Heart of the Beast with Pere Ubu

 

 

The show was about as well matched with an opening act as you could imagine—the rare appearance in these parts of Johnny Dowd, an authentic outsider voice in his own right, doing his own idiosyncratic  thing.

Raised in Texas and Oklahoma, living for decades in Ithaca, NY, he’s

created a bunch of weird spoken word, warped country, and neo-blues recordings that have lately been accompanied by the incongruous sounds of a drum

machine. Like Jim White (with whom he once formed a band a decade ago, Hellwood), he blends absurdist spoken word poetry and unexpected music for something that like Ubu, is in the tradition of Beat poets, jazz hipsters, and street corner savants.

Rather than being menacing as Thomas was capable of being, Dowd, 69, was goodnatured and laughed along with the absurdity, allowing his guitarist Mike Edmondson to begin with an a cappella Joe Walsh, “Life’s Been Good” (when clearly his life as a rock figure has been something else) before the sudden jolt of “I Crawled Up the Rat’s Ass.”

As in the handmade poetry books he sold on site, he could come up with sharp lines that stood out. He pretended to be a funk god as “The White Dolomite,” and deconstructed “Freddy’s Dead” for his own purposes. He and Edmondson almost seemed more interested in telling the dumb jokes between songs.

They even made fun of the hopelessly dated disco-era drum machine that backed most of the songs, suggesting we “give the drummer some.” But they won over the crowd enough to have them sing along to “I love the bright lights of Washington, DC; I wanna be a star like Conway Twitty.”

He ended the semi-sincere a cappella of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” before rocking out with a version of it, encouraging a gesture that  contrasted mightily with the headliner’s scowl.

 – Oringinal article by Roger Catlin, photos by Richie Downs

 

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Then it’s the PEre Ubu show and merch sales. Only thing lost on this trip: Johnny’s moustache. It was one snoop too many.

A quick shout out to  Franks Diner, latest of the fine diner finds on the road with Johnny Dowd.

Live @PorchFest

John,Mike and Anna reunite to rock the neighborhood during PorchFest this week. at 304 E Marshall St.

Previous years:

PorchFest 2016

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PorchFest 2015

Johnny Dowd and The Sex Robots

“Dowd has dusted off the same drum machine that was the bedrock of 1997 debut Wrong Side of Memphis, concocting tart rhythms and overlaying them with distorted bursts of guitar and busy electronica.”- Uncut Magazine

2014

Additionally, Anna Coogan will be hosting three collaborative efforts on her porch (and handing out cupcakes!). The first set will feature Mary Lorsen performing old favorites and new songs from her new autobiographical theatrical project. Anna will sit in with her and possibly a visit from one or more Soubrettes. Then, Johnny Dowd takes the stage with a set that, in his own words, “won’t be for the faint of heart.” Anna’s hosting wraps up with her own project with Willy B. and Johnny Dowd that will feature songs from her upcoming CD “Anna Coogan & JD Foster: The Birth of the Stars” (CD Release November 15th). And, if you happen to wander by around 1pm, you might catch some vocal warmups with Anna and her students.

Live @ The Silver Line Fri. 8/25 8pm

Friday at the Silver Line Tap Room: 

One of Ithaca’s true legends, Johnny Dowd settled in town in the ‘70s and never looked back, creating a body of work, varied, progressive and sharp. His music ranges from open and free alternative country, to post punk, to wild experimental density. His newest album “Execute American Folklore” is bold and individualistic, with jaunts into electronic alt-rock, funk rage and avant-garde folk rock.

Live @ Casita del Polaris with Park Doing

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The Muggles Bros at Casita with Park Doing

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Cosmic Jokers @ Summer Concert Series

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Just like it wouldn’t be the 4th of July without fireworks, it wouldn’t be a tribute to Ithaca music without Johnny Dowd! Teaming up with family members and bandmates from Neon Baptist to the present including Michael EdmondsonJennifer Edmondson, and Ben Vanderberg to bring us songs by Bobby Comstock and the Counts, The Trailer Parks, King Harvest, and a couple of surprises.

Mike shares, “We’ve chosen a pretty mixed bag even going back to the Ithaca of the 1950s. A lot of local folks may not know about Ithaca’s own Bobby Comstock and The Counts. They were trailblazers and super hip in the early Rock and Roll days.”

Something old, something new, in Downtown Ithaca concert series

July 4, 2017 by Rachel Cera in 14850 Magazine

Something new this week for the CFCU Summer Concert Series in Downtown Ithaca. This Thursday features local musicians covering the classic music of local musicians! The “We’ve Got You Covered” show is hosted by the Cosmic Joke Collective.

CJC organizer Mickie Quinn says the collaborative live performance series, with monthly events upstairs at Lot 10, is an Ithaca outcropping of a monthly artists’ salon formed in New York City in 1999. It’s been running at the downtown bar for nearly three years. Last month, a series of Cosmic Joke Collective performers covered the entire “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”to mark the album’s 50th anniversary.

