words & photos by Jacob Blickenstaff
At the City Winery last week (3/4), Rufus Wainwright put together an acoustic, unamplified show lit only by candle light to promote BlackoutSabbath, a kind of grass roots conservation thing inspired by the improvisational adaptation of New Yorkers during the Great Blackout of years past.
Ironically, the only low point of the evening was when two hoped-up Obama campaigners went on a bit too long about 'change'. Otherwise the music was excellent - intimate, warm and playful.
The gang included Rufus, Aunt Sloan, Lucy Wainwright-Roche, David Byrne (who brought along current tour-mates Mark De Gli Antoni and Mauro Refosco), Jenni Muldaur (also on tour with Byrne), Janeane Garofalo (comedy bit/rant) and Teddy Thompson. As Rufus put it in the beginning, it was "like a campfire sing-a-long".
Some of the highlights included a group effort on the Roger Miller classic "King of the Road", Teddy Thompson covering ABBA's "Super Trooper" (which as he pointed out is an ode to an electric spotlight), David Byrne singing Webb Pierce's "There Stands the Glass", Rufus doing a solo guitar performance of "Beautiful Child" (with the audience filling in the chromatic rise and fall) plus an encore of "Hallelujah" with Rufus on piano.
Rufus played a benefit at Highline Ballroom one day earlier. David Byrne headlined two nights at Radio City Music Hall less than a week earlier, and has another show coming up at the NJ venue Rufus and Lucy played in mid-February. More BlackoutSabbath pictures below...