Posted in music | tour dates on July 13, 2011

The Left Banke

Legendary NYC baroque pop band The Left Banke reformed earlier this year, but only with original members Tom Finn and George Cameron. Unfortunately Michael Brown and Steve Martin (not that one) -- who did the songwriting and singing, aren't actually involved. Regardless, two shows happened at Joe's Pub in March. .

The show reunited original band members Tom Finn and George Cameron for the first time since 1970 and presented a powerhouse of "Baroque pop" to an audience palpably loving every nostalgic note and nuance of the songs that first came out of our transistor radios so many years ago.

Joining forces with Tom, George and [lead singer] Mike [Fontale] were Paul Alves on lead guitar, Mickey Finn and Joe McGinty on keyboards / synths and on drums, Rick Reil who is the drummer for the Grip Weeds. Anyone who knows the work of The Left Banke knows that strings were a part of their studio sound and that was not forgotten at Joe's Pub. Susan Aquila on violin and Eleanor Norton on cello provided the subtle elegance of the Baroque pop sound and completed the formula for total aural pleasure!

The crowd was respectful, perfectly quiet at all times and riveted to the stage from beginning to end. Every song was musical perfection and the audience clearly recognized and appreciated that. At times, the performers actually seemed somewhat surprised that the audience's reaction was so warm. Maybe Tom and George never truly realized the legacy of The Left Banke but I think after that night, they might finally understand. [Rob Pollack]

Check out some videos from the Joe's Pub shows below.

The Left Banke, as described above, have two more shows scheduled this summer including one on July 20 at Littlefield with The Ladybug Transistor and another on August 20 at Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY. Tickets are on sale for the Littlefield show and the Bearsville show.

Tom Finn recently spoke to Rock Edition about future plans for the band:

Will you continue to mainly play in New York, or do you think you'll make it out to other places?

Well, I just contacted Andrew Sandoval, who produced our CD release 'There's Gonna Be A Storm' back in 1992. I asked him if he'd be interested in getting involved and he said, "Absolutely." I told him that we're looking for a great double-bill. Left Banke/Zombies or Left Banke/Hollies or something like that.

Great idea.

Or even a new group. What's the name of that great new group, Sebastian somebody?

Belle and Sebastian?

Yeah. They supposedly idolize The Left Banke, so maybe we can get on a show with them.

That would be a great fit. It makes a lot of sense.

There's another guy who really loves us from Oasis. Noel, I think. He's come out and said that he thinks The Left Banke is the greatest band ever, and that he would like to do some of our songs. So, we'll see. Maybe we can do something with them.

Sundazed reissued The Left Banke's first two LPs, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina and The Left Banke Too, earlier this year. Order the reissues on CD/LP and stream the albums at Sundazed's website or pick them up at Other Music in NYC where they are currently on prominent display.

The Littlefield show happens three days after The Ladybug Transistor finish their tour which hit Knitting Factory earlier this month. The band will go on a West Coast tour in September which includes MusicfestNW.

All tour dates and videos below...

The Left Banke - "Walk Away Renee" at Joe's Pub

The Left Banke - "Pretty Ballerina" at Joe's Pub

The Left Banke - "There's Gonna Be A Storm" at Joe's Pub

The Left Banke -- 2011 Tour Dates
July 20 Littlefield Brooklyn, NY w/ The Ladybug Transistor
August 20 The Bearsville Theater Woodstock, NJ

The Ladybug Transistor -- 2011 Tour Dates
July 15 Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
July 16 Raleigh, NC - Kings Barcade
July 17 Charlottesville, VA - The Southern
July 20, Brooklyn, NY - Littlefield w/ Left Banke
Sept 06 Los Angeles, CA - Satellite w/ Red Pony Clock
Sept 07 Santa Barbara, CA - Muddy Waters w/ Red Pony Clock
Sept 08 San Francisco, CA - the Hemlock Tavern w/ Red Pony Clock
Sept 09 Portland, OR - Musicfest NW
Sept 10 Seattle, WA - The Comet Tavern w/ Red Pony Clock



Comments (38)

This is not the Left Banke in any way. Ripoff.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:12 AM

"Sebastian somebody" is the funniest shit since Howard Stern called Coheed and Cambria "Conehead and Cabria or whatever his name is".

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:14 AM


Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:21 AM

It's time to find a new alternative to hummus, BrooklynVegan. Change the comment section for the better

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:22 AM

Old guy post
Fat guy post
Old guy post
Fat guy post
Old guy post
Fat guy post

well, guess we were due for an Old guy post again.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:27 AM

is that guy on the right garrett from texas is the reason?

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:33 AM

"This is not the Left Banke in any way. Ripoff."

Or it's the Left Banke in every way? What are you on, dumbass?

