“The tragedy of man is perhaps the only significant thing about him. What I am after, is to get an audience to leave the theater with an exultant feeling, from seeing somebody on the stage facing life, fighting against the eternal odds, not conquering but perhaps inevitably being conquered.” – Eugene O’Neill
I am thankful that even though Eugene O’Neill was born far from Ireland (he was born in a hotel in Times Square), his Irish ancestry still qualified his play The Emperor Jones to be shown at the Irish Repertory Theater in Chelsea. John Douglas Thompson (shown here) plays the protagonist, Brutus Jones, with stunning reality, displaying a deep, dark part of humanity. [click to continue….]
I was building a guitar in my basement fairly late on Friday night, listening to Q104.3′s Eddie Trunk Show, which features metal music instead of the classic rock normally played on Q104.3. I generally do not listen to metal except for the occasional Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, unless one counts Zeppelin and Deep Purple as metal bands. So anyhow, I was listening to Q104.3 and I heard this song called “Metal on Metal,” and I was thinking how cool and catchy it was, and that whoever was playing it sounded talented. Well, it turned out that the mystery band was Anvil, the recent stars of Sasha Gervasi’s movie, “Anvil: The Story of Anvil.” [Click here to watch the trailer for the movie.] Gervasi was in the studio with Trunk, and they announced that they were going to give away tickets to a showing of the movie and then a secret performance by Anvil after the film.
I called in and miraculously won a ticket. [click to continue….]
Seeing the New York Philharmonic perform a Brahms Violin Concerto and Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande in the same night was an amazing classical music experience. The orchestra turned into a single beast, consisting of the contiguous musicians as the body and Gilbert and first violinist Frank Peter Zimmerman forming the head.
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Paul Zunno, a talented young guitarist with clear roots in the blues, will be playing several more gigs at O’Neals [Ed. Note: Zunno has switched to City Center Studios]. O’Neals is a funky music venue disguised as a restaurant (or maybe it’s a restaurant masquerading as a music venue?). Zunno was seated on a plywood box just big enough for him and his two guitar stands, hardly a bona fide stage. However, everybody in the portion of O’Neals who could see Zunno was seated facing him and mostly watching and listening instead of having conversations amongst themselves, such as one would expect in a music club that also serves food, like over at B.B. Kings. Zunno’s amplified acoustic guitar was loud enough to permeate the room, far too loud to be background music. Despite its schizophrenic nature, O’Neals was a perfect venue to see Zunno. [click to continue….]
Vernon Reid is probably best known for his guitar work with Living Colour in the late 80′s, and specifically for the Grammy Award winning song “Cult of Personality.” Reid proved himself an incredibly talented rock/metal guitarist on “Cult of Personality,” and although formal recognition wasn’t necessary, Rolling Stone named Reid #66 on their Top 100 guitarists list. So, naturally when I saw that Reid was playing at The Stone, I was psyched.
The Stone is a small club on far East 2nd Street, and it is purely dedicated to music, with no drinks or food sold. Reid filled the Stone, but that was not difficult seeing as there were only around 25 seats available. Although the blurb in Time Out said the show was Vernon, unaccompanied, there was also a keyboardist (Leon Gruenbaum), bassist (Steve Jenkins) and drummer (Don Mackenzie) playing with him. This group together is called Masque, and they have released two albums.
Twenty-five minutes after the 10:00 starting time Mackenzie appeared out of the bathroom and the group launched into an improvisational free-jazz inspired piece that consisted of Reid playing incredibly fast up and down the neck with no apparent structure, hence the free-jazz. [click to continue….]
Ramblin’ Jack Elliot divided his concert time at the Highline Ballroom into half folk music and half folk story. Elliott is in his 70′s now, and has many amusing stories to tell, despite his “loosing five memory cells out the back door a day.” Before every song, Elliott would tell little anecdotes, generally pertaining to either the preceding or upcoming song, but sometimes complete non sequiturs. These stories were quite entertaining though, and once one embraces Ramblin’ Jack proving his nickname, the stories are a welcome addition to the night.
Elliott’s set was comprised of more covers than original material, but that is acceptable in the folk music genre where songs are frequently passed from artist to artist. Elliott had a personal connection with most of the artist who’s songs he covered, and of course he would tell a story about that friendship before hand. [click to continue….]