Tuesday, October 15, 2013

CBGB Fest 2013 - New York City

Returning for a second year in the city where it all began, The CBGB festival featured approximately 500 bands and solo acts from Oct. 9 through 13 at a myriad of bars, nightclubs and other spaces throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Along with previously established acts long associated with the iconic brand, a number of emerging artists performed as well. The festival also included film events as well as panel discussion and music-industry conferences, sharing similarities with Austin’s SXSW and the CMJ festival right here in New York City.

Hustling down to The Bowery Electric to pick up my all-access credential for the events, I took a moment to capture the midday environment surrounding the area.

That big bus would be out in front of most significant events festival wide.

Very first show attended would be for the legend that is drummer Ginger Baker

The midtown jazz club Iridium was an unlikely 'CBGB-like' venue, but who could pass up an opportunity to see this accomplished drummer's first solo show in New York since 1997?

He's a jazz musican now, and therefore actually much better suited to this club than one of the downtown rock venues.  Still, my apprecation for his brilliantly fluid playing style with Cream has never waned and makes regular appearances on the many playlists I create.

 * * * *

Having been tipped off in advance that CBGB Keynote Speaker  Duff McKagan's daughter would be debuting her own band at Pianos back downtown - it was off to frequent stomping grounds Ludlow Street.

On arriving at the venue I noticed a crowd across the street.  Investigating I discoverd an original "Bansky!"  The grafitti artist that has established a renedage street 'residency' in New York has been most prolific.  Since I fully embrace the current age we live in - an instragram was fired off in celebration of it.  None other than banksy himself clicked his approval of this momentous achievement.

Scuttling upstairs at Pianos, I soon came face to face with Jamie Brooks and Grace McKagan - who perform as an acoustic duo called The Pink Slips.

Their music is sweet, seductive and dark - all at the same time.

Have a listen:

Presently doing a set of all cover songs, one has to figure some originals may soon be on the way.

Till then - here's another live one - this time with dad adding some acoustic guitar accompaniment.

For those about to rock . . .

While everyone else there were keen on taking a photo with Duff - I actually bothered to take one with the featured artists of the night.   Well, I already had my photo with Duff from last year's CBGB fest.

The family McKagan (and bandmember) - gracious hosts and in general, pretty good people.

And it's always nice to discover that the tweet you sent their way gets "favored."

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Thursday October 10 served as the central day of this CBGB Fest.  Duff McKagan's Keynote Address would kick off the proceedings gloriously.

Introducing Duff to the podium was his longtime friend (and manager/buyer for punk clothing store Trash and Vaudeville) Jimmy Webb.

The podium was set up in front of the orginial CBGB walls, which had been kept in storage up to this point.

Duff's Keynote Address focused on how influential the punk music being played at CBGB's was on him.

The visual image from my center row seat was very cool  A projected image of CBGB's hovered over the speaker (who stood in front of the actual walls being projected above).

At a crucial moment in the speech, a video ran showing Duff and the other members of Guns N' Roses sitting at a press conference at CBGB's from around 1986.   When the image stopped at this photo of a younger Duff with that classic t-shirt on, the audience was treated to this particularly enlightening moment (in the video here):

Going off the prepared text, Duff spoke from the heart about what this era of music meant (and still means) to him.

How without all the bands who played there - who influenced him throughout the years - that he's pretty sure he wouldn't have evolved into the musician - and man - that he is today.

You gotta love the true heart, soul and rock n' roll spirit of Duff McKagan.  I know I do.

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Leaving the Landmark Sunshine Cinema (where the Keynote Address had been held) I made my way up 2nd Avenue and around the corner to the Anthology Film Archives.

The purpose?  To catch the US film debut of "Livin' Out Rock 'n' Roll - the story of The Babysitters and The Last of the Teenage Idols.

On the way there I ran into The Orchard's Richard Gottehrer.
He's the coolest! Learn more about him Here

It was a film I came to see, however - and this one looked to be most entertaining:

Filmmaker and documentarian Paolo Sedazari poses with his movie poster, just before the showing at CBGB Fest.

And with this intrepid journalist out on the gritty streets of New York City.

The film (which is awesome, by the way) is described this way:

Livin' out Rock'n'Roll is about the dirty disregarded history of the London 80s rock scene, the story of the Babysitters and The Last of the Teenage Idols as told by the people who have somehow managed to survive it. Among the interviewees are Shuff, Vom Ritchie (Die Toten Hosen) and journalists Ben Marshall and David Stubbs. Charlie Harper, Captain Sensible and Mike Read also make cameo appearances. There is also a section on the legendary rock'n'roll table - the chaotic epicentre of the London rock scene below the offices of the Melody Maker.

In this clip, Paolo introduces and briefly explains why this film needed to be made:

Which leads into this clip I shot of a segment during the film:

And the full length promotional video from the producers themselves:

Afterwards, a film critic in attendance asked Paolo a number of questions that helped clarify the experience further.

A movie about an amazing time in UK rock and roll that's very much worth checking out!

* * * * *

After enjoying a few refreshing beverages with Paolo and his entourage over at The Bowery Electric, it would soon be time for the evening portion of this day's events.

