Shows

Born To Drink: Joining Hannah vs The Many for Two Dates in Boston

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New York-based cabaret-punk act Hannah vs The Many is traveling to Boston this weekend and I have the privilege of joining them on bass for two dates! Earlier this year, HVTM released All Our Heroes Drank Here, which I also played bass on. I was bummed I couldn’t make it to NYC this weekend to catch them at CMJ. Joining them/us this weekend on the Born to Drink Tour will be glammy power-punk act Haley Bowery & The Manimals. I caught them at one of the last New York gigs I played with Hannah and they’re a helluva show. They’re also promoting the release of a split 7″ put out by Drink More Records (only 100 made!). (more…)

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The Summer Gig and Show Post Part II

Since I first wrote my first post about summer gigs, I’ve played a few shows, been to a few shows, and booked a few more.

I still can’t get over how much fun I had with The Hard Times when we played a set of blues covers and classic ska/punk tunes with Vic Ruggiero of the Slackers (videos and more excitement here). I caught Common in Ft. Greene at a festival. It was great to finally see him, but he played a very short set, half of which was a cool (yet, too long) medley of classic hip-hop tunes. The opening acts were also pretty lame and I missed Soulive entirely, who I was there to see in the first place. I caught The Aggrolites with The Have Nots at Highline Ballroom, one of the few all ages venues in Manhattan where you can see bands that aren’t big enough to fill Irving Plaza and the like. The Have Nots killed it and A.G.G.R.O. played a great set, though I felt like the whole night was a little bit better a year ago, when I saw the same two bands and one more at the Mercury Lounge. It’s a smaller, more intimate venue, though not all ages. A few nights later, I caught half a set at the pizza place near me (Two Boots Brooklyn, nothing like Two Boots in Manhattan, go right now) from a new project called Grand Concourse, featuring Kevin Batchelor of The Skatalites, Rhianna, Batchelor Party, the list goes on, Johnny Meyers of The Stingers ATX, Gideon from Westbound Train, and Eddie Ocampo of The Stubborn All-Stars and The Jammyland All-stars, as well as some other amazing musicians I know I’ve seen before. They KILLED it.

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The Summer Gig Post

Summer is pretty much going to rock. This past weekend was The Slackers CD release show, The Specials are playing at the Central Park Summer Stage, Warped Tour has a handful of bands I’m psyched to see, The Aggrolites hit NYC the end of June, and most importantly I have a whole mess of gigs with more on the way.

Hey Stranger began recording back in March and will be working through the summer; stay tuned for details on that. Hey Stranger is also currently in search of horn players and a 2nd guitarist/vocalist. Email the band if you’re interested. The Hard Times finished a recording session recently and is the midst of mixing.

THE HARD TIMES

Friday, June 11, 2010, 7pm
Eastern District, 43 Bogart St, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, L Train to Morgan
with The Forthrights, Royal City Riot, 1592, Silver Dollar, 100dbs
Facebook Event

Friday, June 18, 2010, 8pm
Rock N Roll Reggae Show
Death By Audio, 49 S. 2nd St. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
L Train to Bedford, JMZ to Marcy
with Vic Ruggiero (The Slackers) – Solo performance of R n’R, Blues & Country
The Heavy Beat – PA. Reggae, Soul, Ska, Dub
& Vic backed by The Hard Times and guests for a set of classics by The Clash, Hank Williams, The Wailers, Elvis Costello, The Nods!
Agent Jay (The Slackers) spins Rock n’ Roll, Reggae, Rhythm n’ Blues & Ska!
Facebook Event

Wednesday, July 7, 2010, 8pm
The Forthrights Tour Kick Off Show
Eastern District, 43 Bogart St, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, L Train to Morgan
with Vic Ruggiero, Chris Murray, The Forthrights,  The Bandulus
Facebook Event

