Saturday, April 27, 2019

Kris Kristofferson & the Strangers at City Winery

Born in Brownsville, Texas, Kris Kristofferson moved frequently as a child following his father's military assignments, finally settling in San Mateo, California. There he first experienced fame when he appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" for his achievements in collegiate rugby, football, and track and field. Earning a Rhodes Scholarship, Kristofferson studied in Oxford, England, where he unsuccessfully launched a music career. Under pressure from his family, Kristofferson joined the U.S. Army and became a helicopter pilot. In 1965, Kristofferson was assigned to teach English literature at West Point, but he decided to leave the military and pursue songwriting in Nashville, Tennessee; his family disowned him because of his career decision. While working as a janitor at a recording studio, he met June Carter and asked her to give his demo tape to her husband, Johnny Cash, to little avail. Kristofferson soon gained Cash's attention by landing a helicopter on Cash's front yard. Cash recorded Kristofferson's "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," leading to Kristofferson winning Songwriter of the Year at the Country Music Awards, the first of many industry awards. Kristofferson's peak music years in the 1970s helped redefine country songwriting, and led to a flourishing career as an actor in more than 70 films. Starting in 1985, Kristofferson had a brief resurgence when he joined Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash in the country music supergroup The Highwaymen, firmly establishing the outlaw country music movement. Although Kristofferson gained more fame as an actor than as a recording artist, his songs have been recorded by other artists an estimated 450 times. The three-time Grammy winner has recorded 29 albums; his most recent studio album is 2016's The Cedar Creek Sessions. He lives in Malibu, California, with a residence in Maui, Hawaii.

Almost 50 years after the release of his debut album, Kristofferson performed many of his earliest songs at City Winery tonight, including 10 of the 12 songs on his first album. In recent years, Kristofferson has performed many of his concerts solo and acoustic. This time he brought for backup the late Merle Haggard's band, the Strangers (Merle’s guitarist sons Ben Haggard and Noel Haggard, keyboardist Doug Colosio, fiddler Scott Joss, and drummer Jim Christie), and he and his musicians took turns singing six Haggard songs. For two sets over two hours, Kristofferson sang, played guitar and harmonics on 30 songs, hardly speaking or even moving. At 82 years of age, Kristofferson's songs took on a different perspective from when he was country music's outlaw  rebel; the keen narratives about heartaches, hard living and hangovers now took on a sage's wisdom. His once husky and forceful vocals were softer and yet still as passionate as ever. The band did a fine job bringing spark and body to the songs. One of his few newer songs of the evening, "Feeling Mortal," acknowledged that he is in the latter stages of his life. Nevertheless, his presentation of his body of work was as tasteful and classy as ever.

Setlist:
  1. Shipwrecked in the Eighties (Kris Kristofferson and the Borderlords song)
  2. That's the Way Love Goes (Merle Haggard cover)
  3. Darby's Castle
  4. Me and Bobby McGee
  5. Here Comes That Rainbow Again
  6. Best of All Possible Worlds
  7. Help Me Make It Through the Night
  8. Okie From Muskogee (Merle Haggard cover)
  9. Casey's Last Ride
  10. Rocket to Stardom
  11. Feeling Mortal
  12. From Here to Forever
  13. Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man) (Merle Haggard cover)
  14. Broken Freedom Song
  15. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
  16. Just the Other Side of Nowhere
  17. Duvalier's Dream
  18. I'd Rather Be Sorry
  19. Sing Me Back Home (Merle Haggard cover)
  20. Jody and the Kid
  21. The Fightin' Side of Me (Merle Haggard cover)
  22. The Pilgrim, Chapter 33
  23. Jesus Was a Capricorn
  24. I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink (Merle Haggard cover)
  25. To Beat the Devil
  26. Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down
  27. For the Good Times
  28. A Moment of Forever
  29. Why Me
  30. Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends (Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge song)

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Nuclears at Coney Island Baby

Two guitarist/vocalist brothers, Brian Dudolevitch and Mike Dudolevitch, formed the Nuclears in 2003 in Washington DC. In 2004, the band won the local semi-finals in Little Steven’s Underground Garage Battle of the Bands, but was quickly disqualified when the promoter learned that Mike Dudolevitch was a minor, making the band ineligible to compete.  Had the promoter not learned of this, the Nuclears would have received $6,000 worth of musical equipment and an opportunity to compete at New York’s Irving Plaza against finalists from eight other cities. In 2007, the Nuclears came to New York City anyway, relocating to Brooklyn and recruiting new musicians over time. The band presently consists of the brothers Dudolevitch, vocalist Briana Layon, bassist Bobby Sproles, and drummer Kevin Blatchford. The Nuclears released a third album, Barrage Rock, today.

Tonight, the Nuclears celebrated the release of a new album with a performance at Coney Island Baby. The band was perhaps more inclined to a power punk sound in years past, but over time has closed in on a more refined classic rock and roll bent, rife with big power chords and loud guitar solos. Rooted in vintage hard rock, only dirtier and grittier, the band found its way past standard clichés to blast its way to fresh punk and blues-inspired movers and shakers. Rotating between three vocalists, the band grounded its songs on lyrics and melody, but then stepping back from the microphones midway through the songs, the musicians charged into rough and tumbled ragers, ultimately finding their way back to closing choruses. Versatility? The Nuclears sealed the performance with a closing tongue-in-cheek country mocker, "New York City Blows." Start to finish, this was good-time rock and roll party music.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Blackfires at Coney Island Baby

"Cheggi" Chegodaev
With dreams of launching a career in music, Andrey “Cheggi” Chegodaev relocated to New York City in 2011 from his native Moscow, Russia, where he had enjoyed a career in sports journalism. He had no music connections in the United States, so he colorfully posted his availability on social media to the effect of "I am a front man; whoever wants to conquer a world with me, jump on board." He connected on social media with guitarist Anthony Mullin, who had moved to New York City from England to pursue a Ph. D. The duo had trials and errors with various local musicians before recruiting Costa Rican guitarist Hector Marin, Uruguayan bassist Grasebo Doe, and New Jersey-born drummer Joe Mitch. The Blackfires released an EP in 2012 and an album, Rock Beast, in 2017.

