Archive for December, 2013

Luck be a Gent Tonight

Posted on: December 31st, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

A little last minute, but I wanted to let you know about Kid Lucky‘s closing out the year celebration at the Sidewalk Cafe.

Lucky has been beatboxing at the Sidewalk since the last century, and has astounded crowds at far more places than he has sounds – which is a lie, because the number of sounds Kid Lucky makes with his mouth are infinite.

Kid Lucky’s all grown up now.

He’s pretty exceptional. Check it out.

4H (Happy Hamell Holidays, Homie)!

Posted on: December 29th, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

As the year draws to a close and people play their last gigs before starting everything all over again, Hamell on Trial got a head start on starting fresh. The seasoned road dog, playing around 2oo shows a year, ended the year at Sidewalk, closing out the Saturday, December 28 show.

Hamell once said how with select changes at specific points in the show, he could subtly revise a set list to seem like a brand new experience. i think that’s what happened last night. Starting out with Big As Life standout track “Dead Man’s Float,” Hamell did a serious revision of “Is Freedom Flying?” as a percussive proto-rap. A VU track in honor of Lou morphed into Hamell’s spoken-word “Piccolo Joe” and some subtle line changes in “Forever” amped the drama in that song.

Like any Hamell set, it was high-octane intensity, and the late night drunken crowd shouted appreciation and offered oil changes.It was everything that is good about Hamell, about AntiFolk, but repackaged, to great effect.

I’m glad I was there.

The People Vs. Dibson T Hoffweiler

Posted on: December 28th, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

Dibs, a ten-year veteran of the AntiFolk Wars, returned from California for the winter holidays with some innovative facial hair and an urge to see old friends. What he got was a last minute gig and an especially challenging audience,

In the back part of the back room at the Sidewalk sat a table of ten who were very engrossed in their conversation. They didn’t seem to be at the club for any musical act, but were very much enthused by each other’s company.

“Were we that loud?” a pretty blonde screeched after the third person came up to them, asking them to keep it down, that there was a performer on stage and many other parts of the restaurant and bar that they could sit

They were very loud, and people continued to tell them that until, eventually, the ten-part disharmony had enough of the distractions to their conversation and left the room.

Dibs, who had not mentioned them at all while they were around, was happy to to be happy after their departure, “They were shitty people,” he said, and went back to this instrumental music that the remaining late night crowd craved.

Another View from Nashville

Posted on: December 24th, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

Dave  Cuomo, former editor of Urban Folk, former open mic host, former New Yorker, and former singer/guitarist for Chicken Little, is now the former owner of an appendix.

Spending the Christmas holiday in a Nashville hospital may not be the most popular way to get through the holidays, but it may be less significant when you’re a buddho-humanist, or a punk-lapsed-Christian, or whatever Cuomo chooses to call himself in this day and age.

The band, not playing.

Before Cuomo gave up his appendix, but after he gave up NYC, he gave up the duo he and wife Emma Berkey had been performing under, all through the country. He explained, kind of, what made him say goodbye to his rock and roll lifestyle. While trying to write a song for the band, “I realized it wanted to be a poem, then I realized it wanted to be a breakup poem to rock n’ roll, or punk rock, or whatever the hell it was we were doing. It made some good points, so I trusted it. Also, most promoters in Nashville who book you prefer that people actually come to the shows they book you for…

Here’s an excerpt from the goodbye song/poem/whatever:

I thought I knew you

until I saw you on a stage

proudly singing all those things

you used to only say to me

looking up and into the crowd

you sang, you were already free

that money only grows on trees

and you sang,

love is just a game of need

we all were born

of lust and greed

so we run for heaven like it’s sin

running uphill and into the wind



Get well, Dave.


A very Christmas Open Stage

Posted on: December 23rd, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

Phoebe Novak said she wasn’t going on tonight, but then she showed up.

Phoebe Novak she was just going to quickly jump in and out of a Christmas song, but then she did something else again.

When Host Ben Krieger said the first few acts at the Open Stage would have to start their set with Christmas material, Novak was clearly resistant, but when she hit the stage, she started in on “Silent Night,” doing the verse that everybody knows with a little bit of snark and a lot of that potent voice that frightens so many.

But Ben kept her going, saying “One verse is not enough.” He fed her lines, and she continued singing “Silent Night,” and slowly, stepping outside of her howling comfort zone, Novak tentatively took to the song.

Phoebe Novak is pretty.

She sang beautifully, and she sang exploratorially, and she sang well.

It was the most gorgeous part of the evening.


The Man – tomorrow

Posted on: December 21st, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

Dan Costello is in the middle of his Sunday residency series at the Sidewalk Cafe. Did you know he was interviewed in Urban Folk? It was a while ago. Take a read, why don’t ya?

Dan’s doing mostly new material during his residency, so if you want to see something new from one half of Dan and Rachel, you can. Sunday. Check it out.

Dan in Urban Folk.

Conquering Heroes

Posted on: December 20th, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

On Friday (tonight!), Statman and Novak return from their weeks abroad. They’ll play a bill with the usual suspects, including the Dick Jokes, which features members of Red Gretchen, and then there’s Clinical Trials, who are not bad at all.

It seems like the sort of evening you should be part of, you know? I mean, why not?

Wake Up, All that Robot Jazz

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

You heard Ben Pagano’s new digital single, “Robot Jazz,” from the album, Robot Jazz, about the subject, presumably, of Robot Jazz (I don’t understand lyrics)? You can listen to it here.

Also, you can hear it live, at his pre-Christmas gig at the Sidewalk Cafe. You heard of that place? It’s right past the awning on 6th street that reads Sidewalk Cafe.


Blissful Intervention

Posted on: December 18th, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

On Barry Bliss’ website, he has a page entitled Fuck Facebook.Bliss does not do social media.

He just shaved his latest in a long line of porn moustaches, and he’s playing a show this Thursday, at the Sidewalk Cafe. He put the night together, including AntiFolk glitterati Jagged Leaves, Steve Espinola, and, of course, Jonathan Berger. It starts out with the Undercover Rabbis.

But back to Bliss’ website. He’s got a will up on it, and lyrics, and various opinions. It’s not the most user-friendly site, and Bliss’ art is not for everybody.

He’s challenging. I challenge you to experience him.

More about your booking intern

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

Somer Bingham, who is taking over some Sidewalk responsibilities in the new year, is the lead shouter in the incredible Clinical Trials. That was not always the case, though. Once, Somer was the cover girl for AntiFolk publication Urban Folk.

It’s true. Here’s the proof.

Read all about Somer Bingham before she was on TV. Before she was married. Before Clinical Trials. It’s free.