Monday, November 23, 2009

Punk Sunday at Glasslands: Pretendo, The Walking Hellos

Seems they are making this a habit: Sunday night intelligent indie punk at Glasslands with Pretendo and the Walking Hellos. Itäs not much for when you are a sucker for PAs, but a lot of fun if you like to see how a band makes the best of it and just goes for the soul of the rock, the mesmerizing moments of rhythm and harmony, as exemplified again by New York's most unpretentious trio, Pretendo.

A wake up call for this reporter from the Walking Hellos who in fine moods and energetic playing made a lot of bands of boys look like sissies. The ladies harmonize great togehter, and oh those bass lines remind us very much of Mr. Macho himself, JJ Burnel of the Stranglers. And watch out, Kristin Müller, Heather Wagner is a strong contender for best female drummer this year!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Unfinished History of The Stranglers

Finally, there's a relatively fair look back on the Stranglers and their achievements on the newly improved YouTube. It's produced by BBC and though the quality is pretty low, there is some stuff you probably never new of the most underrated of the successful punk bands. The documentary ends before the publication of the Strangler's latest and best in decades album, Suite XVI (see review in the sidebar below).

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Merry Macabre Danse

Here's a peak at the first collaboration between Mike "Morricone" Lawson (Git and Production) and Roman Game (Song, Vid). A raunchier version of "Macabre Danse" can sometimes be heard live, played by the band Room. Though we are never sure if the fourth chord is an F# or an F#m. You tell us.

Monday, November 09, 2009

There's Room At Fat Baby This Thursday!

After the delightful evening we shared at Fat Baby with Anton Sword and the We Ours and Brett's band Too Many Zebras, we were invited back to the nice club on the LES. So ROOM will play there this Thursday, November 12th, downstairs. Fat Baby is at 112 Rivington St. (Between Ludlow & Essex). This time, we will play more than six songs and make it worth your time, promised! And you'll get to sing one, if you want, in our brand new Karaoke part of the set. Come early and see Safe Pair Of Hands at 10PM!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Machu Picchu, I'm back from Peru! 10 days in a country that is most colorful, friendly, proud of it's history and a place where a lot of people don't worry about money. Who says you are poor if you make less than two bucks a day? Climb a mountain near Cusco and look down on the majestic place of Machu Picchu. See the rain move in and then the clouds part, the sun comes out and you're literally standing somewhere over the rainbow. I'm not really a hippie but this region is mystical. Not much in terms of rock music, though. Here's a picture of the only show I saw - traditional Peruvian and Inca Folk dances. Smitten.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Room, Anton Sword and Too Many Zebras

FAT BABY is at 112 Rivington Street, btw. Essex and Ludlow. Room team up again with Anton Sword and the We Ours as well as Too Many Zebras, Brett Hammond's new exciting vehicle. Expectations? Let's put it in Anton's words: "We feel like you, our audience, is as much a creator of our music as we are. None of it would be possible --well, sort of possible, but not very enjoyable -- without you. So we hope some of you come by so we can play for you and with you. Sappy, eh? Yet true. We are not deluded. Sure, we make the music, but making a night is a team effort between us all." You in?


Eurotrash outfit ROOM have gained a reputation for giving quite riotous shows in the past five years, but with recently added keyboard wizard Quentin Jennings (Melomane, The Dylans, C. Gibbs Review) and saxophone master Dave Spinely (The Snow, Morricone Youth) they have polished their rock and discovered some gems among their songs. Martial Vivot ist not just the best hair stylist in town, he's also known as French Keith Moon. Jean-Cosme Delaloye has a shiny white new bass that rivals his looks. Burnt Finger sets the guitar on fire. Singer Roman Game added a few new pieces to his series of songs about professions. Come hear the story of the Wealth Manager 2008 or the one about the Parachute Tester, packed in Room's tight psychedelic pop punk.

"No testosterone metal crap. I hope these guys go far!" - Captain Sensible, The Damned
"It's a wonder nobody gets hurt!" - Bob, Owner of Bar On A, Manhattan
"I'm glad I'm Room's friend." - Ed Ball of Television Personalities
"Great songs!" - Karl Wallinger, World Party


Too Many Zebras got their name from an audition gone wrong! Brett and Martin hailing from the UK but now NYC transplants made their American debut on tour with the reggae band UB40. At that time they were in the Brit rock band Bigmouth (V2 artist Chris Hicken aka 'Cantinero'). Bigmouth were signed to Stu Fine's Wild Pitch Record label in NYC and worked with 2x Grammy award winning producer Neil Dorfsman (Sting, Paul McCartney) on their self titled release Bigmouth which picked up airplay nationally. Touring the Wild Pitch release they shared the stage with Presidents Of The United States, Spacehog, Tracey Bonham, The Buzzcocks and many more.

