New York City is not known for its music festivals. Sure, we have a lot of concerts here in the city year round, but festivals, not so much. Festivals usually occur outdoors over the span of two days and require large and open spaces from which to run. There’s not many open spaces in NYC except for Central Park in Manhattan, Randalls Island tucked away between Queens and the Bronx, Governors Island in the middle of New York Harbor, and Prospect, Commodore Barry, and Wingate Parks in Brooklyn. While there are a few exceptions here and there, these spaces are pretty much it in the city that are readily (for the most part) accessible to the public.
The recent CBGB Festival in New York and Brooklyn utilized a different festival pattern: it wasn’t contained at one space, but spread over many small venues. The Governor’s Ball held its second annual two-day festival this past June on Randalls Island, the same day as a smaller and grittier one-day festival, Punk Island, occurred on Governor’s Island (not Ball!). The Afro-Punk Festival occurs every year at Commodore Barry Park, although the 2011 festival was cancelled due to hurricane. (Afro-Punk this year occurs August 25-26.) Outdoor shows happen at the Waterfront at Williamsburg, Prospect Park (Celebrate Brooklyn!), and Wingate Park (Public Enemy with Salt-N-Pepa on July 30), but these latter concert spaces nor fledgling festivals can compare to Chicago’s Lollapalooza or Indio, California’s Coachella… yet.
The festival is put together by an Irish dude by the name of Dave Foran, who acknowledges that “NYC is a graveyard for musical festivals” and he’s right. He was recently interviewed on Billboard.biz and his rationale makes sense:
Billboard.biz: What was your inspiration for Catalpa and why bring it to New York? Dave Foran: Bringing Catalpa to New York was trying to fill what, in my eyes, is a void for a large, well-done, comprehensive destination festival in New York. It’s one of the best cities in the world, and it doesn’t really have a festival to call its own…But what I’m trying to put together, if it’s done right, will have longevity. Essentially, it’s trying to establish something substantial that isn’t really here and is calling out to be done.
Time will only tell if his festival becomes a mainstay in a city that seems to be adamantly opposed to them. Festivals in surrounding areas of New York haven’t been too successful, but maybe Foran’s vision of not only bands, but “experience” may be a key in a city that likes things just a little weird. So if you get tired of music during the two-day festival, you can go and get yourself hitched to a stranger at the “Frisky’s Church of Sham Marriages,” or check out the Arcadia installation of military scrap art and other art installations, or the Silent Disco Tent. If you’re a big spender (which, believe it or not, a lot of people in NYC aren’t), there are VIP passes complete with food, or a cabana with a hot tub and bottle service, too. If you’re not into that, the slate of music should be satisfying enough.
Catalpa Festival – Saturday, July 28th (Click on image to view)
Catalpa Festival – Sunday July 29th (Click on image to view)
Group of punks held after concert in Banda Aceh - Photo Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images
Christy C. Road posted a link on her Fan Facebook site the other day to a BBC News story regarding a group of 64 punk kids who attended a punk benefit show raising money for orphans and were subsequently rounded up for “re-education” in the Indonesia province of Aceh. You may remember this area for a number of reasons: a devastating tsunami flattened the landscape in 2004, which led in part to an easement of decades old hostilities between the Acehnese of the province and the ruling government in Indonesia’s capitol of Jakarta. Indonesia is a predominately moderate Muslim country, though the province lends itself to a stricter observance of Sharia law. Aceh province (whose capital is Banda Aceh) has a form of autonomous governing since peace was made, but the province is still part of the larger Indonesia. I only know a little about the societal and governmental functions and structures of Indonesia and it hasn’t popped up on my radar in a long while, probably since the tsunami, in any focused way.
The punk kids in question appear to be your normal concertgoers and street kids trying to get by, who listen to music, have mohawks, piercings and tattoos, take baths infrequently and are “punk.” The group rounded up is not just from Banda Aceh: one man interviewed traveled from Northern Sumatra (Aceh is also located on Sumatra) to attend the concert and was worried about losing his job since he’s being held in custody for at least ten days, though not being charged with a formal crime. Reading through several stories and links since seeing the original post on Facebook yesterday, a number of theories could be forwarded in regards to why they are being rounded up, forced to shave their hair, and undergo a ritual “bathing away the punk” dip in a local river including the result of Sharia law and a show of strength in “morality” or to deflect from a drug scandal currently involving the police of Aceh. Maybe the scandalized police will have their hair shaved off and suffer a ritual “bathing away the crooked” dip in the local river, too. (I have a feeling their punishment will be far worse.)
Whatever the reason, there’s a group of kids who went to a punk show and are now being detained by the police in their country for doing so.
Aborted Society Records posted a link to this 5-minute journal on Jakarta’s punk scene and the Indonesian band Marjinal:
The kids detained are still undergoing “re-education” and will be held for at least ten days for those who live outside of the province and longer possibly for those who live in the province. The Facebook page “Punks for Punks: Demand the Release of Punks in Aceh” is calling for the Indonesian government to force the mayor and police of Banda Aceh to let the group go with no more of the re-education program in the ways of being more like everyone else around them. As an autonomous governing entity within Indonesia, this might be difficult for the government to do.
In the meantime, Aborted Society also started a “Mixtape for Aceh” campaign, wherein they are asking people to create cassette tapes of music to be sent to Aborted Society, who will then get the cassettes to kids in Indonesia. Cassettes are still widely used in the country, but according to the Mixtapes for Aceh site, CDRs in envelopes (not jewel cases) are also welcomed.
The most interesting report I’ve seen on this so far is from the December 13th Jakarta Post, “Aceh ‘Punks’ Arrested for ‘Re-education’,” which has a couple of articles linked to the post as well as some good comments regarding the punk scene in Indonesia. Reading comments led to articles recalling similar actions by the police in the non-Shariah-law city of Jakarta. Several commenters on this and other articles note that this story was deemed “newsworthy” by a wider, international audience only because Aceh is connected to a stricter and hardline interpretation of Muslim law, which makes for spicier headlines then “Dirty Punks Arrested in Jakarta.”
