Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light at Joe’s Pub April 2014
New York’s favorite import is back to stay! Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas) is back on our soil and at a sold out show at Joe’s Pub on April 25, 2014 in New York, he gave the crowd many reasons to believe in hope (excuse the pun).
He began the show by performing his upcoming album “Life Is Easy” in full on piano. The record will be released in July 2014 and like his debut album, “Make Me Believe in Hope,” the songs deal with love, despair and and gratitude. Rod’s voice is like a little slice of heaven with ridiculously catchy pop hooks that will make you want to get yourself to the nearest dance-floor immediately. The first single is called “I Wish We Were Leaving” and it features guest vocals from Sir Elton John, whom Rod will be touring with in Europe in June and July 2014.
Rod Thomas mentioned that he can officially call Brooklyn his permanent home (on behalf of New York, welcome to the neighborhood, Rod!) and he is working with another beloved Brookylnite, Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters on the second Slo Knights album, which will hopefully see release later on in 2014.
During the encore, while he played the crowd favorite “Immature” off his first record, he mentioned that if you pre-order “Life Is Easy” on his official website, you will get a digital copy of the audio from the Joe’s Pub show! I was at the show and it was a night to remember, so make sure you order your copy and spread the word!
The tracklist for “Life Is Easy” (released in July 2014) is:
1. Everything I Ever Wanted
2. There Are No Miracles
3. I Wish We Were Leaving (with Elton John)
4. An Open Heart
5. Good Luck
6. I Believe
7. Lust For Life
8. More Than Most
9. In Your Care
10. Too Much
If you’ve ever read this site before (and if so, you are my hero – THANKS!), you know that I am crazy for Joey Arias. Joey keeps alive the part of New York that only exists in vintage photos and recollections of “the good old days” before New York became gentrified, when creative expression was much more important than the financial bottom line that everything seems to be reduced to these days. Aside from Prince, I’ve probably seen Joey Arias perform more than anyone else, and no matter how many times I see him, I always leave his shows inspired and with a huge smile on my face. He socks it to you with a great voice, stunning costumes and with comedic delivery that makes you come back for more.
Joey Arias and Sven Ratzke
Seeing Joey on his own is well worth the admission price, but sweetening the pot is the fact that for 2 special shows (April 20 and April 27, 2014, respectively) German/Dutch cabaret star Sven Ratzke (along with his fabulously talented piano player Charly Zestru) are also on the bill.
Before the night is over, prepare to be wowed by Ratzke’s amazing voice, prepare to laugh your butt off with Sven and Joey as they ad-lib with the crowd and most importantly, they will seduce you with their voices – and it’s likely you’ll hear songs like “You’ve Changed,” “Windmills of Your Mind,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” “God Bless The Child,” “Perfect Day” and as you are about to see, “Alabama Song.”
Just press play!
Thanks to Joey, Sven and Charly for a fabulous night! If you’re a fan of the site, you already know that my night didn’t even there, however. The night reached the crescendo when I chatted with the stars of the show at its conclusion, who are just as amazing off stage as they are on.
Charly Zastru, Sven Ratzke, Geoffrey Dicker, Joey Arias. Photo taken by a complete stranger.
Thanks again Charly, Sven and Joey. I heart you!!!
US fans of Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light got a special treat at his show on April 5, 2013 at Joe’s Pub in New York as he performed with a full band. Rod’s played here a few times with just himself and a piano, and those shows were great as they really focused on his amazing voice, but hearing his songs with their delicious dance beats is the proper way these songs are meant to be heard.
Bright Light x2 at Joe’s Pub
Backed with a drummer, a keyboard player and 3 background vocalists, Bright Light Bright Light’s hour long show featured his signature dance floor break up/love songs “Waiting For The Feeling,” “Feel It” and my favorite, “Love Part II.” In between songs, he mentioned how happy he was to be playing for us. While his lyrics deal sometimes with heartbreak, there was nothing but love at Joe’s Pub.
Bright Light x2 and Del Marquis at Joe’s Pub
For the song “Cry at Films,” Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters sang guest vocals as he does on the album version. Rumour has it that Bright Light Bright Light has relocated to New York, which means we can expect many more performances to come, so make sure you stay connected. Thanks for a great night BLBL!
Every time I see Joey Arias perform, it reassures me that I made the right decision to move to New York. We live in a world of cookie cutter entertainment these days, so when you have the chance to see a treasure like Joey Arias perform, it’s an opportunity that should not be squandered. I saw Joey Arias perform exactly one month ago to the day and in that time, Joey has learned a new show and took this particular show on a brief West Coast tour culminating in the final sold out date at Joe’s Pub on March 10, 2013. This show is entitled “Lightning Strikes” and is performed with singer/songwriter Kristian Hoffman who, along with Joey Arias, collaborated with Klaus Nomi.
