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Friday, November 12, 2010

Fortnight Journal Benefit with Patti Smith & Shilpa Ray, Outernational & Tamar Korn

Southpaw was a packed house his Thursday evening for the Fortnight Journal benefit show. According to their website, the Fortnight Journal “pairs fourteen unheralded young contributors from the Millennial generation in a critical and creative dialogue with luminary mentors.” Tonight’s Fortnight Journals mentor was the legendary singer-songwriter, poet, and visual artist Patti Smith, and Jesse Smith and Michael Campbell, Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, Outernational, and Tamar Korn were maybe six of the fourteen young contributors from the Millennial generation.

Patti Smith, I believe, joined Jesse Smith and Michael Campbell onstage for a song or two; then Lenny Kayne and a few more band members joined the stage and transitioned into a Patti Smith set. She performed a bunch of songs, including her classic tune "Because The Night," written by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith in the late seventies. Patti and her group ended their set with "Pissing in a River," which she dedicated to Fortnight. The band encored with an energetic version of "People Have the Power!" Patti said she had never played Park Slope's Southpaw before, but had been to Gorilla Coffee. She did mention Southpaw had nice sound and she'd be back again sometime.
The crowd was very excited for Shilpa Ray to take the stage. When she did, everything appeared normal with her and Her Happy Hookers, but once the band launched into the first song, you knew there was something different. Guitarist Andrew Bailey wasn't holding an electric guitar, but an acoustic. The band played a more semi-acoustic set, as bassist Nick Hundley and drummer John Adamski held back a slight bit in volume but nothing else as they helped create a more lazy and psychedelic sound. Shilpa and the band fired off songs back to back, one after the other. It was a slower build than most Shilpa sets, with the absence of the bombastic electric guitar, but Shilpa got her groove on. By the third song, she was screaming and hollering like a tiger, and old fans were pleased, and new fans were writing her name down on their futuristic phones. The band performed a beautiful rendition of a Beat The Devil classic, "Plea Bargain." Andrew's acoustic guitar playing was executed beautifully, and it gave Shilpa's sound some intoxicatingly great new textures. Hopefully the band might consider incorporating this acoustic sound into their future sets for a song or two, for its formula added a pleasant surprise to the band’s already amazing sound.

Shilpa and Her Happy Hookers will release their follow-up album titled Teenage and Torture on Knitting Factory Records in early 2011. In the meantime, be sure to pick up their new seven-inch single, "Venus Shaver." The B-side, "Natural Selection,” is an unreleased song from her Black Dirt recording session.
Samantha Hinds came out for a few and explained a bit about Fortnight Journal, then announced the lovely Shilpa Ray.
Outernational frontman Miles Solay's presence reminded me a lot of Joe Strummer. The New York City band had a slightly altered gypsy punk vibe similar to Gogol Bordello. Dr. Blum played a harmonium and trumpet, while Leo Mintek strummed a nylon string guitar that added some Spanish and ska elements to the mix. Solay told a story about meeting Patti Smith at a CBGB show they performed with Fishbone, where she mentioned something to the effect that the new bands would be the future voice of music. The band then launched into "Future Rock," which closed their set. Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine appears on the band's latest EP, Eyes on Fire, on the tune "Fighting Song." He also produced their forthcoming full-length record.
Tamar Korn opened the show singing two songs by her lonesome. She had a very lovely voice with a very old sound to it. Think Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, or Katharine Whalen of Squirrel Nut Zippers singing to imaginary music by Cab Calloway. At times her beautiful, jazzy voice would take on the sounds of a trumpet or even a theremin. She sometimes performs with jazz band The Cangelosi Cards.

All in all the show was really great with the very eclectic group of musicians. Cheers to Fortnight Journal for putting on such an amazing show. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Words and Pics by Kev Chino


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