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Nick Lowe at City Winery

Article By Mike Perciaccante I Additional Article Contributions by Christine Connallon

Photographs By Christine Connallon

Nick Lowe  City Winery  New York, NY 


June 10, 2017 It's hard to believe but Nick Lowe is now 68 years of age. He has been recording and touring since the early '70s and now in the late 2010s, he shows no signs of slowing down. An English pub rocker who made his name in Power Pop and New Wave as both artist and producer, Lowe is best known for his songs "Cruel to Be Kind" (a US Top-40 single) and "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" (a Top-10 UK hit), as well as for his work with the Pub-Rock group, Brinsley Schwartz, as the bassist in both Rockpile (with Dave Edmunds, Terry Williams and Billy Bremner) and in Little Village (with John Hiatt, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner) and for his production work for Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Carlene Carter, The Pretenders, John Hiatt, The Dammed and others.


Lowe is a smooth singer who plays guitar, bass, piano and harmonica. During the course of his solo career, Lowe has recorded a string of well-reviewed solo albums for Columbia Records and Yep Roc Records. Though many consider it a hit Elvis Costello song, Lowe is actually the writer of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding."


On a pleasant Saturday evening, smack in the middle of a three night stint at New York's City Winery, the rail thin singer performed following a short set by opening act Kat Edmundson. Appearing alone, with just his guitar, Lowe delivered an amazing performance that touched on all aspects of his career. Lowe was in fine voice and while his vocals aren't as strong as they were during his rockin' days, the man still sounds fantastic. In this, an unplugged setting, Lowe let his voice convey so much--happiness, joy, humor and peace--with all the subtleties of each shining through. Known for his sly sense of the absurd [the man recorded an album called Jesus Of Cool (Columbia Records, 1978)], Lowe was at ease as he joked with the audience that he would "play some new material, some old stuff and of course the signature songs." He likened it to "going to see Billy Joel and not hearing him play 'We didn't Start The Fire.' We can't have that."


Lowe's performance was sparse and simple. He stood center stage and strummed his acoustic guitar and with little fan fare let his witty lyrics and voice tell the story. The vast majority of Lowe's songs are short. He stated, "The good thing about my songs is that they're all about 2 1/2 minutes long." Yes, they're short. Short but powerful. They tell stories. They get an audience's attention and they're brilliant. Lowe didn't provide a lot of banter, but when he did speak to the crowd he made it count, explaining the stories behind the songs into which he chose to provide a larger glimpse.


The mostly middle-aged audience were thrilled to be in attendance. During the 90-plus minute show Lowe delivered almost every song that these long-time fans could have hoped for. After opening with "People Change," highlights included: "Ragin' Eyes," "Has She Got a Friend?," "Without Love," "I Trained Her to Love Me," "I Live on a Battlefield," "Shelly My Love" (which he explained was a song that he thought would be a huge hit--it wasn't but it was recorded by Rod Stewart), "When I Write the Book" and the main set closer "I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock 'n' Roll)."


Never one to let the opportunity to have a laugh pass, Lowe also played a stellar version of "Cruel To Be Kind." While the audience was applauding his performance of, this, his biggest hit, Lowe stepped up to the mic and crooned, "we didn't start the fire..." A good laugh was had by all. He then proceeded to the encores and good naturedly explained that he wanted to play a newer song that had a bit of a Rockabilly vibe. "Tokyo Bay" would have fit in nicely on Rockpile's Seconds of Pleasure (Columbia Records, 1980) album or Lowe's Columbia Records solo offerings (1979), The Rose of England (1985) or Pinker and Prouder Than Previous (1988). Next up was "(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding." While Costello's version is angry and aggressive, the version that Lowe sang on this Saturday evening was infused with tenderness tinged with irony. Just prior to closing-out the evening, Lowe gave a little plug and announced that he had t-shirts and CDs for sale and that any audience member wanted to "stop by to say hello, he'd be there shortly."  The evening ended with a beautiful and poignant version of Costello's "Alison" which was followed by a standing ovation.


Setlist: People Change, Stoplight Roses, Long Limbed Girl, Ragin' Eyes, Has She Got a Friend?, 'Til the Real Thing Comes Along, Blue on Blue, Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, Without Love, Crying Inside, I Trained Her to Love Me, I Live on a Battlefield, Shelley My Love, Cruel to Be Kind, Sensitive Man, When I Write the Book, House for Sale, My Mary, I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock 'n' Roll) Encores: Tokyo Bay, (What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.




New Order Rocks Radio City Music Hall

4-13-17 By Christine Connallon Photos by Christine Connallon



A month after sharing the stage of Carnegie Hall with the legendary likes of Iggy Pop for the Tibet House Benefit Concert, iconic greats New Order kicked off a handful of US dates with a sold out show at Radio City Music Hall before heading west for some Coachella sets and other California stops.


Formed in Manchester in 1980 by Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Peter Hook, New Order's inception rose from the ashes of Joy Division following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. Gillian Gilbert was added to the band on keyboards and guitar. Reeling from the loss of their front man, the band needed a new identity and found it in New Order.


Becoming one of the most influential and critically acclaimed bands of the 80s, New Order combined the best of electronic, dance music and post-punk sensibilities to create a unique sound that took the world by storm. Through the years, amid incredible creativity, wild success and fascinating side projects, discord and drama prevailed. Hook left the band for good in 2007. Both Sumner and Hook have penned memoirs and bitterness remains.