Brett and Martin went on to develop their skills with another underground band from NYC called Sunshine Club and ended up touring in the UK in 2007. Steve Williams is a seasoned drummer who has worked and toured with David Byrne (Talking Heads), Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) Sade, Ivan Neville, PM Dawn and De La Soul amongst many more. The trio got together when Brett and Martin felt they needed to re-discover their early UK roots and find a sound that incorporated all the best of post-punk UK bands that influenced them. They reached out to the NYC music community and found Steve who was drawn to the band as he has worked extensively with British music artists and felt an affinity with the sound Brett and Martin were making, so was formed Too Many Zebras. They are currently recording and performing in NYC.


“Interesting, musically subtle, tasteful, original, witty music...infectiously rhythmic and impossibly memorable. “

“Dark and scintillating and full of texture...Anton Sword is a storyteller with an artist's ear for music, constructing these vast musical landscapes against which his bard’s tales are told...The musicianship is outstanding. “

One day when he was a child in New York City Anton put his ear against a speaker in a dark apartment on the Upper West Side and went into a trance. He had a long dream. When he woke up twenty years later his heart was permanently broken, but in a good way. Trying to make a movie out of the turbulence in his mind, he found himself writing songs at the piano instead, blending Roxy Music's weird romance, John Lennon's plangent sincerity, Radiohead's art-prog, and Elliott Smith’s melancholy with jazzier and more indie-rock influences. Over the past two years the songs have been brought to full pop power by Sword’s amazing band The We Ours, which showcases thrilling drummer Kristin Mueller (also of Lucinda Black Bear), and great group vocals by savory guitarist Kristofer Widholm (Morex Optimo), sweet guitarist Julian Maile (Spray Paint Star, Losers Lounge) and bassist/cellist Jessica Hallman.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Totally Feelies'd!

They might look like dentists and farmers, but rock like mighty gods

So we missed All Tomorrow's Parties in Monticello, but then again, the best band of that line-up - The Feelies - came to town on Sunday and gave an impressive three hour show of hi-speed pop that simply no other band comes close to. These guys are close to their 50s, but itäs the pure energy of fresh straight forward rock music, brain, belly and all. They played three new songs, all the classic stuff, lots off of Crazy Rhythm. And - possibly a New York record - 12 encores, including not only covers of the Doors, the Stones (Paint it Black) and two turbo Beatles songs (Everybody's Got Something to Hide, She said), but also the beautiful Wire song "Outdoor Miner" which totally made my day. Had a chance to talk shortly talk to Bill Million after the set. They have not yet recorded a new album, but Bill said they eventually will. The purpose of the Feelies getting back together, he said, was not to cash in on reunion gigs with the old stuff, but to write new songs. So have patience!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Room, Anton Sword and The Proclivities

The most philosophical tunesmith Anton Fine and his superb We Ours have invited us to play The National Underground this Wednesday.
Opening the festivities at 8pm will be The Proclivities, a charming band from North Carolina who will make you smile with their folk/pop/rock hybrid and their lovely singing, says Anton, who met them on tour.
Up next at 9pm, the We Ours will make us rethink Bowie and the Beach Boys, with just a hint of Queen. The band's recent gigs have shown them in splendid form!
Room's on Fire at 10pm, we promise we'll turn it up to the full energy level this time again. Come help us!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Sad Little Stars Are Back As We Intersect

And how! Paul Wallfisch and his Small Beast made it possible: After what seems like more than a year of absence from the stage, Rachel and Max of this bloggers favorite New York band The Sad Little Stars performed a splendid set of songs on Monday night as We Intersect. Don Paul - brimming with energy and playful as ever -opened the evening. Later he joined the great Alice Texas and her band through dark, but warm numbers, before Rachel and Max took the stage, him on piano, her on just the right amount of synth. They played not only old faves from the Sad Little Stars Record - yes, Don't Fuck With Love - but also an interesting choice of covers: Ramones, Big Star and the Smiths, among them. Most captivating though were the new songs. At times, I thought I hear a new song by John Lennon that Lennon didn't write, then I heard a new hit by Depeche Mode that they had nothing to do with. But not only the songs are great pieces, the duo's vocal delivery is impeccable, pitch perfect, the harmonies soothing the soul, the mind wandering. This is music at its purest.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spike Lee's "Passing Strange" with C.Gibbs