At Coney Island Baby tonight, the Blackfires performed classic-styled hard rock bristling with stimulating flair, riotous gusto and gripping passion. Chegodaev's Motley Crue t-shirt might have given an indication as to where the band was inclined, but the set proved to be multi-focused. Chegodaev's soulful vocals were often romantic, Mullin leaned on the blues, Marin referenced his classical training, and the rhythm section erupted like a volcano. The music had few subtleties, with everyone seemingly playing lead at the same time. If hard rock makes a comeback, the Blackfires may be on the front line.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Combichrist at the Gramercy Theatre

Andy LaPlegua
Born in Fredrikstad, Norway, Ole Anders Olsen, known professionally as Andy LaPlegua, sang hardcore punk in My Right Choice, hip-hop in LAW, industrial in Devils into Crime (DIC), metal in Lash Out, and trance and club music in Plastic Life and Sector9. In 1997, he launched a solo project playing futurepop as Icon of Coil, but when he started adding additional musicians, the project evolved  into a more aggressive aggrotech with Combichrist in 2003 and the more danceable Panzer AG in 2004. LaPlegua later also conceived the techo project Scandy and the psychobilly Scandinavian Cock. Combichrist is LaPlegua's most successful project, largely a solo project in the studio and a band of changing musicians for live performances. Combichrist presently consist of vocalist LaPlegua, guitarist Eric13, drummer Dane White, and percussionist Will Spodnick. Combichrist's ninth album, One Fire, will be released on June 7, 2019. Since the mid-2000s, LaPlegua and Combichrist have been based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Combichrist's performance at the Gramercy Theatre tonight seemed like a bit of a cheat. The newest configuration of Combichrist has no keyboardist or bassist. Where were all the layers of music originating? A lot of it must have been pre-programmed and not live. Nevertheless, LaPlegua cuttingly spat old songs and new, and engaged the audience by playing right to the lip of the stage and gesturing to the fans. Eric13 contributed the metal edge to the electro-industrial music with his sharp guitar riffs and searing leads, and the two drummers provided an explosive barrage of corrosive beats over LaPlegua's acidic melodies. Combichrist entertained with a solid set of songs at a hard-hitting, adrenaline-charged pace, but it would have felt more genuine had all the music been performed live.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Uli Jon Roth at the Gramercy Theatre

Uli Jon Roth was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he began performing live in 1968 at the age of 13 as lead guitarist for Blue Infinity. While attending high school in Hanover, Uli played Dawn Road while also studying classical guitar and piano. In 1973, guitarist Michael Schenker left the Scorpions to join UFO; the two remaining Scorpions merged with the four members of Dawn Road to form a new lineup of Scorpions. In the Scorpions, Roth gained a reputation as an innovative virtuoso, as he incorporated advanced compositional elements from European classical music, such as pedal tone sequences and intricate arpeggios. Feeling increasingly stifled by the confinements of mainstream rock music, Roth left the Scorpions in 1978 and formed his own band, Electric Sun, where the classical influence dominated his playing style. After three albums with Electric Sun, Roth exited the limelight for 13 years, designing the Sky Guitar, which features an extended fingerboard, and composing four symphonies and two concertos, sometimes performing them with European symphony orchestras. Roth's fifth and most recent solo studio album is 2015's Scorpions Revisited. Roth currently resides near the English border in Powys, Wales.

Uli Jon Roth's 2019 tour was announced as a triple anniversary. The shows, which included tonight's performance at the Gramercy Theatre, celebrated his 50th anniversary of performing live, the 40-year anniversary of Tokyo Tapes, the live Scorpions album that brought him fame, and the 40th anniversary of his solo work with Electric Sun. The first set consisted mostly of Electric Sun songs, and the second set mostly of Scorpions songs; Roth had not performed the bulk of this music for over 30 years. Roth's musical journey was on full display, as he played complex melodic arpeggio sequences on both his extra-frets Sky guitar and, for a few songs, the white Fender Stratocaster he used in the Scorpions and Electric Sun in the mid-1980s. Roth's neo-classical guitar technique was dazzling, as he employed major and minor pentatonic, the blues scale, phrygian, harmonic minor, diminished, and whole tone scales. For the most diehard Roth fans, the concert was a three-hour retrospective filled with majestic guitar wizardry; the rest of the audience might have been puzzled by the musical selections and the multi-media projections.

Setlist:
Set 1:
  1. Sky Overture
  2. Indian Dawn (Electric Sun song)
  3. Electric Sun (Electric Sun song)
  4. Sun in My Hand (Scorpions song)
  5. Why? (Electric Sun song)
  6. Don't Tell the Wind (Zeno Roth cover)
  7. Just Another Rainbow (Electric Sun song)
  8. I'll Be There (Electric Sun song)
  9. Icebreaker (Electric Sun song)
  10. Starlight (Sky of Avalon song)
  11. Enola Gay (Hiroshima Today?) (Electric Sun song)
Set 2:
  1. Passage to India (Roth performed solo)
  2. Apache (The Shadows cover)
  3. We'll Burn the Sky (Scorpions song)
  4. In Trance (Scorpions song)
  5. Pictured Life (Scorpions song)
  6. Catch Your Train (Scorpions song)
  7. All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)
  8. Yellow Raven (Scorpions song)
  9. The Sails of Charon (Scorpions song)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Acid Mothers Temple at Mercury Lounge

Kawabata Makoto
Influenced by German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, krautrock, and progressive rock, guitarist Kawabata Makoto initially formed Acid Mothers Temple (originally using an apostrophe, Acid Mother's Temple) in Japan in 1995. His intention was to create "extreme trip music" by editing and dubbing previous recordings. The project became a psychedelic rock band and then an experimental collective of musicians with Kawabata as the only consistent member. The collective also spawned seemingly countless offshoots and spinoffs, including Floating Flower, Nishinihon, Tsurbami, the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., and many other bands and projects. As a result, the musical output is generous; Acid Mothers Temple and its associates twice released four albums in a three-month span. In 2002, Kawabata also launched his own solo offshoot, Kawabata Makoto & the Mothers of Invasion, to create jazzier music. The collective releases its newest studio recording, Hallelujah Mystic Garden Part Two, as Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. on April 26, 2019.