The current lineup for New Order is the backbone of Sumner on vocals, guitar and synths, Morris on drums and percussion, Gilbert on keyboards and guitars plus Phil Cunningham on guitars and Tom Chapman on bass. Appearing on stage slightly after 9:00, the crowd which spanned decades in age, went wild as "All Day Long" played through the speakers as the band hit the stage. Enormous LED monitors dotted the stage behind the musicians, playing everything from song lyrics to videos and images.


A plethora of strobe lights, lasers, fog machines and disco ball effects brought the visual experience up to the tight sound of the band. The band rolled out the hits, including "Regret" and "Love Vigilantes" in the first three songs as well as "Your Silent Face," "Bizarre Love Triangle," "Blue Monday" and "Temptation."


Sumner and company were all business, with chatter to the crowd kept to a minimum so they could keep the music flowing, something much appreciated by the exuberant crowd. A nod to Joy Division enveloped the encores, with video footage of Curtis during "Decades" and ending the show with "Love Will Tear Us Apart" complete with the words "Joy Division Forever" emblazoned on the monitors. A fitting nod to the past and a gift to fans who felt the catharsis after a night full of dancing in the aisles.


Additional Article Contributions by Mike Perciaccante

SETLIST: New Order at Radio City Music Hall 4-13-17 All Day Long Played from Tape Singularity Regret Love Vigilantes Crystal Restless Superheated Your Silent Face Tutti Frutti Bizarre Love Triangle Waiting for the Sirens’ Call Plastic The Perfect Kiss True Faith Blue Monday Temptation Encore: Decades (Joy Division cover) Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover)





The Pretenders at Terminal 5

Article By Mike Perciaccante & Christine Connallon

Terminal 5  New York, NY  April 3, 2017


The Pretenders were formed in England, in March of 1978 and burst on the scene with its self-titled debut Sire Records album in 1980. The original band consisted of Chrissie Hynde (lead vocals, rhythm guitar); James Honeyman-Scott (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards); Pete Farndon (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Martin Chambers (drums, backing vocals, percussion). Over the years the band has experienced several personnel changes. Hynde has been the only constant member. Chambers, left the band for a period of time in the mid-'80s, but has been back manning the drum kit since 1993. The band's current lineup features Hynde; Chambers; James Walbourne (guitar/vocals); Nick Wilkinson (bass/vocals); Ricky Peterson (keyboards) and Eric Heywood (pedal steel). In 2005, the Pretenders were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame.


During the course of its career, the Pretenders have released numerous beloved tunes and hit singles including: "Stop Your Sobbing;" "Kid;" "Brass in Pocket" (which hit #1 in the U.K. and Australia and reached #14 in the U.S.); "Talk of the Town;" "Middle of the Road;" "Show Me;" "Precious;" "I'll Stand By You;" "Don't Get Me Wrong;" "Cuban Slide;" "Back on The Chain Gang" and many others. The band has released ten full-length studio albums; the mini-album Extended Play (Sire Records, 1981); a greatest hits collection, The Singles (Sire Records, 1987) and the live Isle of View (Warner Bros. Records, 1995). In 2005, Rhino Records released a four disc and DVD box set Pirate Radio 1979-2005 which spanned the group's entire career. Its most recent studio release, Alone was released, to positive reviews, by BMG Rights Management in 2016.


On a cool and somewhat rainy April 3, 2017, on a day off from its world tour with Stevie Nicks, the Pretenders touched down at New York City's Terminal 5 for a rare club date. The intimate venue was teeming with Baby Boomers, some older Gen X-ers and a few Millennials. All were excited to see the legendary group perform its hits.


First up was Lowlight. At precisely 8pm, Lowlight took the stage and delivered a rousing 25-minute set that had the somewhat jaded audience taking notice. The on-the-rise local band (it hails from New Jersey) delivered a short but strong set featuring "'86 Parisienne" and the title track from its independently released 2016 CD "Where Do We Go from Here.


Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders hit the stage at exactly 9pm. With fans crammed into the tight confines of the ballroom's floor in front of the stage and even more fans lining the balcony railings, Hynde (dressed in red Colonial army topcoat, a T-shirt that read "I'm Sexy & I Know It" and dark skin-tight jeans) led the band through a tight 15-song career-spanning set that leaned heavily on the hits and the "classics." Opening with two powerful songs from the Alone CD--the title track and "Gotta Wait," Hynde and company then took the cowd on a joyous trek through the band's and Hynde's back catalog. The set included: "Private Life," "Down the Wrong Way (from Hynde's 2014 Caroline International Records solo CD Stockholm), a beautiful version of "Hymn to Her," "Talk of the Town," "Back on the Chain Gang," "Stop Your Sobbing," "I'll Stand By You," "My City Was Gone" (which Hynde explained was written about the changes that she observed when she went back to her native city of Akron, Ohio), a pounding and driving version of "Mystery Achievement," "Middle of the Road" and "Brass in Pocket." Audience members who had worked their way to the front of the balcony overhang, gripped the rails and they danced, screeched, bopped and generally lost their minds. Each song sent an already delirious crowd further over the edge.


Following "Brass In Pocket," Hynde and the band thanked the, by now very sweaty crowd, for its support, took their individual bows and exited the stage. After a very short breather, the group returned to the stage and delivered a four song encore featuring "Let's Get Lost," "Thumbelina," "Up the Neck" and "Precious" that included John McEnroe on guitar jamming with the band.


Hynde is the consummate front-woman. She commanded the stage. All eyes were on her and her voice was amazing. Her attitude and "prove-it" demeanor brought the crowd back to the '80s. It sounded as fresh and strong as it did in the early days. During the performance it was hard to not take a moment and wonder why Hynde and her band don't get more accolades. Being elected to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame is a nice thing, but based on this performance and the iconic songs that its is known for, the Pretenders should be revered, honored, respected and valued in much the same way as Elvis Costello, R.E.M., the Smiths, U2 and the Clash.