This is the trailer for Spike Lee's new movie "Passing Strange". It's a kind of a wild concert film about the musical that was shown last year on Broadway and featured Christian Gibbs. If you couldn't make it to the real thing, now you get a taste of what you missed. The film's opening tomorrow, Friday, Aug 20th at IFC cinema in the West Village. Meet Christian at the 6:15 showing. And yes, they were kind enough to keep the musicians in the movie.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The One Year Band and the The Clean Room

Room and The One Year Band live at Fontana's. Pic by Rozenn Nicolle

Fontana's the Third: Quite an overbooked evening, six or seven bands in one night, not quite the room we hoped for. You do with what you can, so we cut the sets down, which is especially sad in the case of the One Year Band with the fantastic Karen Geyer in the somber spotlight teasing the microphone but not using it. The sound reminding here of Velvet Underground, sonic landscapes, flurries of Pink Floyd and probably a vast universe of jazz and classical stuff, but what do I know about that.
Room came in black for a change, a little introspective yet overloaded, cruising on autu-control through a set of too many slow songs. Living in the fast lane on the wrong track? Nah, just break before the curves. Room will be back with Anton and the We Ours at National Underground on September 9th, and who knows what to expect then.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Room and the One Year Band at Fontana's

Your lovely Euro Wave outfit ROOM is back after a little summer break with new songs, new form, a new guitar for Burnt and a new bass for Jean-Cosme. While Martial is vacationing in France, the great Tim Kuhl is going to be drumming with us his grooves bind the band into a pretty tight, powerful unit. Come on down and hear the story of the Parachute Tester, the Development Aid Worker and the Fish Cutter, among others.

Opening at 10PM is the ONE YEAR BAND, a fantastic project by Swiss-german artist Karen Geyer who arrived in New York about a year ago with the plan to form a band, rehearse for a year, give a hand full of shows and then disband... This is their FIRST GIG EVER and from what we hear from the rehearsal space, it will be grand.

It's 5 bucks at the door, but if you can't afford this, drop me a line and I'll put you on the guest list - we wanna have your ear, not your money. Bring your friends and spread the word! We hope to see you!

Room live at Fontana's on May 7th with veteran Roomie Jan Haux

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Beast and the Flash in the Frying Pan

Quentin, Roman and Daria playing at Eveline and Roger's wedding. Picture by Rita Emch, thanx.

The first of August, Swiss National Day, as you all know by now, brought another nice party on the roof of 230 5th Avenue and then Roger and Eveline's very musical wedding on the Frying Pan at Pier 66. And mark this date: They had a combo of great musicians there and honestly, it was the first time ever that jazz really got me: Warm, compelling, tight and light. We danced. Daria and quentin joined me for a song for the wedding couple. We took in the evening breeze at the reeling of the old lighthouse boat and looked at the lights of the city.

The week had started with the Small Beast at Delancey, where we were on the same bill as Paul Wallfisch from Botanica, the unique Martin Bisi, who once again proved that nobody really knows what's going on inside the heads of genius producers. Excentric barely describes Martin's Music! Then the sweet Cherie Lily was on and played cute bubblegum pop songs with backing tracks, a 20 minute dose of happiness. We took the stage after eleven, Dave Spinely joined on most of the set adding great but subtle power to some hooks. Burnt lit up his new nashville guitar. I felt i had a nice reverb on my voice, and the acoustic was not too much out of tune. Looks like people could follow the lyrics and seemed to like the song about fish cutter and the one abut the parachute tester most. Karen geyer, who showed up to play double bass on two songs by the late troubadour Mani Matter and had never rehearsed with us, ended up playing almost the whole set after a quick look at the song sheets. Amazing - wait till you hear her with her own material, for example on August 13th at Fontana's. More about that show with Room soon. For the finale at the beat, swiss artist Regula Kueffer joined on flute and the extraordinary chef rocker Tobi Joi played his selfmade alphorn called 'alprose', at which point even the bartender noticed there was a live band.

