Monthly Archives: April 2011

Stew: Thank God I’m off Broadway

Heidi Rodewald and Stew. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Stew & Heidi returning to the Public Theater

Stew, the singer-songwriter who fronts The Negro Problem and wrote the hit musical Passing Strange with musical partner Heidi Rodewald, makes much of his testy relationship with Broadway.

In fact, he makes specific reference to it in one of the newer Negro Problem tunes. He repeats, with great emphasis, “thank God I’m off Broadway.”

Thorny relationship notwithstanding, Stew and Heidi return next season to the scene of the crime, the place where Passing Strange took root and flowered: New York City’s Public Theater. Their new show, titled The Total Bent, is set for its world premiere on Feb. 14, 2012.

It’s no surprise that The Total Bent is a story about a musician. (Full description after the jump.) After all, Passing Strange was that, although it had a biographical arc that the promised new show appears to lack.  (I wonder if they’ve actually started writing yet? They tend to be very deadline-motivated.)

The Strange pair are working with director Joanna Settle, who forged a deal with them to direct a show at The Public around the time Passing Strange was ending its Broadway run.

Stew and Heidi have been involved in Settle’s creative process for a couple of years, writing music for her Shakespeare on the Sound outdoor productions for the last two years.

Granted, a show at The Public doesn’t give Stew and Heidi a guaranteed ride on the Broadway Limited, but the odds are decent. We shall see.

Click through to the jump for details about the show.

Continue reading

Lincoln Center Out of Doors announces 2011 lineup

Get ready for another amazing summer of free music and dance in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center.

Bill Bragin, director of public programming, on Tuesday morning announced the Lincoln Center Out of Doors lineup. And it’s a doozy, featuring Billy Bragg, Mavis Staples, Lesley Gore, the Family Stone, Laurie Anderson, Tan Dun and much, much more.

Lincoln Center Out of Doors kicks off July 27 and runs through Aug. 14. It’s all free and worth checking out.

Click here for all the details.

The Feelies gear up to play

The Feelies at Maxwell's in Hoboken, N.J., in 2009. (Photo copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Now who could possibly know better what The Feelies are up to than the daughter of one of the band members? (Well, maybe her dad, but don’t tell her that!)

With that in mind, I reached out to the delightful Katie Demeski, daughter of the great New Jersey band’s drummer Stanley Demeski and his wife Janice. One of Katie’s blogs, How Strange, Innocence, is a leading source of reliable information about what the band is up to. It’s not the quantity so much as the quality of her information that makes the blog worth checking.

But a day or two ahead of the release of Here Before, the band’s first new album in 19 years, I checked in and realized she hadn’t blogged about The Feelies since last Sept. 8, when she reported the band was going into the studio. Granted, she’s in college and holding down a job, so it’s not like she has a ton of free time.

Luckily, when I messaged her, she was just about to do a quick update. It’s live on her blog now, with pretty much everything you need to know about their upcoming shows, plus some info about Speed the Plough, a band that’s part of The Feelies’ extended family. .

Suffice it to say The Feelies aren’t in any huge hurry to hit the road simultaneously with the release of their album. In fact, the band’s first public show (not counting a students-only gig this month at SUNY Purchase) comes at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn, on May 13, a full month after the album’s release! That show, not surprisingly, appears to be sold out.

Please go to Katie’s blog for more details, including some tantalizing information about an outdoor gig in Brooklyn. I don’t want to spoil it for you.

TV on the Radio set to rock Radio City Music Hall

TV on the Radio at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. (Photos copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

It’s hard to imagine that TV on the Radio will be able to rock Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday, April 13, the way they did the Electric Factory in Philadelphia a few days earlier.

TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe sings and plays keyboards.

The Brooklyn band kicked off its tour in support of its new album, Nine Types of Light, at the relatively intimate Philadelphia venue on Friday, April 8. The band kept the crowd entranced with a good mix of older and new songs — some that they had never performed in concert before.

The new material, which comes across as almost blueslike on the CD, really rocked out. This was TV on the Radio at its best.

The downside to seeing this band at Radio City Music Hall is that so few people

Kyp Malone didn't let a broken string hamper his guitar playing.

in the audience will get to see the players up close. That sort of personal, visual involvement with the band is an important part of the show. But even so, it’s certain TVOTR will deliver a solid set to the hometown crowd.

Click through to the jump to see the more TVOTR photos, the setlist and photos of the opening bands.

Continue reading