Jonathan Toubin, as one of NYC’s finest DJ’s and party organizers, is bringing his underground late-night social shindig Soul Clap and Dance-Off to Bushwick’s newest hotshot musical venue Elsewhere for a monthly residency. He has been putting on this house party since 2007, and this time he brought some heavy-hitting Big Apple native entertainment to cut the ribbon to his new monthly affair, headlined by the frontman of the great NYC punk outfit The New York Dolls. This was my first time at this massive new locale, which is the newly relocated version of the former Kent Ave. hotspot Glasslands and their promotional owners PopGun, and they have taken that old, artsy Wiliamsburg warehouse party spirit and amplified it to the max, with lots of colossal and glitzy art instalments, many of which couple as strangely mesmorizing lighting effects. It was a good night to come to this party pad for the first time, as the whole house was being utilized, and the night’s entertainment started on the smaller stage, located in a small side room, called Zone One.
The first band was a local band called Beechwood, who I mistakenly passed off as a cross between Noel Fielding’s cheekbones and uber-cool mod haircut from the The Mighty Boosh and a hotter-than-thou glam rock band like The Sweet or Mott the Hoople, but they turned out to be so much more. Their sound is a classic, hot and sweaty, raw and nasty, rock and roll spirit, that commands the room with a real classic NYC sound, like a mix of Velvet Underground, Ramones, and aptly for the night, the New York Dolls, and their killer cover of The Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” nearly blew the lid of the place. After that, Daddy Long Legs brought the gospel to the eager masses with a killer boisterous delta blues meets rockabilly sound that filled the enormous main stage space with a rootsy rock n roll and country blues, like Howlin Wolfe meeting Jon Spencer (who I actually saw wandering through the audience at one point). Still, as soul-stained as the whole set was, there was, once again, quite a lot of that classic NYC punk in that pummeling harmonica-fueled kick, and it was hard to deny that these guys had serious power in their arsenal. Then, back in the small room, there was Baby Shakes, another NYC staple group, and this one soaks itself in ‘60s girl group retro fun, dives into 70’s punk, glams it up to the 80’s pop, and even roars through the 90’s riot grrrl liberation. Their sets are like a steaming bouillabaisse of The Ronettes, Shonen Knife, Blondie, and L7 all in one pot, and it couldn’t be tastier.
Of course, the main attraction of the night was David Johansen, former lead singer of the classic NYC glam/punk band The NY Dolls, and for this show, he actually ditched his cheesy alter-ego Buster Poindexter that he has been playing as on and off since the 80’s and played almost an entire set of timeless Dolls material. He and his “All-Star Band” cranked out NY Dolls classics like “Personality Crisis,” “Looking for a Kiss,” their cover version of “Piece of My Heart,” “Lonely Planet Boy,” “Funky But Chic.” and I even recognized one of his cooler solo tracks from his first LP called “Frenchette.” Sure, Buster Poindexter was a dress-up act, but heck, so were the Dolls, and with all their make-up and glam, they were putting on a show to push their hard-rocking nature, and Johansen is all about the art of style, and he always knew how to properly pimp his music properly. He is in his late 60’s and he played an electrifying set, all the while looking immaculately sophisticated while doing it, sipping on a cocktail, in plaid golf pants and a dress jacket and his trademark greased-back tsunami wave of hair, basically still walking that line of doing a perfect Bill Murray as Nick the Lounge Singer in those classic SNL sketches. He brought out all the stops for a great set, and he also managed to pack in this huge hall, where I ran into more people I knew than I had at just about any show in recent memory, as well as lots of perfect celebrity sightings. The concert was followed by an enormous dance party that had a truly impressive listing of oldies to loose it to, which proved to be the perfect cap to a ridiculously fun night.
Article: Dean Keim