Ne personne ici joue comme Martin Bisi

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Martin Bisi and Roman Game Taking On The Beast

For half a year now, the indefatigable Paul Wallfisch has built his Small Beast at the Delancey into a true show of strength of the New York Underground Rock scene - as proven last Monday by Anton Sword and the We Ours' intimate performance, then refortified by the returning beast master Kerry Kennedy and in the end tastefully executed by Blasco. Carrying on the torch next Monday will be the unique New York phenomenon Martin Bisi. Should you be new to this blog or ignorant of Martin's merits, google the man and you will enter truly legendary territory. I'm honored to be on the same bill with the man. Luckily, I'll be getting a little help from the unwavering Quentin Thor Luther Jennings, the eternally Burning Finger, backboned by Dave the Spine... we'll see. Considering the economic crisis, I'll mostly play songs about possible job opportunities - from the Fish Cutter over the Hand Model to the Parachute Tester. Here's one for the Librarian:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Depression Entertainment: Free Park & Bar Shows

The crowd at the Raveonettes show in Coney Island.
Blonde Redhead a couple of weeks ago brought it back - the feeling of good live music on a summer eve in an open air park, and all for free (or three, if you're not too cheap to pay the suggested donation). Since then, I'm taking every opportunity I can: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at South Street Seaport, the Kronos Quartet at Prospect Park, the Philharmonics with Mahler in Central Park, Built to Spill and the Raveonettes at the Siren festival in Coney Island, the Dirty Projectors at Williamsburg Waterfront Concerts. While there are still not enough opportunities to go for a swim in Brooklyn (watch the video with surprise appearance by KW), you can at least go crowd surfing here pretty easily... Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So Who Wants to Live in Florida?

Right...what did i miss: Wilco. Yo La Tengo. Mission of Burma. Nathan Halpern. Heather Wagner. Soccer. Where was I? Miami! Beach! Godammit, what is wrong with this american people. Florida reminds me of Schwarzeneggers classic "Total Recall": People take vacations in a protected environment, air-conditioned and pre-prepared, over-priced and make-believe. It is rumored that the court building i had to go sit in, because the swiss still protect tax offenders, was partially built on money from the Florida mob to acquiesce local justice... Anyway. Glad to be back. My young swiss friends Marco und Niklaus have returned back to Rorschach by the time i get back to NYC. I think they got the idea. The apartment looks immaculate and there is beer in the fridge. If you care to visit, Painhead is my offcial travel agency, ask judge Martin.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

2 Hours of Mass with The Church

The Theatre and its Double: The Church at Irving Plaza
The Church have their most prolific six months behind them: A proper new studio album, Untitled #23, two EPs, and a soundtrack to a book and movie called Shriek. And as if that wasn't enough, singer Klibey has another three albums worth of material out, his solo album Painkiller, a collaboration with Martin Kennedy called "Unseen Music, Unheard Words" and last not least his great idea with The Esoteric Music Club Website, where you can download tracks for free as Kilbey puts them up when enough in donations has trickled in.
You would think that some of this flood of material must be either low fi or jam sessions or otherwise not top level - and you'd be wrong: Most of it is outstanding, none of it sucks. Moreover proved the band last night at Irving Plaza in New York that they are in a top form live and that the musical universe of the Church has never been bigger. Now, their fanbase desrves to grow, too - hey, them old dudes played for two and a half hours, celebrating the psychedelic and progressive like only Pink Floyd before. Like a football team that's on the way to win the championship, you ask yourself how long can they sustain such form?

Monday, June 29, 2009

JC & Anphibius go to the Movies

Maggots & Men from John O'Rourke on Vimeo features music by JC and Anphibius.

A new moving yet humorous documentary called "Lemcek Veci Vano" made by Alexandra Indaco just had it's premiere at the splendid Tuschinski Cinema in Amsterdam and will shortly be broadcast on AT5 in The Netherlands. It features music by JC and Anphibius. JC writes from Amsterdam: "The documentary is about the life of two inhabitants with schizophrenia in a Dutch Psychiatric Institution. They picked up the camera and showed us their view of the outside world. Jan just came out of prison and works on a care-farm, while the talented Anita tries to find her way out of the clinic and become more independent. Her jump off a diving-board reminds her of forgotten times..."

