Dan Bern @ Naked Soul at The Rubin Museum Of Art

Who among us has not had their heart broken by a favorite musician.  A failed concept album, a sub par performance, a duet gone horribly wrong, its happened to all of us.  We hold music we love and those who create it to such a high standard, that it is an inevitability, we will be let down.  Once such case where I have experienced the dramatic highs and lows is with singer songwriter Dan Bern.

Bern may not have gained great notoriety, but in his craft, he is one of the best.  Early on he briefly carried the “next Dylan” torch as so many do, and surprise, did not be come Bob 2.0.  I cant really say he has any hits, but his greatest songs capture emotions and situations in such an ironic way, its kind of like as much Larry David as it is Bob Dylan.  He has songs about being the messiah, about aliens mating with monkeys to create the human race, about breaking into Bruce Springsteens house and pretending he is an ailing Woody Guthrie.  Not all songs are purely humorous, there are some beautiful ballads and various love songs in there, but they always approach the subject with a certain twist.  He’s a true original.

I was first introduced to Bern through a family friend, who took us all to see him at the college where she worked.  It was not a mind blowing performance, but I was intrigued by the lyrical content. And at this point in life, I really didnt listen to lyrics.  I was more of a Turn It Up and Shred type of kid, ya know?  But I cared enough to pick up some music, and go to see him when he swung through Boston while I was in school.  He played The Middle East in Cambridge, and the whole game changed.  My mind was blown.  It felt like I was seeing a young Dylan (i know that’s not a light statement)  He would jump between styles, with a fantastic full band, playing newly written ballads about 9/11 (this was in early 2002) classic acoustic audience participation songs, telling stories, it was beautiful.  It was so good that I braved the New England winter a second night in a row, and strained my broke ass college bank account to see him again, and he delivered.  I met him briefly before the show, he seemed spacey, I expected nothing less.  I saw him at the bar and said “Hey Dan”  and asked about some album related stuff, a girl walked up and said “are you the infamous Dan Bern?”  he replied “Sometimes?”  “well what are you other times”  “Lots of things?”.  It was perfect.
Dan Bern 3
Over the next few years he returned several times, and I never missed a show.  I sat outside for the first set at Club Passim, only having a ticket for the second, figuring the later one would be more relaxed.  In the middle of the show, he said “do you guys mind if I unplug?”  then left the stage, and sat in the middle of the crowd, playing whatever anyone wanted to hear, asking everyone to sing where appropriate.  It was the only night in my years in Boston, where I did not care about missing the 12:30 cut off of the T (or subway as anyone else would call it).  I saw him in LA during the 04 Bush Kerry election, and he got straight up political.  Playing some heavy Woody Guthrie tunes from the heart, it was like an old school battle cry…though we all know how that turned out.

He wrote the book Quitting Science, a first person account of the life of scientist Cunliffe Merriweather, who tours around the world “Doing Science”.  Its a beautiful novel, I’ve read it several times.  He uses science as a metaphor for music (never mentioning music once)  but all the same problems come up- his team gives him trouble, his tours are not going well, his experiments fail.  I highly recommend it to anyone, musician, scientist, whatever.  It’s one of my favorite books of all time.

But then it seemed something happened.  He took a turn for the worse.  His live shows became sloppy, he would forget lyrics, he definitely performed a little too drunk.  I left a few shows early, its like watching the last few Mohamed Ali fights, you just don’t want to see it.  He would have moments of brilliance, but overall, it was pretty dull.  It hurt.  But still, I tried to see him every time he passed through, hoping for a return of the champion.

No mics, but a big projection screen behind him.
No mics, but a big projection screen behind him.

Well, it was announced not too long ago that Bern would be playing the Naked Soul series at the Ruben Museum of Art.  This is an entirely acoustic evening….there’s not even a PA. There are no microphones in the room.  I LOVE this concept.  There is nothing at all to hide behind, it truly separates a good musician from the rest.  I figured if there were any venue for Bern to shine in, this would be it. Lets bring it back to the days of the Club Passim and whatnot.

