Thursday, February 10, 2011

01/09/08 Medeski, Martin & Wood @ Borders Columbus Circle, New York, NY

Despite MMW being one of my favorite NYC-based bands, the only time I had ever seen them was in Tennessee.

This was a free appearance in a crowded bookstore to promote the group's recently released children's album Let's Go Everywhere.

The crowd was primarily adults, but there were several toddlers throwing down in the front row.

??/??/07 Nice Pipes @ Otto's Shrunken Head, New York, NY

My friend's band played at this East Village tiki bar a few times in 2007. Arising from the ashes of his high school band, Stop Gavrillo (named after the man who assasinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, setting off World War I), Nice Pipes played such inciendary political punk jams as "Fuck Republicans."

??/??/07 The Drip @ Bowery Poetry Club, New York, NY

My friend who took me to my first Phish show played drums for this livetronica band for a brief spell.

Friday, February 4, 2011

12/31/07 The Danger's New Lost City @ 3rd Ward, Brooklyn, NY

So excited was I to rage a New Year's eve in style after having to sit on the sidelines the year prior due to Mono that I made a special trip to National Wholesale Liquidators to purchase ballons and other assorted toys. It was there that I found the giant bubble sword that would provide much entertainment that night.

That night, I took on the role of merry prankster, spreading love and light across the boros. My ridiculous attire included a thrift store tweed blazer and a grampa hat, augmented by my ludicrously large bubble wand.

Never before had my rage crew run so deep. My friend's twin cousins were in from Israel with their friends in tow. My some time NYC resident friends joined us. My friend came down from Boston and passed out drunk in the chill tent before we even arrived.

We missed whatever spectacle was planned for midnight, but apparently it involved instructions to kiss strangers, as every time I met someone there, I was warmly kissed.

The smallish loft area was packed beyond belief when we got there a little after 1am. Luckily, there was an outdoor area for blowing giant bubbles and other assorted merriment.

Later, the crowd thinned out a bit and we reveled in our ecstatic state until well past dawn. After the fire spinners and stiltwalkers and aerieal acrobatics dissipated, we danced the early morning away to a band fronted by a demented clown and intermittent burlesque.

Finally, I led a good portion of our troops back to our place in Queens for rest and rejuvenation. I'll never forget an apartment full of weary, yet fully satisfied party people lazily wasting a New Year's Day on my fold out couch.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

12/31/07 The Join w/Marco Benevento & Joe Russo @ Highline Ballroom, New York, NY

I almost skipped this show and I wish I had.

With the combination of the Benevento/Russo Duo and two thirds of The New Deal, this should have been a great show, but it had so many factors going against it. This incarnation of The Join was unfortuantely lesser than the sum of its parts. I guess their styles just did not mesh.

To add insult to inury, tickets were pretty expensive, which is to be expected on New Year's Eve in New York City, but still a con. We arrived late and missed the first set, which was our fault, but still on the list. Finally, the show ended at 12:30 on the dot, way too early for a New Year's Eve show. At least there was a nice balloon drop at midnight.

Despite all that, the night managed to be one for the books, thanks almost entirely to the events that transpired after this debacle of a show.

12/30/07 Strange Design (Phish tribute) @ Lion's Den, New York, NY

This New Year's Eve Eve show featured yet another Phish tribute act, this one copping DSO's format of covering entire actual shows. I believe this was also one of the last shows at Lion's Den before they transformed into Sullivan Hall.

12/06/07 Balkan Beat Box @ Irving Plaza, New York, NY

This Gogol Bordello spin-off features a similar international goulash of musical styles from klezmer to punk to hip hop to dub. It's the type of music that you can't help but dance to.

11/23&24/07 Dark Star Orchestra @ Nokia Theatre, New York, NY

11/23/07 • Nokia Theatre • New York , NY
Original Setlist
Set 1: Sugar Magnolia> Loose Lucy, Cassidy, Mr. Charlie, HC Sunshine, Music Never Stopped> Unbroken Chain> Sunshine Daydream
Set 2: Help on the Way> Slipknot> Feel Like a Stranger> Franklin's Tower, Alligator> Drums> Space> Other One> Alligator> Other One> Standing on the Moon> Lovelight
Encore: Werewolves of London

11/24/07 • Nokia Theatre • New York , NY
8/12/81 • Salt Palace • Salt Lake City, UT
Set 1: Alabama Getaway> Greatest Story, Friend of the Devil, Mama Tried> Mexicali Blues, Jack a Roe, C.C. Rider, Althea, Lost Sailor> St. of Circumstance
Set 2: Might as Well> Women are Smarter, Scarlet Begonias> Fire on the Mountain, Estimated Prophet> Eyes of the World> Drums> Space> Spanish Jam> Truckin'> Morning Dew> Around & Around> Good Lovin'
Encore: US Blues
Filler: We Bid You Goodnight
On occasion, DSO will deviate from their normal template and bust out a stellar original set composed of Dead tunes, as was the case on the first night of this holiday run. They returned to their standard operating procedure on the second night for an early '80s gem.

