Amoeblog

BAY AREA ARTISTS TAKE MANHATTAN

Posted by Billyjam, March 24, 2008 07:00pm | Post a Comment
        

It was a Bay Area weekend in New York with a bunch of different artists from the Bay Area in New York City over the weekend each doing their thing (Bay recognize Bay mayn).  These included the 30 member San Francisco Leonard Cohen-covering men's choir the Conspiracy of Beards who literally took Manhattan (as well as other parts of the area) as they blew everyone away during their six-gigs in two days.

These half a dozen shows included performances at  the Bowery Poetry Club, the Highline Ballroom,  Grumpy's Cafe in Greenpoint, the Box,  and on the air at both WFMU and at Neighborhood Public Radio's (NPR) interactive installation part of the Whitney Biennial 2008.  Part of their NPR (coincidentally another Bay Area artist outfit in New York & who were recently profiled here on the Amoeblog) concert/broadcast included all 30 members (as pictured above) singing both inside and outside the sidewalk of Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where they did a moving rendition of none other than Leonard Cohen's beautiful song "First We Talk Manhattan."

Other Bay Area peeps in the Big Apple over the weekend included the mash-up party DJ/promoters Mysterious D (pitcured below) and Adrian from Bootie SF (profiled here on the Amoeblog last year) in town for their monthly Bootie NYC party at the Vault (an annex of the club Element) in downtown Manhattan on Friday. That same night a few blocks away at the Cake Shop the the amazing SF rock group Citay, who had driven up from a gig in Philly the night before after being at SxSW the week before, were in the New York area Friday and Saturday  doing a  few gigs including one on WFMU (on Bay Area transplant Liz Berg's great weekly show) and one at the Lower East Side club (as pictured above in the low-ceilinged basement performance space) in which they won over everyone in the house with their rich, crisp and clean sound and perfect mix that highlighted their vocals and layers of guitar.  Also over the weekend longtime Bay Area DJ Spun, who actually lives in New York these days, was representing Rong Music and spinning at both APT and Easy Lover Loft.

LITERALLY, A CHEESY DRUM SOLO

Posted by Billyjam, March 21, 2008 07:38am | Post a Comment

To call the above drum solo "cheesy" would not be an insult, but rather an accurate description of the art installation piece entitled "Cheesy Cheese Kit Diptych" in which the drums being played are rounds of cheese. The musician working the cheese-as-percussion is Dutch improvisational jazz drummer Han Bennink.  The kit he is playing was made by artist Walter Willems in an installation from three years ago at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto.

Willems built the Cheese Kit Diptych installation, which consists of two drum kits.  One has full rounds of real cheese (Dutch cheese, of course) propped atop drum stands. The other kit is built out of plastic cheese replicas, the kind that are used in store display windows. Apparently the reason Willems, who is Dutch, chose cheese and also the clogs-as-percussion bit at the beginning, was to mock and reinforce the international stereotype of the Dutch by using classic Dutch export products as its main ingredient.

The video of the drum performance by Han Bennink above was recorded on June 17, 2005 and reportedly was a featured artwork in the Demons Stole My Soul: rock 'n roll drums in contemporary art exhibition. As part of the performance Bennink also played a conventional drum kit. 

BIGGER THAN HIP-HOP: SISTERZ OF THE UNDERGROUND

Posted by Billyjam, March 20, 2008 03:15pm | Post a Comment

Major props are in order for the Bay Area founded, all female hip-hop collective the Sisterz of the Underground (SOTU), who are celebrating their seven year anniversary with a big show this weekend in San Francisco. As with many other fine organizations before them, SOTU, which features b-girls, emcees, spoken-word artists, DJ's, graffiti/street artists, and others, began almost by accident. 

But since its inception in 2001 it has grown by leaps and bounds. Besides the numerous showcases, spotlighting women artists, SOTU also branched out and created a wonderful sister organization called DEF ED which holds workshops and classes for youth throughout the greater Bay Area. 

As outlined on their website SOTU is "an open collective for women to: feel comfortable and not intimidated, to share or learn hip hop skills, be open to be who we are while being respected in how we choose to express that, choose to represent hip hop, & feel hip hop no matter what level of skill." 

Perhaps what is most commendable about this organization is that through their passion and positivity for hip-hop, coupled with their genuine concern for their fellow sisters, Sisterz of the Underground and its offshoot group DEF ED, have transcended hip-hop itself to create a family structure and provide a much needed support group for young women (especially in this current sexist era of popular hip-hop where women are constantly objectified and degraded) in which they can learn invaluable life lessons.  What they do is bigger than hip-hop.

To celebrate their seven successful years of putting on shows, workshops, and other events the Sisterz of the Underground are putting on a highly recommended show Friday night (March 21st) at Club Six in San Francisco with a talent packed bill, hosted by Melina Jones, that will include DJs Celski & Deandroid, DJ Zita, DJ That Girl, Medusa, Shredone, Butterscoth, Lady Fingaz, and the Extra Credit Cru. Showtime 9:30PM. More show info.

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BRING THE YELLOW TAPE: THE CRIME OF WAR

Posted by Billyjam, March 19, 2008 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Usually anniversaries are times of celebration; opportunities to rejoice a landmark in the life span of someone or something notable, positive, inspirational, etc. etc.  But today's date, March 19th 2008, which marks the five year anniversary of the war in Iraq, is hardly a time for any sort of celebration for anyone.  Even those few remaining staunchly pro-American, anti-terrorist, die-hard Bush supporters must find little to celebrate today.

For even if they choose to blindly dismiss & ignore all of the damage done to Iraq and its people (approximately half a million citizens of Iraq killed & countless more maimed or left homeless and/or with their lives in total disarray) and just focus on the American lives lost, not to mention the incredible damage done to the US economy that is not even fully felt, and won't be for years, nay, generations, to come -  then even the most stubborn supporters of this war would have to agree that is a losing battle in every sense of the word.

One life lost is one too many no matter how noble a cause might seem. But in this case, in this war, there is no noble cause at stake. There is no honor. Just a tragic waste of lives and money and a huge stain on the future - especially for the USA.  If we were to just forget about all the human lives lost and were to just ponder the financial drain of this war it is simply mind-numbing.  Currently the US has wasted over $500 billion on this war.  And estimated figures point to the US spending close to a total of a trillion dollars (a thousand billion) before this whole war in Iraq can be brought to a close.  Now considering the needs of so many poor struggling American citizens at home, with so many living below the poverty level and dealing with poor medical care, housing, and schooling, etc., this war is not just a terrible waste. It is horrendous crime.

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SAINT PATRICK'S DAY & THE POGUES

Posted by Billyjam, March 16, 2008 10:01pm | Post a Comment


There is so much great Irish music out there-- from traditional folk Irish music to Irish rock, jazz, electronic, and hip-hop Irish music etc.-- much of it available at Amoeba Music. But for Saint Patrick's Day I always find the more traditional or trad/folk rooted Irish music is the perfect soundtrack to celebrate the day with. Above is one of my all time favorite songs performed by two of the best, the Pogues and their main musical inspiration, the Dubliners, together doing a rendition of the traditional song "The Irish Rover."  Below is a video of the Pogues performing "Dirty Old Town" -- another song previously popularized by the Dubliners.   And if you happen to be in New York City on Saint Patrick's Day, you can catch the third consecutive night of the Pogues performing live at the Roseland Ballroom. Also on the bill are Billy Bragg and William Elliot Whitmore.

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