Acid Mothers Temple typically tours Canada and the United States every spring, and this year included a late night set at Mercury Lounge as part of the venue's 25th anniversary series. Anchored by Kawabata Makoto's searing guitar leads, much of the set was a series of movements, from meditative grooves to progressive rock to doom metal to a flurry of pulsating, atonal deconstructionism. The performance periodically drifted into improvisational noise and rhythms, interrupted when vocalist/guitarist Jyonson Tsu reigned the forces with a soft, calming vocal structure. The result was spellbinding. Live, Acid Mothers Temple is one of the world's most intense psych rock bands.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Black Lips at the Bowery Ballroom

Guitarist Cole Alexander and bassist Jared Swilley left their band, the Renegades, and formed Black Lips in 1999 in Dunwoody, Georgia. Born of a DIY ethic, Black Lips started by playing sweaty basement shows in Georgia and eventually toured traditional circuits as well as remote areas of Asia and the Middle East. Reportedly inspired in part by the 1960s' short-lived but violent Viennese Actionism performance art movement, Black Lips drew a fan base not only due to the band's rough and dirty garage rock but also because of the band's provocative theatrics. Live performances have included vomiting (Alexander's medical condition), masturbation, urination, nudity, electric radio-controlled car races, fireworks, flaming guitars and other wild antics. Unhinged shows led venues to ban the band from returning, and the band quietly fled some third world countries ahead of schedule in order to escape arrest. The band presently consists of Alexander, Swilley, guitarist Jeff Clarke, saxophonist Zumi Rosow, and drummer Oakley Munson. Black Lips' eighth and most recent album is 2017's Satan's Graffiti or God’s Art?.

Black Lips' concert at the Bowery Ballroom tonight was tame in comparison to some of the band's previous New York City performances. There were no shock-rock activities on stage, and the crude, fuzzy garage rock songs even seemed somewhat toned down. In true Black Lips fashion, however, the music pivoted on raw and fast cowpunk-flavored rock and roll. When the coarse guitar chords gained momentum, the slam dancing, crowd surfing and stage diving began in earnest. Rather than refine and polish their craft over the years, the musicians have maintained and amplified the messy sound that has become their signature. The difference with this performance was that Black Lips repeatedly followed the speedier songs with slower songs rather than performing an extensive block of high energy songs. Nonetheless, Black Lips' rock and roll frenzy was engaging and captivating.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers at the Bowery Ballroom

Laura Jane Grace
Laura Jane Grace was born in Fort Benning, Georgia, but her family moved frequently between military bases in Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Germany and Italy. When she was eight years old and living in Italy, Grace bought her first guitar by mail order with money saved from mowing lawns. Her parents divorced when Grace was 12 years old, and she moved with her mother to Naples, Florida. While in junior high school, Grace became a fan of punk rock, attracted to the nihilistic and anarchistic ideals of the genre. At age 13, she played bass in her first band, formed with members of her church youth group, playing Nirvana and Pearl Jam covers at church talent shows. After playing in several local bands, Grace recorded her first demo in 1996 as Against Me! Moving to Gainesville, Florida at 18, she began performing as Against Me!, either alone on an acoustic guitar or with a friend drumming on pickle buckets. After several successful albums with Against Me!, Grace announced in 2012 that she had experienced gender dysphoria since her youth and became the first highly visible punk rock musician to identify publicly as transgender. In 2016 Grace formed a side project, Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers, with bassist Marc Jacob Hudson and Against Me! drummer Atom Willard, and released a debut album, Bought to Rot, on November 9, 2018. Since 2013, Grace has lived in Chicago, Illinois.

Laura Jane Grace has pressed pause on Against Me! to concentrate on more intimate singer-songwriter material, but the new songs seemed to carry the same punk attitude when performed tonight at the Bowery Ballroom. Grace sang confessional lyrics that spoke honestly of her life's travails, laced with pop melodies and punk energy. The set consisted of all 14 songs from the Bought to Rot album, plus 10 cover songs. Grace did all the vocals and guitar work, with far more attention to voice than to lead guitar interludes. Grace's voice was clear on the gentler lyrics and gritty when she came to the angry lyrics (which was often). The scope of the songs ranged wider than with her primary band, with perhaps a toned-down flavor overall. The songs still rocked and rolled but they did not all blast the audiences faces to the wall as Against Me! has done. This was a side project done well: it was a familiar-sounding yet distinct presentation that expanded the originator's sound on all edges.

Setlist:
  1. Apocalypse Now (& Later)
  2. Amsterdam Hotel Room
  3. Dilaudid (The Mountain Goats cover)
  4. I Hate Chicago
  5. Conceptual Paths (Laura Jane Grace song)
  6. The Hotel Song
  7. China Beach
  8. Born In Black
  9. The Apology Song
  10. Ache with Me (Against Me! song)
  11. The Acid Test Song
  12. The Airplane Song
  13. Screamy Dreamy
  14. The Friendship Song
  15. Androgynous (The Replacements cover)
  16. Amputations (Laura Jane Grace song)
  17. Reality Bites
  18. Amy AKA Spent Gladiator 1 (The Mountain Goats cover)
  19. Valeria Golino
  20. Manic Depression
Encore:
  1. Harsh Realms (Laura Jane Grace song)
  2. Take the Skinheads Bowling (Camper Van Beethoven cover)
  3. Two Coffins (Against Me! song)
  4. True Trans Soul Rebel (Against Me! song, performed solo by Grace)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Collapsing Scenery at Home Sweet Home

Through the early 2000s, Pennsylvania-born and New York City-based Don Devore played in many local bands, including punk rockers the Icarus Line, indie guitar band the Lilys, rockers Amazing Baby, theatrical band Ink & Dagger, and electronic group Historics; he is also a curator for the Brooklyn arts space Trans Pecos. Texas native and Los Angeles resident Reggie Debris doubles as Mickey Madden, bassist for Maroon 5. They met in Los Angeles and reconnected in London while each was touring. In 2013, the two musicians started a new band, Collapsing Scenery, with a goal of casting aside the stringed instruments on which they had first learned to play music and on which they were comfortable and versed. Instead, they assembled an array of analog electronics -- samplers, step sequencers, synths and drum machines -- all supplemented by effects pedals. It did not mean they were not going to abandon traditional instruments; it meant they were going to create untraditional music. Collapsing Scenery performed at art installations and underground clubs, and recorded music independently. Collapsing Scenery will release its debut album, Stress Positions, on June 28, 2019.

