Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday Night Open Mic, September 21, 2009
I was away from the Open Mic last week because I had my own thing going on at The New York Public Library where I am gainfully employed. Our pals from The Bushwick Book Club appeared at the Mid-Manhattan Library for the kick-off of new expanded library hours. I was quite happy to merge my library and songwriting worlds and to have some of my music friends around while I was on the clock! Susan Hwang, as you probably know, is the proprietoress of the Bushwick Book Club and she appeared with her group the Debutante Hour (which sounds great with three gals together harmonizing, playing cello, accordion, drums, etc. Also they wore bathing suits). The pic at right shows two of the three members of the Debutante Hour Phoebe Kreutz, Preston Spurlock, and Corn Mo also appeared and each gave touching performances. It was fun. If you are a library user, take note that the Mid-Manhattan Library is now open till 11 pm. on certain nights and many other libraries have also expanded their hours.
Ok, on to this past Monday. I was feeling a bit disconnected for some reason. Most of my long time friends from Sidewalk are not there that often any more. It's understood that Sidewalk has always been and always will be an ever-changing scene--and even Monday I met and had nice conversations with several folks who seemed like they were in the process of becoming regulars. But it's weird to look out over a room I've been in so often where so few faces are familiar. In the back of my mind I'm thinking it might be time to take a little break from Ye Olde Song Shoppe. Knowing me, I probably won't, at least not entirely, but it's on my mind. A little space might do me good.
Yikes, ok...the open mic...
The guy that really stood out for me was Albert Goold a talented pianist who played a couple weird but entrancing songs. Looking forward to hearing more of his stuff.
Jim Flynn, who I'm fairly sure was on the scene for a while considerably before my time, popped up after having been pretty sparse lately. He did a rappin song about the Lower East Side with a guy making random trumpet noises and also a song where he traded off with Jon Berger on spoken word (which worked pretty well).
A guy who performed as Clem's Pajamas said that he wasn't a very good guitar player and asked to keep the guitar low, but he proved himself wrong. He sang "I have 23 dollars and 42 cents and I plan on spending every cent on you." It was a lovely song (and he played guitar damn well).
The Fools--I love the line: "even fools know, in spite of trying you can't grow a tree by screaming at seeds." The Fools are serene. Go see them.
The Brothes Frank--only one brother was on hand. He played an electric through a small miked amp which sounded kind of cool. I hadn't heard of the sun test before--I guess this is a new feature of the Open Mic where acts get to prove their toughness by staring into the sunny lights. Not sure I get the overall entertainment value, but hey, it's all in good fun, right?
Crazy and the Brains played a new song. Dan Mo had some nice gentle numbers. Rick Sorkin of the Venn Diagrams played solo. Jordan Levinson sang about "The Artist and the Modern Man," and Prewar Yardsale sang a vibey song with a Lou Reed kind of drone that drew on imagery from 9-11 (Mike played without Dina, his usual partner on bucket drums).
Lach was on hand wih Everyone's Therapist and I Love America, which turned into a robust sing along (I keep trying to practice harmony vocals during these sing a longs and Lach gave me a little bit of a perplexed look as I belted along at one point). Emily Einhorn sang an interesting song by her brother, and one of her own called For Erin. Jason Trachenberg played a song he said he wrote in the era of "alt-country" called (I think) "You're a Real Fast Talker" and his daughter Rachel played a new song (I think) inspired by candy. She has a new band name--something like Pinky Swear...hey what happened to the Oh My God Girls?
That was it for me......till next time. Oh Yeah. Check out the Bushwick Book Club on October 6. We are playing songs inspired by Confederacy of Dunces which I have loved reading. Should be a great night.