Jad Fair in the Dance Cave

September 13, 2014 at 9:51 pm (Uncategorized)

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Dance Cave,” I said to one of the guys working the door as we stood outside Lee’s Place, him smoking, me waiting.

“That’s because you’re not 19,” he replied.

True enough. But as they let me and a few other early birds in, I realized I had in fact been to the Cave (curiously located on the top floor of the building that housed Lee’s – the Dance Attic anyone?) when I worked for Concert Productions International. I had gone to see Counting Crows or Cracker or someone like that and we had briefly wandered upstairs to see what was happening there.

Nevertheless, it seemed more than a little odd that Jad Fair, the genius behind Half Japanese, was playing there with Danielson a gospel- pop band from New Jersey along with Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub.

First up. Bad news, Norman Blake was unable to play having developed problems with his hand. But, still the prospect of Jad Fair and Kramer in a small club (the Dance Cave is about the size of the Rivoli – maybe 150 people) was good enough to overcome that disappointment.

I saw Half Japanese sometime in the late eighties or early nineties. The band was touring with Velvet underground drummer Maureen Tucker to promote one of her solo albums. The band did a solo set then played as her back-up band. And yes, they were fantastic.

Fair has recorded dozens of albums over his career: with Half Japanese, as solo and as collaborations. Recently Jad recorded Solid Gold Heart with Danielson for the Sounds Familyre label. It’s a great Beatlesque pop record (although I’ll confess, I’m not a fan of the Beatles) with Jad in fine form. During the fifty minute set, they blew through the record, as the small but appreciative crowd danced along.  There couldn’t have been more than forty people in the club, but it made for a more intimate experience.

For the inevitable encore, Jad and the band returned to perform an inspiring version of “This could be the night.” I don’t know what mystical energy was coursing through Jad during that song, but it lifted us up and we were drawn into something beautiful.  And all too quickly it was over. Jad and the members of Danielson wandered into the audience chatting with attendees as the crowd slipped away and the DJ arrived to set up his stuff for those 19 year-olds.

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