Daily Archives: July 8, 2013

Saying goodbye to Maxwell’s: Share your ideas for the final show

Patrons enter Maxwell's at 11th and Washington streets in Hoboken, N.J., on July 5, 2013, (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Patrons enter Maxwell’s at 11th and Washington streets in Hoboken, N.J., on July 5, 2013, (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We’ve been thinking a lot about closing night at Maxwell’s, the well-loved Hoboken, N.J., music club that hosts its last show on July 31.

There’s a selfish motive, in part, of course: How can WE get to be there. Surely with all the bands and fans that have passed through the Washington Street club over the last 35 years there will be far, far more people trying to get in than the small (capacity 200) venue can possibly hold. With closing a bit over three weeks away, Todd Abramson, the club’s booker and co-owner, is working on a plan.

Todd Abramson with the New York Post's Mary Huhn in Austin in 2003.

Todd Abramson with the New York Post’s Mary Huhn at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, in 2003.

But, as he told us by phone this morning, “there’s no news here” just yet. He definitely has some ideas about ways to make it accessible to more people and to level the playing field for those who want to be there. But he says he still has a lot to work out.

What we know is that “a,” the first band to play Maxwell’s, is supposed to reunite for the farewell show. And The Bongos, the much better-known band that grew out of “a,” will also be on the bill. But after that, just about everything is pure speculation.

Since things are in flux, you have a chance to weigh in with ideas of your own.

How should the final show be handled? Should it run all day. Should it be free on a first-come, first-served basis, a normal Maxwell’s price ($15-$25 from TicketFly) or should it be premium priced, a la Neil Young at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., where’s the best seats are tabbed at $285? (Then again, when speaking of Maxwell’s, there are no SEATS, really.)

What about timing? July 31 is a weekday. Should the show start at 9 and go all night? Or should it start in the early afternoon and go on and on?

Who else — band, solo artist, influential individual or fan — be a part of the show in some way?

Don’t just tell us who or what. Tell us why — make a case for your idea. There should be a good reason for every eulogy and every participant in the farewell proceedings.

The sky’s the limit. Share you ideas in the comments section. Get a conversation going. Have fun thinking of the wildest ways possible to pay tribute to Maxwell’s incredible legacy.

Meanwhile, The Bongos promise details of some sort about the show on their Facebook page soon. And keep an eye on Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? We’ll be sure to let you know of any developments as soon as we can dig them up.

Go see Buke and Gase perform upstate

Buke and Gase opening for Mission of Burma at The Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, on Jan 29, 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Buke and Gase opening for Mission of Burma at The Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, on Jan 29, 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

See that rhyme in the headline? When was the last time you saw that on Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

Unless memory fails, that would be never.

But that’s no excuse for not checking out Buke and Gase when they perform Thursday, July 11, in The Spiegeltent on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson.

It’s a lovely shlep from New York City, straight up the Hudson River. You can even get there by train aboard Amtrak to the Rhinecliff station, but check the schedules closely. You won’t be able to get a train home to NYC until the next morning, as the last southbound trip departs at 5:06 p.m.

Buke and Gase are coming to The Spiegeltent at Bard College.

Buke and Gase are coming to The Spiegeltent at Bard College.

Buke and Gase (formerly Buke and Gass, but changed because Gass was too easily misinterpreted), is a duo originally from NYC who started playing their jury-rigged instruments (the Buke is an electrified six-string baritone ukulele and the gass/gase is a guitar/bass hybrid) and writing raucous songs that sound like nothing any other indie-rock band is doing — and in a good, infectious way.

If you’re a regular reader, you already know about B&G’s Arone Dyer (onetime bicycle mechanic who plays the Buke and foot percussion) and Aron Sanchez (who handles the Gase and more foot percussion). We’ve written about them a number of  times before. Read the previous posts here, here, here and here.

They’re still doing it, but they got a place upstate in Hudson awhile back, likely making this Bard gig a really easy commute for them.

Arcade Fire’s violinist Sarah Neufeld is joining them for this show.

