In our continuing series "New York Neighbourhoods: A Stumbler's Guide", we turn our attention to the Lower East Side. This is a terrific part of town- Flight of the Conchords is shot here- dingy and crowded, full of cool bars and restaurants, a bit trendy, but with enough realism to separate it from it's grunge-lite neighbour, the East Village. It's Nirvana to the EV's Nickelback. AC/DC to its Matchbox 20. Huey Lewis to its Hall and Oates. No, wait... So we went out for a night on the tiles with visiting Aussies Dapper Dan and the Horn, and local Aussie Passiona- an energetic and entertaining crew. We started at a big, open, stool-and-bench-y restaurant with a truly astonishing beer menu. We made the most of the summer weather by sitting in the open windows and pouring them in- I only discovered I was on 12 percenters when I got lost trying to stand up. This was just the start of a top night rambling from one overcrowded bar to the next, fish tacos and chili margaritas at a Mexican joint (that was an excellent idea), ending up at one of NY's famed after-hours joints. Dark! Sadly, most of the night is lost in the inner mists, but I woke up in bed, so all's well that ends well. Or something.
In music news, famed alto player Lee Konitz made a rare NY appearance at Smalls. I've never been a fan, but swung by out of curiosity, and the lure of a great bass and drums combo in the form of the Stand-Up cooker on bass, and Luca Santaniello on the tubs. Got what I expected- he was ordinary, and the lads were swinging. Could have listened to them all night on their own.
Did a gig at a joint called Sweet Rhythm (formerly Sweet Basil) with an octet and trumpet star RH. Gig is ongoing so maybe something about it next time, but for now I'll mention the star stealing the show in the loudest, plaid-est suit and bow tie combo outside a 5o's used car lot. We're talking Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack. He played the gig, jumped in his golf cart, yelled "FOUR!", and he was off. As am I.
I realise this one's reading a bit creaky, but the next one will be dynamite. You'll see. Righto.