The Washington Squares: Tom Goodkind, Lauren Agnelli, and Bruce Jay Paskow, who died in 1994.
Lach, the mononymic artist at the center of the New York City Antifolk scene in the East Village for many years, is unable to tour and in financial straits because he’s caring for his family full time while his wife undergoes treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
While Lach long ago moved to Scotland, he’s still well remembered at the Sidewalk Café, at 94 Avenue A (212-473-7373), , where his club, The Fort, held weekly Antihoot open mic sessions.
Those sessions helped inspire and launch a host of folk-based artists, including Rockland County’s own Jamie Block (who, like Lach, chose to perform in his early days under a single name: Block), Regina Spektor, Hamell on Trial, the Moldy Peaches, Nellie McKay, Jeffrey Lewis, Diane Cluck, and Michelle Shocked, and Block.
Some of those artists are coming together Thursday night, Feb. 9, in a benefit show to raise money for Lach and his family in Edinburgh.
Lach’s misfortune has presented an opportunity for a reunion of one of the most beloved neo-folk acts of the late 20th century: The Washington Squares, a Greenwich Village vocal trio that adopted the look of the Beat generation and sang timeless songs of protest and hope with panache and sincerity in the 1980s and 1990s.
Admission is FREE, but there will be plenty of opportunity to kick some cash into the basket for Lach and his family.
The benefit show is Night 3 of the four-night Winter Antifolk Fest 2017, which runs from Tuesday through Friday.
While, Michelle Shocked, who’s slated to perform at 9:30, is arguably the biggest name on the bill, the Squares reunion is the biggest news to come out in advance of the event.
The neo-Beatnik folk revival Washington Squares started in 1883, about the same time as Antifolk was beginning to coalesce. The Squares played countless concerts in clubs and at festivals until calling it quits on July 28, 1994, after a gig at the legendary Bottom Line in Greenwich Village. The band simply couldn’t keep going after co-founder Bruce Jay Paskow died earlier that year.
The Washington Squares Facebook page has been active lately, apparently in anticipation of a new album of vintage tracks released before Christmas.
But there haven’t been shows — at least not as The Washington Squares, though Agnelli and Goodkind did a one-off in TriBeCa in 2015 under the name We 2 Squares — in nearly 23 years. As the About section of the band’s Facebook page says: “They stopped performing completely.”
Lauren Agnelli and Tom Goodkind, the other founders behind the group that recorded songs like “New Generation,” “Greenback Dollar,” “Fourth Day of July,” and “D Train,” have finally decided to soldier on without Paskow. While the classic image of The Squares is as a trio with guitars and black-and-white Beatnik outfits, famed Television drummer Billy Ficca (now a member of Heroes of Toolik) also was part of the band.
I messaged Agnelli for some insight, and here’s what she writes:
“We’re playing just Tom, me & Billy Ficca. Our 3rd vocalist will be in CA playing at the Grammys. We love Lach & want to help; show solidarity w/others who are in revolt over the revolting state of the State; have a new compilation out & want to start playing out again”
Click through to the jump for Thursday night’s full schedule and videos of Lach. Continue reading