The stage at the Rubin,  notice the absence of mics.
The stage at the Rubin, notice the absence of mics.

So the Ruben museum is a very cool place, its a Himalayan art museum, designed in a very cool way, not at all stuffy, lots of great colors.  They gave Bern quite an introduction, saying they asked him to think of the cosmos while preparing his performance. I figured, whatevs man, just play me some good jams.  He took the stage and seemed excited right away.  He made a few comments like “this is how ALL shows were 100 years ago, we’ve just accepted that amplified stuff is the norm these days, Woody had it easy!”  The room truly sounded amazing, the acoustics were some of the best I’ve ever heard.  My favorite part of all, is that the crowd had to be completely silent, since we were as loud as the sound coming from the stage.  Best Collaboration Of 2009.

Some great hits were busted out.  Lots off of New American Language (the only album of Berns which feels like a complete thought) and some classics like Jerusalem.  All in all, he was not in top form, but he was certainly back on track.  Like an athlete just back from an injury (whats with the 2 sports references so far, who am I?)  He was on his way, but not there yet.  He did explain that he just had a baby girl, which changed his life.  Previously he planned to move to a fishing village in Bolivia and paint pictures of the fishermen all day, until he realized bolivia is landlocked.  I don’t doubt that’s what happened. Maybe thats just what we needed from Bern.  Some sort of life changing event to bring him back into the picture.  Maybe he can work with Rick Rubin or T Bone Burnett on his next album, and create that Time Out Of Mind we’ve all been waiting for.

So I don’t know whats going to happen, I’ll still see Bern every time he passes through, each time hoping for greatness, trying not to hold it against him if he produces anything less.  In the meantime, read Quitting Science, it will make you feel good.

Beatles Ukulele Tribute @ Brooklyn Bowl

The Beatles hold a big place in the hearts of many. Also in the wallets of many, but that’s another post. Its probably safe to say that their music has been adapted into every style imaginable. What about Rap you say? Grey album. Deal with it. Moving on. As the widest reaching pop band in history, their songs translate well. You can play a Beatles song on any instrument, from Bazouki to Oboe, and its going to sound pleasing. So when my friend Mika mentioned there was a Beatles Ukulele tribute, you know I was down.

The Uke also holds a place in my heart. So simple, yet so effective. If I could record an entire album of Henry Mancini standards on ukulele featuring Biz Markee on Vocals, I’d do it in a second (if Biz would only return my calls). There was also a brief moment where Mika and I had a band called Mikatini and The Shakers, featuring duel Ukulele and hand percussion/pedal steel guitar. So on a Sunday night, we headed to Brooklyn Bowl, in the heart of Williamsburg, ready to be entertained with some ironic interpretations of British classics, on Hawaii’s most adorable 4 string instrument. We certainly got more than we bargained for.

Now, let me just say, if our names were not on the bowling wait list, and had that list not been very long, we would have been out of there much sooner. There were so many problems, I don’t even know where to start. First off….and this may be a confusing one….LACK OF UKULELE. I know, I know. Its right in the title of the event! But seriously! What I walked in to find, seemed like a cover band of local dads, sloppily rocking out to some Beatles covers, poorly rehearsed, with one guy who looked like an overweight Sean Lennon on Uke in the back corner of the stage, barely amplified. You could not even hear it. After 3 false starts of “The Long and Winding Road” I was sufficiently insulted, and just gave up overall. Eventually they got through the tune, but by then, the magic was gone.

Notice the lack of ukulele presence
Notice the lack of ukulele presence

One other consistently annoying factor in most Brooklyn events, is an irritating MC. Where do they find these people? Its always like some less funny, more sarcastic Janeane Garofalo type, who always then sings a song with the band, and this song, is always not good. This particular host kept reminding the crowd she went to art school. What other than “well that explains it!” are you supposed to say in response to that? Don’t they know some jovial big dude they can give a couple beers to and have them introduce bands? I am 100% sure that would have been better than this chosen MC.

