Friday, August 7, 2009

Monday Night Open Mic, August 3, 2009


Rachel Trachtenburg played with her group the Oh My God Girls the other night and Mom and Dad Trachtenburg were in the audience. I was thinking later on about the interesting cycle that represents. Jason T. started playing in Sidewalk's precursor, the Chameleon, something like 25 or 30 years ago, and now his daughter is an active part of the scene. One of the cool things about Sidewalk is that it is so open to everyone, including people of a wide range of ages. Usually I barely notice how old people are there. Maybe it's the dim light or just that everyone is there because of their love of songwriting. But it's always great to see folks blending together and to notice friendships and collaborations forming because of mutual interest rather than less relevant criteria.

It was nice to see Max Miller again, who had been a regular on the scene for a while, I think when he was in high school. He's a college dude now and was back to rock out with his electric guitar. Max brings fully produced backing tracks that he plays along with. He said he was recording a bunch of songs named after the month in which they were recorded, and the one he played the other night was called "March."

Amos Torres sang a song by Aaron Wilkinson. I never knew Aaraon, but from what I gather he was a good friend to many on the scene who passed away around 2003, maybe.

Max Vernon sang a song which had folks singing along on the line "you're not all I need." I'm not sure how he felt about Ravi the puppet singing along also.

Debe Dalton sang the one about "quietly playing banjo in the park." And another one that is called, I think, Dry. Beautiful stuff as always from Debe. Looking forward to her show on the 8th, which will be a send off for her as she gets ready to leave New York for a while.

Lady Blanche sang "Mr. Passerby." Nice harmonies with Veronica. She also did "I Want to be aTrophy Wife."

Matt Jaffe, a songwriter from California played. Although I said earlier that I tend not to notice how old people, are I might as well say that Matt looked to be impossibly young. He played "You Can't Walk in a Straight Line." There's some stuff on the web about him, including a long video with an interview and performance at MySpace. It is tempting to want to be a little skeptical of someone so young out there doing this stuff (he must be around 14), but from listening to him talk about what he's doing, it seems obvious he's pursuing this from his own enthusiasm. I've got to be at least somewhat supportive of anyone who claims David Byrne as a major influence.

Lach was back to entertain us with "Another Night Without You" and then, on piano, "Ain't it the Most". Always nice to have Lach back, who also kicked ass on Scrabble later in the night.

Emma Englesein was in from Australia and played with accompaniment from a friend on cello.

Aaron Invisible opened with his band, The Opaques, featuring Isaac G, Alex P, and a couple of other folks on drums and piano who I either didn't know or couldn't see from where I was sitting. They played "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright." Then Aaron did a solo song.

The Oh My God Girls, featuring Rachel Trachtenburg, played Haunted Hostel, and a Hula Hooping song, which featured the lyrics Hula, Hula, Hula, Hula, Hula, Hula, Hula, Hoop. The Oh My God Girls, if you haven't seen them are a Hula Hooping, Ukulele playing sensation.

Issac Gillespie unveiled his new electric guitar, which he calls the White Devil. He played a cool new song about trust/relationships etc.

Others who performerd Monday while I was there included Maggie Nutthall, Pete Scalzetti, Tracy Hope, Steve Stavola, Adam Finchler, Mike Baglivi (who played with Ariel Bitran), Awesome Witch of Rad, Charles Mansfield, Crazy and the Brains, Kid Lucky, and the Telethons.

The Antifolk Festival is starting this week. I'll be there for as much of it as I can. Check back for updates.

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