Archive for August, 2014

Summer AntiFolk Festival – Night 4.5 (Open Stage)

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Wild night at the Open Stage.

There were loads of new performers, a crowd bigger than most have seen on a Monday for some time. The show was beginning to wrap up around two, which was about the time I found the contents of my bag – some of them – strewn about the basement.

I’d been robbed.

I’ve been coming to the club for over twenty years now, and, while my knapsack has been occasionally misplaced, it’s never been stolen. Once, I thought it was, but someone called me that night to apologize for taking my bag by mistake. I ended up getting a job out of it. It was a crappy job.

My bag’s never been stolen at the club before. I’ve been incredibly lucky, and knowing a bunch of people around, I always assume someone is looking out for my stuff. Even though there were strangers and strange people roaming around, I left my bag unaccompanied on many occasions. Now I’ve paid the price.

There was a particularly sketchy guy darting in and out of the back room; I’ve decided he’s probably the culprit, but it’s not like I know his name.So my stuff’s gone.

Still, lots of really cool acts at the club – not even so many promoting their festival shows. Just a whole bunch of newbies, trying to present their material.

So there you go.

Sweet Sunday

Posted on: August 11th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

The Sunday Super Showcase featured Rodney Rigoli hosting and Brookes McKenzie playing omnichord as part of Anacoustic Mind. There were comedians. There were songsters. There were storytellers and political activists.
Then there was Walter Ego, playing his witty pop songs about subjects near and dear to everyone’s heart: Dan Smith. Monkeys. Simplicity. More. He started by rejecting all his typical tomfoolery, replacing it with an old magician doing tricks. The Ego on that guy!

An act that was originall billed as a special guest but proved to be Sliver Juice (featuring the Johns and Julie Lablabla) did a three-piece trio show. That’s AntiFolk! Who could ask for anything more?

Summer AntiFolk Festival: Night 3 plus.

Posted on: August 10th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Any night with Hamell on Trial is a good night, but this was a really good Hamell on Trial show. His guitar strap kept coming off, so Jesse Statmen lept in to provide a better strap, which also came off. Is that what made the show great? Probably not.

Clinical Trials had better things to do, apparently, than make an appearance, but Kid Lucky subbed on human beatbox, including covers and new originals aplenty. Kid Lucky’s mouth… it’s something else.

Nico West did his fruit songs, and gave special credit to his Tomato song, which really seems like it’s contrary to his vision, what with it being all about how tomatoes aren’t a fruit. Whatever.

Gay closed out the night. The duo is good. The people, led by poetical host Daniel Saftler danced and shoved each other all over the place. Is that what made the show great? Maybe…

AntiFolk Festival Summer 2014: Night 3.

Posted on: August 9th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Clinical Trials will not be playing their scheduled 11.45 slot tonight, because the singer/songwriter/guitarist of the project will be on call at her wife’s birthing.

These things happen.

I don’t know who will fill that pretty prime slot. Maybe it’s me…

AntiFolk Festival Summer 2014: Night 2.

Posted on: August 9th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

John S. Hall. Fucking John S. Hall. HALL!

I like that guy. He read almost exclusively material he’d produced over the course of the last week. He’s really an amazing writer, and you should buy his work.

Maybe Ray Brown’s, too. He didn’t read so much as play songs. If you like that sort of thing, this was a place to do it.

Brown’s ex-wife Jen Kaplan hosted some of the evening, telling some of her stories before acts like Mimi Oz’s Rooster (who took a really long time to set up. Is that how they do it in Canadia?) and Ben Krieger.

Friday night ran long, with Bob Black behind the board, running sound all night long. Give to Light played. The normally effeminate Andrew Hoepfner played a multitude of keyed instruments, wearing short butch hair and a shaggy beard. To represent the girlish side, Hoepfner had accompanist Kelly there to play whatever instrument he wouldn’t.

Night 2:  just like Night 1 – except for the obvious differences.

AntiFolk Festival Summer 2014: Night 1.

Posted on: August 8th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Well, that happened.

It’s interesting how the starting ceremonies of the Summer AntiFolk Festival last night at your Sidewalk Cafe featured various iterations of youth.

Nate Flaks has been visiting the club for a year or three now, but he only just graduated high school. He’s certainly one of the youngest acts in the Festival this year, if not the very youngest.

Following him on-stage was Kung Fu Luke, leader of Kung Fu Crimewave. Luke, with an older brother in Huggabroomstik, would visit the club when he was Nate’s age and younger. They’re styles are nothing alike, but they held, at different historical points, similar roles in the community.

Joe Crow Ryan came up next. He’s old, but performs and behaves with an innocence and generosity that makes him seem somewhat youthier than his 417 years (he referred to the fifth anniversary of his competing open mic during his performance. I won’t dignify that with any further mention).

Oliver Baer is also an old, old man, but he’s relatively new to performing at the Sidewalk, and conducts himself with a specific naivete (it’s a strange word to use to describe a man who claims to be demonic and inhuman. Nonetheless, I stand by it). He led his ever-changing Conclave of Baer, which involves Baer himself introducing other acts interpreting and performing his poetic lyrics.

The following few acts represented serious age on the scene: Prewar Yardsale’s prime lyricist Mike Rechner has been performing in AntiFolk since before the Sidewalk hosted music. Fenton Lawless and Debe Dalton have, collectively, about a quarter century of AntiFolk under their belts. It seemed much of the expanse of AntiFolkistry was represented in the opening night. This seems representative of the intriguing bills that have been put together for the next week or two.


Coming up!

Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

It starts tomorrow; the Summer 2014 AntiFolk Festival begins on Thursday, August 9. For the new week and weekend, AntiFolk will perform one after another; some have never been recruited for the AntiFolk Festival before. Some may never be invited again (I’m looking at you, Debe Dalton). Some are just honored to be nominated.

Starting up the entire Festival is Nate Flaks, who is, the next day, fleeing the country for darker continents, and then college. If he survives his trip into maturity, we’ll see what he becomes. Before seeing him off, though, see him make his Fest debut. Also on the bill is a Conclave of Baer and the aforementioned Debe Dalton. SKEL will also be there.

Wild hearses couldn’t drive me away – mostly because they don’t exist.

Of Things to Come

Posted on: August 5th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

A strange Monday night open stage. including a strange cast of characters foreshadowing what may well be a particularly strange AntiFolk Festival.

Poets read confrontational poems about each other, rappers tried to go up multiple times, artist after AntiFolk artist plugged show after show after show in the week-plus Summer AntiFolk Festival, starting in just a couple of days.

Probably the biggest name performing was John S. Hall, who promoted his Friday appearance as host of the middle part of the evening. He wrote pieces he’d written throughout the day, and stunned the crowd with his magnificence.

Probably the biggest physical act performing was Jonathan Berger, who weighs close to three hundred pounds. He doesn’t look it though.

With lots of new names in this year’s Festival, and a new booker putting it together, it all looks exciting and new. We’ll see how it plays out, of course…