Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kupferberg Benefit

I mentioned the benefit concert for Tuli Kuperferberg a while back.

Here is the full-of-excellent-adjectives skinny from Ben Ratliff:
Mr. Reed, playing electric guitar, was the evening’s first musician onstage, joined by Laurie Anderson on violin, John Zorn on saxophone and Sarth Calhoun on live electronics.

It was a great, aggressive, brain-wiping opener: five minutes of dirty and focused free improvising, scrabbling and then finding tonal centers and scrabbling again. [Peter] Stampfel pointed in the other direction, light and cheery and acoustic.


Philip Glass played an almost boogie-woogie-like solo piano piece, while one of Harry Smith’s colorful abstract movies played on a screen.


Sonic Youth, minus the guitarist Lee Ranaldo, played two of its own songs, “Antenna” and “Massage the History,” without comment — a little cyclone of professionalism in the middle of a street protest.


You can’t hope for coherence in a three-and-a-half-hour benefit concert — by the way, three and a half hours is too long for almost anything — but this concert needed more direction to demonstrate Mr. Kupferberg’s continuing relevance. A succinct black-comedy routine on health care, for instance. A suitably aggressive version of his song “Kill for Peace.” Or the steadying presence of Mr. Kupferberg himself, who didn’t feel up to attending the event.

He did tape a 10-second video message thanking the audience, though, which was played on a screen. “Now go out there and have some fun,” he said, with a strange smile. “It may be later than you think.”

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