Catalpa Festival @ Randall’s Island - July 29, 2012
Photos: Geanna B. and James MacFie / Review: Geanna B.
La-di-da-di-dahh! It's time to talk about the D-O-double-G! What, what, what whaaaaaat! Fo' rizzle. If there was anyone at Catalpa who was more excited to see Snoop Dogg than me, I would like to shake that person's hand. And then possibly give them a high five. Possibly. My dad hates rap music, so I used to have to listen to Snoop in my room quietly with headphones on without moving, so as not to upset his classic rock sensibilities. But before I geek out on middle school nostalgia, let's dive right into the funstuffs.
Catalpa Festival @ Randall’s Island - July 28, 2012
Photos: Geanna B. and James MacFie / Review: Geanna B.
Renaissance Fairs are great, we know this much is true. Where else can you eat delicious turkey legs while donning your favorite crushed velvet garments and lamenting the devastation of the Bubonic Plague? Probably nowhere, actually. But even in the midst of all this Humanist fun, there is one major thang that the Renaissance inarguably lacks: the presence of Snoop D-O-G-G and his historic album, Doggystyle.
Lucky for us, Catalpa NYC was there last weekend to fill the void. But what is Catalpa, exactly? And how did it get its name? And how are we to pronounce said name? And why were there no cats involved? AND WHERE WERE THE BRISKET TACOS?! All of these questions remain unanswered, but we did give it a Google, just for good measure:
Veritable smorgasbord music festival Catalpa is coming to Randall's Island next Saturday and Sunday, featuring 3 stages and over 40 artists throughout the hip-hop, indie, reggae and electronic music scenes. The official lineup and full schedule have been announced and are available on the festival's website, with info about tickets, transportation and a pretty ridiculous flame throwing sculpture/structure/DJ booth.
The port! The port! The port was on fire! ... apparently. While I'm pretty sure I missed all of the action and excitement on that front, by the time I arrived downtown, the multi-alarm fire was the talk of 4Knots, causing Hospitality to cut its set short, with a bit of a delay later in getting the Crocodiles on stage.
After melting only slightly in the breezy heat, the Crocodiles got the show going again, kicking everyone into gear with their brand of noisy, distorted pop. The duo-turned-quintet from San Diego played an excellent set, chock full of fuzzy guitar riffs, droning vocals, and gritty, angsty lyrics.
Next on stage: The Drums. I started listening to this band at the urgent suggestion/demanding of Mr. James MacFie this past fall, and have pounced on every opportunity to see them live since. This kind of upbeat, surf pop still keeps a bouncy edge throughout every song, and it's always fun to watch lead singer Jonathan Pierce glide and twitch along the stage. It's true, there are heavy hints of The Smiths and New Order and even sometimes Joy Division, but the catchy sound and hum-worthy melodies cannot be argued against. Playing through "Best Friend," "Money," and "Days," the band closed with one of their earliest singles, "Let's Go Surfing," a kind of wistfully glee ode to summer, a perfect tune for a day by the water.
And finally, the main event. After The Drums skipped off the stage to eat ice cream sundaes, the majority of the crowd filed out, needing to replace their American Apparel tanks and tees that had been soiled by sweat and light beer. That gave us plenty of room to move up for Archers of Loaf, the quintessential 90's alt-rock band, complete with muscle tees and trucker hats to boot. It was an interesting change of pace to go from skinny-hipster-reverb to burly-man-guitar-anthems, but this is New York, and that's how we roll. Those who remained in the crowd were die hard fans, singing along with every note, and sometimes shouting out a very enthusiastic, "loooooaf!" The sound seemed to shake the entire Pier, giving us one driving, unforgiving song after another. Fuckin A.
Oh, NYC. Just when I think I can't love you any more, you give me an amazing free summertime show. I just want to hug the shit out of you. Forever.
Check out photos Chloe shot for us of Hospitality, The Drums and Archers of Loaf below, and also a video she got of Hospitality performing a brand spanking new song...
In very "WHAT THE WHAT?!" and "HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13th, SUCKAAAS" news this morning, it was announced that All Tomorrow's Parties' (ATP) upcoming I'll Be Your Mirror USA 2012 festival has been moved from Asbury Park, NJ to Pier 36, NYC. In a press release this morning, ATP announced:
"Pier 36 was the intended home for I'll Be Your Mirror beginning in 2013 - but due to unavoidable logistical concerns (along with a lack of available fan accommodations in Asbury Park), ATP has decided to move there for this year's event.