Later on, after a short break, the music did get slightly better. Hockey themed band “Zamboni” took the stage and performed a competent version of “And Your Bird Can Sing” which was like a breath of Hockey Flavored Fresh Air. One of the dudes from Guster played a forgettable song, then a crowd of the most stereotypical hipsters you or your mom has ever seen, tore through some shit I can’t remember. It was that good. Had I not been bowling at the time, I would have thrown something at them, stole their parents money out of their wallets, and left.

Luckily this was right behind the stage
Luckily this was right behind the stage

Now, the point i’m trying to get across here has nothing to do with The Beatles, or any of the bands which performed this evening. Well, maybe with the Beatles a bit. The point is this. If you advertise a “ukulele tribute to the Beatles” you should probably focus a little more on the actual ukulele. Thats like having a Garlic Festival and just putting a little garlic powder on top of each dish as an afterthought. We were certainly duped. Think of the potential for awesomeness this event had. Imagine 3 ukulele players on stage, baritone, tenor, and soprano (all types of uke) playing “She Loves You Yea Yea Yea” dressed in the Sgt Peppers uniforms, doing some great vocal harmony. How great would that be?! “8 Days A Week” was practically written to be strummed on the uke.

One day, we’ll have our Beatles Vs Stones debate. I believe its obvious that I am a Stones guy, but I will say that one main advantage Los Fabulosos Cuatros have, is that you cant really translate “Satisfaction” to the ukulele.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings @ Starland Ballroom

Let me just come right out and say it, if you want to see a real band, go see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.  Yes, theoretically all bands are real bands, but thats kind of like when the Cheez-Its box says “Now With More Real Cheese Flavor!”  Lets examine some things that may get in the way.  Traditionally, there was the manufactured pop band.  This, I do not find so offensive, no one is really being tricked here.  There will always be bands of young people created by old white men for the purpose of making money.  The Monkey’s never played their own instruments, hundreds of bubblegum bands of that era were just there for the appearance, studio players actually recorded the albums.  Jimmy Page notoriously played several solos on Kinks albums (this was even confirmed by Page in the It Might Get Loud film)  But still, these parts are all being played by real musicians on real instruments.  Somewhere in there, someone has some talent, and has possibly even practiced their instrument.  One paradoxical example of this…is that The Dap Kings are the band on Amy Winehouse’s record, and without them, there is no way that album would have been as successful.

In recent years though, this has changed dramatically in a most bizarre way.  The Auto Tune phenomenon and various other studio trickery have changed the game for the worse.  I’m tempted not to say “for good”  because who knows, there could be a backlash, I’m certainly hoping for one.  I can’t even really get into this here, it will just upset me too much, and I’m not ready to let my day go to hell like that.  Lets just briefly say that Pro Tools, the most widely used recording platform, now advertises that each track now comes with “Elastic Time”.  What Elastic Time does, is time correct actual audio to a preset grid.  What this means, is that a player such as a drummer no longer needs to play in time, the most detailed of samples can be moved around to give the auditory appearance of playing in time.  This one just hurts.  Pitch correction, sure, we all knew that was coming.  But time correction on audio?  Come on!  Is there no motivation for someone to actually learn an instrument anymore? Well, seeing a band like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings I feel could change that.