I began writing this back in June 2011, after Honah Lee had their CD release party at Asbury Lanes this past summer. I got stuck in a writing slump for a number of reasons, but I’ve jump started a little in the last week due to some extreme Green Day fan weirdness, which I will have to relate one of these days. Sigh. But, as I love Honah Lee to bits and pieces, I wanted to finish this post off before I wrote anything else. I said awhile ago that I would, and so I am. <143
Honah Lee Release Party Flyer - Asbury Lanes, Asbury, NJ - June 17th, 2011 -- All Honah Lee posters by Anthony Catanese
I haven’t been up to writing lately. For those of you who visit Green Day Mind for new stuff on Green Day and the band’s side projects, other bands and musical adventures, sorry that I’m lame. Several issues and incidents including a health concern overwhelmed me these last months and American Idiot’s closing here in New York wiped me out! I’ll write about the end of American Idiot… one of these days, as Pink Floyd would say. It was a slightly traumatic day, and no, not because the show closed, but that certainly is a part of the story. It was blazingly hot that last day of American Idiot on Broadway in NYC, April 24th, 2011. The temperature one day was freezing, and the next day, “ho as hell.” I got dehydrated and fainted across the street from the St. James, in front of the Phantom of the Opera, and had to go to the hospital by ambulance where I got seven stitches in the emergency room because I smashed my head on the sidewalk, thereby prompting me to miss the matinee. When I came to, I swore that someone had walked by and randomly curbed me! Um… not so good times. I made it back to the evening performance of the final show and subsequent concert, but the day wasn’t as fun as it should have been. Thanks forever to David and Jaymee and Val who helped me that day. I will be forever grateful. (And sorry about all that blood on the hoodie…)
That head-meeting-sidewalk incident came two months after getting a black eye at the last Frustrators show that I attended at the Phenomenauts’ Command Center in February 2011. Both incidents knocked my mojo out of whack, and were a little embarrassing. Not only did I need to heal from the head injuries but I also had a scare about my thyroid (yay for no cancer!) and for me, it takes some time to heal from acute embarrassment! Some say it’s only rocknroll, but there is that part of me that says, “What the fuck, rocknroll?” There’s more to the story, but I’ll have to save that tale for one of these days, again, as Pink Floyd would say.
Speaking of Pink Floyd, did you catch Roger Waters and David Gilmour’s performance earlier this year of Floyd’s classic, “Comfortably Numb,” when Waters toured Pink Floyd in London? It was my theme song for a bit this year, and if you haven’t seen the performance, you should! Rogers and Gilmour rarely perform together and may never do it again. “Comfortably Numb” is one of my favorite all-time songs and the album it derives from, The Wall, is both a classic LP and one of the best adaptations of a rock-record-turned-musical-movie ever made. I saw Pink Floyd back in the 1980s at Nassau Coliseum and God was in attendance at the show. Or, at least, I think I saw him.
“Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd with Roger Waters and David Gilmour – O2, London, May 2011
Luckily while recovering from my head injuries and acute embarrassment, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits came through town twice–once for a show at Lulu’s in Brooklyn on June 7th–and then later in September for a crazy successful show put together by Mike CM (or Chickenman) at Tommy’s Tavern in Brooklyn that included acoustic sets by Bobby Joe, solo gigs by Mikey Erg and Franz Nikolay and PEOP’s Fly, and bands Devastation Wagon and Bobby Joe’s tour mates from out West, the merry men of Sherwood Forest, Tornado Rider, complete with cello as stringed guitar. It was a great night, though it would have been nice if Mike had been at his own show. Alas, he had some issues and fell off of the planet for a bit. He’s on the mend now and I’m hoping for more shows from him if he wants to still do it. Mike seriously knows music and the eclectic lineup he put together at Tommy’s oddly worked and was ripping fun.
I’ve seen a bunch of bands in addition to Bobby Joe and Honah Lee since the end of American Idiot including Social Distortion at the Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ, the Foo Fighters, the Pogues, Fucked Up!, The Cro-Mags, Dear Landlord, the Dopamines, Against Me!, Dengue Fever, TV on the Radio, Fishbone, Frank Turner, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Screaming Females, Japanther, Girl in a Coma, White Wives, Declan Bennett, the Atom Age, and three boys from American Idiot making their currently nameless band debut, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I also caught a Halloween show put on by a little band called Green Day in a little room in Manhattan called Webster Hall Studio. I went to Baltimore’s Insubordination Fest in August and saw a ton of great bands there, and witnessed Emily’s Army’s debut on the Insub Pop Punk Circuit. They put on a great show and taught those mean old pop punkers a few lessons on how to pop punk it. All of these bands helped with the mojo, but seeing Honah Lee regularly throughout the year injected me with doses of irreverent Jersey, sorta like a Jersey form of B12 or something, shot in the butt. Or something.
I’ve seen Honah Lee ten or more times this year (yes, I know, there’s something wrong with me), including Asbury Lanes on June 17th, a few of their other shows at the Mill Hill in Trenton, the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, the Loop Lounge in Patterson, and twin nights at the little basement venue of Williamsburg’s Charleston Bar on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. I traveled to Jersey to celebrate my birthday in March with these twerps, but of course they went on last at 1:00am and I had to catch a 1:27am train back to Brooklyn. I heard three songs and missed my birthday toast. Boo. In other words, I heart Honah Lee. I mean, how can you not heart these four crazily demented, but lovable, faces?
WE ARE BOLDLY GOING NOWHERE FOLLOWING A DREAM, AND PROUD OF BEING NOTHING IN THIS BROKEN MUSIC SCENE
Honah Lee (Tim Hoh, Jim Graz, Joseph Wolstenholme and Anthony Catanese) is a catchy, fun, loud, live band. Tim’s nasally-thin trumpet of a lead voice combined with Dim’s rock guitar licks and Jim’s bass and Tony G.’s drum rhythm section is a steady groovemaker when they get to revving and in Tim’s case, roaring. “Gimme something with a badass tempo” says their song, Bobby’s Dead, and I agree. I’m quite fond of the way these guys roll out their backbeat. I always expect to scream out some lyrics whenever I see the guys, as I’m fueled by that deceptive and steady rhythm just below the surface and lyrics that touch basic human chords: the futility of trying, even if you can’t give up; desires noted but not acted on; “don’t be me, cause I ain’t shit,” and whatever other rage within that needs tempering by a cheery attitude of desperate fun. It’s a little cathartic.
In general, “Honah Lee’s” songs are rhythms and lyrics that most listeners will embrace on the spot. If I still had my meaningless job at that publishing company, I would have blasted ‘I Hate My Job’ each and every day on my way to work. The song is almost a rallying anthem in which the masses can unite, but ultimately as Tim shouts ‘You gotta do it if you wanna get paid’. “Honah Lee” sings about what is universal. These guys would have been writing songs about girls ten years ago. Now, they write about the monotony of work and the general ambivalence that we all feel towards life at times. —The Real Musician – Review of Honah Lee/The Plurals Split EP, “Lick It.”
Honah Lee, First show at the Charleston, Sometime 2011
we play along like there’s nothing wrong, yea, we make it look so fucking fun… don’t. be. me… cause I ain’t shit”
Honah Lee’s twin shows at Brooklyn’s tiny basement venue, the Charleston–about the size of Trenton’s Mill Hill–in the heart of Williamsburg, USA have been laid back and relaxing, whether hanging on the Charleston’s comfy outdoor seating, inside at the long bar, or downstairs in the basement music venue. The Charleston’s small performance space is outfitted with an outsized speaker system that can blowout musicians and audience alike. At that first show, Tim knocked his beer over during the first song. It puddled at the band’s feet and leaked through the holes in his shoes. The crowd was small, but the band gave it their all and won them over, despite the crappy sound and loss of beer. I was happy that they were playing in Brooklyn and the crowd had a good time. What more do you need?
I was wondering… what you gonna do, what you gonna do? Can I hang out with you, say I can hang out with? … I don’t want to know what’s on your mind… there’s just nothing to do
I Was Wondering
Honah Lee / Statues of Liberty
This second time around at the Charleston on Friday, 12/3/2011, the band’s sound was clearer and cleaner, no beer was spilled, the crowd was thicker, and most of them were there to see Honah Lee, which is pretty great since it’s only their sixth or seventh time playing in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including that epic show at Don Hill’s. Nicole M-W and her husband Anthony J-M-W (who I saw perform as lead singer in a smoking-hot Rage Against the Machine tribute band earlier this summer) and Cathryn, who I’ve met on fleeting occasions during the stage production of American Idiot, were there, along with some of Honah Lee’s New Jersey friends and New York fans. Not The Bees!, a New Jersey band that tours on the local circuit with Honah Lee (one of four bands on the Charleston bill) filled out the front area of the audience, so there were more than a few people who knew the songs. Probably the best moment came during Honah Lee’s song, Leave It To My Goddamn Brain, when Tim admonished his lyrical antagonist to… well, “fuck you”… with the crowd answering in support built on a steady uptempo beat, ending in a shared chorus and accompanied by their best middle finger salutes.
Honah Lee / Sports Bar / Atom Age
Nothing will beat the Honah Lee CD release party sing-a-long at Asbury Lanes back in June, though, except maybe the day when I see them play larger rooms. Why? Because almost everyone knew the lyrics to their songs and were more than willing to scream them back in abandon at the band, egged on by the driving rhythm section and teased by rock riffs. I can honestly say that this night was a highlight of my entire summer, and the gritty splender of the Lanes and beautiful Asbury Park made a perfect backdrop for exercising some demons. Good times, good people, good screaming.
The Queers / Honah Lee
I’d only been to Asbury Park one other time, a quick trip to catch Social Distortion’s show at the Stone Pony earlier in May 2011. This time around, my friend Liz and I rented a room at the Asbury Berkeley and ended up in a beautiful suite on the quiet, i.e., non-Honah Lee-staying, side of the hotel. We had an expansive view of a never-ending crystal blue Atlantic Ocean and the restored Asbury Park Pavilion. We got to town around 6:00, explored the Boardwalk, marveled at the ocean and the architecture, went back to the hotel for a minute and then off to Asbury Lanes.
Honah Lee / Cryptkeeper 5
Asbury Lanes is a bowling alley turned band venue, with a stage nested in the lanes, a solid sound system and ample dance floor. The Plurals, an outstanding trio from Lansing, Michigan, was on the bill that night, with Lakeside Drive, Radio Exiles and Communication Redlight. Honah Lee went on last with a full audience of hardcore HL fans, friends, and family who knew almost every damn word to the songs. The resultant (slightly intoxicated) singalong ended ultimately in audience members storming the stage as someone ran by in a taco costume. Or was that a hot dog costume? I don’t remember.
“Coca cola drives me crazy. Sex and cigarettes all night. I’m a liar like, a priest, the messiah, I’m insane.”
Honah Lee / The Plurals
Honah Lee’s simple, heartfelt lyrics and chords are tinged with touches of irony and a little ennui; simple, singable choruses invite the audience to “scream it out” with them. (Although Tony, the curmudgeonly drummer, says he hates it when the audience sings along. I don’t know if he’s serious, he hates everything.) I know a few people who don’t like Honah Lee, comparing them to Weezer and such (as if that’s a bad thing), but I just don’t get it. Weezer is certainly an influence, but so is Screeching Weasel. In fact, Honah Lee has a song coming out soon in Ben Weasel’s defense. Pop-punkers tend to dismiss them for one reason or another, and that’s their prerogative. Whatever the reasons, Honah Lee may not move mountains, but it was way neat seeing them move the V.F.W. audience in Somewhere, New Jersey this summer, cause when Honah Lee gets into a groove, their melodies flow well and Tony keeps a badass tempo behind guitarists Tim and Dim, and bassist Jim rips some deep, moving basslines. Tim encourages the room to drink (anything), always raises his glass in a toast to the audience, and off they run. Looking at that room of people in Asbury was amazing, as the crowd sang with the band, and more than a few antics broke out. They have a solid rapport with their audience.
