These guys are true musicians.
This past Wednesday Elsewhere hosted NYC-based artists Gemma, Roya, James Chance and Delicate Steve.
I missed the first two bands but you can read about how amazing Roya is and even watch them on BTRtoday. I’ll have to catch Gemma another time—I’ve heard they’re a killer pop band with vocals that’ll make you melt.
I did, however, catch James Chance and Delicate Steve, and boy, did they blow me away. I’m surprised the roof didn’t get blown off along with me.
James Chance is a pioneer punker who was not only part of the no wave movement, he was one of the guys responsible for giving it soul. The no wave genre emerged in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s in the midst of NYC punk. It brought art and skill into a scene that thrived off yelling into a mic and filling a room with noise that you weren’t sure even had a melody.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the simplicity and directness of a good Ramones song, but James Chance comes in with hips swinging.
The 60-something-year-old Chance howled like he was the person who inspired the word fun. His band, The Contortions, wailed into their brass instruments and banged on the drums with such precision and talent it left the audience in a dancing haze of awe.
Then Delicate Steve followed and people exploded.
Steve may be a delicate soul on the inside, but he is not shy on the guitar. His mostly instrumental music consists of some serious shredding. His skill is so amazing there’s no need for lyrics.
His songs range from classic rock inspired guitar riffs that are chaotic and powerful to slow and dreamy slide guitar melodies.
Looking around the audience during each song, it was difficult not to find someone swaying their hips or jumping and shouting along to the melody. That’s right, even without lyrics people still sang along by making musical notes with their mouths and playing air guitar like a pro.
Though it was a freezing winter night, nobody left cold. The skills of all these musicians left everyone feeling hot and heavy.