words & photos by Chris La Putt

Alex Battles

Alex Battles and the Whiskey Rebellion, Eli "Paperboy" Reed & the True Loves, and The Sadies were the free entertainment at the second day of the Big Apple BBQ in Madison Square Park on Sunday (June 8, 2008). Yes, the main focus at the "block party" was food, but we were there for the music.

Alex Battles and the Whiskey Rebellion (pictured above) played first, and they showed Manhattan some impressive Brooklyn country music with a tinge of humor. They were clever enough to write a song about bbq and tea in just a day, and ballsy enough to pull it off on stage. Sadly, this was my first time seeing this band, but it will definitely be not the last. Check them out on Friday as they record a live show at Hill Country.

Alex Battles

Alex Battles

Alex Battles

Alex Battles

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Eli "Paperboy" Reed proved to be a modern-day Elvis Presley (with blue suede shoes to boot). This Boston-based artist definitely has the voice that howls soul/funk revival. Fans of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings should take note....

Eli Paperboy Reed

Eli Paperboy Reed

Eli Paperboy Reed

Eli Paperboy Reed

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The Sadies with the Good Brothers were impressive as usual, churning out 20+ songs; however, not by choice. As the Sadies finished about 10+ songs and were prepared to leave the stage, lead singer Dallas Good was stopped by someone from the BBQ fest and told they had to play some additional songs. Nonchalantly, Good comes back to the mic and says, "I guess we have to sing 10 more songs for you" which they did. The crowd didn't mind at all. Seeing Travis Good play the fiddle like a maniac is always enjoyable.....

The Sadies

The Sadies

The Sadies

The Sadies

The Sadies

The Sadies

The Sadies

The Sadies

The Sadies

The exact free show lineup for this was...

Saturday, June 7
1:00PM - 2:15PM THE DEFIBULATORS
2:45PM - 4:00PM THE SWEET DIVINES
4:30PM - 5:45PM THE WILD MAGNOLIAS

Sunday, June 8
1:00PM - 2:15PM ALEX BATTLES & THE WHISKEY REBELLION
2:45PM - 4:00PM ELI "PAPER BOY" REED & THE TRUE LOVES
4:30PM - 5:45PM THE SADIES

More free shows in Madison Square Park this summer are listed HERE.