Fuck responsibility, I don’t want to do a goddamn thing, but sit on my ass, and watch tv, drink some beers, and smoke some weed… LIFE WON’T LET ME… YOU WON’T LET ME… TIME WON’T LET ME… AND LIFE… WON’T… LET… ME…” –
–Life Won’t Let Me
Honah Lee / Beardo the Man
Honah Lee work their asses off playing music, promoting their shows with well-crafted flyers, booking gigs, recording tracks, criss crossing New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, and other States to play. Yea, they may be strange, but it warms my heart to see a group of guys work hard despite the odds by “BOLDLY FOLLOWING A DREAM GOING NOWHERE,” even in the face of this “BROKEN MUSIC SCENE.” I’m hoping that one day they’ll be as big as Bieber… haha, I kid… but I would like to see a whole mess of folks in an audience screaming their lyrics back at them in a mad dance. I’m not sure how big a “mess of folks” would be, but the moment itself will be a solid, fun time of musically shared zeitgeist, some antics, and a beer or two.
I’ve lost my heart I’ve lost my soul I lost myself in the…. rock and roll….
Loss for Words
Fifteen Years of Tim Hoh
On a slightly sad note, after seeing the band off from their Charleston gig on Friday, the boys made it back to New Jersey, and the next day, the band and their lovely wives, fiancees, and girlfriends all went to their friend’s wedding. Everyone had a mirthful time celebrating the nuptials. Towards the end of the night, Tim, who has been known to go off and take a leak in the woods, found himself off the side of a cliff instead of an expanse of soft, dewey, grass, and hurt his back in the subsequent 12-foot drop. He has to stay off his feet for a little bit, and according to their Facebook, the band will have to cancel a few shows in the next weeks, but hope to be back before the end of the month.
First off, I’m sorry that my posts have gone a bit quiet lately. Truth to tell, I’ve lost a bit of my blog-mental-mojo lately with various things here and there that come along with the bullshit of life since American Idiot on Broadway closed last month, and the posts to the blog will more than likely be a little infrequent until someone or something brings my mojo back to me!
May Mojo Bringing
Until said mojo-returning time, I have some mojo-boosting to look forward to during May, including seeing the Dirty Pearls at the Webster Hall Studio (May 11th), Dear Landlord at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn (May 12th), and then Honah Lee in Brooklyn at the Charleston (May 13th), as Honah Lee celebrates the upcoming release of their new album. Hopefully I’ll survive three straight nights of rock and roll so that I can head to the theater the week after to see Derek Jacobi in the sold-out Donmar Warehouse production of King Lear at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Tempest by Target Margin Theater at HERE. The Donmar Warehouse and Target Margin are two of my favorite theater companies, and though I’ve seen productions of both Shakespearean plays a billion times, I can watch a good Shakespeare production any time of the day or night. I was also lucky to see Michael Esper and an old schoolmate of mine, Matt Servitto (he played an FBI agent in HBO’s The Sopranos for years),in Tony Kushner’s new play, Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures at the Public Theater. Esper and Servitto are in pivotal supporting roles and they are great, as is the production in general. It’s a very heavy show, mixing family misery with a dose of labor history and a father’s announcement of his impending suicide, but through the heavy there are some excellent laughs, a sharp script, lovely set, and outstanding performances. And Esper is shirtless for a bit in the show, so… MOJO BONUS!
June Mojo Bringing
Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits Tour Schedule May-June 2011
Bobby Joe Ebola, Cheesequake, Dog That Bites Everyone - Lulu's, June 7th
Then June brings some fun California mojo back to the New York area in the form of Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits! Bobby Joe’s Corbett Redford III and Dan Abbott are hitting the road again, with their “Ring Around the Bullshit” tour from May 13th to July 6th (though the tour goes through July 29th), starting off in California with stops in the Metro New York area in New Brunswick, NJ (The Alamo on June 6th) and my very own borough of Brooklyn at Lulu’s on July 7th. The above graphic has the tour dates but check out their constantly updated Facebook event page for tour venues and last minutes updates and changes. Make sure you catch them for a down-to-earth good time when they come near you.
Redford and Abbott are two of the hardest-working musicians out there. Not only did they finish up a week with the Frustrators touring back in February with a bunch of great bands, but they’ve been working non-stop on shows as well as on 13 videos to each of the songs from their 2010 album release, F. The first of the videos came out a few weeks ago… and was immediately banned from Youtube! That should indicate to you the level of provocative imagery that the first of these videos (the first being the song “Poly,” below) will bring you for the other 12 releases. Stay tuned to their Facebook page as well as their homepage, BobbyJoeEbola.com for more videos. Vodpod videos no longer available.
Bobby Joe Ebola - ¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse
Especially for this “Ring Around the Bullshit” tour, the duo are re-releasing their 2000 album entitled, ¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse, a collection of 30+ songs including a few live tracks. The original version came with an special art book that’s being reissued as well, with art by Jon Carling, who did cover art for F, Robert Eggplant of Absolutely Zippo, and Jason Chandler of the Frustrators, among others.
