Thursday, November 15, 2012

What’s NOT Cancelled This Saturday: Anna Dagmar, Anothony da Costa and Caitlin Canty at First Acoustics

Red Molly at First Acoustics most recent show, the Saturday before superstorm Sandy arrived
Superstorm Hurricane Sandy changed around plans for a lot of people and it’s got to be acknowledged that for those most affected things won’t be the same again and such recoveries as may still be in store could be a long way off.

One way in which things changed for many, although much less drastically, is that music performances touted by Noticing New York as alternatives for those eschewing the Ratner/Prokhorov-owned “Barclays” Center were cancelled.

Coco Wilde, who runs First Acoustics cancelled the Saturday, November 3, 2012 evening performances of Suzie Vinnick appearing that night with Friction Farm.  (In terms of time frame, that Saturday night was the evening preceding the marathon that the Bloomberg administration belatedly cancelled.)  So, although I had promised this as one Saturday night’ alternative to Barclays fare it didn’t happen.  I don’t know if it was any more irksome for those determined to go out and entertain themselves in that week following the storm that although Coco cancelled the First Acoustics night, the Barclays Center was open for a basketball game that night.  During the recovery fray, the city and MTA mobilized special bus service in support of the event at the 18,000 seat arena.  If you remember, the subways weren’t coming to Brooklyn.

Coco says that Suzie Vinnick and Friction Farm will now perform in next year's 2013/2014 season.  She says those with tickets for the cancelled night can use them for the next season performance, use them instead for (or bring friends to) another concert this season, or she will refund them.

Another event that didn’t happen was Shepley Metcalf’s Thursday, November 1st performance at the Metropolitan Room singing the songs of Laura Nyro.  Lower Manhattan was still without electricity at that point and that meant the Metropolitan Room on 22nd Street just west of the Flatiron building was dark and closed.  And it would have been quite difficult for us Brooklynites to get to anyway without subways and no special supporting bus service for the establishment supplied by the city and the MTA.

Shepley Metcalf at the Metropolitan Room on the 10th
I can report, however, that nine days later with power restored to lower Manhattan together with much of the subway service linking Brooklyn to Manhattan, Shepley did make her second scheduled performance at the Metropolitan Room.  The place was packed.

I can also advise you that this Saturday’s First Accoutics evening featuring Anna Dagmar, Anothony da Costa and Caitlin Canty is going ahead as planned.

Metropolitan Room coming attraction for Pia Zadora
First, to bring you up to date, Shepley’s performance was ultimately wonderful and whereas in looking forward to it I wrote about Barbra Streisand’s period of covering Laura Nyro songs, in her show Shepley mentioned that too and unveiled a curious little surprise in that regard: She invited everyone in the audience for a visit downstairs following her performance so that she could prove she had pictures of a young Streisand attending her father’s wedding to her step-mother.  (Noticing New York has been paying special attention to Streisand recently given the questionable lapses associated with her performance at the “Barclays” Center so this extra coincidental connection to our cousin Shepley is interesting.)

I couldn’t help noticing, while at the Metropolitan Room, that they had posters up for upcoming performances by Pia Zadora.  I don’t know what others in the world who don’t have the associations with Ms. Zadora that I do think of her.  There’s an ample variety of reasons people are apt to think a lot about Ms. Zadora, starting with the fact that she famously starred as the Martian Princess in the 1964 film  “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.”  My associations involve a fun-to-tell story (but I won’t tell it here) story that involves my good friend from high school, Randy Morrison going back to when Pia was performing in “Henry, Sweet Henry,” the Broadway musical adaption of the “The World of Henry Orient” with Don Ameche.  Pia does a wonderful version of “I Thought About You,” one of our favorite songs, a song that claimed our attention mightily when it ws performed as a duet by Cynthia Holiday and Jim Malloy, backed by the Bob Cunningham trio, at First Acoustics.

You may want to know that the most recently held First Acoustics performance, held the Saturday before that odd Sunday the subways were closed in anticipation of the pending storm, went spectacularly.  The women of Red Molly, called back repeatedly by applause, found themselves confessing that they had run out of encores, and had to improvise.  Penultimately, they sang our entrancing favorite, an a capella version of Susan Werner's "May I Suggest."  And they finished up- I recall the suggestion came form the audience-  with "Fever."

Abbie Gardner after Red Molly's performance
Afterwards, I was able to confirm by talking to Red Molly’s Abbie Gardner that her, separate-from-the-group “My Craziest Dream” performance was going to involve backup support from her musician, song-writing father.  I don’t know if it actually happened since that event was scheduled for November 3rd in Dobbs Ferry and Westchester, as we know, was also exceedingly challenged by power problems.  It’s a performance I someday want to catch.

I knew I was going to love seeing Red Molly at First Acoustics a second time and since I last saw them they have been very busy writing dulcetly superb new songs.  The extraordinary pleasure I hadn’t experienced before was seeing the energetic Union Street Preservation Society.  Their music went straight into my preferred playlist afterward and I told Coco she has to plan on having them back again, sooner rather than later.  I told her she had to because, as extraordinarily good as they were that Saturday night, I argued we were only getting 80% of what they were capable of: They are regularly a five member (sometimes more!) band and one of their number had taken off that night because his wife just had a new baby.  If they are this joyously good at 80%, I said, think what they will do at 100%.

Union Street Preservation Society at First Acoustics the Saturday before the subways were shut down
It turns out that Union Street Preservation Society has a background performing at Freddy's, the local bar and music venue that was razed along with a lot else to make way for the "Barclays" Center.  They performed there not long before it was closed and they have now been performing at the new, reincarnated Freddy's farther out in Brooklyn the third Friday of every month.  Union Street Preservation Society guitarist David Leiberman also recommends an upcoming integrated performance they will be doing with Andy Statmen and his trio at Barbès in Red Hook, January 17, 2013.  Red Hook was hard hit by the storm and Barbès soon hosted benefit concerts for storm relief.

I think that Mr. Leiberman, who was front and center much of that First Acoustics night, was taken, when I talked with him after USPS's performance, with my idea that any musicians deigning to perform at the highly subsidized "Barclays" Center should kick back their subsidy so that we can reduce by maybe $20 per, the cost of tickets to real local music entertainment in Brooklyn.

What to expect this Saturday night?  You could just let yourself be in for a surprise. .  That’s a fabulous way to approach the Saturday nights of life. . .

I have not yet heard any of the three acts performing Saturday night but the beauty of the internet is such that its connectivity makes it so easy to peek and guess about what the future might hold.

Here's video of Anna Dagmar . . . would you say there’s a classically yearning relentlessness to the rhythms?  Like an old Irish or English folk song?  Coco assures me that on Saturday Dagmar, a pianist, IS bringing a classical quartet to back her up.

And here is a video for Anothony da Costa . . .  Quiet, exact,  rolling guitar picks and wistful remorse?

Lastly, not leastly, we have video of a Caitlin Canty ballad, one of four videos up her website. . . This is slow and pretty; she also has video of faster music.

Hope to see you at the concert in Brooklyn Heights Saturday.  More information about First Acoustics and the rest of this season’s performances is available and linked to in this article: Wednesday, September 19, 2012, Alternatives To The Scandalously Spawned, Scandalously Named Ratner/Prokhorov “Barclays” Center: Protest & Locally Nurtured Concerts.

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