Collapsing Scenery celebrated the announcement of its pending album release with a free performance tonight at Home Sweet Home. Debris as vocalist and Devore as multi-instrumentalist, along with a drummer, Ryan Rapsyscrossed the lines of futurist electro, goth, industrial, techno, post-punk, chillwave and darkwave with haunting vocals and a hard pulsing beat. Abrasive, aggressive and jolting, the performance seemed to border the fine line between sanity and insanity, with Devore ranting on social injustices as Debris challenged the listener with a mix of conflictingly coarse and meditative soundscapes. Collapsing Scenery has built on the sounds pioneered by Suicide, Swans, and Sonic Youth in the 1980s and taken them one more step further over the edge for some creative and engaging experiments in noise rock.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ministry at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Al Jourgensen & Chris Connolly
In 1961, shortly after the Cuban Revolution, the family of three-year-old Alejandro Ramírez Casas escaped from Havana and settled in Florida. In 1964, his mother remarried and adopted her husband's surname for herself and her son. The couple raised the boy, who came to be known as Al Jourgensen, in Chicago, Illinois, and Breckenridge, Colorado. In 1978, Jourgensen relocated from Denver, Colorado, to attend college in Chicago. There, he worked as a radio DJ and played in several short-lived bands, including the backing band of drag performer Divine. Jourgensen finally found success when he formed Ministry in 1981, through which he helped pioneer the industrial metal movement. Vocalist/guitarist Jourgensen is Ministry's only constant member; the band also presently consists of guitarists Sin Quirin and Cesar Soto, keyboardist John Bechdel, bassist Tony Campus and drummer Derek Abrams. Ministry released it 14th and most recent studio album, AmeriKKKant, on March 9, 2018.

Vans sports brand sponsored a six-day screening tour for Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax Records, a documentary about the Chicago-based independent record store and record company that launched industrial music, and the tour stopped tonight at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Fans were invited to attend the screening, a brief panel discussion that included former Ministry/Revolting Cocks musician Chris Connelly and My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult's Groovie Mann, and live sets by Ministry and Cold Cave. For the occasion, Ministry performed a set of only deep cuts and vintage catalog. Jourgensen occasionally joked about the throwback format of the set. "That was actually kinda fun," he told the audience after playing "Jesus Built My Hotrod," a song Ministry had retired from live performances in 2006. Surprises also included Connelly joining the band on stage for "Burning Inside," similarly resurrected  for this tour, and "So What." Connelly returned for the encores of the Revolting Cocks' "No Devotion" and for a rare acoustic version of "(Everyday is) Halloween," which Jourgensen introduced as "about walking around and not being accepted by society." For the entire set, Ministry's performance was filled with healthy rage and fast, loud, and extremely aggressive music. Industrial music remains an underground genre, but few bands are as well equipped as Ministry to blast it to the masses.

Setlist:
  1. The Missing
  2. Deity
  3. Stigmata
  4. Jesus Built My Hotrod
  5. Just One Fix
  6. N.W.O.
  7. Thieves
  8. Burning Inside (with Chris Connelly)
  9. So What (with Chris Connelly)
Encore 1:
  1. No Devotion (Revolting Cocks cover,  with Chris Connelly)
  2. Supernaut (Black Sabbath cover, 1000 Homo DJs version)
Encore 2:
  1. The Land of Rape and Honey
  2. (Everyday Is) Halloween (acoustic, with Chris Connelly)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Foreign Resort at the Red Party at Mercury Lounge

Mikkel Jakobsen
Vocalist/guitarist Mikkel Jakobsen, bassist Steffan Petersen, and drummer Morten Hansen had played in death metal bands in their native cities in Denmark when they came together as the Foreign Resort in Copenhagen in 2009 to play something different. Influenced by noise rock and shoegaze, their experiments in music unconsciously led them to gothic, dark wave and post-punk sounds. The band name was inspired by Jacobsen's two-and-a-half- year residence in Israel, which he saw as his foreign resort. The Foreign Resort's sixth studio album, Outnumbered, was released on April 5, 2019.

The Foreign Resort headlined tonight at the 12th anniversary of the Red Party at Mercury Lounge, a night that also included a performance by Astari Night. The Foreign Resort provided a hard, throbbing, angular anchor to the monthly gathering of goths and post punks. As a power trio, much of the music was driven by guitars (Jakobsen and Petersen occasionally switched instruments) and their chorus, reverb, delay and fuzz effects. Several times, pre-recorded sounds seemed to be surreptitiously added to thicken the band's wall of sound. The band's rapid-pulsing rhythms were almost hypnotic in that, rather than building to a crescendo, the repetition of simple waves built tension and explosive release. The music seldom climbed scales except when Jakobsen's melancholic vocal modulation framed a song. This created an overall dark, swirling effect that was as menacing as it was mysterious. The Foreign Resort's performance was shadowy, edgy, and riveting.

Nick Lowe's Quality Rock 'n' Roll Revue at the Bowery Ballroom

In Suffolk, England, Nick Lowe began his musical career in 1967, when he joined the band Kippington Lodge with his school friend Brinsley Schwarz. They renamed the band Brinsley Schwarz in late 1969 and began performing country and blues-rock. Lowe left Brinsley Schwarz in 1975 and in 1986 began a solo career as artist and producer (Elvis Costello's first five albums, the Damned's first album, the Pretenders' first single, Graham Parker's first and third albums), and also played bass in rockabilly/pop rock quartet Rockpile, co-led with guitarist Dave Edmunds. Rockpile split in 1981, and Lowe toured in 1982-1983 with his band Noise to Go and in 1984-1985 with the Cowboy Outfit. In 1987 Lowe was also a member of the short-lived Little Village with John Hiatt, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner. In 2009, Cooder and Lowe toured as a duo. Periodically, Lowe performed solo acoustic. Since 2014, Lowe has been touring with Los Straitjackets  (guitarists Eddie Angel and Greg Townson, bassist Pete Curry, drummer Chris Sprague) as his band. Following Lowe's 14 solo albums, his most recent product is a four-song EP with Los Straitjackets, Tokyo Bay, on June 15, 2018; their Love Starvation / Trombone EP will be released on May 17, 2019. Lowe lives in London, England.