This group has been around for a while, surrounded by some strange mythology.  From what I understand, bass player Gabriel Roth created Daptone Records, and released several “Reissue” 45 vinyl albums, which were not reissues of old soul recordings at all, but certainly sounded like it.  He believed in recording the old fashioned way, using no computers or trickery of any kind, all real musicians playing real notes.  Everything is recorded on an 8 track reel to reel tape machine, using minimal miking and overdubs.  What comes through is the real thing.  In many cases, these recordings are indistinguishable from the albums they are imitating, both in sound quality and musicianship.  I have heard nothing but stellar reviews of this band, so my expectations were quite high, which is always a dangerous thing.  Last week, my friend Jeff had invited me to check them out at “Southern NJ’s Finest Weird Mid Size Venue”- The Starland Ballroom…how could I pass that up?  So on the shittiest of Saturday nights, we braved the slushy rain/snow/wind combo, and headed south.

The Starland is an odd little place.  Its literally in the middle of nowhere, in Sayerville NJ.  I believe it was some type of dance club until the early 2000’s, when it seemed to take over for the old Birch Hill, as the Pop Punk/ Washed Up 80’s Band venue of NJ.  My old Ska band played there on the “Ska Is Dead” tour, which from what I remember was a great show.  The night before The Dap Kings, none other than Insane Clown Posse occupied the venue, and there were advertisements for Sebastian Bach as well.  But randomly, I saw Wilco there a few years back, and also The Black Crowes, so you really never know whats going to happen.

We arrived after the opening band to a medium filled house, which was kind of nice.  The crowd seemed laid back, no irritating hipsters to speak of, I would say the majority were 25 and older.  The Dap Kings took the stage in traditional Soul Revue style, the band coming out before the vocalist and doing a few instrumental tunes.  Everyone was clad in suits and ties, minimalist coordinated dance moves, great sounds from the instruments.  The guitar player acted as “Hype Man”  giving quite a rap at the beginning of the show, somewhat put on, but still interesting.  It felt as though the band was a little bit bored, not so much tearing it up, but I’m going to assume this is their style as a backup band- leaving all the glory for the front person.

Sharon Jones, gettin funky with some kid from the audience
Sharon Jones, gettin funky with some kid from the audience

Thats where Sharon Jones comes in.  There are no adequate words to describe this woman.  Shes fucking crazy.  She is 100% The Real Deal.  Her voice was flawless, and had enough soul to make Casper The Friendly Ghost come back to life and do the moonwalk.  Her stage presence was like a firecracker, she did not stop moving the entire night, dancing like a madwoman, simply lighting up the stage.  The real question is, where the hell was she for the majority of her life, and why is she not hailed worldwide as the 2nd coming of James Brown?  I heard an interview on NPR saying she was a Rikers Island Prison Guard for several years, and while this could be some made up story, she seemed pretty convincing, discussing the everyday details of the job.  She looks maybe in her late 40’s-early 50’s, and as you may have guessed from the previous sentences, is one of the greatest performers I have ever seen.  My other question is, how does she remain a “large” woman?  Seriously man, shes moving non stop, she must burn hundreds of calories every show, I just don’t get it.

Anyway, In addition to the stage presence of Jones, the backing band is just plain fantastic.  I would say, hands down, it was the greatest horn section I have ever seen.  The lines were so tight and so clear, it honestly reminded me of my favorite James Brown records.  The Baritone sax was perfect, punctuating bass lines with a little bit of growl.  The Trumpet was hitting high notes with ease, it was some Dizzy Gillespie shit.  The Tenor sax played some Maceo style solos, it was all there.   One of the most puzzling parts of the entire evening was their drummer, Homer Steinweiss (who also maintains a food blog)  On record his grooves are serious and straight ahead, though live, his performance seemed somewhat underwhelming.  Also, as Jeff pointed out, he was playing the bass drum with his left foot, using a double pedal, but the drum was in its normal position on the right.  How to explain this?  I have no idea.  There was technically nothing wrong with his playing, the feel was still there, it just didn’t really make me want to say “Hell Yea!”.  The bass playing was superb, the lines moved around, but never once got in the way.  Same thing for the guitars ( of which there were 2)  Their lines intertwined perfectly, they kept their solos minimal.   Overall, this is truly a band who knows how to support a front person.  Not one note was out of place, and nothing distracted from the vocal (though even if they tried, I very much doubt they could overshadow Jones.  Metallica could be up there and she would still stand out)

One Hilarious moment was when Jones brought up a young man from the audience, and danced, shall we say,  “All Up Ons”  It was quite entertaining.  But overall, the show was great.  This is a band like none other out there today.  It reassured me that serious music is still being made by serious musicians.  I don’t think one guitar effect was used all night, not even distortion.  Get out there and check it out, then go listen to The Jonas Brothers.  Tell me which one you prefer afterward.