A concert at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Downtown Ithaca Commons. 14850 file photo.
This time around, CJC performers like Johnny Dowd, Jennifer Edmonson, Jennie Lowe, Vee Da Bee, Chris Bedell, Jen Cork, McKenzie Jones, Mandy Goldman, Samuel B. Lupowitz, and Dan Collins will be playing a musical tribute to other local musicians!

The free show is Thursday, July 6 at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Ithaca Commons from 6-8pm as part of the CFCU-sponsored concert series organized by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. As always, beer and wine will be available for sale with ID, and if you buy a reusable cup for a buck, or buy a refill in your reusable cup, you’ll get a ticket in a drawing for a CFCU gift card at the end of the summer.

Which classic tunes from local musicians will be featured in the “We’ve Got You Covered” show? No one’s saying! Better come check it out.

Reflections on Johnny by Martin Bedford

Two of the best Johnny Dowd posters ever made.

And you can have one…

…from Martin Bedford

Johnny Dowd supporting My Darling Clementine @The Dock

– HCTF reviews Execute American Folklore

 

Live @ The Dock with My Darling Clementine


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JOHNNY DOWD

Johnny Dowd (born March 29, 1948 in Fort Worth, Texas) is an American alternative country musician. Typical of his style are experimental, noisy breaks in his songs and strong gothic (in the sense of dark and gloomy) elements in the lyrics as well as in the music. There is also a strong undercurrent of black humor and the absurd in his work.

He currently resides in Ithaca, NY.

Although his early albums were most celebrated in the alternative country community, he has never quite fit into any particular genre.

The Dock: Tickets here

 

Live @The Silver Line Tap Room

Johnny Dowd is back at The Line! Come join us for a great night of Alternative Americana and Rock and Roll with this internationally acclaimed local super star!

 

Johnny Dowd, one of a kind leftfield trashcan Americana artist, has a show at The Silver Line in Trumansburg, NY on April 7th. He will introduce his new band The Love Munchkins. Show starts at 8pm.

 – Here Comes the Flood

 

– photo by Kat Dalton

 

 

 

 

Live at The Bunker Elwood City PA 3/11 6:30pm

 

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Johnny Dowd is an American alternative country musician from Ithaca, New York. Typical of his style are experimental, noisy breaks in his songs and strong gothic (in the sense of dark and gloomy) elements in the lyrics as well as in the music. There is also a strong undercurrent of black humor and the absurd in his work.

We have previously only seen Johnny Dowd at the Fingerlakes Grassroots Music Festival in New York, & we are looking forward to welcoming him to The Bunker for what will be a rare and exciting opportunity to see this audacious, rockabilly-punk, poet-songster in an intimate house concert format. He will be accompanied by his former Neon Baptist bandmate, Mike Edmondson, on keyboards.

“Sometimes music shouldn’t be easy, and instead should be mysterious, idiosyncratic and the work of a true maverick. So we should welcome the arrival of a new Johnny Dowd album. . . . Never a man to run from the truth, if there was any justice, this guy would be a legend.“ — Acoustic Magazine (UK)

“Gonzo hell-bound music from a true original.”­ —Andy Fyfe, Q Magazine

Details: 848 Walnut Drive., Ellwood City, PA
Doors open at 6:30 for a pot luck dinner (food contributions are welcome but not mandatory) followed by music at 8 pm
BYOB

Donations will be collected – $20 per person is suggested, but feel free to give more 🙂 100% of your donation goes to the band…Your support of live music is appreciated!

*Please help to spread the word about this event by inviting your music-loving friends!!

Hope to see you on March 11!
The Klines

COMMENTS:

Yay, it’s Johnny Dowd Day!
This is THE DAY… the day that Johnny Dowd comes to Ellwood City, specifically to our DEAR friends the Kline‘s house… their basement, aka The Bunker.
It’s a little chilly today but the roads are clear and dry with no precip in the forecast… and the environment in The Bunker is climate controlled… in the best ways possible, WARM and LOVING. This will fill your soul, with the best food, companionship and MUSIC/POETRY you could hope for.
Please come join us, you may never have another chance to experience anything like this!
JOHNNY Dowd!!

