In early 1988, Tompkins Square Park had visibly become a tent city for homeless people and their dogs. As the summer months approached and the numbers of the displaced multiplied, the local community was divided about whether or not city agencies should evict the squatters and their encampments. In late June or early July, the New York City Parks Department responded by initiating a 1 a.m. curfew. A protest on July 31 led to several clashes between protesters and police. The following week, on August 6, a reported 400 police officers charged the activists and squatters, inflicting harm on neighborhood residents and bystanders as well, leading to hours of bloody violence that ended at 6 a.m. the next morning. Much of the violence was captured on video by Clayton Patterson and others with cameras. Over 100 complaints of police brutality were lodged. The New York Times confirmed the New York Police Department was responsible for inciting the riot.Chris Flash, editor of The Shadow, a local anarchist newspaper, and his team of volunteers annually host a political rally and concert as a bookmark that the community must never again tolerate a police riot against the underclass. This year's event, however, held on August 1, had to be more low-key than in previous years due to COVID-era restrictions on assembly and social distancing. This year, there was no stage or public address system. Many of the music acts that normally would have played as full bands were reduced to solo performances. Even the type of music was softer, with almost no hardcore punk, hard rock or metal bands on the roster. A last minute decision, due to the threat of an impending storm on Sunday, saw that after the Saturday speakers and performers ended about 5:45 p.m., the event continued with many of the music acts and speakers that were originally scheduled for Sunday. Hence, the two-day event was reduced to one day. Up to 100 people gathered for the event, most of whom socially-distanced and wore masks.
Sunday, August 2, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
|Richard Thompson at Woodbridge High School|
|photo courtesy of Woodbridge Arts|
|Gabriel Hermida at the Anyway Cafe|
|Contemporary Adults at the Anyway Cafe|
|Kat Minogue at the Anyway Cafe|
|Ondine Appel w. Sebastian Noelle at Nomad|
|Camila Aldet at Washington Square Park|
|Lee in Washington Square Park|
|A living statue performs in Washington Square Park|
|Acro Yoga in Washington Square Park|
Tompkins Square Park perhaps hosts the most performers on weekday evenings and most of the afternoon on weekends, with as many as three groups performing in various areas. These musicians include the perennial Eric Paulin Band, Pinc Louds, Proud Yuma, the East Village Social Distancing All-Stars, the Underground Horns, Magic Forest, and Scott Stenten. This weekend, Chris Flash will stage his annual commemorative Tompkins Square Park Police Riot concert, this year with minimal staging and amplification, featuring Gass Wilde, Rew Starr, and several other local musicians.
Live streams saturate the internet. Many of these invite the viewers into the homes of the performers, with the artists using from one to three cameras. The concert series originating from the Bowery Electric, however, stages the bands on a professional stage and offers the most advanced production, utilizing eight cameras.
Major concert promoters continue struggling to strategize how to resurrect concert productions on a major scale. It may take years for that sort of concert industry to regain its footing. In the meantime, however, alternative staging is reinventing the way live music can be presented.
Monday, July 27, 2020
Weather permitting, the best live music is no longer in the now-shuttered theaters and nightclubs but in public spaces including parks and subway stations. Many of the bands have changeable personnel and erratic performance schedules, but when they do play they summon a magnetic pull that stops passersby on the move. For the most part, audiences are observing a moderation of social distancing.Tompkins Square Park has emerged among the focal points, attracting busking musicians regularly. Here is your guide to the regular performers in Tompkins Square Park.
|The Eric Paulin Band|
1. The Eric Paulin Band
Drummer Eric Paulin is a native of New York City who started playing drums in 1964 and jazz in 1974. Usually a quartet but at times as large as a septet, the Eric Paulin Band is the granddaddy of the bands in Tompkins Square Park, celebrating its 10th anniversary there this month. Averaging about five nights per week, the Eric Paulin Band performs its interpretations of jazz standards largely from the 1960s.
2. Pinc Louds
With musicians from Puerto Rico, Chile and Israel who bonded in Bushwick, newcomers Pinc Louds draws the biggest crowds. Led by Claudi Love's falsetto croons and kalimba playing, the indie-rock band draws on pop, jazz and Latin music but is unmistakably unique in its alternative performance. Pinc Louds tends to perform mostly on Saturdays from early afternoon until sunset.
