Saturday, May 03, 2008

New York Chronicles

Just back from a week's vacation in The Big Apple doing the usual tourists' staff (paying 20$ to see the view from the Empire State Building - see pic left, taking a walk in Central Park, seeing Broadway shows, visiting museums, browsing for cds in record stores - remember them?) and going to a few gigs round town. The first one is in the Bowery Ballroom on April 24th, the day of our arrival in "the world's greatest city" as they say here, where Foals are playing. Still jet-lagged from the long trip, running on coffee and sheer will-power, we enter the venue and crash on the upstairs seats (it's 9:00 pm local time, but the biological clock says 4:00 am tomorrow). A couple of Brooklyn bands kick-off proceedings, Telepathe (The Slits meet trip-hop experimentation) followed by The Epochs' electro-pop. Foals are in excellent form, giving the short of performance that is capable of raising the dead (that's us that is, the biological clock now says 6:00 am) and proving that the buzz emanating from the hype-friendly British press is totally justified this time.

Foals @ Bowery Ballroom (April 24th, 2008)

The next day it's 80's indie rock nostalgia day. Three bands from that heroic era for underground rock Big Dipper, Antietam and The Great Plains are joining forces at Brooklyn's Southpaw venue. I'm not familiar with Great Plains, but I can confirm that Big Dipper's 1987 debut album "Heavens" (on Homestead) is one of the hidden treasures of the late 80's guitar sound, an opinion obviously shared by the good folks at Merge, who just released "Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology" (triple cd of the Big Dipper's Homestead recordings), the reason for this reunion. Antietam, the band not the 1862 battle, have been going on almost non-stop since the early 80's (1985's "Antietam" and 1986's "Music from Elba" both on Homestead are highly recommended) and have just released the double cd "Opus Mixtum".

Big Dipper @ Southpaw (April 25th, 2008)

Antietam @ Southpaw (April 25th, 2008)

After paying our respects to a couple of our guitar heroes from another era, we are back at Southpaw the following day for an evening with The Fiery Furnaces, one of the most prolific bands of this decade. The Friedberger brother-sister team (with greek roots as revealed in the "Rehearsing My Choir" album they did with their grandma Olga Sarantos - also, the lead singer from Foals, Yannis Philippakis, is greek and we're from Greece as well; see a pattern developing here?), helped by a drummer and a second keyboard player for the evening, play an excellent 90-minutes set that starts with "Single Again" (one of their finest singles) and includes tracks from almost all of their albums (other highlights: "Up in the North", "My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found", "Ex-Guru", "Clear Signal from Cairo"). On this evidence, their upcoming live album "Remember" should be great too.

The Fiery Furnaces @ Southpaw (April 26th, 2008)

Our New York rock'n'roll adventures come to an end at Manhattan's Mercury Lounge the following day. Here we meet again with our old pals American Music Club, promoting their new album "Golden Age", but also finding time for some of the old hits ("Johnny Mathis' Feet", "Hello Amsterdam" renamed "Hello Brooklyn" for this evening inspired by last night's miserable, according to Mark Eitzel, Brooklyn show). Support came from locals Frances and Charles Atlas. Good times with a moody twist for our last (for now) NYC show.

American Music Club @ Mercury Lounge (April 27th, 2008)

No comments: