Archives For Rockwood Music Hall

It was my first weekend without work or travel in over a month, however it was not a weekend without responsibility… or rather, “responsibility.”

My buddy Danny, one of my best friends from Pennsylvania, came in to town for his annual birthday celebration (his actual birthday was the previous Tuesday). What this weekend usually amounts to is three straight days of debauchery. This year wasn’t quite the 5 am-a-night marathon of prior years… at least for three straight nights. Danny had work early Monday.

But all bets were off Friday and Saturday. We met up with my friend Ryan at a private club downtown Friday night where we hung out until last call, then dialed up the venerable West Village dive WXOU Bar for a night cap, followed by a trip to my bodega for sandwiches and wings.

Saturday started with an excellent brunch at Westville’s Financial District location and continued with a few more Bloody Marys at Beckett’s while I screamed at the TV over the Syracuse game (they lost).

After a quick reset at my apartment, we grabbed dinner at Village Yokocho, an awesome Japanese restaurant in the East Village that also contains a speakeasy. From there we ordered a round at Tompkins Square Bar (there was a line at Niagara!) and then met friends at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1. The live set wrapped at 2 am so we walked back to Avenue A and one of my favorite watering holes, Kelly’s, for some late night wings and Blue Lights. Night cap? You bet; it happened up the street at Sophie’s. Danny was craving pizza, so we made that happen at Little Italy Pizza, which is open 24 hours.


Now Sunday started a little differently; I Uber-ed round-trip to Whole Foods to buy the ingredients for my vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip, which I then promptly cooked before hitting the road. We had tickets for the noon Knicks game (they are awful), watching it at The Garden with a round of double-shot Bloody Marys (they are fantastic).

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We bar-hopped a little, with a stop at my old neighborhood standby, The Dead Poet, before hailing an Uber to Ryan’s place so we could watch the Big Game and I could tweet out gems like this.


After the game, none of us could turn away from the live streams of the celebrations (or, rioting) in Philadelphia. Finally at about 1:20 am, we called it and returned downtown.


After all, it was Monday. Danny had work in the morning.

Ocean Park Standoff is comprised of an unlikely but talented group. You have drummer Pete Nappi, who was born on Long Island. Then there’s the lead singer Ethan Thompson who is from Montana. And rounding-out the group, the British-born and Upper West Side-raised Samantha Ronson. The three linked up through writing sessions, although they first got a kick out of responding to that question by “Tinder” and then categorizing the aforementioned sessions as “playdates.” A self-titled EP later and break-out single later and the trio finds themselves on late-night TV and as a supporting act for Third Eye Blind’s upcoming tour.

“We were talking about what was going on in our lives and in the world,” Thompson recalled regarding the creating of that single, “Good News.” “Samantha had a chord progression and then pretty much we just started off with the chorus right away and it just took off from there.”

Certainly Thompson was alluding to the country’s political climate; Ronson was a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton, DJ-ing rallies and using her influence on social media to get the vote out for her. The twin sister of fashion designer Charlotte and younger sister of GRAMMY Award-winning producer Mark, Samantha is no stranger to the spotlight both through her own work and by relation. Her step-father is founding Foreigner member Mick Jones, who she casually mentioned during a recent performance with the band.

“This is my dad’s guitar that I borrowed, actually,” she told me. I asked if it was a last-second move and she quickly replied, “No, last night. I planned it ahead of time!”

What’s funny is that it’s not the first time I’ve seen this group fly by the seam of their pants in the city. During the band’s first ever New York City performance inside the Lower East Side’s Rockwood Music Hall, Nappi’s drum kit broke during the set. But the band said it never affected their show, or their mood. And it’s probably that disposition, along with their individual talent, that will yield a bit more good news for 2017.

Atlantic City, a red carpet, two album release parties, zero hours of sleep. It was one for the books.

Singer/songwriter Benjamin Wagner stopped by the show to chat about his new album, “Great Lakes,” which he decided to release weeks earlier than his initial target date of Summer Solstice. Wagner explained why he pushed up the date and spent two years writing and recording the tracks.

This interview was the first in a series last week highlighting independent artists.

The release party for “Great Lakes” was last Thursday at Rockwood Music Hall, and hosted by yours truly.

I love Delta but they were wrong, twice.

Also, some very talented musicians are featured in this video.

New York City-based musician Ryan M. Vaughn stopped by to chat about “A Holiday Benefit,” an annual compilation album and charity concert. For the second straight year, money raised will be sent to ArteAmor, a non-profit that places artists in orphanages across the globe so that kids living in extreme poverty can experience the arts.

The benefit concert was held at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side and hosted by yours truly. To buy the album, click here.