The Bottom Line
Required Listening series #2
New York, New York
Friday February 24, 1995
2nd show 10:00pm?
If you have photos and/or more information about this show, including thoughts and posts, please contact me. I'd love to include them.
Pete & Maura Kennedy
Happy Rhodes - Guitar and Vocals
Kevin Bartlett - Guitars and electronics
Martha Waterman - Keyboards
Carl Adami - Bass
Dean Sharp - Drums
Page listing the various Required Listening shows
No photos or images from this show available
Information from meth:
My posting about the late show (the only one woj and I went to) is here:
From: THE OLIVE-LOAF VIGILANTE
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 1995 23:42:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: REPORT: Happy At The Bottom Line
I know there are hordes of impatient people out there (hi, Vickie :>) who have been waiting on needles and pins to hear how it went last night. My most sincere apologies for taking so long to sit down and post the news, but the ectopholks who visited our place in scenic Boonton afterwards just left a little while ago, and this is the first chance I've had...
In a word, it was great. Happy got a great reception, wonderful response, and I think she won some new fans (she definitely converted the WFUV staff who had previously been undecided). Yes, she brought the band. And, I heard rumblings that the Bottom Line wants her back for a show of her own, so stay tuned!
But let me start from the beginning. Before I begin, however, let me get the bad news out of the way: woj went sans recording Walkman, and thus we have no tape of the show. :( I'm letting you all know this now so you can forego reading the details if you don't want to hear it.
In attendance were myself, woj, Mike Curry (and what a birthday he had :), Anja, Jeff Wasilko, Larne Pekowsky, Jeff Burka and his friend Craig, Tamar and her man Graham, and my friend Shura, ticket purchaser and reservation maker extraordinaire. We met at the Zig Zag Bar And Grill for dinner beforehand -- or should I say, everyone else did. Due to a set of traffic and mass-transit related mishaps which I won't go into now I had to venture into the City on my own, and got there way too late to order anything. The nibbles of woj's dinner that I stole were quite good, though -- if you're in the area, I'd recommend it as a nice place to go.
We aimed to be on our way crosstown to the Bottom Line by 10:00, but as always happens ran late, and found ourselves, a group of 10, trying in vain to find 3 available cabs in midtown Manhattan on a Friday night. Eventually we all got lucky and got to the club technically late, but not really because they were running behind schedule there anyway. We got a long table in the extreme back corner, which really wasn't bad at all because the Bottom Line is a very small place. (Hard to believe Tori Amos was once playing there... but I digress.) Actually, I was surprised to see that the place wasn't totally full -- apparently everybody went to the early show. Still, there was a sizable crowd (a hundred or so, maybe more than that), it's not like it was totally empty or anything. Anyway, no sooner had we gotten ourselves settled and ordered our drinks when the lights went down and our Evening Of No-Risk Discovery began.
First on the bill was Kyle Davis, a folky acoustic singer-songwriter from Nashville whose biggest claim to fame seems to be that he got to open for Bob Dylan once. He looked like a pudgy Bela Fleck, and had a nice voice but overall he wasn't that interesting. I can't remember what any of his songs sounded like, and I don't think he did much for the rest of us either. He played his 25 minutes, and then came a flurry of activity while the stage was readied for Happy and the band to come on (all of the equipment for the entire night was set up already, and removed as each artist finished so that by the end of the night pretty much everything was gone).
The show was hosted by daytime WFUV City Folk DJ Rita Houston, who had told me on the phone a couple weeks ago that she wasn't too sure what to think about Happy's music, but it was obvious that the 7:30 show had shown her the light because she was practically going nuts over Happy the entire night. (I also heard that she's on ecto now, so if that's true, hi, Rita, and welcome!!!) She introduced Happy by mentioning that she has 8 albums out on her own label etc. etc. etc., and read Happy's own "required listening" list, which included two Yes albums (_Talk_ and another one I can't recall), anything by Kate Bush, anything by Peter Gabriel, and a couple others that weren't that surprising. Meanwhile Kevin, Martha, Kelly, the bassist and drummer (whose names I have a serious mental block on*) came onto the stage and began the first strains of "Hold Me". Happy came on just as Rita announced her name, and the table in the back corner went wild. :)
They played five songs:
Building The Colossus
Save Our Souls
Don't Want To Hear It
The sound was well-mixed, and I thought it was excellent. (Happy's vocals did disappear when she was singing the really low notes in "Murder", but that's a minor quibble.) The band was relaxed and tight, and Happy actually seemed to be enjoying herself on stage. She was wearing the olive-green jumpsuit she had on at the Thursday night Middle East show, and she looked great.
At one point during "Don't Want To Hear It" I was standing up next to the back wall so I could see better and move a bit to the music (it is simply *impossible* to sit still during the live version of this song), and Happy saw me (I really don't think she could tell who it was from the stage, but who knows?) and pointed in my direction to punctuate a line. That's when I sat down. :} "Murder" rocked, as usual, though it sounded like Kelly might have had a bit of a cold. Still, it was a good set, and not all of the wild cheers and applause were coming from our end of the room!