11/17/07 Galactic w/Mr. Lif, Boots Riley, Chali 2na, etc./RJD2/LifeSavaz @ Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY

The live band hip hop trend that had been percolating the last couple years culminated in Galactic's innovative hip hop tour. Their heavy New Orleans funk sound meshed flawlessly with the varying styles of several backpack rap luminaries. This was in conjunction with the Zig Zag Live Concert Series so there was tons of swag, including T-shirts and posters.

11/11/07 ASSSSCAT @ Irving Plaza, New York, NY

I tend to prefer my improvisation in music rather than comedy, but ASSSSCAT are certainly the best at what they do. Their Sunday night show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre has been one of the best values in comedy for several years.

For this New York Comedy Festival event, the original UCB ASSSSCAT group of Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts was augmented by Saturday Night Live alum Horatio Sanz.

My favorite sketch featured the gang riffing on a hippie-cum-hipster with Amy Poehler's brilliant take on Modest Mouse: "Most mice are modest. They're beautiful creatures."

10/31/07 Phil Lesh & Friends @ Nokia Theatre, New York, NY

10/31/07 • Nokia Theatre • New York , NY
Set 1: Shakedown Street > Loose Lucy, Don't Let The Devil Take Your Mind1, Candyman, I Put A Spell on You1 > Story of the Ghost > Casey Jones
Set 2: The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe, Cryptical Envelopment > Boris The Spider1 > Caution (Do Not Step On Tracks) > Voodoo Chile1 > The Other One > Cryptical Envelopment > New Speedway Boogie > Fire On The Mountain, Sympathy For The Devil1 > I Know You Rider
Encore: Donor Rap/Intros, Werewolves Of London
1 first time played
For all the emphasis placed on Halloween in the live music scene, this remains one of the only shows I've seen on that particular day. This kicked off an extended run by Phil Lesh's latest group of Friends in the heart of Times Square.

The setlist included numerous tunes referencing the appropriate spooky epherma of ghosts and devils and such. The second set opened with a spine-tingling jam while Phil read Poe.

I also caught one other show on this 9 night run, but I can't remember which one. However, I do remember seeing Mike Gordon in the balcony.

10/27/07 Comedians of Comedy @ Irving Plaza, New York, NY

The Comedians of Comedy tour was put together to bring comedy to venues more accustomed to rock and roll. The tour spawned a live DVD and a documentary series on Comedy Central. At this stage of the tour, my favorite of the group, Zach Galifianakis, had moved on to bigger things. In his steadm, the night featured up-and-comers like Aziz Anisari and Eugene Mirman, in addition to stalwarts Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehan and special guest David Cross.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

10/19/07 Umphrey's McGee @ Nokia Theatre, New York, NY

10/19/07 • Nokia Theatre • New York , NY
Set 1: Higgins, Der Bluten Kat, Intentions Clear, Bright Lights, Big City, Great American1 > That's the Way1 > Great American1
Set 2: Nemo > Meeting In The Aisle > Nemo, Pay the Snucka > Jimmy Stewart2 > 40's Theme, The Stranger, Eat, Out of Order > Mood For A Day3 > Pay the Snucka
Encore: Hangover
1Brendan and Jake on Acoustics
2Tim Lefebvre replaces Ryan on bass
3Jake Solo
This might have been the last time I saw Umphrey's at Nokia. The highlights were the appropriate "Bright Lights, Big City" and the "Hangover" encore.

10/07/07 Common/Q-Tip @ Nokia Theatre, New York, NY

Even though Q-Tip stuck mainly to his new material featuring more singign than rapping. The man can sing, but I really just wanted to hear his classic Tribe material.

Common put on one of the best live hip hop performances I've ever seen backed by a live band, which was the style at the time. He is a showman through and through working the audience and rocking the mic right.

The highlight of the night was when he brought Q-Tip and surprise guest KRS-ONE on stage for an impromptu freestyle.

09/??/07 Soulive @ Temptress ROCC, New York, NY

This Concert Cruise was my first time witnessing the unimpressive pairing of the trio with the vocalist Toussaint, who would later briefly join the group.

On the bright side, the underrated underground emcee Breez Evahflowin joined in for some freestyling. Also, there was a Zeppelin cover.

09/??/07 DJ Rekha (Basement Bhangra) @ SOB's, New York, NY

This hip hop Bollywood dance party included a free dance lesson. I still bust out the moves when the situation calls for it.