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:37 AM

It's like a Left Banke cover band that happens to feature a couple of the guys who played in the band but who had little to do with their appeal.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:45 AM

11:12: This is the Left Banke in many ways.

In fact live this is actually more the Left Bank than they were in the 1960's, as they never played live with strings or even played most of these songs. This is much more of a recreation of their albums and actually features half of the original band

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 11:59 AM

11:14: I don't remember the Howard bit. That happen recently?

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 12:02 PM

and Finn and Cameron provided harmonies back in the day and still do and very well actually. if you are a fan and only knew them from their recordings, like most probably, be thankful that they are performing and doing a respectful job. this is The Left Banke.

Posted by donn | July 13, 2011 12:03 PM

Tom Finn actually did a lot of the writing on the second album (which, in my opinion, was every bit as good as the first) and played multiple instruments on many of the tracks. He and George also sang lead on two songs each on that album and provided gorgeous harmonies. The band that I saw at Joe's Pub beautifully captured the spirit of those records, and it was one of the best shows I've seen in my life. And Mike Fornatale is the best frontman in music today. He's dynamite, I'd pay to see any group that he sings with. Looking forward to the show at Littlefield, and perhaps the one in Woodstock at well.

Posted by John P. | July 13, 2011 12:36 PM

I don't know who I hate more, hipsters or Boomers. Lots of Boomers posting on this thread though, so you all get my scorn now.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 12:49 PM

^ What clique would you identify with?

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 1:02 PM

Basically, there's only two types of people in the world, hipsters or boomers. Oh, and wait, BV commenters.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 1:09 PM

Why pay to see them when you can hear them for free at the dentist?

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 1:16 PM

LOL! touche 1:16! i like your style! thse guys look like they WORK at the sausage fest...amirite? right! right!
RIGHT! nitrous mafia!

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 1:19 PM

12:02: It was a few months ago, I think Howard was busting on Richard Christy for always talking about them.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 1:43 PM

This comments section is worse than YouTube. Are the Left Banke not beardy enough for you? Too tuneful? Go back to your godawful Animal Collective or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or whatever geeky bandwagon you've been told to jump on lately. Better yet go back to the small Midwestern towns that spawned you. You can always torrent your shitty "mumblecore" movies from there. None of the disposable shit that you goofballs come up with will be loved in 5 years, let alone 40. You don't deserve to live in the city as The Left Banke, dorks.

Posted by John P. | July 13, 2011 1:44 PM

Nah, dude. They suck.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 2:12 PM

Michael Brown was the Left Banke. This is basically like that Creedence ripoff that tours without John Fogerty.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 2:21 PM

It's like saying Peter Green was Fleetwood Mac. Get over it, this is really good, call it what you want.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 2:38 PM

^^ I've been saying that for years. That Peter Green was Fleetwood Mac ... not that other stuff you wrote, that was crazy talk.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 2:58 PM

1:43: Cool, thanks for the info. "Conehead" is pretty funny. "Coheave" would work also. Have no idea why Richard likes that band.

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 4:50 PM

The Fleetwood Mac I know is Stevie Nicks. What is this "other" Fleetwood Mac I'm seeing mentioned here.

Can you tell I hate Fleetwood Mac?

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 4:57 PM

"This comments section is worse than YouTube. Are the Left Banke not beardy enough for you? Too tuneful? Go back to your godawful Animal Collective or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or whatever geeky bandwagon you've been told to jump on lately. Better yet go back to the small Midwestern towns that spawned you. You can always torrent your shitty "mumblecore" movies from there. None of the disposable shit that you goofballs come up with will be loved in 5 years, let alone 40. You don't deserve to live in the city as The Left Banke, dorks."

By "mumblecore", you mean The Royal Tennenbaums? :)

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 5:01 PM

Michael Brown hasn't been the Left Banke since 1968

Posted by Anonymous | July 13, 2011 6:21 PM

Did these guys write "I've Got Something on My Mind", "Walk Away Renee", "Pretty Ballerina" or "She May Call You Up Tonight"? No?! Then they are NOT the Left Banke I or anyone else should care about!

It's not like the Zombies reunion where you actually have the dudes that wrote the songs still touring...

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2011 1:07 PM

you guys are idiots. watch the video for 'storm', they sound great.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2011 6:23 PM

this is a version of the Left Banke that is every bit as credible in the history of the band as any other live version has been.

