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What's new in iJamming!...
Thu, Jun 2, 2005
THE JUNE HITLIST
30 Albums, 10 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies.
MAY MUSINGS
Eight Days in A Week's Music:
Ed Harcourt, Vines, Candy Butchers, Timo Maas, Ashley Casselle & Adam Freeland, Aerial Love Feed, and enough little club nights to shake several sticks at.
LONDON MUSING
Tony's (lengthy) trip down nostalgia lane from his visit home at the end of April. Stop-offs include Death Disco, old Jamming! Magazines, life-long friendships, road trips to Brighton, Damilola Taylor and political frustration, Morrissey-Marr, Zeitgeist, Oasis, Dexys, Primal Scream, the current British music scene and more.
YOU DON'T KNOW JACK
Jack magazine comes out of the starting gate with the banner headline "best new men's mag in years."
FEATURED WINE:
FEATURED ALBUM:
REMARKS REMADE
Why I re-wrote the book: The introduction to the new edition of my R.E.M. biography, due out this summer through Omnibus.
EARLY APRIL MUSINGS
Chemical Brothers, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Paul Westerberg, Skywalking, Joe Strummer, Radio 4, and Aquatulle.
KIDS IN AMERICA
A weekend with John Mayer, Sugarcult - and Elvis
IT'S MY PARTY AND I'LL LIE IF I WANT TO
Michael Greene's Grammy Speech: An Invitation to Download?
Plus: 10 things they forgot to tell you at the Grammys.
THE VILLAGE VOICE PAZZ & JOP POLL
What the Hell Is Going On Here?
From the Jamming! Archives:
PAUL WELLER
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
The iJamming! interview:
CARL COX
"'Acid Trax' by Phuture came out and I was just 'Okay, forget all hip hop and all old school rare groove right here, this is it.'"
The Best Of 2001
Tony Fletcher's Top Albums, Concerts, Singles and Books - and comments on the Village Voice Poll
MUSING on The Manhattan 'Edge':
Will the Island Ever Again Be A 'Cultural Ground Zero?'
GOLDEN SHOT
hostess 'Lee Patrick' recalls her time as Keith Moon's amour
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Flowers is Echo & The Bunnymen's finest hour since Ocean Rain."
HEDONISM:
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
JOHN ACQUAVIVA
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
Featured wine region 3:
SOUTHERN RHÔNE WHITES
Featured wine region 4:
SOUTHERN RHÔNE ROSÉS
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother
The iJAMMING! interview: DAVID SYLVIAN
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
The iJAMMING! chat:
MARK PERRY

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
THE iJAMMING! Book Review:
SNIFFIN' GLUE: The Essential Punk Accessory
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
Featured wine region 2:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
TRAVIS.
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
LLOYD COLE
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
Featured vine:
VIOGNIER:
Finally, a worthy rival to Chardonnay.
The iJAMMING! interview:
BOY GEORGE.
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
Featured wine region 1:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE
The full iJamming! Contents
May Manhattan Musings
a.k.a. Eight Days In A Week

It starts on a Sunday. It ends on a Sunday. There's eight days of mainly musical madness in between in a city that still barely sleeps.
Continued from Part 1
Thursday May 23

Another night of club vibes looms. (I'm not normally like this. When I'm in book mode, I often don't go out for weeks at a time. Or go away completely. I'm merely making the most of the excuse that I'm "between projects.") The Mercury Lounge is hosting the New York debut of much-discussed Australian act the Vines. Like everyone else, I'm keen to see if the band is worth the fuss; I'm also up for openers the Candy Butchers, one of those acts you instinctively want to root for even though you somehow feel they're destined never to hit the big time.That seems a cruel comment to make of a singer-songwriter as obviously talented as the Butchers' New York native Mike Viola, but in a way he's victim of his own talent: songs like 'My Monkey Made A Man Out of Me' and 'Ruby's Got A Big Idea' are such effortless singalongs in tradition of Squeeze and XTC that they seem like obvious radio hits, but they're too conventionally structured to accrue hipness along the way. The new album Play with Your Head was mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig, but it doesn't seem to have made a difference, if Viola's comment to the audience, "Shhh, dont tell anyone, we have a new album out," is anything to go by. Still, Viola has fans, especially in tonight's audience, and he performs solidly, enthusiastically. Publicist Ken Weinstein, of the excellent Big Hassle firm, confesses afterward that the rhythm section were unknown to him, and e-mails me later to confirm that the regular Candy Butchers were apparently otherwise engaged with other touring outfits. Make of that what you will.

