About the Author | Jesse & GregWe earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.
Almost 43 years ago, a band of five took the stage at Madison Square Garden and put on one of the best rock shows this town has ever seen. And thankfully, they recorded it. Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! came out in the fall of 1970 and when it did, Lester Bangs of Rolling Stone got bold and said, “I have no doubt that it’s the best rock concert ever put on record.” I am the four-millionth person to agree.I’ve listened to this incredible piece of musical history ever since my older brother bought me a copy on vinyl for Christmas sometime in the late seventies. This is the one that sets the bar for all others live. It is the one that makes me want to go completely batshit bananas every time I get to about the 5:25 mark of Sympathy for the Devil. I want to run through canyons of New York screaming at the top of my lungs every time I hear the intro to Street Fighting Man. It is the soundtrack to yours truly getting into, not one, but two tussles with the law for doing somewhere in the 90′s in a pair of 55’s. It is quite possibly my favorite album of all time. In this version, tracks from the opening acts, B.B. King and Ike and Tina, are as equally as impressive as the ones from the white-hot Stones. Pardon me while I go light my hair on fire and eat a banana. Have a great weekend.
We had a fun outing on Sunday night with the wives to see Jack White at Radio City Music Hall. Greg & Lesa have been to his live show before, but Courtney & I had never seen him. And now that I’ve seen him live, I’d hazard the statement that Jack White rocks harder than anyone else out there right now! Whipping through musical genres as diverse as metal, country honk, bluegrass, folk and blues, Jack ripped through his latest album as well as the hits and b-sides from his classic stuff.The band is incredibly tight, focused and totally unpredictable: sometimes assaulting with raging brute force, other times creating a prairie campfire intimacy. On this tour, he’s got two different band ensembles that back him and alternate nightly: either the all-male Buzzards, or the all-female Peacocks. For our show, the Peacocks were in full effect and it’s impossible to miss how much they all enjoy playing together. It not only sounds kick-ass, it looks like a lot of fun. (As an aside, we were particularly impressed by the fiddle-player… Never seen an electric guitar and a violin duel on a blistering solo before, that was a first for me.)The crowd was totally into the show, and were on their feet going nuts all night long (as opposed to the night before, when the audience was apparently an ”NPR convention.”) I like knowing there’s musical artists out there who could give two shits about convention, who innovate, and put on a show where the music is what ultimately matters. And that’s a Jack White show for you. All in all, a great night out!
Time to go out in the evening and be adults again! It’s always nice to have a conversation over drinks with your spouse that doesn’t involve legos and princesses, so last night Courtney and I went to longtime neighborhood staple Bar Tabac. It’s the same group who run Jules Bistro in the city, which is another terrific bistro you should try (if you haven’t already.)We’ve been to Tabac for brunch many times (its a good live jazz brunch – but skip the bloodies) but never for dinner. We decided to give it a nighttime go because we saw online that Stephane Wrembel was playing there. You may remember him from when we went to Fada, in Williamsburg… I swear we’re not stalkers. The music is just so damn good. Take my word for it and please go see him live!
French bistro Fada has been a mainstay in Willamsburg for over a decade. It is completely relaxed and charming. Oysters, moules frites, sizzling steak au poivre – it adheres to tried and true French faves, and it does them really, really well. Looking for a moodily lit place with a great wine list to take a date? Fada! Done. But this isn’t a Date Night post. As good as Fada is, the reason we go out of our way to dine there is the music.
Back story: in 2003, I went with my dad to see music legend Les Paul play at a small club called the Iridium. Les did a sort of country/jazz/rockabilly review, with lots of vintage stories told in between. Toward the end of the show, he announces they have a random musical guest that’s supposed to be really good, “but I haven’t heard him so he might be a real bust so don’t blame me. His name is Stephane Wrembel“. He brings this bearded ponytailed guy on the stage who plays an acoustic guitar. I have no expectations. The band plays… and Stephane Wrembel just absolutely takes off. Total virtuoso. I’d never seen anyone play so fast and with that kind of swing. The whole club, including Les, was blown away. Turns out the style he was playing was Gypsy jazz, which was new to me at the time. I wrote his name down on a cocktail napkin and I’ve been following him ever since. You might even have heard him already- that’s him playing some of the more memorable music in Woody Allen’s “Vicki Cristina Barcelona.”
Stephane has a standing gig at Fada on Saturday nights. You eat well, you drink well, and you hear amazing world-class live jazz two tables away from you… for no cover charge. How can you not love this town?
You often encounter musicians busking for tips on the subway platform and more often than not, you’re treated to a terrific short concert on your daily commute.
While waiting for a downtown train at Columbus Circle this morning, I heard a powerful violinist playing with “deck of a sinking Titanic” intensity. Set to the industrial backdrop of squealing trains and muffled announcements, it gave me chills. This dude appears to be barely even working hard, which is also impressive.
I tipped him and took his card: his name is Ernesto Llorens. You can find him at MySpace.com/ernestollorens.
Sunday night was a great night to be a parent. We took the 9.8 year old to see his first rock concert and favorite band fun.at Terminal 5. The severe tweaking was formidable, putting it mildly.
Our family is fortunate enough to have these very talented and kind bunch of guys for friends and Jack’s sister and Nate’s better half, sweet amazing Miss Rachel Antonoff, made sure that our Cavan had the full VIP treatment with amazing seats just over the stage. It was an absolutely incredible vantage point to watch them play what seemed to be every song off the 1st album, Aim and Ignite as well as their smash hit new work of genius, Some Nights.
New York crowds are notoriously tough, but this was one was bananas. It seemed like every person in the audience knew every word to every song and felt the very strong desire to scream every syllable out at the top of their lungs. Kinda fantastic! My wife’s throat still hurts!
At the end of the show, we were ushered backstage to a celeb-packed greenroom where we all got to say hello to the guys. Sir Cavan was was left positively elated watching the aftermath of a gift that his idols…his friends…had just delivered to him in the form of one of the best shows anyone will ever see live. Thank you, Rachel. Thank you, boys. It has been so much fun watching you soar!