See the trailer here

But not enough of the two troubadours and their new romance with cinema. Here's a link to another film using their music: "Maggots & Men" by John O'Rourke, Trevor Whelan and Kit Teeling, being broadcast on national TV in Ireland.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kristofers Second Coming and Snow in Summer

Kristofer Widholm taming the Small Beast with "Pharmacy and Gardens"

The Snow: Hillary Downes, Pierre de Gaillande, Christian Bongers, and below Dave Spinley and the invisible drummer on the dance floor

Oh it's good to be back in the city, alright, especially on nights when special people like Kerry Kennedy turn, erm, 25, with a big birthday bash where Pierre de Gaillande, Ben Parish, Paul Wallfisch and yours truly hit the piano respectively the guitar and we end up singing outside in the garden at Union Pool. That's how you imagine life in Williamsburg, dontcha? And then the very next day our favorite bohemian/philosopher Kristofer Widholm comes out of hiding and plays his first solo show since 2001, before this blog even started. KW, along with PdG were the first to give me a musicl break in this city, way back before the turn of the millennium. The times have changed, the ears are more open for the clever, twisted and fascinating ruminants of Kristofer's "Pharmacy & Gardens," probably the only solo artist to have a plural in his name, as he self-deprecatingly notes. As a lead guitar player for Anton Sword's Wee Ours, he moreover has explored his skills beyond the amazing work he did with the unforgotten Morex Optimo. But as this photo shows: His performance works even without the guitar. More!!
Trying to tame Wallfisch's Small Beast - that btw moved to Monday nights now! - before KW were The Snow, who on the small stage - the drummer below on the dance floor - managed to create a warm sound, all members clicking and creating a magic carpet on which especially Hillary's voice beautifully floated between songs that remind us of great jazz standards and pop songs, just classics, somehow, although brand new.
This week also brought a free acoustic show by the Feelies at the Whitney Museum that I missed because the Financial Crisis played the United Nations. And then we celebrate Brooklyn like every summer at the bandshell in Prospect Park, last night with the usually superb Blonde Redhead. Made me think of old times, back when we played soccer with those guys.

Monday, May 18, 2009

In My Mind, I Take You with Me...

It's been a great couple of weeks with nice shows, great music, lovely people during an NYC spring that finally made it - you just can't help falling in love with New York City all over again, right when you're about to go on vacation...It's like that every year, isn't it. Anyway, before I touch Swiss ground tomorrow, let me take you through a quick photographical tour of what happened in the musical life of the Gamester recently...Good quality pics by Tobias Klutke.

Jan came to town and Room played two nice shows, starting to earn themselves a reputation as the Madness of New York...

...thanks largely, of course, to the glorious contributions of Quentin Jennings and Dave Spinely. What a fine room now!

I then had the chance to sing my song Beaches Apart with the wonderful Kerry Kennedy and her Ghostwise band. Leane shot great video of KK and Ghostwise, which I will post here as soon as I get the chance!

Also, the American Troubadour Charles Wallace was in town, dishing out his folk and protest songs in dark New York clubs instead of Switzerland's neat stages. Aided masterfully by Mollie Kings and - yes, it's him again - Quentin Jennings.

And not enough of the fine Dave Spine, here with his band The Snow who played a great set of fine chamber pop at Union Hall before Room.

More of the brave Dave, here in C. Gibbs newest outfit at their splendid performance at the Small Beast at Delancey, Paul Wallfischs ever growing Thursday event.

I leave you with a picture of Anton Fine and the We Ours, whom I have the pleasure to see live again in Switzerland, where they are currently touring. Also haunting Swiss clubs will be above mentioned Christian Gibbs with the esteemed Mr. Privateman Frank. Looking forward to breathe swiss air!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

More Room at Union Hall ...Now!

Couldn't make it on Thursday, but want to see and hear Brooklyn's new power outfit Room? Or been there Thursday but just didn't have enough Room? We are playing live again tonight, Saturday May 9th at Union Hall, Corner of 5th Avenue and Union Street, Brooklyn. It is a beautiful big bar with indoors boccia and a nice concert space downstairs.We are playing after the magic The Snow, who play modern pop music with great stories. Lucid Culture writes about the band: “The Snow’s name is somewhat ironic: this is very warm, accessible, emotionally vivid music.”. Captain Sensible of The Damned says of Room: "Nice mix of styles, no testosterone metal crap - I hope these guys go far!"

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


This Thursday, May 7th, come see one of the rare Room performances, enhanced by Jan Haux from Berlin on vocals and shenanigans, Quentin Jennings of Melomane and Dylans fame and Dave Spinely of The Snow who brings the legendary roar of a Psychedelic Furs sax. We play at 10.30m.

Then Kerry Kennedy will take the stage with her Ghostwise band - again including Jan, the original drummer for Ghostwise - and you will all be stunned by how soft and touching and smooth music can be.

