Easy to say that my hunger for music has been quite satisfied recently. A recap of last year in music (thanks to Spotify’s fun “Wrapped” feature) shows I was very big into Indie R&B in 2017. What is this category and who was I listening to??
Along with a very interesting year of streaming I was able to catch a few of my favorite musicians live while discovering a few new ones along the way (Oh yea, hey Yaeji, hey what’s up). Early in the year I walked over to Webster Hall after class to see The Internet on tour as they performed their iconic songs as well as debuting solo music from Steve Lacy, Matt Martians, and Syd. Later I was able to catch Syd again for her solo tour where she did some new songs and of course the ones I love to scream from Fin.
"TAKE CARE OF THE FAMILY THAT YOU CAME WITH!"
Venues are a major part of the experience of a live show, and one that I’ve come to low key love is Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg, Bk. My first experience at Baby’s was to see my dreamscape, sex-groove favorite, HOMESHAKE. They were sold out, and just as I thought I’d missed my chance… Peter Sager tweeted: “If you’ve been to a protest recently send me a pic and I’ll get you in for tonight’s show.” I remembered I had images from the Washington Sq. Love Rally held earlier that fall, so I sent the picture. Next thing I knew I was waiting in line ready to see my name written into the guest list (Shout out to Peter for being an angel).
Recently, I relived the awesomeness at Baby’s by catching Joao A.K.A. Softglas, who was opening for the grooviest of all: Sports. Repping SoFlo with his nostalgic and personal Orange Earth, Joao sang about Coral Springs and shameless love, how sweet.
Can’t forget the rich and exciting Latin shows I’ve managed to catch late 2016 and throughout 2017. Tito Puente Junior at the first annual El Barrio Latin Jazz Festival, Willy Colon’s Christmas show at Lehman College, Folk Dominican music at Bronx Music Heritage Center, Bobby Sanabria’s Multiverse Big Band in Dizzy’s Coca-Cola Club at Lincoln Center Jazz, and the throwback set by DJ Turmix at the benefit screening of We Like It Like That, a film celebrating the Latin Boogaloo with Benny Bonilla and Joe Bataan, among others. NYC LEGENDS.
The variety of sounds I was able to enjoy is what makes living in NYC the absolute greatest. Jumping from the smooth rhythms of West Side Story with a Latin flare to the cool and electric sounds of Yaeji and Mndsgn at the brand new Elsewhere club in Brooklyn (which I lovingly call The Space Ship because it’s THAT cool) to the rocking vocals by JMSN for the Knit Ball, with a surprising and amazing opening by Brooklyn locals, Triathalon, all within the same week is exhilarating and nourishing. Though these musicians don’t all fit neatly into the Indie R&B genre that apparently dominated my headphones this year, they were cravings that I can confidently say were 💯 percent satisfied.
There really is no end to the amount of music available in New York. On my daily commute, either to work or school, it is impossible to avoid the talented buskers making the stations and trains their bitch! Let me take you through a day’s commute in the city.
On the 1 headed downtown, the Central American guitar and accordion players light up an otherwise dreadful morning with their rendition of “Mañanitas.”
As I run from the 1 to the Queens bound R on a Saturday morning I’ll hear the gospel of the talented and energetic women taking Time Square to church. On my way back through the same spot, I might hear a folksy trio or the sweet soul/funk of the bearded man that always gets the crowd moving to Al Green.
In Union Sq. it’s always a different story. On Monday nights you might catch a DJ party set. On a Wednesday afternoon, infectious drum beats with either Caribbean spice or African roots.
But the thing about NYC buskers, and definitely its charm, is that they’re ever changing, constantly fresh and interesting, and overflowing with talent.
Without a doubt one of the weirdest and most exciting music shows I attended in 2017 was the incredible Sun Ra Arkestra's performance as part of the Nublu Jazz Festival. Under the band direction of the legend Marshall Allen who at 93 years old graced the stage with an impeccable swag, The Arkestra shined with their glitter and sequin under the Nublu Lights. I had the chance to stand right at the front where I managed a view of every musician on the particularly well-designed stage that receded like stairs giving rise to the musicians in the back. The venue was different and interesting, the music was loud and cosmic, and the crowd was diverse and fully enchanted. An experience that truly paid homage to Sun Ra’s vision of cosmic transcendence.
What are my musical goals looking like?