3. Proud Yuma
Founded by New Yorker Daniel Odria, Proud Yuma is a collective of young musicians that plays salsa. New to Tompkins Square Park, the band is drawing audiences that are tapping their toes and swaying their hips. It will not be long before they get some Caribbean dancing going on. For the past week, some variation of the band has been playing in the park almost nightly.
|East Village Social Distancing All-Stars|
4. East Village Social Distancing All-Stars
While not performing as regularly as the previously mentioned bands, the East Village Social Distancing All-Stars will draw attention when it lands in the park. Led by Smidge Malone on trumpet and vocals, with additional musicians on banjo, percussion and various brass instruments depending on the occasion and the musicians' availabilities, the band can get a little bit wild and gritty, punking a Louis Armstrong number, for instance.
5. Magic Forest
Led by guitarist/vocalist Stuart Richards and flautist Max Isaacson, and augmented by percussionist Ron Bongo and an occasional second guitarist, Magic Forest is not yet drawing crowds. Richards says the band is rehearsing more than performing, yet the whimsical folk-style original songs and covers impress the passing listeners. Magic Forest can be heard most Sundays from about noon to 3 p.m.
Saturday, July 18, 2020
"Hey, guitar guy, move your guitar case away from the monitor, please," nudges Ehud Lazin, the multi-tasker running Hennessey's live stream at the Bowery Electric. It is five minutes before the band performs live to home viewers via the pay-per-view Veeps website. Lazin is joking with the somewhat tense musicians, helping them ease into the moment. The guitarist obediently moves his case out of camera range. "Let's be professional," explains Lazin.
Indeed, this is to be a very professional production. Hennessey will perform a 50-minute set on the venue's small stage, but instead of playing to a roomful of cheering fans, the indie-rock quartet will play to eight cameras and a socially-distanced sheltering-at-home audience. This writer is the only privileged person in the room who is not a member of the production.
At street level, all three doors to the Bowery Electric are locked. There are no signs outside indicating that live music is about to resume under the sidewalk. The downtown venue showcased multiple bands nightly on two floors until the raging COVID-19 pandemic grinded all social gathering to a sudden halt in mid-March. The club owners, including rocker Jesse Malin, temporarily refit the venue's purpose to a new age. Rather than keep the music club completely dormant, the owners began probing into the new live stream concert market. Thus was born the Bowery Electric Presents: Live Premiere Sessions, with Malin asking Lazin to bring his multi-camera set-up and take the helm.
Lazin remains calm and in control. The 45-year-old videographer and photographer has been active for 16 years, filming projects including City Winery's One on One Sessions, Jesse Malin's The Fine Art of Social Distancing live streams, and Joseph Arthur's Come to Where I'm From podcasts. Lazin now rocks back and forth in his chair at a table in the mezzanine, staring at two large screens, his itchy fingers on a digital mixer, ready to cut, reframe and edit in real time everything that the virtual home audience will see. Out of view in an enclosed back room, Mark Lewis is engineering the vocals and instruments so that listeners at home hear a clean, clear, and balanced sound. This production is indeed professional, light years more advanced than the more prevalent DIY live stream from home.
The five-second countdown begins and at exactly 7:30 p.m. the musicians, wearing masks over their mouths and noses, begin playing the opening music. After a few bars of intro, lead singer Leah Hennessey, herself a film editor, actress, playwright, and creator of the underground web series Zhe Zhe, steps onto the stage, the glitter in her hair and eye shadow accentuated by the production's bright lights. This is a single release show, celebrating the release of Hennessey's dance punk cover of the Waterboys' "We Will Not Be Lovers." Prior to the performance, Hennessey explained to this writer that her stepfather, the New York Dolls' David Johansen, aka Buster Poindexter, challenged her about the wisdom of releasing a cover song as a single. She defended the choice by responding that her band worked diligently on the song and developed an arrangement that was uniquely theirs.
Hennessey tonight consists of vocalist Leah Hennessey, guitarist Malachy O'Neal, guitarist/synthesizer player Noah Chevan, and synthesizer player E.J. O'Hara, who programs the bass and drum parts. Although all the musicians had backed Hennessey at different times in the past, tonight is the first time they all play together. Hennessey herself is a fireball on stage, a flaming, energetic front person who is magnetic to watch and pleasant to hear. She also proved herself as a prolific writer, especially during this self-isolation period, when she wrote a song each week. Many of the songs selected for this performance were from Hennessey's forthcoming EP, but the evening also saw the debut of new song called "Death Wish."
The Bowery Electric Presents: Live Premiere Sessions launched less than a month ago with Murphy's Law. The venue books one or two bands each week, and each live stream can be replayed on Veeps for about a week. Local band Eck's Men will be next, performing on Monday, July 20. The live stream schedule is posted at https://theboweryelectric.com/events.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
|The Eric Paulin Band|
The live music industry as we knew it may never be the same.
