Patti Smith, sharper and more focused on her birthday. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)
Patti Smith was still as giddy as a little girl last night, for the second of her three New Year’s shows at The Bowery Ballroom. She had reason to be happy — it was her 63rd birthday, or “burfday,” as she so charmingly says it.
But, unlike the first night, Patti brought a bit more snarl and a lot more focus to the show. (She mentioned that The New York Times said she did some “bad things” on the first night. Check out that review, by Ben Ratliff, here.) The only slight disappointment last night was that the set list largely repeated the first night’s set. It was a spirited evening, though — good enough to make me regret my decision to skip tonight’s show to avoide the craziness of a Manhattan New Year’s Eve.
It didn't look like there were 63 candles on the cake that Jesse Smith brought onstage for her mom. But who's counting!
The evening had a few surprises. For me, the best came when James Mastro of Hoboken’s The Bongos, resplendent in a red hat, materialized onstage to assist on a cover of Neil Young’s Powderfinger. Last night’s version was much stronger than the opening night’s tepid effort, and Mastro’s professional attitude, great guitar work and solid vocals made a huge difference. (It would have been helpful if somebody had bothered to introduce James when he came onstage. While plenty of people in the audience recognized the local hero, his name wasn’t announced from stage until after he was done playing.)
Posted in Concerts, Music, Pop and Rock, Punk
Tagged James Mastro, Jesse Smith, Lenny Kaye, Michael Campbell, Patti Smith, The Bongos, The Bowery Ballroom, Tim Buckley
The Bongos at Maxwell's. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)
If you didn’t go see The Bongos at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last night, you missed a magical evening. The band was tight and very much into performing for a (surprisingly light) hometown crowd. You have another chance to see Richard Barone, James Mastro, Rob Norris and Frank Giannini tonight at Hiro Ballroom in Manhattan, where they’re performing a CMJ show.
The Bongos' set list at Maxwell's.
They played two solids sets, performing just about every song in their catalogue — which isn’t huge, since they only recorded two full albums and one EP in their 1980s heyday. But they played every one of them with great joy and energy. Plus, they threw in a couple of covers and a couple of their own songs that were never released.
They were joined by Dennis Kelly, who played synthesizer in the band’s early days, and Nick Celeste, a singer and guitarist who worked with Richard on his first post-Bongos project, Cool Blue Halo, in 1987.
Check out more photos of last night’s show after the jump.
Posted in Concerts, Music, Pop and Rock
Tagged Dennis Kelly, Frank Giannini, Hoboken, James Mastro, Maxwell's, Nick Celeste, Richard Barone, Rob Norris, The Bongos