Simply Richard: Versus frontman plays rare solo gig

New York — I won’t say that I’m old, but really–I have slowed down a bit. For one thing, I rarely go out mid-week anymore for a gig, let alone for a reading and music showcase. And on any given evening in the dead of winter, the call of my comfy, warm bed has grown more enticing than any night-time jaunt.

But about two weeks ago, word filtered through the grapevine (aka, Facebook) that Richard Baluyut was playing a rare solo set.

Yes, THE Richard Baluyut, frontman of longtime indie rock legend Versus.

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Alfa @ The Sidewalk Cafe

A few weeks ago, I attended Alfa’s CD release show for her latest album, Second Skin.  The back room of the Sidewalk Cafe is an intimate space (with a freezing draft) that was well suited for Alfa’s set, even with her full band in tow.

After a quick line check, the band launched straight into “Don’t Write Your Goodbyes,” a mid-tempo jaunty tune.  Dave Dodds (drums) and Jon McElroy (bass) held down a solid rhythm to support Alfa’s vocals and guitar.  Backing vocals from Laura Dadap helped give the show an upbeat energy and personality.  Also joining the group for a few numbers was Alfa’s sister Faye.  Called up onto stage by a sisterly, “Hey, poopface!”, Faye lent her skills as a pianist for the performance of the new album’s title track.

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Sagaran Night

Bleud - Sagaran Night 7.17.09
July 17th at Fontana’s, NYC was Sagaran Night aka Indie Day Music Festival Part 2. Sponsored by Ugnayan, proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales went to help fund their participation in “DALUYONG: Surging to Confront the Crisis of Our Times,” the National Filipino American Youth Consultation in Los Angeles, CA which took place on the weekend of July 24-26, 2009. The lineup featured such bands as: Ave, Bleud, Urban Echo, Kilusan1898, Glass Rats, The Kuwagos, The Happy Analogues and Qwadra. Continue reading

Thao with The Get Down, Stay Down @ Black Cat (and more)

thaoBeing on this side of the shores, I try to take advantage of as many shows as possible when I’m back stateside. On my last visit, I got to see Thao with The Get Down, Stay Down at the Black Cat in DC. This is a band I’ve been wanting to see for 2 years, but through re-scheduling and re-locating (by both parties), had not yet managed to do. So for me to finally get to see them in their hometown was nerdy-exciting. Were they as awesome as I thought they would be? Absolutely. Continue reading

Versus In The Open

Photo courtesy of Feliza Mirasol.

Photo courtesy of Feliza Mirasol.

What could be better than a nice summer night at the South Street Seaport with a cold one in hand and a free Versus performance?  After experiencing it myself, I can honestly say, not much!  All summer long, the Seaport Music Festival, presented by the River to River Festival, is featuring various bands in an open-air setting…for free.  That night, Friday, July 17th Versus opened for Super Chunk, an indie rock band hailing from North Carolina. Continue reading

Chillin’ On The Town With Binky Bianca @ Grove Street Music Series

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Jersey City, N.J.–On my way home from a tiring day at work, I decided to hop off the PATH train one stop ahead of my station and was rewarded by the sight of Binky Bianca band members setting up the stage for their set at the Groove on Grove 2009 Music Series. It was a balmy Wednesday night when the Grove Street station and nearby Jersey City neighborhood were treated to the Filipina-fronted rock band Binky Bianca. Continue reading

+/- and Versus @ The Mercury Lounge

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Versus

On June 18th +/- {Plus/Minus} kicked off their European tour with a show at New York’s Mercury Lounge along with bands Mascott, Gramercy Arms and Versus. When I first heard that Versus and +/- were performing, I had to go because as far as the American indie rock scene goes, they’re kind of a big deal. So big in fact that apparently neither rain nor the gig being on a Thursday night deterred fans from showing up either, because the house was packed! Fans literally came from all around. I met some guys at the sales table that drove in all the way from Rhode Island just to see the bands, caught them in Boston a few weeks ago and spent about $60 easily on vinyl…talk about devotion! Continue reading