Saturday, August 10, 2013

Great Free Shows Saturday: Trixie Whitley, Nick Lowe, They Might Be Giants, & More

This could be considered the Super Saturday of the free summer concert season (or one of them, anyway)--and it starts early. At 1 p.m. this afternoon, Lincoln Center Out of Doors continues with its
30th Annual Roots of American Music festival. On the bill are Hurray for the Riff Raff (fresh off their well-received performance at the Newport Folk Festival), the Martha Redbone Roots Project, and Trixie Whitley (member of Black Dub, and daughter of Chris Whitley).

"Look Out Mama" by Hurray for the Riff Raff.

At 6 p.m. LCOOD continues with another great Roots of American Music show, this one featuring Nick Lowe, Jason Isbell (formerly of the Drive-By Truckers), and the Rockin' Rockabilly Revue (featuring Sleepy LaBeef and others).

For those seeking some quirky, catchy rock, the Brooklyn duo They Might Be Giants plays a hometown gig at Celebrate Brooklyn starting at 7:30 p.m. Opening the show is Moon Hooch, a brass and drums band which has gone from playing in the subways to being hand-picked by TMBG to open this show. (And they recently got a nice profile in the Wall Street Journal, which I'll link to if I find it.)

If hip-hop is your style, you'll want to check out today's Central Park SummerStage show featuring DJ Kool Herc, called the "Founder of Hip-Hop Culture." Starting at 3 p.m., the show will include plenty of special guests, including Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Marley Marl, and many more.

There's no rain in the forecast, so get out and enjoy some great free music outdoors today and tonight.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors
1:30 p.m. - 30th Annual Roots of American Music
* Hurray for the Riff Raff
* Martha Redbone Roots Project
* Trixie Whitley
LCOOD description: "Swamp pop, Native American mountain sounds, and a blend of vintage country and new soul."
Location: Hearst Plaza

6:00 p.m. - 30th Annual Roots of American Music
* Nick Lowe
* Jason Isbell
* Rockin' Rockabilly Revue with James Burton, Charlie Gracie, Sleepy LaBeef, Johnny Powers, and Gene Summers
LCOOD description: "A celebration of Americana with country crooners, rockabilly, Southern soul, and early rock 'n' roll."
Location: Damrosch Park Bandshell

3:00 p.m.
40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop Culture with DJ Kool Herc and special guests: Coke La Rock, Roxanne Shante, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Premier, GrandWizzard Theodore, DJ Red Alert, Marley Marl, DJ Jerry Dee, Skoob from DASEFX, Soul Sonic Force & many more
Location: Rumsey Playfield, Central Park 

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Note: LCOOD's Roots of American Music fest comes to a close tomorrow with a "roots symposium" (film screening and live interviews with artists) at 12:30 p.m. (at the David Rubenstein Atrium), and then a show at 5 p.m.:
* Bobby Rush
* Allen Toussaint
* Como Mamas
* Eddie and Brian Holland
LCOOD description: "A soulful season closer filled with funky blues, intimate sets by New Orleans' and Motown's finest songwriters, and traditional gospel."

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Cherie Currie Playing NYC in November; Tickets on Sale Friday

It's been a long time coming but Cherie Currie, who gained fame as the lead singer of The Runaways, is touring again, and will play New York's Gramercy Theatre on November 6th. Tickets are $33.50 with fees and go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

 Cherie Currie (holding microphone) at a promotional appearance for the movie "The Runaways" with (left to right) Floria Sigismondi (the film's director), Dakota Fanning (who plays Curie in the movie), and Kristen Stewart (who plays Joan Jett). Photo: Jon Lebkowsky (weblogsky) on Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Runaways were a trailblazer for having an all-female lineup, and after Currie left the group she released a few albums on her own, including one with her twin sister Marie. And she gained attention for her acting in the movie "Foxes," opposite Jodie Foster.

