Thursday, May 31, 2007

Full Blast Full Tank Punk Rock

The Bar's called Trash, so what do you expect? Full blast Dirty Pretty Things from the stereo, the fat stench of sausages and fries wafting through the spot, and in the backroom spilled beer. Then the six pretty girls from Full Tank take the stage, all in black and somehow make it all feel very authentic and entertaining the way a rock show should be: Stone age punk rock with witty lyrics and and a dose of cynical grrl power easily make up for the lack in musical training. On the contrary, the dilettante approach is disarmingly charming. And you try to keep six power women together! Easy stage banter, too - Halona: "Thank you all for coming, even if you didn't come to see us". Lyuba: "But you did." Yeah, and we'll come again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Swiss Troubadours

The news is, the 'Bar on A' is fully sound-proofed now. So when Bernd, Roman and Mike performed there last Thursday night, no neighbour complained, what a relief! They first played a set of songs by popular Swiss singer-songwriter Mani Matter who died tragically in a car crash in 1972. Every Swiss kid knows his songs, so all the Swissies were singing along in the cozy bar. Here is a video of the performance of 'I han es Zuendhoelzli azuendt', a song about how lighting a match for your cigarette could cause a world war and finally the extinction of mankind:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Frank Welcomed by Fakintosh, C. Gibbs and Dorit

Frank couldn't have picked a much nicer weekend to arrive back in New York than this last one, but let me tell you about the events in pictures rather than tons of words. After a welcome dinner at Blog headquarters, we were looking forward to the Art Market at the Feather Factory's Growing Studio. While we still didn't get to hear Fuckintosh perform live, there was a chance to see and hear his entire catalogue. Taiwan showed most interest in buying him and got the price. There were other interesting pieces to see, but unfortunately not enough buyers. Next time maybe, invite everybody to bring and sell their art or stuff - that way a lot of artists get to network and show off their talents.

Sunday showcased a totally different Christian Gibbs than the one we saw Wednesday at the same spot: Luna Lounge hosted Gibbs's quiet chamber pop orchestra Lucinda Black Bear, who's new LP is a smash. Sunday, they let the guitars wail and bass and drums bang away in a furious and highly inspiring set as The Droves. It left us so hungry for more meaty sounds, we had to go to Fette Sau for some excellent beef barbecue, after hearing the tunes of great old New York instiution Big Lazy, who are just the best when it comes to the mix of Ennio Morricone and Neil Young twang guitars.

The weekend was rounded off for Frank, who showed no signs of jet lag, by a vaudevillean crowd of artists at Rose and crowned by the performance of Dorit Chrysler who we've recommended so many times, it is really your fault if you haven't seen her yet. And you won't get another chance soon: While many NY bands are on the way of conquering Europe (Hi, Morex Optimo, howzit going? Yo, Botanica, getting enough fresh air in that tour bus?), Chrysler has Australia all to herself for the next few months...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Now for something completely different...

It doesn't always have to be loud rock music, right? Thursday night after 9pm at Bar on A (Ave. A at the corner of 11th Street), Bernd and Roman are going to take you back to the songs of the greatest Swiss balladeer ever, Mani Matter. Then, the unique Mike Fornatale (known from The Monks and Sho' Nuff, as well as stellar performances with the Loser's Lounge) will join the two to plunder hits from Pop history, from Bowie to Depeche Mode. Also, expect to her the lament of the Cambodian Midget Fighting League, learn how to deflect an asteroid and how to use your mind as a corn field. And it's all for free - it would be great to see you!

Blinddate Europe

The Germans were ruling at the 'Blinddate Europe' party at the Galapagos last Wednesday, but the Austrians left a big mark: the lineup was 'neonagin' aka Jim Avignon, Dorit Chrysler and Felix Kubin. Finally hearing some really good electronic music in New York, it felt a little like being back home!

Somehow only a German brain can think of a performance like that: 'neonagin' took us on a journey through Europe telling a story for each country, emphasizing it all with unique visualization.

