A friend of mine from back in school invited me to come see his band, Crosswalk Anarchy when they came to The Bitter End last Monday. I hadn't seen them before, and I hadn't seen him in a year or so, so of course I was excited to check them out. It was my first time at the famed Bitter End, New York City's oldest rock club. People like Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, and Neil Diamond have played there. These days, most people know it because the videos of Lady Gaga when she was just a normal person were shot there.
There were two other opening acts. The first was Thousand Hours, who was a one-man dance party. The second was A is for Atom, who provided some alternative rock to prep us for the oncoming fusion music experience.
Crosswalk Anarchy then took the stage and proceeded to bring the fusion hard. It's hard not to appreciate skill when you see it. And these five all had it. The songs were tight and rhythmic, and everyone had their chance to shine. They all go (or recently went) to the Berklee College of Music, and it seems like they've all been working hard at it. And opening up for Oz Noy is no small feat.
But of course, Israeli guitarist Oz Noy and his band were the guests of honor on Monday. His special blend of jazz, rock, blues, R&B, and funk have made him a big name in certain circles. Tonight was a special night though, as his normal trio had another guest added on. For this performance there would be two drummers, which most people would say is strange, but it's definitely something to behold.
The group consisted of Will Lee (who played with big names like Steely Dan, Cat Stevens, James Brown, and Billy Joel) on bass, Anton Fig (KISS, Peter Frampton, Bob Dylan) on one drumset, and Keith Carlock (Sting, John Mayer, The Blues Brothers Band) on the other drumset. Lee and Fig have also played in David Letterman's band for the last 20 years.
So, as you can see, the group had some impressive credentials. And they definitely showed that they had earned them. Oz Noy's music was complex, rhythmic, and enthralling, but still felt understandable to the everyday listener, which can be a hard thing to do. They played two sets and kept the energy rocking the entire time, even on the obligatory ballad.
All in all, it was an amazing display of musicianship. And to think I had the chance to see Hanson that night instead. I'm sure they were good, but this was something you don't get a chance to see everyday, so if you get the chance, definitely check them out.
Please forgive the audio quality of the videos, as there was simply too much awesome for the tiny little iPhone microphone to handle. But a special thank you to Darragh Dandurand Friedman for the excellent pictures.