Last but not least, Charles Wallace of the infamous American Mod band HeadQuarters is in town and presents new acoustic songs from the new folky CD "Amerikanischer Troubadour" that he produced in Switzerland. He first plays Public Assembly in Williamsburg (fromer Galapagos), then comes down to Fontanas. Last chance before he returns to Europe!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Singer/Songwriter vs. Rockstar

Not so Small Beast: Paul Wallfisch and Kerry Kennedy.
Walking into the Delancey on Thursday night I was pleasantly surprised: Paul Wallfisch's "Small Beast" night had rarely seen such a big crowd, among them celebrities like Peter Buck of R.E.M and Steve Wynn, formerly of Dream Syndicate. This promised to be a great night, Sally Norvell had just finished an inspired show, and a lot of friends of Kerry Kennedy's turned up to support her.

Then it turned out Ken Stringfellow of the Posies wanted to play before Kerry, breaking the common rule that the more famous act play last, so younger, lesser known artists get a chance to play in front of a larger audience. Not very gentlemanly, Mr. Stringfellow. Then he turned out to be a hyper sensitive diva who couldn't even handle a couple of loud college kids.

Peter Buck left during the first song. Then he turned out to be playing really boring, whimsical songs of heartache and pain. Steve Wynn left after the second song. Still there were some girls who seemed to love it and ate every word. Fair enough. I didn't even bother taking a photo of the former Posies singer, despite the fact that I really, really dig their first three LPs. I am more interested in good songwriting than in rockstars.

When Kerry finally took the stage it was way past midnight and the vibrant urgency of earlier in the night gone. Still Kerry and her band - Nathan on guitar, Jason on Bass, no drummer, but a creative Paul Wallfisch on piano - played a wonderful set of indie folk pop that fits the unique, fragile yet confident voice of the singer just perfect. It's a pity Buck and Wynn didn't get to hear it. But there will be other opportunities and no pos(i)er in the house.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Punk For A Sunday Night - Pretendo

Sunday nights my legs are heavy from Soccer and as long as HBOs Flight of the Conchords is on, there's a good chance, I won't leave the house. But, alas, the Conchord's season is over and Heather called and asked if i wanted to come out see Pretendo, Devon's band Room played with live a couple of years ago... It turned out to be well worth going out: This is pure punk rock energy, high level power, combined with great singing and good lyrics. Watch out you hipsters and wanna-be A&Rs: Here's New York's best kept secret music trio. Dont miss them next time!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Navel of Switzerland in New York

Here's a bit of Swiss culture you don't want to miss if you like Sonic Youth, Queens of the Stone Age or The Young Gods (whom they all supported): Navel from Basel is coming to town with their unique punk folk, tonight at the Annex on the Lower East Side at 9pm, Wednesday at Vanishing Point in Williamsburg. As you can see in the NME quote on the poster, modest, they are not. Energetic, driven and punching, yes. The band just comes from SXSW in Austin - probably the first Swiss band ever to play that festival. Come hear their music and stories from the South and the East. Who knows, maybe Pete Doherty is in town, too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lucinda Black Bear & Botanica Team Up

A packed and enthusiastic audience witnessed some of New York's finest rock music Saturday evening when Christian Gibbs and Paul Wallfisch got the best out of their bands Lucinda Black Bear and Botanica. Gibbs sounded richer than ever and included some fine new songs which the band are currently recording, before Christian is touring Switzerland again in May. Paul joined Lucinda for one track on piano, the delicate keys of Quentin Jennings were heard on two others, Anton Fine guested on one piece. After the almost traditional little starting problems with his equipment, Wallfisch and Botanica took the audience on a increasingly intensive trip through the darker soundscapes of rock, a wild play between the hauntingly beautiful morricone-guitars of John Andrews and Pauls mighty voice. How strange to watch the show not with one, but two ex-Botanica bass players: Dana Schechter and Christian Bongers enjoyed observing their mates!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives In All Its Glory

