Sunday, August 9, 2009

Antifolk Fest, Saturday, August 8,2009

I arrived during Adam Finchler's set. I'm not really too familiar with Adam and so was just hearing some of his songs for the first time. He comes from a whimsical point of view. Songs include Everybody Does Drugs, President Coolidge and Elvis Thermometer. He had a big number about the Big Bad Dinosaur and his big bad dinosaur friends who went to the forrest and ruined everybody else's day.

David Greenburg was in town to play the fest, this time with a band, featuring drums guitar, a backup vocalist, stand up bass, and David on vocals and guitar. David is from the school of Antifolkers whose glasses constantly slip down their nose while they're playing, almost to the point of falling off before being pushed up just in the nick of time. He and John Telethon should tour together maybe. Anyway, I like some of David's songs. They're kind of awkward and charming, like the one that goes "every word that I say comes out so dumb and so weird and so sad (?) and so dumb. His big hit is The Cemetary Song. He also played one about sleeping under the stars and another about Hererochromia, the condition where someone has two different colored eyes. David played uke and kazoo on that one.

Julie Hill leaned heavily on her looping machine during her set. She can create some absolutely stunning and beautiful effects with that device and did the other night, particularly on her rendition of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. She also improvised a song based on words thrown out from the audience, which ended up having to do with Muscular Teeth in January. (I've been seeing quite a bit of improvised songwriting lately between Julie, the Young Dads, and Crabs on Banjo.) Julie is a really talented gal and also played a couple songs without the looping device on the piano. Actually the first song she did "I'm Just Me" if I remember correctly, used the looper to set a rhythm but then featured her on piano and vocals. Row Row Row Your Boat was a cappella with a dense collage of looped singing.

Aaron Invisible played with a group he called the Fuckstaches. One gets the sense maybe his group names are only momentary.... The group included Morgan, Isaac Gillespie, Alex P (on bass) and Aaron on bouzouki. I like Aaron's whole vibe. He's definitely unique, with a voice that is impossible to describe. His songs are folky, Dylan-y. I'm still kind of catching on to what they're about. They come from the impressionistic/abstract school of songwriting. But there's definitely something there to pay attention to. He played a song about Noah, and his songs "The Discoverers," "Yesterday I was a Sailor," and more.

Eric Wolfson played a solo acoustic set. For some reason I feel like I've been hearing him most recently in a full group set up. Eric is going to law school in the fall so says this is his last show for a while. Eric was part of the tight group of folks that hung out at Sidewalk for around a year or so when I was really just getting involved and getting to know lots of people so I'm always happy to see him there. He played a lot of his familiar songs: North Country Girl, Buddy Hackett's Niece, Ann Rutledge Blues, Sleeping is a Sucker's Game. A nice, tight set. Good luck in law school Eric. Don't disappear on us. I can never forget the day that Eric and I did a photo shoot outside on what must have been the coldest day of the year. Eric was so good natured about it but his fingers were practically frozen solid as I forced him to pose with his guitar down by Wall Street.

Brook Pridemore had people up and dancing on a couple of songs, which was really cool. In fact the stage was rushed and Ben K. stood behind Brook undulating his arms, making Brook look like a Hindu God. I liked Brook's song on piano about how "everyone should always get exactly what they need." He also played Zero Potential, Damage Control, and Marlon Brando (not sure if I got all those titles right).

The Oh My God Girls were charming with their ukuleles and hula hoops. There had been three Oh My God Girls at Monday's Open Mic, but Saturday the group comprised teenage sensations Rachel Trachtenburg and Julia Cumming. They played Happy Together (the Turtles' hit), a catchy original called Haunted Hostel, Brand New Key (cover of a tune sung by Melanie), Rachel's original tune Pigeons, the Beatles' Something, an original about Horse Drawn Carriages, and the Hula Hooping classic that goes "hula, hula, hula, hula, hula, hula hoop."

Rachel's dad Jason Trachtenburg and Julia's dad (I believe) Alex Cumming, then took the stage for a short set by Jason. He covered I Want to Hold Your Hand in unique style, and played Fast Talker, I Don't Want to Tempt Time, Beautiful Dandelion, and Don't You Know What I Mean. All catchy stuff. Really liked Beautiful Dandelion.

The only problem with Debe Dalton's set is that it wasn't longer. Afterward some of us were lamenting the songs that we didn't get to hear. You probably know that this was Debe's last show before leaving town for a while. So there was a nice crowd of folks there to send her off. Debe told a story of a child she'd taught in nursery school who once the school year ended would call Debe at 4 in the morning. In that spirit Debe gave out her phone number several times during her set, one assumes with the hope that her friends and fans will stay in touch. I've written so often about how much I like Debe's songs and her performances and this was no exception. I love the song she sang about "quietly playing banjo in the park," and the proselytizer she encounters. She also played "End of the Day," which she said she was playing "for all the sad boys." Debe also did a wonderful cover of Liv Carrow's song Madam Rosie. It's amazing when Debe covers songs from the Antifolk scene how she truly can make them her own. She played her stunning song "Close the Door" and a duet with Rachel Devlin ("who do you think you're talking to?"). Ed's Song and the one about Little Red Riding Hood were also on the bill. I will miss Debe a lot. I know that things will continue along just fine while she's away but it won't seem the same without her. Debe's presence at Sidewalk is always somehow reassuring to me. She keeps it on an even keel. I'm sure she'll be back for visits and will be with us again in full form before we even know it. Good luck upstate Debe.

No comments:

Post a Comment