|l-r, Ken Fox, Peter Zaremba, Keith Streng|
Monty Hall, a small, boxy joint on Montgomery Avenue, blocks from the Hudson River waterfront and a knock-out view of lower Manhattan, is a blessedly lo-fi affair, the state-of-the-art live video streaming on monitors dragged back to divey respectability by the cans of cold-ish beer plucked from a picnic cooler by the front door. I'm a fan of the place.
Of the opening bands, I was especially happy to see the great and timeless Paul Collins again. I caught him two years ago in Berwyn, Illinois, and though he's got a new crew of kids behind him, his songs sounded as effortlessly spirited as ever. Collins gives the impression, especially at the merch table while peering through his readers, of your cool uncle, wide around the middle and full of great R&R stories. He was his genial self onstage, laid back before detonating beautiful, desperate songs, old and new, powered by his Rickenbacker which somehow both rings and slashes. He's a local— "I love playing this place because I can get on the PATH and I'm here in twelve minutes!" he crowed—and vibed off of the crowd's goodwill, at one point genuinely besotted with a fan's vintage Paul Collins Beat t-shirt. I recognized his new bass player, the diminutive Joi La, who I last saw a few years ago at the Bowery Electric ably holding down the low end in Eric Davidson's fierce band LIVIDS; she gave the impression then of holding down the corner of a large tent about to blow away in a mammoth summer storm. She's great onstage; she obviously loves Collins's songs and plays with confidence and enthusiasm. She looks a bit like a Soho art gallery intern, especially when her hair's pinned up against the venue's heat, but one look below at the hot pants, tights, and pointy heels reveals the flip side of her record collection. See Paul Collins if you haven't yet, in a joint like Monty Hall all the better. His is eternal rock and roll that's best heard and seen close up in sweaty quarters.
|Paul Collins Beat|