Monday, January 31, 2011

09/29/07 Sound Tribe Sector 9 @ Nokia Theatre, New York, NY

I wish I could remember something about this show that caused me to miss Talib Kweli, A-Trak and Hifana's only U.S. appearance, but I can't.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

09/30/06 Tokyo New York Fest @ Central Park SummerStage, New York, NY

Unfortunately, I had previously signed up for a Sound Tribe Sector 9 show, so I only saw the Japanese jazz group Pe'z.

Had I known better, I would have stuck around for the incredible drum machine breakbeat duo Hifana. Luckily, I managed to snag a couple of their CD+DVD releases - Fresh Push Breakin' and Channel H. I still throw on the DVDs every now and again when minds need melting.

I also met up with my burger-flipping, beat-making buddy Tash and his fellow Japanese beat-making friend, which would eventually lead to the sole recording of my stagnant hip hop career.

Listen to my music HERE.

09/22/07 Travis Sullivan's Bjorkestra/Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey @ Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY

While the headliner here had been garnering press for the novel concept of transcribing Icelandic pixie Bjork's music for a big band, the draw for me was the severely underrated JFJO.

09/09/07 Jewzapalooza @ Riverside Park, New York, NY

This sometimes annual celebration of Judaism featured the two hippie Jew bands of my slightly more religious days - Soulfarm and the Moshav Band.

The Moshav is the settlement where all the vagabond hippies live in Israel. It was started by the original rabbi to the hippies, Shlomo Carlebach.

09/02/07 Zen Tricksters @ South Street Seaport, New York, NY

This free Sunday Seaport show featured veteran local Grateful Dead tribute act, the Zen Tricksters.

08/31/07 Battles/Deerhunter @ South Street Seaport, New York, NY

The South Street Seaport is one of the multitude of places in NYC hosting free music on a weekly basis in the summertime. This one just happens to be in the midst of a tourist trap.

It is always fun to watch the mix of mall shoppers and indie rock fans.

Deerhunter was enjoyable, if not memorable.

Battles was a truly mindblowing spectacle that had the entire Seaport shaking with sheer force of rock.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

08/25/07 Sabbra Cadabra (Black Sabbath tribute)/The Rub @ The Yard, Brooklyn, NY

This was a day of discovering new waterside venues. After departing Governors Island, we headed out to Brooklyn to checkout The Yard alongside the Gowanus Canal.

We played Scrabble and drank BYOB-style in the cool shade of the aptly named Yard.

The music was provided by the seemingly incongruous pairing of hip hop DJ collective The Rub and a capable Black Sabbath tribute band.

Eventually the landlord of the spot figured out that the spot had become one of the best party spots in the city and raised the rent accordingly, putting the kibosh on yet another great live music venue.

08/25/07 DJ Rekha w/Dave Sharma vs. DJ James F!@#$%^ Friedman @ Governor's Island, NY

As much fun as this Bhangra/Reggae soundclash was, the real allure was the opportunity to explore and dance on Governors Island, which had just recently been opened to the public.

Monday, January 24, 2011

08/16-18/07 Camp Bisco @ Indian Lookout Country Club, Mariaville, NY

Disco Biscuits
08/16/07 • Indian Lookout Country Club • Mariaville , NY
Set 1: Bernstein And Chasnoff, Boom Shanker1 > The Great Abyss, Hot Air Balloon

08/17/07 • Indian Lookout Country Club • Mariaville , NY
Set 1: Glastonbury1 > Basis For A Day > Gangster2 > Shem-Rah Boo3 > Basis For A Day, Rockafella
Set 2: Jigsaw Earth > Above The Waves4 > Jigsaw Earth, Magellan > Termites > Magellan
Set 3: Rainbow Song > Spacebirdmatingcall, Reactor > Orch Theme5 > Reactor
1Tractorbeam style
2ending only
5with Simon Posford and Zach Velmer (STS9)
Set I started at approximately 3:45pm in place of The New Originals because Simon Postford was delayed; Sets II and III occured in tDB scheduled evening time slot

08/18/07 • Indian Lookout Country Club • Mariaville , NY
Set 1: 10 Ton Foot, Astronaut > Munchkin Invasion1 > Astronaut, Story Of The World2, Take A Bow3
Set 2: Caterpillar > Cyclone > Caterpillar, Pilin' It High4, Papercut5 > Sound One
Encore: I Wanna Be Sedated > Digital Buddha
2preceded by "Strawberry Girl" fake-out
31st time played (Muse); with Tom Hamilton (Brothers Past) on vocals
4Perfume version; with Johnny Rabb (BioDiesel) on drums
51st time played

