Live in New York

October 30, 2001

Last weekend, Tiffany and I went over to Dumbo in Brooklyn for an arts and music festival. (Dumbo stands for "down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass.") I had heard this band, the Be Good Tanyas on the radio a day or two before, and knew they'd be playing. We got there just in time. In a converted warehouse, up on a small stage, three young women, guitars and banjos in hand, harmonized beautifully. The sweet sounds and skillful pickin' truly fed our souls. They signed my CD, and we liked them so much, we went to see them again at a club down in the Village. Unfortunately, they're in the last few dates of their tour, so I can't tell you if they'll be playing near soon. But keep your eyes out, these guys are on the rise.

On a completely different note…

The smoke was thick, the hair long, and the slang indecipherable - somebody asked me if I needed any nuggets. I played it safe and said, no. It could've been 1974, 1982, '92. But this was last Thursday night. The only thing to clue in an observant time traveler was that amongst all the tie-dye, tattoos, wallet chains and ponytails, was the occasional cell phone and dot com T-shirt.

I'd gotten myself into a concert hall filled with a strange mix of Southern jam rock fans and skateboard punks all here to get baked and see Gov't Mule, a band I'd barely heard of. A friend had an extra ticket, so what the hell? The band is a spin off project from The Allman Brothers, and for the first few songs I thought, where did all these fans come from? I didn't know there were trailer parks in Manhattan. But not wanting to be too judgmental, I let the night wear on, and you know, I slowly got hooked. They played some Led Zep, which I deeply approved of, and had a steady parade of guest bassists including Tony Levi of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel fame. They even played Gabriel's "Washing in the Water." I don't know if Peter's ever played that one live. Next up was Mike Gordon from Phish, and I was starting to see the cross-generational appeal. Then came Stefan Lessard from the Dave Matthews Band. His playing was the highlight of the evening for me. They launched into a 15 minute version of "Lighten up you Self", then a smoking "Cortez the Killer" by Neil Young. I bought an album for that song! The band went on for four hours, and only stopped because the house was going to kick them out. Before they went, they did an encore opening with a few lines from Dylan's "Masters of War," then right into "Rockin' in the Free World," with a verse or two of "All Along the Watchtower" thrown in for good measure. This got the already jumping crowd that much more pumped before the house lights came up. Slowly we were all loosed on the streets of Manhattan, placed gently back in 2001.

I'm not sure if I'll run out and buy any of their albums, but these guys put on a really good show of some pretty timeless music. Long live screeching slide guitar solos and the longhaired weirdo freaks!

(p.s. we did end up buying their album & included one of their songs on our "Live From New York City 2001" CDs we made of the people we have seen live here. It definitely grew on us.)


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