Phish @ Madison Square Garden 12/3/09

Once every few years, its nice to revisit childhood. To some this may be tossing around the old football, watching an old movie, wearing your old Halloween costume….for me, it’s seeing Phish. My parents moved recently, and while cleaning out the house, I found my many phish ticket stubs from back in the day. It brought be back to a simpler time, in the early days of the internet. All mail order for tickets was done by standard mail! (now i believe its called ‘lottery’) You had to fill out index cards for each show! And recordings of shows were mailed around the country on cassette! UPHILL BOTH WAYS! Man, I feel old.

My interest in the band has certainly decreased over the years, and I’ve tried to examine why. In the high school years, I thought of these 4 musicians as the greatest of their respective instruments. I could analyze musical passages for weeks on end, and I was so incredibly excited for every solo. Maybe its my lack of interest in soloing or disinterest in any song over 6 minutes these days…but something has certainly changed. Phish is like a moment in time, best left alone. They were certainly some good days, but the band is definitely on the down slope of their career. Yes, its true. Once a band takes several, several year breaks, the singer gets arrested, and they come back on tour playing ‘the hits’ that signifies “Late Period” for that band.

The last time I ventured to Madison Square Garden was Wilco and The Flaming Lips on New Years Eve 04-05. We’re not going to talk about that evening, wilco is not meant for an arena. Before that, I believe the only band I had seen there was Phish, numbering somewhere in the mid 7-8’s. So it holds very specific nostalgia for a certain time in the late 90’s. Very few bands I feel are meant for a venue such as this. Led Zeppelin? Sure. The Stones? Probably not. Andrew WK? Of course. Phish?…..Yes. They’ve played in arenas for the last 15 years, they’re used to it. Their sound is more consistent than any band I have heard, each instrument is always audible. Last night was no exception.

The Arena Before The Show
The Arena Before The Show

This was the 2nd show of their MSG run, I did not attend the first night, but was deeply offended that they played Peaches En Regalia. Much to my dismay, they did not re-cover all of Exile on Main St ( which was done this past halloween.) They did cover Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman” and Talking Heads “Cities” which were both enjoyable, but no real fireworks. Musically, the show was in between- the band was tighter than their disasterous comeback several years ago at MSG, but not as free flowing and on the edge as the 98 Island Tour. It was nice to see some old friends, not have to wait for your parents pick you up, and be at a venue mere blocks from work.

But it got me thinking about the darker side of the Phish World. For a band so associated with all things joyus and hippy-ish, theres a lot of dark shit going around. Maybe it was always this way, but the drug culture seems to be on the rise in the actual venues. Sure, sketchy white rastas would always sell weed or acid, maybe some ecstacy in the parking lots, those are the hippy drugs, thats basically like a normal person shopping at Whole Foods. But at the Fenway Park show last summer, I certainly saw several kids, not more than 20 yrs old, doing coke off of their seats. That really just turned me off to the show experience. Come on dudes, just have a beer or something.

