Jennifer Kimball + DJ Handler + Juez Ftr. Eyal Maoz + Citygrass + Kudu
Since I've moved to New York, four shows on a Saturday night has started to seem like the regular dose...
Jennifer Kimball + DJ Handler + Juez Ftr. Eyal Maoz + Citygrass + KuduCity: New York
Since I've moved to New York, four shows on a Saturday night has started to seem like the regular dose. I often catch performances at Makor (the club where I work), but last Saturday, that was only the beginning. The evening began early when I walked headfirst into an art exhibit at Makor. A Swiss woman was talking about how photography made her cold; I went downstairs to warm up by the music. Makor's second performer of the night, Jennifer Kimball, was finishing her set. Though Kimball is a middle-aged singer-songwriter (not exactly my genre of choice), something marvelous was happening. Kimball played with a lap-steel sideman who intertwined between her melodies and led her toward new territory. Also accompanying Kimball was Duke Levine on electric guitar -- Levine is a regular with NYC singer-song writers, many of whom gig at Makor. After Kimball's encore, I helped the crew clear the floor for the next set, Chavlaz, a pre-Purim Jewish Rock and Roots party. Some audience members came in costume and there was a discount for those who dressed up. The event was backgrounded by DJ Handler and a host of Hebrew hip-hoppers. I spoke briefly with Israeli electric guitarist Eyal Maoz before he took the stage with Handler's next group, Juez. Maoz is one of John Zorn's new acolytes and his debut CD recently dropped on Zorn's Tzadik label. Maoz talked to me about New York - where he has lived for six years -- and about John Medeski (of Medeski, Martin, and Wood) who contributed organ on Maoz's newest release. "We're going to make some noise," Maoz told me before taking the stage. His sound was sexy and Jewish. It made me proud. Below the stage, two teens dressed as ninjas danced vigorously. Part Dungeon & Dragons, part Yemenites -- their theatrics stole the show. "Don't let us scare you," they said. "We only fight for peace." After Juez, the rapper, Y-Love took the stage earnestly. Y-Love is a black Jewish convert. He raps in Hebrew, English, and Aramaic. Y-Love's flow was lacking, but like Matisyahu, he's got a gimmick going. After a few songs, I cut out with my boss and began to drive downtown. Cruising Central Park West, we passed Maoz on the street and picked him up. "Anywhere in the village is fine," he said. We dropped Maoz at the ever-hot spot, NuBlu on Avenue C. After checking out some bluegrass at Mo Pitkins, I too headed to NuBlu, a nursing ground for New York hipness -- it's the home of Wax Poetic and the place where the Brazilian Girls were born. The flavor of the day was a band called, Kudu -- kind of like Stereo MCs with black and white stripes. Their drummer kills it and their singer, Sylvia Gordon, is a pouty sex-queen. She sings with her back to the crowd. And it's quite a back. The aura is sweat and art, and Gordon's lyrics drip with hedonism. "Hot lava / I never get enough." Kudu is way hip, but they don't fit the Stroke's pretty boy cliché. Their rhythm -- think drum machine turned back into buckets -- sets them apart. The beat rarely slipped, and when it did, Jones picked it up harder, turning mistakes into missiles. Surprisingly, the crowd didn't present a fashion show. Most of them were there to dance. Well, except for one kid in a Jesus and the Mary Chain shirt: he spent the second set making a cell-phone video of Gordon's face. She hardly noticed. After the show, I bumped into some Pratt art-school girls on the corner and they showed me the way to the F train. When I woke the next morning, my foot was still beating to the rain outside my window.