A few national and international touring artists are scheduling tours in Europe, but except for a handful of artists performing drive-in concerts, no one is scheduling tours within the United States. Venues and musicians cannot cover their costs with concerts capped at proposed capacities of 25 or 50 percent, and besides, would attendees really maintain social distancing? Entertainers cannot travel very far anyway, with various states enforcing quarantines on people entering from other states. The only concert dates booked for 2021 are the ones postponed from 2020, not because they will be happening, but because concert promoters and venues have invested the ticket revenue and are in no hurry to return the purchase price to the fans. With no national or international bands touring, one can only hope to see local talent step forth.
Innovation is the mother of necessity, that is the old saying. Live stream and archival performances now saturate the internet, some charging a fee, some encouraging donations to a virtual tip jar. These concerts on your computer screen can draw more viewers than an actual concert, and yet the customer knows that while music in one's living room is convenient, it is ultimately an inferior experience to attending a live show. Venues are holding fundraisers to pay rent and support their staff, but if isolation continues for another year or more how long can fundraisers float these boats?
|The East Village Social Distancing All-Stars|
Summer has arrived, and spontaneous live concerts are popping up in various New York City locations.
|The Underground Horns|
In recent weeks, Tompkins Square Park has become a music hub, where revelers enjoy at least one locally-based band almost every evening. The New York City Parks Department is not issuing permits, but nonetheless bands and solo musicians are performing and drawing small audiences. The most consistent of these bands, the Eric Paulin Band, performs jazz almost every night near the Temperance Fountain; on July 1, Paulin celebrated his 10th anniversary of playing in the park. Pinc Louds, an indie-rock quartet from Bushwick, brings its own battery-powered amplifiers and draws the largest crowds, performing up to four sets in the park's former band shell area usually on a Saturday afternoon and evening. Two brass bands, the East Village Social Distancing All-Stars and the Underground Horns, perform in other parts of the park on an irregular schedule when they are not playing outside neighborhood restaurants. Impromptu ensembles also materialize when musicians meet for the first time and jam together. Among the solo performers, jazz guitarist Scott Stenten is the most unusual in that he plays a custom-made double-neck acoustic guitar, for the most part simultaneously playing the upper guitar with his left hand while playing the lower guitar with his right hand.
|Random musicians meet and improvise music|
Music is starting to fill the New York air again. Buskers, mostly solo performers, have returned to many parks and subway platforms. Marshall Stack has had Strange Majik, Cancion Franklin and other musicians inside the windows performing to an audience outside on the sidewalk. The 11th Street Community Garden has drawn local musicians including Three of a Pear for loose jam sessions. For those willing to risk the outdoors, live music is having a small renaissance in New York City.
Friday, May 22, 2020
Ivan Neville, vocalist and keyboardist in Dumpstaphunk and a descendant of perhaps the most famous family in New Orleans music, is the latest musician to announce that he suffered from a bout with the novel coronavirus. In an interview with Nola.com on May 20, Neville revealed that he suspects that he contracted COVID-19 when he participated in the all-star Love Rocks NYC charity concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on March 12. Although some safety precautions were enforced, whereby ticket holders were not admitted and attendance was limited to about 200 guests of the performers, Jackson Browne, Paul Shaffer and Larry Campbell were among the musicians who reported falling sick from COVID-19 upon returning home after performing at the concert.
"I woke up one night burning up," said Neville, who is recovering now with his partner and their six-year-old son, all of whom tested positive with the virus. "The screen on the thermometer turned red before the number came up. It was 103. I got a cold facecloth and laid in bed thinking, 'If I die now, I can't even have a funeral.' I was absolutely scared." Neville also was diagnosed with pneumonia, and experienced high fever, low oxygen, and difficulty breathing, so he was placed on oxygen tanks. After two frightening months under a blanket, Neville can now breathe on his own and is performing weekly live steams called Ivan Neville's Piano Sessions. "I truly believe that singing for an hour once a week or so has helped to get my lungs in better shape," he said, "which I really needed."
Broadway star Nick Cordero was hospitalized on March 31 due to the coronavirus and within two days was placed on a ventilator. According to his wife, fitness trainer Amanda Kloots, who posts Cordero's progress daily on social media, Cordero was put into a medically-induced coma to help his breathing; he has since regained consciousness. The actor/singer, who appeared in Broadway's Waitress, Bullets Over Broadway, and Rock of Ages, also went into septic shock, had two "mini strokes," and had a temporary pacemaker placed. Last month, doctors amputated Cordero's right leg after blood thinners used to help with clotting caused other problems, Kloots posted. She also wrote that his lungs have been "severely damaged" by the virus and resemble those of a 50-year smoker. She remains positive and continually solicits prayers for her husband, who remains hospitalized in Los Angeles, California.
