Posts tagged ‘Brooklyn’

3/8/09: Sufferin’ Succotash @ Superfine (45/100)

March 8th, 2009

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I need to move back to Brooklyn. I lived there when I first moved to NYC because I couldn’t find a place in Manhattan. And now that I live in the city, I kinda wish I was back on the other side of the river. It’s just so nice there. People seem happier. Seriously, I think people smile more in Brooklyn. At the very least, they seem more relaxed and look more well-rested. Then again, most everyone looks more well-rested when compared to me.

I often get these Brooklyn blues whenever I go there for a show, to visit friends, have dinner, drinks – whatever. Maybe it’s because I live in a no man’s land surrounded by Little Italy, SoHo, NoLita and Chinatown – and there’s always people milling around, honking their horns, screaming their stupid drunk heads off and the like. Or maybe I’m just getting old and I want a quieter, more laid back lifestyle. I don’t know. But when I went to DUMBO today to hit up the Fifth Annual Brooklyn Winter Hoedown, to see Sufferin’ Succotash whip up some sweet bluegrass over brunch – I missed Brooklyn again.

But I was happy to be back, and even happier to be hitting up a show around noon, so I could relax on a Sunday night for a change. I’ve never known Superfine to be much of a music “venue” per se. But it is a good restaurant, and a decent bar. It was the only place around to get a drink back when I worked in DUMBO around 6 years ago. But now DUMBO is like the new SoHo, bustling with shopping, restaurants and bars.

I woke up later than I had planned today, since I went to bed way later than I had planned, after being out way later than I had planned — all of which I blame on Daylight Savings Time, and $9 Jack and Cokes. Damnit, that’s right. Those drinks were expensive.

But I managed to peel my face off my pillow, throw myself in the shower, and make it out to Bklyn before Sufferin’ Succotash started playing. Yippee. Today was day 3 (the last day) of the Brooklyn Winter Hoedown, presented by Dock Oscar. They’ve been doing this for 5 years now? Who knew?

All I knew was that it was a day show, and bluegrass music – which I like and haven’t seen yet. And I could get food at the same time. Two birds = one show.

Sufferin’ Succotash were good. I don’t listen to bluegrass enough to be all that discerning, mind you. But it was a nice way to see a band on a Sunday afternoon. Relaxing bluegrass music, Huevos Rancheros and Brooklyn.

It’s just a shame I had to go back to Manhattan after.

2/22/09: Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine @ The Bell House (31/100)

February 22nd, 2009

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Sundays suck. 

I don’t want to go out and see music on Sundays. I don’t want to do much of anything on Sundays. I guess that’s why I didn’t have any plan of attack for today until late last night. I was in denial. Why couldn’t there be more midday shows on Sundays? I mean, I couldn’t go do jazz brunch again – that would be a total cop out. So I scoured the venue websites trying desperately to find something earlier than 6pm, but nothing. Until…wait…there’s a 2pm show at Bell House? And it’s Robert Schneider from Apples in Stereo? But why is he playing under the name Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine?

Damnit, it’s children’s music. Shit, they’re probably not gonna let me in, like the kid rocker event at Pianos. Fuck, I better control my swearing, because I just bought a ticket to the show. 

Fast forward to Sunday, 2pm. 

I’m out of the R train in Gowanus and headed toward Bell House – hoping they don’t turn me back for not bringing a kid. Luckily, they let me in. I hope there are other people at the show without kids. Luckily, there were. Albeit, not many. But I manage to befriend one: a woman named Christina who works in talent relations for Nickelodeon. She was there scouting Robbert Bobbert. I was there knocking out a 2pm show.

How is the Bell house different from when I saw Ninjasonik and Japanther here a couple weeks ago?

First, there were kids running around everywhere. Wait, no that’s pretty much the same (just add 10 years). The merch table had brownies, cookies and cupcakes for sale, alongside CDs. Juiceboxes for sale at the bar. A free coat rack for parents to hang their coats. And tables and chairs set up around the stage. Come to think of it. This set up isn’t too bad. I mean, I’ll take a beer over a juicebox. But other than that, I’m cool with the rest. 

