Archive for the ‘Monty Hall’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 3, 2019] Screaming Females

I was surprised and excited to hear the Team Dresch were doing a tour of our area.  They were playing at Monty Hall (a venue I love) as well as Union Transfer (a much bigger venue that I love).  It was a little hard to parse that they would play a venue with a capacity of 200 followed by a capacity of 1,200, but there ya go.

I would, of course, prefer the show at Monty Hall; however, for some reason, the Union Transfer show was also featuring Screaming Females.  So there was no way I could miss a chance to see this great band one more time.

Before Des Ark, I was looking at Screaming Females’ merch and actually wound up buying a CD directly from King Mike, which is pretty cool.

After Des Ark ended, Screaming Females came out.  They set up their own gear quickly and efficiently and then started playing. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 27, 2019] Kikagaku Moyo

I ‘m not sure where I first heard about Kikagaku Moyo (which means “geometric patterns”), but I know it wasn’t very long before this show.

I have more or less gotten to the point where any Japanese psychedelic band that comes to town I’m going to want to check out.

I’ve loved Acid Mothers Temple, I’ve loved Boris (heavy psychedelic, but still) and now I’m adding Kikagaku Moyo to the list.

The band consists of Go Kurosawa (drums/vocals), Tomo Katsurada (lead guitar/vocals), Daoud Popal (guitar), Kotsu Guy (bass) and Go’s brother Ryu Kurosawa (sitar).  They’ve been around for about 6 years and have developed a dedicated following here in the States (everyone at the show appeared to be buying their vinyl).

One of the reasons that Monty Hall is such a fun venue is because while I was waiting online to get into the place, the five guys from the band walked in the same door carrying a pizza.  At first I thought a group of people was just pushing in the line, but their outfits pretty much gave away that they were the band. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 27, 2019] Sarah Louise

I had heard of Sarah Louise through NPR, although I didn’t know all that much about her.

The NPR page says, “Henson’s career so far has largely hinged on her unmatched prowess as a fingerpicking guitarist. Solo, she’s made a handful of excellent albums of 12-string acoustic guitar music.  But on Deeper Woods, she branches out into all kind of different sounds.”

Having read that she was a master of the 12 string, I was genuinely surprised that surprised that so much of the show was on electric guitar.  (I assume her 12-string prowess is on the acoustic, but I may be wrong).

It was also strange because she didn’t do a lot on the guitar.  The first couple of songs were sparse guitar playing coupled with complex and presumably improvised drumming from Thom Nguyen.

At times she fleshed out her sound with samples, including in this song which was as much about the birds as it was about her guitar playing. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 6, 2018] Heron Oblivion

I had tickets to a different show this evening, but when I saw that Heron Oblivion, whom I’d assumed was no more, were playing a show in Jersey City, I gave up on the other show and headed to JC.

I liked the Heron Oblivion album a lot–screaming guitars, catchy melodies–although I realized I didn’t know what any of the band looked like.  So during the opening bands, when a guy excused himself as he snuck by me to put some devices on the stage (Recording? I assume.  He took them away for his set), I had no idea he was the bassist for Heron Oblivion.

Heron Oblivion is considered a supergroup, although I didn’t know any of the bands that the musicians came from. I just knew that I loved the record–the washes of feedback and guitars, the great basswork and the way the band scaled down to let the vocals shine through.  I also hadn’t heard the term psychrock specifically before, but the band perfectly encapsulates it. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 6, 2018] Garcia Peoples

I had never heard of Garcia Peoples either and they may have blown me away more than Mountain Movers (who were amazing).

Garcia Peoples are from Rutherford, NJ and they played a kind of jam rock but with an awesome prog rock edge to it–time changes upon time changes, two singers and solos upon solos.  In fact, they also had a funky edge and a classic rock vibe,  Heck they could do it all.  I’m not sure if they played four songs or fifteen songs.

They are apparently friends with Mountain Movers and it’s always great to have bands who like each other on the bill.

Garcia Peoples are led by the twin lead guitars of Danny Arakaki and Tom Malach who both switch off lead vocals as well.  What I loved so much about these two guitarists was that they played at the same time.  Their soloing would often be slightly at odds with each other–not cacophony but two guys playing different solos that fit perfectly with the music…at the same time.

Their soloing styles were quite different, with I’d say Malach’s a little looser (except when he tightened things up).  And then every once in a while they would sync up and play the same concluding riff at the same time–usually in harmony.  It was magical the way the songs came together. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 6, 2018] Mountain Movers

I was pretty excited to see Heron Oblivion, although I had never heard of either of the two opening bands.

Turns out all three bands on the bill were awesome.  Mountain Movers absolutely blew me way with their excellent psychedelic stoner rock.  (I believe the term is now psychrock).  The soloing was outstanding.