I love this album! I snagged a copy of it during their NYC tour last year, and it’s in heavy rotation on my iPhone. Every song is worth a sing-along as Bobby Joe sings songs of turtles losing their home (“Mr. Turtle”), psychotic girlfriends (“Psychotic Girlfriend (The Smurf Nazis)”), dentists who provide meat for Iams and Purina (“Root Canal”), the joys of college and not calling your parents (“Money for Books”), loving drugs that call me “potato” (“I Love Drugs”), and, “You Don’t Have to Die Alone”… so when you die a violent death, take someone with you… . The album is completely irreverent, funny, over-the-top and musically satisfying. I’ve never seen the art book that comes with it but with all of the artists that appear in it plus the additions to the disc, I’ll have to buy a new copy of the set when they hit Brooklyn in June.
Here’s a press release about the re-issue:
¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse
“The dark and cerebral classic 2000 album now reissued for the first time with its original 40 page ‘art book’! This brick of awesome also features some new art inspired by the album cataclysmic tone, B-sides, an unreleased MacNuggit radio performance from Canadian station CITR, recorded October 19th, 1999 AND never before reprinted buttons & stickers from the tense and bygone era this opus came out.
The art book contains illustrations, paintings, collage and more from many artists including Jon Carling, Moses Saarni, Fermin Mata, Robert Eggplant (Absolutely Zippo), Julia Booze, Dylan Blackthorn, Christopher Murdoch, Jason Chandler (The Frustrators), Baby Deer (Fleshies), Caoimhe Über Alles and even some doodles by the band members!
Come to think of it, all of this great stuff in the next few months is sure to bring me the mojo! I’m looking forward to it. I hope everyone has a great couple of months, and I hope to see you at a show!
Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits - Dan Abbott (l.) and Corbett Redford III (r.)
West Coast sunshine, music and hilarity is coming to brighten our oncoming East Coast Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as the days get colder and Winter lurks just around the corner. Brr. The East Bay‘s Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits are making their way to New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas! Woohoo! I mentioned back in October when Bobby Joe Ebola began spreading their Children MacNuggit wings again after a “Bush Administration-era hiatus,” that they were flying this way in December and well, it’s December and they are… uh… on their way!
Before arriving in New York and New Jersey, the Ebola duo of Corbett Redford III and Dan Abbott will kick off a mini-“Kill Yourself with Hugs” tour with Tartar Control for four California shows from 12/2-12/5/2010 and head straight to Minneapolis afterward on 12/6 for the start of the “Get a Bathroom Pass” tour with shows at two venues. From there, it’s a whirlwind, two-week tour through the Midwest and East Coast from Monday, December 6th to Monday, December 20th, including said Minneapolis, along with Duluth, MN, Appleton and Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, and Lansing, MI before hitting Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre, PA, Trenton, Brooklyn, New York City, and finally, Boston. Whew! That schedule is exhausting just thinking of, but after a ten-year break from working as a duo, Abbott and Redford III are ready for road action, and being from California, they’ll have to stay constantly on the move around these parts just to stay warm.
"F" by Bobby Joe Ebola & the Children MacNuggits Review in Maximum RocknRoll - Click to read
I’ve been listening to their new album, F, and I highly recommend heading over to Silver Sprocket Records for a hard copy or Amazon for a digital download. If my recommendation doesn’t convince you, you can read a review of the album at the indie music blog, FensePost. The review includes two songs, “The Only Difference” and “Life is Excellent,” a song that makes me laugh and cry and shout out loud with its ranty yet bouncy chorus of “Life is excellent, the tap water tastes like excrement, the skies rain poison, but I’ve got to pay the rent.” Well, ain’t that the truth?
It’s a bit difficult to categorize their music, but the tags on their Bandcamp site (where you can hear two live recordings of the band) pretty much sum them up: anti-folkblack metalalternative popcomedy rockOakland. Uh, ok. Suffice it to say that you think their songs will be serious from the music, and then all of sudden they’re singing about polyamorous girlfriends (“Poly”) or friends and radiation poisoning (“The Crazy”) or bands that go on killing sprees (“Postcards from Inferno (I’ll See You in Hell)”). In other words, you never know in what direction their songs will take you, but it’s certain that you’ll laugh. Through the laughter of F there are serious underlying themes about migrant workers, consumerism, or environmental damage, among others, but they never hit you over the head with it. Or, hardly ever. I mean, with a song called “Sweet S**t of Christ,” you pretty much know what side of the religious coin they rest on. Their philosophy might be summed up in a Ghandi quote mentioned by Redford III in an interview at Uncle Critic: “If I had no sense of humor, I would have long ago committed suicide.” Yep. That about sums it up for me.
By the way, Billie Joe Armstrong has mentioned them as one of his favorite bands, and they “borrowed” one of Mike Dirnt’s cars for their recent “Freaky Baby” video while he was on tour. I believe that they eventually told him. I hope.
So do yourself a favor and fend off the SAD by catching them on the road when they come to a Midwest/East Coast town near you. I’ll be — at the least and hopefully all — in attendance at two of their shows when they hit New York, Don Pedro’s in Brooklyn, and The Cake Shop in Manhattan. I’m super excited by both shows, particularly the Don Pedro show as the Max Levine Ensemble, who I’ve heard a lot about but have never been able to catch (along with 50 Million, Weird Fantasy Band and Cheesequake) will be on the night’s bill with them. The Cake Shop show is sure to be fun, too, as it’s a Mike Cm Production show with local bands, Ergquist, House Boat, Mirrors and Wires, and the Tattletales. And remember, you get a free pizza with a purchase of a beer at Lulu’s in Brooklyn. Rumors are that they’ll be playing at ABC No Rio on the Lower East Side in Manhattan and maybe New Brunswick, NJ on Saturday, Dec. 18th, but as of now, there’s no confirmation.
Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits are looking for venue help with the Wilkes-Barre show, so if you can lend a hand in that surrounding area, give the band a shout-out on Facebook or their official contact page. For tour information and locations for the complete “Get a Bathroom Pass” tour, head on over to the Year-End Recap and Tour Page. See ya there!