Candy Butchers are a one-man band, then. And on tonight's evidence, so are The Vines, whose story thus far is a classic case study in how this industry builds a buzz beyond common sense. Young - make that very young - Sydney trio fronted by barely twenty-something Craig Nicholls releases a fun single 'Factory', that sounds like Supergrass riffing with Nirvana. British press, namely the NME, goes apeshit, and the Australian act is flown to Los Angeles to record an album for Capitol in the States, and Heavenly in the UK. The trio's drummer quits during the six-month studio stint (six months? And this is one of the bands that's come to rescue rock'n'roll?) to concentrate on his own Australian outfit. No matter. James Oldham in the NME writes of the Vines' debut British gig, 'In frontman Craig Nicholls, The Vines have a bona fide superstar' and concludes 'Without question, The Vines are going to be this year's Strokes.' Two weeks later, Oldham makes 'Highly Evolved,' lead track from album-of-the-same-name, his Single of the Week, and writes that, 'The Vines are going to be bigger than U2...We're not joking. This is a record you must own. By the time Capitol has written up its press release for the Vines in the States, they've subtly amended that quote to 'This is an album you must own,' and, let's be honest, that's a hell of a hype to live up to.

Mike Viola of The Candy Butchers: "Shhh, dont tell anyone, we have a new album out." Craig Nicholls of The Vines: "Trying too hard not to try too hard " is one friend's verdict of this debut NYC show. "Like Kurt Cobain, Craig Nicholls filters his love of the Beatles and Kinks through a volumic punk bullshit detector."

Now, New York audiences are not cynical. On a good night, they're some of the most enthusiastic in the world. But they've seen a lot of buzz bands come and go over the years, and that makes them difficult to impress. Tonight, there are a few quick-off-the-mark fans singing along to 'Highly Evolved' and 'Factory', a number of photographers down front documenting what may prove to be a momentous occasion- and many many others standing around wondering if this isn't a familiar case of too much all too soon. Nicholls is something of a potential superstar, but he's carrying the weight of an entire four-piece right now (bass player Patrick Matthews and a couple more Australians added since finishing the album), and he doesn't seem distinctly comfortable doing so. From stage left, he screams loudly during the opener 'Outtathaway!' (he has to, the mikes aren't turned on at first) and the Kurt Cobain comparisons are unavoidable. Like Kurt, Craig filters his love of the Beatles and Kinks through a volumic punk bullshit detector, and the result, at its recorded best, is a heavy, hearty, but hardly original addition to the whole Strokes-Hives-rock-and-roll-is-back-to-stay buzz.

There are some strong moments: a souped-up version of Outkast's 'Ms. Jackson', the six-minute opuses '1969' and 'Mary Jane' and the sheer exuberance of of 'Sunshinin' and 'In The Jungle'. But while the noise emanating form the stage is deafeningly loud, the buzz in the room afterwards is distinctly restrined. "Trying too hard not to try too hard," is one of the kinder comments I hear. As for the NME's citations, all colour-copied for the advance press kit. . .Is this 'a record you must own?' Well, we all get over-excited now and then, and Nicholls gives us a lot to get excited about. Highly Evolved is a promising debut that improves with every listen. But 'Bigger than U2'? Actually, you are joking. I'll go with 'This year's Strokes'.

I head off to a club night at once far less hip (from a press perspective) than the Vines and yet far more representative of what's going in NYC. It's the third anniversary for the night Broadcast, at Bar 13, the venue at which I'll be spinning the following Sunday for Shout! In its previous incarnation Peggy Sue's, Bar 13 was one of the first places I went to in New York City. Over the years, it's held steady as an easily accessible, moderately unhip location - it hosts happy hour for the after work crowd and is a popular destination for NYU kids - that frequently surprises with the energy of its regular, free-attendance nights. Tonight's a perfect case study. When I enter the main, second floor, it's to the sound of 'Come On Eileen' by Dexys, and the sight of several drunk sailors jumping up and down and singing along. And much though I loved Dexys, and 'Our House' by Madness which follows, I recognise Rhino Records' 'Just Can't Get Enough' series of 80s new wave when I hear it, and when Billy Idol's 'White Wedding' kicks in, I head upstairs to the third floor where, as is always the case in New York, there's a party within the party. Here the music is far more eclectic - I hear Jonathan Richman's 'Roadrunner,' Air's 'Sexy Boy' and the Cure's 'Friday I'm In Love' - and the crowd is trendier, but in a very young, innocent, we-don't-desperately-care manner.