After Happy's set was a small intermission, during which time Susanne came over to say hello. She apologized profusely for not getting the official word out about the show until after the ad had appeared in the papers: apparently she was away on business and had no clue they were going to be advertising it so quickly. I told her we all understand that she's only one person working on a planet that has only 24-hour days, and I was able to get the scoop for everyone so she needn't worry about it. I asked her how the 7:30 show went, and she said it was great. The set list was the same, though the songs weren't played exactly the same way.
I also saw Sharon Nichols pass by -- she was there selling copies of Rhode- ways and handing out informational flyers about the fanzine. She and the zine have moved to AG country! The new address for Rhodeways is:
(deleted, no longer current
Welcome to our time zone, Sharon!
After intermission it was time for Barbara Kessler, who has been billed as the best new folk artist to come out of New England in years, though I dare- say that her friend Dar Williams is hot on her heels for this distinction. She was great. (For a quick reference, think Jonatha Brooke.) She was accompanied by a bassist and a percussionist who played a wine crate, which was quite amusing. I liked all of her songs a lot except for the sappy one she did second-to-last, which tried too hard to be a Sensitive Folk Love Song. She has one album called _Stranger To This Land_, which was recorded live at the Kendall St. Cafe in Boston, a locale familiar to the Jewel fans amongst us. I didn't have enough cash on me to pick it up at the show, but I'm going to keep an eye out for it. She can also be heard on the second Martha's Vineyard Singer-Songwriter Festival double CD release, the name of which I am completely and utterly blanking on. Definitely worth checking out.
Finally we had Pete and Maura Kennedy, who has Rita Houston noted had been married for 4 months, 2 days and it showed. Pete played in Nanci Griffith's touring band, among other places, and he really is a great guitarist -- the word "virtuoso" came to mind, though as woj pointed out if he'd been playing an electric guitar what he was doing would have been called "masturbation". ;> Maura is a pretty incredible guitarist herself, and the two of them together were quite amazing. If they hadn't so obviously *known* that they are good guitarists, I would have enjoyed their performance much more. I'd heard some songs off their new album _River Of Falling Stars_ on the radio and liked them a lot, but the only song that worked for me live was the title track. I had been really excited to see them and lukewarm about Barbara Kessler, but in the end I was really excited to have seen Barbara Kessler and lukewarm about the Kennedys. C'est la musique.
So that was it. On the way out I introduced myself to Rita Houston, who was talking to Jeff W. about ecto and Happy. She was *really* excited about the show, and I hope the rest of the WFUV staff who saw the early show had the same reaction, so Happy can get the airplay she deserves on the station and get more notice in New York City. I also said hello to Kevin as he pack- ed up equipment. We hung around for a few minutes and Happy finally came out, it looked like for the express purpose of having her picture taken with Barbara Kessler. Barbara Kessler was freaking over Happy -- someone told me they heard her asking Happy if she would mind giving her voice lessons! :) Happy had put her hair into pigtails, which actually looked pretty good (better on her than on Sarah McLachlan ;). As she went by I said hello, and she smiled and said hi, and asked "How was it?" I told her most excellent, and she seemed very pleased to hear it. She didn't have time to chat right then because Susanne was herding her to get into the picture with Barbara, and the club was techincally closed so we were getting pressure to leave from the staff, so we departed into the cold New York night (the temperature was offically deemed Beyond Phoquing Cold after about ten seconds of walking to the PATH station) and went our separate ways.
Jeff W., Tamar, Graham, Mike, and Anja followed woj and I home, where we promptly fell into bed around 3:15 and didn't rush to get up today. Once we were all as coherent as we were going to get we checked to see if our VCR had managed to fathom the concept of taping X-Files from one channel and then Tori on Leno from another channel without destroying anything, and were quite pleasantly surprised to discover that the answer was yes. Everyone who is glad to see that Tori has finally decided to see reason and stop perming her hair, please raise your hand. Thank you. Beautiful rendition of "Butterflies". Was that a blanket she was wearing as a skirt? I'm looking forward to the Grammies this week for the sole reason that I can't wait to see what the hell she's going to wear. ;>
We also viewed our newly-acquired tape of Jane Siberry on the Canadian show "Rita McNeil" (or was it "Rita And Friends"?). Jane was great, but the show itself was painful. If some Canadian out there would be so kind as to explain to me just who this Rita person is and why she has her own show, I'd appreciate it. Thanks. Then we enjoyed the mocha cheesecake Tamar had baked for Mike's birthday and associated cookies (I can't deal with anything that has coffee in it), introduced Tamar and Graham to the experience that is the Y Kant Tori Read "The Big Picture" video, and fled to Bennigan's for dinner, after which the out-of-towners departed.
So there you go -- an offical Ectogathering built around Happy's first real live performance in New York City, which from all accounts was a rousing success. Yay!!! It was nice to finally meet you, Larne, and Jeffy, I hope the rest of your New York weekend was a blast, too.
Valerie, you shoulda been there, dammit, work or no work. Thpth.
* Of course the band members whose names I was blanking on back then were Carl Adami and Dean Sharp ... which cracks me up, b/c now I'm on the road with Dean on a regular basis. Funny how the world works sometimes.