The clock ticks a bit past 2:30, and I’m already halfway through my second Coke when Bobbert finally hits the stage. He’s dressed in a white lab coat, flanked by a huge boom box, easel and bubble machine. It seems half the show is going to be learning, the other half will be music. But not in that order. Or any order, just all jumbled up…I’ll shut up now. 

At first, the kids seem into it. He’s got their attention as he runs through his schtick for the show: Awesome Inventions. They are basically things that already exist, but he’s renamed in order to get the kids to tell him what they’re really called. For example, he shows the picture of what he calls the oscillating string-o-phone, waits a beat, and then a bunch of kids yell out that it’s a guitar. He agrees that’s a better name, then picks up his guitar and sings them a song with it. And so on, and so forth.

The total show was around 40 min at most, maybe closer to 30, which was perfect for me. But I couldn’t help but thinking, a bit of a rip off for the parents considering tickets were $15 each (not sure about the kid cost) for such a short show. But hey, it got me home before 4pm, with day #31 under my belt, while the sun was still up.

Today, Sunday didn’t suck that bad.

2/14/09: Harlem Shakes, Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers and Phil and the Osophers @ Southpaw (23/100)

February 15th, 2009

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Crowded. Crowded. Crowded. That’s what you need to know about this show, right off the bat. Who knew that so many other people didn’t have dinner plans on Valentine’s Day? Or, I guess, plans after dinner since it was a late show (doors were at 10p). I was definitely surprised at how slammed Southpaw was for this show. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about getting in since the drummer in one of the bands put me on the guest list (thanks Kevin). Yes, my first official guest list, “I’m with the band” moment on this project. Let’s hope it’s not the last. 

I got to the club at 10:30ish, just in time to see Phil and the Osophers as they hit the stage. They are a fun, sparse, three-piece band with off-kilter indie pop songs that work at times, and could use some work at other times. They warmed up the crowd for Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers which I’m not going to spend any time writing about because I just didn’t get it. She plays a harmonium, which is cool. But that’s where it ended for me. Bleh. 

I was happy to have so many friends along for this show tonight since it’s way out in the middle of Park Slope – a long, long ways from Mulberry Street. (Ok, not really, but in NYC, anywhere outside of a 15 block radius of your neighborhood is a long, long ways)

When I planned on going to the show, I didn’t even really ask any friends to go since it was Valentine’s Day. But then my co-worker Allison said she, Crystal, Jolina and Lauren were all going. Then my friend Kris found me on IM and said he was going to tag along. And finally Jeremy hit me up on Facebook to let me know he was, too. Sweet. I have a music posse tonight. 

After Shilpa stopped squeezing her harmonium and screaming her head off, the music posse made its way downstairs to wait for the Harlem Shakes to hit the stage. I hadn’t seen the Shakes for a while, and I don’t remember being blown away by them then, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have their first EP, which isn’t bad. But now they have a new record coming out in March, so I’m looking forward to seeing where they have taken things.

And I was pleasantly surprised, because Harlem Shakes sounded really great tonight. Ok, I’m not being 100% honest if I don’t mention how, despite them sounding great, their sheer and utter hipster douchiness drove me a bit crazy. Just take one look at the pictures and you’ll see what I mean. There appears to be absolutely no irony in how they’ve styled themselves. Ok, maybe the lead singer wore sweater in honor of Valentine’s Day. But, I digress. Back to the music.

Like I said, Harlem Shakes sounded great. They’ve really come a long way since I last saw them (I can’t recall when that was exactly). Their songs are nice and full. The live sax and trumpet is a nice touch, and they just really sounded tight, polished and confident. I talked to the singer for a minute after the show, and he didn’t seem to feel one way or another about the project. Which is fine. Not everyone’s impressed with the journey. Or maybe he was just self-conscious about his silly red sweater and didn’t want to talk? I’d like to think it’s that one. Yea, I’m going with that.