We hope that the new venue will make for an incredible event and open up many other accommodation options to fans who were unable to find rooms in Asbury Park," comments ATP's Barry Hogan. "We sincerely apologise to those inconvenienced by the move and hope that any problems caused may be minimised by the relatively small distance between the two locations. Anyone who is unable to attend due to the move or due to the cancellation of Louis CK can claim a full refund by contacting their ticket agent between now and July 31st."
Greetings From The Edge // Redux digs through the archives of James M. Graham's once celebrated column "Greetings From The Edge" that he wrote for AOL from 1996-1997. What follows are selections from the column, reposted verbatim.
David Thomas and Two Pale Boys (03/9/97 - NYC) David Thomas, Keith Moline and Andy Diagram took the stage at The Wetlands on a dark, cold Sunday night in New York in front of, oh, probably about 40 people, and magic ensued. A veteran of at least seven Ubu or Ubu-less David Thomas shows, I can absolutely testify that, other than the first (always a charm), this was the best. David stood, played his melodeon ( or is it an accordion?) while Andy strummed guitar in a rhythmic keep-the-beat kinda way. Keith played treated trumpet - a radio mic sending his breath through a rather inconspicuous, but sinister rack of electronic effects.
They cut through David’s new release, Erewhon, a meandering jazz/beat/free-form sort of record doing more jazzy, beaty and free-form versions of most of the tunes. David was in rare form, pulling on a flask, between monologues and working himself into a relaxed, but intense mood. The Pale Boys seemed to be mostly improvising, although a close eye would reveal that the songs were tightly structured loose and flowing things - kinda tough to pull off. Moline summoned electronic trumpet demons from hell as David launched into "Surfer Girl" by the Beach Boys. Beginning the story of the beautiful beach-bound muse, Thomas eyes began to tear (I don’t know what’s going on at home) and Moline began to sing into the end of the trumpet providing the mandatory Beach Boys backing track.
After David went to the bathroom while the Pale Boys improvised, he began "The Beach Boys" (from the last Ubu record) and told the long, drawn-out tale of a country in South America ruled by The Beatles and Rosanna Arquette (because "she's beautiful"), that had David and Brian Wilson at a local bar discussing "the things they’d seen." David Thomas is a vital artist. You wouldn’t think so, but he is. Its hard to explain, but I can offer help - David Thomas and all that is Pere Ubu is explained perfectly at http://ubuprojex.net/.
David Thomas and Two Pale Boys
Vic Chessnutt (03/16/97 - NYC) Vic seemed almost as tired as I was. This, being the second show of two at The Knitting Factory, he pretty much asked for requests and obliged with incredibly heart-felt renditions of his back catalog, despite his fatigue. There's something really, really charming about Vic, I don’t know if its his deep Athens, Georgia accent or the simple subject matter of his songs - probably both - but he is an incredible example of transcending ones' physical self and making music that means something. At least to me.
Patrick Watson @ South Street Seaport - July 6, 2012
Photos/Review: John Dabrowski
There could not have been a more perfect venue for Patrick Watson to perform in New York City than South Street Seaport. The boats rocking effortlessly back and forth. The skyscrapers standing tall as the sun drowns into darkness. As part of The River to River Festival 2012, Patrick Watson and Loney, Dear captivated the audience with tremendous sets of wonder and lightness. What is particularly pleasing about this festival is its reach. Many in attendance had no idea of the genius that are Patrick Watson and Loney, Dear, yet happened to stumble upon the stage and were swayed by the sounds.
Sweden’s Loney, Dear uplifts, delights and startles listeners with its finely combed, delicate music. As the set emerged, I watched as a beautiful, blonde child danced with her father and then proceeded to perform karate moves in sync with the rising tone of singer, Emil Svanängen. It was truly special to watch. Loney, Dear was honored to be able to play for the crowd, who allowed the music to wash over and cleanse. The audience even provided a nice F note to accompany one of their songs.