I'm on my own, killing time a little before my next port of call, so I head back down for the live act. The vast majority of 'showcase' bands at weekly club nights in New York City suck, big time; I put on enough of them over the years to know. So perhaps it's a sign of the city's currently healthy musical state that tonight's contenders, Aerial Love Feed, (shown left) are positively energising. Female drummer wearing headphones (Tracy Thompkins) , gangly singer wearing shades (Wade Settle), enough footpedals to open a guitar store or three (Settle has half a dozen himself), and not surprisingly given all the above, a heady sound drenched in reverb and effects, laced with slow dance beats, a dreamy, moody and positive throwback to shoegazing self-consciousness via the drama of the Psychedelic Furs.


Making out song titles, let alone lyrics, is a lost cause given the oppressively loud wall of noise, the singer's lack of clarity and the general lo-fi nature of the night - the band are playing in a corner, on the floor - but enjoying them is easy. I'm not alone in that either. They have a considerable following grooving in front of them, aided, amended and eventually interrupted by the same drunken sailor who was earlier jumping around to Dexys. Now he's pogoing, eyes popping, trying to stare down Settle, who's protected from the battle by his omnipresecent shades. Finally, one of the sailor's compadres leads him out of the venue, hopefully to sober up somewhere; the rest of the set lacks some drama as a result, but Aerial Love Feed could possibly be going places. Check their web site for some demo MP3s that clarify the promise of the live show.

Promoter and DJ Alex English pays tribute to the band's line-up by following their set with the Stone Roses' 'She Bangs The Drums'; I see Tracy Thompkins jump around in gratitude as she packs her gear away and her exuberance makes me smile. Besides, I love that song as much as anyone. Once it fades out, I head upstairs again, but only for a brief time. I take my leave when New Order's 'Crystal' is being played upstairs, only to hear New Order's 'Bizarre Love Triangle' as I pass back down. Call it coincidence. Or call it a sign of how narrow these scenes can be.

Up at Centrofly, Ashley Casselle and Adam Freeland are spinning. As regular readers might know, I'm a big fan of a) this venue, b) Adam Freeland, and c) the Subliminal night that was the regular party on Thursdays at Centro-Fly. Subliminal has moved up to the new Shelter (at the old Speeed), however, and appear to have taken much of the regular crowd with it. Ashley Casselle is spinning to a room only half-full, even though it's already gone midnight. I spend some time in the booth, given that Ashley, like Richard Gray, is handled by Amanda and Shari from Hands on Deck, and there I find myself in conversation with a perfectly pleasant and intelligent English girl who pins the sparse attendance on Americans' inability to appreciate dance culture.

Given that New York invented dance culture back in the days of disco, it would be easy to disregard this comment outright, but I prefer to talk it all out, see where it leads us, see if I reach any new conclusions. I explain that Centro-Fly is struggling to regain its Thursday crowd given that Subliminal has taken most of it with them, that there's so much on tonight it's frightening,including an Aphex Twin-sponsored showcase of Rephlex live acts and a birthday party DJ night for Roger Sanchez, that the holiday weekend looms, that Ashley Casselle and Adam Freeland are hardly household names, that rave culture is a permanent part of American subculture now and that the 'kids' don't need to attend mainstream dance clubs every night of the week to prove it, that British Djs now tour the States so commonly that it's hard for them to command a crowd, and - a point I find myself thinking about several times this week - that New York City now has DJ decks in almost every single bar and lounge across the five boroughs. And that the vast vast majority offer free admission, lower drink prices and an easy-going atmosphere. In fact, the point is worth making that ten or fifteen years ago, you really had to visit a mainstream nightclub to hear dance music in any mixed manner. Now that you can do so at coffee shops and bars in your own neighborhood, the need to attend a nightclub has dropped accordingly. And that's not necessarily a bad thing - even though I'd be first to agree that there's nothing to rival the communal sensation of a well-attended concert or club.