Billed as Nick Lowe's Quality Rock 'n' Roll Revue Starring Los Straitjackets at the Bowery Ballroom, tonight's performance featured Lowe singing with support from the luchador-masked, surf-rocking Los Straitjackets. Curiously, the match clicked, as the band took ownership of the songs even as Lowe fronted. Lowe sang pop melodies but most of his familiar songs now had a vintage country, rockabilly or Americana roots twist. This aged flavor did not draw a curtain on Lowe's pop sensibilities, but it did establish that Lowe was not frozen to the same place where he was in the 1970s. He had not divorced himself entirely from that era, however, as he gave the audience what it came to hear: "So It Goes", "Cruel to Be Kind", "I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock 'n' Roll)" and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding." His final encore was a solo acoustic version of Elvis Costello's "Alison." In the end, Lowe proved that he was a credible rocker with roots.

Setlist:
  1. So It Goes
  2. Ragin' Eyes
  3. Without Love
  4. You Inspire Me
  5. Shting-Shtang
  6. Raincoat in the River (Dig Richards cover)
  7. Somebody Cares for Me
  8. Tokyo Bay (followed by a Los Straitjackets mini-set without Lowe)
  9. I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass
  10. Sensitive Man
  11. Love Starvation
  12. Blue on Blue
  13. Half a Boy and Half a Man
  14. Cruel to Be Kind
  15. Heart of the City
  16. I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock 'n' Roll)
Encore:
  1. When I Write the Book (Rockpile song)
  2. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding (Brinsley Schwarz song)
Encore 2:
  1. Alison (Elvis Costello cover)

Tony Bennett at Radio City Music Hall

Born and raised in the Astoria section of New York City, a 10-year-old Anthony Benedetto sang at the opening of the Triborough Bridge in 1936 standing next to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who patted him on the head. He began singing for money at age 13, performing as a singing waiter in several Italian restaurants around his native Queens. As a U.S. Army infantryman, he saw combat during World War II and sang with the 314th Army Special Services Band. In 1949, Pearl Bailey asked him to open for her in Greenwich Village; Bob Hope was in the audience, took Benedetto on tour with him, and simplified his name to Tony Bennett. As a crooner of pop, jazz, big band and show tunes, Bennett enjoyed multiple hits songs in the 1950s and early 1960s, then enjoyed a comeback starting in the late 1980s when his music was marketed to the MTV generation rather than the Las Vegas circuit. Bennett has won 20 Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, and has sold over 50 million records worldwide. His 57th and most recent studio album, Love Is Here to Stay with Diana Krall, was released on September 14, 2018.

Radio City Music Hall seems to be Tony Bennett's home stage thanks to his annual engagements there. This time, he performed with a simple jazz quartet (pianist Billy Stritch, guitarist Gary Sargent, bassist Marshall Wood, and drummer Harold Jones), foregoing lush arrangements for a bare-naked set that emphasized the beauty and power of his unique 92-year-old vocals. None of his famous duet partners (no Diana Krall, no Lady Gaga) showed, and the staging featured no flashy lighting or props. It was Bennett au naturel, much like you might find in a cozy jazz bar, except that this was New York City's largest auditorium. The lights dimmed, Frank Sinatra's pre-recorded voice praised Bennett, the lights came on and Bennett strolled on stage. Bennett's early bel canto vocal training has preserved his voice through seven decades, and it was a marvel to behold. His rich, earthy vocals were bombastic and powerful through Michel Legrand's "Watch What Happens" and George and Ira Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" and Fred Astaire's "I'm Old Fashioned." He sang some of his best-known songs, including "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", "The Way You Look Tonight", a medley of "Rags to Riches" and "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)", "For Once in My Life" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Every song was re-interpreted, such that no song sounded exactly like its recorded version. The jazz combo enriched the songs with refined instrumental breaks. Personable and charming in his between-song anecdotes, Bennett framed the songs in their history. Most importantly, however, he punctuated many of his songs by gliding and hitting the high, dramatic crescendo notes. He may not have held them as long as he did in his younger years, but nevertheless this feat in itself was startling and monumental. This Tony Bennett performance was a master class in vocal talent, style, sophistication and artistry.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mott the Hoople '74 at the Beacon Theatre

A British band formerly known as Silence became Mott the Hoople in 1969 when Ian Hunter joined as vocalist and pianist. The new band name was taken from the title of a Willard Manus novel about an eccentric who worked in a circus freak show. Lacking commercial success, Mott the Hoople was on the verge of splitting in 1971 when a fan, David Bowie, offered the band "Suffragette City" from his then yet-to-be-released Ziggy Stardust album. The band passed on the song. Bowie then wrote "All the Young Dudes" for Mott the Hoople and it became the band's biggest hit; Bowie also produced the accompanying 1972 album, likewise called All the Young Dudes. Keyboardist Morgan Fisher and guitarist Luther Grosvenor joined Mott the Hoople in 1973; for contractual reasons, Grosvenor changed his name to Ariel Bender for his stint with the band. About 1974, Hunter left to form a duo with Mick Ronson, so the remaining members called themselves first Mott and later the British Lions, but did not achieve commercial success and split in 1978. Hunter and Ronson worked together until Ronson's death in 1993; Hunter then launched the Ian Hunter Band and later Ian Hunter & the Rant Band. The original Mott the Hoople reunited for seven concerts in 2009 in the United Kingdom and five concerts in 2013. Mott the Hoople '74 formed in 2018, featuring Hunter, Bender, Fisher, guitarists James Mastro and Mark Bosch, keyboardist Dennis DiBrizzi, bassist Paul Page, and drummer Steve Holley.

