Thursday, March 31, 2005

Botanica Back From Tour And Ready To Swing

Botanica Live - Soon on TV
Originally uploaded by romangame.
Bongers, Walfisch and Co. are back from their most successful European tour so far. They played the famous German TV show "Rockpalast" where stars like The Police or The Cure made first impressions on the european mainland. Back in the States, the guys don't get a break: They're off to Paris next week, backing singer Angela McCluskey and are learning a whole bunch of swing-era classics for an upcoming event in honor of actor Stanley Tucci. If you have "In Demand" on your Cable TV, you can now watch the movie "Dummy" with Adrien Brody and Milla Jovovic, to which Botanica contributed to the soundtrack. Busy now - famous soon.

The Return of The Tribute to Queen

They Are The Champions
Originally uploaded by romangame.
It was the first Loser's Lounge Concert I saw and I still think it was the best: Joe McGinty and his band doing Fredy & Co. - And now it's the return of their set of more than 30 Queen songs. All of you who never had a chance to see the real Queen live: "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the Loser's Lounge version is about as good as it gets. Back in the Nineties it was at Fez, which closed down, as you know. The Loser's Lounge is now at Bowery Ballroom, April 9th, tickets are $ 17. If they are only half as good as the first time, it's still well worth it! Click on the headline to get tix.
Check out Joe McGinty's Blog, too:

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Brett Hammond Finally Reappears!

He once opened for Motorhead. For Twisted Sister. Played in Orion - the heavy metal star constellation. And now he's back. Producer supreme Brett Hammond has picked up the guitar again. It was a shame about this mans music: He hid his hits away in a secret studio in Williamsburg and rarely let them out. There's one I remember hearing two years ago, 'it's allright' and i still have the melody in my ear. Kinda like early Captain Sensible stuff.
And Brett looks better than ever. In fact, he looks so good he wouldnt even let me put a picture of him on the blog in fear of getting to much response. Instead, he wants you all to come to Bar on A on April 14th and find out yourself.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Melomane Dance With Polar Bear

Kenny and Pierre of Melomane
Originally uploaded by romangame.
It's still cold in New York and this is just one more reason why Melomanes heartwarming music guarantees for a, well, mellow night.
I don't know whose idea of booking it is to squeeze three bands in from 7 to 10pm and then have DJs stuff our ears with brutal beats. So Melomanes short set didn't include "Military Wife" nor the new hit "I'm In Love With Love", both of which were so amazing in combination with the visuals back at Tonic. Highlight was a revamped version of "Lazy Southern Song". 'Course we missed a mighty cello here or there, or the occasional frank harmonica, but Melomane wouldnt let the absence of Frank show in their music. "We miss him in our hearts," said the band about the author who moved to Switzerland. Frank can still be heard on the upcoming new Melomane CD - the cover is in the works.

I'm usually not one to trash bands, cause I know how much hard work it is to keep one together in NYC. But hey, AD FRANK, is it really worth it for you guys? Frankly, if just Morex and Melo would have shared the bill, I would have had more fun. Doesnt a mix of bad Simon Le Bon and Bowie during his most horrible phase call for disaster already?

Fresh Juice But No Juicy Actress

No Morex Scarlett
Originally uploaded by romangame.
Muffins, Melomane, Morex Optimo and mucho music - it was all there at Galapagos Art Space on Saturday, but no Scarlett Johanssen. Unlike others, who just wouldnt believe a rock show can start at 7pm and therefore missed it (J.C., Anthony...), our beloved revolutionary sweetheart with the pearl earring did not show up at all. Not that Morex Optimo had time to fret over it: No longer are they a heady intellectual outfit that tries to find their way off the beaten track through complicated songs - they just rock. Soaring harmonies over pounding guitars, constant motion on stage. Highlight was the straight forward punk version of Television's "See No Evil". And Scarlett gets a second chance: Morex Optimo will play Mercury Lounge on April 17th at 10pm. No breakfast this time, but check out the celebrities. I know the Mayor of Williamsburg will be there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Camper Van Beethoven Vs. The Backstreet Boys

I admit I committed the sin of going to see the Backstreet Boys playing the same stage that I Joe Strummer, Tom Verlaine and Richard Butler stood on. Neil Finn and David Lowery, too. And a couple of others... remember Eleventh Dream Day, Frank? Or Ghandi?
Whatever, times change, and obviously, so do bookers. Irving Plaza these days offers the Backstreet Boys for two nights, followed by the One Tree Hill Tour. Not that I want to disrespect the BSB. After all, they've been together now for 12 years and who of you has ever managed to keep a five piece band together that long? See! Plus, I always thought they could sing, and hey, they proved it, at least AJ, Brian and Nick. They get another credit: They not only played their greatest hits, they introduced eight news songs. Which come out in June, if anyone cares. Those who do, will have dowloaded it by then.
So, after two hours, the thing became pretty stale and luckily found a gracious, fast ending: Although there have been hundreds of screaming girls, not a single person shouted for an encore. Weird. The houselights came on, the girls streamed outside to look for their dads car. 11pm - still enuff time to catch a Camper or Cracker tune a couple of blocks away...

