Entries tagged with: Steven Reker
Jherek Bischoff & some of his guests
It wasn't the marathon that opened the inaugural Ecstatic Music Fest in 2011, but this year's opening show on Saturday (2/4) had some of that same collaborative energy, focusing on the compositions and arrangements of Jherek Bischoff, a musician known for his work primarily with The Dead Science, Parenthetical Girls and The Degenerate Art Ensemble. For the show, billed as a preview of Bischoff's forthcoming CD from Brassland ("composed"), the composer got help from the Wordless Music Orchestra and nine guest vocalists.
After a too-brief instrumental opening, David Byrne came out to sing a swaying Afro-Cuban-tinged piece. In what would be a recurring theme, Bischoff's composition wasn't entirely different than the type of song Byrne might sing at one of his own shows. Next up, Charlie Looker intoned through "The Secret Life of Machines" (which you can find an instrumental version of at WNYC) in a style that'd be a close fit to his Extra Life material. Mirah's voice sounded as warm and honeyed as always. Parenthetical Girls's Zac Pennington sang a duet with Sam Mickens, both of them playing up their own strengths, Pennington the animated, Wildean dandy and Mickens the snazzily dressed crooner. The other singers, Craig Wedren from Shudder to Think, Carla Bozulich of Evangelista, and Steven Reker and Jen Goma, were idiosyncratic in their own ways, and Bischoff's string-laden avant-pop tunes bent to their strengths. Deerhoof's Greg Saunier stood out with a few good improvisatory fills but mostly hung back in the ensemble. For his part, Bischoff played ukelele, guitar, bass and sang a song. His young cousin came out to hit a gong at the end of one tune.
The second part of the program, only five songs long, consisted of Bischoff's arrangements of the singers' own material. Craig Wedren, Zac Pennington, Mirah and Carla Bozulich all returned. (In particular, Mirah's vibrant Latin number, "The Country of the Future," was great). For the finale, David Byrne premiered a new song, which he sang with Reker. It took a few verses, but eventually I worked out that "The Fat Man's Comin'" was a song about Santa Claus. As a closer, it was a small gesture where I would have preferred a grand finale, but it seemed to fit with Bischoff's humble collaborator-focused ambitions.
While in town, Mirah plays tonight (Monday) at Glasslands, where she'll be accompanied by cellist Lori Goldston and percussionist Geo Wyeth (Mirah's Facebook says they'll be "performing songs seldom heard from [her] repertoire"). The Ecstatic series continues with three more shows this week. The full schedule is here.
More pictures from Saturday's show at Merkin Concert Hall,below...
words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Annie Reichert
Sam Mickens @ Union Pool April 18th, 2010
Dear citizens of America & the Earth,Falsetto-voiced singer Sam Mickens (of the Dead Science) released the above challenge two days after his 'Ecstatic Showband and Revue' played a Sunday, April 18th show at Union Pool in Brooklyn. More pictures from that show are posted below.
On this day, April 20th, 2010, I officially issue a challenge, on behalf of myself and my Ecstatic Showband, to Ms. Sharon Jones & her Dap-Kings, to a battle of the bands to determine who is truly the greatest working soul band in Brooklyn. Song for song and musician for musician, I believe this should prove a burning and exhaustive contest.
The issuance of this challenge bears no spirit of disrespect or denigration towards Ms. Jones and her work; in fact my feelings are full of admiration and esteem. It does however bear the assertion that cultural vanguards must be replaced, and that only through an environment of healthy and virile competition can the illest work be produced. We will meet Ms. Jones in the venue of her choosing and with any preconditions she wishes to impose. If Ms. Jones fails to respond to this challenge I will accept the title of Heavyweight Soul Champion of Brooklyn by default.
Thanks and best regards,
The Estatic Showband's band's individual members (which can vary at any given show) regularly play around town themselves. Drummer Mike Pride is particularly prolific, with almost nightly gigs. Tonight (4/22) he has two: an early show with Jonathan Moritz Trio at Zebulon, and a late gig with bass/keyboardist Jamie Saft as noise-improv duo Kalashnikov at Southpaw with Shaker jazz group Shakers n Bakers and Ben Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra.
At Union Pool, the group also featured guest vocalists that included Keesha Mishawn, Katie Eastburn (of Young People), Charlie Looker (of Extra Life who, along with the Luyas, open for Owen Pallett at Webster Hall) and Steven Reker. See some of them fronting the band in the pictures below.
As for Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, the band was just stuck in Germany because of a volcano, and their upcoming summer tour include two nights at the Apollo Theater on April 30th and May 1st. They were supposed to appear on Letterman this week, but that isn't happening because of the volcano (rescheduled for May 4th).
More Union Pool pictures and older videos are below...