By Andrew Frisicano
Rain washed out Marc Ribot's initial Hudson Square date on July 21st (the story of the summer). So in addition to switching the show to August 18th, Ribot also decided to switch groups (perhaps another rain-caused necessity), subbing the originally booked La Cumbiamba with his "rock band" Ceramic Dog and violinist Eszter Balint.
The parking lot of City Winery, which has been hosting shows all summer, served as a relaxing, tucked away venue, after the sun finally hid behind one of the surrounding buildings. The set sounded great, but accurately describing Ceramic Dog's sound (as I've found in trying to tell friends) can be a bit difficult. It's not exactly what you hear on 2008's Party Intellectuals. That album is more funk driven and homogeneous than their live set, which veers between genres and sounds without warning. Live there were plenty of solos and riffing, but the real clincher was when Ribot pulled more natural, acoustic-based sounds out from the guitar, at times reminding me a little of a spare-sounding Bright Eyes. Subtly comped chords matched up with crunchy leads - often coming, in a reversal of roles, from Balint's overdriven violin. Vocals bounced between Ribot and Balint, who rhapsodized in foreign tongues and, on other songs, added pleasant harmonies. But the loose rhythm section was the element that fought most against the "rock band" premise. Drummer Ches Smith and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (who moved from bass to synth to other noisemakers) lead the songs into strange places with a pulse that was more textures and color than 4/4.
Tonight (8/26) Marc Ribot plays Rose Live Music with Sun Ship, a free-form-jazz inspired group with Mary Halvorson, Jason Ajemian and Chad Taylor.
Further on, he plays with Marianne Faithfull (as he did earlier this year) on September 24th at Town Hall. He's also on the schedule for the NY Guitar Festival's Silent Films/Live Guitars series in early 2010.
More Hudson Square pictures and tour dates are below...
Marc Ribot - 2009 Tour Dates
August 26, 2009 Rose Live Music Brooklyn, NY #
August 29, 2009 Leipzig Festival $
August 30, 2009 Willisau Jazz Festival #
September 05, 2009 Paris, France !
September 11, 2009 Century of Song - Ruhr Triennale Festival, Germany ^
September 12, 2009 Century of Song - Ruhr Triennale Festival, Germany ^
September 24, 2009 Town Hall, NYC &
September 26, 2009 Zeiterion Performing Arts Center - New Bedford, MA &
October 10, 2009 Century of Song - Ruhr Triennale Festival, Germany %
October 11, 2009 Century of Song - Ruhr Triennale Festival, Germany %
October 16-31 European Tour $
# w/ Sun Ship (Mary Halvorson, Jason Ajemian, Chad Taylor)
$ w/ Ceramic Dog and guest Eszter Balint
! w/ John Zorn's Shir Hashirim
^ Program 2 - "Love & Death": Iggy Pop & Tine Kindermann w/Marc Ribot as curator & musical director
& w/ Marianne Faithfull
% Program 3-American Soul: David Hidalgo, Juan Medrano Cotito w/Marc Ribot as curator & musical director