Midnight O'Connor
Jeffrey Lewis & The Shorts
Blood On The Wall
Rare NYC
Aug 28 2003
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with thanks to Rare and Mutiny

'This is a dream'

John Fitz, over the past few years, has been one of the prime impresarios of the NYC scene. His artfully put-together bills of bands and dj's in unlikely venues spawned much of the scene as we know it. His own DJ sets of r&b classics always draw crowds. When, earlier in the year, he announced that he was moving, to Berlin, there was much lamenting. As his exit approached, intense drinking and partying became the order of the day. In one such session he had somehow undertaken to perform, just 4 days before his flight out, under the pseudonym Midnight O'Connor, with band, to open a new bi-weekly event, Mutiny, being put on by Social Registry, label to the Ghost Exits etc.. Also booked were the Mighty Robot crew to do visuals. The band, as it turned out, anchored by Oneida drummer Kid Millions, was a melange of Jah Division and Dan Melchior's Broke Revue plus Erik Z. of Mighty Robot on 'detuned' guitar. Fitz's vocals were augmented by knob-twiddling by Diego of Sacchromanic Targets, kneeling at his feet. We hung outside, puffing, before they went on. I was told that Fitz and Twisted Ones partner Arthur were well primed, apparently having killed a bottle of Jamesons on the way in. The Kayrock crew suddenly became inspired. "Fitz must have a sword!" they declared. And, promptly, one was constructed, out of cardboard and tinfoil. Midnight O' Connor hit the stage. Fitz, dressed in a hooded black cloak, implored the soundman to "Crank It Up!" . He then proceeded to read passages of the bible in full hell and brimstone style, through distortion and echo, as the band went into an extended psychedelic jam that would have done Hawkwind proud. They were on stage almost an hour and only played two songs. Arthur staggered, danced, and weaved around the front of stage, pausing occasionally to keep Fitz topped up with Jamesons or pick another juicy bit from the book for the reading. In the clip I give you the initial intense build up, and then a more casual passage where Fitz takes another drink and hints at Gurdjieffian insights.

Next up was Jeffrey Lewis, who, of late, seems ubiquitous in NYC. In contrast to his recent polished appearance at the Rough Trade 25th Anniversary show, tonight he was ragged to the bone, starting with 2 broken strings. Given this, the band suggested the 'punk rock set'. Inspired no doubt by the psychedelic environment, he came up with an 'old rap' about the Church Of Realized Fantasies, an historic NYC hippie storefront. By the time they got to 'Buy Nothing Day', a paean to DIY, he was down to 3 strings, and enjoying every moment.

Fitz came on to DJ inbetween sets, and let off a short characteristic blast of the classic garage soul (listen here) he is known for.

The venue, Rare, formerly known as The Cooler, is an old meat storage facility, a fact that might have influenced the choice for Mutiny#1 closer - Blood On The Wall. BoTW rarely play out. They are from NYC, I think, but have peculiar awkward rustic edge. The guitarist also sings, but both songs here are from the bassist. The second, 'Oh Baby' being the designated string changing song. Something that Jeff Lewis could do with. perhaps.

This was a good show and, while we are are sorry to see Fitz go, reassured one that there are people, like these Mutiny guys, around to carry on in the 'twisted' tradition..and you will get to see it on punkcast.

And yes i have knocked up VCD's of the show, a seperate one for each set. VCD3171 - Midnight O'Connor is pretty intense experience, likely best appreciated in similar state to that of it's creation. VCD3172 - Jeffrey Lewis as i say is a bit ragged, you might want to wait til i get around to doing up the aforemention'd Rough Trade set. VCD3173 - Blood On The Wall contains the two gems here plus 8 more songs, however, i've mislaid some tape so the last 3 are of the 2nd cam only, which is mainly instruments. But it could be a long time before you see any more of them so i'd grab it.. you can get the VCD's from the pinstand for $4 inc. mail ($5 foreign) - if interested email orders@pinstand.com with the subject=VCD_Order and I'll let you know the process - or just paypal in direct to that address.

capture captain: joly
2nd camera: Poppie Skold
date posted: 9/24/03
fixed some: 12/13/03 ; fixed some more: 4/14/04

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