Live Music

David J at Bowery Electric

David J

Bowery Electric

Tuesday, June 20th

by Toktam Tayefeh

tok-11Every so often, you get lucky enough to experience life in a fresh and new light—in a way that you never thought could be possible—like when you get the amazing opportunity to meet a well-known author who describes life the way he or she saw it. I’ve learned that this holds true even when enjoying local music venues and the artists who provide their own outlooks!  The hours go by and you see musicians come in and out with their extensions, guitars, keyboards, snare, and cymbals, beautifully paying attention to every detail of their craft—displaying their musical passions along constructed melody lines, conveying the perfect atmosphere in which one can look at life.

I’ve been fortunate enough to observe many artists and I always see one lasting thing— whether newcomers or famous, they care so much for what is going to happen right there, in the here and now of it all.  I watched David J, a legend, do that very same thing– this past Tuesday evening at NYC’s The Bowery Electric.

The last show was David’s, taking place a little after 11pm and we all had enjoyed three bands by then, ready and longing to now hear the famed British alternative rock musician, writer and producer.

It is a magnificent event to see a focused passion like David’s. This was seen from the tok-22very outset of his anticipated set.  Right as he was about to begin, the keyboard wasn’t working, one of those live performance glitches that makes the band nervous and an audience most anxious. He was the calmest though, and I thought to myself that his ability to stay so composed was simply the gift of wisdom and his knowledge that somehow it would all work itself out.  Imagine Paul Wallfisch, the keyboard player’s reaction when he happily came down from backstage ready to play, after his own beautiful solo performance, to realize that his instrument wasn’t working at all! After checking the wires with help of the Bowery Electric sound technician, everything was finally able to commence with the cheering fans greeting David back to the stage! No guitar– just him and keyboard.

Beginning with the classic “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight”, a piece of musical history reminiscent of a theatrical presentation, was the perfect way to kick the show off. His fingers, hand gestures, stepping back from the mic, creating holy moments where we could sink into his world–not just in that moment, but to the history of that song.  A song that was performed when David was the bassist for the gothic rock band Bauhaus, and, of course, as part of the current Living Room tour.

Before David began the next tune, he first told the crowd a very interesting story that took place during a show of his.  A professional soldier of 22 years told David that he had an epiphany while listening to one of his songs—helping him attain a different perspective towards the war he was waging—that song being “The National Anthem of Nowhere”.

When you listen to the moving lyrics, it is like listening to a timeless classic that will most certainly provide pause for reflection and it did for all of us:

“You’ve been looking for the words

the words to set you free

searching for the music

to the anthem of your country

you’ve courted the sublime

you’ve courted the absurd

you’ve disbelieved in what you’ve seen

you’ve disbelieved in all you’ve heard

prayed to a vague god above

slipped your fingers from the tyrant’s glove

now you’re looking for the words…..”

I felt truly fortunate to stand just a few feet away– taking photos of such a man who’s name is associated with BauhausLove and Rockets, The Sinister Ducks, The Jazz Butcher, Three, Cabaret Oscuro, The Gentleman Thieves.


tok-23In addition to Paul Wallfisch, (SWANS, Botanica) with his amazing voice and magical fingers on the keys, as the main man for David J, Sean Eden (Luna) also played a few songs with his guitar, and the renowned Heather Paauwe added such a beautiful touch of violin and elegance, a splendid decision to include her in the performance.

One of the last songs, after returning to the stage again to the encore-eager audience, was Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”.

David’s creative energy decidedly left us all with some different ways of looking at life, impressing the audience not only with his music-but with his captivating tales, wittiness and his fantastic band, which fittingly brought the electric to The Bowery Electric!

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