But Currie spent limited time in the public eye after that, save for occasional roles in TV in film (including the "Twilight Zone" movie and episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" and "Matlock"). She re-emerged in people's consciousness a few years back when doing appearances and interviews in connection with the movie "The Runaways." Other than that, she's been content to lead a relatively quiet life, creating wooden works of art with a chainsaw... until now.
Fortunately for music fans, Currie is hitting the road again. She played a few dates in May and will be touring throughout the U.S. during August. She may well have other dates in November in addition to the New York gig.

It's not known if has been recording any new music to play on this tour, but in any case it's great to see one of the pioneers in female rock playing out again. Welcome back, Cherie Currie!


Other notable New York concerts going on sale soon:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Restavrant at Warsaw, Fri., Oct. 4th. On sale Friday at 10 a.m.

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck at the Beacon Theatre, with Al Jardine and David Marks, Tues., Oct. 15th. On sale Friday at 12 Noon.

On sale now:
The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo) at Warsaw, Wed., Sept. 11th.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Farewell, Maxwell's: Club Wraps Up its Last Night with a Block Party & The Bongos (Who Play Unreleased Tunes)

Just as it said it would, the legendary club Maxwell's went out Wednesday night the same way it came in, with the band "a," the first musicians who played the place back in 1978. Oh, and a's successor bands, The Individuals and The Bongos also ripped it up, as well as a new-ish band, New Jersey's Delicate Steve.

Richard Barone and Rob Norris of The Bongos at Maxwell's Wednesday.
Richard Barone and Rob Norris of The Bongos at Maxwell's Wednesday.
The club took out the tables in the front-room restaurant to handle the overflow crowds, and the one-block street party was at times packed with celebrants/mourners (partly because only one lane of the divided 11th St. was used).

We were lucky enough to get tickets to see the second show, a and The Bongos, and the bands did not disappoint. We'd never seen a in person before, and were surprised at how many songs they had: enough for a one-hour show, not bad for a group that was only together six to nine months. The tunes had the jangly pop of The Bongos, but also featured changing time signatures and rhythms. You could see how the group evolved into the more polished, hook-driven Bongos.

That band delivered a strong set, starting with the rocker "In the Congo." Frontman Richard Barone looked much the same as he did in the old days, and still sounding strong vocally and ably handling his guitar riffs. We'd guess they must have been practicing a fair amount to be as tight as they were Wednesday night, or maybe they just know the songs so well by now. (See the Gothamist's coverage for many photos from the block party, and more videos like the one below.)

The Bongos perform the T. Rex classic "Mambo Sun."

And yes, as the headline indicates, they did play some old tunes that had never before been released but will be coming out soon. A new single, "My Wildest Dreams," became available on iTunes Thursday; the entire album, called "Phantom Train," will come out in October on Jem Records. The album, the band's follow-up to "Beat Hotel," was recorded in the mid-'80s but never finished or released. 

The set, and the last show ever at Maxwell's, ended with Glenn Mercer of The Feelies and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo coming on stage to play, later joined by club co-owner Todd Abramson and former owner Steve Fallon. The show wrapped up with three covers, Lou Reed's "Rock and Roll," Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Kicks," and Big Star's "Thank You Friends," written by the late Alex Chilton.

One part of the Bongos set finale, with Glenn Mercer (in sunglasses) and Ira Kaplan (far right).

 And with that finale, Maxwell's hosted its last show, and closed for good a couple of hours later. Now music lovers in North Jersey will have to wait and see if former owner Todd Abramson can manage to open another club in the area, perhaps in an oft-mentioned space in next-door Jersey City.

If it does come of, it won't be Maxwell's. But that's OK; in an area that's starved of clubs showcasing new, original music, it will no doubt be welcomed no matter how much it differs from its famous predecessor in Hoboken.

More coverage of the Maxwell's farewell: 
Photos and more from Gothamist and Spin (more from Spin here), and articles from (here and here), Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. Also: you can stream the new Bongos song "My Wildest Dreams" here.

Maxwell's gone dark, Thursday night. Perhaps appropriately, it was raining.