Brooklyn’s sonic siren Shilpa Ray has returned home from touring Europe and the states in support of her new album Door Girl, the title of which makes reference to the time she spent working the door at Pianos on the Lower East Side, a venue in which she had proudly sold out two nights back in September for her LP release. Shilpa is a brilliantly radiant talent who has spent her time struggling and working her way up the perilously steep music industry ladder to the triumphant top of the musical game. As a clue-in to her aural prowess, she has actually backed up the legendary voices of Nick Cave, Patti Smith, and Lenny Kaye in the past. Cave was so impressed by her skills, he produced her first solo EP It’s All Self Fellatio back in 2013. Her voice is a roaring monster of sonic resonance, and her rousing punk-cabaret show stylings are something of legend themselves. She’ll build and swell her songs until the visceral energy and primal power over-takes her and she crawls over her keyboard and smashes her fists against the stage in a fever of animalistic passion. This Indian-American front woman who exudes the classic blues-rocker defiance grew up as an outsider in suburban New Jersey, but has since embodied the dark and gritty streets of the city that never sleeps. She has gone by other monikers before, Beat the Devil, Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, but now she stands confidently as a full-on badass bandleader now. She is particularly bewitching when she plays her very exotic and alluring Indian harmonium that she aggressively pumps and squeezes away on many times during her show.
Opening the show was Eszter Balint, who is an amazing diverse talent, a singer-songwriter, exquisite violinist, multi-instrumentalist, and even an actress you may know from films by Jim Jarmusch, Woody Allen, Steve Buscemi, or even the last season of Louis C.K.’s Louie. She definitely has a sense of classic Americana-noir to her music, and she has released a couple of highly critically acclaimed releases, but she has seemingly spent a bit of time on other things, but now she playing a lot of impressive new songs that certainly fit her eccentrically artsy style.
Next, there was a rare appearance by a true rock legend of the NYC post-punk scene by the name of Bush Tetras. This pioneering outfit merged no-wave and punk into a potent, high-octane, and avant-garde brew that blew through college radio and the NY club scene through the late 70’s and early 80’s. They did resurface briefly during the fertile mid-90’s garage-punk revival scene, and they had another brief resurgence in the mid 00’s, but they are presently prepping a brand-new record due out in February of next year. Frontwoman Cynthia Sley is an inspiring powerhouse experience to behold, as she draws you straight into her dark and witchy world on stage. She is joined by most of the rest of the founding members, the livewire guitarist Pat Place, and the commanding drummer Dee Pop, along with former Krakatoa bassist Val Opielski joining on to replace founding Laura Kennedy who died from liver disease in 2011.
Shilpa’s set was almost all of the new album, with a chunk of her previous LP, 2015’s Last Year’s Savage sandwiched somewhere in the middle. The show did have a rather party-like atmosphere towards the end, with her even breaking out her stunning cover of “When Doves Cry” by the recently departed and dearly beloved Prince. It was an impressive and triumphant return to the open arms of NYC, and I hope she gives us many chances in the near future to experience it all over again.
Article: Dean Keim