Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday Night Open Mic, July 20, 2009

It was a really fun night Monday, filled with all kinds of inspiring and unexpected stuff.

The standout performance of the night was by The Young Dads. With the addition of a third Young Dad they sang an a cappella doo wop song about existential crisis. I can't do it justice here except to say that the vocals were incredibly tight and the song incredibly funny in the way it juxtaposed its style with its topic.

Another group that stood out in a different way was "Why Bother and the Beard of Defiance." They were a rag tag bunch of kids--the transient dreadlocked urchin types you see hanging on the sidewalk in the East Village. I wasn't expecting too much when this mass of folks ambled on stage, knocking stuff over with their belongings, especially when they said they'd just met 8 hours earlier in Tompkins Square Park. But I guess they'd been doing some practicing. I'm not going to say their performance was exactly polished, but it had a lot of good energy and they were together on what they were doing. Most of them sat on the stage...a saxophone player, a skinny guy on banjo with thin braids dyed red, a guy playing drum sticks on the floor, a gal playing washboard, and the guy who seemed like the leader of the group, who had a bandana and long blonde dreads and played guitar (he stood and sang into the mic). One of their songs was "I Don't Know Where I'm Going," kind of reflecting the nature of the gang. One of the interesting sub-cultures at Sidewalk is The Travelers, comprising the types who exist by moving from couch to couch, place to place. It's not something that I can identify with particularly but it does seem to appeal to a certain group of folks, certainly this band we saw the other night. They had a positive attitude and I was glad they played.

Ben K. kicked things off with a charming song he wrote for his daughter, Birdies and Cars.

Dorit joined me in the fish song club.

Jaymay was back. I'd seen her once at Sidewalk when I first started coming but not much since. I can't really explain what it is that I like about her so much but she gave a really good performance...a song she wrote in London and one listing stuff in her room. The songs were good but there's something about her voice and her energy. Anyway, she's someone to check out if you haven't already seen her.

Debe was mesmerizing as usual. The End of the Day, and Normal. Debe says she's leaving town soon to go work upstate. Hard to imagine her not being a fixture at Sidewalk on a Monday night. For me, she is kind of the anchor of the place and seeing her there always adds a degree of comfort.

Waylon played two really nice songs, one that was, I think, about a grandma (maybe his), and another called Ginger Rogers. Anyway they both had a little bit of a jazzy lilt to them. Waylon, it turns out, is not only a really good songwriter but an amazing drummer too. Hadn't seen him in a little while.

Isaac Gillespie introduced his new band with Ben Sadock playing bass, Morgan on vocals, Alex P on guitar, and someone I didn't know on piano--plus Isaac on vocals and guitar of course. It was a really nice sound--a good blend of folks.

Good to see Ben Sadock after a long while. I liked his song about lunch! "The perfect way to spend the perfect day is to spread some PB & J."

Jon Berger brough it on with three poems about Jesus. Nice set, Jon.

I enjoyed Morgan's performance for the second week in a row. She sang about Chicago. She has such a nice, gentle feel to what she's doing.

Richard Ringer. I have not yet had a chance to totally connect with what Richard is up to--but I liked the song he played the other night, Alley Oop, Turtle Soup.

Brian Speaker and Madison Cano collaborated on a really nice song about birthdays...sort of. It kind of had to do with feelings around birthdays and obligations about birthdays, in particular as connected to certain relationships. Madison also sang her love song to Tommy Lee.

Brian Speaker also did two songs from his Mars Chronicles opera. With Amos and Melissa.

Other folks who performed the other night included Don Cameron, Joe Crow, Kronos Effect (two shaved headed and heavily tattooed guys), Constantine, Brook, Duck, Dibs, Domino, and Charlie Crockett, a guy from South Texas.

As I said, there was a lot of good energy and interesting stuff going on. I stayed later than I'd expected, which is a good sign.

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