Born Again In a Brooklyn Basement
…was the working title for an idea, a book idea; about a band, a scene, a lifestyle and culture. It was the seeds sowed over the course of five years with the intent to continue experiencing and documenting emerging artists with DIY attitude. The scope of the concept was ever expanding, but started in the basement at 846 Myrtle Avenue; affectionately known as The Space Palace. Last February, that venue was forcibly shut down in the prime of its life. This past October, the author of Born Again was also forcibly shut down in the prime of her life. While both of these deaths are deemed completely unacceptable, the latter devastates with its cold permanence. The former could be brought back to life; a resurrection of sorts was in order for the Space Palace, to honor it’s illustrious past and the young woman who saw herself as the steward of its story. In this light we convened again to resurrect the music, the scene, the vibrancy, the people and the crowds; (for) the crates and the circles help them get down, get down, get down… and get down we did.
The evening was divided into two parts: The Chrysalis Series #5, in honor of Marissa Provenza, our dearly departed who established the Chrysalis Series in September 2013. It featured several performers contributing various homages to our late curator. Presenters included Daniel Faria (poetry), Kellyann Moniz (reading), John Paul Harkins (song), Salvatore Barra (song), Noelle Tannen and Natalie Lowe (song), Suzanne Karpinski with John Barber (song), The Louisiana Sun Kings (song), and Anton Nickel (poetry and oration).
The second part was Hallofunkenween, an evening with Ellis Ashbrook. Two sets of Ellis with guest musicians, impromptu freestyle rap, and the usual mix of originals, covers, segues, jams, and general prog-funk which helps us get down. The band’s costume this year was a take on ink/toner colors used in present-day digital printing: Magenta, Cyan, Yellow, and Black. Alex Major was Lord Cyan, King of the Blues, Natalie Lowe was Mellow Yellow (although sister golden hair would have been wholly appropriate), and while I am not sure the two Jo(h)ns had picked names for themselves, let’s call Granoff, The Heart of Darkness, and Barber, Lady Redbreasticles. The costumes were visually stunning, the room once again full of life, and the scene that Marissa cared for more than herself was once again alive and thriving at what may have been the finest event this Brooklyn Basement has ever hosted (and there have been some good ones, let me tell you). Musically the band was in absolute top form; tight but loose, confident, full of purpose and life — shows like this remind me why I am a fan. Notable jams include a strong, exploratory Good Time Blues, a surprising Have a Cigar inside of Frankenstein, a wild So Simple with full horn section, an all-time version of I’ll Be Around also with horns and guest vocalists free-styling, perfect renderings of challenging Meridia epics Decelerator and Climax, two debut originals, and one long forgotten bust-out in the form of The Streets of New York City, which has been a staple at Natalie Lowe solo shows, but the full band version has not been played since I have been keeping track. It was a show not to be missed and an evening to remember.
Thank you to everyone who came out in your wonderful and creative costumes and for being born-again with us on all hallows eve. Please stay tuned for future announcements including more Space Palace type fun and the continuation of the Chrysalis series. As for Marissa’s book, that’s coming too, eventually.
Friday, October 31, 2014: THE SPACE PALACE, Brooklyn, NY
Set 1: Good Time Blues, That’s Where You Come In, Skunk!, We Laughin’ > Psychic Vampires, Frankenstein -> Have a Cigar > Frankenstein
Set 2: So Simple, Don’t Give Up (I’ll Be Around) > Burning Down The House -> Off The Earth, Decelerator, Kan Eye Tuch U?, Lugubrious Eggs, On, The Streets of New York City, Climax
Encore: A Shot > Rock and Roll
Prior to We Laughin’, John saw Stacey Cormier dressed as Jareth The Goblin King and was so taken aback he yelled “Is That Stacey?!” from onstage.
With Shine on You Crazy Diamond quotes from John and Jonathan
With full horn section: Takuya Nakamura, Trumpet; Troy Mobius, Soprano Saxophone; Salmak Khaledi, Trombone
With Agent Y and Agent Z on the mic
With full band Fire on the Mountain quote
After Kan Eye Tuch U? and prior to Lugubrious Eggs John introduced both songs as debuts and bantered something including, “No Girls Live Here!”
With atypical lead-in jam
After On, Natalie thanked the crowd and introduced the band including herself.
With “My Heart Is Pounding” banter from Natalie
With drum solo