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With Jody Stephens and Nels Cline a forgettable band plays a rare gig

7/18/14 15:30

I have no regrets about last night.  Well, maybe I saw a band that was forgettable.  But, I got the chance to hang with Mike Sweeney who was my long time concert partner.  I spoke to the one and only Jody Stephens from Big Star at the gig.  He was playing drums for the forgettable band.  My eyes may have deceived me, but I thought I spotted Lee Ranaldo in the sparse crowd at Bowery Electric last night.  Lee plays with the one of the musicians from the forgettable band.  But they play together in Lee’s band.  I hope to see that band.  Saw Sonic Youth many years ago at Jones Beach.  Last night, we were all there, all fifty plus strangers; to see the tired band "End of Love," who were making what was promoted as a “rare” New York appearance.  You bastards, you sold me.  Honestly, I wanted to hear Jody and Nels play, but after I noticed Lee, I hoped he would pick up a guitar.  It’s a small stage.  No room for another player.  End of Love consists of Jay Deegan, Jennifer Groves, Irvin Menken and Jody Stephens.  Special guest was the accomplished and idolized guitar god Nels Cline who plays with WILCO.  Before I write on.  Excuse the brief interruption since I saw Jesse Malin last night after the forgettable band played.  Jesse was a friend of a friend (15 years ago) and he is a rock star.  Back then he was sort of a rock star, finding his way after D Generation.  Even Jesse sighed when he watched Nels pack his things in the trunk of a taxi, and head out of the Bowery.  It was late by then.  Jesse said he was still sober and the night was early for the rock star.  He clasped his hands, bowed slightly and blessed us before we departed the blue neon residue station.  Back to the gig which is the reason we were there.  Earlier in the night, I checked with the door and was told the forgettable band was getting on the stage at 10:30.  They must have been on minutes early, meaning Mike and I missed the first three songs.  We walked in as they were playing Big Star’s September Gurls.  Let’s remind ourselves this was the forgettable band’s first gig and so far by the indications of their web site – the only gig for this band.  Just as well?  Just a suggestion?  If you practice together - you will play better as a whole band instead of this piece meal collaboration.  Look at the set list, there are instructions for the musician who obviously did not know the songs. Jennifer’s voice was lacking. her bar band stage presence was embarrassing.   She barely moved and her voice was reaching too many times.  There was the small contingent of fans or were they family? She cupped her hands over her eyes a few times and waved.  I have not seen that behavior since the open mic show in Patchogue.  Same goes for the other one in that band, Jay Deegan. When someone called out from the back, he called back the little circle of giggling intoxicated pals.  The same pals who did not, “shut da fuck up” while the band played their boring songs.  I could not hear Irwin’s banal comments before most the dire songs.  It seemed like a tactic to avoid the next song.  Before they were over, I moved down to the floor to the dozen or so who stood there.  There were the video goons and the camera addict who did not stop snapping.  But before we sweep it up and toss it in the can, the band came out to the encore, kicked it out with another Big Star copy, In the Street.  Thank you for the last breath of empowering impact. The music ended.  The minimal audience slowly merged out into the night.  Under the half moon, their bodies and hearts went far off to their own distractions - under summer ceilings, and leaving behind the conventional conditions of the city.

Thank you for reading this.

Enjoy the pictures

Next review BB King in Patchogue, 7/20


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