Will Carroll, drummer in thrash metal band Death Angel, seemed to have caught COVID-19 while on a concert tour in Europe with Exodus and Testament. Several members of all the bands and their crew and families are recovering now. He felt sick on the flight back to the United States and stayed in bed for five days before being hospitalized. He entered the hospital with a temperature of 102.6 degrees. In the intensive care unit, doctors told their critically-ill patient that his best chance for survival was to be connected to a ventilator, which required him to be chemically paralyzed until doctors deemed him fit enough to come off of it. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, Carroll’s heart failed during the first few days because the medication needed to keep him on a ventilator was so taxing on his body. On March 30, Carroll received a standing ovation by his hospital bed just for opening his eyes. "I was in a coma I was for 12 days," Carroll said in a statement. "I know I'm strong and resilient but not that strong. During my coma the doctors told me they had to pump my lungs of all fluid, which was the equivalent of five pounds of beer; they thought I was a goner for sure." Carroll now is recuperating at home.
Pop singer P!nk called into The Ellen DeGeneres Show on April 8 to speak publicly for the first time about being diagnosed with COVID-19 along with her three-year-old-son. "It was terrifying at one point," P!nk said of watching her son suffer with numerous symptoms. "Then I got sick." She described her symptoms as fatigue, chills, nausea and severe breathing problems that required the use of a nebulizer. P!nk's husband, Carey Hart, said later on The Jason Ellis Show, a satellite radio program, that the infant endured a fever in the 102-103 range for a "solid two, going on three weeks straight." The couple tried to bathing the child "four or five times a day" in attempt to "break his temperature." Carey also revealed that his wife "got it pretty bad." He added, "She has asthma. It totally attacked her lungs and her chest. She was having a hard time breathing." By April, P!nk and the child rebounded and tested negative with COVID-19. She then donated $1 million to relief efforts.
Marianne Faithfull, a singer/songwriter/actress best known for her 1964 hit "As Tears Go By," co-written by her then-boyfriend Mick Jagger, this week went home after three weeks of battling the coronavirus in a hospital in London, England. For a time, the singer reportedly struggled to speak. "I want to thank the doctors and nurses who were so good and basically saved my life! Thank you all again for all your care, love, thoughts, prayers and wishes. All my love, Marianne." Faithfull also posted a note to her fans: "I would like to say to all the people who cared for me and thought of me, who sent me love, people I know, people I have never met, thank you for helping me to get better."
Eric Goulden, better known in the music world as Wreckless Eric, was among the first generation of British punk rock with his 1977 song "Whole Wide World." Now living in upstate New York with his wife, singer/songwriter Amy Rigby, Eric wrote on May 20 in his blog "I had a heart attack and spent the weekend before my birthday in intensive care." Eric was already on the recovery side of COVID-19 when he was riding in a car that his wife was driving. "My head had turned into a hot, fuzzy mush, my rib cage was squeezing itself inwards, I had a fairly excruciating pain each side of my chest and my arms had turned into nonsense. It became imperative that we get to the hospital." Eric did not report if the doctors drew a clear connection between his COVID-19 and his heart attack.
Other pop and rock artists continue to recover from the coronavirus, including Sara Bareilles, John Taylor of Duran Duran, David Bryan of Bon Jovi, Oteil Burbridge of Dead & Company and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Gary Holt of Slayer and Exodus, Chucky Billy and Steve Di Giorgio of Testament, Natalie Horner of Cascada, Brandon Hoover of Crown the Empire, and Charlotte Lawrence. Opera singer Placido Domingo, gospel singer Sandi Patty, rhythm & blues artist Kenneth Edmonds (a.k.a. Babyface), hip hop artists Mwana FA, DJ Webstar, Scarface, Slim Thug, and YNW Melly, Broadway performers Laura Bell Bundy, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Aaron Tveit, and country singers Sturgill Simpson, Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel and Kalie Shorr tested positive for COVID-19. Idris Elba, the Golden Globe-winning actor who is also a musician, tested positive but was asymptomatic. Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien posted on social media that he had been home for days with flu-like symptoms and that he "most probably" had the coronavirus, but chose not to test so that the scarce tests would be reserved for the "vulnerable in our community."
In the past two months, numerous music artists have died from complications caused by COVID-19. The rockers included John Prine, Dave Greenfield of the Stranglers, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, Steve Farmer of the Amboy Dukes, Cristina, and New York club circuit regulars Alan Merrill, Sal "Cappi" Capozucca, and Pepo Gonlet. In other music genres, jazz artists Ellis Marsalis Jr., Wallace Roney, Mike Longo, Giuseppi Logan, Lee Konitz, Henry Grimes, and Bucky Pizzarelli, country artists Joe Diffie and Jan Howard, rappers Ty and Fred the Godson, New Orleans bounce music's DJ Black N Mild, African funk-fusion artist Manu Dibango, and Somali music icon Ahmed Ismail Hussein also contracted the illness and died.All photographs by Everynight Charley Crespo.
