ROBERT MILLER’s PGS SWINGS AT ROCKWOOD 2 — Last August, Robert Miller’s terrific rock/jazz ensemble Project Grand Slam had a CD release party at Rockwood 2 for their Queen’s Carnival album; Monday night, they did a repeat for their just-out CD The PGS Experience, and gave a performance the likes of which, was not only their best yet, but just reverberated inside the small confines of the club. To a packed room of industry folk, they unleashed most of their new album as well as some re-imagined covers, like The Kinks “You Really Got Me”; Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”; and their brilliant cover of Phish’s “Free.”
The band was just on fire this night, with guitarist Flavio Silva just impossibly brilliant. The other guitarist, Tony Greco, was equally as impressive, and percussionist Carlos Maldonado, who was actually set up in the audience area, was terrific as well and vocalist Ziarra Washington, nuanced and perfect. Sax-man Mario Castro was point-perfect too.
Miller’s playing, which still reminds this writer of the late-great Jack Bruce, was propulsive and drove the whole band steadily.
The new album contains the track “Fishin’” with jazz-darling Mindi Abair on it and the track has become a much played one via Jazz Radio. It’s a great song and Abair’s precision sax-notes are just spot on.
A great night. Seen in the crowd were: Adam Pollack and Vinny Rich from CEN/SONG; Pop Entertainment’s Brad Balfour; and, the PGS pr-team of Gwen Toline and David Salidor. Check out their new album, it’s terrific!
WEBSTER HALL EXITS — Legendary New York City venue, Webster Hall, is closing its doors on August 5, 2017 after more than a century of entertainment.
Over 130 years, four fires, several renovations, thousands of live performers and concerts, countless unforgettable club nights, and millions of attendees, the Webster Hall history is rich. The official New York City Landmark has announced that it will close its doors for good (as we know it) on Saturday, August 5, 2017.
The E 11th st. establishment has an overall capacity of nearly 3,000. When the space isn’t being utilized as one of the most iconic nightclubs in the world, its likely hosting concerts or corporate events. As of late, their Girls + Boys and Gotham series have been dominating the grand ballroom with a multitude of electronic genres. Over the course of its history, Webster Hall suffered four fires and a major renovation in 1992 after later being designated a New York City Landmark on March 18, 2008.
In another incarnation, it was The Ritz, and brought a bevy of great music shows. I well remember last year when I went to the venue, expecting to interview the great August Darnell (Kid Creole and the Coconuts), who must have played The Ritz almost weekly back then. His publicist David Salidor thought it’d be a good, albeit nostalgic, idea.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived and I saw a sea of motorcycles and a leather-clad throng. It was, for the record, some motorcycle club-thing …. Needless to say, we quickly revised our plan.
A statement initially drawing public attention to the closure was made on social media by Gerad McNamee Jr., which read:
“Ladies and Gentlemen/Friends and Family:
Sad but true, the legendary and world-famous Webster Hall has been sold and will close as we know it for its final club night on Saturday August 5th, 2017, which just so happens to be my birthday, which is certainly somehow apropos. It will be closed for an undisclosed period of time for demo, reno and transition to corporate ownership under Barclays/AEG/Bowery Presents. I highly recommend that you all stop by before the end of this era to pay your respects to the Ballingers and the building for providing us with a lifetimes worth of memories. There are only 12 club nights left. Please come celebrate our rich 25 year history of being the biggest, baddest and longest running nightclub in the history of New York City.”
In addition to the closure of Webster Hall, nightlife capital New York City has felt the closings of venues such as Roseland Ballroom, Pacha NYC, Space Ibiza New York, and now Webster Hall (as we know it).
Jerry Brandt, who booked The Ritz, is reported to be having some sort of photo book coming out. Can’t wait to see it. Sad news for sure.
SHORT TAKES –— Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 9 aired last Sunday night. After David Lynch’s revelatory last episode (episode 8, “Gotta Light” – two weeks back) which was simply sensational, this new EP dragged a bit, although several pundits said it revealed a lot. Though the show picked up some 90,000 viewers due to the excellent reviews and chatter on EP 8, I still hoped that Lynch would get to the meat of the matter. Agent Cooper, Kyle MacLachlan, is still not even in the town of Twin Peaks (!!!) and his two doppelgangers are still on the loose. I believe there’s only eight more shows left, so he’s got to start tying up his loose ends … soon. That said, it’s till one of the best things on summer-TV right now … Actor Adam Arkin, yep, Alan’s dad, jumped up onstage with Donnie Kehr last Friday at NYC’s Bar 9. They sang “Mustang Sally” … Last night I was at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room to see singer/songwriter Mark Lacob and he was simply sensational. With a keyboard and bass player in tow, he took us on his musical journey and I loved every moment of it. Also, it was his birthday. One of his songs “Downtown,” was just brilliant, as was his “Ghosts,” that no less than Donovan has championed. Also, I caught Frank Carillo who was just sensational as well. A journeyman musician, his songs and band (including an acoustic bass) were spot-on. A great treat. Frank’s birthday is Saturday. Best wishes. We’ll have more with Mark and Frank soon; just an outstanding show … Salvationbegins tonight on CBS tonight. It looks good, but it’s sci-fi, which is the kiss of death on TV. We’ll have some news on the show come Monday.
Till next time… Please leave your comments below.