There are fabled super studios somewhere in Sweden, legendary places with the best gear in the world, all hand made quality work from neutral European countries, where million sellers as Abba, Roxette and the ghastly songwriter trio Stock Aitken Waterman's the big Sweden sound, and nobody does with such ease. Latest example: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, a band that's been around for some 15 years and has seen and done about everything by now. The six Swedes at the Bowery Ballroom dish out all kinds of styles, ideas, genres, soli: There's a bit of Oasis, a dose of Hüsker Dü, a cover of Nick Drake, all the while being a spinal tapish mix between 70's Stones and the Sir Douglas Quintet. Even the strong swedish vodka singer Lundberg must have enjoyed were no challenge to the band's seemingly effortless precision. A pleasure to enjoy the show with Kenny from Kreisor who's also a fan and knows what to say during shows and when to shut up!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Room/The We Ours: A Cold Night Turned Hot

Room live again, Fontana's NYC, Photos by Tobias Klutke

Despite a freezing cold Tuesday night, a friendly 70 people showed up to see the first live show of Room without Jan (who sends his regards from Berlin and was there in spirit), but with the gracious help of Quentin Jennings, who is also working on the new record by Roman and Room, an EP that should come out with the Easter bunny. The audience seemed to appreciate the new, redecorated and more orderly room and their new songs about jobs. Someone said Room sounded like the Buzzcocks, another compared it to the Jam, the third heard the Cure shining through. All very well with me. Denise shot these videos, Leane shot more footage, the combined edited version here soon.

Antons band - Kristofer on guitar and back voc, Jessica on bass and voc and Kristin covering their backs have grown into a tight combo. There are smiles onstage and a general feeling of everybody being at ease is transported to the audience, the melodies abducting us into a land of soothing, sunny weekend afternoons.

Fontana's has a nice sound system, friendly people working, the live area downstairs is a great space for a crowd of about 100+ people - Room as well as The We Ours will be back there soon!

Anton and the We Ours live at Fontanas

Friday, February 27, 2009

After a year of retreat, regrouping and - yes! - rehearsing, we give you the new ROOM. Live for the first time as a four-piece at Fontana's NYC (, with the help of Mr. Quentin Jennings (of The Dylans, Melomane and C. Gibbs Review fame) on keyboards for a couple of songs. We have a lot of new songs we'd love to play to you and are not as loud and obnoxious as we used to be (Old age set in? - You'll be the judge.)

ROOM ( take the stage at 10pm and are followed immediately by ANTON SWORD & THE WE OURS ( With the help of his band, Anton has "rocked up" his set and they've become a tight group with - dare i say it? - catchy melodies.

Come on down - Tuesdays are the new Thursdays since Paul Wallfisch made Thursdays the new Saturdays with his Small Beast!

Map of Fontana's Location

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

First the Sword, then the Beast

Take it easy on Thursday cause you will have a busy evening - there are two shows you should not miss. First go to Rehab to see the refortified Mr. Anton Sword. Not only is he married now to the lovely Yael Marmon, his band has got a name, and a good one, too: the We Ours. Moreover, Jessica traded the cello for a rocking bass, Kristofer's addition get sharper and more daring with every show and drums are helmed by New York's female Ringo Starr, Kristin Mueller. We hope that spells 'goodbye flowery poetry and hello sardonic edge". It is eight bucks, but we hear that Rehab is in the process of being sold and who knows what will become of that place then. Anton and the We Ours are going on an extened European tour in May. The show starts at 9pm, followed by the Interpol-esque Get Help.

Then - it's the new Thursday thing to do - head down to the Delancey where Paul Wallfisch is letting loose his Small Beast, this time with a habitué on this blog, Pierre De Gaillande. The Paris-born singer/songwriter has translated the chansons of the great Georges Brassens into English - painstakingly precise - and will present the witty words and tunes with Christian Bongers on bass and Dave Spinley on Clarinet. Pierre has grown a mustache for this occasion while Christian has shaved off his Father Christmas beard. They will start at 11.15pm, preceeded by Cherie Lily, former lead singer and songwriter for New York City bands SPANK and FLuRT, who recently sang on Lee Scratch Perry's Grammy nominated new album and Barma Ljova who has been arranging music for the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, Matmos and Jay-Z.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I'll Be's C. Gibbs Again!

So, reading up on the Damned while listening to their great new record "So, who's paranoid?" (see review in the right sidebar below) I followed up on singer Dave Vanian's side project "The Phantom Chords" and came across this little live video of the band performing at Hootenanny 2003 - and guess who is playing bass? Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Christian Gibbs here, on stage with Vampire Dave! Meanwhile, do check out the new Damned CD, it shows both Vanian and the good ole Captain in top form, with a bunch of proper, finished and vital songs.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Small Beast Quite Big, Kennedy taking off

Paul Wallfisch's new music event "Small Beast", is taking off nicely and the songsmith and piano player is all smiles and seems to have found the right ambiance on the main floor at the Delancey for his eclectic mix. Paul has the show solidly booked for every Thrusday night till the end of March and we're in for some treats like Pierre De Gaillande's excellent translations of Georges Brassens songs and Posies Frontman Ken Stringfellow and, of course, C. Gibbs when he's back from touring. Pictured above is the spirited Abby Travis which tamed the Small Beast last Thursday with witty songs on piano and bass. Might the fine lady be a secret daughter of Paul McCartney, we wondered?