Click on the links below to view Everynight Charley Crespo's earlier COVID-19 reports:
Saturday, May 16, 2020
The live entertainment industry collapsed more than 75 days ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet musicians continue succumbing to COVID-19.
|Sal Cappi of the Rousers|
This past week, Sal "Cappi" Capozucca, drummer of local New York band the Rousers, became COVID's most recent musician casualty. Cappi reportedly contracted the virus in March, was turned away twice from a hospital, and ultimately was admitted on his third attempt. On his second day of hospitalization, he was placed on a ventilator, and passed away on May 13.
Other rock musicians around the world also passed in recent weeks due to COVID-19. Dave Greenfield, keyboardist in the Stranglers, contacted the coronavirus while hospitalized for heart problems; he died at age of 71 on May 3. Singer/songwriter John Prine was hospitalized on March 26, intubated two days later, and died at age 73 on April 7; his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, is recuperating from the disease. Steve Farmer, original rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist for the Amboy Dukes, which featured a young Ted Nugent on lead guitar, passed away on April 7 at age 71; Farmer and Nugent co-wrote and recorded the Amboy Dukes' one hit song "Journey To The Center of The Mind" in 1968. New wave pop singer Cristina, born Cristina Monet Palaci, died at age 61 on April 1; she was best known for her 1980s dance-pop songs "Disco Clone" and "Things Fall Apart."
British rapper Ty died on May 7 in London, England; he was 47. Bronx rapper Fred the Godson was hospitalized in early April with the coronavirus; he died on April 23 at age 41.
The coronavirus affected the jazz world recently as well. Giuseppi Logan, a saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist who was among the pioneers in free jazz, died on April 17; he was 84. Saxophonist Lee Konitz, who worked with Miles Davis on the 1949 and 1950 sessions for the album Birth of the Cool, died April 15; he was 92. Bassist Henry Grimes, who worked with Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus and Sonny Rollins, died on April 15 at age 84. Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli died on April 1 at age 94.
Ahmed Ismail Hussein, the icon of Somali music, died from the coronavirus on April 8 in London, England, a week before what would have been his 92nd birthday. Performing since the 1950s, he was known as the “King of Oud” for playing the guitarlike Middle Eastern instrument.
In prior weeks, COVID-19 played a role in the deaths of Grammy Award-winning country artists Joe Diffie and Jan Howard, rockers Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Alan Merrill, jazz artists Ellis Marsalis Jr., Wallace Roney, and Mike Longo, African funk-fusion artist Manu Dibango, and New Orleans bounce music's DJ Black N Mild.
Several well-known musicians revealed their coronavirus status in recent weeks. Christopher Cross, Sturgill Simpson, first wave punk rocker Wreckless Eric, Nick Cordero, John Taylor of Duran Duran, Kenneth Edmonds (a.k.a. Babyface), Will Carroll of thrash metal band Death Angel, Tanzanian rapper Mwana FA, and Natalie Horner of Cascada announced their recovery from COVID-19, sometimes with harrowing stories. Previously, pop and rock artists announcing their struggles with the disease included Jackson Browne, Larry Campbell, Marianne Faithfull, P!nk, Sara Bareilles, Charlotte Lawrence, David Bryan of Bon Jovi, Chucky Billy of Testament, and Brandon Hoover of Crown the Empire. Opera singer Placido Domingo, gospel singer Sandi Patty, hip hop artists DJ Webstar, Scarface, Slim Thug, and YNW Melly, Broadway performers Laura Bell Bundy, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Aaron Tveit, and country singers Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel and Kalie Shorr tested positive for COVID-19. Idris Elba, the Golden Globe-winning actor who is also a musician, tested positive but was asymptomatic. Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien posted on social media that he had been home for days with flu-like symptoms and that he "most probably" had the coronavirus, but chose not to test so that the scarce tests would be reserved for the "vulnerable in our community."All photographs by Everynight Charley Crespo.
Click on the links below to view Everynight Charley Crespo's earlier COVID-19 reports:
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Donation : $350,000
|Fall Out Boy|
See Everynight Charley Crespo's earlier COVID-19 reports:
COVID-19 Continues to Spread among Musicians
COVID-19 Takes the Lives of Local Musicians.
All photographs by Everynight Charley Crespo.