Posted by Anonymous | July 15, 2011 12:57 PM

Tom Finn of The Left Banke here, I'd like to thank all the fans that support our reunion and say; We don't make any money doing this.
We hit the stage with ten (10) people including strings, so we actually lose money. We have invited both Steve Martin-Caro and Michael Brown to join us, but Michael hasn't performed live since 1967, he doesn't like being in a band or playing live. Steve Martin-Caro will be joining us in the near future, it's a matter of him relocating from Florida to New York City and having a steady income, he's 63 years old and the days of sleeping on the floor are over. When George and I decided to do this reunion we had every intention of having Steve join us. We figured that we would get a booking agency and a tour so that we could offer him someplace to stay and some money to live on. Right now we're very close to attaining this. It really hurts me to see mean spirited comments from people that have no idea of what George's and my part have been in The Left Banke, and how difficult it has been to bring our music to the public again. The next few months will determine if we'll continue or not. One comment I read (above) is so true. We never played our original songs on stage in the 60's, they were too complicated
to do live and we were only 17 and 18 years old. Oh sure we did Walk Away Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina" but that's all, the rest were just rock and roll tunes. Now however, we sound great, better than we ever did in the 60's and if you read the reviews and comments of people that were actually there, you'll see that we're doing justice to our songs.
Best. Tom Finn - founder of The Left Banke

Posted by Tom Finn | November 24, 2011 5:59 AM

Walk Away Renee is one of my favorite top ten hits of all time.
And Pretty Ballerina is right in there. Your band has had a lot of time in my head since the days of 'Boss Radio' with Cousin Brucie at 77WABC.

I read once that Steve D'Amico sang background vocals on some of your songs. Can you tell us which ones?

I saw Ricki Lee Jones perform WAR once and it was a wonderful moment. A truly great interpretation.

I know little of your group and its beginnings. You were here and gone. Performing today, well, I don't know. Sometimes it's best to have a song you can remember in its purest state. Mr. Matthew Brown, by not performing, you've kept its purity alive. and that's good enough for me. Sincerely, Bob Gavin/San Diego, CA

Posted by Bob Gavin | November 26, 2011 8:07 PM

Just read Tom Finns almost apologetic e-mail. I have played clubs for almost as long as Tom, and in the various arrangements of WAR I have played have always been warmly recieved by audiences of all ages. The songs have great melodic and harmonic structure either by 60's musical standards or todays.T hey can be covered by R and B or country bands,and they work. I saw a ragged Left Banke performance in NH in 1968 complete with Gibson hollowbody bass and Hohner clavinet, and much as I admired their music then,the treatment the songs get now in the above videos is impressive and an extremely close rendition of the original studio versions. I feel the Left Banke, along with the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble indeed defined the minor baroque rock movement of the sixties. The Left Banke had a unique sound. Had they better management, had they better studio production, had they been more mature when "success" knocked on their door they might have lasted longer and their career a bigger impact on American music instead of the abbreviated, dated and unfullfilled legacy they ended up with. But at the end of the day the Left Banke a catalogue of original music that is recognized by fans and fellow musicians as seminal and unique, not unlike the Buffalo Springfield,Gram Parsons or The Band. So Tom, hats off for having the guts to pony it our again after 40 plus years. And do it justice. As David Byrne said- "Same as it ever was.."

Posted by Pooh Sprague | December 24, 2011 12:30 AM

Tom and George, Hi, It's Chris the long haired guy who was your A2(audio systems tech.) when you played in Rockville, Md. You guys were great! Since then I've been playing all your songs from Youtube and I'm ordering all your albums. If I come to your August show in N.J would you put me and my Lady on your guest list? Please let me know. It would really be a treat. Thanks, Chris

Posted by Chris Geroulo | May 12, 2012 1:47 AM

Steve Martin Caro comes back and sings I will fly wherever to see that, what am amazing voice and quite a hottie in the day...

Posted by dd | August 11, 2012 11:03 AM

Based on radio play,one would likely assume just had that one good song. Well guess what... It's not!

Posted by Daniel Day Lewis | August 11, 2012 1:43 PM

I've always enjoyed the music of Left Banke. It's always great to see that the band is still performing though without some of the original members. I hope every one who hears them knows that they play from their hearts and continue to produce the sounds of the original members. Some groups from this era are fortunate to have members still living let alone getting up on stage to perform. Jim Yester from the Association performs Don't Walk Away Renee to this day on tour as a tribute to Left Banke. God Bless all you great musicians from the 60's who still get up on stage to play. I hope to see you perform in 2013.

Captain Ron

Posted by Captain Ron | January 8, 2013 10:16 AM

On March 18, 2015, it was announced that original lead singer Steve Martin Caro has rejoined The Left Banke. They are doing a co-headline tour in 2015 with Ian Lloyd of Stories. Michael Brown passed away a day after this announcement. We were very close to a full-on reunion which might have included Michael Brown, but sadly will never happen. RIP Michael Brown

Posted by Dave | March 30, 2015 3:12 AM

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