Lenny Kaye
Sep 8 2006
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with thanks to CBGB

'The things we leave behind'

The recent closing of CBGB has concentrated minds very much on it's role as the nursery of punk and hardcore. What is less known, particularly outside NYC, is that for about half it's existence it has also housed an art gallery and basement lounge in the building next door. In keeping with Hilly's original intentions these have hosted all kinds of the promised 'other music for uplifting gourmands'. This particular Friday night was a good example. Next door in the main room a school of rock for kids was followed by a rare appearance by seminal SF punkers the Avengers, and downstairs in the gallery a benefit for punk writer George Tabb, lungs damaged by the WTC rescue activities, featured a reformed Reagan Youth. But the punkcast cam focused on the stage in the gallery itself, a show curated by Sami Jaffa, bass player of the NY Dolls, and headlined by his band Madjuana. First up was Lenny Kaye, grand seigneur of rock crit, who, in his role as guitarist in the Patti Smith group, would play on the club's mobbed final night just 5 weeks later. On this night a solo Lenny played a variety of songs from various epochs, including doowop (an alternative Gloria), folk-rock, 80's new wave, and - the subject of his recent tome - 30's crooners, in his opinion, the punk rock of their time, all attitude and amplifiers. He read an excerpt from the book - 'You Call It Madness:The Sensuous Song of the Croon' - about Bing Crosby before playing Bing's signature tune 'Where The Blue Of The Night (Meets The Gold Of The Day)' (first clip below). Then, dedicating the song to the recently passed writer David Walley, who gave him his own first break as music writer, he sang 'The Things You Leave Behind' (second clip below) - particularly poignant as we contemplated CBGB's doom .

After Lenny left the stage, there was a flurry of activity, as vases of white roses were placed on every table. On the stage appeared first a bunch of chairs, and then a table draped with a Greek flag, upon which, a hookah, three bottles of Ouzo, and a bunch of glasses were placed. A gravelly voice introduced the band with instructions: 1) No plate breaking tonight 2) Rose petals to be thrown at the stage, and 3) Cash honorariums to be placed on the table. Ouzo was to be consumed with gusto with exclamations of "OPA!" The band, a 5 piece called MAGGES, then let off with a set of rowdy hellenic music which, as the ouzo was consumed, indeed led to many floral projectiles, and much "OPA" yelling, not to mention spontaneous dancing, as you will see in the third clip. As they note, even Sami drinks ouzo. Later their own dazzling belly dancer appeared and the band, taking a page out of Lenny's book, played some of their own 30's standards, including 'Miserlou', famously covered by Dick Dale (last clip).

capture captain: joly
date posted: 11/12/06

myspace Lenny Kaye
myspace Magges

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