PHOTOS: URB Alt Fest 2010

Dearling02

Still recovering from all the music this past weekend.  I didn't see as much as I'd liked, but you know you can only do so much.  For example, I missed, both Oh My Goodness and MiLO.  And I'm bummed I missed Art Terry's set on Thursday night.  He's someone else I've been in touch with via the Internet, so it was good to finally meet him. Art also has an interesting story, much like Stew's which formed the basis for Passing Strange.  Originally from LA, he currently lives in London, where he does a cool Internet radio show is my man Yinka from Sabatta called Is Black Music?, which can be heard on ResonanceFM.com via this link.  It's on at 4PM PDT/7PM EDT/12midnight in the UK.

At Harlem School of the Arts, I came late and only caught Dearling Physique's performance.  This is a quartet out of Minneapolis, MN led by performance artist Domino (above).  He channels equal parts Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones and Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, all underscored by muscular beats and atmospheric effects.

At 92Y Tribeca, I did get to see Leila Adu perform with a full band.  That is, she had drums and bass.  This was a great experience, particularly having seen her do the solo thing last year.  Usually, when a singer-songwriter strips a song down to just voice and piano, it provides for more space around the song, and lets it breathe.  In Leila's case, she's dealing with such melodically dense concepts that the addition of the other instruments actually served to better ground me as a listener. Funny, but more instrumentation helped me hear the pieces as wholes. Sometimes when she goes solo piano, the piano threatens to take on a life of its own, so there's this piano thing happening and there's this vocal and lyric thing also happening.  The additional instruments help you experience her on a macro level.  And that's good, because what she's exploring is sonically compelling and adventurous.  Finally, it just may be the case that my ears are starting to hear the nuances in what Leila's doing.

Check out some shots from the URB Alt Fest:

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  • Renee

    man, I am so jealous. I wish there festivals that featured black rock artists on the West Coast :(