The Mott the Hoople ’74 that performed a tour-closing set at the Beacon Theatre tonight consisted of three members of the band's 1974 lineup plus members of Hunter's band. Hunter is the sole remaining member from the All the Young Dudes recordings. Nevertheless, it was the first time in 45 years that Hunter, Bender and Fisher performed together in New York City. Together the musicians and the audience celebrated the band's glam rock era, yet gave the vintage songs a fresh workout. A highly animated Bender frequently stole the spotlight with his flashy leads and dynamic movements, but Hunter was in fine voice, Fisher was masterful at the keyboards, and the rest of the band created a healthy new environment for the treasury of old songs. After a 1972 audio recording of Bowie’s introduction of the band, Mott the Hoople '74 started with a cover of Don McLean's "American Pie: leading into "The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll," and from there it was two hours of solid, old-fashioned rock and roll, so much so that the closing medley consisted of 11 classic tunes. Finally, the last song of the encore was "All the Young Dudes," which included cameos by Jakob Dylan of the opening act, the Wallflowers, and Hunter's son, Jesse Hunter. All these dudes are not so young, but they sure did rock.

Setlist:
  1. American Pie (Don McLean cover)/ The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll
  2. Lounge Lizard (Ian Hunter song)
  3. Alice
  4. Honaloochie Boogie
  5. Rest in Peace
  6. I Wish I Was Your Mother
  7. Pearl ‘n’ Roy (England)
  8. Sucker
  9. Sweet Jane (The Velvet Underground cover)
  10. Rose
  11. Walking with a Mountain
  12. Roll Away the Stone
  13. Marionette
  14. Medley: Jerkin' Crocus / You Really Got Me (The Kinks cover) / One of the Boys / Rock and Roll Queen / Crash Street Kidds / Death May Be Your Santa Claus / Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (Big Maybelle cover)/ Mean Woman Blues (Elvis Presley cover) / Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover) / Violence / Cleveland Rocks (Ian Hunter song) > New York City Rocks
Encore:
  1. All the Way from Memphis
  2. Saturday Gigs
  3. All the Young Dudes (David Bowie cover, with Jakob Dylan and Jesse Hunter)

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Underwater Sunshine Fest at the Bowery Electric, Night 2

Adam Duritz is far more than the vocalist and co-founder of Counting Crows. Duritz is also a diehard music fan and a promoter of independent musicians. He co-produced the annual traveling Outlaw Roadshow music festival for seven years, and in 2018 replaced it in New York City with a similar project, the Underwater Sunshine Fest.
Adam Duritz and David Immergluck of Counting Crows
This year, the second annual Underwater Sunshine Fest  was held on both floors of the Bowery Electric on April 5-6, 2019. Eric Hutchinson, Jesse Malin, Hollis Brown with Cyndi Lauper, Red Wanting Blue, Jules & the Jinx, Maria Taylor, Petal, Wild Pink, Bear Club, Fort Francis, Wilder Maker, Roan Yellowthorn, Ryan Hamilton, Jordan Klassen, Cameron McGill, Taylor Carson, Fort Gorgeous, Amy Vachal, and Fairhazel performed. Admission was free. In addition, a substantial quantity of the artist's merchandise was also free.

The Underwater Sunshine Fest was named after a 2012 Counting Crows album that featured cover versions of songs that drove the band members to love music. The fest played off that same spirit; for those two nights, one could see Duritz enjoying all the band's performances. Community was formed as many of the musicians stayed in the audience to listen to other musicians. Many of the artists thanked Duritz and his team from the stage and professed how immersive and supportive the warm and familial experience was for both them and the audience.
Taylor Carson
Petal
Cameron McGill
Red Wanting Blue
Jordan Klassen
Maria Taylor
Ryan Hamilton
Eric Hutchinson

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Underwater Sunshine Fest at the Bowery Electric, Night 1

Adam Duritz is far more than the vocalist and co-founder of Counting Crows. Duritz is also a diehard music fan and a promoter of independent musicians. He co-produced the annual traveling Outlaw Roadshow music festival for seven years, and in 2018 replaced it in New York City with a similar project, the Underwater Sunshine Fest.
Adam Duritz
This year, the second annual Underwater Sunshine Fest  was held on both floors of the Bowery Electric on April 5-6, 2019. Eric Hutchinson, Jesse Malin, Hollis Brown with Cyndi Lauper, Red Wanting Blue, Jules & the Jinx, Maria Taylor, Petal, Wild Pink, Bear Club, Fort Frances, Wilder Maker, Roan Yellowthorn, Ryan Hamilton, Jordan Klassen, Cameron McGill, Taylor Carson, Fort Gorgeous, Amy Vachal, and Fairhazel performed. Admission was free. In addition, a substantial quantity of the artist's merchandise was also free.

The Underwater Sunshine Fest was named after a 2012 Counting Crows album that featured cover versions of songs that drove the band members to love music. The fest played off that same spirit; for those two nights, one could see Duritz enjoying all the band's performances. Community was formed as many of the musicians stayed in the audience to listen to other musicians. Many of the artists thanked Duritz and his team from the stage and professed how immersive and supportive the warm and familial experience was for both them and the audience.
Wilder Maker
Fairhazel
Roan Yellowthorn
Fort Frances
Amy Vachal
Bear Club
Fort Gorgeous
Wild Pink
Hollis Brown
Hollis Brown w. Cyndi Lauper

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Ex Hex at the Bowery Ballroom

As a youth, Mary Timony studied viola and played guitar in the jazz band at her school in Washington, D.C. In that city, she later became the vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist in Autoclave. She relocated for college to Boston, Massachusetts, where she formed the band Helium in 1992. Helium disbanded in 1998, whereupon Timony launched a solo career. Timony moved back to D.C. a few years later. In 2005, Timony released her debut solo album, Ex Hex. She formed Pow Wow in 2009, which became Soft Power, and Wild Flag in 2010. After Wild Flag's breakup, Timony formed Ex Hex in 2013 with bassist Betsy Wright (Fire Tapes, Chain & the Gang) and drummer Laura Harris (Benjy Ferree, The Aquarium). Ex Hex took its name from Timony's 2005 album and released an album in 2014. . After about two years of touring that album, Wright formed the group Bat Fangs, Harris joined Death Valley Girls, and Timony reissued Helium albums. The band released its second studio album, It's Real, on March 22, 2019.