Ashley Casselle hands off to Adam Freeland The view from the booth at Centro-Fly

Meantime, Ashley Casselle is doing is best to provide that sensation. He's spinning a perfectly accessible set of uplifting tech-house that brings more and more people to the floor and he seems to be having fun in the process. He's certainly gracious to those up here with him, and he hands off to Adam Freeland with a heartfelt hug. As Adam takes to the decks, I take to the dance floor. A couple of years ago, Freeland championed a new strand of heavy bass and mid-tempo beats labeled 'nu skool breaks' and found he could mix them so successfully that, on his superb album Tectronics, they sounded like they were emerging from the same studio. His. But they weren't. Freeland is not a producer, only a DJ, and on the three occasions I've heard him spin, his quality has varied dramatically.

Tonight he starts real strong, with those booming bass lines that cut to the soul, but after a while, it becomes apparent just how many breakdowns his choices encompass, and while I'm all for the crests and valleys of carefully-constructed productions, too many beat-less dips and crowd interest wanes. That proves the case for maybe fifteen minutes tonight, and I make my way across the floor to the exit. But before I can get there, I find Ben Neill, downtown composer/producer/performer and inventor of the'mutantrumpet,' an instrument he synched to MIDI to run his own light shows and sampled sounds while playing live. Neill's a big Freeland fan and keeps me in conversation until the music picks back up. Then when Adam drops the Bushwacka bootleg mix of 'Billie Jean' the crowd goes ballistic. This is remixing at its best, isolating that famous funky bass line, working it into a new beat, bringing in the vocals slowly, and adding a new, haunting synth line that changes the entire song's atmosphere. It's a delight to hear, and ample proof that the classic can always withstand updating.

To add to the entertainment, a couple of sailors hit the dance floor and unlike our pal back at Bar 13, at least one of these can dance. He hits on a fly Latino girl about half his size, and she responds; for fifteen minutes they take over the floor in a scene not entirely unreminiscent of Saturday Night Fever. Then, incredulously, the sailor leaves the floor, solo. She seems to be pissed off at getting dissed and takes off with her friend. The sailor returns five minutes later, a drink in hand, and seems genuinely suprised that his dancing partner's not there waiting for him. (The fool! All he had to do was buy her a drink too! Don't they teach anything in the Armed Forces?!) It's a miniature vignette that makes the night for me. I drive home, pretty damn happy with the New York I know and love. The Brooklyn Bridge is still standing too.

Friday May 24

On the way back from a run in the park in mid-eighties temepratures, I stop in at Somethin' Else. Anthony is there. So is Isaac, proprieter of local label Star Time International (French Kicks, Brendan Benson, Realistics and more). Joshua stops in too, deciding rightly that it's too nice a day to stay home. We're in there for an hour. No one buys any records. But we shoot the shit about music for long enough to bring ourselves fully up to date. Reminds me of how I started out, hanging round Rough Trade and Honest Jon's. Plus ca change.

Spend the evening at home, though not entirely free of music. With the Shout! Stint on Sunday, I want to brush up some of my mixing skills, so Posie and I plan what we often enjoy of a weekend night: dinner at home, a bottle of wine on the deck outside, and a brief session on the decks upstairs. The reality is usually different than the intention: by the time we've done dinner and the bottle of wine, and given that Posie works nine-to-five hours, and that I've been out every evening this week, several of them until late, it's a struggle getting the energy up to spin the music. But once I get going I can't stop, and by the time I'm done trying out some new music by the likes of C-Mos, August, Killer Loop, Luke Slater, Didier Sinclair, and a few other 12"s I've recently picked up, I've got almost three hours down on tape. Time flies when you're having fun.
Saturday May 25

