Amoeblog

NYSOM #99

Posted by Billyjam, October 1, 2014 10:24am | Post a Comment
    

NYSOM #99 of 100: Earlier this month DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist kicked off their ongoing "Renegades of Rhythm" vinyl-only tour honoring Afrika Bambaataa's vast and influential record collection with two shows at NYC's Irving Plaza (after a stop in Boston) where my man Joe Conzo took the above photo of the two West Coast DJs who wore the perfectly appropriate matching T-shirts for the occasion with "DUMP" and "KOCH" emblazoned on the backs of them in a direct reference to the NYC era in which Bambaataa and hip-hop rose to fame in New York City. In keeping with this theme of that oft romanticized bygone era of a decidedly grittier and grungier New York City I've included a few other pics from NYC in the 70's and 80's in this second to final of a one hundred New York State of Mind Amoeblog series including one (left in 1981 taken by Bob Gruen) of The Clash when they visited NYC and (by the same wonderful photographer) one of The Ramones on the New York City subway. Others include one of the Beastie Boys from 1986 taken at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens by Sunny Bak. By the way the highly recommended ongoing records-only tour with DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist (whose t-shirts said "SURE" and "SHOT" on the other sides) will be stopping in the Bay Area this weekend with the tour when they play SF's Mezzanine on Saturday, October 4th. 

Continue reading...

New York State Of Mind Amoeblog #97 of 100

Posted by Billyjam, September 17, 2014 06:47am | Post a Comment

Among the numerous music related events ongoing in New York City this week is the photo exhibit Grooving Years: The Photography of Josh Cheuse that opens Friday (Sep 19th) at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo. The mostly black and white photography exhibit by the New York City born and raised music photographer includes shots of The Clash (including the photo of the late great Joe Strummer above), Run DMC, Madonna, Lady Gaga, The Beastie Boys, Oasis, and The Black Crowes.  An avid photographer since age sixteen Cheuse, who has worked as art director at SONY Music for the past two decades, formed a lasting relationship with the Clash from early on in his career - a relationship that began back in 1981 as a teen when he famously used the payphone at his NYC high school to call The Clash at Electric Ladyland Studios in Manhattan and asked permission to photograph the band. To his surprise they happily complied with his wish. This introduction was instrumental in kick starting his career that included photographing the Clash, the band's Mick Jones' spinoff band Big Audio Dynamite, as well as  Joe Strummer solo on several occasions. And following Strummer’s sudden 2002 death Cheuse also directed a video tribute for the Strummer's version of Bob Marley's “Redemption Song.” Photo exhibit takes place at the Morrison Hotel Gallery located on the second floor at 106 Prince Street. All ages. Free admission. More info. And tomorrow (September 18th) in advance of the opening the photographer will be at the nearby SoHo Apple store (103 Prince Street) from 7pm to 8pm discussing his photo exhibit - free all ages event.

As if to make the point that, like vinyl records, books are still very much alive and well the annual Brooklyn Book Festival takes place this weekend at Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza for what will be its biggest ever event in its nine year history. Taking place on Sunday September 21st from 10am to 6pm the outdoor (rain or shine) festival will boast over one hundred panel discussions, readings, and other literary activities with authors to appear including Salman Rushdie, Lev Grossman, and Naomi Klein. In addition to novelists and non-fiction writers the festival will also include numerous poets, and also many graphic novelists including Paul Pope, Roz Chast and Julia Wertz. A free event, thanks to sponsorship by a phone company, the stated goal of the annual event is "spreading literacy and the joy of reading across the five boroughs and beyond." Just across from lower Manhattan the Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza (reachable by numerous trains) is located at 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201. Sept 21 10am to 6pm. All ages. Free event. More info.

Continue reading...

Top Ten NYC Subway Songs

Posted by Billyjam, September 3, 2014 10:51pm | Post a Comment
New York State of Mind Amoeblog #96:

As this 100 part weekly series winds to a close over the coming weeks I figured I'd do some music best-of lists in these final five installments including this week's Top Ten Best NYC Subway Songs. While a tough list to compile, due to the sheer number of songs out there that reference the most frequently used mode of transportation here in New York City, it was still a fun one to draw up.