Ex Hex appeared at the Bowery Ballroom tonight as a quartet. Drafting a touring bassist, David Christian, allowed Wright to switch to second guitar. This move was so right, evolving the band's former punk economy to a near arena-rock thickness. Drawing from the two Ex Hex albums, many of the songs featured dueling guitars, even with Timony and Wright physically leaning into each other, intertwining their legs as they ripped into extended solos. The energetic set featured light and airy pop vocal melodies and harmonies that contrasted the many jagged, unconventional guitar leads and riffs. The fist-pumping hair-metal power chords remained at the forefront, however. At its core, Ex Hex's performance was rugged garage rock and roll, with mature arrangements lending a somewhat polished gloss to the band's muscular rave-up mainframe.

Setlist:
  1. Tough Enough
  2. You Fell Apart
  3. Radiate
  4. Don’t Wanna Lose
  5. Want It to Be True
  6. How You Got That Girl
  7. Rainbow Shiner
  8. Diamond Drive
  9. Waterfall
  10. Another Dimension
  11. Cosmic Cave
  12. Everywhere
Encore:
  1. Radio On
  2. Hot and Cold

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hayes Carll at the Bowery Ballroom

Hayes Carll was living in the Woodlands, just outside of Houston, Texas, when at age 15 he received his first guitar. Almost immediately, he began writing songs influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, and the Beat-era writings of Jack Kerouac. He attended college in Conway, Arkansas, and upon graduating in 1998 he settled in Crystal Beach, Texas, where he played his original songs in the local bars. After a stay in Austin, he returned home to the Galveston and Houston area and gathered a local following through gigs. Slowly and steadily, his work reached larger audiences. After releasing his debut album in 2002, the Houston Press voted Carll as Best New Act. In 2008 his song "She Left Me for Jesus" became the Americana Music Association’s Song of the Year. Four of his songs appeared the 2010 film Country Strong. American Songwriter awarded him with Song of the Year in 2011. In 2014, Lee Ann Womack scored a minor hit with his song "Chances Are." In 2016, Kenny Chesney covered Carll’s "Jesus and Elvis." In 2017, Carll swept the Austin Music Awards with seven wins. Hoping to continue the line of little victories, Carll released his sixth and most recent studio album, What It Is, on February 15, 2019, and recently relocated to Nashville, Tennessee.

At the Bowery Ballroom tonight, Hayes Carll proved that a serious songwriter can be also an engaging performer. Carll sang with a laid-back southern lilt, and his four musicians kept the atmosphere country with pedal steel and mandolin runs, periodically adding a dose of rocking energy to the main root twang. Like many country music lyricists, Carll sang wordy songs about heartaches and good times, yet his clever, witty lyrics occasionally featured a curiously ironic twist. His plainspoken poetry sometimes showed a sarcastic bite as well. Curiously, Carll seemed to eschew commercial formulas like repetitive one-line choruses and rallying sing-alongs, giving his compositions a cut more integrity. Yet, in addition to the emphasis he gave to the intricacies of his lyrical foundation, he built a bond with his audience, sharing amusing anecdotes between songs and generally presenting his personality as lighthearted and playful. In the end, his audience was sold not only on his craft, but also on him as a country comrade.

Wives at Mercury Lounge

Andrew Bailey, guitarist in DIIV, has a new side band called Wives, based out of Queens, New York. The indie rock quartet teams him with guitarist/vocalist Jay Beach, bassist Alex Crawford, and drummer Adam Sachs. The four musicians had been part of the local DIY scene, performing house shows and small venues, when one day some remaining studio time booked for another project gave the four musicians an impromptu opportunity to create music together. Satisfied with the results, they committed to forming a band. Wives' debut album, So Removed, will become available on June 28, 2019.

Wives' hometown show at Mercury Lounge tonight was a warm-up to the band's European/UK tour in May. The band's mix of gentle pop vocals, off-kilter indie, raw garage, and guitar-led dissonance was a curious but successful mix. The rather brief set was well-paced, the vocals and vocal harmonies ranged from droll to sensitive, the lyrics seemed to well-crafted, and the grungy, shimmering guitar leads were engaging. It might be unjust to review a band so early on its path, but this performance was already shooting a clear arrow towards its eventual trajectory, and Wives showed substantial promise.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Blaqk Audio at the Bowery Ballroom

In 2001, Davey Havok and Jade Puget were active members of AFI, but started writing electronic music very unlike AFI. Their intention was to create an entirely electronic side project with vocals, synthesizers, keyboards, drum machines, and software. Increasingly busy with AFI, they returned to the project only in 2006. Blaqk Audio's debut album was released in 2007 and debuted at number one on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Blaqk Audio released its fourth and most recent studio album, Only Things We Love, on March 15, 2019.

At the Bowery Ballroom tonight, Blaqk Audio's music explored and adapted the history of electronic music from the lighter electro-pop of the 1980s, through the futurepop and bigbeat movements at the turn of the century, and ultimately to the darker EBM and darkwave of the current post punk scene. The set featured songs from all four Blaqk Audio albums plus a cover of Dead or Alive's 1984 hit "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)." Havok sang clearly and worked the audience by endlessly pacing the lip of the stage as Puget provided all the pulsing layers of electronic sound and the heart-racing beats-per-minute. The newer, heavier material showed the band to be not all retro-sounding but also cutting edge. The duo also demonstrated the limitations of having one singer and one instrumentalist, however. Puget's music had a sometimes uncomfortable chill and Havok's vocals as the sole organic instrument grew rather same-y. One can only wonder how much warmer and more exciting the performance might have been had there been more musicians on stage generating live musical interplay and dynamics.