The sun is shining, the temperature's topping out in the mid-seventies, it's a perfect day for a wedding. Our good friend Robert Sacher is getting married, to the lovely Susan Washburne McMichaels, and oddly enough given how many nuptials we've been to over the years, this is the first one we're attending in Manhattan itself. (City Hall doesn't count.) Rob and Susan tie the knot at the ornate Grace Church on 10th and Broadway in a beautiful but blessedly brief service, after which a bagpipe player leads the entire procession up Broadway to the reception at a restaurant off Union Square. Along with his business partner Diane, Rob used to run an 'alternative' music bar on East 5th Street called The Mission, popular with goths and industrial kids and other young 'new wave' types with suprisingly narrow minds. Posie and I each stopped in there occcasionally, separately, before meeting in a similar venue all the way out in New Jersey. Our friendship with Rob and Diane has persisted through the Mission years and on through Rob and Diane's ongoing success with the Luna Lounge on Ludlow Street. (And now with Rob's label, Lunasea, too.)

Luna is not the fanciest live music venue in New York, but it deserves credit for being the first of the modern generation to establish the amazingly straightforward concept of quality free live music. Until Luna opened, going to see your friends play (or just bands in general) in New York City inevitably involved cash (or guest lists). Bands would get paid a percentage of the door, but if there was no one there to see them, that wasn't much of a percentage to boast about. Luna offered the bands a small take of the bar instead, and the groups readily welcomed being able to entertain bigger audiences. Luna is now a solid rung on the New York gig ladder and free live music abounds in bars, lounges and clubs all over the city.

Rob has even more reason to be beaming on his wedding day. Longwave, one of his first releases on Lunasea, just signed to RCA this week, helping confirm his hit-picking credentials. (I've reviewed a couple of Rob's releases, but as with anyone I write about here, I post my comments first and let them know about it later. If someone I like personally releases a record I absolutely hate, I just make excuses for not reviewing it rather than totally destroy what is otherwise a good friendship.)


Rob and Susan's wedding party proves to be every bit as much fun as we hope, largely because of the crowd, an excellent sampling of the scene that makes its way in and out of the Luna Lounge every week. We mingle with old friends like Joe McGinty, founder of the Losers Lounge, Rob Youngberg , formerly of Lotion (now of Honeycomb), Marc Yevlove, former Brownies booker and Brooklyn neighbour, and rub shoulders with newer friends like fearless promoter Kerri Sweeney, Diane's new partner, producer Dan Grigsby and his fine daughter, members of the Luna bar staff, and various members of Susan's brothers band the Mayflies. Many of the boys look just dandy wearing tuxes that seem to emphasise their piercings and spiked hair; likewise the girls whose summer dresses expose colourful tattoos. The wedding band plays 'Fever,' and the older generation, as always at these events, proves itself eager to step to the dancefloor, shaming up the younger crowd, who are all too busy at the bar.

As if there's any rush. In the evening, there's another party at Luna itself. Posie and I come home, pick Campbell up from his playdate, get changed, drop Campbell off next door (we're good parents, really!), and head back into Manhattan, At Luna, we find Orange Park just wrapping up a brief set with an extended instrumental psych-out. Deeply steeped in the traditions of the Who and the Kinks like so many young New York bands, Orange Park have been on the scene a while, building a steady reputation and an eager following. But they don't seem to get included on the hip list as compiled by the likes of Pareles in the Times. Are they a little too retro? Or just hanging with the wrong crowd?

Wedding bands at Luna Lounge: Orange Park at left, The Mayflies at right

The Mayflies
close out the evening's entertainment at Luna and they're loud, too. Hailing from North Carolina, they were the first out of-town band Rob Sacher booked at the club, which illicits a certain poetry about meeting his future wife. Rob and I used to make a point of getting together and talking about women. He loved the early draft of Coming and Going I showed him, and I loved hearing the latest astrological forecasts regarding his love life. I'm going to miss those talks, but it looks like his stars are aligned from here on in.

That should be it for a full day, you would think, but given that we're already out, we wind up the evening at the Timo Maas show at the Bowery Ballroom. I'm genuinely surprised that Timo's album Loud hasn't done better: it seems like an ideal cross between solid dance grooves and progressive songwriting, covering all bases (hip-hop, big beat, techno, house) without ever sinking to the lowest common denominator. In particular, the lead single 'to Get Down,' with its fierce guitar lines, has been a winner every time I've played out recently.