Umphrey's McGee
08/16/07 • Indian Lookout Country Club • Mariaville , NY
Set 1: Nothing Too Fancy, Much Obliged > Mulche's Odyssey, Resolution > Norwegian Wood > Resolution > Sociable Jimmy, Wizard Burial Ground, Push the Pig, 2nd Self

Sound Tribe Sector 9
08/17/07 • Indian Lookout Country Club • Mariaville , NY
Set 1: Tooth, Aimlessly, We'll Meet In Our Dreams, F. Word, Arigato, Be Nice, Somesing, Lo Swaga, One A Day, Instantly1
1with Rent tease
Despite not having a significant source of income or transportation, I managed to get my girlfriend to her first proper music festival, and it was a doozy.

We enrolled in the Work Exchange Team, pledging 18 hours of labor each in exchange for free tickets. Thankfully, the labor did not turn out to be of the hard variety.

Sadly, we could not afford to attend the Disco Biscuits/Umphrey's McGee show the preceding night at McCarren Pool, due partly to not completing a pair of t-shirts meant to fund our adventure. However, we were able to find a fellow fan on a Biscuits message board willing to take us up to the festival.

We arrived a night early and set up camp outside the gates, ensuring a short wait and a premium camping spot once the festival officially opened in the morning.

After setting up camp and checking in with the W.E.T. crew, we caught an earlyish Umphrey's set that catered to the Biscuits crowd, meaning it was a bit more danceable and electronic than previous Umphrey's sets I had witnessed.

Then it was time for the Biscuits. Truth be told, I did not really know enough about the band to accurately review these sets, nor do I remember much.

We had signed up for the 9AM-3PM shifts, so unfortunately, late night acts were out of the question.

As a matter of fact, I recall very little about the actual music. In retrospect, i don't think I saw all that much of it for a festival. I enjoyed STS9. I was a bit disappointed by Infected Mushroom. Girl Talk was a dance party as expected. The Biscuits were standard. I remember rushing towards the stage when the Biscuits played a surprise Friday afternoon set and getting down to Slick Rick the Ruler. But what really stands out is the overall experience.

The next morning we discovered that the greatest job at a festival like Camp Bisco is running the kids tent, the reason being that Camp Bisco is no place for children. For the 6 hours we sat there, one kid came by and he was accompanied by his dad. So we basically just played with all the toys ourselves for the entire morning.

That night, there was ostensibly some music. But what i will always remember is the galeforce winds that ripped through the campgrounds, nearly taking down the stage and sending tents swirling through the night sky like Dorothy's farmhouse. Equally memorable was the stunning starscape that followed.

Luckily, our tent was too small to have blown away, but all our sleeping gear was soaked. So we were forced to spend the night in the front seats of our friend's car, whihc was made all the more uncomfortable by the 40 degree chill.

The next morning we woke up and helped clean up the grounds a bit, clad in our warmest clothes - hoodies and sarongs. We even put in a stint at the VIP tent, during which we were able to experience some of the VIP benefits like couches and hot food.

Finally, we completed our W.E.T. requirements and were free to enjoy the rest of the festival. We copped some Xanax off a friend to relax and then found some doses. Of course, that is not the greatest combination and, following an intimate encounter with a Blow Pop, we shut our eyes and slept through the rest of the festival.

08/11/07 Afrokinetic @ Spiegelworld, New York, NY

For all the great NYC venues that have been forced out by gentrification and the ensuing exorbitant rent increases, at least one's lack of permanency was planned from the get go.

Spiegelworld was a traveling tent housing a beer garden and an intimate circus tent venue. For a few glorious summers, it set up shop on the north side of the South Street Seaport and hosted numerous late night dance parties on the pier.

We found ourselves swinging in hammock chairs at the very edge of Lower Manhattan while the Afrokinetic collective spun afrobeat augmented by live percussion in the disco tent behind us. The sweaty dance party under the summer skies was a perfect end to a classic city day.

08/11/07 Sampson & The Folkadelics @ Knitting Factory Basement, New York, NY

After the Galactic show, we raced downtown to catch the very end of the Folkadelics' set. Led by our good friend Sam Miller, The Folkadelics would soon become one of my favorite local acts, due in no small part to their willingness to lend equipment and music to parties in my backyard.