Larry Franklin

— 02/03/2017 20:15
We haven’t seen Johnny Dowd in several years, mainly because we haven’t been to Ithaca, NY, where we have always seen him perform. Nor have we his last couple of albums, which we *will* remedy next weekend. We do have most of his previous remarkable recordings… but there is just nothing like seeing and feeling him live and in person, it is a *very* unique experience. A vibe like I have experienced nowhere else. He’s very popular in Europe but not so much in The States, which I personally see as tragic. We first saw him fronting Neon Baptist at the first Great Blue Heron Festival. Anyone who knows us knows that our favorite band, next to The Grateful Dead, is Donna The Buffalo… Donna played several times each day at the first Great Blue Heron Fest, and we did immediately fall in Love with them, but I can’t honestly say that I remember very much of their sets from that festival… what they played, etc… but I do remember every second of that mind-blowing Neon Baptist set. We have seen Mr Dowd at every chance since then, even forgoing the Saturday night Donna The Buffalo sets at their home base festival, the Fingerlakes Grassroots Fest, just outside of Ithaca, where he is usually scheduled opposite them on another stage. And each and every time has been well worth it, I remember every set of his we have ever seen, even the most highly intoxicated ones. 🙂 We have made several trips all the way to Ithaca just to see him perform. Now I suppose he is an acquired taste, he is “different,” he is dark, and he is Pure Art. IMHO. Not “pretty” art, high art… dark high art to the extreme. Johnny Dowd has been compared to Nick Cave… probably because he is so dark. Johnny Dowd has been compared to Captain Beefheart… probably because of the unique ways he uses words and sound. Johnny Dowd has been compared to Tom Waits… I myself do that often when talking about him… because of his artistic sensibilities, temperament and taste. But he is just unique, and incomparable. As far as I know he hasn’t performed in the Pittsburgh area before, which makes next week’s show at Kline’s basement, The Bunker, a premiere of sorts. Do yourself a favor. Take a chance. We are *extremely* excited that he’s coming here to Ellwood City and we hope that all the wonderful open-minded music fans who frequent this fine venue, and YOU, join us and thoroughly enjoy this… character. You have never seen/experienced anything like it. Check out some of these You Tube videos, open your mind, and fasten your seat belt….

Gary Johnson

— 02/03/2017 20:15
I live in Cincinnati. If it wasn’t for a work commitment on March 11, I would drive the 300 miles to Ellwood City for this show. That’s how much I appreciate Johnny Dowd’s music. You fans of adventurous music in Ellwood City or places closer to it than Cincinnati owe to yourselves to attend. Johnny takes various musical elements and twists them into his own unique musical vision. On top of that, he is a very engaging performer with a fine sense of humor. See him if you can!

Larry Franklin

— 03/03/2017 17:32
Hey kids… can’t beat a recommendation like this… thanks, Gary!: “Gary Johnson: I live in Cincinnati. If it wasn’t for a work commitment on March 11, I would drive the 300 miles to Ellwood City for this show. That’s how much I appreciate Johnny Dowd’s music. You folks of adventurous music in Ellwood City or places closer to it than Cincinnati owe to yourselves to attend. Johnny takes various musical elements and twists them into his own unique musical vision. On top of that, he is a very engaging performer with a fine sense of humor. See him if you can!”

Judy Cs

— 03/03/2017 17:32
Gary Johnson, he’s playing a house concert in Buffalo the evening before. PM me for details if you’re not working.
Judy Cs
— 02/03/2017 18:29
quirk·y ˈkwərkē/ adjective characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits. “their sense of humor was decidedly quirky” synonyms: eccentric, idiosyncratic, unconventional, unorthodox, unusual, strange, bizarre, peculiar, odd, outlandish, zany… Johnny Dowd, poet first, and musician, is an acquired taste. Do yourself a favor and acquire that taste. Check out this video from his European tour:

Larry Franklin

— 26/02/2017 22:57
I’ve mentioned before that Mr Dowd is much more popular in Europe than he is here, particularly in Sweden, Germany & The Netherlands… here’s a nice little article about him:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/5852ea02-04f4-49a9-ab8a-40555ac4c1d5

Susan Chikalla

— 23/02/2017 17:52
I’ll be in Wisconsin visiting family that weekend. Have a great time!!! Thanks for the invitation.
Milton Donald
— 23/02/2017 14:53
I hope folks int he Bunker will be prepared for something “different”. 🙂
Larry Franklin
— 23/02/2017 14:53
– this is going to be interesting. Most of Kline’s patrons aren’t very familiar with most of the bands they’ve had there but they’ve been very receptive. And positive. Of course most of the bands have been more acoustic, and many Dead-related. They have no idea what they’re in for! He will be by far the edgiest music they’ve had (it’s a pretty progressive town music-wise… I’m telling folks to think Tom Waits only edgier & darker) and by far the darkest. But, hey, WE know how good he is, let’s just hope minds stay open. I hope to get some of his music posted before the show so folks will have an idea what to expect (suggestions welcomed!), but I’m extremely busy and more than a little sick right now, so I’m not thinking clearly at all… we’ll get on that asap! 🙂
Milton Donald
— 23/02/2017 14:52
Been wanting to get to a Bunker show since you started. Maybe I’ll be able too make this one. Melissa has been wanting to visit Pittsburgh. I could warm up the stage with my song called… “Johnny Dowd”. Would be great to see y’all.
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