 The Pretenders Setlist at Terminal 5 - April 3, 2017 1. Alone 2. Gotta Wait 3. Message of Love 4. Private Life 5. Down the Wrong Way (Chrissie Hynde solo song) 6. Hymn to Her 7. Talk of the Town 8. Back on the Chain Gang 9. Stop Your Sobbing (The Kinks cover) 10. I'll Stand by You 11. Don't Get Me Wrong 12. My City Was Gone 13. Mystery Achievement 14. Middle of the Road 15. Brass in Pocket Encore: 1. Let's Get Lost 2. Thumbelina 3. Up the Neck 4. Precious (John McEnroe guests as additional guitarist)  





Colin Hay at the Concert Hall at the New York Society for Ethical Culture

Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon 

New York, NY    March 18, 2017


Had Colin Hay not made his mark as a musician with Men At Work and as a solo performer, he'd surely have gained fame as a stand-up comedian. Hay has a wickedly funny sense of humor. This sense of the absurd was very much in evidence during his performance at the Concert Hall at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, Hay introduced one of his best loved songs with a story about Ringo Starr.


During the 2003 and 2008 All-Starr Band concert tours, Starr, he said, would tease him by saying, "Okay, Colin, time to play that song about that place that you're not from!" Hay would then launch into a spirited version of "Down Under" backed by the former Beatle and his band of celebrity musicians which during those tours included among others: Sheila E, Paul Carrack and John Waite, Billy Squier, Edgar Winter and Gary Wright.


Surprise! Colin Hay, who most people think of as the lead-singer of 1980's Australian hitmakers, Men At Work, isn't Australian. He is actually Scottish and was born in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland in June of 1953. His father owned a music store. He and his family moved to Australia in 1967.

Men at Work, the band, however, was born in Australia. In 1978 Hay met Ron Strykert in Sydney and soon after the group was formed featuring: guitarist/keyboardist Hay, guitarist/bassist Strykert, drummer Jerry Speiser, bassist John Rees and multi-instrumentalist Greg Ham. In 1981, Men At Work released its debut album Business as Usual on Columbia Records.

The band released two number 1 singles in the United States: "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Down Under." The Business As Usual number 1 on the Billboard charts. Both "Down Under" and the Business as Usual album were also number 1 in Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom.


The group's second album, Cargo (Columbia Records), was released in April 1983. It peaked at number 1 on the Australian charts, reached number 2 in New Zealand, and was a (for some) a disappointing number 3 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200. Cargo settled in at number 8 in the U.K. The single "Overkill" became an international Top 10 hit in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Norway and Australia. Two other singles from Cargo ("Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive" and "It's a Mistake") also reached the Top 40.

Hay and the other band members took a break for most of the early part of 1984. When Men At Work reunited, tensions were high. Rees and Speiser were essentially let go. Hay, Ham and Strykert worked with session players to craft Two Hearts (Columbia Records, 1985). Two Hearts sold well (but not as well as its predecessors, peaking at number 16 in Australia and at number 50 in the states.


In 1986, Hay disbanded Men At Work. Since that time, Hay has worked as a solo artist releasing several major label and smaller label solo albums. His debut solo offering Looking for Jack was released by Columbia Records in 1987. Wayfaring Sons was released in 1990 on MCA Records. Ariola Records released Peaks & Valleys in 1992. In 1994 and 1998, FMA records released and Transcendental Highway. Lazy Eye Records released Going Somewhere (2001) and Company of Strangers (2002). Compass Records released Man @ Work in 2003 and has been his musical home ever since, releasing Are You Looking At Me? (2007); 2009's American Sunshine; Gathering Sunshine: 2015's Next Year People and Fierce Mercy (2017).

In 2004, Hay contributed "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You" to the Garden State soundtrack album. The movie and the CD were big hits and Hay was exposed to a new audience. In addition to his music career, Hay has also acted appearing in a number of movies and television shows. His appearances on Scrubs became legendary as he also performed some of his songs. In 2006, Hay provided his voice for one of the characters in the animated film The Wild. In August of 2015, the documentary Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life premiered to positive reviews at the Melbourne International Film Festival.


Hay who calls the United States home, moved to Los Angeles in 1982. He eventually settled in the Topanga region of that city and though he has not become a U.S. citizen, has lived there for almost 35 years.

On a wet and cool Sunday evening in Mid-March, Hay brought his one-man show to the Concert Hall at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, an 800-seat venue that also serves as a non-denominational house of worship . Appearing at 20 minutes after 8pm, Hay strolled out onto the sparse stage wearing a sports jacket over his shirt and vest. He immediately took the jacket off and hung it from a stray microphone stand, surveyed the audience, waved hello, said, "Sorry about the late start. There is no intermission. We'll just have to have the intermission at the start. I have played in some shitholes. This surely isn't one of them. I wonder what unethical studies are?"


The musical portion of the show began with "Come Tumbling Down," the first track from Fierce Mercy. The audience participated in the repetitive call and response "come tumbling down" lyrical portion of the song. The next song "Scattered In The Sand" with its poignant

"Somewhere along the river bend
Maybe we will meet again
Things we thought were there at our command
Scattered in the sand, scattered in the sand"

opening verse, was preceded by a story Hay told about his mother. He said, "She decided that she would stick around for her birthday and mine and as she put it, 'then I'm done.' A couple of days before she died we were watching a movie that I happened to be in and she looked at me and said, 'we had a good time, didn't we son.'"


