Saturday, May 2, 2009

ROAD RECOVERY: MAYBE MORE FUN FROM THE STAGE

Last night I went to the Road Recovery benefit concert honoring Wayne Kramer of The MC5 at the Nokia Theater in NYC. It is a great organization "dedicated to helping young people battle addiction and other adversities." It's a great organization, check them out. The lineup was pretty great: Perry Farrell (and his wife, Etty Farrell), Iggy Pop, Tom Morello, Jerry Cantrell and Brother Wayne Kramer, along with Don Was and Billy Bragg, plus a few too many opening acts. It may have been more fun if you were involved in the all-star jams. There were some great moments, and others that weren't as great.

I won't put anyone down. I missed Joan as Police Woman, I wanted to see her. I kind of liked this two man group Middle Class Rut. All the bands played two songs, with emcee Matt Pinfield in between. There was really no momentum, and it's a lot to ask of people to sit through all this stuff at a benefit, when you are selling tickets based on much bigger stars.

Making the night seem a bit surreal was the fact that earlier in the day, Pinfield put out a press release saying that he would be taking a break from his morning DJ job to check into rehab on Monday. Good for him.

In the midst of all of these bands, Billy Bragg came out and did a very NPR-ish two song solo acoustic set, he did a cover of The Verve's "The Drugs Don't Work" and his own "I Keep Faith." So much of the show had the feel of a jam session crumbling under it's own weight, Bragg's solo set seemed more powerful than most of the other stuff I saw. Tom Morello's Street Sweeper Social Club were great, and I look forward to seeing them play a longer set on the NINJA tour. Jerry Cantrell played "Wish You Were Here" with former Guns N Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and a guitarist named Carl Restivo who was all over the stage all night (he is a former member of Perry Farrell's Satellite Party and is now part of Street Sweeper).

Then, the show really kicked off, but not with a bang. Perry, Etty and Carl did Perry's solo song from the Twilight soundtrack, and it was just corny. Then, Morello, Cantrell, Kramer et al came on stage and it was on. They did two Jane's songs ("Mountain Song" and "Ain't No Right") that seemed to crumble under the weight of everyone on stage. Jerry sang Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" which was pretty cool (Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard played bass on that), Perry, Evan and Gilby did The Who's "We Won't Get Fooled Again" which was OK. "Special guest" Juliette Lewis did AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" which was OK. Dictators frontman and Underground Garage DJ Handsome Dick Manitoba hit the stage to do The MC5's "Animal," which was a highlight. Then Iggy showed everyone who's boss: he did two songs I didn't know, "Five Foot One" and I forgot the other one. It was great, he runs on stage and starts yelling at the drummer. After the first song he turns around and looks at the drummer and says "Cocksucker! Play it right!" The night ended, appropriately, with "Kick Out The Jams," Kramer taking one verse, Handsome Dick taking one, and Iggy finishing - Iggy came out and tipped his imaginary cap to Dick, which was great. And Little Steven was on stage for that one also (he tweeted the show throughout the night).

All in all: $25 was worth it for the good moments. I'd say to the organizers, if you want to keep doing these and make money for your organization (the show was not sold out) you have to (a) tighten it up - less of the opening bands that most people aren't familar with and (b) more rehearsal time if possible/smaller combos for the all star stuff to make it tighter. Then you can sell recordings of it too. Good luck Matt Pinfield.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, the show was sold out about an hour before showtime..

Minority said...

glad to hear it. I'd heard that they'd had a problem selling tickets, which was surprising, consiering the stellar lineup. I thought they just had problems explaining what the show was. (they may benefit next time from having fewer opening bands).