Kristian Hoffman (2nd from left) and Joey Arias’ Band
In the nearly 2 hour show, Joey performed many of Klaus Nomi’s songs including the very hard to sing “Nomi Song,” “Simple Man,” “Total Eclipse” and “Lightning Strikes.” But it didn’t stop there, Joey also performed a new song called “Sex is Beautiful,” as well as dramatically different than the original interpretations of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?,” Cream’s “White Room” and “You’ve Changed,” where Joey channels the late great Billie Holiday to the point where if you closed your eyes, you’d think Billie was on the microphone singing.
The intimacy of Joey Arias’ performances make you think he was performing in your living room as he talks to the crowd and gets everyone involved whether you get flirted with or he walks through the audience and hands you the microphone to contribute background vocals. New York downtown scene royalty were in the audience last night including Penny Arcade, Isengart and promoter Earl Dax and all of us witnessed the funniest moment of the night when Joey Arias asked a quite young audience member how big his dick was. One thing lead to another and the next thing you knew, the young man was on stage and Joey dropped his pants to the ground, stuck his microphone inside the guy’s pants and finished off the song on his knees (see photo below).
Joey Arias having fun with an audience member
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, performers like Joey Arias are a rare commodity these days and really need to be celebrated. There is no lip-synching. There is no pre-recorded music. The shows performed are not carbon copies of each other. Instead, what you get is pure entertainment where anything could happen (and it always does – just see above photo!) and it puts to shame so many alleged A-listers who don’t have a fraction of the talent that Joey Arias possesses. Joey mentioned that he’ll be back in May at Joe’s Pub so if you want to experience what “old New York in the modern world” is all about, you will not miss this show! Thanks again to Joey Arias and his band for another brilliant night!
I recently discovered the work of monologist Mike Daisey. A few weeks ago, the goddess of everything cool, Aphrodite in New York and I checked out Mike Daisey’s show that dealt with writer/philosopher Ayn Rand (ingeniously entitled “Fucking Fucking Fucking Ayn Rand”) and basically why anyone that worships her work is limited in their thinking. I could never explain as eloquently (or as humorously) as Mike Daisey described her devotees, but basically I walked away from that performance (with my sides hurting from laughing) with the realization that if at all possible, you should steer clear of “Fountainhead” toting Ayn Rand die-hards because they have no idea what the fuck they are talking about in regards to spiritually or possibly about life in general.
Needless to say, it’s been on my must list to see Mike Daisey do another monologue. Luckily for all of us, Mike Daisey works extremely fast and has put together a series of different shows that he’ll be performing weekly at Joe’s Pub in New York for the entire month of March 2013. Please note, these shows sell out extremely quickly, so get on it if you don’t want to miss out! On February 26, 2013, Daisey performed “Faster Better Social,” which dealt with technology and an extremely spot on analysis of human behavior interacting with it and with each other as a result of advances in technology.
To summarize, Daisey basically said that technology has both saved and ruined the world. The amazing things that can happen because of technology are mind blowing but at the price of losing out on basic human interaction. He talked about how we as humans create problems and then try to solve them, but the definition of a “problem” is different to everyone so the priority list is completely fucked up. When you add corporate profit and human laziness (“let’s complain instead of solve”) into that mix, nobody should be surprised at how bad things have gotten.
There were also countless ‘spot-on’ descriptions of human behavior and the some of the limitations of technology. For example, he talked about Facebook and how we all love getting our instant gratification by posting on there, but we secretly wish people would just shut the fuck up with their commentary and just boost our numbers as we secretly all wish we had the balls to delete some of our followers anonymously so as not to hurt their feelings. As a side note, not realizing the subject matter of the evening’s show, but clearly having my finger on the pulse (as you obviously already know from reading my kick ass blog daily), I asked my Facebook followers “If you knew in advance you weren’t going to get a reaction to things you post on Facebook, would you still post them anyway?”
He also discussed the upcoming software “Google Glass” and how it sounds completely ridiculous at present moment, but most likely will become a device none of us will ever be able to live without in the future. For those that do not know, it’s designed for all of us that do not have the will power to put down our smart phones. With this device, you will basically have a little screen attached to the side of your face that tells you what is happening on your smart phone so you don’t have to constantly hold your precious little electronic baby. Be advised – this technology is coming and we should cherish the remaining time in our lives where we existed (and survived) without it!
The take aways from seeing “Better Faster Social” are as follows:
Many of the world’s biggest problems could be completely eliminated if people got off their asses to do something about them instead of just sitting around bitching about them.
For every problem solved, corporate greed will do its best to create a new problem.
Technology is awesome and it also totally sucks. We should learn the difference!
Nothing beats human interaction.
People should learn to exercise restraint in checking their electronics every 5 seconds (or less).