Saturday night, what could have been a disaster of catastrophic proportions was daintily averted thanks to the protective abilities of one nameless man.
Ben Searcy, Australian, was playing his “show” at the seven o’clock slot to the few who deigned to arrive, as well as a bunch of kids that would be part of the Brooklyn Music School celebration that would follow.The photographer, musician, and probable criminal (as are all Australians), did his able best to entertain the crowd, featuring songs from his just-released CD, Tree House.
As the soundman passed the tip jar, though, Searcy explained that he had two songs left, and that, “The last one, well, you should probably consider parental judgement.”
The foreigner did an instrumental, then launched into Ballad of the Faceless Models, whose chorus includes the line, “I’m the cock and balls of K-Mart.”
The children didn’t know what to do, probably because they were anticipating the show they were there to see. Or maybe they missed the context of the words. Even so, danger was in the air, and the children of America needed to be protected from this foreign menace.
Luckily, A Man in Suspenders was there. A Man in Suspenders ran down the booker of the club, shouting “There are CHILDREN here! And he’s singing about COCK AND BALLS!”
The booker rushed to the soundman, who bravely muted Searcy every subsequent time the dreaded lyrics arrived.
The children were safe, thanks to the quick action of the sound man, the brave actions of the booker, and the vigilant protective stance of the Man in Suspenders. The invasive threat of Searcy was rebuffed, and Anerica’s children maintained their virgin ears.
After the set, the Man in Suspenders walked the room, apologizing to the parents in the room.
“I’m so sorry,” he said to the adults to my left.
“What happened?” the parents asked.
“You didn’t hear that last guy?”
“Oh, yeah. He was good.”
“Well, all right then,” the Man in Suspender said, before going off to maintain the peace, while “Brown Sugar” blasted through the speakers.
When the Brooklyn Music School began their recital, they started with “Beat It.”
Each Monday this May, Ben Krieger, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to theme the hell out of the Open Stage.
Last week was the songwriting challenge, where everyone had the chance to write something new based on a randomly supplied song titles (my favorite was Bob Black’s damning indictment of open mic offenders).
This Monday, May 13, it’s audio visual night, featuring a screen made up of old paintings left at the Sidewalk, and a project that was begged, borrowed or stolen especially for the occasion.
What will people bring? Home movies? Music videos? Random video accompaniment to go along with their songs? The last scene from Inglorious Basterds? Who knows? You will, if you come out…
Three incestuous bands played last night, Thursday, May 9, 2013.
Madison Cano led off the musical portion of the evening, with boyfriend Josh Fox noodling along on electric leads. Cano’s powerful voice was the feature, but the band’s arrangements helped add to the drama of songs that seemed to deal mostly with the despair of distance. Her delivery, and diabolical microphone tricks, kept the audience engaged.
“The Royal Drag is next,” Cano said, “And they are great. And I’m not just saying that because I’m in the band…”
Josh Fox leads the Royal Drag, and Cano sings backing vocals and plays acoustic guitar. Fox’s voice is not as amazing as hers, but the dynamism of the orchestration is even more pronounced. He creates perfect pop masterpieces; it’s no wonder both bands were part of New York’s International Pop Overthrow.
Third up was the solo acoustic Young Mothers, which is made up entirely of the Royal Drag’s drummer Zach Toporek (and the anxiety he produces).
“I remember him from the Open Mic,” I muttered to Cano, “He’s pretty unnerving.”
“What does that mean?” she asked, as Young Mothers sang and twitched in the middle of the room, leaving no one any safe opportunity of escape.
“Uh… that?” I gestured, but she looked at me like I was strange, and not the dude called Young Mothers.
“I gotta go,” I said, “I have to be somewhere slightly less weird.”
I boldly left the room, only to go outside where Killy Dwyer made me tit-punch her.
There are some new burger options at the Sidewalk that the incredible Lana let me know about. Because it’s a loud room, though I’m not sure if I caught their names, or their ingredients, or if I sold my soul to eat one the other day.
One, I think, the Hawaiian, which, like all good hamburgers, features bacon, but unlike any burger I’d ever had before, there’s peanut sauce dripping out of every pour. It would be messy, if I hadn’t found it necessary to lick every single part of the the sauce off the plate, my fingers, and the table.
It was good.
The other burger was the Red Dracula, or something like it, and it featured three – three kinds of pork (the ham in hamburger is pork, right? Maybe my math is off). These are disgusting and deadly courses the Sidewalk is building. I’d compliment everyone involved in them, if I could only be heard over the music.
Take a look at this…
AntiFolk.com is the UK scene’s website, but they’ve got a fair amount of coverage of things that go on over on our coast. A bunch of those players come over to the US every now and then (they are wealthier than us over there), but most of how those foreigners live can only be ascertained through their websites.
Read on; it may be educational.
The first of the May’s four Mondays of Mayhem just passed.
It was the challenge night, in which everyone was given an opportunity to pick the title of a song (generously provided by Joni Mitchell) and produce a song – or poem (or arguable, interpretive dance. Nobody made that argument, though), around it. To the best of my knowledge, here are the folks that partook in the challenge:
Nilki Manage’s Big Boobies
Joe Crow Ryan
Ya’ll got bragging rights, yo.