For this top ten, rather than just do say 70's rock or 90's hip-hop or any one specific genre, I tried to cover several genres and eras, and even still just scratched the surface. The selections are mostly subway themed songs - although some are overall NYC themed but with subway references in them like the ones by Fear and VU which placed in the last two positions for that very reason. Some others that almost made the list include "F Train" by Babe the Blue Ox, Unsane's “D Train,” "The L Train Is A Swell Train And I Don't Want To Hear You Indies Complain" by Out Hud, "Subway: The Last 'I Love New York' Song" (from the musical Mayor), and another musical one - "Subways Are for Sleeping" from the musical of the same name. In comments below please feel free to add any songs you think should have made the list.



1) Duke Ellington Orchestra “Take the ‘A’ Train” (1941) "You must take the 'A' train / To go to Sugar
Hill, way up in Harlem.
" Even if they don't realize it, everyone knows this song - a jazz standard and signature tune for Duke Ellington and his orchestra with lyrics. Literally a classic and one that pops
into my head every time I take the A train, and I rate it number one on my list for its historic relevance. Honorable mention to another jazz classic: "GG Train" by Charles Mingus about the line now known
simply as the "G" line - as the "L" line used to be the "LL" line.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #95: Hip-Hop Celebrated, DJ Dwells Interview, West Indian American Day Carnival

Posted by Billyjam, August 27, 2014 03:00pm | Post a Comment

        

 

What a great week it has been for hip-hop in New York City! On top of the big 2014 DMC US Finals at Webster Hall in the East Village on Saturday (reviewed on Amoeblog here) and the following day's nearby Battle Ave DJ battle at Turntable Lab, there were clubs and concerts galore, an amazing True School Park Jam yesterday, the Harlem Hip-Hop Festival - part of Harlem Week - over the weekend, and first annual International Hip Hop Parade on Saturday. The parade took place in none other than the "Boogie Down" Bronx, the borough where hip-hop was born 41 years ago, with many legendary figures in attendance including the three grand marshals of the parade Melle Mel, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Kool DJ Red Alert (who afterwards called the parade "a great event to recognize this unstoppable culture that was born in the Bronx."). The organizers of the parade, which took place along Bathgate Avenue to a positive response from onlookers, say that they plan to travel to a new location each year for the event, noting that their mission statement is one of, "showing the positive side of Hip Hop music through technology, education, and expression."  More info.  

Continue reading...

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #94: AfroPunk Festival, DMC US Finals, Charlie Parker Jazz Fest, Outdoor Movie Screenings

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2014 12:38pm | Post a Comment

Back in 2007, I interviewed James Spooner, maker of the 2003 documentary Afro-Punk, about the  AFROPUNK Festival, which was directly inspired by his film. The director/producer told me that he never dreamed that his passionately produced, low-budget documentary would go on to  jump-start a burgeoning cultural movement, inspire the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) annual arts festival, and name him as its co-curator.

"Afro-Punk was a film about being a black punk rocker in a white world. And we had a really good few screenings at BAM.... that escalated into doing a series with a bunch of other films that evoked the same feeling of black thinking or black rebellion all telling the 'other' black story," Spooner told me at the time, adding that the folks at BAM had the idea of building a whole festival out of it. Now in its tenth year, AFROPUNK Festival has grown exponentially into a much bigger and broader event with a lineup that is off the hook and transcends the subgenre that gave it its name.  





James Spooner's "Afro-Punk" 2003 documentary that inspired the AFROPUNK Festival


Among the myriad of diverse acts scheduled for this year's festival, are Bad Brains and Fishbone - both of whom were in Spooner's documentary - along with such others as  Meshell Ndegeocello, The Internet, Body Count, the Cro-Mags, CX KiDTRONiK, D'Angelo, The Bots, Trash Talk, SZA, Alice Smith, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings King Britt, and tons more. The newly-expanded AFROPUNK festival includes, in addition to punk, lots of DJs and producers performing. This year presents a special Tribute to DJ Rashad - the  influential late Chicago footwork producer who died back in April. Performing will be members of Rashad's Teklife crew, Chicago footwork pioneer RP Boo, Dance Mania ghetto-house originator DJ Deeon, Lit City Trax founder DJ J-Crush, and The Era dance crew from Chicago.  Another sign of the expanding festival is the newly added AFROPUNK AFTER DARK, which organizers say, aims to transform the neighborhoods of Brooklyn into a captivating playground of music and culture events in venues starting at 10:00pm and including the Black Weirdo party and King Britt's celebration of Sun Ra's centennial, The Beautiful Noise.  The AFROPUNK Festival 2014 happens this Saturday and Sunday (August 23rd & 24th) at Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park and other locations. For full listings and ticket information click here.

Continue reading...
<<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  >>  NEXT