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.

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…