Then Dorit Chrysler, the Austrian theremist, gave a magical performance enchanting everybody in the room:

And last but not least, Felix Kubin from Hamburg rocked the house with his one-of-a-kind experimental electronic music. Here is a video and please just ignore the conversation in the audience in the beginning of it. Those Americans just never know when to shut up and dance:

You can find more pictures from that night in my photodiary and more movies on my youtube account.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Comeback of the Piano

Seems like finally Elton John and Billy Joel get some serious competition. We've told you about Wakey! Wakey! on this blog, now, hailing from the same scene, comes Luke Wesley. His music is beautiful piano pop with twisted lyrics and hooks, real nice and not peanuts and Pabst at all. Often reminding me of the great underrated british group Love and Money. He is playing with a full band at the Annex on June 3rd at 10pm and hopes to see yer all there.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Power Trio Unites in Berlin

I am a little late with this, but the almost historical meeting of C. Gibbs and Private Frank with Nikko Weidemann deserves more than a mention here. Coming through Berlin on their European tour in April Gibbs and Heer hooked up for some tunes with Nikko, who back in the late Nineties led the excellent "Passion Fruit", the closest thing NYC ever had to New Zealand's Crowded House. Frank writes from Switzerland: "It was wonderful to play with Nikko, a highlight of an already great tour. People love the Gibbsieman over here. His new CD is truly amazing!" Frank will ride into town himself next Friday and we hope Christian and him sit down for a New York performance of their Euro set. Soon thereafter, this blog will throw two great parties, on June 9th for Tami's 30th Birthday Bash and then on the 13th, when we'll host an open mic night for my 4-0. But more about that soon, for now, we're including Tam's great flyer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

No Trash Whatsoever

While Roman enjoyed Swiss music in New York last Friday, I showed a Swiss resident the real New York: I went out to Williamsburg with my visiting friend to see Morex Optimo play. She was not so sure that a place called 'Trash Bar' would be the place to hear good music, but luckily got convinced otherwise:

First played a Detroit band called Freer and they were impressive. The singer is a dark-haired Chris Martin in looks as well as in sound. He seems to be pouring his heart into the singing and keyboard playing, crawling on the floor to emphasize the pain he is going through. The bass player sports some catchy bass lines and obviously loves his Marilyn Monroe T-Shirt (Hey, where did you get that???). The inconspicuous guitarist plays squealing solos like back in the early Nineties and the drummer certainly knows how to work the breakbeats. All together a great Pop experience and we all bought a CD, which is great too; some songs are maybe a tiny bit too corny for me, but I would definitely get anti-social with those boys the next time they come play in New York, no matter how ordinary men they are. Watch their performance in the video I made and decide if you would join in:

Finally Morex Optimo was on and this band is definitely ready to bring that sophisticated rock to Europe. The band was tight and the sound in the Trash place was actually really good:

Kristofer was wearing his famous shredded suit and sang like a little god. Pierre posed as the French bon vivant in his white shirt with rolled up sleeves and proved that he masters the bass in addition to all the other instruments. Jan led the band band through all the complicated changes of tempi and well, I guess the drummer is always the cutest in a band if you ever get to see him. Kerry wore the hottest high-heels in town and also played and sang like a goddess. We decided that she is a music warrior, because she had actually played another show with the band Overlord the very same night! I hope my treat to a dinner the following night gave them all the energy back that they had released during that gig.

Check my photo diary for more pics from both shows.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Young Gods, Old Acquaintances and a Lot of Beautiful Avenue B Memories

Norbert Möslang at the Swiss Institute in New York

Sometimes this city is all it promises. A spring weekend which combines art, sports, entertainment, good food, great stories and amazing live music, shared with people we like. Sounds cheesy, but it wasn't. It started out Thursday with the second night of the Music Festival at the Swiss Institute curated by Georg Gatsas, whom I wrote about for Tagblatt here.
After an early soccer game which Fa and me lost to the Mexicans, we ventured to Broom and Broadway to see Norbert Möslang with his light-triggered soundscapes, which went really well with smoking out the window of the SI and talking to Young Gods singer Franz Treichler, who took digital nightshots of yellow cabs. Next up were Dalek, who transformed the gallery into a rhythm drenched and smoky thieves den. At least thats what it musta looked have like to the cops who came busting the place, shining the flashlight into the innocent art crowd at the SI. They took director Gianni Jetzer with them for good measure, but it took gianni about a block to charm his way out of the handcuffs and back into the safe haven of the art institute.

