Category Archives: music reviews

Parts and Labor, An Albatross

I had underestimated the appeal of a free show with free Bass beer from eight to nine, fixated as I was to see Parts and Labor again since their Asterisk house party two years ago. The line in front of the Knitting Factory told it all, I immediately canceled my friends, don’t come, don’t bother, only the first two hundred get in, and I think I am number two hundred and two. Luckily, I felt lucky, and I got in before the show started.

Around nine Stay High from Brooklyn started playing. Two kids with a mixing board and a laptop that chew out old school electronics with a total lack of charisma or at least without the appearance that they enjoy performing in front of a crowd. I have trouble understanding the desire of people to perform who not even once seek to interact with the crowd of spectators. I can only recommend to anyone who does not feel born to be a star, don’t get on stage. The music was mediocre and not once comes close to being interesting. It was terribly boring to listen to Stay High, and the free show-free beer crowd had swelled to a peak presence. Around nine thirty, the word got out that the free Bass was gone. A relief and the gratuitous half of the visitors left within ten minutes.

But, as Parts and Labor, P&L set themselves and the room breathes a space of normality, where ordering a paid beer costs no bothersome effort, I get excited again. P&L is definitely one of my (many) favorite New York bands, they give a good show full of spirit, they have a sense for aesthetics, they think of themselves as icons. I know their songs, so when they started playing, I understand the sound, the atmosphere and the spirit of the moment without hesitation. Continue reading

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Jazz in the City: Paul Motian and Luis Perdomo

The Village Vanguard has been in existence since 1935 when it was founded by Max Gordon and is one of the authentic jazz clubs in downtown Manhattan, NY. The club is now run by Max Gordon’s widow Lorraine and is located in a dark basement in Greenwich Village on 7th Avenue. The red canopy runs to the street side and it is hard to miss the entrance which leads you down a steep narrow staircase into the narrow wedge shaped club. The front row seats are pushed to the low stage and the room widens in the direction of the bar in the back. On the black walls, signed pictures of mostly black jazz icons that adorn the barely lighted basement, filled with an all white and asian audience that can and will afford to pay the 35 dollars cover price.

Performers at the Village Vanguard play two sets a night for five evenings in a row. From July 10 to July 15 the Paul Motion Trio 2000 featured Paul Motian on drums, Masabumi Kikuchi on piano, Bill McHenry on sax, Loren Stillman on sax, and Ben Street at bass. Paul Motian is an experimental jazz percussionist of some name in the jazz scene. I say this without knowing what this really means though. But he is most known for being the drummer of the Bil Evans trio from 1960 to 1963, and played a role in freeing the drummer from the strict time-keeping duties. I like intellectual experiments and progressive music, and the Paul Motian Trio discards much of the more evident easy-listening choices in composition. I went to see the first set at eight o’clock in the evening and had the front row seat. Continue reading

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Cake Shop Punks: Sudden Walks and Evil Army

There’s about six billion people on the world, so no surprise that there’s a lot a of damn good music being performed in the Mecca of the art scene New York. But then again, there’s good, there’s damn good, but also much mediocre music, even mediocre with great ideas. But it is still rare to see the fabulous before they became fabulous, or perhaps to see the fabulous before they split up before they became fabulous. And also, it is a long way from Tennessee, but mark it, because the Evil Army were in New York! And better it got, for I was there to see this victorious parade down the lane of anonimity that all fabulous once walked, before they truely became fabulous. Yet, this is no slow march, but pure blitz: Evil Army is trash punk for the 21st century, and the only question between the Evil Army and underground fame is: are the people ready for them and will the Evil Army be there when they are?

Think Motorhead, Exploited, Reagan Youth, Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer, non-stop, no breaks, and incredibly tight for about 45 minutes of the performance, add original style, power, conviction, anger, and pack it together in the Cake Shop basement with a shitty college band from New Jersey in the pre-show, and playing for no more than a crowd of ten, plus two garage bands. But it are these moments in a lifetime that you realize how great music comes about, how you wish you would have gone to those shows ten years from now. Well, I and my cheap Schmidt beers were blasted away by the Evil Army, and you should too, if music means anything to you, forget about instant pop of the past, go see the Evil Army if they march on your neighborhood. Continue reading

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