I happen to have as Manhattan neighbors the venerable indie rocker and songwriter, Steve Wynn, and his wife, drummer Linda Pitmon. In the 80s, Steve led The Dream Syndicate, a formative post-punk band that’s sometimes mentioned in the same context as REM and the Replacements. On Wynn’s website I see that Trouser Press wrote of him at some point, “What he took from punk had more to do with attitude, noisy energy, abyss-skirting emotions and musical riskiness–qualities, of course, present in the best rock and roll of any scene, era or sub-genre.” I should add that I published a compilation of Trouser Press’s album and band reviews that came out in 1991, The Fourth Edition of the Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Music, edited by Trouser Press maestro Ira A. Robbins. In that book, still a reference I often thumb through for valuable guidance, Ira cites the Dream Syndicate album “Ghost Stories” as the best work they put out.
Nowadays, Steve and Linda often play as part of The Baseball Project, and I’ve heard them perform under that rubric. However, this past Thursday Steve and Linda played at Bowery Electric under the billing Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3. I went to the show and they turned out to be a hard-driving rock n’ roll 4-piece that may be a touch closer to Steve’s longtime rock roots than the baseball songs are. Steve and The Miracle 3 played a great set–although the songs were all new to me, they hooked me in right away–with great musicianship from all four players, including bassist Dave Decastro and lead guitarist Jason Victor. Songs that stuck out for me were “The Deep End,” “Death Valley Rain,” and “That’s What You Always Say.”
My first time in Bowery Electric, the club was also a good ‘hang,’ as I heard one friend in Toronto say during NXNE last week about one of that city’s many splendid music venues, The Dakota Tavern.
An added bonus for this fun night was spying in the crowd a familiar face from suburban Cleveland, where I grew up. I was positive we’d grown up going to some of the same schools in Shaker Heights. After the Miracle 3 had finished their energetic encore, I approached this fellow, and noticed that the woman he was with was showing him on her phone display a 4th quarter score from Game 5 of the Heat-Thunder series, with the Lebron-led Heat way ahead. Given their rueful looks, I knew he must have grown up in Cleveland. I introduced myself, and sure enough, he was John Bendes, a name that struck a bell; though remote in my memory, I was now certain that we had grown up in the same community. I gave him my card that IDs me and this blog and I look forward to being in touch in the future.