Friday, September 23, 2005


So much of my life here at the moment is a recce and as yet, I have few reference points. It’s a huge new playground, and even if I know the names of the games, I can’t always be sure that the rules are the same.

So it transpired that Spirit was rather more spiritual than spirited and the evening bore a remarkable resemblance to London’s Whirl-Y-Gig club nights (unfortunately minus the parachute), with an abundance of didgeridoo-brandishing bare-chested hippies (not quite the ‘hunk mania’ I’d been expecting), long-haired flower-powered girls in white with babies strapped to their chests and free condom stalls. Hell, we even saw another mixed-race couple (a rarity in New York). The dress-code was obviously tie-dye and bare feet. (Now why didn’t they just SAY that on the phone. I can DO that).

We arrived at 7.30pm, which is when the gig was advertised to start, hoping to blag some seats. No seats at all, unless you’re a VIP (oh happy days long gone…), a DJ till 9pm, a long intro by the sponsors (Lonely Planet), and then about 6 support bands. Drinks extremely expensive and not a morsel of food in sight. Patience (and soles of non-sports shoes) therefore wearing a bit thin by the time Franti actually played, which was around 11pm.

Although advertised as an acoustic gig, everyone was plugged in big time into what was a seriously good sound system, but at times the volume was bordering on painful. It appears that ‘acoustic’ has now come to mean exactly the same as ‘unplugged’ i.e. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how amplified the sound is, but merely signifies fewer musicians who all have to be sitting down

Franti was nevertheless superb and as charismatic as ever. The set was much more relaxed than a full-on ‘Spearhead’ gig and totally focused on his provocative voice and provoking lyrics. The love-in audience sang along and gently volley-balled plastic blow-up globes across the room at each other. Sweet.
And next time I'll know........

Executive summary: Michael Franti gig
Live Music: Amy KohnMo Pitkins NY


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