Meanwhile Kerry Kennedy got an amazing review of her show at Rose. "I'm still pinching myself," says Kerry of the raving article. "I have no idea who this guy is, but I am going to bake him cookies." More than cookies also deserves her guitar player Nathan Halpern, who played an amazing set of souled Americana with his band at a packed Zebulon on Friday. We'd have included a picture, but it's just too damn dark to photograph in there. I'm not complaining.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rose in Bloom: Kerry Kennedy and Anton Sword

Kerry Kennedy is back in town and will be performing a short set with the new version of her Ghostwise band, this coming Wednesday, January 21, at Rose Live Music in Williamsburg. If you are in town and miss this, this blog can't help you anymore. We told you about Kerry's excellence years ago, and we hear that they will be trying out some new material after spending the time in the studio. They'll be on at 9pm sharp. The Ghostwise band this time round - missing Jan - is:
Jason Binnick-bass
Nathan Halpern- guitar
Kerry Kennedy- vocals, guitar
Brain Wolfe- drum
We don't need to tell you anything more about favorite our poet laureate, Anton Sword and his all-star band who play at 10pm. If you haven't seen Anton, you probably think Williamsburg is in Virginia. So wrong. He's getting married, too. Not enuff? well, this is a recession special! The show is FREE! They will, however, pass the hat around for the folks who can afford to donate a few bucks to support the, erm, biz.

Monday, January 12, 2009

No Small Beast For A Wallfisch!

Do fishes sleep? The Wallfisch doesn't: Botanica-Leader and Little Annie collaborator Paul Wallfisch is curating a new music event, Small Beast. Premiering this Thursday in the intimate and elegant environment of the Delancey's main-floor back room, Small Beast will present an eclectic mix of creative performers and songwriters. The Beast aims to become the New York vortex of an ephemeral, international scene where artists and listeners alike can come together for a song, an evening, a residency, and all forms of creative experimentation. The Beast is not a jam night but does encourage spontaneous performance and artistic co-operation. Small Beast will be a place where artists accustomed to doing one thing might try another; where a small space becomes a welcome antidote to a bigger club or hall. The host of this minimalist, hard cabaret, Paul Wallfisch, erstwhile co-conspirator with Firewater, Congo Norvell, Love and Rockets and many others, currently leads the band Botanica and functions as Alt/Dub/CabaDiva Little Annie’s sidekick. Paul will do a short set of his own each week--solo and with different collaborators-- followed by at least one guest artist's set. (And whoever else might show up...) Good luck - we'll be there.

Gibbs'n'Grace - the Debut

Forget G'n'R - we give you G'n'G: Southpaw saw the birth of a new supergroup of country rock last Friday when Jack and Daria Grace teamed up with Christian Gibbs, expertly helped by members of their respective bands. Highlight were fantastic cover versions of Lee Hazlewood's "Summer Wine" and Gibbs' very own rendition of Springsteens "Born to run". I am still convinced we are going to witness the comeback of Techno, but til then, try to get as much of these earthy rocks.

The United Enkels ask: Where is Zurich?

Sometimes you have to go far away, to a winter wonderland, take the musical express waiting on track 13, hook up with the United Enkels and let the good old times roll...I had the honor and pleasure of playing with four former members of Die Letzte Uebung, Switzerland's first New Wave band, with the impressive growl of Mark E. Fennelman, Mr. Fred "Dub" Stieger, the crazy rhythms of D-J Stieger, the blasting horns of Beat Weibel, the unique Wolfman Peter on guitar and the helping hands of Michael Gallusser. A very ambitious set list couldn't scare us..but the audience kind of did: At Palace in St. Gallen, they get to see pretty much the best acts on tour all year round. Not easily impressed, I tell you. Shout outs go to the Rodney Park Rangers, Brooklyn was in the house. So Was Zagreb, and, to some extent Zueri! Thanks to Raphael for the video, there should be more soon on