Well its been a busy 10-days, what with some hot work items, keeping up the training, trying to decide on apartments, I barely had time to fit in the fun!
Here are three reviews of recent activities and some observations on value.
Tammany Hall NYC
On Friday 9th, of June I went down to a place called Fatbaby at 112 Rivington, between
There was no one their when we arrived and so it was great to be able to talk to Steve and Matt and catch-up with what they'd been doing, good news is Steve says they've been working on some new songs, of which they played a few in the set, and also on some new arrangements. "the boys" were in good form, they played a tight, yet relaxed set of favourites, with tracks from the new CD Marathon, and some new stuff. Steve seemed relaxed and appeared to enjoy the set, his vocals are improving every time I hear him. Matt was the usual guitar perfectionist creating some outstanding sounds to complement O'Reillys guitar and vocals.
After the set I caught up with Steve out on Rivington and he was pleased and pumped up having finished the set. It was time for dinner for me but I managed to catch-up with them much later. I hope Steve and Matt will forgive me, but here is a video taken on my Sony DSC T1 Digital Camera, it not great quality but captures the feel and intimacy of a great evening!
Saturday 10th it was on to the old Studio 54 I went to see the Brecht/Weils Threepenny Opera starring Alan Cumming, Jim Dale, Ana Gasteyer, Cyndi Lauper and Nellie McKay. I'd been in Studio 54 way back in the early 80's, I have to say this wasn't how I remembered it. These days it just looks like, well, an old Broadway theatre in need of thoroughly updating. Tickets were $86.25 plus a handling fee.
There really were not any sets so to speak of. They made good use of the stage and neon lighting; they also moved props and cast in and out on electric ramps which allowed the show to flow. The sound quality was good, Cummings was well Alan Cummings. He was clear, interesting and full of facial expression. I must admit when I sat down to watch I didn't realise that Jim Dale was in the show. He was good, very good. In fact I can recall the time when he was the "Alan Cumming" of his day, slightly brash, cheeky and prepared to push the boundary.
Of the female leads, Nellie McKay was the stand-out for me. Her acting and diction, accent etc. was a league above the rest. I couldn't work out if she was better than the rest of the cast, or just couldn't step up to the same street level, or in fact if her part even called for that. Still I enjoyed the scenes when she was on.
Overall though, I was disappointed. I've never read the original Brecht/Weil script so I can't say if all the swearing was theirs, or if it was added for this production? I'm not against swearing, I just thought it was a little repetitive. Overall it was a good night out, but not the best I'd seen on Broadway. On the other hand I don't want to end on a note about swearing. After all, Broadway is rapidly becoming a sort of DisneyLand Theatre. With all the family shows musicals and shows, including the upcoming Mary Poppins musical, it was nice to see an adult sow, with adult themes, and some good acting by adult stars.
Artic Monkeys and We Are Scientists
And so it was I found myself at the Roseland Ballroom on West 52nd St in
Now I wasn't so sure about the Monkeys, I'd listened to the cd, it was ok, but I got hung up on Alex's accent and the dour video of Scummy Man and the picture on the "Whatever People Say I Am, Thats What Im Not" CD, and wasn't really impressed, I'm more of an uplifting house-man man me.
The evening started with the scientists, and they were great musically and vocally. During one track late in the set, they were joined on stage by Alex and the drummer from the Monkeys to a great cheer. The scientists lived up to my expectations and were great live. So, after a break of about 30-minutes, the Roseland filled pretty much up on the open floor, I was packed in centre stage, dead centre of the hall. The monkeys were fantastic, much better than I'd expected, they seemed more musically accomplished than I thought.
When I drove back in the car after getting pizza and a coke on 7th, I put on the Monkeys CD. Much to my surprise it was indeed better, when I initially listened I think I was either being "classist" aka a snob, or racist aka a Southerner... Alex is from up there... Apologies all around, great guitars, gritty, relevant street lyrics - In the 90's we had Oasis vs Blur, now Hard-Fi vs the Monkeys?
Threepenny opera - Cost $86.25, value: an evening out, re-living old memories
Artic Monkeys/We are Scientists - Cost $25 dollars, value: two great bands; ears ringing for 2-days afterwards, an attitude wake-up call
Tammany Hall NYC - Cost $8 cover charge, half price drinks, value: outstanding music, complex lyrics and guitars, Priceless!!!