08/11/07 Galactic @ Central Park SummerStage, New York, NY

Galactic stepped up the New Orleans quotient by inviting the colorful Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Mardi Gras Indians on stage for a segment of the show.

07/??/07 Black Moon @ Canal Room, New York, NY

In the city with no plans, we somehow ended up with free tickets to a tattoo artist competition hosted by MTV VJ Sway. The saving grace at this ludicrous event was a performance by Black Moon, part of the seminal hip hop collective Boot Camp Clik.

07/28/07 The Join w/Marc Brownstein & Aron Magner @ Highline Ballroom, New York, NY

When the New Deal bassist Dan Kurtz formed an the electropop group Dragonette with his wife, the remaining members of the trio created this collaboration project featuring a rotating cast of the finest improvisers on the jam scene.

This show paired the New Deal's keyboardist and drummer with two members of the Disco Biscuits, Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner.

It was a high energy dance party, just as I would've expected from a mixture of two of my favorite groups. The tunes were mostly jams with a dash of New Deal and Disco Biscuit flavor, along with a couple of choice covers.

This was my first time at the Highline Ballroom, named after the nearby abandoned Highline railroad tracks, which would soon be transformed into an elevated park.

Listen to the show HERE.

07/23/07 Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish @ Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY

When these two titans of my ska punk youth joined forces for a summer tour, I knew I had to skank over to check it out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

07/21/07 Siren Festival @ Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

This edition of the Village Voice's annual Siren Festival fell on my girlfriend's 22nd birthday and featured one of her favorite artists - the Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A.

07/20/07 Digital Frontier/IndoBox @ Pussycat Lounge, New York, NY

DigiFront returned to the Pussycat Lounge with fellow jamtronica purveyors The Indobox for interlocking sets. I was able to convince several of my non-music-obsessed friends to join me with the promise of titties.

07/15/07 Ponderosa Stomp @ McCarren Park Pool, Brooklyn, NY

The morning after One Night of Fire, we dragged our weary bones down to Williamsburg for some amazing Mexican food and a McCarren Pool Party.

The music was a hodgepodge of blues, soul, rockabilly, swamp pop, funk and garage groups under the banner of the New Orleans-based Ponderosa Stomp festival forcing us to summon our little remaining energy for some sunshine dancing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

07/14/07 The Danger's One Night of Fire, New York and Brooklyn, NY

One Night of Fire is one of the greatest parties I have ever had the pleasure of attending, and it is a serious contender for the number one slot.

As far as my personal partying career is concerned, the New York City underground party scene began with the Lunatarium, a warehouse space on the edge of the Brooklyn waterfront as its DUMBO neighborhood was on the edge of gentrification, that exciting time when the creative can still afford the possibilities.

The club scene in New York City is the stuff of legend. From the cocaine-fueled debauchery at Studio 54 to the candy raver mega dance palaces of the early 1990s, there have always been excellent options for the dedicated partiers seeking round-the-clock stimulation. But at some point in the mid-'90s, shifting sensibilities converged with a mayor bent on cleaning things up and the true partiers were relegated to Outer Boro warehouse bashes, far away from the watchful glare of increasingly Disneyfied Manhattan.

The rise of bottle service and doormen and unnecessary lines and dress codes in the Manhattan club scene, thus had exciting consequences for the ecstatic artistic types prone to temporary autonomous zones provided by far flung locales. There were many parties fusing the rave aesthetic with the Burning Man flare for interactive art, but in my mind, none did it better than the Dumboluna collective, proprietors and frequent party promoters at the aforementioned Lunatarium.

I only attended a handful of parties at the Lunatarium, but it has left an indelible imprint on my psyche. You would arrive and be whisked up via freight elevator to a magical playland replete with tunnels and teepees. The entire center of the floor was a giant mattress. You could arrive well after midnight and leave at dawn, disoriented and utterly ecstatic.

Later incarnations of the venue moved to the ground floor and incorporated the waterside courtyard, but the whimsy remained

You might reenact Aerosmith's "Love In An Elevator" or engage in a virtuosic tribal drum circle. You could meet a long-lost soulmate you never knew or contemplate a sunrise dip in the East River. The possibilities seemed endless, and often were.

Alas, as with all good things, the end soon came. But from the ashes arose The Danger (née Complacent), party planners par excellence specializing in the same type of warehouse wonderlands.

