Gig Review: June 5, 2009

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Last night’s event for the World Heritage Cultural Center was fun. As always, playing with Moonspank was a blast. We were part of a bill that feature music and dance from countries around the globe. There was African drumming, Indian dancing, Bollywood pop, and all sorts of other artists and disciplines.

My good buddy, Ricky Blues did a solo acoustic performance. Excellent job. Though Change the World would not be my go-to song on a Clapton playlist, it fit the feel of the event, and the crowd enjoyed singing and clapping along.

As with any event of this size, with over 25 acts on the bill, the inaugural event can be a trial by fire. Communication is difficult. Artists can be temperamental. Though we were slated to play at 8pm, we did not take the stage until 10:45pm. However, since this is a charity event, no one was terribly upset, just a little tired.

The organizers were pleasant, the crowd was appreciative, and it turned out to be a blast. Every member of the band received some positive feedback, which is always a pleasure.

In another case of the ever shrinking world, I had another run-in. Turns out that Casey Howard, who played wonderful sax for the set, was also in the Leslie Casey band I played in the other night. Small planet, indeed. Since we finished much later than anticipated, I offered to give him a ride home. Along the way, we discussed woodshedding, different methods for getting out of slumps, our opinions of horns in popular music, and other musical musings. Playing and conversing with him were both a treat. I hope to do some more work with him in the future.

Here are some photos from the evening:

Created with flickr slideshow.

Stinking Lizaveta @ Cake Shop: May 30, 2009

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The first time I heard Stinking Lizaveta was at the Knitting Factory. I went to see John Zorn perform with Mike Patton and Ikue Mori, the combo that would eventually perform under the name Hemophiliac. After their show, I went down a flight of stairs to the other bar, when I heard a sound coming from the Alterknit Theatre. That sound was Stinking Lizaveta, an instrumental group comprised of electric guitar, drums, and upright bass. From that moment on, I have been a huge fan.

Based out of Philadelphia, I try to catch them every time they come to New York. I have never been disappointed with their performance. I find them truly inspiring. They combine a hard rock/heavy metal feel with a virtuosity that few possess. They were so loud that they could kill grass, and I appreciated every squeal, stomp, smash, hoot, and holler.

A surprise in the set was when Yanni asked the crowd, “Do you wanna’ hear some Hendrix?” I thought he was kidding, but they blazed through a vicious cover of Power of Soul. Absolutely incredible.

Cake Shop is a great venue. The upstairs is a coffee shop and record store. Downstairs are the bands and the bar.

Whatever city you may live in, try to see them when they come anywhere withing driving distance.

Additional Links:
Stinking Lizaveta on myspace
Hemophiliac on youtube

Upcoming Gig: June 5, 2009

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Friday, I will be playing at the Irvington Town Hall with Moonspank. The show is a gala event called the World of Colors, as presented by the World Heritage Cultural Center. Also appearing will be an artist I have performed with many time, Mr. Ricky Blues. Hosting the event is my friend Mike Williams.

The evening is packed with tons of artists from many backgrounds and disciplines. The event starts at 6pm, Moonspank is on at 8pm.

Gig Review: May 29, 2009

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It’s not very often that I get to jump from Judas Priest to Bob Seeger. When I get the chance to do so, I relish in the opportunity.

I met Guy (the guitarist) a year or so ago and we just clicked. We just wanted to play a few bars, make a few bucks, and drink a few beers. It’s what a rock n’ roll cover band should be about. That’s what we did and do. Luckily we found a drummer in Joe who is of like mind.

Our most recent gig was at Mr. Vigg’s in Riverdale. That’s a section of The Bronx for people who don’t like to say that they are from The Bronx. It was a near-last minute booking. We had a week to do final preparation, which meant one practice. Since we are all familiar with the material, do our homework, and have some general musical sensitivity, it was just fine.

Mr. Vigg’s is a quintessential neighborhood bar. Situated between a laundromat and pizzeria in the midst of a residential area, it’s a quaint little joint. However, also do to this placement, volume control is a must. Luckily, we are not an obnoxiously loud group, so this did not pose a problem. The only drawback to being between two other buildings is the lack of opportunity to open windows. The place was HOT. Not oppressively hot, but under stage lights, playing, crammed next to other musicians, it does get to be a challenge by the end of the second set.

Once you’re sweating on stage, it becomes like any other vigorous physical activity. As your body looses sodium, you begin to feel drained. Your hands are more likely to cramp. A lethargy creeps into your legs. Singing takes more out of your body. How to compensate? Drink beer. This may not be the best medical advice, but in the realm of rock musicians, it’s approved.

Enjoy some pictures from the show:

Created with flickr slideshow.

Gig Review: May 21, 2009

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This was the second time that I have played Shrine with Ross Byron. Though I like the club, their booking was a little unconventional. The last time we played there, we were the only artists on the bill. This time, we were between two other groups.

To my surprise, I knew the bass player in the band before us, Darren Lipper. It was good to see him, and he sounded great, as usual. The group he was with was Leslie Casey & Company.

After us was the Umoja Orchestra. They were a huge group, horns, keys, bass, percussion, vocals, etc… They spilled from the stage onto the floor. Very nice.

It was odd to be a straight-ahead rock band amidst two groups that leaned towards funk, afro-beat, and soul. Nevertheless, there was a nice turnout and I believe that some of the crowd appreciated how we sounded.

As will happen with many gigs, there was an interesting technical malfunction. For the first few songs, I was aware of some form or deep buzz and rattle. At first, I wondered if my rig was too loud and rattling some fixtures behind me. Later, I found out that the microphone on Vinnie’s floor tom had fallen off and was giving off the hum. When something like this occurs, the only thing you can do is bear with it and keep playing. No crowd will stand for the band milling about trying to solve technical problems. All that can be done is hope that the noise does not take away from the music you are attempting to play.

Here are some photos from the show:

Created with flickr slideshow.