Brooklyn - Baby's All Right

Weird & Wonderful is Alive at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right

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Don’t Tell Me This Town Aint Got No Heart – A Night at Baby’s All Right

Every day New York turns tragically less interesting. The NYC we once knew as unpredictable and potentially dangerous, where great art and strange encounters were part of everyday life has long passed. Where cheap thrills were once plentiful, now the sheen of transactional culture is everywhere. Sure the city was always a hustle — but now it’s like a well-oiled hustle built on the smug illusion of capitalism’s inevitability.

So as an antidote to this increasing sterility, I decided to see what my local had to offer. Baby’s All Right, since 2013, has been Williamsburg’s refuge for the authentic trashy and glamorous. I went to their website on Monday and randomly looked at Wednesday night and vaguely listened to 2 of the bands listed and thought– this might not be great but it will be weird. And weird is getting increasingly rare in a city hellbent on forging “careers.”

I didn’t even bother to look at the rest of the week…this somehow had a vague promise of an iconoclastic promise. I had to trust my instincts.

Squeezing onto the tiny Williamsburg stage — were headliners Tredici Bacci. 13 amazing enthusiastic musicians. Yes, from the city that brought you, Sufjan Stevens, The Lounge Lizards, and other impossibly ambitious projects, here was an art project that defied all good judgment of economic sense. Bandleader Simon Haynes, who’s nerdy obsession with 70’s Italian soundtrack music is evident throughout the set, has pulled together what must be NYCs’ most ambitious band of 2020. The vocalist, Sami Stevens is extraordinary both in cool confident charm and her technical prowess recalling the legendary Brazillian Jazz vocalist, Elis Regina. Her delivery was great counter to oft goofy banter of the band leader/guitarist. And much engaging banter there was. Along with cue card live improvising, feats of acrobatic dexterity and monstrous compositions driving the set forward. Thrilling stuff.

The two other bands, fantastic as well, included – Material Girls from Atlanta comprised of 4 vocalists equally capable of carrying the band and 2 or 3 other outstanding musicians. All of them move from instrument to instrument and the result is a kind of glamorous punk-funk recalling Foxygen, James Chance or early Roxy music. Deeply committed to a confrontational party manifesto this is a band to watch as they develop their material and their live show.

However, it was Sugarlife, who gave us one of the most memorable performances. Their deplorable, transgressive and acutely hilarious performance was so creepy and grotesque we could not believe we were in 2020. Sick disturbing perverse — Sugarlife is exactly what NYC needs right now. This band could even haunt John Waters’ worst dreams.

This cleverly curated bill, the warm funky audience, and fabulous venue restored a bit of faith that NYC still got it. Thank you Baby’s All Right…you made the winter of our discontent, if for a brief moment, seem like a better place to be.

“Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart. You just got poke around” – Robert Hunter, Shakedown Street.

Follow Tredici Bacci: Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

Follow Material Girls: Bandcamp | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify

Follow Sugarlife: Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

Check Out Baby’s All Right: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)

Glenn Max

Impressario, producer, musician, astronaut Follow: Instagram | Soundcloud