Jack Rabid, founder, editor and publisher of The Big Takeover magazine for more than 30 years, has been a stalwart supporter of The Sharp Things since our first album, Here Comes The Sharp Things, was reviewed in Big Takeover #52, back in 2003. More recently, the first two albums in the Dogs Of Bushwick series made it into Jack’s coveted Top 40 reviews section.
This week, as Big Takeover #75 went to press, we learned that Jack has not only reviewed Adventurer’s Inn — album number three on the Dogs series‚ but also our September 11th show at Mercury Lounge.
Somebody deserves a steak dinner!
The text of the two reviews follows. Please consider subscribing to The Big Takeover — you’ll be glad you did.
It’s good to be a Sharp Things fan. This third installment of “The Dogs of Bushwick” was preceded by February 2013’s Green is Good, November 2013’s The Truth is Like the Sun, and their first concert album, March’s Live At Galapagos Art Space. Such a willful windfall is plenty to engage, but with the artistic breadth of Brooklyn singer/writer/keyboardist Perry Serpa and his multi-instrumental cast of cohorts, the collection of classic styles and sounds keeps it fresh. The orchestral pop suits his Bacharach/Brill Building/Brian Wilson tunes impeccably, with a slight splash of gospel’s delivery from suffering. Aside from two harder-digging cuts, “The Libertine,” and “You Know You Want It,” Adventurer’s feels softer-hued, like light streaming in windows, as strings, horns, and keyboards add opulent texture on “Secrets and Lies” and “Stockholm Street.” The only sorrow is the demise of drummer Steven Gonzalez, who succumbed to cystic fibrosis September 11, to whom this is dedicated. R.I.P. (thesharpthings.com)
The Sharp Things
Mercury Lounge, September 11
It would have been understandable if New York’s Sharp Things cancelled this gig. Their drummer from the start, Steven Gonzalez, one of singer/writer/keyboardist Perry Serpa’s oldest friends, had died that morning of cystic fibrosis, and you could see the anguish and mourning on all their faces before they even trudged onto the Merc’s little stage—seemingly smaller with so many Sharp Things crowding onto it. But having prepared a substitute drummer (since Gonzalez had been ill), they decided to play in tribute to their fallen beat-keeper, and the heavy extra emotion was profound on an already moving, multi-instrumental orchestral-pop masterpiece like “An Ocean Part Deux.” As Serpa wailed “an ocean makes no difference,” in defiance of the metaphysical as well as geographic, the band surged its complex parts to match him, and Gonzalez’s memory was properly marked; much as every September 11, we remember all New Yorkers who left us too soon.