Next week is movie night – if the projector can be found…
I asked a local artist to write a totally unbiased assessment of the work of another local artist. Here it is.
I first met Dan in 2004 after a show.
Almost immediately after arriving on the antifolk scene, I began to hear rumors of his unmistakable genius. I’d heard from some that he was hilarious, completely crazy, sometimes scary, a little weird and most of all, enormously talented. Intrigued, I accepted an invitation from friends to attend Dan‘s show at Siné. I still knew very few people, so I made friends with the bar and a stiff drink.
And then, that beat.
A pounding, relentless and totally gorgeous sound, followed by eerily strummed chords that never should have worked, but did.
Old girlfriend don’t cry for me, old girlfriend, old girlfriend don’t die for me.
The reason that you wanna pass by
I mean the reason why you want it so bad
Is that the world turns
And no one cares
Your spread across the bed with that vacant stare
I was an instant fan.
He was performing as Cockroach with the fantastic Scott Loving, Amy Hills, Brent Cole, Scott Fragala, Angela Carlucci and Crystal Madrilejos. They had recently released an album called, “Old Prospect,” which I promptly bought after the show. I approached the stage as he was putting his gear away, his back to me. I stood there looking busy until he turned around. I was greeted with a lazy smile, followed by a large yawn. He said he knew who I was. Beau Johnson had taken him to some of my shows. He liked my lyrics. Dan may have been the first person that complimented my lyrics before my voice.
I liked it.
8 years later we’re married and living in Queens.
Dan remains the most prolific and interesting musician I know. He is fearless when constructing a song, and it’s an honor to witness his process. He just never stops. He has threatened to, but trust me, it’s all bullshit.
He couldn’t stop if he wanted to. It’s who he is.
And who am I? His biggest fan.
I was asked by Jon Berger to choose my five favorite Dan songs. I’m sticking with the first songs that popped into my head, although there are countless others to obsess over.
1. Two Bottles
This is a very personal song for me. As a manic depressive, I struggle with leaving the house. Sometimes I can’t handle even the smallest of tasks without shutting down. To me, this song represents Dan’s frustration, but also his unconditional love. It’s difficult for me not to cry when we sing this together!
2. Old Girlfriend
Easy. Read above.
3. Powder Keg
“The first girl that I ever fucked, was fragile as the dirty south.
I couldn’t turn her on, but I turned her out.”
This is definitely one of my favorite lyrics of all time., and the way he breaks up the verses by asking, “and,” is sexy as well as hilarious.
4. The Killing Part
I love how he so clearly describes the end of a relationship. The kind where you are disgusted, but still kind of into them.
“I don’t wanna be there when you wake up, I don’t want you taking half of my stuff. Oh, baby.”
5. Low & Wet
Out of all of Daniel’s songs, this is by far his most positive. He gives the listener permission to just be low. And, well, wet. Hearing someone else’s struggle with the same, stupid things like paying rent, or why someone stopped calling, can pull you out of a weird place.
It’s like, oh wait, everybody deals with this shit and it’s okay. It’s a welcome relief.
“Thirteen doves were my first true love
Dawn is the road where I’m getting drugged
I still have to make the rent
It’s okay if you’re low and wet
It’s okay if you’re low and wet
It’s okay if you’re low
Erin Regan performs with Dan Penta as Jagged Leaves Friday, May 10, at 11.15 at the Sidewalk.
I’m really looking forward to Kathleen’s birthday show tonight, mostly because I’m playing it.
In a scene as small as ours, it’s always good to see people who appreciate the art without participating themselves. There are so few fans in the community (I should know; for a while, before opting to rape the stage, I was one those chosen few). So when Kathleen King, dedicated audiencer, wants to host her Getting Old party surrounded by musicians that she loves, most of the musicians jumped at the chance to be involved.
There’s a lot of acts in a little time, including the temporary New Yorker Ben Searcy and my arch-nemesis, Pinelawn Empire. I can’t imiagine why anyone would want to be anywhere else.
Details on the show are more available on the Calendar page…
It’s hard not to think about Erika Wolf’s performance and process. The way she’s expressing herself around the community seems somehow significant. She wrote about another act who performed last Monday, April 29 (she’d already gotten a mention in this earlier post). Here’s a little more on Stephanie Jean:
“One woman in particular, Stephanie Jean, really got to me. She went to the stage and delivered a performance that moved me to tears. To a James Blake song, who kills me anyway, she was female struggle. I don’t know how to better describe what I experienced while watching her. What she created cannot be done justice by my words, only that I was deeply related to her in that moment. When she was done, I stood up in applause for her and sat back down to watch the next act. When I turned around, she was in her chair, her face makeup distorted, crying.
“Knowing stage fright, I recognized the exact release she was experiencing. She had shared her deepest self with us so generously. I immediately went to her and took her in my arms, although we didn’t know each other. I told her how her performance and courage moved me and she expressed how afraid she’d been to do it!
“After a woman like that, it would be cake for me to go to the mic and read music from a sheet of paper!!! “