Mountain Movers are from New Haven, CT and are the brain child of guitarist Dan Greene.  After four albums sometime in 2011 or so, they were joined by lead guitarist Kryssi Battalene and drummer Ross Menze to form the cohesive unit that I saw.  And they were amazing. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 1, 2018] Evan Dando

Back in 2015 I saw that Evan Dando was playing at the New Hope Winery.  I had no idea that there was a concert venue so close to me and that Evan Dando would be there.  For some reason, I was unable to make that show, (Thurston Moore was also playing there around that time and I couldn’t make that either, so we must have been away).

Since then I have monitored the Winery to see what other cool bands would be playing there.  Sadly, pretty much since that day, aside from Dar Williams (who is awesome) everyone playing there is a cover band.  Which sucks.

I have loved The Lemonheads since college and It’s a Shame About Ray is a stellar album.  I’d never seen him play, so when I saw he had announced one show (which has since turned into a small tour) at Monty Hall in Jersey City, I knew I had to go.

Evan came out pretty late by any standard.  But I wasn’t even sure if he was going to show up.  He seemed surprisingly discombobulated (he forgot his capo) and it took a pretty long time or him to get set up.  This was all fairly surprising since he’d been doing this forever.

He had a total artist look: pants that were filthy and a suit jacket that had a giant rip under the armpit (and which seemed too small for him).

He was wearing glittery flip flops!  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 1, 2018] The Sensational Country Blues Wonders

Evan Dando announced he would be playing a show at WFMU’s Monty Hall and it was so under-hyped that it was easy to miss.

Incidentally I love the name of this venue.  It’s funny to name it after the TV personality.  But it works because it’s on Montgomery Street.  So clever!

The show was announced with such short notice (two weeks, maybe) that I assumed there would be no opening act.  And then suddenly there was one, The Sensational Country Blues Wonders.

Right there in the name of the band was two genres of music I do not like all that much.  That didn’t bode well.

The trio (there’s normally a second guitarist apparently) got up on stage with John Warren (upright bass) wearing a porkpie hat, with the electric guitarist (either Malcolm Marsden or Jeff Sutton) wearing a beret (and looking a bit like David Crosby) and with lead singer and acoustic guitarist Gary Van Miert dressed as a real, old-fashioned country singer.

After a deliberate pause, Van Miert stepped up to the mic and in a real old-fashioned cowboy/preacher voice, he proclaimed “We are The Sensational Country Blues Wonders.”  They proceeded to play ten fanatics old-fashioned sounding country/blues/gospel songs.

And after two songs I was agreeing that they were sensational.  There’s no way that I should enjoy a band with this name playing this kind of music  But they sounded fantastic and had great stage presence.

Their bio says

“The Sensational Country Blues Wonders!” are a band that replicates the original instrumental lineup of acoustic rhythm guitar, electric lead guitar and upright acoustic bass used on the first rock and roll records recorded by Elvis Presley at Sun Studio. The “Wonders” are a group that has it’s own unique interpretation of American Roots Music – classic Country music from the fifties and sixties, down home spiritual songs from the Golden Age of Gospel, and time-honored Blues numbers that go back to the greats hailing from Mississippi and Chicago. We combine all these elements to create a “one of a kind” musical experience! 

The first song “Where is the Road That Leads Home” was so spot-on I as was sure that it was an old song but apparently all of their songs are original.  Van Miert’s voice was just perfect for this style of song–sharp and direct with a bit of a twang.

The second song “Mean Woman Blues” was a little questionable at this moment in history, except that the end of each chorus was “she may even be as mean as me.”

What was so interesting about the music was that it sounded like country and blues at the same time. The solos were all very bluesy and he played solos almost through the whole song, even though the sonsg proper sounded like country songs.

The humor continued with “My Baby Stabbed Me with a Steak Knife” and the delightfully profane “I’m Afraid of Every Goddam Thing

A little later in the set Van Miert again complained “We are The Sensational Country Blues Wonders.  And don’y you forget it.”

As they got near the end of the set I was flagging a little (that’s a lot of counrty for me, although it was actually some of the more bluesy songs that I was most bored by (“Baby Blues” is pretty dull)) but when their song “Second Fiddle segued into “Folsom Prison Blues” I perked right up.

Their version was great.  And although he didn’t sound anything like Johnny Cash, he had the perfect voice for the song.

Before playing the final song, Van Miert said in his normal speaking voice (which hilariously sounded totally New York/New Jersey (they are based in jersey City) that he was really grateful that we came out to see them. And then he was right back in character for the final song.

After the show, he handed out Sensational Country Blues Wonders pins to anyone who wanted one (which I did).

It was delightfully fun surprise.


The Road That Leads Home
Mean Woman Blues
My Baby Stabbed Me with a Steak Knife
I’m Afraid of Every Goddam Thing
I Can Hear the Music Play
Baby Blues
I Won’t Change Anything
Kansas City
Second Fiddle/Folsom Prison Blues
One Night

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