Once a year, they would summon the bacchanalian spirits of New York City for a traveling circus parading through the bridges and trains, reviving the Lunatarium lunacy for One Night of Fire.

In 2005, I caught the tail end of the party, but missed the traveling portion. In 2006, I missed the Night entirely.

So in 2007, I was determined to experience the entire event.

The instructions were simple. Wear white. Meet on the Brooklyn Bridge at 7:57PM. Walking towards the bridge, we began to notice fellow revelers en blanco. By the time, we reached the bridge's scenic walkway, the numbers grew. As the sun began to set against the picturesque backdrop of Lower Manhattan, we swelled towards the thousands.

From there it was a whirlwind of sensory overload. Stiltwalkers mingled with Oriental drummers. Bewildered cyclists naviagted throngs of renegade cocktail drinkers and poi spinners. The entire bridge pulsated with the gleeful energy of the manic masses.

Then, after a brief brass-infused dance party in the City Hall Park fountain, we took to the trains.

It's hard to describe the vibe of a subway car packed with delirious party people, dancing on the seats, hanging from the ceilings, transforming every solid surface into a bongo, all the while chanting rallying cries like "We do this all the time!"

The frenzy appropriately culminated at the wonderfully wacky Coney Island. Dancers spun fire under the stars. We danced barefoot on the sand and splashed our bare bodies in the Atlantic Ocean as brass bands beat on, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Although it was barely past midnight, we had exhausted our endorphuns and so we began the long, lonely train ride back to where it all began, for tomorrow was another day.

For some more visual evidence of the proceedings, check out my friend Anna's photos.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

07/01/07 Man Man/Dengue Fever @ McCarren Park Pool, Brooklyn, NY

After the Afro Punk Festival, we stuck around in Brooklyn to visit our newlywed friends' pad in Crown heights and play with their adorable new kittens.

The next day we hit up McCarren Park for some hookah in the shade.

Unfortunately, we could not convince our friends to join us for the concert, which featured the stellar pairing of Man Man's manic tribal punk and Dengue Fever's poppy Cambodian psychedelia.

06/30/07 Afro-Punk Festival @ Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

This festival was inspired by a film of the same name dedicated to the black underground rock scene of the late '80s and '90s.

It was also a good excuse to get rowdy in the Brooklyn Museum parking lot.

Monday, January 3, 2011

06/29/07 Digital Frontier/Quagmire Swim Team @ Pussycat Lounge, New York, NY

After the relatively early Jazz Fest offering, we swung over to this Lower Manhattan titty bar for a livetronic show upstairs.

Quagmire Swim Team are from Pennsylvania. They're fun, but never broke through to the next level.

DigiFront, as they are known, are a bit better, but several line-up changes, a lot of unwarranted online hate and a general sporadic nature doomed them before they were able to build on their momentum.

This show was enhanced by the less popular painkiller Tramadol.

Aside from the seedy nature of the topless girls behind the bar, the bodega next door offered cheap tallboys and a secret bar in the back featuring little more than liquor and lapdances.

Sometime over the course of the evening, my lady friend and I escaped to a back alley for some escapades that continued at Battery Park.

06/29/07 Groove Collective/Ravi Coltrane Quartet/Craig Harris Ensemble @ Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn, NY

This free show in conjunction with the annual summer jazz extravaganza featured Tonic stalwarts Groove Collective, jazz scion Ravi Coltrane and the competent Craig Harris Ensemble.

06/23/07 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival @ Empire Fulton Ferry State Park, Brooklyn, NY

A perfect summer day in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge graced the third edition of this annual hip hop celebration.

I spent the first half of the manning the LifeBeat table, and scoping out the sponsor merchandise. At one point, I had to make a Krazy Glue run after accidentally knocking over a ?uestlove bobblehead and breaking off the afropick. Whoops!

The day culminated with Ghostface performing as the sun set over lower Manhattan in the background, joined by fellow NYC hip hop legends, Cappadonna and Fat Joe.

06/16/07 Television/Apples in Stereo @ Central Park SummerStage, New York, NY

Sadly, original Television guitarist Richard Lloyd was hospitalized several days prior to this show, slightly negating their signature intertwined guitar line sound. They still pulled of a nice rendition of the lengthy title track on their seminal album Marquee Moon.

Apples in Stereo is an indie pop band affiliated with the Elephant 6 collective. I knew of them at the time solely for their tribute to Stephen Colbert.