At most phish shows, this will be your view
At most phish shows, this will be your view

For someone like Trey Anastasio, I really wonder what life is like these days. A few years ago, he was arrested for a DUI in upstate NY, and Heroin was found in his car. This prompted all sorts of speculation about the last few years of the band, much of it I agree with. The songs were sloppy, the energy seemed to be gone, the fun felt kind of sucked out. As far fetched as it is, I can understand the pressure he felt at the time. First off, he’s basically the millionaire CEO of a very large and far reaching company. Phish may be a party time rock and roll band…but they have employees with health insurance, whose livlihood depends on this band touring. After the financial aspect…the emotional attachment from these hippies is CRAZY. Sure, it won’t be life or death if these kids have to go out and get a real job, or a couple ibankers dont have something to do for a summer road trip…but for the rest of his life there will be speculation about reunions, insane critique of his catalog, and sharp criticism of any show he plays which is less than stellar (see above paragraphs) Its basically- Tour for the rest of your life, or fire an entire company and be disliked by millions of fans all over the world. The same thing happened with Jerry Garcia, and we all know how that ended up.

Heroin seems like some dark shit. It doesnt make you think of rainbows and teddy bears. I think of Motley Crüe passing out on stage. Slash pissing him self and passing out in an elevator doorway, the door opening and closing on his head. The movie Basketball Diaries. Its kind of the antithesis of everything Phish seems to stand for. We’d like to think of the 4 members of phish as the wholesome friend you have, who sometimes smokes some weed, drinks micro brews, but doesn’t really fuck up his life. But this dark side is always there right beneath the surface. While we were enjoying our childhood, relaxing on the lawn and hearing some spaced out jams in the summertime….was Trey all strung out, waiting to shoot up or some shit? I’m puzzled by this. Someone supposedly wrote a book about the band recently, which included discussion on this, but its realease was apparently delayed. If he OD’d how would that affect his legacy? I somehow feel it would end up much darker than the Grateful Dead saga. There was 6-ish people in that band, their style was much more song oriented, much more Americana. If one guy goes…the others could pretty much carry on in a similar style. In a 4 person situation, where there is only 1 of each instrument, no one is really replaceable. If Trey pulled a Garcia, I can’t help but think there would be more bitterness towards the thought.

But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Here are my thoughts in conclusion about their live performance. They’ve been repeating several songs from night to night, which is in my opinion not kosher for this band. If you’re a pop oriented outfit, fine, that’s what people want to hear. You’re a fucking jam band, act like it. Trey looks happier now than in the last few years pre-breakup 1.5. I guess it’s a – you don’t know what you had until its gone – type of thing. His solo career never really caught on, everyone only wanted to hear him play phish songs no matter how many symphonic pieces he wrote, and he’s certainly not a singer/songwriter. This band is carrying quite a legacy, and only now are they playing like it. They’re playing like a band who know’s their reputation has been tarnished. They’re fighting hard to get it back, and I’m not sure how its working out. They’re technically proficient, but the risk taking seems to be gone from the music. Where as in the late 90’s they were not afraid to make a mistake (the risk/reward was far greater) Now they seem to be afraid to make a mistake for fear of looking like they’re out of practice.

Phish 3

The Dirty Projectors with Tuneyards, David Byrne, and The Roots @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC

OH HEY INTERNET!    So lovely to see you again, I’ve truly, madly, deeply, missed you oh so much.  Especially since that falling out we had in ’06.  For that, I accept complete fault, and I promise it will never happen again (unless Dee Snyder and Sammy Hagar try to mess with me again, those damn frizzy haired front men…but I digress.)

The title and mission statement of this blog are fairly self explanatory, I will blog what I hear.  And all things relating to music.  So sometimes it will be blogging what I see, or what I play, or what I find in the trash and then play.   But hey, you’re not here to hear me blabber.  Well, maybe you are, but lets get down to it.

Sunday night is not a usual night for a show.  The weekend is winding down, you have to get yourself together for Monday, you might want to just hang at home and catch up on Hulu.  But this particular sunday was different.  I did not have to work until noon Monday…so it was fair game for some live music.   I received an invite to see The Dirty Projectors at The Bowery Ballroom, my all time favorite New York Venue, possibly one of the best on the planet.  The Dirty Projectors have gained a lot of notoriety recently, being on the cover of New York Magazine and all…but beneath all the fame, glory, drugs, hedge funds, and child labor, there is a pretty good band.

