Unsteady Freddie has created a unique music scene in the New York area by hosting his Unsteady Freddie’s Surf-Rock Shindig on the first Saturday of each month at Otto’s Shrunken Head. Among the often-booked performers is the TarantinosNYC, a New York-based instrumental quartet that plays surf rock and soundtrack-style music, most of which sounds like it originated from 1960s spy or spaghetti western films. The band is comprised of Tricia Tarantino on bass, Paul Tarantino on guitar, Brian Tarantino on keys and rhythm guitar, and Joey Tarantino on drums. At Otto’s tonight for Freddie’s 10th anniversary show, the band once again revived an old sound with a fresh approach. On original songs and on covers, Paul’s varied guitar work and Brian’s keyboard intersected and blended solos to keep each song sounding different and engaging.
Mister Neutron/Otto’s Shrunken Head/May 7, 2014
Guitarist Damian Fanelli, bassist Tony Fanelli and drummer Drew Paradine have been playing together in various bands since 1988. Nowadays they only seem to play once a year as Mister Neutron, at Unsteady Freddie’s anniversary shows at Otto’s Shrunken Head. The instrumental surf rock trio from Cranford, New Jersey, has a great challenge in that all songs have to be led by lead guitar alone, and Fanelli kept it interesting tonight. His guitar playing was absolutely wicked.
Ringo Deathstarr/Irving Plaza/May 9, 2014
Singer/guitarist Elliott Frazier formed the concept of Ringo Deathstarr in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas. Upon relocating to the more musically happening climes of Austin, he stabilized a final lineup with bassist Alex Gehring and drummer Daniel Coborn. The name of the band is a parody of the names of the Beatles’ drummer and the fictional space station and super weapon in the Star Wars franchise. Opening for Peter Murphy of Bauhaus at Irving Plaza, Ringo Deathstarr performed a droning shoe-gaze set that was a loud and completely uninteresting wash of fuzzy sound with little if any dynamics.
Dawn Landes/Chez Andre/May 11, 2014
Dawn Landes is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, but her career in music took form while living in France. Not limited to writing and singing songs, she relocated to Brooklyn, New York, and learned to engineer and produce music while working at Stratosphere Sound and at Philip Glass’ recording studio. In 2009, Landes helped found Saltlands Studio in Brooklyn. Tonight at Chez Andre in the Standard Hotel, East Village, Landes sang sweet poetic songs and love songs in a smooth and soft caliber. Among the highlights, she gave a slow, meditative twist on Roxy Music’s “More Than This” and sang a song from the 1962 film Jules And Jim in French.
Whitechapel/Stage 48/May 12, 2014
Singer Phil Bozeman and lead guitarist Ben Savage formed the deathcore band Whitechapel in 2006. Although based in Knoxville, Tennessee, they named their band after the section of London, England, where the infamous Whitechapel murders in the late 1880s were allegedly committed by Jack The Ripper. The band is filled out by guitarists Alex Wade and Zach Householder, bassist Gabe Crisp, and drummer Ben Harclerode. Opening for DevilDriver at Stage 48, Whitechapel banged hard with growls and breakdowns, but failed to meet the promise of what three guitarists could bring to a band. The performance centered on Bozeman’s stage dynamics and vocal arrangements, but why have three guitarists if there are hardly any extended solos?
DevilDriver/Stage 48/May 12, 2014
After moving from Orange County to Santa Barbara, California, Coal Chamber vocalist Dez Fafara bonded with guitarist Jeff Kendrick and drummer John Boecklin and formed DevilDriver in 2002, eventually recruiting guitarist Mike Spreitzer and bassist Chris Towning. At Stage 48, DevilDriver performed brutal thrash metal with a taste of melodic groove metal thrown in, demonstrating that extreme metal does not have to be blindingly fast and blurry at all times. From twin guitar riffs to guitar duels, powered by pounding drums and topped with great growling vocals, DevilDriver showed its potential to become a leading band in heavy metal.
The Disco Biscuits/Irving Plaza/May 12, 2014
The Disco Biscuits formed as a jam band at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1995. The band consists of guitarist Jon Gutwillig, keyboardist Aron Magner, bassist Marc Brownstein and drummer Allen Aucoin. The Disco Biscuits performed a lengthy uptempo set at Irving Plaza, borrowing from a heritage of experimentation that traces back to the Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa and to free-form electronic jazz improvisations. The grooves were hypnotic and the musicianship was stellar.
Adore Delano/The Gramercy Theatre/ May 13, 2014
Can the next rock star be a drag queen? Perhaps so. Danny Noriega of Azusa, California, better known by the stage name Adore Delano, appeared on the seventh season of American Idol and the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Tonight at the Gramercy Theatre, Delano sang a 50-minute set consisting of hard and heavy pop songs. Delano showed that she is a serious rocker, and that she is quite good at it.