Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yikes, I missed it

If you read this blog, chance are you've already seen the following note over at the OJ Board about the night of Major Matt songs at Sidewalk Tuesday. For missing it I should be forced to pay $2 for extra pita. In any event, maybe you haven't seen this, so here's at least a little info about the night from Jeff Lewis...I Heart Major Matt

Monday, March 22, 2010

3-21-2010 Debutante Hour CD Release Show

I've written any number of times about how much I enjoy the shows put on by my pals The Debutante Hour, so it would be redundant of me to go on at length about their great vocal harmonies, strong songwriting, charm, wit, coordinated outfits, and good looks. But, I must report the truth. The Debutantes put on a thoroughly entertaining show at Mercury Lounge Sunday night, at the CD release show of their album "The Birth and Death of Meaning." The trio was in fine form, performing songs that are mostly part of their regular set, but throughout the night the pieces were supplemented by other musicians, most of whom played on the record. So, trumpet, violin, clarinet, extra percusssion (by Nan Turner) etc, were featured in songs like Devil Song, Croak Hiss and Sputter, and others. During Miracle Birth, the Debutante Hour's crack Cigarette Girl and her assistants gave birth to the new cd by sliding them in succession down a red banner (they were then hawked by the pillbox wearing cigarette girl through the crowd). There also was a performance in Spanish by Dan and Danny in matching black bow ties and vests. The Debutantes performed their cover of No Scrub and finished off with an upbeat Ukranian song. Schwervon opened with a fine set. Matt looked a bit like Andre Agassi with his Schwervon headband. A splendid time was had by all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lach's Antihoot, Tuesday, March 16

Lach's Antihoot got off to a new start last night at Webster Hall. I wandered up about 7:20 or so and saw some familiar faces outside, Debe Dalton chiefly among them. The room inside is large and kind of slick, with comfortable places to sit. There's a stage with a cool back drop that looks like a big wrought iron fan--a kind of Art Deco look. Lach is stationed behind plexiglass partitions in a booth at the back of the room. There's a large bar to the left of the stage. Leading into the main room is a side room that I have a feeling will become like the Sidewalk basement, a place to hang out, practice, chat. While hanging around before things got going, I had this disorienting moment from encountering Lach as Antihoot host in a new setting. After all, the pattern and rhythms of the Sidewalk open mic nights hosted by Lach had grown so familiar over the years.

The crowd was kind of slow to build and Lach delayed sign up a little. Unfortunately I had to leave for a while and so wasn't there for the evening's kick-off, but from what I heard it was pretty much as usual with Lach explaining the ropes of how the evening works. I came back later in the night and somehow things felt more familiar. Bernard was hanging around and people were singing their hearts out on stage.

It seemed to be a kind of quiet kick-off for the Antihoot. There were any number of folks from Sidewalk there: Master Lee and Mr. Patrick, Steve Espinola, Vin, Charles Mansfield, Don Cameron, Rob Shapiro. There also were other performers who seemed new to the scene, who somehow found out about the Antihoot, and there was also a group of mysterious folks in darkened areas along the wall who were hanging out. But the large room made it feel as if it was a little sparsely populated. The new event probably does need some time before it catches on but I have no doubt it will.

As usual, even in the brief time I was there, I heard some really interesting music, some of it from folks I wasn't at all familiar with. Is there a bottomless source of people in New York needing to express themselves? It seems so. The greatness of open mics is the opportunity given to anyone who has the urge, the drive, the desire to tell the world how they feel. Even with Lach back as host, this one will probably take on a character that's different than what came before. So, let's say welcome to the new Antihoot, and thanks for providing us a stage.

Debe Dalton's Birthday Show, Sunday, March 14

Debe Dalton's seat has been labeled in bronze. I think it was Master Lee and Rick Patrick who took care of that. Now there's a little Debe Dalton plaque on the wall down front. Well, we all KNEW it was Debe Dalton's seat anyway, but now it's official.

It was a fun night all around Sunday at Debe's birthday show, with some nice performances.

Myron the Magnificient kicked things off with his amazing magic--Myron is still refining his act a little and one new trick truly flopped. But the rest of the show seemed to go well. A highlight was making a signed handkerchied disappear from the stage and then reappear inside a salt shaker on a table in the middle of the room. How'd you do it Myron? As always the lovely Vera Lynn assisted.

Gillian Visco was next. I hadn't seen Gillian play in a while, but I don't remember her playing electric guitar, which is what she used the other night. Gillian played a series of lovely, kind of mellow songs, including Floatation Devices and The Front Row, which was a request from Debe. I need to check out Gillian's stuff further, but some her songs have some quite rich and poetic lyrics. She does a lot of kind of finger pick-y stuff on the guitar for accompaniment.

Barry Bliss played his cool biography song, with all the details of his life. He had another one called American Dream....a sort of ironic song about the state of things. He also played a song about Rasputin and one about becoming free. Barry looked a little like Rasputin the other night.

Susan Hwang played a great set. Her songs are very strong and her singing is amazing. Even though I've heard most of her songs numerous times, I was still noticing new things in the lyrics--particularly in this song Parking.

Debe started with a Carter Family song, "Over the Garden Wall." She sang "Close the Door" as a duet with Susan. She did the best version of her song Tuesday, Wednesday that I can remember's one that I love. Other songs: Normal, Ed's Song, Oh Susannah, Butcher's Boy, and Crackle (?) a new song about missing her friends while she's stationed out of town. My love for Debe's songwriting and performing knows no bounds, as I've written before. Her show the other night was again evidence why.

Ching Chong Spng also played a great set. Their stuff is so incredibly musical. They were in trio form the other night with Dan, Julie and Susan (making her appearance in the fourth set of the night). Madeleine, MIning, Rorissa, Dreaming, and Old Man were some of the songs they played.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tonight: Debe Dalton's Birthday - with Myron the Magnificent

I'm very excited about Debe Dalton's birthday celebration tonight. It's a great bill all around and kicks off at 7:30 with an appearance by Myron the Magnificent. Myron, as you may know, is the magician who has recently turned up at Sidewalk to make his comeback after an unfortunate incident with swords and fire temporarily forced him from his home theatre in Las Vegas. However thanks to the good work of his attorney, Ira Blitz, Myron is back ready to astound and amaze you.

It's a stellar night all around with some of Sidewalk's most interesting acts out to pay tribute to Ms. Dalton. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, March 14
Sidewalk Cafe
Debe Dalton's Birthday Celebration

7:30-Myron The Magnificant, 8-Gillian Visco, 8:40-Barry Bliss, 9:15-Susan Hwang, 10-Debe Dalton, 11-Ching Chong Song

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Monday Night Open Mic, March 8, 2010

This will be really quick. So, a few friends who I hadn't seen at the Open Mic in a long while were on hand the other night. I ran into Lance Romance who hadn't been there on a Monday in ages. It just so happened on the same night Debe Dalton was in town, sitting in her regular down front spot. But Lance didn't realize anything was out of the ordinary --just thought there was Debe as usual--even though she's been away for a while too. Also, was glad to see Pablo Das in a surprise appearance --visiting from L. A.

There was lots of good music played. Isaac Gillespie filled in hosting for a bit too.