Camper Van Cracker Unplugged

Camper Van Cracker Unplugged
Originally uploaded by romangame.
So down to the Bowery Ballroom, where Crackpot van Beethoven just started lowerying around. Director David on a spanish acoustic, Lisher and Hickman duelling on (low) electric, supported for the encores by the Hackensaw Boys. Campercrack, too, dished out some hits.

And this is where you, dear reader, come in. Let the Battle of the Bands begin. Which song would you prefer to hear now

a) I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys
b) Do you need anything from Duty Free? - Cracker


a) Show me the meaning of being lonely - Backstreet Boys
b) Take the skinheads Bowling - Camper Van Beethoven.

If you answered a two times, go to If you answered b two times, post your own music on this blog.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Headquarters Help Christo Out

To boost the reputation of upcoming artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the famous New York band Headquarters decided to take their new band photos in front of The Gates, an outdoor art installation that decorated Central Park for ten days in spring 2005. Says singer Charles Wallace: "We felt that this piece of art deserves a bit more attention. The two artists have been working on this project for a long time, so we thought that telling our fans about it might help them get the recognition they deserve." For the photo shoot with photographer Tobias Klutke, the band even managed to get up early and get to Central Park while there was still daylight. Since then, Headquarters went back to their studio at an undisclosed location to record new material, which will be out soon. Despite thousands of requests, we have no confirmation yet that they actually recorded a ballad. For more info, go to For music, click on the headline of this post.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Does Scarlett Johansson Like Morex Optimo?

Forever more ex optimo
Originally uploaded by romangame.
It's a pretty safe bet that Gwyneth Paltrow likes Coldplay and Kate Hudson likes the Black Crowes. But what about Hollywood's hottest new actress, Scarlett Johansson? Rumor has it that she loves Brooklyns very own Morex Optimo, who late last year released their furious CD "Beast of Reflexion".
Not that Johannson is to marry Optimo frontman Kristofer Widholm soon (or even going out with him, fot that matter), but having heard his music, you can easily understand why Scarlett would fall for it: It's cool and hot at the same time, both heady and frantic, smart and sexy, just like the "Lost in Translation" star. Morex Optimo will play Galapagos Art Space on March 26th at 7pm. I will be there, not just because I hope that Scarlett will show up, but because the Optimos will serve breakfast, or so they promised.

Karaoke Stars at the Lucky Cat

Most of you guys missed it, but it was great anyway: Joe McGinty's Piano Parlour develops into the tuesday night hot spot in Williamsburg. Last nights performances by Erik Paparozzi (beatlesque, folky pop tunes) and Nikko Weidemann (german/english heartbreak pop) confirmed this. For some of the songs, Nikko was accompained by the great Don Piper ( on lap steel and by accordeonist Cassis (
The party really got going when Joe opened his weekly piano karaoke and accomplished singers such as Kristofer of Morex Optimo or Kerry Kennedy of the Blue Sparks started belting out classics. A Hurray also for the two girls who did "Sitting at the dock of the Bay". Guts, people, that's all it takes.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Flaming Ground - Frank is up and gone!

When the swiss plane takes off tonight at 9pm, it will take with it one of the most special characters the swiss american community had to offer to the city during the last ten years. A writer and journalist, Frank Heer not only played music with Melomane and C.Gibbs, he also is half of the Ambient-Duo Bingo Palace and spun records and remixes as DJ Mr. Privateman. To hear some of the Bingo Palace tracks while you read this, click on the headline of this post.

Frank moves back to Switzerland to promote his first novel, "Flammender Grund", which means flaming ground. In short, it's about a swiss teacher who flees Switzerland and tries to shed his past in the glittering sun of the death valley. The beautiful stranger Jade helps him on the search for his great grand father's bones.

Frank is touring Germany, Austria and Switzerland, reading from his novel. Often times, the readings are supported by visuals by Tamar Berkovits, taken at the locations Frank used for his book.

Frank, you been a great friend for the last fifteen years, please stay in touch! Good luck!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Dorit Chrysler Superstar

Go Google your name! How many hits that are actually talking about you do you get? I get maybe 60. If you google Dorit Chrysler, you get about 1'040. This alone should tell you, how big the austrian-born thereminist already is, and things are only getting better for the artist that Time Out magazine called "the female Curt Cobain" back in the nineties. She's far more than that, and she's on tour again. Lucky Europeans have the chance to see and hear the etheral girl:
March 15 - 24: Various shows in VIENNA, March 25 NUERNBERG Stereo Deluxe, March 27 VIENNA Fluc, April 7, PRAGUE, CR, April 8, KRAKAU, P, April 9, BRATISLAVA, SL, April 10, BUDAPEST, H, April 23 VIENNA, Tanzquartier
And then finally we get a chance to see her, again, too, on April 29th in NYC at Moving Patterns Festival, with special guest Gibby Haines of immortal Butthole Surfers fame. More new on, and to listen to some of her tracks, click on the headline, yknow.