Hay, who has a wickedly funny sense of humor, has had quite the interesting life. Interspersing tales both poignant and humorous between his songs, Hay had the audience on the edges of its seats as he wove tales that waxed philosophic while never failing to see the lighter side of life. The man is a natural storyteller. He told the story of his life with a self-deprecating grin and smile that immediately made everyone on attendance feel as though he was an old friend. He told the crowd that he "wasn't a drinking man when I was young. I liked the weed. Didn't drink alcohol. Though I took to it later. That's another story. I wrote all those songs for Men At Work when I was stoned. I'll never know if I could have done that straight." When he switched guitars, and had to take a moment to tune-up, he quipped, "I used to have guys that handed me freshly tuned guitars. First thing that goes."


Hay obviously misses his late father. He father, he said, owned a music store in Scotland. "One day," he said his dad called him over and "played me a new single by this new band called, the Beatles. I told him I wanted to be a Beatle. My Dad said, 'No, you can't be a Beatle. There's already four of them.'" After that he told his father's favorite joke. It was a fantastic yarn that got a roar of belly laughs from the crowd. He then played the instrumental "Good Night Romeo."


Toward the end of the evening, Hay switched guitars and paused for a moment while he set-up a stand with the music and words to a song that he obviously didn't regularly perform. He then launched into a powerful version of "Johnny B. Goode" in tribute to Chuck Berry who had died earlier that day.


The performance was everything that the mostly middle-aged audience could have wanted and expected...and more. ), Hay played with a passion and a joy that only those who truly love what they do can offer. In addition to the legendary Men at Work singles "Down Under" and "Who Can It Be Now," the troubadour also played a fantastic version of his original band's "Overkill." His performance touched on all facets of his solo career, offering "Maggie" about his first love, the girl he left behind in Scotland when the family moved to Australia. About the trip, he explained that "we went on a boat. It took about 4 weeks to get there. We arrived on the 13th of June 1967. Australia is about as far as you can go before you get to then end and have to turn around to go back again."


Other highlights of the evening included: "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You," "A Thousand Million Reasons," "Secret Love," "Looking for Jack," "There's Water Over You," "I'm Going to Get You Stoned" and "Frozen Fields Of Snow."


As the night grew to a close Hay sang "Waiting For My Real Life to Begin," which many originally heard on an episode of Scrubs. The song has touched the lives of many and has also been featured in numerous other television shows including: Dawson's Creek, The Hills, The Cleaner, Judging Amy and Brothers & Sisters to name but a few. It's melancholy and sad, but also optimistic; its protagonist is sure that things are going to change and it that one "Mr. or Mrs. Right" will make it happen. In keeping with the theme of introspect, hope and optimism, Hay closed out the performance with "Next Year People" from the album of the same name.


Hay's performance was magical--one half was storytelling, the other half was pure acoustic singer-songwriter wit and charm. This performance was what VH1 had in mind when it created Storytellers. It's a shame that that network didn't do an episode featuring Colin Hay.


When last seen, a smiling Hay was in the lobby of the venue doing an impromptu meet and greet. The singer posed for pictures with his fans and signed CDs and LPs, while giving his fans who were lucky enough to stick around after the show ended another reason the remember this delightful and special evening.

Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.

Colin Hay's May 18, 2017 Setlist: Come Tumblin' Down; Scattered in the Sand; Goodnight Romeo; I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You; A Thousand Million Reasons; Secret Love; Maggie; Looking for Jack; There's Water Over You; Who Can It Be Now?; Down Under; I'm Going to Get You Stoned; Frozen Fields of Snow; Overkill; Johnny B. Goode; Waiting for My Real Life to Begin; Next Year People




Dropkick Murphys at the Paramount

Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon

Dropkick Murphys with the Interrupters and Blood Or Whiskey
The Paramount  Huntington, NY  March 12, 2017



Over 20 years ago, in Quincy, MA the founding members of the Dropkick Murphys decided to have a jam session in the basement of a barbership. What started out as an opportunity to have some fun and play a little music has, since 1996, evolved into a movement. The Dropkick Murphys have taken their love of traditional Irish music and combined it with an Hardcore Punk ethos to create their signature Celtic Punk sound.


Though there has been some turn-over among the members, the current band features original member Ken Casey on bass and lead vocals; vocalist Al Barr; Tim Brennan on guitar and accordion; James Lynch on guitar; Scruffy Wallace on bagpipes and tin whistle; drummer Matt Kelly and multi-instrumentalist Jeff DaRosa. During the course of its career the band has released eight studio albums and three live albums. It has toured relentlessly delivering passionate, lively, rousing and elecrtic performances to sold-out venues the world-over.


On a cool Sunday evening is mid-March the Dropkick Murphys and its rabid fanbase packed Huntington, NY's the Paramount. The raucous crowd was in rare form, having been primed by the town's celebration of St. Patrick's Day when it held its annual parade earlier that afternoon.


The evening began when Blood Or Whiskey, from Dublin, Ireland, took the stage and further excited the already amped audience with a short set of their own brand of Celtic Punk with an undertone of fun Ska Punk. Following Blood Or Whiskey, the Interrupters stormed the stage. The Los Angeles-based Ska Punk band is comprised of the brothers Bivona–Kevin (vocals/guitar) and twins Justin (bass) and Jesse (drums)--and lead vocalist Aimee Interrupter (Aimee Allen). Its high-powered set featured "A Friend Like Me," the anthemic "By My Side," "Take Back The Power" (a song made famous by its use in a T-Mobile commercial), "White Noise," "This Is The New Sound" as well as two standout tracks, "She Got Arrested" and "Jenny Drinks," from 2016's Hellcat/Epitaph Records release Say It Out Loud.

