watch Craig Finn, Patrick Stickles & more play David Berman DCBday tribute @ Union Pool (pics, video)
Saturday, January 4 should’ve been David Cloud Berman’s 53rd birthday. To pay tribute to the late Silver Jews and Purple Mountains founder, many of his friends, bandmates, and fans got together to celebrate his life, music and wonderful words at Brooklyn’s Union Pool for, DCBday, which included matinee and evening tribute shows that benefitted Musicares and the NYC chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The night featured four ad-hoc groups (Birds of Virginia, Peers in the Bunklight, The Blue Arrangements, The Wild Kindness) that included former Silver Jews (New Radiant Storm King’s Matt Hunter, Pavement’s Steve West), Purple Mountains (Cassandra Jenkins, Kyle Forrester) and his UVA band Ectoslavia (Kylie Wright, Rob Chamberlain, Gate Pratt), plus Boston band Hallelujah the Hills. Nashville-based comedian Chris Crofton was the night’s MC, and artist Steve Keene, who has done album covers for Pavement, Apples in Stereo and more, made hundreds of paintings — portraits of Silver Jews albums covers, Berman portraits, more — for the occasion which were displayed (and on sale) all over Union Pool’s covered patio.
At the evening performance there were a couple special guest singers. During The Blue Arrangements’ set, Craig Finn came out for two thematically linked songs — Silver Jews songs; “Dallas” and “Texas” — and Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles came out for Silver Jews’ “People” and Purple Mountains’ honky tonk number “Maybe I’m the Only One for Me.” Stickles was especially entertaining, bringing real showmanship and humor, pulling out Berman’s poetry collection, Actual Air, to read while the band jammed out.
The real stars of the night, however, were Berman’s songs and classics like “Trains Across the Sea,” “Random Rules,” “Punks in the Beerlight,” “Snow is Falling in Manhattan,” “The Wild Kindness,” “How to Rent a Room,” “Smith and Jones Forever” had the room singing along loudly. Most of the groups told stories about Berman, like Gate Pratt — who was in Ectoslavia and organized the evening — who talked about how “Honk if You’re Lonely” came out of a game between himself and David to come up with a bumper sticker first, then write a song around it. Nearly everyone who told stories talked about Berman’s kind and encouraging nature. It was a lovely, fun evening.
You can check out pictures from the evening DCBday show in the gallery above and watch video of Craig Finn and Patrick Stickles’ songs, more video and the lineups for the bands, below.
DCBDAY @ UNION POOL
THE BLUE ARRANGEMENTS
Matt Hunter (Silver Jews), Kyle Forester (Purple Mountains), Gate Pratt (Ectoslavia), Dan Catalano (Edukators), Hampus Ohland-Frolund, Cassandra Jenkins (Purple Mountains), Dan Lead
THE WILD KINDNESS
Steve West (Silver Jews / Pavement / War Comet), John Lindaman (Teen Beat), Jeff Grosfeld (Pro Rock S), Wavley M Groves III, Arden Grosfeld
HALLELUJAH THE HILLS
Ryan Walsh, David Michael Curry, Ryan Connelly, Brian Rutledge, Joseph Marret, Nicholas Ward
PEERS IN THE BUNKLIGHT
Kylie Wright (Ectoslavia), Rob Chamberlin (Sugartime / Ectoslavia), Sean Harris, Elissa Janelle Velveteen
BIRDS OF VIRGINIA
David Copenhafer, Bill Jock, Evan Smith, Jeremy Duval
photos by Amanda Hatfield