7.26.2010

Jive Grave & The Fancy @ Ars Nova

Geo Wyeth / Jive Grave @ Ars Nova

Jive Grave and The Fancy were the line-up for Wednesday as part of Ars Nova 54/10 music marathon series. Two bands with accomplished musicians and visions.

It has been my pleasure to chronicle Geo Wyeth’s music incarnations for the last two years. What a satisfying ride it’s been.

I arrived just as Jive Grave was finishing their first song. Geo Wyeth thanked Ars Nova for their support as their 2009 Composer-in-Residence. The residency gave him the opportunity to explore and compose / Haunts song cycle. With Geo at the helm the band Jive Grave was spawned.

The set explored looping with bells, vocals and guitar notes, solo material, claps, horn arrangements and an intricate beat between two drummers featuring a drum kit and tom tom. The music frames the lyrics with it’s melting pot of sound where repetition is fleeting and snippets of sound are segmented and disjointed. Geo’s lyrics reference legacy, lineage, memory and the city are pieced together in collage of ripped, rough and sometime soft edges.

They played "Black One On the River" with a sound rich with texture, sax accents, vocal harmonics and Afro-centric guitar. The tremelo picking soared at a high pitch rising like a blustering current to an abrupt ending. / Will you wait for me for me / in the water / it’s a mighty / current we are running from./

Geo Wyeth emphasised, “this is a song about where I live, Bedford Stuyvesant. “So Funny It Might Be Death” began with scat vocal blurts, claps and the saxophone played by Tina Richadson and Wyeth’s guitar with punched chords and chiming note flourishes. The celebratory sound was fitting for Wyeth’s lyrical poetic perspective making the neighborhood come alive / The kids all got scowls under their breath like old church ladies /.

Jive Grave’s sound is cerebral and vibrant provoking the listener to pay attention.The release date for 7” Blackone in September features vocalist Becca Kaufman whose voice is a treasure and creates striking contrasts. Listen Here
geo wyeth, keith parker, dan arnow, tina richerson, mike irwin, simeon kezengwa other featured contributors: tim johnson, becca kauffman, brian newman
Flickr Set

The Fancy @ Ars Nova

The Fancy play gorgeous orchestrated pop that is so smooth and yummy it tastes like butta. Composer/songwriter and lead vocal duo Clara Latham and Seth Garrison are classically trained and their compositions reflect a commitment to the accessible and smart. What sets this group apart is not just their choice of instrumentation but how it is applied. Key board and synth, electric guitar, bassoon, viola and gorgeous vocals

They started with “Honey Baby” which had great orchestration with viola scales woven through. “Out Of The City” had luscious harmonies, creamy confection that is sticky kind of a sophisticated Abba mixed with serious instrumentation. Kind of a dichotomy of sound.

The cover song of choice was Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman”. It was a complex interpretation that coordinated a steady bass with the bassoon and viola played in a round. You could visibly see the concentration and efforts Katherine Young and Amy Cimini two incredible soloists.

They brought out their guest drummer Craig Bray for the song “O Willa” that started slow with a singing dialogue and then grew to a fast, furious action and timing.

Their attention to details was apparent as they asked to bring down guitar levels and more sound on the bassoon and vocals. They care about delivery. I was very impressed with this band. They even have a great website that is informative and a joy to explore. They got it together!

7.21.2010

Crazy Over Brian Newman @ Duane Park Live Review

Brian Newman @ Duane Park

Been meaning to go to Duane Park to see the Brian Newman Jazz Trio After Dark at Duane Park for a while. They perform there every Friday night with a rotating cast of beautiful burlesque performers.

Brian Newman's singing voice is impeccable reaching gorgeous high notes while adding his own spin to classic jazz standards. As a trumpeter his trumpet is an extension of his being. Somehow he finds enough air to dig in and blow improvisational bursts between lyrics.


Dressed to please the svelte dapper Newman visually pulls out all the stops as the quintessential master of ceremonies. With his cool demeanor and awesome showmanship, he worked the room like a fast witted vaudevillian comic adding enough spice and a little grit without loosing his classy flair.


The clanking of glasses, endless chatter and lively bar action added to the atmosphere but I would have preferred a quiet room to fully take in the marvelous music.


Earlier this month Brian Newman made his television debut with Lady Gaga on the Today Show. His underground reputation with fellow musicians as someone to collaborate with is now out of the box. A much deserved career boost.


It was sweet to see a few of those new fans last Friday at Duane Park who came to listen.




Langhorne Slim @ Brooklyn Bowl


It has been a joy following and writing about Langhorne Slim for the last four years. The band has always been able to stir a crowd with it’s infectious music and Slim’s charismatic showmanship. So what’s been changing? There is a different feeling in the air. People are finding out about the group from a variety of sources and coming out to see for themselves. The power of exposure. But music in general can’t be supported by a simple download. It is when a fan makes a commitment to see a band live.

One such patron was up front with her camera, ready to hear the song that brought her to the show. She was visibly overwhelmed with the power of the live show and although unfamiliar with most of the set chronicling their discography she will ultimately be a true supporter of the band and it’s output.

At the Brooklyn Bowl the popularity of the group was apparent. Slim did not have to win the crowd over they were already there hanging on every word, dancing and singing along. Even with an adoring crowd the band does not take anything for granted they bring it on more.

