February 15, 2006

Issue III:
New Orleans' 9th Ward Music Scene:
Katrina and Beyond


02/21 - 02/28, 2006







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For this week's New York Night Train show list go here. For information about the venues go here. Click the names in bold to learn more about the artists.


Live Recommendations for Friday, February 25, 2006

Bill Whitten and Ian Svenonius


If I had to pick only one show tonight, I couldn’t do it. Good thing I’ll be in New Orleans. But for New York, I’d go for the split. I’d hop in a car out East to the Hi Five to check out Weird War after checking out Grand Mal at Northsix. There’re also so many good things that I’m even giving you an extra paragraph – at no extra charge

Grand Mal, The Shorebirds, Texas Governor, Cyanide Valentine - Northsix $10
Weird War, Big A little a, Meneguar, Professor Murder - High Five (toddpnyc) $8

Though no one would know it, Grand Mal’s Bill Whitten and Weird War’s Ian Svenonius exist in parallel universes. To my knowledge, both appeared on record for the first time in 1990. Sonic Youth signed Whitten’s indie noise pop band St. Johnny to Geffen around the same time Svenonius’ Nation of Ulysses was putting out records on Dischord. Since then both have continued to exist on polar ends of the spectrum – Whitten, later forming Grand Mal and going to Slash/London Records and Svenonius eventually going to K with Make-Up and Drag City with Weird War (I know, I’m skipping Cupid Car Club, David Candy, etc.). Whitten’s trademark stage presence is dry and static, Svenonius, is wet and kinetic (he may just be the best rock frontman ever). The poetry of Whitten’s hard-luck story-songs unfolds slowly while Svenonius often gets to the punch line right from the get-go. What do these two polar musical figures do have in common? Well they’re both super-smart, super-kind, and intellectual conspiracy theorists on the side. But that’s not why I’m lumping ‘em together. The real reason is that, despite their opposing styles, both were two of the best lyricists of their genres from the start and have honed their craft over the years into a fine art. This is the problem with indie rock’s publicist-driven youth-obsessed hyper-capitalist new media is that guys like Whitten, Svenonius, or Tim Foljahn (see yesterday’s recommended) are at the top of their powers and don’t get enough recognition for it these days. Give it up to ‘em – they’re way more handsome than Sufjan Stevens.

Also recommended:

Speaking of legendary frontmen, while the Bad Brains are once again performing without HR, Howie Gelb performs tonight without Giant Sand, or Friends of Dean Martinez, or whoever – all by his lonesome. My hands-down favorite guitar player of all-time, Hubert Sumlin, is at BB King’s with one of my other favorite frontmen David Johansen and one of the undisputed subtle drum gods Levon Helm. Mercury Rev’s Jason Russo’s psychedelic rockers Hopewell have continued to improve into one of the best bands in the city – and’ll be at Tonic. Perhaps the best local bill is Roxy Pain, The Vibration, Terset, Broadband, and The Assault at Cake Shop $10. The Moonlighters, the long-standing accoustic Hawaiian swing quartet of Bliss Blood of the Painteens, is at Magnetic Field. For Klezmer jazz fans there's Ben Goldberg Quartet at The Stone and, for some serious contemporary jazz, pianist Vijay Iyer at Jazz Standard. Oh yeah, another big welcome back to Yeah Yeah Yeahs with Oakley Hall at the Bowery – but predictably, as every other night of their short run, it’s sold out...

Highly rcommended! Hubert Sumlin with David Johansen & Levon Helm - B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
Highly rcommended! Golem - Joe's Pub
Highly rcommended! Howe Gelb - Southpaw $10
Highly rcommended! Hopewell, Faces on Film, Other Passengers, Alex Delivery Tonic $10
Highly rcommended! Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Oakley Hall - Bowery Ballroom $20
Highly rcommended! Roxy Pain, The Vibration, Terset, Broadband, The Assault - Cake Shop $10
Bad Brains, Leeway, DNME, The Vacancies, Bedouin Soundclash CBGB $15
Ben Goldberg Quartet – The Stone
The Moonlighters, Tom Beckham - Magnetic Field
Vijaay Iyler Quartet - Jazz Standard


Go to NYNT's Live Archive here.




© New York Night Train , 2006