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Tenth Anniversary show Triumph!
Gary pulled all the stops out on Friday
Dec. 11th with a marathon 4 hour anniversary concert in the Knitting
Factory mainspace that left fans, friends, and admirers ecstatic.
after 8 pm, to the strains of "They Can't Believe He's Risen Again" (a
track from his Bad Boys of the Arctic album), Gary took the stage and delivered
an hour long opening solo salvo which touched on Lucas classics such as
"Autobahn", "Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro" and "Rise Up to Be" as well as
showcasing such hitherto unheard diamonds like "That's My Life" and
"Level the Playing Field" (specially composed for this show) before
introducing special guests Danielle Gerber, Peter Stampfel and Richard
Barone for a round of duets—Danielle especially fetching with her
rendition of spooky "Sweet Psycopath", Peter his usual whimsical tripped-out self
as he and Gary ripped through 6 big ones (including Johnny
Cash's "Ring of Fire" and Joseph Spence's "Out on the Rollin' Sea",
Du-Tels stylee), and Richard reprising his Gods and Monsters stint of
yore with a sweet and soulful "Follow".
After a short break Gary's new
ensemble Big Pishers took the stage for their concert debut with special
guest John Zorn joining in the merriment on alto sax as singers Kenny and
Larry, decked out in matching black jackets, with all their Yale/Jewish
chutzpah declaimed the Jewish Fight Song "Adon Olom", "100 Pounds of
Clay" and "The Mensch in the Moon" to universal acclaim, nearly stealing
the show—only prevented from doing so by Gary's deliciously eldritch
rendition of "Sandman" and his heartfelt "Crawlspace", which ever so
greatly moved the delirious packed house (standing room only after 10 pm)
in a rousing reprise of songs from Gary's acclaimed "Busy Being Born"
album (kudos to bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Jonathan Kane for their
Then it was Gods and Monsters redux as his power trio
of ex-Modern Lover Ernie Brooks and longtime Lucas stalwart Jonathan Kane
tore the roof off the sucker with their first concert in NYC in over 2
years, recapping 10 years of Lucas madness with such fine golden oldies
as "King Strong", "Psycho", "The Brain from Planet Eros" and new
additions to the canon including "Breath of Bones" and "Coming Clean".
Round midnight Gods and Monsters fired their last shots across the bow of
a zonked out Knitting Factory, and everyone departed with big ear to ear
cheshire catlike grins...Monday's New York Times had a huge rave review
with a giant photo of Gary and the Gods and Monsters lads in action with
a caption reading—"The band Gods and Monsters rocks, without footnotes"
and a headline alluding to the breadth of music covered—"From Blake and
Wagner to the Teletubbies". Wednesday's Village Voice carried another
rave with the headline "10-G Spot" and a
highly laudatory review, which follows in toto:
"I just want to give you an orgasm with the guitar," Gary Lucas says in
the liner notes to his quite fulfilling 1997 album Evangeline. His Friday
night show at the Knitting Factory, commemorating a decade's worth of
gigs there, showcased him as a mindbogglingly prolific plectrum Casanova,
with stamina and inventiveness that left even the most ardent of his
admirers limply wet with wonder and amazement. Four hours, two band
configurations—power trio Gods and Monsters, who sound like what the
Yardbirds might have had had they not lost the plot after Roger the
Engineer, and the very funny Big Pishers, featuring a cheerful John Zorn,
whose regard for Lucas is such that he put aside his differences with the
Knit for this occasion—plus duets with
Richard Barone, newcomer Danielle Gerber, and mutant folk stalwart Peter
plus a healthy dose of solo stuff, this feast made clear why Lucas (proud
as he is of this association) is occasionally irked at being constantly
name-checked as a former Beefheart sideman. The finger-picking marvel's
style encompasses as much Syd Barrett as it does Hubert Sumlin, and his
sheer technique takes those styles places no one else could bring them.
Alternating strong, soulful, inventive originals with a raftload of
immaculately rethought and wide-ranging covers—"Autobahn", "Jack
Johnson", the overture to "Tannhauser", and on and on—he contrived
multiple orgasms. And when it was time to stop, he looked as if he wasn't
even close to wanting to, God bless him.