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June 2008

Sun Power

Image018 The idea of putting on an outdoor concert in New York City powered exclusively by solar panels is a clever and necessary one for these energy-troubled times. One could excuse the organizers of the 3rd annual Citysol music festival if their activism overshadowed the music on hand; on the contrary, they presented a diverse bill of performances that ranged from exotic (Burkina Electric, featuring percssionist/composer Lukas Ligeti) to mind-blowing (MC Blitz the Ambassador, with electronics, bass and a full brass section). Headliner Dan Deacon was a no-show thanks to some airline screwup that sent his equipment to Cincinnati; after such a full plate, I can't imagine anyone was all that disappointed.

So Percussion (New York, NY)

Image023  Image025 The Acorn (Ottawa, Canada)

Image026 Image028 Burkina Electric (Ouaga, Burkina Faso, Africa)

Image030 Image031  Image034 Blitz the Ambassador (Brooklyn, NY)

Image037 Image038 Image041 Ecstatic Sunshine (Baltimore, MD)

Image044 Image042 Image046

Dancin' in the Rain

Image014 I was late arriving at Summerstage yesterday, but got there in time to catch the tail end of Vieux Farka Toure's rocking afropop set. Most of the crowd was pretty soggy from several earlier downpours, so when the heavens opened up again during the next-to-last number, everyone just threw up their hands and danced (myself included). I swear, you've never seen so many happy, beautiful people in your life. Thank God for another summer in New York. (More pics after the jump.)

Continue reading "Dancin' in the Rain" »



"Who would have thought that skipping art school, playing the right songs, would get you into the Whitney?" Jared Phillips, Times New Viking

Honestly, I don't know what Jefferson Friedman's 3rd String Quartet (played by ACME's Clarice Jensen, Miranda Cuckson, Caleb and Nadia) and Times New Viking have to do with each other. The Friedman was mostly melodic, ending with some dissonant door-creaking that saved it from becoming saccharine. TNV's crashing punk-pop was fun and careless, pulling the crowd into a bouncing good mood.

Everyone likes to talk about how these Wordless shows introduce indie kids to classical music, with a minimum of pretense. And that's a good thing. But, what about the other way around? I spotted a few classical folks in the audience last night during the Friedman. Did they stick around for TNV? No. Did we miss them? Not really. (More pics after the jump.)


Continue reading "Lo-hi" »


P6260001 A few months ago, jazz saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo became a cause celebre for the need to provide musicians with adequate, affordable healthcare after he came down with a dangerous brain tumor while without health insurance. Andrew had two surgeries to remove the tumor and appears to have made a full recovery; to date, there has been no triage performed on his bank account.

P6260004Last night at Barbes, Andrew played in a trio including Gerald Cleaver (drums) and Chris Lightcap (bass). You might expect someone four months shy of brain surgery to go easy. Not Andrew. The guy was full of manic, ferocious energy, pausing only briefly between numbers (he calls them "songs") to catch his breath.

"You would think my head hurts, but actually it's the back of my neck that's giving me issues. Go figure."

Towards the end of his set, Andrew played "Gay Disco," which shone like spun sugar, bright and brilliant. The best kind of affirmation: