Random Summer Concert Reviews

RUBEN BLADES - Prospect Park Bandshell – Brooklyn, NY - 7/14/01
Undoubtedly, this was one of those shows you could only catch in New York and even more to the point, in Brooklyn: Old school salseros; new jacks; hip Anglos from then and now; rockeros; and every nationality and age group under the Latin American sun, together for what was, arguably, the main event on this summer’s Celebrate Brooklyn festival calendar.

Backed by Costa Rican maestros Editus, Mr. B launched early on into a three-step, NY salsa manifesto: "Pablo Pueblo", "Buscando Guayaba", and "Juan Pachanga", which left the audience in a state of exhilaration that would last throughout the remainder of the brief, but very powerful set. Trombonist and opening act Jimmy Bosch joined Blades and Editus on stage for "Buscando Guayaba" and stayed for most of the set, playing some soulful and seriously groovy stuff all the way through. And yes, Blades did close the show with the glorious--and at this point a Latin American standard--"Pedro Navaja", which had the 8,000-strong crowd singing at a volume that seemed just about to drown out the band at any minute, but managed to touch on all facets of his illustrious career in the process. Be very sorry if you missed this one.

THE POSIES – Maxwell’s – Hoboken, NJ – 7/16/01
Sparked by the success of last year’s acoustic tour and a full-band tour of Spain and the UK, Seattle power-poppers The Posies (longtime frontmen Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow on guitars and vocals; newcomers Matt Harris, from San Francisco popsters Oranger, on bass and Darius Minwalla--a solo Auer sideman--on drums) took advantage of this momentum and set out on a full-band US tour. Rolling into NJ’s alt-rock temple as an electric quartet for the first time in years, the boys seemed poised and ready for a night of loud guitars, high harmonies and ample memories.

Although the set list kicked off the show with "Suddenly Mary" from their critically acclaimed breakthrough album Dear 23 and touched on every album of their career--except their debut; is this some sort of trend?--the emphasis was clearly on the mid 90’s back-to back favorites Frosting On The Beater and Amazing Disgrace. Ending with the crowd favorite "Flood Of Sunshine" (also from Dear 23), The Posies chose to mar the song’s often inspiring Neil Young-meets-My Bloody Valentine feedback finale with a lame-ass jam that degenerated into the rhythm section leaving the stage while Auer and Stringfellow clowned around and swapped instruments for 20 minutes. Too bad, it was really a good show up to that point.

Highlights: a cover of Chris Bell’s "I Am The Cosmos"; "Grant Hart" and "Throwaway".