Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Andrew WK - The Stone, NYC 24/09/08

So The Stone is a little place John Zorn set up as a 'not-for-profit performance space dedicated to the EXPERIMENTAL and AVANT-GARDE'. Just a tiny room with some fold out chairs, a grand piano and no lock on the toilet. It is a fucking cool place. Every month a different artist curates two acts a night, six nights a week. That's a lot of music.

The door is inconspicuous, a corner near nothing else, 'The Stone' in tiny silver letters by the handle, but it's easy to spot the place tonight by the line (this is America so it's a line, not a queue. I learnt this) of hip kids outside. Pourquoi? Andrew WK is playing. A solo improvised piano set. What am I supposed to expect from this? His reputation is firmly rooted in how hard he parties not how well he makes stuff up on the piano, but I figure it's worth checking out. And it is.

He walks out, shorter than I expected, in a white suit and sits and fiddles with a couple of keys. He continues to fiddle with the two keys while developing a light melody over the top. Soon he's in the middle of some very nice, delicate, quick and repetitive piano piece, reminiscent of Steve Reich, maybe, only the bits that sound off are more accidental. He continues on, surprising the fuck out of me a few times before coughing into the microphone, uncertain of what to do next. A few false starts and jokes starts and a shaking head. The mood is exceptionally light. An um and an ah and he's off and his ass is out the seat and he's singing wop bop a loo bop and shaking his legs about and he's had enough and it's 'thanks everyone' and he's off back through the door to the basement, sweating a little.

I leave feeling more confused about who the fuck Andrew WK is than when I went in. Regardless, whatever he is he's alright on the piano. I know that much.

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