Rachel Fuller and a fantastic group of artists made their return to Joe’s Pub in NYC last Wednesday for yet another successful ATTIC JAM concert. Their last concert, which I reviewed here in September, felt like a well-kept (yet sold-out) secret. Well, after subsequent successful shows in locations including Chicago and Los Angeles, this show seemed more popular than ever. The energy in the room was unbelievable.
The concert was hosted by Rachel and Jimmy Fallon. The artists were:
Unfortunately, this time around, I wasn’t able to gather all the song titles that each artist performed. So before I get to the photos I took, I’ll just share a little bit about each performance.
Jimmy Fallon: Jimmy played a well-received, parody "We Are The World" type-song entitled "Car Wash For Peace." I was impressed at how well Jimmy did as co-MC for the evening. One thing I’ve always liked about Jimmy is that he never hides his enthusiasm around other performers. He comes across like a genuine fan. I spoke to him afterwards and he was extremely nice and down-to-earth.
Rachel Fuller: Rachel, as always, gave an exquisite performance. She’s the consummate performer: charismatic, beautiful, and unbelievably talented. She’s the glue that holds the show together, and I loved watching her proud beams as each artist came up and performed as part of her evening. Highlights for me were her cover of Joni Mitchell’s "Blue," and of The Who’s "Sunrise," with Pete on guitar. I remember when she first played "Sunrise" on her In The Attic webcast, and her performance has come so far since then – it’s become a song just perfect for her voice. You can buy her latest EP, Shine at Barnes & Noble or iTunes.
Mikey Cuthbert: Mike is a longtime friend of Rachel’s and a mainstay on her ITA webcasts and performances. He’s a fantastic singer-songwriter with a strong, pure voice – kinda like Simon Townshend’s, actually. The man has got unbelievable vocal and guitar chops, and my hope is that he’ll get a chance to expose more people in the U.S. to his music. Keep your fingers crossed for a song on Grey’s Anatomy or something. You can get his new EP here.
Martha Wainwright: Martha was making her second appearance at a NY ITA show, and was just as fantastic this time as she was back in September. She’s riveting. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She also happens to be unbelievably photogenic! She played a few brand-new songs with her talented bassist, as well as some I recognized from the previous show. Buy Martha’s album at Amazon or iTunes.
Pete Townshend: Pete never disappoints as a solo artist. In addition to playing guitar on "Sunrise," he performed a blistering "Drowned" and played three songs from the new album: "Endless Wire," "In The Ether" (Rachel on piano) and "God Speaks Of Marty Robbins." If you don’t want to go buy the new Who album, that’s fine, but you must hear "God Speaks Of Marty Robbins." It’s one of the most beautiful, gentle and touching songs he’s ever written. The song, sung from God’s perspective, is about how he can’t wait to finish his work so he can listen to the guitarwork of his favorite creation, Marty Robbins. Listen to a sample and buy on iTunes. Trust me. (When I have I steered you wrong?) (Don’t answer that.)
Sean Lennon: Sean, for me, was the big surprise of the night. I’ve never heard anything he’s done before, so I was a clean slate, walking in. He opened with a song called "Tomorrow" that blew me away. A beautiful voice, perfect jazzy chords, and sweet, touching lyrics. Just about every song he played just knocked me off my feet. I’ll be buying his new album, Friendly Fire, and I suggest you do too.
Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams may be a talented and prolific musician, and his songs were fine at the show, but in my opinion, ITA was not the right place for him. Whereas the show generally has a "community" feeling, with each artist inviting the others up on stage, joining in during the finale, etc, Ryan had no interest in any of it. He came out, didn’t say a word to the audience the entire time he was there, did his four songs, ducked off, didn’t join in during the finale, and apparently insisted on being lit only in red. I was completely irritated by his performance and most of the audience was as well. All I kept thinking was that we could have been seeing Simon Townshend perform instead. He came off as ungrateful and tortured. (Please note: this is not an open invitation to argue about him in the comments. I’m not talking about his talent, I’m talking about his attitude.)
Rachel’s final few songs, as well as an excellent finale by (almost) all the artists, brought the mood back up to a high level. The bunch performed their usual closer, "I’m One," with each artist taking a part of the vocal. Jimmy Fallon swung his mike, which elicited cheers and laughter (even from Roger Daltrey, who was in the audience). All in all, yet another unbelievable performance from all the artists at the jam. Can’t wait for the next NY one!
As usual, I took photos of the event:
Photos: Rachel Fuller Presents IN THE ATTIC JAM, 11/29/06
And here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!