Meltdown – Thanksgiving Eve at the Bowery Electric
Thanksgiving eve is typically a quiet event, but on those occasions when I do make it out, it has been rewarding. This year was one such occasion.
So this Wednesday, I circled back to the city after work, and checked out Meltdown at the Bowery Electric. It featured four bands: Ten Ton Mojo, Thrilldriver, New Rock City, and Bridge and Tunnel Crowd. I sadly missed the last (who in fact were the first. . .), Bridge and Tunnel Crowd. Just not enough time to hop a train, regroup, drive in, and catch the first act.
I arrived, in fact, mid-set of one of the acts. I had to ask Alan Rand, who I always run into, who was up. New Rock City he told me. Since I heard that name, I just keep pondering. . .are they from New Rochelle? I knew nothing about them. Simply a straight forward Rock n’Roll band band with a female vocalists. They had a good vibe. The audience was kind of unsure – stand offish. Even in the Bowery Electric, which is pretty intimate, there seemed to be a no mans land between stage and audience. Should not be the case, and God forbid you step into that zone.
The band reminded me of the Pretenders as far as the music and tempo. The vocalist had maybe some hint of Chrissy Hynde. The tunes had some hooks. It was on the mellower side. Maybe a challenge for a crowd coming to hear “Take the Pain” and “High Forever”. I will check them out again.
Thrilldriver was next up, and now with a glass of bourbon in hand, there was a crowd forming down below. They were definitely a guitar driven, louder, faster-tempo act. No doubt with a sound that reminded me of bands such as Coheed and Cambria. The arrangements of one or two songs certainly did. Not a bad thing.
The guitarist I was standing in front of, Michelangelo, was doing some tasty playing too, and played a Strat. Both guitarists were good. The tunes were almost recognizable, meaning I had no knowledge of this act, but their tunes were accessible. The vocalist, Pypes, does have a set of pipes, and she was out in the audience mixing it up a few times. At one point the band recruited the crowd to join in a number for a video they were making. I hope they got my good side!
They did a cover of the “Because the Night”, the Patty Smith tune. Even there they did rock it up a bit. And they truly ended with a rocker. It just had a nice riff, and cool chorus. I felt like it was some long lost tune that I should know. Pypes, in the midst of the tune, just propelled through the crowd to the balcony railing, clinging to it. Reminded me of Del Cheetah, though he would have jumped from the stage to the balcony. No they had some presence, did get my attention.
Getting the audience. Ernie from Ten Ton Mojo just does it. His voice just pulls the crowd in. His voice has a certain tone or timber and he knows how to use it. He reminded me, when I first caught him at Arlene’s, of Stevie Marriott of Humble Pie. There is I suppose something there, and always barefoot, sleeveless, and in shape. His voice, his look, he has a certain persona; he knows how to work a crowd.
It was no different Wednesday night at the Bowery Electric. And the band has it down too. Each of them up there knows what they got to do and I have to think love doing it, whether that be Paul Kane on drums, or Scott Lano on guitar. And it was very cool seeing Gabe Mera in a Beard of Doom t-shirt.
Chris Laubis, who I guess joined the band like a year ago now, fits right in. Again, he does what is needed and it seems is enjoying the whole thing. And he does have his moments. Not sure how to describe it, but I find myself thinking of Peter Lorre.
And it is cool to see them slowly erecting a second album . Think I heard three new or newer tunes there on Wednesday. What I call Mamacita, American Honey and I believe one more. So that is cool. And lastly a nod to Wendigo Productions, more often than not, I am checking out shows they were involved with putting together.
My only lament for the night was that I was not at the Bowery Electric the week before, but that is a different story.
*All pictures were taken by Alan Rand, and originally were on Facebook.