Setlist:
  1. First to Love
  2. Waiting to Be Told
  3. Anointed
  4. OK, Alex
  5. The Viles
  6. Again, Again and Again
  7. Unstained
  8. Dark Times at the Berlin Wall
  9. Cities of Night
  10. Material
  11. Graphic Violence
  12. Bitter for Sweet
  13. Ill-Lit Ships
  14. Stiff Kittens
Encore:
  1. You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (Dead or Alive cover)
  2. Semiotic Love

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes at City Winery

"Southside" Johnny Lyon
"Southside" Johnny Lyon was born in Neptune, New Jersey, and grew up in Ocean Grove, where his father played bass in local bands. In the early 1970s, Lyon sang in numerous short-lived bands along the Jersey Shore, several of which included Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bongiovi (later to be known as Bon Jovi), Steven Van Zandt and most of the musicians who wound up in those artists' bands. Once Springsteen's star started to rise, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes advanced from the house band at the Stone Pony to a national touring band with a debut album that featured contributions from Springsteen, Van Zandt and other members of the E Street Band. More than 100 musicians can claim to have been members of the Asbury Jukes; the present band consists of vocalist/harmonica player Lyon, keyboardist Jeff Kazee, guitarist Glenn Alexander, trumpet player Chris Anderson, saxophonist John Isley, trombonist Neal Pawley, bassist John Conte, and drummer Thomas "Goose" Seguso. Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes' 15th and most recent studio album is 2015's Soultime! The band also has released 12 live albums.

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes' albums have occasionally changed direction, but at City Winery for a two-night stand, the band was back to its classic sound with a set of vintage-sounding rocking rhythm and blues songs. The set included audience favorites from the band's earliest albums, deep cuts and several familiar covers. Lyon interchanged well with his band, allowing the horn section in particular to flesh out the songs. He belted from the soul a husky voice that projected emotive and enthusiastic deliveries equally well. An responsive audience sat inches from his feet, and Lyon was perhaps overly comfortable in these intimate circumstances, such that he took the liberty to draw out many songs with seemingly excessive mid-song chatter and commentary. Nevertheless, he recaptured his audience by articulated their sentiments in songs like "I Don't Want to Go Home" and "Having a Party." Indeed, this time it's for real.

Setlist:
  1. Spinning
  2. Passion Street
  3. Love on the Wrong Side of Town
  4. All I Can Do
  5. I'm Not That Lonely
  6. Strange Strange Feeling
  7. Talk to Me (Bruce Springsteen cover)
  8. This Time Baby's Gone for Good
  9. Rosa
  10. Walk Away Renée (The Left Banke cover)
  11. Tango Till They're Sore (Tom Waits cover)
  12. Forever (Little Steven cover)
  13. Save Me (Little Steven cover)
  14. Key to the Highway (Charles Segar cover)
  15. Woke Up This Morning
  16. Without Love
  17. The Fever (Bruce Springsteen cover)
  18. This Time It's for Real
  19. I Don't Want to Go Home
Encore:
  1. Sherry Darling (Bruce Springsteen cover)
  2. Don't Waste My Time
  3. Having a Party (Sam Cooke cover) (with a snippet of You Can’t Party on a Thursday Night)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Max Frost at the Bowery Ballroom

Max Frost was born and raised in Austin, Texas, where he learned to play drums at age four and guitar at age eight. At age 12, he started performing in bands, including Joy Ride (a rock group) and Blues Mafia; typically, he was the youngest member of all the bands he joined. In his late teens, Frost began combining modern hip-hop rhythms with the classic blues and rock he had been performing, and recorded his music onto his computer. Just before a performance at the 2013 South by Southwest festival, someone stole his guitar and his backpack containing his laptop and the hard drive which contained all the music he had worked on for two years. Three days later, by coincidence, a popular music blog found his website and starting streaming his falsetto-strewn song "White Lies," effectively boosting Frost's professional music career to a national level. Re-working several older songs from memory, he re-recorded songs for his debut EP, and some of these songs were licensed for commercial use. After two EPs and tour dates opening for Twenty One Pilots, Panic! at the Disco, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Gary Clark Jr., Max Frost released his debut album, Gold Rush, on October 5, 2018. Frost now resides in Los Angeles, California.

Max Frost performed a one-man show tonight at the Bowery Ballroom, darting around the stage to station himself at his guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. Often he would start a song on one instrument and loop whatever he played and do the same at the next instrument and the next, building the song as he added layers. Frost crooned and swooned his vocals, even when some of his lyrics dwelled on unconventional Topics ("High All Day", "Adderall"). On the surface, a casual listener could have  dismissed his music simply as commercial Top 40 pop, but digging a bit deeper, one would find that even his contemporary electro-soul songs showed retro roots, channeling cohesive influences from vintage blues, funk, and rhythm and blues. The multi-instrumentalist's pop songs and dynamic live show will find favor with the 20-something crowd.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at City Winery

In the 1980s, Scotty Morris performed in punk and alternative rock bands and was conceiving the idea of starting a swing revival band. One night after a concert, he asked Albert Collins to sign a poster, and the blues guitarist wrote, "To Scotty, the big bad voodoo daddy." Now Morris had a name for a band; he only had to assemble the players. He formed Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in 1989 in Ventura, California. In its early years playing clubs and lounges, the band concentrated on the swing of the 1940s and 1950s, soon adapting those arrangements to similar-sounding originals. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's first break was when three songs, "You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)", "I Wan'na Be Like You" and "Go Daddy-O," were featured in the soundtrack of the 1996 comedy-drama Swingers. The band has sold more than two million records and showcased its music in films, television shows, parades, and football half-times, even performing before three U.S. presidents. For the past 25 years, the band has consisted of vocalist/guitarist Scotty Morris, drummer Kurt Sodergren, bassist Dirk Shumaker, baritone saxophonist Andy Rowley, trumpet player Glen "The Kid" Marhevka, saxophonist/clarinetist Karl Hunter, and pianist Joshua Levy.

At City Winery tonight, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was a nine-piece band, with the aid of touring members Alex "Crazy Legs" Henderson (trombone) and Mitchell Cooper (lead trumpet). Horn players comprised more than half of the ensemble, and so most of the songs featured horn solos during the extended instrumental sections. The band promised its fans that this tour would feature songs the band has seldom performed live, but even for first timers, the set was filled with crowd-pleasing jumping jive songs executed as authentically as if the band was first generation swing. Both on originals and covers, Morris' singing and Levy's arrangements embraced vintage American musical traditions for a vibrant, collection of high-flying jazz, swing, and dixieland dance tunes. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's set made a statement; well-played swing music may outlive most other forms of contemporary music.