Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sidewalk/Darwin/Caged Animals

Despite the international news blackout on the subject, I think I am safe in letting you know that the Sidewalk is reopening in August after its five-month renovation. I'm looking forward to seeing what they've done with the old place.

In the meantime Darwin Deez's song Radar Detector is still playing in my head after seeing Darwin and the band play a headlining show to a full house at the Bowery Ballroom last (Friday) night. Darwin also brought along friends like Vin Caccione whose new group Caged Animals opened.

I'm sure the last time I saw Darwin was at Sidewalk, maybe even at a Monday open night. His songs have the same feel as they did back then when he played solo with his homemade backing tracks. Several of the songs are based around guitar riffs that have a light funk feel. But what I hadn't seen was the shape of Darwin's full-length show. Threaded through the performance are some goofy moments, including four or five breaks in which the band performs choreographed dances to recorded tracks. There was also a side trip into rap, and a tune that evolves into a cover of You Can Call Me Al. It's not exactly that Darwin and his band don't take themselves seriously, because I think they really do, but there's a spirit of humor running through the show that adds to its enjoyment. Some of Darwin's songs--particularly Radar Detector and Constellations are infectiously catchy. I really have to congratulate Darwin for where he's gotten with his music. He's getting to perform his stuff for large audiences around the world and it's great to see. It was good to have a chance to say hello to him last night and to see the other Sidewalk folks who were on hand. One of Darwin's partners in playing is our friend Andrew Hoepfner who has been touring with Darwin, most recently on guitar. Andrew seemed to be having a great time on stage last night as did the rest of the group.

It was also exciting to see Vin Caccione along with Magali Charron and his sister Tayla (and a drummer I didn't know) open for Darwin in their group Caged Animals. Vin and his folks were playing rock infused with the sound of electronically processed instruments, a much different sound than Vin's group Soft Black. They reached a high point in the last song of the night when Vin brought things up to a boiling guitar crescendo and the two women sang in a kind of gloriously climactic moment. Vin has a 7 inch disk out on white vinyl that he was selling at the show.

Glad to say it: See you at the Sidewalk.

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