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Monday, April 30, 2012

Girlyman in N.Y. 4-22-12

Third Sunday in Easter

On a rainy Sunday we visited a grad school professor of mine, Diane Mitchell and her husband Marko Gosar at their studio in YOHO, a wonderful cooperative gallery space in a converted prewar factory building in Yonkers, N.Y.  They work, sometimes collaboratively and other times on their own, in a variety of media.  In this show, they featured a number of panoramic prints from their travels in Europe and the Chesapeake Bay area.  Diane works predominately in digital art, and Marko is a photographer and printmaker, and also creates decorative textures for custom interior designs

After checking out some of the other art, we headed back into Manhattan for our first Girlyman concert in a while, at City Winery.  This is a fun venue if you pick your seat carefully and don't mind sharing a table with strangers.  You can have dinner during the show if you want to, but this time we hit Bubby's Pie Company beforehand instead.

The opener was new to us, a singer-songwriter named Edie Carey who is touring with Girlyman this time around.  Her banter between tracks was light-hearted and self-effacing, contrasting with a somewhat melancholy set.  A stand-out for me was "Lonely" off her 2006 collection Another Kind of Fire. She is definitely worth further exploration. 

Girlyman also brought a few guests, including cellist Julia Biber and Ingrid Elizabeth from Coyote Grace, whom we "discovered" when they opened for Girlyman in this same room last year.  Carey also joined them on a number of tracks.  Rather than a typical box-format, the foursome-plus were set up in a line right at the front of the stage.  I was happy because I love watching drummers ply their trade, and Girlyman's percussionist J.J. Jones was at our end of the stage, moving in a hypnotic dance with what seemed like eight limbs producing a wealth of sound.  Jones joined the band in 2010 after they were well-established (percussion used to be a shared task with Ty Greenstein frequently playing the djembe) and I was a little bit concerned about the effect the shift would have in their sound.  Luckily it was for naught; Jones complements the others without giving the band an outright rock feel.  On this tour Nate Borofsky introduced a keyboard to the line-up, producing some effects that were previously only included in studio versions of their songs.

Maybe it was the weather but Girlyman's set was also a little downbeat, dipping heavily into their newest release Supernova.  This offering was shaped in part by band member Doris Muramatsu's recent experience with leukemia (she's in remission, thankfully) which she relays in the title track.  Towards the end they brightened things up a bit, including their tribute to the Andrews Sisters, "My Eyes Get Misty" and Greenstein's rallying cry to tomboys everywhere, "Young James Dean".

The band's rapport with its NYC audience remains strong despite moving from Brooklyn to Atlanta and signing with Indigo Girl Amy Ray's Daemon Records.  The crowd hollered out requests and laughed knowingly at the inside jokes between songs.  I was glad to see that they haven't forgotten about us amidst their success; after a stint in Europe they will be back for a show in Brooklyn in July.  Check them out if you can.

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