Tag Archives: The Bowery Electric

Come Laugh in the Dark with Tommy Keene this Thursday at The Bowery Electric

Guitar god Tommy Keene performs Thursday at The Bowery Electric.

Guitar god Tommy Keene performs Thursday at The Bowery Electric.

Maybe Tommy Keene has discovered the Fountain of Youth.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. He’s aged. He’s not the skinny kid guitar-slinger he was when he exploded out of Maryland and onto the rock scene in 1982 with his debut album, Strange Alliance.

He’s earned every line on his 57-year-old face. But his voice, searing guitar playing, and songwriting still have all the energy and feel of his younger self.

Whatever he’s doing is really working for him, so he should keep on doing it.

Keene’s new album, Laugh in the Dark, which dropped Sept. 4 on Second Motion Records, ranks with the best work he’s ever done.

You can hear the new material live when he plays The Bowery Electric in New York City this Thursday.

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Scenes from a fund-raiser: Benefit for Lucinda’s Kids, Night 1

The first night of the two-night Benefit for Lucinda’s Kids was a great night of almost 7 hours of entertainment on Sunday, April 29 at The Bowery Electric, with a great crowd and a fantastic lineup of artists, including Marah, Jesse Malin, Jimmy Gnecco, Willie Nile (who almost missed the show because of a delayed flight from Chicago), Jim Boggia, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Michelle Casillas (Ursa Minor), Mystie and more. As of Sunday night, there were still tickets left for the second night of the benefit to raise money for the trust fund that will benefit the two teenagers left behind when their mom, super music fan Lucinda Gallagher, committed suicide last December.

Here’s the Monday lineup.

Monday, April 30, doors at 7 p.m.
Tommy Stinson (The Replacements)
HR (Bad Brains)
Alan Vega (Suicide)
James Maddock
Aaron Lee Tasjan

Tickets are $20 and available here.

And here’s what you missed on Sunday.

Jesse Malin

Many, many more photos after the jump.
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Where Marah is headed now

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Marah: Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith perform an acoustic number mid-crowd at the Benefit for Lucinda's Kids at The Bowery Electric in Manhattan's East Village on Sunday, April 29. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith talk about Mountain Minstrelsy, living (almost) off the grid and whether Serge Bielanko will rejoin Marah

How many lives has the rock band Marah had?

It’s hard to say, but it’s one of those bands that has survived surviving changing lineups, internal strife, and wildly fluctuating stylistic directions, all the while being encouraged and praised by celebrities.

Marah with flugelhorn at The Bowery Electric on April 29. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Started in Philadelphia, Marah quickly became notable for the stage antics of its core duo, brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko from Philadelphia suburb Conshohocken. They had a loose but seemingly perfectly choreographed stage presence together. Their sound, early on, featured rootsy, Americana-flavored rock and roll with a particular treat for anyone who has an affinity for Philadelphia: jangling banjos played in the style of Philadelphia Mummers Parade string bands.

A band version of Marah at Bowery Electric in 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

This is a band that novelist Stephen King in 2005 dubbed probably the best rock band in America that nobody knows.” They’ve also been the darlings of writers Nick Hornby (who did a tour with the band) and Sarah Vowell.

It’s a band that became pals with Bruce Springsteen and got him to sing and play on one of their albums. And Steve Earle liked them enough to add them to the roster of his now defunct record label.

It’s also a band whose list of former members on Wikipedia at this writing tops out at 20 — a lot for the 19-year-old a band, which generally has performed as a quartet or quintet.

In working there, they’ve discovered something magical, something that has returned the band to its roots in a way, and turned it in a new direction in another way.

Dave and Christine are working with a handful of local musicians in their Pennsylvania hideaway on a project they call Mountain Minstrelsy. (Check it out on Facebook, too.) They’re holed up in an old church that they’re using as a recording studio.

Basically, one of their musical pals in Pennsylvania showed them a book of collected lyrics, “Mountain Minstrelsy (as sung in the Backwoods Settlements, Hunting Cabins and Lumber Camps in the “Black Forest” of Pennsylvania, 1840 – 1923)” by Henry W. Shoemaker. It struck a chord, literally and figuratively, with Dave and Christine, so they set out to build an album around their new music for the found lyrics. They’ve been recording the new-old songs with some of their friends and neighbors for an album they hope to release late this year.

After the jump, read the full interview, plus a video of Dave, Christine and friends in a Mountain Minstrelsy rehearsal.

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Marah’s Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith returning to New York for benefit show

Marah: Christine Smith and Dave Bielanko

In recent years, the wild, Philadelphia-born rock band Marah has stripped down. Essentially, it’s now just Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith at the core, performing as a duo at time and recruiting bandmates for bigger shows.

After a stint in Brooklyn, they’ve have moved into an old farmhouse in the wilds of central Pennsylvania, with a phone line for incoming calls only. They’ve been working on a couple of records, about which more in our next post.

But for now, let’s focus on this week. Marah is coming out of wilderness to do a few shows, one of which is this Sunday, April 29, at The Bowery Electric at 327 Bowery in Manhattan.

They’re performing on the first night of two-evening benefit concert for a friend who took her own life last year and left two teenage children behind.

Marah to play at Benefit for Lucinda’s Kids

It looks like this benefit will be a real blast, with a lot of other amazing artists.

It’s all to raise money for the children of Lucinda Gallagher, a 37-year-old super music fan from Hoboken who took her life in December.

In an exclusive Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? interview (which we’ll share fully in our next post), Christine spoke about Marah’s connection with Gallagher:

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Marah and The Madison Square Gardeners rock The Bowery Electric

Marah at The Bowery Electric on Aug. 20, 2010. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Marah’s personnel may change, but the sound remains solid

Dave Bielanko of Marah.

Dave Bielanko is the only original member left in roots-rock band Marah. The Philadelphia-area native has always had trouble keeping a stable lineup, though until the 2008 release of Angels of Destruction!, his older brother and co-songwriter Serge Bielanko (click here for his blog) was a constant.

Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith.

Nowadays the core of the band, based in Brooklyn, naturally, is Dave and South Ozone Park, Queens, native Christine Smith, who’s been with the band for a few years now. It’s pretty clear that Dave is the driving force, because Marah has kept its artistic core through almost every change in rhythm section (except for that brief Britpop detour on 2002’s Float Away With The Friday Night Gods, which was really just an unfortunate product of Dave choosing the wrong producer).

More on Marah and The Madison Square Gardeners after the jump

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