Archive for August, 2014

Open Stage Antics

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

In a promotional strategy unprecedented in recent Sidewalk history, every act* on an upcoming bill showed up at the Open Stage to inform the public of their show.

The cast of thousands performing tonight (Tuesday, 8/26) arrived to and got slots to perform. That includes stalwart Debe Dalton, comedianne/pianist Miriam Daly, Sara Hartman, and, of course, Jon Berger (which is hardly an accomplishment, since he’s out most every week).

Daly brought out accompanying singers to impress the crowd. Sara admitted coming into the city to promote, and Debe Dalton played a brand new song.

Jonathan Berger did something new, too, an accusatory poem called Alex Norelli about the other artist, that he shamelessly exploited to plug his eight pm performance with band JUANBURGUESA. Everyone could see through his ploy, but were entertained nonetheless.

Whether or not all this promotional power will prove effective will only be decided, tonight, at the club.

*Notable exception were the Hinges, who are coming in from Washington State. Their absence is thus excused.


Tonight! The Club’s All Right!

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Katie Buchanan is really easy to objectify. She’s a tall drink of water and beautiful to boot. Unfortunately, her talent makes it harder to simply objectify her. Her dynamic guitar work and her soulful singing make her something of a force to be reckoned with. Her new album, debuted online a few weeks ago, is getting its second release show a ye olde Sidewalk Cafe tonight – only she’s bringing a band with her. I’ve never seen the band, but she says they’re good, and would a woman I’ve tried to objectify ever lie to me?

Adam Rivera is on the bill earlier, if you like that sort of thing../

Piano Times

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Will Wood tonight at the Sidewalk Cafe.He’s zany, he’s brainy, he’s entertainy!

The artist currently known as Will Wood has the 11 o’clock slot tonight at the Sidewalk. It’s late – but what else were you gonna do with your evening? Sleep is for the weak. Go on out – if you believe in entertainy…

Melody to Memory

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Jonathan Berger continued with his Tuesday night residency – this  time with more lackluster performance than the previous week. With no band to back him up, he did the sort of thing he frequently does, reading hyperkinetic poetry before a stunned silent audience. It’s not a bad act he does, just something that required the right input of energy for the right occasion.

Before him were two piano playing acts: Paul Wexler played with his band, Wexwax, and before that Steve Espinola trashed his set list, and did a set entirely on the fly. Just like usual.

After Berger was Neesa Sunar, who played one whole song on guitar and then read a series of poems and vignettes from her upcoming memoir. From melody to memory, all in the course of afour hours of performance.

Same as it Never Was

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Post-Festival, the Open Stage was lightly attended by regulars. Still, there were enough acts to keep things going until after midnight – but just barely. Only a  few stalwarts had enough energy after a grueling week and half of regularly scheduled entertainment to come out and sing their songs – or even watch other people perform.

Those that did show up, luckily,  were ably rewarded.

Music flowed. Poetry resonated. Waitresses served more drinks than the recipients could probably afford. And nothing, to my knowledge, was stolen.

All in all, a good evening.

Summer AntiFolk Festival: Night 10

Posted on: August 18th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

It ended the way we all knew it would: With a barely clothed Matthew Silver bringing the crowd out of doors, marching the streets of a sleepy Sunday East Village.
Oh, we didn’t all know it would end that way? All right, then, with that face

couldn’t you have guessed?

What about this one?

The last musical act of the evening was Soul Candy, with Bob Black being forced to run sound for himself – and not for the first time. It probably was the first time with an afro, though.

The evening started with Zoe Z, back from her western travels to begin the school year and howl out further songs of frustration and isolation. A perfect way to start the last evening of the AntiFok Festival – this time around…

Summer AntiFolk Festival: Night 8

Posted on: August 16th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

So many acts did stellar acts last night at the Sidewalk Cafe. Turner Cody, a turn-of-the-century AntiFolker, played with mustache, boater, electric guitar and a lot more nervy energy than I can recall.

Sam Barron quietly played through some of his excellent material. Joe Yoga sought out heckles and played through ably.

Lorraine Leckie brought her Demons to back her through a continuation of her Friday residency series.

Timothy Dark explained how these were The Last Days of Dark, while still explaining that he (Dark) had returned (including an incredible chorus of  “Comma, the!”). Pulling out any number of theatrical moments, Dark enthralled with his rock and rap act, before declaring he was going to disappear for a while to record his next album.

Trachtenburgs and fowl-talking folk followed. It was a night for the books – or, at least, blogs.

Summer AntiFolk Festival: Night 7

Posted on: August 15th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Rebecca Florence… “hosted” a night that included an after-midnight Dick Jokes show, a bright experience with Robot Princess (featuring the third and last Gay appearance at this Festival) .

April Sun played with no backing tracks; Loose Lid plays with lots – and a tutu!

Clinical Trials reared its ugly head, after cancelling a show on Saturday because of some birthing situation that is best not to discuss too deeply.

John Hodel started things off. Carl Creighton played – but his neglected to bring the extra pounds he used to carry. JJ Hayes seemed to challenge local artists to cover new songs – as he unleashed tracks from his eventually upcoming album.

Oh. Aunt Ange played! They seemed entirely too joyous.

Summer AntiFolk Festival: Night 6.

Posted on: August 14th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Domino started things off with a short set, Little Cobweb following with a longer one – full of a frightening level of optimism.

Barry Bliss continues to unleash songs from his next album. It sounds like he writes in one fell swoop, since this is his second recent show where he’s describing content from the new album while still not being entirely familiar with how the album goes.
You can see the whole thing on your own, by the way, not only at but also through Kathleen King who records as much of each Festival as she possibly can. Here’s proof!

Also on the bill: Charles Mansfield, playing with the Gay boys (Joe Reichel and Peter Ingles), and Ben Pagano, who, I think, is really lucky to have gotten his job as lead singer of the Ben Pagano Band (it would have been a slap in the face if he hadn’t passed the audition).

Some more stuff happened. Maybe you should’ve been there to see it, huh?

Summer AntiFolk Festival – Night 5.

Posted on: August 13th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

The names were off all night long at the Sidewalk Cafe.

Lenna Pierce normally hits the stage as Meaner Pencil, but decided to be herself for the evening. 

Ariah Noetzel made her Festival debut, but performed with subtle accompaniment from a couple of guys, so it was really, like, the Ariah Trio or something.

Jonathan Berger was introduced, but kept referring to he and his backup band as JUANBURGUESA, thus avoiding the solo identity that had been promoted for the bill. With song titles like “Dance, Jon Berger, Dance” and “The Ballad of Jon Berger,” it was hard to forget who was  the self-proclaimed star of the show.

Sam James used to be known as Sam Grossman. Apparently, he thought better of it.

The nomme de plume presents Miss Represent, but more and more people seem to know her as Margot.

Only Deep Sound Diver stayed true to the game, maintaining the name that Spencer Chakedis had for his project fifteen plus years ago, when he quit his regular job at the hapless suggestion of Joie Blaney to become a musician. He’s been recording and performing ever since, usually with his band of Divers. 

Kirk Kelly, the host of the evening, and the longest-running AntiFolker in the state, also kept true to his identity. Unless Kirk isn’t his  real name… Huh.

Whatever their names, most of the acts were pretty good.