Morrissey, Roberta Flack and Purity Ring Play New York
Wednesday, January 9
Midge Ure has enjoyed a varied music career as a singer and songwriter. He's best known for his work with UK's atmospheric synth poppers Ultravox. Remember his soaring falsetto on their noirish 1981 hit "Vienna"? Ure was also in synth pop outfit Visage ("Fade To Grey"), punk rockers The Rich Kids (with Sex Pistol bassist Glen Matlock) and Irish rockers Thin Lizzy. In 1984, Ure co-wrote the Band Aid hit, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" with Bob Geldof and enjoyed a string of hits throughout the '80s in the UK, Europe and Australia including the chart topping single "If I Was". At Iridium.
Thursday, January 10
New Yorker Janis Ian enjoyed two huge hits in the late '60s and '70s with her delicate, yet probing introspective folk pop. At 15 she was thrust into the spotlight when Leonard Bernstein featured her meditation on interracial romance "Society's Child, (Baby I've Been Thinking") on a television special, creating a furore with it's taboo subject matter. It was eight years until she hit the charts again with the groundbreaking hit single "At Seventeen". Ian's most successful recording, the song is a commentary on adolescent cruelty and teenage angst, as reflected upon from the maturity of adulthood. At City Winery.
Friday, January 11
As lead singer of The Smiths (1982-'87), Morrissey established a reputation as a gifted lyricist and singer, a reputation that has only been enhanced over the course of nine sometimes inspired solo albums beginning in 1988 with "Viva Hate" and bookended by 2009's "Years Of Refusal". A handsome and iconic stylist to a generation, Morrissey has maintained the stature of an independently minded outsider in the music industry even while racking up millions in sales. Each of his solo albums have been top 10 hits in the UK, while Stateside, only his solo debut "Viva Hate" and a greatest hits collection have been awarded Gold Status. At BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House.
Also tonight: The peaceful synth tones of young rising stars Purity Ring will fill Webster Hall tonight. Purity Ring is a Montreal-based duo comprised of Corin Roddick and Megan James - they make lullabies for the club, drawing equally from 90s R&B, dream pop, and the bone-rattling immediacy of modern hip hop.
Saturday, January 12
Roberta Flack enjoyed a string of massive hit singles in the early 70's winning the Grammy Record of the Year in 1972 & 1973, the only artist, alongside U2 to win the award in consecutive years. Flack was classically trained on the piano, and received a music scholarship at 15. Discovered while singing at the DC nightclub Mr. Henry's by jazz musician Les McCann, she was promptly signed to Atlantic Records, but it was only after Clint Eastwood chose "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" from her debut album "First Take" for the sound track of his directorial debut "Play Misty for Me" that her career really took off. The song became the biggest hit of the year for 1972 - spending six consecutive weeks at number 1 - earning Flack a million-selling gold disc. Her most recent album is "Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings the Beatles". At St George Theatre, Staten Island.
Sunday, January 13
globalFEST celebrates its 10th year tonight at Webster Hall. Continuing its commitment to supporting artists from the Gulf Coast region since Hurricane Katrina, globalFEST has added the Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans. Also on the bill is Fatoumata Diawara - the latest strong female Wassalou voice to emerge from Mali and Mucca Pazza, a marching band that thinks it’s a rock ‘n roll band and many many others. Read about the other artists on the bill here.
Monday, January 14
Les Paul's legacy continues at Iridium with Les Paul Mondays. Les Paul was an American jazz, country and blues guitarist, songwriter and inventor - one of the pioneers of the electric guitar (which made the sound of rock and roll possible). Paul also enjoyed a string of hit singles in the '40s, '50s and '60s. Beginning in 1995 and continuing until his death at the age of 94 in 2009, Paul played Monday nights at the Iridium with his trio. The Iridium continues to present Les Paul Mondays in tribute, and occasionally iconic guitarists such as Jeff Beck, Steve Miller and Ted Nugent join the party. The Iridium also donates 20% of ticket sales every Monday to The Les Paul Foundation, which supports music education, engineering and innovation as well as medical research.
Tuesday, January 15
Southern rock pioneers Lynyrd Skynyrd, authors of such classic rock standards such as "Sweet Home Alabama" & "Free Bird", have endured some tough stretches since their formation in the mid '60s. Three members, including singer Ronnie Van Zant, died in an airplane crash in 1977 after the band played a concert in South Carolina. A decade after the crash, Lynyrd Skynyrd reunited for a full-scale tour with five members of the pre-crash band: crash survivors Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle, along with guitarist Ed King, who had left the band two years before the crash. Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother, Johnny, took over as the new lead singer and primary songwriter. Nine albums have been released since then, though none have recaptured the heady success enjoyed by the original lineup. At the Beacon Theatre.