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.