Melomane On the Way to Where they Belong

Melomane at Tonic
Originally uploaded by romangame.
After years of playing every possible venue in and around New York, Melomane have reached the masters league of classic pop. A sophisticated, savy and stylish brand of timeless beauty and melodic artistry, combined with Pierre De Gaillande concise lyrics. Offhandedly, their new record includes their best hit ever, "I'm in love with love". The CD has not been released yet, but you can come see their next show at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg, Saturday March 26 at 830PM. With Morex Optimo ( and Ad Frank, not to mention stunning visual wizardry by Kevin Campbell. As always, click on the headline to hear some Melotunes.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Botanica: New Record and European Tour

Botanica All Over Europe
Originally uploaded by romangame.
Oh, friends overseas, one of our finest exports is coming over to pamper your ears on an extended tour! Their new record "Vs. the Truth Fish" is without a doubt the best yet and includes hits such as "Love is the difference" and "For You". Here in the States, they now also have the great Pete Min on guitar. In Europe, they tour as a powerful quartet. Here are the dates:
3/11 BONN (D) Harmonie
3/12 BERLIN (D) Maschinenhaus
3/13 STUTTGART (D) Laboratorium
3/14 VIERSEN (D) Conny's
3/15 GENEVA (CH) l'Usine
3/17 VIENNA (A) B-72
3/18 STEYR (A)
3/19 NEU-ULM (D) NuBahnhof
3/20 BIELEFELD (D) Forum
3/21 PARIS (F) House of Live
3/22 BRUSSELS (B) Botanique
3/23 GENT (B) Vooruit
3/24 OFFENBACH (D) Hafen 2
3/26 KREFELD (D) Blauer Engel

To hear their music and learn more about the band, go to or click on the headline of this post.

The Blue Sparks Shine Stronger Than Ever

The Blue Sparks' Kerry Kennedy
Originally uploaded by romangame.
Blue Sparks have definitely overcome bass player Alana's departure and are back with strong songs, a tight set and Mike Dos Santos (Ex-Realistics) on bass and vox.
Blue Sparks recorded four tracks with Martin Bisi (for those not in the know: check out as recording engineer and Christian Bongers (see Botanica) as producer. The EP will be released soon and features the songs Zombie Ladies, Shadows, Cracked Cement and Thin Line. Listen to last two tracks at or just click on the headline of this post.

New Model Army Take Brooklyn

For the first time in 11 years, a full line-up of New Model Army performed in New York. At Southpaw in Brooklyn, Justin Sullivan led his band through most of the big hits: 51st State, No Rest for the Wicked, Poison Street, Stupid, it was all there. Justin seemed very at ease and looks better than ever. The band is just great. "Green and Grey" reminded me of back home and I started bawling like a baby in the midst of long haired punk rock hippies. yep.

There's Room to Come!

The four guys in Room were at a loss of words early Thursday morning after their rehearsal. For the first time ever, things fell into place for the noisy quartet: Not only did bass player Jean Cosme get the knack of it, singer Jon hit a couple of right notes, guitarist Roman was happy with his sound and drummer Martial played his best since the early nineties. Listening to boring Jazz at Cebulon in Williamsburg they agreed on one thing: This room should be moving!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

NiKKO Back in NY - News Songs in German

Originally from Berlin/Germany, Nikkolai Weidemann lived in New York for five years, then moved back to the thriving German city. Whether Nikko sings in English or in German, he is an equally gifted singer/songwriter and has worked with such diverse artists as Nick Cave, Einstürzende Neubauten and pop wunderkind Nena.

Nikko is going to play one acoustic show during his two week-stay in New York, on Tuesday, March 15th at Lucky Cats in Williamsburg (Havemeyer and Grand Sts.) More info to follow!

Monday, March 07, 2005

C Gibbs and Mr. Privateman at the Knitting Factory

The incredible C. Gibbs played the Knitting Factory Friday night, with a little help of Swiss artist and author Frank Heer. Heer returns to Switzerland to promote his first novel, "Flammender Grund" (Hoffmann & Campe).

C Gibbs has an amazing new record out, learn more about it at

Friday, March 04, 2005

United Enkels live at the Hafenbuffet in Rorschach

United Enkels
Originally uploaded by romangame.
This is a shot from the traditional yearly United Enkels show we did in Rorschach this year. We play all our favorites from the late seventies and the early eighties. Punk rock, in fact. This year's set included the Psychedelic Furs, The Jam, Wire, XTC, Vapors, The Ruts, Eddie And The Hot Rods, The Clash, Members, Smiths, Blondie, Fischer Z, Magazine, Elvis Costello and Triffids. The amazing Paul Gruber and his band Ashbury Road with Carmen Hutter on vocals opened. Painhead's Magga joined for two songs, so did the Valets' Sam Kunz and Adrian Elsener. Thank you all!