser lights. They started with a long psychedelic song with animal-like screams sporadically interspersed between rhythms. The twisted remix of standards like "Rock Lobster" (pretty sure) and Abba's "Take A Chance On Me" was catching on, and the groove was setting in. Suddenly, their set was hijacked by an unexpected appearance of The Film director Abel Ferrara and crew. They took the stage and played raw rock & roll, with Abel having a propensity for course street grime rap. the stage became crowded with all the female hosts connected with Cinema Nolita, including the lead singer of The Virgins.

Animal Collective sat this one out, checking cell phones and sitting on the stairs to the upper loft. After the three-song set, they began again. Still trying to figure out how it turned out, I left after the next song I knew it would take some time for a groove to set in again.

Flickr Set


Anti Folk Fest Sets of Max Vernon/ Clinical Trials

Max Vernon is colorful, flamboyant, and fashionably overstated, much like his outstanding music and songwriting. In one of his YouTube video entries, he was asked about a harsh email from his mother where she wrote, listening to your music is like eating nine courses of foie gras, and no one wants that many courses of foie gras. It was an interesting comparison, with apologies to follow. A loving and caring mother was concerned about Max’s appeal to a broader audience. Max Vernon, I believe, can create timeless and great pop songs, and maybe he will someday. But for the last year, he has been recording smart, politically topical, catchy, gender-bending, not neutral material. Max Vernon is true to himself.

Charmingly relevant and bright, he works it from the visual and cerebral to the sonic. That was clear at his set during the Anti Folk Fest at the Sidewalk Cafe. The talent is apparent but what comes through is a genuine performing style that is relaxed and personal. His set was quite beautiful. I'm glad he came with his keyboard placing himself front and center even though I saw a piano on the side of the stage. He didn't go for the easy listen, in fact, he chose to play his most challenging material. I knew I was in for a treat when he opened with “Diamond Dust,” a song with many twists and turns vocally and on keys. He introduced "All I Need" by saying something to the effect, "this song describes my love life." Then he invited us to sing along to the chorus; / you’re not all I need / you’re not all I need / you’re not even close /,  but I like you, I like you. Although I like to sing, I wouldn't miss one minute of hearing Max Vernon’s spectacular interpretation. He added some yodeling extras splicing his highest pitch and intertwining it with his awe-inspiring low register.

"Love At Last," dedicated to Michael Jackson, is a brand new song that he had never played live, and it was awesome!!! The new material added an edge of enthusiasm. Playing keys combining Rhythm and Blues circa (mid 60's), back alley honky tonk, and classical. The chorus has a celebratory atmosphere mixed with the somber fate of a fallen Icon; Hallelujah / best friend though we hardly knew you / don’t it feel good to finally be loved at last / till the bullet rips through you.

He ended the set with a Morrissey cover featured on TMS (The Music Slut) compilation dedicated to Morrissey's fiftieth birthday, "Head Master Ritual."

Max Vernon can capture attention through his incredible music gift, but I realized tonight how well he can translate his talent live.

Max Vernon Flickr Set

Clinical Trials
I always arrive early to events. So I was surprised to hear about a very impressive rock band Clinical Trails. Fronted by a female singer and guitarist, Somer Bingham, accompanied by an all-male group on bass, keyboards, and heavy-hitting drums. It was so cool and disconnected to be sitting in a lovely cafe and watching and hearing such a rip-you-to-shreds set. At one point, Somer asked if anyone had an A string. Her vocals are a cross between Joan Jett, Patty Smith, and Pj Harvey but her performance persona has a rock-in-your-face attitude disguised in a beautiful he-she image. Gorgeous and riveting. Check their site for upcoming dates. The Trash bar is a perfect choice.

Clinical Trials Flickr Set