When Patrick Watson came on the stage, I could sense something magical was about to ignite. I was right. Hailing from Montreal, Patrick Watson recently released Adventur
es in Your Own Backyard and this performance was his only NYC date until the fall. Light bulbs draped his piano and among the stage, blinking and dimming and shining alongside the haunting and hulking sound. There is a playfulness to the band and I could immediately sense their closeness. What Patrick Watson unleashes allows for connection and closeness, and the crowd was enamored, wanting more until the 9PM curfew came.
Both Patrick Watson and Loney, Dear allowed for their sets to awake and rejuvenate. Below, check out check out both of their current releases and future tour dates...
Last weekend, July 7th, Dennis Flemion of The Frogs failed to resurface after going swimming on a boating trip with family and friends at Wind Lake, Racine, Wisconsin. He was finally recovered from the lake by authorities on July 10th after a lengthy search. He was 57 years old.
As something of a crazed Frogs fan I am devastated by this terrible news. The Frogs are unlike any other band I’ve ever known. Being a fan is genuinely and uniquely rewarding: not just because the band were comedically brilliant and musically phenomenal but because they treated their fans like personal friends. This is a particularly rich experience, for those of us who, through their records, feel a kinship with and deep respect for the band. I don’t think it’d be controversial to say that The Frogs never achieved the level of success their talent deserves and whilst this is a travesty it breeds a special kind of organic fandom, with a tendency towards militancy, as there was a period where no one could enter my flat without being forced to listen to a selection of Frogs songs in silence (I would allow laughter).
As a UK fan, opportunities to see The Frogs live were few and far between. Fortune smiled on me twice when, with the help of the incredible ATP Festival, I saw The Frogs play shows firstly at The Breeders curated ATP weekend in 2009 and then again in 2011 at the Animal Collective curated event.
At the Animal Collective ATP (the band was there to play their 1989 release It’s Only Right And Natural) I had the pleasure of spending some considerable time over the three day festival talking with the band, who were tirelessly manning their merchandise stand and demonstrating their notorious fan-friendliness. I was on crutches at the time and I remember that one of the first things Dennis said to me was that, despite it not being on the album, they were going to perform "Where’s Jerry Lewis?" from their 1996 record My Daughter the Broad in dedication, a song about a ‘lovely crippled boy’. Once I’d introduced my wife he decided that "Dykes Are We" was a better fit. He then took the time to sign a record for me and to carefully personalise a print I purchased from him, explaining that it was his artwork over a photograph he had taken of Jimmy. I’m truly grateful to have had the opportunity to chat with Dennis and the rest of the band that weekend and I’ll always treasure that experience.
Talking to Dennis, he made me feel like I was important to him, he was proud of The Frogs dedicated followers and he demonstrated this by making the fans he spoke to feel valued, he never rushed off when I approached him, and when I spoke he genuinely listened. The loss of such a sweet man is tragic. My sincerest sympathies are with Dennis’ family and friends.
This month the band released two new albums Count Yer Blessingsz and Squirrel Bunny Jupiter Deluxe both albums feature excellent artwork by Dennis Flemion. The albums are available from iTunes & CD Baby.
Yummm, delicious summer is in full effect. Can you taste the happy? We told ya'll last month to get ready for the 4Knots Music Festival at South Street Seaport, and now the day is fastly approaching. Like lightening! This Saturday is the very awesome, very FREE all-day show, featuring sets by Nick Waterhouse, Bleached, Hospitality, Crocodiles, The Drums, and Archers of Loaf.
It's gonna be a gorgeous, breezy, seaporty day, so take yo' booties downtown and get silly over those views of the water. They are truly a sight to behold. Check out the set times after the jump, as well as more info about the not-as-free after-party-hotel-lobby at Beekman Beer Garden.
Toronto-based trio METZ, who recently signed to Sub Pop Records to release their debut LP in October, are heading to New York City for a pair of shows at Pianos (8/31) and Death By Audio (9/1). My advice? Get really fucking excited and grab a pair of ear plugs. The band, who over the past three and a half years have opened for Mission of Burma, Archers of Loaf and Mudhoney, sound like an amalgamation of all those bands, that is if you were to push all their levels in the red and drench their vocals in a huge bowl of reverb. It's quite an exciting ride indeed.
Their self-titled release will be available on Sub Pop on October 9 in North America, and you can stream the lead single "Headache" via the embedded player below. Be sure to get tickets to the Pianos show, as Death By Audio hasn't yet made tickets available. You can also check out their tour dates below to find out where they'll be playing near you. Godspeed...