Thursday, July 10, 2010, 9pm
Dirty Reggae Party VI
The Lake, 258 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY
L Train to Montrose
with R-Tronika, The Bandulus, The Frighteners, Crazy Baldhead Sound System
Facebook Event

HEY STRANGER

Saturday, August 7, 2010
Version City Party
Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY
L to Lorimer, G to Metropolitan
Details TBA

More to come! As per usual, I’ll make a dozen changes to this once it’s posted as I get more information and catch mistakes…

Spring Heeled Jack USA in the New Haven Advocate

But it’s 2010, not 1998. Seeing the late 90s ska/rock act Spring Heeled Jack USA on the cover of the New Haven Advocate in high school was not such a big deal; they were from the area and were big. Seeing the video for “Jolene” on MTV2 was a very big deal; were they really that big?

SHJUSA broke up roughly 10 years ago but will be having two reunion shows this weekend at Toad’s Place in New Haven. Against my better judgement, I have tickets to both nights. The Advocate ran a really great article about the band and the shows this weekend. I got warm-fuzzies reading the article when it hits on a few things in particular. The writer and guitarist/singer Mike Pellegrino talk about the Tune Inn at length:

“That place was so sketchy, so cool,” says Pellegrino. “How many shows did we play there? 100? That’s not pushing it right? It was totally sketchy. I miss it. There was a burnt-up building across the street and parents would be like, ‘Where am I dropping my kid off?’”

The Tune Inn, formerly on Center Street in New Haven, was an all-ages club. It didn’t serve alcohol until near the end of its existence. It was a place for teens to go that wasn’t contrived (or chaperoned), to play, mingle and listen to music.

My mom definitely was concerned where she was dropping me off. The very first show I ever drove myself to was there. Pilfers stole my hearing permanently at the Tune Inn. My first high school pop/punk band played some of our first shows there. When high school senioritis kicked  in, I was there at least once a week, it almost didn’t matter who was playing. I remember being extremely frustrated when they were muscled out of New Haven and made it out for the venues last show when Thumper (also mentioned in the article) reunited. I remember just how weird the place felt with half the sound equipment and furniture gone that last night.

The article goes on to talk about how SHJUSA fit into the third wave ska explosion, the subsequent fall, and several reunions. It’s a really nice intro for those aren’t familiar with the band or the context but a nice recap for anyone who was along for any of the ride.

I had all but forgotten that in 2006 I wrote an article on SHJUSA for the short lived Upbeat Ska Zine (picture below) run by some friends of mine during what I felt was a really great ska renaissance taking place in CT at that time.

As I mention in the article, I only saw them once in high school, somewhere between my sophomore and junior years. This was really the start. Tracks from “Songs From Suburbia” became staples of almost every party I went to. Were you ever at Tap Out House at midnight when I cranked “Mass Appeal Madness?” While I was filling in on bass for CT ska band Stealing From Peter, who was known for covering various SHJUSA songs live, we had one show where Mike Pellegrino (singer/guitarist mentioned above) jumped on stage to sing “Jolene” with us. It was pretty surreal. Here’s that video:

Most recently, for a birthday present, one of my good friends got me a signed poster from a benefit auction (a beautiful story in and of itself) that now sits above my bed. I’m pretty proud of it. I still consider them a major influence on my current pop/punk/ska project, Hey Stranger.

Spring Heeled Jack USA on MySpace, Facebook, Wikipedia and Vinyl via Asbestos Records.

We’ve been gone for so long that it doesn’t really matter where we’re going to, there’s no looking back.
I know I should be strong, but my heart isn’t in it and I don’t know my limit, so all I can do is move on.

*** Update 5/11/09 ***

These shows were both amazing! The music was great, the openers were fun, the band had not lost an ounce of the energy they once had and I ran into everyone. I ran into old friends, members of every band I’d ever been in, an old roommate, heroes of mine in the audience, and the list goes on.