All the roadworthy experience has catapulted this group into another category. The momentum is building and for Langhorne Slim stardom is right around the corner and they are ready.

The Woes and The Defibulators @ Ars Nova


The Woes have been on my radar only through word of mouth among the bands I write about like Langhorne Slim, o’death and Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned. I met Osei Essed at Brooklyn Bowl at Langhorne Slim show and realized we’ve crossed paths at other shows. It sometimes takes me a while to dot the I’s. So with that said, I made it a point to go uptown to Ars Nova.


The Woes bring an all one approach to there music combining genres of soul, punk gospel, blues, early folk and jazz with an impressive attention to details. With the exuberance of a funeral marchin jubilee, they played jazzy segments on saxophone, trumpet and french horn with bluesy riffs on guitar and banjo and rev-ed up action on the peddle steel guitar.

All the great musicianship centers around the deep vocals Osei Essed. His soulful straightforwardness blended and angst ridden thickness from down below the diaphragm creates an urgency of quick tight upheavals of rising howls, whoops and groans. The jubilant chorus of shouters from the brass section belt it up between blows added to the lively mix.

What was great for me was to really get a chance to hear their music in a venue that cares about sound. So I was able to fully appreciate the clarity and tight framework of their live set.

The Defibulators from Brooklyn bring tongue and cheek, Hee Haw antics and references to redneck country, pickups and truck stop a go-go to their blend of rockabilly home grown country rock. The six person group played a lively, theatrical and friendly set with excellent instrumentation and the outstanding voice of Erin Bru their only female member. All in good fun they played with a little help from their comedic puppet Buddy, a “human” version of Triumph the insult comic dog as the master of ceremonies. The Defibulators brought out all the stops including a comedic movie short about tour stash and the cops on the take looking for the shit.

Ars Nova is a small venue that cares. This was my second visit to the small intimate venue but a few of the groups I’ve featured on this site like Langhorne Slim, Geo Wyeth and Max Vernon have played there. Ars Nova provides a hub for emerging talent in music, comedy and theater. Getting the word out about this diamond in the rough should be paramount.

The Woes Flickr Set
The Defibulators Flickr Set

7.02.2010

Maryanne Ventrice Band Photography @ Con Artist Gallery


Con Artist Gallery is a collective dedicated to showcasing a rotating line up artists, designed as a one night only event on Wednesdays, down under through the steel grate on 119 Ludlow Street. Brian Sevrin is the creator of the workshop/artists collective where items produced on the premises by the members are sold in the front half of the space and the workshop turned gallery, in the rear. The Con Artist concept is to bypass the gallery system creating opportunities for artists to show their work and make a CONnection within a community.

Last night Con Artist featured the band photography by Maryanne Ventrice entitled “More Guitar In The Monitor”. Maryanne has become a staple in the indie music scene documenting bands in Brooklyn and Manhattan since 2007 in venues like Death by Audio, Union Hall, Cake Shop and Bruar Falls. If there is a show she is there with her heavy bag of tools and work horse ethic.

Her DIY approach to photography and honest no nonsense shooting reflects the love she brings to the genre of band photography. She has the patience it takes to capture moments rather then going for the obvious. I have seen her work many shows where she unobtrusively moves around to document different angles or crowd interactions.

Just as straight forward as Maryanne is as a person her gallery debut was no different. Sheets of photo paper dangled unframed from wires attached to the ceiling pipes around the perimeter of the room. Her non-pretentious work hung like classic compositions displaying the beauty of The National’s lead singer Matt Berninger intertwined with the mic chord, or James Harvey of Drink Up Buttercup hands rising up in the air to soak up the enthusiastic crowd and capturing the intensity of lead singer Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus.

Maryanne is a no frills woman, totally is who she is, honest, hard working and approachable. To me she is a “Trooper Photographer” whose efforts contribute to moving the music culture forward.

Flicker Set
List of Photos Displayed:
The Lisps, Union Hall / Liars, Bowery Ballroom / Hopewell, Death By Audio / Dinowalrus, Cake Shop / Choir of Young Believers, Le Poisson Rouge / Drink Up Buttercup, Bruar Falls / We Were Promised Jet Packs, Bowery Ballroom / Get Haunted, Littlefield /
The Dears, The Bell House / Tim Fite, The Bell House / Tokyo Police Club, Bowery Ballroom / Holly Miranda, Mercury Lounge /
Band of Horses, Bowery Ballroom / Liam Finn, The Bell House / Sian Alice Group, Mercury Lounge / Black Taxi, Blender Theater /
The Wrens, Bowery Ballroom / Titus Andronicus, Galapagos / Grooms, Knitting Factory / Fanfarlo, Piano’s /
Free Energy, Littlefield / Frightened Rabbit, Webster Hall / Novella, Glasslands / The Bell House / Great Lake /
Drink Up Buttercup, Music Hall of Williamsburg / A Place To Bury Strangers, Europa / Japandroids, Swimmers, The Bell House / The National, Bowery Ballroom / Kyp Malone, Rain Machine /The Bell House / Serena Maneesh, Mercury Lounge /
Pet Shop Boys, Hammerstein Ballroom /