Stepping away from the nightclubs and their four-hour sets, Timo's moved onto the concert circuit (like the Bowery), but without bringing enough of a live show to justify the transition. The Bowery's a great place to put on dance events regardless (when it first opened, it hosted the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Fatboy Slim and Chemical Brotehrs before settling into a live music venue) and the opening set by Starecase warms the crowd up amply. Timo doesn't come on until well after midnight, by which time we're well worn out; I'm not in a position to write the most accurate review. But when I interviewed Timo a year ago, it seemed that the plan was to put together a genuine live band; tonight, the closest we get is when he brings on MC Chickaboo to help vibe up the crowd. It's not exactly Basement Jaxx and their multiple vocalists/dancer. Neither, given that he's only handling turntables, can he imitate the vocal-less visuals of a live performace a la Orbital or Chemicals. None of which is to knock him: I highly recommend the album. But it is to say that I'd hoped for more from the live show.

Sunday May 26

Every now and then a night comes together without a hitch and tonight at Shout! seems to be one of those occasions. Promoters/resident main floor DJs Pedro (at right) and Steve have warned me that Memorial Day Sunday is their busiest night of the year, and they don't seem to be bluffing. Both rooms are packed almost before resident top floor DJ Dan Cook gets on the decks about 11pm. By the time I take over for the first of three stints shortly before twelve, there are dozens of people I recognise, and they seem to be gathering from all the different strands of this past week - which is partly the point of writing such a long diary and ending it with this entry. There's Anthony and Tommy from Radio 4, Josh Gabriel, Dan Selzer from Transmission, Alex English from Broadcast and several people I recognise from both those club nights, the members of Aerial Love Feed, a few of the crowd from Rob and Susan's wedding, several friends from old Communion days who are now fully ensconced in their music biz jobs, and several other friends from more recent days too.

On a good night you can lead people on a musical journey and they'll come with you for the ride, and with Dan Cook playing the music the Shout! crowd have come to know (mostly sixties soul and rock, though he whips out a copy of the Boys' 'First Time,' a 1978 single I'd love to own), I'm amazed at the leeway I'm granted. In the space of three hours, I'm able to spin the Creation (still little known in the States beyond 'Making Time'), Felix Da Housecat with Miss Kittin, Blur as remixed by the Pet Shop Boys, Joy Division, Happy Mondays with the Soup Dragons (that mix again), The Specials, Radio 4 again, The Who ('Baba O'Reilly' by request, and despite my suspicions that it's too classic rock, people dance and sing and jig furiously to the fiddle finale), Bobby Byrd, Renegade Soundwave, Small Faces, Iggy Pop, Bowie, (repeating myself here), the English Beat, Delta 5 ('Mind Your Own Business'), C-Mos (that crazy 'Calling All Cars'), The Farm, Timo Maas, Stone Roses ('She Bangs The Drums' of course), David Holmes ('69 Police' is total northern soul), Talking Heads (the 'Once In A Lifetime remix), that Pigbag-to-the Jam's 'Precious' mix but remembering to insert Chemical Brothers' 'Denmark' inbetween, 'Ball of Confusion' by Zeitgeist, and I even get away with b-sides by The Clash, Girls At Our Best! and Bob Marley, and MP3s of Fatboy Slim and Oasis.

Left: That Beatles Ben Sherman in full colour. Right, that Shout! crowd in full swing.

I don't think the crowd lets up dancing once - for a while the floor is vibrating so much I can't even play 12"s or they'll jump - and as much as that thrills me, it's the number of positive comments by people who just genuinely appreciate hearing the variety that made the night. Downstairs, Shout! Seems to be rocking just as hard. It usually does. For years, I've railed against the pigeon-holing and easy categorization that defines (and defies) American music. (And mixing rap with metal is not my idea of a solution.) But who knows, maybe that era really is coming to an end and we can all get back to celebrating MUSIC? And judging by a night like this, indeed judging by all the little nights that have made up this eight-Day week, New York is jumping in a way it hasn't done for years. I spend the following, Holiday afternoon with Posie and Campbell at the new public park between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, soaking up the sun, playing with my kid and picnicking. The skyline glistens across the river. It's missing its twin beacons, but its not lacking for beauty. Not on the surface, nor underneath.

Tony Fletcher, June 1 2002

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