Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thursday, March 26, Sidewalk Cafe

I think it was Susan Hwang who organized the bill the other least I'm pretty sure it was she who got me involved. I started off the night, playing with The Key Lime Pie Revue (Marc Steve on drums, Ariel Bitran on guitar, Trudy Williams on bass). It was nice to play again so soon after my Festival gig. Well, soon for me anyway. There seems to be a very nice connection among the members of this version of the KLPR and I'm looking forward to working with these folks more in the future. Anyway, we did a lot of my usual repertoire: New York City Funk, Gwen Stefani, Fishes etc. We played a Professor Longhair song which merged into Why Don't We Do It In the Road. Susan Hwang came on as a special guest and we played Makin' Whoopee with the group, which was really fun. We also did the song we performed together at the Bushwick Book Club based on the Raymond Carver story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. This was the best performance of the times we've played the song, but I felt that the stark subject matter of it was a little out of character with the rest of the stuff in my set. Anyway, we finished up with a rousing version of Do the Berger. Since Jon wasn't there, Ben Krieger filled in as understudy on the wild dancing and I know he was somehow taunting me from behind me while I played, but I really couldn't turn around to see what kind of annoying acts he was committing.

I really enjoyed the songs Wilder Worldwide played at the open mic the other night, but didn't know quite what to expect from their full show. But it was very interesting and very richly musical. They featured clarinet and upright bass, in addition to Storm and Jonathan on violin and piano. There's kind of a Berlin cabaret feel to what they do....someone next to me said something about Weill and Brecht when they started....but their ideas are far ranging. Check them out if you get a chance.

I was glad to get a chance to hear The Debutante Hour, which is a duo comprising Susan Hwang and Maria Sonevytsky who switch off on accordion and snare drum. Maria lives out of the country so they have rare opportunities to play together and I hadn't heard them before. Some of their songs I was familiar with from Susan's solo shows (like the Devil Song and Planner song) but it was cool to hear them with the vocal arrangements they performed the other night. They also did a couple covers...Down With Love, which is by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen (the fabulous team who wrote the Wizard of Oz songs) and "Ain't That Good News," written by Sam Cooke. There was also a short, beautiful love song by Maria. The finale was everyone's favorite 1980s new wave hit "You're Just What I Needed." Franz Nicolay sat in on some songs too, playing the washboard tie.

Next up was Dibs who I thought played a particularly strong set, even though he was hindered (so he said) by a missing capo. I've really grown to appreciate Dibs's songwriting a lot. I know that he was inspired by groups like the Moldy Peaches but I think that Dibs picks up on that spirit and carries it much further into a realm that's really his own. I don't know that I need to do a song by song write up but a couple stand outs were the song he wrote for the Bushwick Book Club based on Flatland. There's a line like "she's so acute/she's so acute/she's such a cutie/when she looks at me, I know the beauty of geometry. Dibs also covered Manchseter England from Hair (once he finished experimenting with keys), and played Ada, his song about the woman known as the first computer programmer (in the 19th century). Because of the missing capo he was digging into his back repertoire to play songs that he could do without changing the key of the guitar. Jon XXXX offered to come on stage and fill in as a human capo, an offer Dibs at first rejected. But then for the last song he changed his mind and had Jon come up, and it was kind of hilarious to see Dibs play while Jon kept his finger clenched on the fretboard. I'll admit Jon did a good job and the song went off without a hitch. It actually was  lovely song about "the one you love" although it was given a bit of a twist when Dibs put his head on Jon's shoulder to sing part of it.

Joe Crow. Joe Crow. I'm so sorry I had to go. Even though I did see part of your show. Anyway you know I love you so.

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