Thursday night after a long day of work, I hoofed it up to the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center for one of their weekly free concerts. This one featured the 2015 Independent Music Award winner Bent Knee, and the ever famous Johnny Dowd Band.
As a personal stalker… I mean fan… of Johnny, I knew what I was getting into with this portion of the performance. Grunge Americana Rock, with a heavy dose of LSD, haunting female back up vocals, and an Alice in Wonderland trip into poetry land. As for 95% of the people showing up for the free show, I think this was a new, mind altering experience.
Johnny Dowd is definitely not for the weak of heart. It’s a wild ride into the depths of surreal lyrics, intentional off key notes to keep you uncomfortable, paired with rockin’ chords to keep you hooked. But the virginal audience held on through the whole ride, through the poetry about life in a Rat’s A**, past the wild guitar solos, and even went along with the sing along crowd participation. In the end, they came out with a new appreciation for a genre they might not have even known existed. And they all seemed to have enjoyed the process.
After Johnny, came the other end of the spectrum. The fresh faced and upbeat to Johnny’s seasoned darkness. Bent Knee, based in Boston, MA, Bent Knee had its beginnings at Berklee College of Music. As their website describes them, they are a “genre-defying art-rock collective”. They’re young, enthusiastic, and ready to rock. Their tunes even got some people out of their seats and dancing. I think the thing I loved best about this band was just the raw energy they had on stage. From the guitar player who looked like he was about to leap off stage, to the female bass player rocking out, everyone on stage just seemed to be having a genuinely great time. Pair that with some great tunes, and who could resist?
To learn more about the event and see photos and videos, check out the Johnny Dowd Fan Club Blog!
Blog Bonus Feature:
I made my way over to the JD concert last night. The spring like weather brought out the multitudes so he had a packed audience. I tried to get up to the stage afterwards to say hello but he was surrounded by fans. The electric guitar sound was riveting, his lyrics, country eccentric. Thanks for the recommendation.
We LOVED the show: wanted more and more. I have all your CDs + book of poetry. I must check your site for new stuff, or T shirt, etc. There is no pigeon-holing you. AND you continue to creatively evolve. Amazing. Never know what you’re gonna come up with next. Maybe, someday, you’ll share w/ me how you do it. BTW: I would even love if u put out a whole CD of your poetry backed up by the appropriate, ambient weird loops. I could go on and on. Joyce and I sincerely loved the show. It was a great night for me, esp getting to meet my “songwriting/performer” idol. Thanks for a night I will never forget (unless I get Alzheimer’s). Go, Go, Johnny Go!