This was happening.  the Carry On Band Series that featured original CBGB artists who played the club many times.

With the set times prominently displayed for all to see, it was time to get down to it.

Leading things off was violinist Walter Stedding.  I recall seeing him play the club in it's heyday.

His sound is unique - quirky - and accomplished.  A "fringe" artist of the scene who stands as a reminder that the music played wasn't always what people traditionally think of as "punk."

The sets were kept short (about 20 minutes each) to fit everyone it.  Here is Dee Pops Private World - as viewed in long form from my spot on the balcony.

Extra Virgin Mary with DeerFrance delivererd worthwhile sounds. 

She was sweet and cute - and rocked out in true CB's style.

The Planets brought back memories of many now long forgotten nights at the club.

Time may have aged and altered their appearances, but the sharp wit and attitude was as edgy as ever.

The Rattlers feating Mickey Leigh (whom most also know as Joey Ramone's brother) were up next, and their performance kicked the energy level up a notch.

Check out this clip from the show:

The Rattlers really brought their A-game on this night.

Next up was Rob Duprey and another opportunity to show the room from a wider angle.

Another big buzz moment of the night was when original Television member Richard Lloyd played.

Richard played all his songs on acoustic guitar, but the set did not lack for intensity.

With the attentive audience hanging on his every word, he sprinkled some interesting anectdotes in between his songs.

In fact, one of the most amusing aspects of the night was the soundman (burdened with the task of keeping everything on schedule) telling Richard his "time was up" - but Richard - either not hearing him - or simply just choosing to ignore it - plowed on and played another song.  No one in the audience was complaining!

Following that was another original CB's rocker playing an acoustic set - Andy Shernoff of the classic heavy punk band The Dictators.

Check out how he sounded on this night:

The sets continuted to come fast and furious as the night went on.

Of particular note were sets from Lenny Kaye and Cheetah Chrome.

In fact, the one and only Bebe Buell made an appearance and sang a killer version of The Dead Boys classic "Sonic Reducer."

Check it out right here:

The full band performing with Cheetah and Bebe also included Enzo Penizzotto, Peter Bennett Marshall, Frank Ferrer.

Special thanks and video credit goes to Bicycle Joe (with permission from Bebe Buell).

Long live CBGB's!
* * * *


Misty said...

all my faves! Duff, Bebe, Dead Boys, Televsion, Dictators - all the greats from the classic CBGB era. And Duff's daughter sings beautifully. Plus, I love that British glam-punk band! that looks like a totally cool movie.
Bebe and Cheetah there at the end is completely awesome!

DaveCromwell said...

I know, right? All that you mention was pretty much uber-amazing. Plus getting to see a legend like Ginger Baker play. He hadn't done any shows like this since 1997. I gotta say that getting to hear Duff's daughter's band perform was one of those unexpected delights as well. Of course the "Livin Out Rock 'n' Roll" was wondeful glimpse into a scene that I wasn't aware of when all that was going down. The big Bowery Electric show capped it all off in grand style.

NYCDreamin said...

Thanks so much for providing great coverage, photos and videos of these events Dave, looks like it was a great time! I just wish we could have been there to enjoy them in person with you again. Hopefully next year!

DaveCromwell said...

Glad I could bring at least some of the sights and sounds back for you, NYCDreamin. I know we had a great time hanging out at the previous years festival together. Yes, start making plans now for next year!

Mr Smork said...

looks like it was some fun fest.
great music and cute girls. :)

DaveCromwell said...

It totally was, Mr. Smork. And even though I also checked out some "old men" (Ginger Baker, to name a significant one) - seeing what "cute girl" bands are up to always seem to find its way on my itinerary as well. ;-)

Patricia Mena said...

An excelent review Dave! Looks like there was a lot of fun! Cool pics and vids and nice bands! :D

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, this entry was clearly focused on pictures and videos - rather than lots of text (like my last one was). I like to mix it up. Happy to bring a taste of what his huge festival was all about.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you enjoyed yourself :)

DaveCromwell said...

Totally! CBGB Fest is turning out to be one of the highlight events of the year.

Mirror said...

Michael Laughlin wrote:

Cool stuff, Dave!

DaveCromwell said...

Being a long time CBGB'er like yourself, Michael - I knew you would appreciate this.

Mirror said...

Steve wrote: Nice pix!

DaveCromwell said...

Thought you might like some of those, Steve.

William said...

Haha awesome - Ginger Baker is a cranky old fucker these days but still a legend I suppose - looks like music runs in the jeans for the McKagan bunch too

Wish I was there! but guess I might be in a month or so... ;) for my own little mini festival in an evening

DaveCromwell said...

Baker actually sets a brand new level of "cranky" - but there's no denying his equally insane level of talent. Yeah, the McKagan's appear to be making all the right moves these days. Good to see! Duff is definitely one of my role models. Can't wait till you get here with your own "mini fest" William.

Mirror said...

Tom Lugo (on October 17 at 2:30pm) wrote: Dave Cromwell - reading this blog right now... ace job as usual!