After a short intermission the Dropkick Murphys appeared on the stage and led the faithful through a powerful and tight set that included "The Boys Are Back" and "Prisoner's Song" from 2013's Signed and Sealed in Blood (Born & Bred Records), the ballad "Forever," a rocking version "Out of Our Heads," the catchy "Going Out in Style" from the album of the same name (Born & Bred Records, 2011) the traditional Irish drinking song "The Irish Rover" an excellent cover of the Cars' "Just What I Needed" and "Worker's Song." Other highlights included the set-opener "The Lonesome Boatman," "4-15-13" "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "First Class Loser" all from the band's latest CD, Eleven Short Stories Of Pain & Glory (Born & Bred Records, 2017).


Following "Prisoner's Song" the band addressed the crowd, offering a cheerful, "Good evening Long Island. It's good to be back in civilization for Christ's sake." While the band played, the audience worked itself into a frenzy. The sold-out crowd in the packed-to-the-gills venue was drenched in beer, decked-out in green and rocking to the beat. From the first chord, they sang along with the band. The timid and less adventurous and while fist pumping or played air guitar. The better lubricated and more devil-may-care members of the crowd surfed the mosh-pit. Some even slam-danced.


When the main set ended, the audience was drenched in a mixture of sweat and alcohol. The band which had spent the evening feeding off the energy from the crowd delivered an amazing encore set that included "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya" from The Meanest of Times (Born & Bred, 2007), the fan favorite "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" and "Until the Next Time."


In keeping with the "feeding off the fans" theme of the evening, the real highlight was the band ending the show by inviting all the female audience members onto the stage. On this evening, the Paramount was the home to a huge blow-out St. Patrick's Day party and its hosts were the seven members of the South Boston bad boys known as the Dropkick Murphys.

Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.




David Duchovny at the Paramount

Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon
The Paramount Huntington, NY  February 23, 2017




While it is true that David Duchovny is best known as an actor and for his roles as FBI Agent Fox Mulder on the FOX television series The X-Files and as writer Hank Moody on the Showtime television series Californication, Duchovny is much more than that. He is a renaissance man. In addition to acting, he is an accomplished writer, producer, director, novelist, and singer-songwriter.


During the past two years, Duchovny has released two books through the Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint: 2015's Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale, a zany madcap adventure whose hero is a bovine, and Bucky F*cking Dent: A Novel centering on the bonds between fathers and sons and the fierce rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox. He also released his first album, Hell or Highwater (Thinksay, 2015). Duchovny's debut CD is a compelling mixture of folk rock, pop, alternative rock and country.


On a pleasant and unusually warm night in late February, Duchovny and his band touched down at Huntington, NY's The Paramount for a highly anticipated evening of entertainment with a surprise. The evening's performance represented one of only eleven stops on the short tour. The venue was filled with fans with various agendas. Some were fans of his music. Some, as evidenced by their X-Files t-shirts were fans of his work on the sci-fi TV series. And finally, some were there out of curiosity.


The evening began with a short solo warm-up set by Colin Lee (who is also the producer of Duchovny's CD and a member of his band) that featured well-written and arranged originals as well as a stripped-down cover of Bruce Springsteen’s "Dancing In the Dark." Next up was Brooklyn, NY's The Elevator Party, a four piece group whose short, sturdy and very funky performance set the tone for the rest of the evening.


After a short intermission, Duchovny took the stage. He was greeted with whistles, cheers and rousing applause. He appeared relaxed in his jeans, Grateful Dead t-shirt and sports jacket. Following the opening tune, "Let It Rain," Duchovny addressed the crowd. He simply said, "What's up Long Island. Let's call this home tonight." His set included nice renditons of "Stars," 3000," "Passenger" and "The Things." from his album. He also offered up rocking versions of "Someone Else's Girl" and "If Less is More, More is Less." The highlight of the main set was the powerful cover of David Bowie's "Stay." Another musical highlight was the new song "Roman Coin."However, the evening's biggest highlight occurred when Duchovny jumped off the stage and greeted his public. During this audience excursion, shocked but happy audience members got to shake the man's hand and dance with him while his band played on. The main set ended with strong versions of Hell or Highwater's "Unsaid, Undone" and "When The Time Comes."


It was on the encores that Duchovny really shined. The singer along with his band members returned wearing "Pussy Hats," the pink knitted beanies with cat ears made popular at the January 21, 2017 Women's March On Washington following Donald Trump's Presidential Inauguration. Duchovny and the band treated the audience to two "classic" covers. The first was a spot-on rendition of the Band's "The Weight." the last was an even more ambitious cover--Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane." The crowd ate it up. What better way to end a concert than to have the audience sing along with the band. The tried and true extremely well-known covers accomplished that and more. Not only did Duchovny's diehard fans join in the celebration, but those who questioned his musical chops couldn't help but join in the musical celebration.


Duchovny's performance was well-suited to his material. Had the lead singer of his band not been the famous actor, the evening would have been classified as a good show featuring an up-and-coming group. That's not a bad thing. That's pretty damn good. Any new group would be thrilled with that categorization. Because it was David Duchovny, some audience member began the evening with questions and before hearing a note were prepared to be harsh critics. Thankfully, the performance quieted the naysayers. At times, though the music took a backseat to Duchovny's star power. Many audience members spent most of the evening trying to get closer to the stage to take cellphone photos and or video of Duchovny. In addition, many girls in the audience spent a good portion of the night shrieking and staring at the performer. It wasn't as insane and intense as the Beatles' initial U.S. performances, but a similar, though slightly less out-of-hand case could be made.

Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.



"Shear Madness" at the Davenport Theatre

Article By Mike Perciaccante

Davenport Theatre - January 30, 2017




Shear Madness, the interactive murder mystery is the longest running play in American theater history. It has been running in Washington, DC and other cities like San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston, Kansas City, Chicago and Philadelphia since Jimmy Carter was in the White House--that's over 40 years. It has been running in New York, first at New World Stages, and now at the Davenport Theatre since 2015.


Set in the Shear Madness hair and beauty salon (in this case on New York City's West 45th Street), the play features Tony Whitcomb, the over-the-top gay salon owner, his big-haired, gum-popping stylist, Barbara DeMarco and a number of customers who come and go. At each performance, the play which was adapted from a 1963 play by German avant-garde playwright Paul Pörtner, gives its audience the opportunity to solve the killing of the hair salon's unseen but certainly heard and spoken-about upstairs tenant--the famous concert pianist Isabel Czerny. After her body is discovered, the scripted farce turns into a comical whodunnit as the audience is given the opportunity to question and query the cast and, finally, vote for the character that they feel is the murderer. The outcome can vary with each performance.


After the murder is discovered, the police detectives (who were also customers), Nick O'Brien (Patrick Noonan) and his partner, Mikey Thomas (Jonathan Randell Silver) begin to investigate the crime and question (with the help of the audience) the suspects. The suspects are: Tony (Jordan Ahnquist), who had a tumultuous relationship with Isabel; Barbara (Priscilla Flowers), who it is discovered was to inherit Isabel's estate; Mrs. Shubert (Lisa McMillan), a client of the salon who just happens to be a wealthy socialite with something to hide; and Eddie Lawrence (Gil Brady), a well-dressed and shady customer who has bought antiques from Isabel and is secretly involved with Barbara.


The play features plenty of goofy, silly and topical jokes. Some of the best involved poking fun at President Trump, the Kardashians, the Astoria section of Queens, Mayor DiBlasio, the hapless New York Jets, as well as Perez and Paris Hilton (proving that the play is a living breathing organism that adapts to the current day as well as the state of the country and city). And...some of the humor harkens back to the days of vaudeville--when referring to both luggage and Mrs. Shubert as "old bags," a suspect claiming to know his "constipational rights" and referring to another suspect as a "genital liar."


After the murder is discovered at the end of the first act, O'Brien takes over. He asks the audience, the witnesses, for help in solving the crime, stating that he'll spend the intermission at the rear of the theater and "if you folks want, please come over and pass along any information you might want to share." He also tells the crowd that when he returns to the stage, they will have a chance to ask questions and help him and Mikey reconstruct the day's events.


When the second act begins, the house lights go up and O'Brien takes center stage. Along with Mikey, he begins questioning the suspects. The audience members are encouraged to ask questions, help O'Brien and Mikey with filling-in the gaps, the order of the day's events and statements made that may or may not have been made by the suspects. As the investigation unfolds, it becomes more and more apparent that each suspect had something to gain from Isabel's demise. At the end of the questioning, the audience votes and names the killer.


The play is a laugh-'til-your-sides-hurt experience. It is fun-for-the-whole-family entertainment. Nothing said or done is overly risqué and although there are a number of double entendre jokes, the majority will go right over the younger audience members' heads.


The performances are top-notch. Each and every member of the cast has off-the-chart improvisational skills. This is evident when they respond to the audience's claims and allegations without a pause. Noonan, as O'Brien, shows his chops as an accomplished comedian. He gets laughs with words and his physical movements and reactions. He also holds the entire production together as he interacts with the audience, skillfully controlling the insanity and unpredictability of the crowd. But it is Ahnquist as Tony who steals the show. He is an excellent actor, playing his part with flamboyance and style while ad-libbing his way through the performance. These unscripted quips ad to the fun and never cause the show to stray from its purpose. He is very capable and adept at going off-book to make his fellow cast members laugh at the absurdity of the situation.


Shear Madness is an amazing way spend an afternoon or evening. The two-hour performance will delight murder mystery fans and comedy fans alike. Fans of the former will laugh hysterically while trying to figure out who is the murderer. Fans of the latter will try to figure out who is the murder while laughing hysterically.


The Davenport Theatre is located at 345 West 45th Street in New York City. Shear Madness has eight performances weekly--on Monday at 7pm, Thursday at 2pm & 7pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm and Sunday at 3pm & 7:30pm. Tickets, which range from $89.50 to $125, are available through Telecharge either online at telecharge.com or by phone (212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250) or at the Davenport Theatre box office. Group sales purchases can be made at shearmadness.com

Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.




Gogol Bordello at The Space at Westbury

Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon

Gogol Bordello  The Space at Westbury   Westbury, NY  December 29, 2016



Gogol Bordello is a collective of mad-men. The band members can and will do just about anything to enhance the group's performance. A Gogol Bordello show is a happening. It is as much a spectacle as it is about music. That is not to say that this group of eight are not world-class musicians. They are. They are also showmen of the highest order. At any given show at virtually anytime, frontman, Eugene Hütz is likely to pop open a bottle of wine throw bouquets of flowers to audience members via a huge slingshot, twist himself around the legs and/or torso of another band member to play the accordion, or take it upon himself to lead and teach a course in samba dancing. In a previous life Hütz may very well have been the master of ceremonies at a circus. It is almost as if her is now reliving that life as the ringmaster of a circus of very musical gypsies.