New York City and Surrounding Areas – 12/15-12/19/2010
* Wed., Dec. 15th – TRENTON, NJ @ MILL HILL BASEMENT w/ CAPTIVE, DAY IN AND DAY OUT & ALL AGES — 300 S. Broad St./10PM
*Thurs., Dec 16th – BROOKYLN, NY @ LULU’S w/ THE PARKING LOTS, WEIRD FANTASY BAND AND MORE! — 113 Franklin St./9PM
*Fri. Dec. 17 – BROOKLYN, NY @ DON PEDRO’S w/ 50 MILLION, MAX LEVINE ENSEMBLE, WEIRD FANTASY BAND AND MORE! — 90 Manhattan Ave./8PM
*Sat. Dec. 18 – NEW YORK, NY @ TBA!
*Sun. Dec. 19 – NEW YORK, NY @ THE CAKE SHOP w/ ERGQUIST, HOUSE BOAT & THE TATTLETALES! — 151 Ludlow St./8PM
Here’s two videos of Bobby Joe Ebola, both from shows at Gilman, “Kool-Aid Man” from a 2007 show and a song from their current album, F, called “Sandwiches and Ammunition” from a April Fool’s Day performance in 2010.
Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits – “Kool-Aid Man” – 924 Gilman, 2007
Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits – “Sandwiches and Ammunition” from F – 924 Gilman, 2010
It’s another week of life and I was lucky to see a couple of shows of the music variety from November 6th-15th, 2010. Earlier last week, I watched a lot of teevee. I was recovering from the Halloween weekend of Japanther and World/Inferno Friendship Society and the harder I dance, the longer the recovery. I wish I could tell you about some great teevee show that I watched, but, I can’t remember what I watched. I know I watched the Amazing Race, since I’m a stalwart fan of that show, one of the few reality shows that I watch. For three weeks running I missed the Zombie-laden American Movie Channel adaptation of the Walking Dead and I probably won’t bother to catch up with it now.
The boring but restful week of unmemorable teevee gave way to a nice weekend of visiting local Lower East Side music venues around the corner from each other, Arlene’s Grocery on Rivington and Rockwood Music Hall on Allen near Houston. The surrounding area tends to be a bit trendy these days since the Hotel on Rivington opened up a few years ago on Rivington near Delancey, as well as the fancy Schiller’s, on Rivington a block east of Delancey, and the Essex Street Market reinvented itself from a chaotic neighborhood market selling live chickens to an upscale market selling organic rabe and pricey restaurants.
I don’t venture much into the general area since the tiny Todo Con Nada (or just Nada) Theater on Ludlow Street closed eons ago. I practically lived in theaters within this three-block area back in the late 80s and 90s, when storefronts were cheap and production values for Off-Off-Broadway theater were none to minimal. Need a barn for a play? This area had it for you: Surf Reality, the Present Company, House of Candles, and the late-comer, the Piano Room, were venues that fueled my need for the craziest theater possible. The Neo-Futurist’s long-running and successful improv show, “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (30 plays in 60 minutes), made their New York expansion from Chicago to NADA when they arrived in NYC in 1995. The little theaters are gone now. I actually saw a Ferrari parked on Allen Street a few weeks ago, and while waiting for Honah Lee to go on at Arlene’s Grocery, there must have been at least 60 mini-skirts walking on 120 6-inch heels, and even a fine looking dude in a silken bikini bottom and leather jacket. It took us a little bit of time to realize the lady was a guy, but she was hot nonetheless.
This is New York’s famed Lower East Side. It’s come a long way from the days of McGurk’s Suicide Bar from the 19th-century to today’s trendy, night-cluby, scene.
Honah Lee, Beardo the Man and The Ladrenos – Arlene’s Grocery, NYC
I hadn’t seen the tweeps from Honah Lee (Tim, Jim, Dim, and Tony) play since last April, when they were on the Party! Party! Party! Tour with the Mystic Knights of the Cobra, and both somehow ended up opening for the Foxboro Hot Tubs. They don’t live that far from me, in Trenton, NJ, about 90 minutes away by train. I don’t have a car and the train fare went up to $30 R/T from New York’s Penn Station. No matter what the fun on the other end of the train line, $30 to Jersey, Trenton, New Jersey, no less, is steep. The last time that Honah Lee played at Arlene’s in Manhattan back in the summer, Green Day played the same night at Holmdel in New Jersey, so I missed the fellows back in August. There was no way I was going to miss them again.
Honah Lee at Arlene's Grocery
Honah Lee may not be the most musically-accomplished band, but who needs a band like that anyway? They are completely earnest, raw, loud and unpolished with catchy, screamable lyrics, a steady beat and crazy stupid-fun. When I see Honah Lee, I can’t sit still and I just want to dance. They love to play music, get people drunk, and have a good time, too. Really, what more do you need? Something strange and unexpected always seems to happen when I see these guys play.
The night started out well enough. The band room venue for Arlene’s Grocery is a large, black box space, and when you walk in, you can immediately feel the circulating air conditioning system, which is fabulous. In an odd way, though, the mixing of air conditioning with beer and bodies can leave a strange smell in the air. Add to that equation a human super-vomiter, and you have yourself an air problem. Two songs into Honah Lee’s set, some dude near the bar let out a Monty Python-“It’s waffer-thin” stream of voluminous vomit that filled the room not only with the smell of air conditioning, beer and bodies, but also with the overwhelming smell of vomit. The stream cleared the right side of the room, and the smell cleared the dance floor. It’s not unusual for beer-induced vomiting to take place at a Honah Lee show, but it’s usually the band doing the vomiting, or at least something super crazy. Honah Lee is a bit unpredictable with a sense that the unexpected can happen, and it usually does. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t overcome my gag reflex to the unexpected river of vomit no matter how much I tried, and I had to go outside for a bit to catch my breath.
