Dave Foster Does Manhattan 6/2 @ Hi-Fi Bar
By Peter Gerstenzang
June the 2nd is an important date to save, circle and keep open, if you’re a New Yorker (even in spirit) and love live music. Not just live, either. But also creative, quirky and not even faintly over-familiar. On this evening, at the Hi-Fi Bar (169 Avenue A) in Manhattan, Dave Foster will be throwing a hell of a party. One of Manhattan’s musical treasures, a songwriter who sews together swatches of sound, pieces of Pop from several eras, Foster will be presenting Song Of The Week, live, with a righteous multitude of great musical friends. Remember when radio was eclectic and played all kinds of songs? The quirky, the catchy, the just-plain-pretty? That’s what this evening will be like. From the price (it’s pass-the-hat) to the tunes, to the breathtaking breadth of musicianship, this is simply something you do not want to miss. We recently had to say goodbye to one great Dave. Luckily, we have another to take his place.
You probably know Dave Foster without quite knowing you know him . When he’s not playing with his remarkable tribute band Bubble do Beatles, performing letter-perfect recreations of The Fab Four’s best albums, he’s doing something called “Song of the Week.” True to its name, Foster, whose roots are in Britpop, Dylan, Waits and other great, all-natural sources, sits on a couch in his apartment, turns on the video camera and sings one tuneful, smart song after another. No production tricks. No dancers. No tarting it up later. Just a talented guy, with a guitar, shades and hat to match, singing a very hummable tune. Over the last year or so, he’s amassed a slew of them.
Now you can hear a whole bunch, all in one place, done by a variety of similarly-gifted New York area musicians. That’s what is going down on June 2nd.
“I think of this as a sort of coming-out party for me as a songwriter,” says Foster, a longtime City dweller. “I started writing these songs and did them here and there around New York. When I started, I wanted to do something a little different than just put them on a record. So once a week or so, I would sit on a couch in my apartment, aim a camcorder on myself and play them. I then posted them on YouTube, put some on SoundCloud and they got a great buzz. So, I figured, why not get my friends together and do a whole batch, live, on one night.”
Anybody familiar with Manhattan’s smart, pithy Pop scene will recognize the names of some of Foster’s friends, many of whom are members of Loser’s Lounge, a group of great singers, writers and players who do covers of Classic Rock all around town. They include folks like George Usher (who’s written songs for Laura Cantrell), Tom Shad (longtime bassist for Blue Man Group), Mike Fornatale (formerly of the legendary Left Banke) and others musicians still committed to the art of genuine songcraft.
Musically, Foster’s tunes run from pillar to post. And along the way, they encompass the Folk-Pop of “Numbers,” the rocking, melodic “Signs Point To Yes” and the Beatles-meet-Otis bounce of “Plastic Man.” Foster’s versions are groovy enough. But the evening promises to be even more explosive, as these wonderfully-witty tunes are interpreted by a large group of gifted players and singers.
Although this is hardly the end for the busy composer, it’s hard not think of this upcoming evening as a real watershed for the songwriter and the audience who has followed him.
“I can’t help but feel this is a real milestone for me,” says Foster. “Having all my friends, who just happen to be super-talented, doing a slew of my songs in one sitting, is going to be a pretty big deal. But I have lots more songs and I’m writing new ones constantly.”
In other words, although modest, Foster seems to imply that if the evening rocks, it won’t be the end, but a glorious new beginning. It’s not always a good idea to bet. But the smart money is on Dave Foster and friends. Song Of The Week, may just go from a mere name to an actual ongoing event. This guy certainly has enough songs for. Come down and hear for yourself. By the end of the evening, musically speaking? You’ll be begging for more.
For more information about the show Song Of The Week, go to www.thehifibar.com (212 420-8392) or www.bubbleland.com. For more Dave Foster fun go to www.youtube.com/user/bubblebeatles