As one might expect, Gogol Bordello is not your average, run-of-the-mill, typical band. The Gypsy Punk was formed in 1999 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is known for theatrical stage shows and almost unending tours. The Eastern European-influenced music is loud and joyous. The band members act as though they learned their trade at the Theatre of the Absurd. But it is Gogol Bordello's performance, as a whole, that gets its devoted audience bopping, dancing and singing along.

Currently comprised of Hütz (on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and percussion), Sergey Ryabtsev (on violin and backing vocals), Pamela Racine (on percussion, backing vocals, dance and general performance), bassist Thomas "Tommy T" Gobena, Pedro Erazo (percussionist and MC), drummer Oliver Charles, guitarist Boris Pelekh and Pasha Newmer (on accordion and backing vocals), the band gave it's all on a cool Thursday night at Westbury, NY's The Space. Opening with "Art Of Life," and immediately got into character delivering a high-energy musical and performance art show.


The evening's performance was highlighted by powerful versions of: "Immigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)" from the 2010 American Recordings CD Trans-Continental Hustle, which featured the audience m embers chanting along with Hütz; "I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again from Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike (Side One Dummy Records, 2005) "We Rise Again;" "60 Revolutions;" "Start Wearing Purple" "Think Locally, Fuck Globally;" "My Companjera" and "Alcohol."


The show, for those who had never seen the band was definitely a revelation. For the faithful, it was business as usual. Either way, crowd members were mesmerized and taken by the energy. They sweated, danced and lost themselves in the swirling rhythms as Hütz, sang, danced, strummed his guitar, drank from his wine bottle, cajoled and interacted with them as he led the band through the foot-stomping set. As the evening progressed, he made it his business to ensure that each and every band member was given the opportunity to showcase his or her chops. Though it appeared to be almost haphazard and Hütz sometimes seems to be a madman, the show ran like a well-oiled machine. The choreography was perfect, even when there was a bit of improvisation, Hütz managed to bring everyone--band members and fanatical fans--back on point.

At the end of the performance, the band members came to the center of the stage, joined hands and bowed--much like the cast of a Broadway production. As the crowd ambled out into the lobby, many stopped by the band's merchandise table where it became apparent that the Gogol Bordello machine was also comprised of marketing geniuses. Fans were seen purchasing CDs (both recently released and those released early in the band's career) vinyl versions of these albums, posters, caps and any number of different T-shirts.


A Gogol Bordello performance is a happening. It is a must-see. For those who couldn't, for whatever reason, attend the this show or another night on this tour, do not miss them next time they appear in your area.

Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.




Peter Murphy at City Winery

Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon

Peter Murphy  City Winery  New York, NY  December 11, 2016



"I left England a long time ago,” quipped Murphy, referring to Brexit. "But you fuckers voted for Trump? Are you fucking crazy?” Peter Murphy, the Godfather of Goth, may have been joking, but there was an edge to this statement uttered during the early portion of his performance at New York City's City Winery on a cold Sunday in early December.


The icon doesn't suffer fools lightly. He has been known to halt his performance when audience members behave badly. He has been known to storm off the stage when the staff at a venue behave in a way that he doesn't approve. It isn't clear whether Murphy was more disillusioned by the American voters or the President-elect. Either way, he expressed his shock and dissatisfaction.


Murphy is a musical icon. He is chameleon-like, shedding his creative skin regularly to reveal another layer in his musical oeuvre. Each time he shows the public a deeper layer it allows his fans an opportunity to explore along the latest flavor of his creativity. During the course of his career, the 59-year-old singer has worn many hats--the vocalist of Bauhaus, solo artist, collaborator with Mick Karn in Dali's Car, actor in 2010's The Twilight Saga: The Eclipse, portraying "Blown Away Guy" in the Maxell audio cassette ads in the UK and so many other endeavors.


In early 2016, Murphy, Emilio Zef China on bass and violin and John Andrews on guitar brought The Stripped Tour to the United States. The performances featured the three musicians playing re-imagined and straightforward takes on his solo and Bauhaus catalog along with a few well-chosen covers. Earlier this year, in April, Murphy played two packed shows at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. Those performances were thrilling as the singer gave the legions of fans who attended an Bauhaus and Murphy solo experience in an intimate setting that is sure to still resonate deep within their souls. In the Fall of 2016, the singer and his long-time sidemen took the show on the road, per se, playing in Europe.


Now, in December, as the tour winds down to the final handful of shows, Murphy and his cohorts have returned to the States touching down in Manhattan, at City Winery, for a one-night, two show (early and late) stand. The concert opened with a delicate and otherworldly version of "Cascade" from the 1995 Atlantic records album of the same name. Murphy's set featured fan favorites and select nuggets covering the whole of Murphy's career. Highlights of the early part of the first show included "Indigo Eyes," "Marlene Dietrich’s Favourite Poem" and "Never Fall Out" and the David Bowie cover/tribute "The Belway Brothers." Following the Bowie song, Murphy solemnly said. "We send our love and prayers to Iman who lives in the city somewhere. This is a grieving period for all of us."


Murphy, sounded fantastic, spent the majority of the evening in a playful mood, interacting with audience members, quipping about the venue's wonderful cuisine, but pointing out the pleasures one could achieve by eating at home, and treating the crowd-members as though each was an old friend. As with any Peter Murphy performance, there was a theatrical air to the show. The tall, lean and lanky singer preened, struck poses and stalked the stage making certain that he spent a portion of the 80 minute set standing, sitting or visiting every inch of the platform. And, as always, his performance was so high-energy, it left the audience drained as though they had performed each songs along with Murphy, China and Andrews.


