Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Alternatives As You Shun The LIBOR Scandal Center: Shepley Metcalf Singing Laura Nyro At Metropolitan Room & Reminder on Red Molly

Planning on shunning the Barclays (LIBOR scandal) Ratner/Prokhorov arena?  Here are some alternatives if you are interested in good music.

This Saturday Evening: Hot Ticket of Red Molly and Union Preservation Society

Let me put this reminder first since I couldn’t fit all the bounty in this post’s title: Red Molly and the Union Preservation Society are performing at First Acoustics this Saturday, October 27, 2012, at 8:00 PM.  I suggest both getting tickets in advance and arriving early as this is an especially hot ticket.  (First Unitarian Congregation at the corner of Pierrepont and Monroe Streets in Brooklyn Heights)
Red Molly at First Acoustics Concert March 19, 2011
I I rank the perfect blending harmonies of Red Molly extraordinarily high as an experience, having seen them at a previous First Acoustics evening.

I wrote about them and songs they perform like May I Suggest” (by Susan Warner) together with more about the offerings this First Acoustics season here: Wednesday, September 19, 2012, Alternatives To The Scandalously Spawned, Scandalously Named Ratner/Prokhorov “Barclays” Center: Protest & Locally Nurtured Concerts.

Red Molly's Abbie Gardner Above with Pat Pictor: They sing a duet Wictor wrote,  “A Little Love Is Gonna Do
I also have my eye on Red Molly’s Abbie Gardner.  In the above post I wrote about her “My Craziest Dream” album of American Songbook music, with her father providing some backup and performing his own “Staten Island” composition.  I see that Gardner, in her own right, has another Unitarian-hosted “swing dance” coffee house appearance (“Common Ground” Community Concerts- Get it?) with the “The Craziest Dream Band” up in Dobbs Ferry, New York coming up on November 3rd.  (South Presbyterian Church, 343 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry NY)  I wonder what pleasures are in store and if her father will be there backing her up?

The multi-membered Union Preservation Society opening Saturday night for Red Molly sound like they can provide some really raucous fun but they also have a sweet, simple Shaker song demonstrating their wares on their website.
First Acoustics Concert: Buskin & Batteau and Freebo

Freebo at First Acoustics earlier this month with Buskin and Batteau joining him on stage
The previous First Acoustics concert, the beginning of the month was  Buskin & Batteau and Freebo.  Freebo is fantastic at relating to the audience and I liked the fact that he also ventured to talk politics- politics I took a shine to.  Still when I talked with him during the intermission he said he was quite conscious about how the core to his work is a message of inclusion.

Marshall in background backing up Buskin & Batteau
Buskin & Batteau go way back with a solid reputation so I don’t need to burnish it more. . .

. . .  I found myself fascinated watching percussionist Marshall Rosenberg backing them up, mostly playing the drums with his hands, occasionally brushes.  What was most fascinating is not what Marshall played- it was what he didn’t play.  He had all sorts of minimal effects and was prone to use them minimally.  I talked with him afterward and he said he was incredibly mindful of the importance of the “spaces” in the music.  Watching him involved almost Hitchcockian suspense: You could see Marshall’s eyebrow rise. . . you could feel something was coming. . . whenever it came it would be perfect . . . what would the perfectly-picked punctuation be?. . . in his intent look you knew he knew exactly . .  and then Gloriosky!  Something so minimal and just right!  

Shepley Metcalf Performing Laura Nyro Songs at Metropolitan Room

Cousin Shepley Metcalf will be back again at the Metropolitan Room, this time performing the songs of Laura Nyro.   She’ll be there Thursday, Nov. 1st at 7 pm and Saturday, Nov.10th at 9:30 pm.   When Shepley was last at the Metropolitan Room she was interpreting the songs of Fran Landesman (which you can read about here)

Nyro is an influential  '60s songwriter performer, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who died in 1997.  Shepley’s usual  repertoire is American Songbook so this is considered something of a departure for her though Nyro “fuses elements of soul, folk, jazz and Broadway tradition” to create the Nyro sound that has a lot in common with the songs of the Songbook.  In her last semi-detour from the Songbook Shepley called attention to Fran Landesman as a songwriter.  Landesman wrote one jazz standard,  “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most,” considered to be part of the Songbook.  Her other songs unveiled relatively recently with music composed by Simon Wallace provide numerous candidates for addition.  (Her songs started as poems.)

Nyro songs included in Shepley’s new “Can You Surry?” set include “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Eli's Coming,” “And When I Die,” and “Billy's Blues,”Emmie,” “Luckie,” and “I Never Meant to Hurt You.”

Since the subject of Barbra Streisand may be on the minds of people shunning the “Barclay’s” arena environment, we might note that Streisand, a Nyro fan, covered Nyro’s above mentioned, “I Never Meant to Hurt You.”  Streisand also famously covered Laura Nyro’s “Stoney End,” even giving her twelfth album the name of that song which album also has Nyro’s “Time and Love” and “Hands Off the Man (Flim Flam Man)”.

Below is a video teaser for Shepley's upcoming Nyro song gig at the Metropolitan Room.

Tickets are now ready for purchase from the Metropolitan Room by calling ( 212-206-0440) or visiting the web.

Shunning "Barclays"

So those are some of the current bounty of alternative choices for those participating in my suggested seven year shunning of the so-called “Barclays” Center.  (If you need to catch up: I am suggesting the Ratner/Prokhorov arena be shunned and that both patrons and performers eschew going there for at least seven years- or until the arena goes bankrupt so that ownership gets taken back and given to the public.)

You don't have to shun the "Barclays" Center: You can also enjoy the above performances as I suggest even if you don’t participate in the shunning.  (And I can’t swear that any of the performers mentioned and promoted here have taken an oath to avoid the arena- though maybe they will.)

If you are one of those deciding to patronize the arena and decide to also come to any of these performances you will probably realize that, with them, you are getting far better value and a much more intimate venue.  If nothing else the water is vastly cheaper than $4.50 water bottles they are selling at the arena.  The water at First Acoustics, like the water at Freddy’s Bar (a local music venue the arena displaced through eminent domain abuse) is free.  I haven’t checked but New York water is likely also free at the Metropolitan Room.

The tickets at the Barclays (and all the other associated charges- whether or not you expect them) are expensive, expensive enough so that you may feel fooled and foolish paying them. . .  But the thing to remember is that with all the public subsidy that Ratner and Prokhorov are pocketing and the harm they have caused the community, every ticket the arena sells actually costs a lot more.

That is why I am asking that Barbra Streisand write a $700,000 check to compensate the public for all the subsides that went to Bruce Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov for her two concerts at the arena.  We may applaud Ms. Streisand for her political support of President Obama but what would really do the most to  make the world a better place would be meaningful acts on everyone’s part, including Ms. Streisand’s,  to forestall a world where as Mr. Obama tells us the “economy grows slower” because “a few folks are doing very well at the top [like Ratner and Prokhorov] and everybody else is getting squeezed. [Like the residents of the neighborhood evicted by them and the taxpayers subsidizing them] ”

The fact of the matter is that not everyone has to shun the arena in order for it to fail: Lots of people can go to it, lots of performers can decide to perform there, putting subsidy in the Ratner/Prokhorov pockets.  But profits are made at the margin.  All it takes is for a reasonable percentage of possible patrons and quality performers to shun the arena for what it is and represents, and it can go down in a well-deserved spiral of decline.

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