Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ESG at Bowery Electric

One block north of where the legendary CBGB & OMFUG reigned from 1973-2006, a former lighting store has become a bar and live music club. Singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, who himself has played the local rock clubs for more than 25 years, is a part owner of the new Bowery Electric. Having played CBGBs many times himself, he has been bringing back many of the old bands that time almost forgot.

Among the groups that got its start at CBGBs was ESG (Emerald, Sapphire and Gold), a band that formed in the South Bronx in 1978 and has performed worldwide, including recent dates in France and Sweden. Over the years, ESG influenced many other artists with its raw hard beats. Hip-hop artists including the Beastie Boys, Big Daddy KaneTLCTricky, the Wu-Tang Clan, and indie rockers Unrest and Liars reportedly borrowed ESG’s riffs.

One block north from where ESG found its original audience, the band played its farewell concert at Bowery Electric tonight. Imagine a band rocking without guitars or keyboards. At Bowery Electric, ESG performed its primitive funk music accompanied simply by bass and percussion. The lyrics were often just a few words repeated again and again. At the end of the concert, the bassist encouraged the packed audience to clap for an encore. Maybe if we clap louder we can persuade the band to perform another farewell tour.