Posted by: TomA | 5 June 2007

Day 36: New York

We arrive in New York just in time to greet the tropical storm that’s arrived. A long bus ride from La Guardia sees the skies ever darkening, until our bus driver 15 blocks short of where we believed he was supposed to (and can then only utter “End of the line” to anything said in his direction), just as the heavens opened.

Having quickly checked into our hostel, damp, we headed out to the World Financial Center for the tail end of a 26 hour experimental music marathon, Bang On A Can. We’d already missed performances by The Books, Dälek, Clogs and Juana Molina, as well as performances of pieces by Steve Reich, Thurston Moore and Brian Eno, amongst many many others. We were in time to see a great piece by Don Byron (of whom I need to explore further – I enjoyed the contrast of harsh, overdriven electric guitar and the unpredictable woodwind parts – possibly the most exciting piece of music I’ve heard on my travels for a while…) and a seriously impressive quartet of drummers performing a couple of songs by Julia Wolfe (entitled Full Dark Ride). Yo La Tengo later on were underwhelming but thoroughly pleasant, while David Lang’s closing piece (with the accompanying film footage of a 1920s New York) entirely hypnotic during the 30 or so minutes we stayed.

On a side note, it seems several of the clubs that used to put on avant-garde and experimental music in New York seem to have closed in the last month or two, which is a real shame as I was looking forward to exploring a bit further. Fingers crossed I’ll find something to satisfy…

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