In addition to the New Haven Advocate, the New Haven Register ran a great article that was more the human interest angle, reflecting on the loss of a band member and how that affected the band’s decisions. Hat tip to Duff Guide To Ska for linking it and running a really great preview for the shows as well.

Upcoming Gigs: March & April 2010

I realize we’re already halfway into March but I have three gigs left this month and April is already packed to the brim. I didn’t take the time to link every venue and band because you’re smart people and know how to use the google. These are gigs playing bass for Hey Stranger or guitar for The Hard Times unless otherwise stated. I will be continuously adding information to this post, especially in regards to the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Weekend as I have it.

*** UPDATED 4/5/10 5:11pm ***

Sunday, March 21, 2010
Bushwick Music Studios – 55 Waterbury Street, Brooklyn, NY
Royal City Riot (LI), The Pinstripes (OH), The Best Of The Worst (NJ), Hey Stranger (NYC)
Take the L train to Montrose Avenue
All Ages, Doors @ 7PM, $7
Facebook Event
*** Please note that Hey Stranger will not be playing Monday, March 22 at The Space in Hamden, CT ***

Thursday, March 25, 2010
“Reggae Hit The Town”
Ella Lounge, 9 Avenue A, B/w Houston and 1st
9pm, 21+, $6
The Forthrights, The Hard Times, Predator Dub Assassin
Facebook Event

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Hannah Fairchild’s “Paper Kingdoms” CD Release Party
Bar 4, 444 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY
with Annie Ragz, Debbie Miller, Ten Antennna
I have the privilege of joining the backing band for singer-songwriter Hannah Fairchild.
Facebook Event

Saturday, April 3, 2010
Version City Monthly
Skinnerbox (Reunion), The Scofflaws, Eastern Standard Time, The Hard Times, The Forthrights, Late Night Version City All Star Jam
Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave, L Train to Lorimer
7pm, All Ages, $10 adv/$12 dos
Facebook Event

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Zombie Apocalypse Survival Weekend Day 1
Presented by East Coast Collective
Bushwick Music Studios, 55 Waterbury St, L Train to Montrose
Hardcore Karaoke Pile On Extravaganza (Featuring Members of Hey Stranger)
Nix 86 (LI),  Hey Stranger, Curious Volume
7pm, All Ages
Facebook Event

Friday, April 9, 2010
Zombie Apocalypse Survival Weekend Day 2
Presented by Bronx Underground
First Lutheran Church, 375 Baisley Ave, Bronx, NY
Hardcore Karaoke Pile On Extravaganza (Featuring Members of Hey Stranger)
Endwell, Knuckle Up, Nix 86
Facebook Event

Saturday April 10, 2010
Zombie Apocalypse Survival Weekend Day 3
Presented By East Coast Collective
Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, 38 Old Country Rd, Garden City, LI, NY
Hardcore Karaoke Pile On Extravaganza (Featuring Members of Hey Stranger)
Nix 86 (LI),  Hey Stranger, Hello Nurse, More TBA
All Ages, 6:30pm, $8
Facebook Event

Sunday, April 11, 2010
Zombie Apocalypse Survival Weekend Day 4
Past Thymes, 383 Main St, East Haven, CT
Hardcore Karaoke Pile On Extravaganza (Featuring Members of Hey Stranger)
Nix 86 (LI),  Hey Stranger, These Green Eyes, Honey Creeper
7pm, $10 Under 21, $5 21+
Facebook Event

Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Grace of Spades Presents Reggae Onna Bowery
Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery (at 2nd St.)
Wolf & Leopard, The Hard Times, The Equilbrians
8pm, $5, 21+

Saturday April 17, 2010
The Shrine, 271 Adam Clayton Powell Junior Boulevard, Harlem, NY
The Hard Times
Details TBA

Saturday May 1, 2010
Jacob Wake Up! Presents:
The Have Nots (Boston, MA), That Band With The Fat Kids (VA), More TBA
Bushwick Music Studio, 55 Waterbury St, Brooklyn, NY