The Antifolk Festival kicks off tonight at Sidewalk, and last night's Open Mic saw a strong representation of the acts playing this week. I was very impressed by most of the first 10 or so artists who performed last night, including Morgan and Alex P., Ray Brown, Dan Mo, Charles Mansfield, Jesse Lee, Jon Berger Mike Rechner, and Jonathan Vincent among others. I had not noticed Jesse Lee before, but he was a standout. Ben K. kicked things off performing a cover of Domino's song Princess as a duet with Corey the puppet. I believe that Domino would have appreciated this unique interpretation, although I didn't see her there last night. Major Matt, Brook Pridemore, Timothy Dark, Master Lee (Chink Floyd), and many others also turned in strong performances. Myron the Magnificent pulled colorful streamers from the neck of a borrowed guitar and produced coins at his fingertips and from random items borrowed from the audience. Later Level II performed Wanderlust, which included a puppet performance merged with a burlesque routine.
In years past I have been subject to Fest burnout by somehow finding myself drawn like a magnet to just about every show. If you're one of those types I recommend pacing yourself or by the end of this week your eyes will be glazed (and you'll be staring at the Sidewalk Menu hoping to find that one fabulous dish that you just haven't spotted till now--by the way, $2 for an extra serving of pita--come on). Anyway I know that this year I myself will have to miss several of the shows for a variety of reasons, so I am repeating my entreaties for interested correspondents who would like to write up even the briefest of reports on the various nights. Please contact me if you're interested. And don't forget to bring lots of singles if you want to tip the multitude of act playing.
The Antifolk Fest is usually rewarded with a couple blurbs in the press. Most often they emphasize the weird or marginal aspects of the groups that play. I don't know how weird or marginal we really are--well, ok, marginal, maybe, but honestly I think there's room for a lot more weirdness at Sidewalk these days. But anyway, it's good to be noticed and I was glad to see that The New Yorker singled out a couple of interesting groups. Here are the blurbs:
The New Yorker - http://www.newyorker.com/arts/events/nightlife/2010/08/09/100809goni_GOAT_nightlife
94 Avenue A (212-473-7373)—Aug. 3-13: The Summer Antifolk Festival. For those who know little or nothing about New York’s antifolk scene and who want to learn more, this annual gathering is a simple and exhaustive solution. More than sixty acts performing a diverse program of music and spoken word are expected, in keeping with this venue’s long-running open-mic night and its tradition of being, well, weird. The festival showcases new talent like the ragtag xylophone-and-guitar duo Crazy and the Brains and the colorful all-girl teen-age trio Supercute!, as well as veteran favorites such as the Major Matt Mason USA, Linda Draper, Toby Goodshank, the Purple Organ, Peter Dizozza, and Turner Cody.
Time Out New York - http://newyork.timeout.com/events/music/352554/4585151/antifolk-festival
94 Ave A (at 6th St)
East Village | Map
For a quarter century, artists working the margins of New York music have clustered under the antifolk rubric, a broad scene that keeps a safe haven in the back of the East Village’s Sidewalk Café. Randomly dropping by Sidewalk can be a risky endeavor: Not every performer can be the world’s next Beck (to cite one artist who rose through antifolk’s ranks). A smart time to pop in is during the Antifolk Festival, which takes over the club for a week or so every August.