The Bard Spiegeltent is a pretty cool space. If you don’t know what a one is, think of an old-fashioned carousel building with no carousel inside. Very festive, chill and laid-back.

INFO: 8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 11, 2013. The Spiegeltent, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. $20 online. Click here for more info and tickets.

Os Mutantes played a Maxwell’s farewell show five days after appearing at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival

The inimitable Sérgio Dias is the founding member who has kept Os Mutantes alive all these years. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The inimitable Sérgio Dias is the founding member who has kept Os Mutantes alive all these years. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We’re definitely old enough to have experienced Brazilian rock band Os Mutantes in its first incarnation in the mid-Sixties.

But timing isn’t really everything.

We grew up in a household where listening to rock ‘n roll (aka The Devil’s Music) was, shall we say, not encouraged. And we lived in a community outside of Philadelphia where conformity ruled. And being 11, or so when Os Mutantes started making music, we were at a tender age where that type of pressure was pretty effective in keeping us in line.

Sérgio Dias plays sitar at Maxwell's, Hoboken, N.J., on June 28, 2013.

Sérgio Dias shows off his sitar skills.

On top of everything else, Brazil might as well have been the other side of the moon.

So, all in all, it’s no surprise that we didn’t know anything at all about Os Mutantes — founded by brothers Arnaldo Baptista on bass, keyboards and vocals and Sérgio Dias Baptista on guitar and vocals — until the psychedelic band started its Second Act when it reunited in 2006.

We’re sorry we missed the band’s First Act, but we were hardly alone among American music fans. And we’re thrilled we didn’t miss the Second Act.

Singer Esmeria Bulgari with Sérgio Dias of Os Mutantes at Maxwell's. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Singer Esmeria Bulgari with Sérgio Dias of Os Mutantes at Maxwell’s.

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The Feelies’ final Fourth of July at Maxwell’s

Maxwell's in the dim light on Independence Day 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Maxwell’s in the dim light on Independence Day 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

It’s always a tough, emotional thing to get to Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J.,  for The Feelies‘ annual Fourth of July show. You’re fighting for access to the Mile Square City with thousands trying to get to the waterfront to watch the Macy’s fireworks show in Manhattan.

But the Fourth of July 2013 was particularly tough, even with showtime pushed back to the throwback hour of 10 p.m. (Remember when rock shows didn’t really get started until nighttime had really settled in?)

It was the very last Independence Day that The Feelies would be playing the venerated Maxwell’s music club.

For fans and newbies alike, the night — the first of the band’s three-day holiday stand — was a touching one.

Glenn Mercer, Bill Million and Brenda Sauter onstage at Maxwell's on July 4.

Glenn Mercer, Bill Million and Brenda Sauter onstage at Maxwell’s on July 4.

For their part, members of the band — Glenn Mercer on guitar, Bill Million on guitar, Brenda Sauter on bass, Stan Demeski on drums and Dave Weckerman on percussion — didn’t get maudlin and sentimental. They just did what they always do, playing a solid, well-planned set of crowd favorites, mixing their own turns — the older, nervous one and the new, slightly more melodic numbers — with a bunch of rock covers that they’ve added to their bag of tricks over the years.

They brought up a longtime friend and associate, John Baumgartner (of The Trypes and Speed the Plough, and also involved in a graphics business with sister Janice Demeski), to join them on “Bluer Skies” early in the evening.

They ended with three encores, featuring a surprise guest in the first set: Glenn Morrow, a longtime partner in Hoboken’s Bar/None Records and a member of Hoboken heyday bands like The Individuals, Rage to Live, and A, the band that later morphed, without Morrow, into The Bongos. Morrow joined The Feelies for The Monkees hit “I’m a Believer” and the Feelies favorite Beatles track, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey,” to cement the simian theme.

There were no surprises. But that’s not what Feelies fans want at the band’s shows. They want the satisfaction of a rock-solid set of favorites old and new. And that’s what they get.

And that’s a better tribute to the soon-to-be-gone club than a bucket of salty tears and maudlin speeches could ever be.

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