The Queen of the Theremin at the Box: D.C.

But not enough action for the night. We went over to the Box on Christie's where the Queen of the Theremin was announced by the creative new vaudevilleans around Serge Becker. And, alas, we guessed right the QoT turned out to be the one we'd have voted for, the one and only Dorit Chrysler. Let me also say that the Box has the best club music at the moment in NYC.

The Young Gods acoustic show at the SI.

Back to work on Friday first, but with another big night looming, where it all would come together again: The Young Gods from Geneva, swiss prime musical export, with New York experience, bringing it all home at the Swiss Institute with an acoustic show that effortlessly went from Folk to Industrial, from Doors to Cure, from Eighties to 2007. And as if that wasn't enough we all went to Dorits place where the truly biggest New York private party in years convened the hip young European art crowd with Möslang, the Young Gods, NY alternative stars like Larry Seven, Foetus, Joe McGinty and probably another 25 bands you will soon hear about on this blog. Biggest thanx and kudos go out to Dorit and Jesper, the perfect hosts, Franz and Norbert for being real and to Fa for being the last to go home.
You will understand that the next two days were dedicated solely to soccer and good food, love and understanding. As shwon examplary by Anitas dinner party for Morex Optimo and selected members of Room, where Pierre again proved to be a unique storyteller (more about my nightmare soon) and Bernd showed us the simple beauty of scientific argumentation. Too bad we missed Morex Optimo at the Trash Bar on Saturday, but Im sure Anita is gonna tell you all about that here soon!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A True Feelies Fest at Magnetic Field

Glenn Mercer and Brenda Sauter still feelieng it

But thanks to the always open mind and ears of a certain music lover in St. Gall, Switzerland, we got word that Glenn Mercerand Brenda Sauter of Feelies fame were playing at Magnetic Field, the beloved little bar on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn last Saturday. Mercer, who together with Bill Million, led the Feelies is working on a new album, so we expected to hear a lot of new material. There were some great new songs that make us look forward to the release of the album on June 5th, but the band truly began to shine when they turned to old Feelies numbers. You could feel the pure joy and happiness these tunes evoke running thorugh the audience. We were all giddy after the show. Brenda's Band Wild Carnation opened, with a little help of Glenn, then Mercer took over, with Brenda lending a Hand. Outstanding renditions of Patti Smith's Dancing Barefoot and the glorious "Only Life". Extra plus: Percussionist Stan Demeski. His rolling drums are this sound's secret weapon. St. Gall, we recommended you highly for their European tour, which unfortunately isn't booked yet.

The Man Who Made Geek Dance Sexy

Jarvis Cocker at Webster Hall New York, April 23rd

He's not Jesus, but he has the same initials. He's not Mick Jagger, but he has the same sex appeal: Jarvis Cocker, the third power in the Brit pop triumvirate of the late Nineties visited us hipsters in downtown New York for the first time in nearly a decade for a delightful night at Webster Hall. The man is full of himself, songs like "One Man Show" and "From A to I" suggest, but he still has it - the nerdy Michael Jackson moves, the long limbs and lascivious stride, the voice, the britness. He's commanding the audience, backed by a great band. Highlights included his new single "Don't let him waste your time" and "Cunts are still running the world". Other times, some of the songs were almost cheesy, but I guess that's okay, John Lennon was allowed to do that, too. We recommend Jarvis highly for the British Preservation Society. Give the man a medal, Liz, he's a walking advertisment for England.