I recently discovered Algiers, and I am completely fascinated. I'm not talking about the capital city of Algeria, rather the band that is presently garnering a lot of press. Originally formed in Atlanta, GA, their sound draws heavily on their Southern roots, melding the sounds of gospel, punk and protest music. Their message calls loudly to social injustice and reform.
Upon first listen I instantly connected, feeling the old sounds of home. I grew up in a southern town rich in musical heritage, fostering spirituals, blues, country, gospel and rock. These resonate loudly in the songs of Algiers. Their use of manmade percussion - stomps, claps, foot taps, etc. - is especially reflective of early southern music and the call for change. Algiers have taken this up a notch and have created a modern reformation that speaks to many injustices and spans cultural divisions.
Their self-titled release dropped last week on Matador, and so far it's got my vote for best album this year. Check out a few of their new tracks below, and visit their website, which is a beautifully curated page of influences and inspiration. If you're in the NYC area tonight, they play an early show (8pm) at Mercury Lounge.
There is no shortage of stories around the oddball occurrences of Alice Cooper and his many famed snakes. While most did not belong to Cooper directly, many have joined him onstage for long runs, often spanning several years. Of all of the antics that occur on tour, Alice's seem more often than not to involve the reptiles and not the band members.
There is the famed L.A. House of Blues show where Alice's sidekick decided to defecate all over the stage. Repeatedly. While the amused audience thought it was part of the show, the band were not reveling in their joy. Needless to say, the snake friend was retired after that gig.
Another story centers around a show in Knoxville and country singer Charley Pride. According to Cooper, he returned from that night's performance and put boa Julius Squeezer in the bathtub for the evening. Upon waking the next morning, he discovered not only a missing snake, but also a missing toilet lid, as the hotel was newly constructed and still finalizing amenities. The snake had apparently gotten lost within the hotel's plumbing. The band skipped town sans snake, continuing on to the next gig. Two weeks later, Charley Pride checks into the (then) Hyatt Regency, only to discover the missing reptile. I don't even want to know how the discovery was made, though I'm sure it's a tour Mr. Pride would never forget.
Though numerous anecdotes abound, Cooper's snake antics seem to have dissipated in recent years. His stage partners are now relegated to local rentals from reputable handlers or sanctuaries and are returned to their homes following tour. Perhaps it's time for a new stage oddity.
One of NYC's most iconic venues, Max's Kansas City, celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend. Though the venue itself is long gone, it's history is legendary. It showcased a who's who of the NY underground, from Andy Warhol, Candy Darling, Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, New York Dolls, and many many more. Many other artists, designers and musicians also worked the restaurant there before moving on to bigger gigs, most notably Debbie Harry and Anton Perich.
Tonight kicks off a 4-night celebration at Bowery Electric marking Max's 50th Anniversary, with a two-night afterparty at Arlene's Grocery. Four-day passes for the shows can be purchased for $39, or you can purchase tickets for individual nights. Tickets are available at Bowery Electric or online through Ticketweb. Tickets for the afterparties are available online and in person at Arlene's Grocery. See below for the full schedule.