They have this African thing going on, kind of like Paul Simon, if he wasnt a theiving little bastard who ripped off Los Lobos and many many african musicians.   I saw them previously at the Williamsburg Waterfront Jelly Pool Party…well, I heard them…the stage was not viewable, that place is just set up terribly.  They did sound great though, so I figured another viewing was in order.

This was the end of a 4 night NYC run for The Projectors, I had heard great things about the previous nights, particualarly the opening band.   Now, I LIVE to be blown away by an opening band.  As cynical and jewish as I am,  I want to be proven wrong in all aspects of life.  I want to say a band sucks for years, then have them create the greatest album ever.   I want to be pissed that I have to sit through 2 bands I dont know before a headliner, and be impressed beyond belief.  This is exactly what happened, and David Byrne agrees with me (i’ll get more into that later)

My Friend said to me “Steve, The Dirty Projectors are great, but this band Tuneyards will destroy everything in sight, and you will want to leave afterwards, and shatter all of your hard drives containing stolen music beause they are so good, and resort back to using gramaphone technology, because there is no hope for the future”  I am not paraphrasing, thats exactly what happened, only with more explatives (this is a family blog, we keep it clean).   Lo and Behold, he was so fucking right.   This band Tuneyards was comprised of one girl on Vocals, Ukulele, Floor Tom and Snare Drum, using a looping sampler to record and play over herself live,  as well as a bass player.   Now, whenever someone hypes a band that much, I’m skeptical, as we all should be.  But from the opening notes, there was no messing around.  The entire crowd agreed, we all ate it up right away.  From the opening notes, people were freaking out.  The vocals were these exotic chants, constantly looping, sounding like african melodies you’d hear in a national geographic documentary. Then all of a sudden, some big ass Floor Tom Beats come in, and you suddenly realize that you are cured of all your illnesses, you’ve grown a foot taller, and there is a cheesesteak on a plate in front of you.  Her ukulele playing was amplified in a strange way, distorting it just a bit, making it kind of sound like a thumb piano (another african origin instrument.)

In my many years of shows, I have never seen a crowd react in such a way to an opening band.  The room was filled with joy, people were screaming throughout the songs, dancing it up, standing in awe.  You know who else was dancing?  David Byrne.  We spotted him early on in the crowd, and even an unstoppable genius such as the Byrne himself could not helped but be moved by a performance such as this.  My friend spotted him at the merch booth between sets buying the Tuneyards CD.   Respect, Byrne.

I feel like seeing David Bryne around town is kind of like a NY right of passage.  That guy is  everywhere.  I’ve seriously walked past him randomly more times than anyone I actually know.

Other Recognizable faces in the cowd were The Roots.  Its hard to miss a Fro the size of Questlove’s, and surrounding him were Captain Kirk and the bass player who’s name I do not know.  So immediately, seeing an entire rhythm section of a band in attendance aroused suspicion.  What also aroused suspicion was the 2nd drum kit set up on stage, the same configuration as Questloves.  So, we assumed there would be some Roots Sit-Inage.  Which there was.   They collaborated on the new jam “No Intentions” which is a fairly serious song.  Interesting melody, nice straight ahead rhythm, weird guitar.  All things I enjoy.

For the encore, another mic was ser up, and it seemed fairly obvious that Byrne would pull a sit in, since he’s recorded a few tracks with The Projectors in the past, and he did.   But in all honesty, that was pretty uneventful.  The song was no more than 3 min, he flubbed a few vocals, and didnt sound that great.   Its cool Byrne, you get a pass on this one, I still love you.

Overall, a wonderful show, but not really because of the Dirty Projectors.  Tuneyards took the cake this evening, I advise you to take a listen, maybe go see them live.  You will thank me later, and possibly owe me a cheesesteak.