Nonetheless, the show was fun and once I came back inside and the air conditioning broke through the smell and a mop and bucket appeared, all was well again. Honah Lee didn’t even notice the vomit, and played a good 45-minute set including “Loss for Words,” “Bobby’s Dead,” “Happy Birthday Dad I’m in Jail,” “53rd and 3rd,” “Life Won’t Let Me,” “You’re Too Much,” “I Hate My Job,” “Leave Them Girls Alone,” “Californibation,” “Gun,” “I was Wonderin'” and “Sex and Cigarettes.” Most of the songs they played are new, but three songs are included in their eight-song CD, I Want It All, “Loss for Words,” “Gun,” and my favorite Honah Lee song, “I Was Wondering.” The video to their single, “I Hate My Job,” can be seen on YouTube.
Honah Lee – “Gun” from I Want It All – Arlene’s Grocery, NYC 11/13/10
Beardo the Man
Beardo the Man went on before Honah Lee, and I have to say, I found them funny for a little bit. Their schtick is 90s Long Island/Jersey mega-group complete with Korg synthesizer and ironic terry-stretch head- and wrist bands. They were musically pretty good. Of the three bands, they had the more polished sound, and certainly projected a definite bravado, and they drew a crowd. I listened to four or five songs, the first of which was a new one called “Desperate Bitches.” I can’t quite remember the words, but the chorus pretty much had the words “desperate bitches want to go out with me.”
Beardo the Man CD Liner - At least I got a free CD! - Click for song titles
I caught a few more of their songs before the ironic misogyny got a bit too… ironic, though they did do a fabulous cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up,” and I enjoyed their song, “Everybody’s Jealous of My Bike!” and “I’m a Dancer.” But after “Don’t Touch That Girl” and “I Love Kids! (in da butt),” I left and went outside to hang with Honah Lee.
The Ladrenos at Arlene's Grocery
The Ladrenos (their Myspace is new and without songs) came on after Honah Lee. I wasn’t going to stay until I saw them break out a trumpet and a trombone. I’ve mentioned before how much I love brass in punk and ska, and the Ladrenos are Latino-laced pop-ska. Since seeing La Plebe at Hoodstock in Oakland back in September and making an effort to listen to Latino punk bands during Green Day’s tour through South and Central America, I decided to stay, even if they were having technical difficulties with their guitar setup, which took overly long. They finally got it together, and impressed me enough that I stayed for a few songs. While promising, the songs, as my friend that I was with noted, “all started to sound the same.” The lyrics were in Spanish, and I only know bits and pieces of the language. I believe that they may be newly-formed and working out their set, and I’d like to see them again one of these days, particularly on a bill with other Latino-pop-punk-ska bands, though I have no idea where to find this kind of music in New York City. The band is from Queens, New York.
All-in-all, it was a good night of music and crazy adventures on the Lower East Side, and it’s always fabulous to see some of my favorite people on the planet, Honah Lee.
John Gallagher, Jr. – Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2 – 11/14/10
The next night, Sunday, I ventured back onto the Lower East Side to see John Gallagher, Jr., who plays the lead role of Johnny in American Idiot. Gallagher is one of the nicest, most humble people and it’s obvious that he loves to sing and play music. Every time I’ve seen him perform at Rockwood, (the first time this past January before American Idiot opened and three times this summer), I’ve been struck by his relationship with his guitar, his music, and with the audience. It could all be a facade, but I really don’t think so. He’s a nice dude who has a song in his heart and plays a mean acoustic guitar.
His music resides on the folk-rock side, and at one of his shows, he stressed how much the musician John Prine means to him. Two times I’ve seen him as a solo performer, and twice with his friend on hollow body-guitar, Thad DeBrock, a guitarist from Spring Awakening. Gallagher formerly was in the band, Old Springs Pike, but starring roles in Spring Awakening and other television, film, and theater productions prompted him to leave the band. The band itself continues without Gallagher as Spring Standards.
Though I like my music mostly on the wild side, I do appreciate the quieter musical life. Gallagher’s shows are relaxing and his easy banter with the audience provides a good and easy laugh. His lyrics can be a little starry-eyed and grave, (“We’re all gonna die, so we better start to live; Just remember, no one’s gonna love you for being selfish” from the song, “Start to Live“), but he sings them with an intensity and sincerity that is contagious and from the heart. And did I mention how well he plays an acoustic guitar? Gallagher, Jr. is at Rockwood about once a month, you should go and see him if you can. The shows are free with a one drink minimum.
John Gallagher, Jr. – “Constance” – Rockwood Music Hall, 11/14/10 – (via @johngallagherjr and @onbonosback on Twitter)
John Gallagher, Jr. Setlist
Two Fists Full
So Many Things
Close to the Cusp
Waiting at the Bus Stop
Start to Live
Three Out of Five Ain’t Good
Dead for a Year
Wurlitzer in Space
Mayday on Commerce Street
Thanks to Jaime, Vi, Michelle and John I. for help with filling in mental blanks, setlists and lyrics.
What I Wish I Could Have Heard
The Lawrence Arms: Knitting Factory, Brooklyn
My friend Jaime went to see the Lawrence Arms at the Knitting Factory, and when she tweeted about the show, I decided to check out the band. Since I’m a Johnny-come-lately, I had never heard of this Chicago-based band who has been around since 1999, but I do know that what I heard from their Myspace impressed me. I’ll have to check them out next time they come to town. Here is their official page, LawrenceArms.org and this is their MySpace page.
Pee-Wee Herman’s Big Adventure
I was going to briefly note that Pee-Wee Herman is on Broadway in a limited-run show until January 2nd, and I wanted to see it before it closes just after New Years. However, the little issue of tickets for the show stood in the way as I didn’t have money for them. Ask for what you want and ye shall receive! I rarely win anything, so I was surprised when I scored two tickets to see Pee-Wee Herman Broadway! I entered a Twitter contest for the theater blog, Steve On Broadway and I won tickets to the show. I’ll be seeing it the night before Thanksgiving, which should brightened an otherwise blah weekend. Though, I have to tell ya, that blah weekend will end with me seeing Star Fucking Hipsters at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Sunday, Nov. 28. Now that’s a way to end the blah holiday blues.