The show continued with "Strange Kind of Love," the Bauhaus tunes "King Volcano" and "Kingdom’s Coming" as well as a powerful version of "Never Fall Out" during which Murphy banged out the backbeat on a tom-tom. During each song he could be seen surveying the room and looking directly at many audience members. Murphy missed nothing--even if the action was outside the venue. At one point during the performance, the singer waved to the windows, offering, "There’s a lady watching from the street." He then pointed toward the windows facing Varick Street, chuckled and stated, "That song was for you. And it is free of charge. Fuck these prices!"


The main set ended with "Gaslit." As China and Andrews continued to play, Murphy waved good-bye and exited the stage. Next to leave was China and finally Andrews departed. After only a few seconds, the crowd had worked itself into a frenzy. When Murphy returned, he sat on a still center stage with his acoustic guitar. A fan screamed out a request for "All We Ever Wanted." Murphy surprised both the crowd and his backing musicians when he answered, "You got it!" The performance of the Bauhaus song was simple, beautiful and haunting. Another Bauhaus classic, "Hollow Hills" closed out the early show. Just before he left the stage, waved his good-byes and offered a simple, "I fucking love you. I'm done. See ya. You've had enough!"


The second show featured much of the same from songs to Murphy's quips. The only differences were the inclusion of "All Night Long," the Bauhaus song "Silent Hedges," (in lieu of "Never Fall Out"), the set closer, a fantastic cover of Dead Can Dance's "Severence" and a tour de force encore of the iconic "Bela Lugosi's Dead."


Though it can be said that Murphy hasn't changed since he came upon the scene in the late '70s, that isn't entirely true. He has evolved. He is much the same--delivering the goods--thrilling, moody, sometimes gloomy, melodic, mystical prose over hauntingly beautiful music. His fans, in much the same way, haven't changed either. They have been and still are drawn to this romantic, musical and expressive fusion like bees to honey. On this night during both performances, he delighted his devoted fans.

Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon. Early show 1. Cascade 2. Indigo Eyes 3. Marlene Dietrich's Favourite Poem 4. The Bewlay Brothers (David Bowie cover) 5. A Strange Kind of Love 6. King Volcano (Bauhaus song) 7. Kingdom's Coming (Bauhaus song) 8. Never Fall Out 9. Gaslit Encores: 10. All We Ever Wanted (Bauhaus song) 11. Hollow Hills (Bauhaus song) Late show 1. Cascade 2. All Night Long 3. Indigo Eyes 4. Marlene Dietrich's Favourite Poem 5. The Bewlay Brothers (David Bowie cover) 6. A Strange Kind of Love 7. King Volcano (Bauhaus song) 8. Kingdom's Coming (Bauhaus song) 9. Silent Hedges (Bauhaus song) 10. Gaslit 11. Severance (Dead Can Dance cover) Encore: 12. Bela Lugosi's Dead (Bauhaus song)




Fitz & The Tantrums with special guest Barns Courtney at the Paramount Theater Huntington, NY

Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon



November 16, 2016 Following an impressive opening set by English singer-songwriter Barns Courtney who charmed the crowd with his 2015 debut single "Fire" (from the Lake Shore Records Burnt soundtrack) as well as "Glitter & Gold" and other songs from 2016's Hands EP (Virgin Records), the multi-generational audience at Huntington, NY's The Paramount, was treated to an awe-inspiring, dance-til-you-drop fifteen song main set of high octane songs by the Los Angeles-based neo-pop/funk/soul group Fitz and the Tantrums. High energy lead singers Michael Fitzpatrick (Fitz) and Noelle Scaggs danced and bopped throughout the entire performance as the laser light show and swirling music got the audience singing, swinging and dancing along. Backed by the four talented musicians who supplied a tight, funky Motown-inspired sax/keyboard/organ backbeat (Jeremy Ruzumna on keyboards, James King on saxophone and flute, bassist Joseph Karnes and drummer John Wicks), Fitz and Scaggs operated as though they were fitness instructors at a dancerobics class. The two singers flirted, danced, gyrated, bumped and grinded throughout the evening's performance -- all the while trading call and response vocals. Fitz and his cohorts initiated the evening's festivities with "Get Right Back," from the band's self-titled 2016 CD (Elektra Records) followed by a bouncy indie-rock flavored "Spark," from More Than Just a DreamSongs for a Break Up, Vol. 1 (Dangerbird Records, 2009) as well as its debut full-length CD Pickin' Up The Pieces (Dangerbird Records, 2010). The show continued as the band blasted its way through "Out of My League" (during which the audience sang along with Fitz), 'Run It," "Break The Walls," "Breakin' the Chains of Love," "Walking Target," the catchy "Fools Gold," "Roll Up," "Do What You Want," the Motown influenced "MoneyGrabber" and "Burn It Down." The hour-and-a-half set ended with an amazing performance of the up-tempo and rhythmic "L.O.V." that featured and extended jam outro. The encores began with an infectious version of the very catchy "Handclap." Fitz, Scaggs and the band then closed out the evening with an excellent version of the '60s influenced "6AM" and a stellar performance of the fun and lively "The Walker" and its signature whistling break. The sweat-drenched audience members were still buzzing about the amazing show as they crowded around the merchandise stand and eventually exited the venue into the cool November evening and toward New York Avenue, the parking lots and their cars.

Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon. Fitz & The Tantrums Set List 1. Get Ri

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