January 21, 2002 Every month, NY Rock columnist Bill Ribas digs through piles upon piles of CDs to select 15 for review in Street Beat. This year, Wild Bill picked Sam Bisbee's album Vehicle as his number one for 2001. When you consider how many CDs this man hears annually, well, I'd be foolish to miss the top of the Street Beat heap. So on Thursday, January 10, 2002, I gladly ventured out to the Mercury Lounge to hear the winner of the 2001 Street Beat Royal Rumble, Sam Bisbee.
En route to the Mercury Lounge, I saw Bisbee walk into a quikie mart to buy some pens. I thought he was cutting it close, being that he was supposed to go on in a half hour. But then I remembered that the Mercury Lounge and every other club in New York City never adheres to its schedule. Joke's on me, yet again.
An hour or so later, Bisbee and his band (David Wike, Dan Green, and Peter Adams) geared up to play to a comfortably crowded audience. A quick glance at the many faces told me that this gathering of bodies was like a block and a half of the Upper East Side transplanted to the Lower East Side. The gin & tonics are on me tonight, kids! Bohemia rules!
Getting down to business. Sam Bisbee looks like a graduate student. It was in his conservative haircut, large forehead (covering an overachieving brain, I bet), thickly framed glasses, and chipper yet aloof demeanor. As he tuned his black and white Fender, I noticed that Bisbee's drummer alarmingly resembled Rocky Balboa (he even had the headband).
No, really. Getting down to business. Bisbee's dainty, boppy music swirled together sensitivity and introspective queries. But his performance didn't drown in sappy misery. The guy's got some life to him. He couldn't stand still he loosely bobbed his whole body up and down like an impatient child. As the tempo picked up, Bisbee looked like he was running in place. "Can you put me back together?" he sang, and immediately, I thought of Thom Yorke and Coldplay's Chris Martin. (You know you did, too.) Like those guys, Bisbee can hit the high notes and flutter his pitch all pretty-like. Yet, every song he played reminded me, in one way or another, of Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al." The music was sweet; it skipped along with good nature and a slight grin on its face. People in the audience ate it up. Some got noticeably excited when they heard the opening chords of their favorite Bisbee song.
The preppy hipsters even put down their beers so they could be free to dance around with each other.
Bisbee dedicated "Cubicle Love Song" to the Bloomberg administration, and sent them his best wishes for a positive term. There wasn't an atom of sarcasm in his voice. Think of Sam Bisbee as a public advocate for goodness. The man exudes it.
And now, here's a little preview for next month's NY Rock Confidential. NYRock is heading to Brooklyn for the NY Metropolis Music Festival which takes place February 14 - 17 at various venues. Bands include Luna, Clem Snide, Mink Lungs, the Moldy Peaches, and the Reid Paley Trio.
Send this page to a friend Join our mailing list Classified ads
More NY Rock Confidential Installments:
by Jeanne Fury:
Dec. '01: El Vez and Tammy Faye Starlite
Nov. '01: Tracy and the Plastics, Crowns on 45
Oct. '01: Reid Paley
Sept. '01: Ladyfest East
Aug. '01: Betty Blowtorch and Candy Ass
Jul. '01: Porcupine Tree
May '01: Ladyfest East Benefit, the Bellrays and the Greenhornes
Apr. '01: She-Rock-O-Rama, Blast Furnace
Mar. '01: Babe the Blue Ox, the Gossip, Knoxville Girls, White Stripes
Feb. '01: Sarah Dougher, Glen Phillips and John Mayer
Jan. '01: Melissa Ferrick
Dec. '00: Joy Askew
Nov. '00: Natasha and the MGB
Oct. '00: Heather Eatman
Aug. '00: Miracle of '86, Ultimate Fakebook, Sit n' Spin
July '00: Chickfest 2000
by Mistress Persephone:
Apr '00: Joan Jett and Reverend Horton Heat
Feb '00: Elvis tribute at the Continental featuring Mr. Monster, Needlehead, X-Possibles
Dec '99: The Serpenteens
Oct '99: Misfits
by Miss Adena:
Aug '99: Cabaret
July '99: Ancel and the Electric Church
June '99: Tuuli from Toronto rocks CBGB
May '99: The Rise and Fall of Bikini Contest
by Didi Delicious:
01/11/99: the Velvet Mafia
12/04/98: the Misfits
10/19/98: Didi interviews DJ Chumley and DJ Quick
09/01/98: Hellfire '98 (benefit for NY Underground Film Festival) featuring Double Dong and Go-Go Pup
07/28/98: Mad Daddys, Nina Hagen, Blondie
06/04/98: the first annual New York City Tattoo Convention
05/02/98: Didi's S&M Special with Flesh Fetish
03/28/98: No More Tears and Soft Parade
02/27/98: Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach, Mick Rock, Lenny Kaye, ex-Foreigner Mick Jones, ex-Hanoi Rocks Michael Monroe, the new Max's Kansas City, Joy Ryder, Misstress Formika
01/30/98: King Norris, Karen Black, more
12/26/97: Ramones, The Dictators, The Undead, more
11/29/97-12/11/97: Sexus, Princess Superstar, more
09/19/97-10/26/97: Blowtop, Crazy Raymond & the Watchdogs, more
05/21/97-08/17/97: Toilet Boys, Nashville Pussy, Turbo A.C.s, Waldos, Sisters Grimm, The Independents, more
01/18/97-03/30/97: Sea Monster, Speed McQueen, Bombshell, Dee Dee Ramone, Jayne County, more
09/19/96-12/19/96: Coyote Shivers, The Living Daylights, more
07/23/96-09/09/96: Electric Frankenstein, The Wild Bunch, more
Visit our friends at NY Waste!