That’s it for what I wish I had heard for the week of November 6th-15th. Check back next week when I report on Harry Potter and the Deathly Gallows (yea, ok, I’m a nerd, guilty as charged!), a strange night at the Museum of Modern Art with a female punk-new wave group from the 1970s, The Raincoats, and the crazy stupidity of not hearing a song from Jesse Malin featuring Green Day that was supposed to be heard three weeks ago. This coming week, I’m seeing Pee Wee on Broadway, and Star Fucking Hipsters, and if I can throw in some other music over the Thanksgiving Day week, I’ll try.
Don’t forget that the cast of American Idiot will be performing during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (yes, I know, ironic since Green Day has a depressing song called “Macy Day’s Parade”), which will be broadcast live on NBC starting at the crack of morning. More info on the parade can be found here. I won’t be going, but have fun to those who do!
Honah Lee – “I Hate My Job” – Check out more music and performance dates at Honah Lee Music
Honah Lee is a fun band, snappy and brusque and they rock out in a nerdy-punk sort of way. I met them during the Party! Party! Party! Tour that they and the Mystic Knights of the Cobra did back in April 2010. They were the first opening band for the Foxboro Hot Tubs at Don Hill’s on April 23, 2010.
Cross-dressing with smeared makeup and marker-ed-up from head to toe in tawdry, faux tattoos, Halloween arrived three months early for the city wild bunch the last time On The Beat caught them at The Mill Hill Basement. It was a crazy scene, as they’re a crazy band — that we’re hoping will save this scene someday — and came at the conclusion of a windswept weekend tour with Michigan’s own intoxicated demons, The Plurals. There were lots middle fingers and people trying to crowd surf. Was thinking there might have been a chicken fight or two. Even some male nudity. And a blurry experience from this end. Pretty much rocked our socks off. Well, The Mill Hill Basement (300 S. Broad St., Trenton) is where local legends are born, and its Halloween hootenanny — from what we’ve heard — tends to get a bit loony. Perfect marriage, right? It goes down on Saturday night and comes a few weeks after Honah Lee debuted their yet-to-be-released new video for “I Hate My Job.” For fans of debauchery, debasers, The Replacements and Weezer.
I hope they save the local scene too! I’ll be at their show in New York City coming up on November 13th at Arlene’s Grocery on the Lower East Side. Hope to see you there, too!
East Bay band and Vaudeville-punk act, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits, released a four-song EP recently, Freaky Baby, on iTunes and made their first music AND rap video. [iTunes LINK HERE] The video to Freaky Baby is a little… freaky, but don’t get your panties in a bunch about the content. I’m sure it’s a parody of, and a statement on, the awesomeness of booties. I don’t know the band very well, but they are legend and funny as hell and have rattled around the East Bay since 1995, though according to their website, they took the Bush Administration years off, and are ready to hit it again. I was sitting in a Williamsburg bar recently waiting for a band to start, and folks in the bar were talking about them. They are starting a tour of the U.S. in the next few weeks. I wouldn’t miss them if I were you. [TOUR LINK HERE] The band consists of guitarist Dan Abbot and singer Corbett Redford.
I saw them as one of the opening acts for a Mystic Knights of the Cobra show back in February. They were stretching their performance wings after their hiatus, if I remember correctly. They were pretty great as a two-piece, and from what I understand, they have added a full band, including two members of the Mystic Knights of the Cobra, drummer Joshua “Gryptron” Wharton and bassist Sean “Night Moves” McTiernan. You can spy with your little eye the two Cobras in the new video released on Funny or Die, below.
Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits just held a video release party at Thee Parkside in San Francisco on 10/08 with Emily’s Army, The Secretions, The Angel and Robot Show (Angel Nova and AR-7 from Phenomenauts) with a special appearance by the Bay Area Derailleurs, the bike dance troupe featured in the Freaky Baby video, they being of the awesome booties. Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits tour starts 10/19/10 in Las Vegas, and after making their way through various towns and festivals in the South and Midwest, will hit the New York City area in mid-December. See you there!
Friend of Green Day and rocknroll’s legendary photographer, Bob Gruen, recently spent an hour with NPR talking about his friend and photographic subject, John Lennon. One of the things I love about Green Day is their obvious love for the history of Rock, particularly the history of punk. In that respect, it’s always great to know the history of your favorite subject. Gruen, a long-time friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, gives a straight-forward, funny and heartfelt interview not only on Lennon but also rocknroll history. Take some time to click on the link above and listen.
Today, October 9, 1940 is Lennon’s 70th birthday. We miss you here in NYC, John. The world misses you, too. Thanks, and happy birthday.
Also, thanks to Moffieee for reminding us that today is also John Entwistle’s birthday, too. Visit her Tumblr for a nice tribute to him.
Here’s a nice little message from Yoko Ono on this day:
h/t for interview: AbbeyFox on Twitter; for Yoko Ono message: Beatles on Facebook
Prima Donna, that rocking punk glam band who opened for Green Day in Europe last year and is really big, as Tre Cool says, “in Spain and Portugal,” is heading your way for a six-week tour! It gets off tomorrow (10/1) at De Pit located in Terneuzen, Netherlands and ends on Sunday, November 16 at the Star and Garter in Manchester, England.
After Europe, the band comes back to their homeland, California, and will headline a show at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco on November 26th, 2010.
Prima Donna European tour dates can be found on their Myspace Events site, located HERE.
Europe, don’t miss out on the chance of seeing the boys rock your world. They are lovely to hang out with. Buy them some beers, and if you will, lick Kevin Preston for me! Especially Eleonara at the Prima Donna fansite, Stray Dolls!
Here’s the boys at the Slidebar May 27, 2010 in Fullerton, CA. performing “Feral Children in Love” and “Demoted.”
Prima Donna at the Slidebar May 27, 2010 in Fullerton, CA. – Lick ‘Em For Me! – Prima Donna Vision on Youtube