Speed the Plough joins Bar/None’s July 24 farewell to Maxwell’s

Speed the Plough at Maxwell's on Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Speed the Plough at Maxwell’s on Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

STP is part of a promised ‘cavalcade of mystery stars’ joining Headliners Freedy Johnston and Band, James Mastro’s Health & Happiness Show and Chris Stamey with Anton Fier and Gene Holder

Myrna and the Hangar Boys (Human Switchboard’s Myrna Marcarian, Jared Michael Nickerson, Dave Schramm and Ron Metz) join lineup

WFMU to broadcast live from the lounge

Even before Maxwell’s closing was announced, Speed the Plough was gearing up get active again. The band, which can trace its lineage back to The Feelies through The Trypes, became active in 2009 after a long hiatus, but has been picking up steam lately in anticipation of a new album — a compilation of some of its long-out-of-print music from the early days plus six brand-new tracks.

But now they’re preparing to say goodbye to the venerated Hoboken club with one last gig there, on Thursday, July 24, as part of a Bar/None record label lineup.

Speed the Plough is a newcomer to Hoboken’s Bar/None record label (East Side Digital was their label in the day). But Bar/None is about to release the new retrospective package, The Plough & The Stars, in September. The band describes the package, which doesn’t appear to be available yet for pre-order, like this:

The package features a 17-song CD that includes songs from their four long out-of-print albums recorded for Coyote Records and East Side Digital between 1988 and 1995. Anchoring the release will be a split 12″ LP, which includes six brand new songs, grouped together under the moniker Tag Sale, backed by five live songs from WFMU’s Live Music Faucet recorded in 1993. Also included are a 16-page booklet chock full of photos and reminiscences, and a download card with access to all the music mentioned, 10 additional live songs from WFMU, NPR’s Mountain Stage, the Knitting Factory and Maxwell’s, and an interactive version of the booklet, with more music and videos.

Sounds pretty good to me.

1039553_10151434538851218_260303420_oThe latest Speed the Plough lineup is being unveiled a week before the Maxwell’s closer in a show at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, N.J. The show is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, with East of Venus (whose lineup at last check was Michael Carlucci, best known from the band Winter Hours, Glenn Mercer and Stan Demeski from The Feelies and Rob Norris from The Bongos) and Lianne Smith also on the bill. Feel free to come hungry as well as thirsty, because they serve decent Mexican grub and have a full bar. Click or tap here (http://tktwb.tw/13jiei5) for more information and tickets.

In addition to core members John and Toni (Paruta) Baumgartner, the latest lineup includes Cindi Merklee on bass and vocals, Ed Seifert on guitar, John Demeski on drums and Mike Baumgartner on guitar. The list of players who have rotated through the lineup over the years includes: Marc Francia, Stan Demeski, Rich Barnes, Brenda Sauter and more.

Freedy Johnston, left, with James Mastro at Mastro's Guitar Bar store in Hoboken on June 12, 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Freedy Johnston, left, with James Mastro at Mastro’s Guitar Bar store in Hoboken on June 12, 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

As for the rest of next Thursday’s lineup for a show being billed as “Folks & Fondue” (I can only imagine what madness that signals!) I have to admit Freedy Johnston in particular as one of my Maxwell’s touchstone. I saw him there, I saw him at the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan — I even moved heaven and earth to see him in the cramped confines of James Mastro‘s Guitar Bar in Hoboken. And when I wasn’t seeing him onstage, I was spotting him in the audience at other artists’ shows.

It’ll be great to see Mastro’s countrified Health & Happiness show, which called it quits in 2001, back in action.

And of course Chris Stamey with Anton Fier and Gene Holder will give us a good reminder of The dB’s, of which Stamey and Holder are a part, as well as The Feelies, given Fier’s early involvement with that band before going on to The Golden Palominos and other ventures.

Evan Davies of WFMU says on Facebook that he’ll be doing his show live from Maxwell’s the night of the Bar/None show:

Hey folks, just wanted to let this group know that I’ll be broadcasting my WFMU radio show live from Maxwell’s as part of the Bar/None festivities next Wednesday night from 9pm – midnight. I’ll be set up in the front lounge, and I hope to be talking to some of the artists playing the show and maybe even have some folks play a song or two on the air semi-acoustic style. (Note that the live music in the back will NOT be broadcast.)

Come by and say hello if you’ll be at the show!

And Myrna and the Hangar Boys (Myrna Marcarian, Jared Michael Nickerson, Dave Schramm and Ron Metz) also have used Facebook to reveal their involvement.

Bar/None says tickets are going fast. While not all of the farewell shows at Maxwell’s are selling out (Jon Langford‘s set and Steve Wynn & the Miracle 2, for instance, were well attended but not packed to the rafters, for instance), I wouldn’t take a chance on this one. With this lineup and the promise of other special guests, I’m guessing this will be one that sells out well before showtime.

Tickets for the show on Thursday, July 24, are $15 in advance, and available on TicketFly by clicking or tapping here (http://ticketf.ly/15lVxsw). Tickets are also available in person at Tunes, 225 Washington St., Hoboken.


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