Wednesday night, my old friend and once partner in musical crime, Foosh, brought me along as his guest to Neil Young in concert at the ol’ United Palace Theatre in Washington Hts. in the upper extremities of Manhattan.
Above: the United Palace Theatre is an old gem and they don’t mind when patrons rock out.
Definitely one of the top-five concert experiences in my life, the show consisted of an intimate acoustic set where he played a bunch of his old guitars and a mind-blowing, rocked-out electric set including a fantastic twenty-minute guitar solo. The guitar tones were truly amazing, like the notes of an old Nebbiolo, earthy and rich but fresh and surprising — with live acidity and fruit — at the same time.
It was great to see a legendary performer like Neil Young play a small venue like that, with easy-going security, cheap beer, and a raucous crowd of got-my-drink-on fans. It reminded me of when I went to concerts as a kid in the late seventies and early eighties, when rock n’ roll shows were just that: rock n’ roll. Dancing in the aisle by stoned-out-of-their-minds people was allowed.
Above: I enjoyed a Jever at Loreley before Foosh and I headed up to Washington Hts. to see Neil Young in concert.
Some years ago now, Foosh opened the now classic Lower East Side haunt Loreley, a German beer garden and restaurant inspired by his hometown of Cologne, Germany. The all-German beer selection there is great, the bartenders really know how to draft beer properly (with a proper head, see above), and the spaetzle and schnitzel are awesome. The place is always jam-packed on Friday and Saturday nights but you can sometimes find a place to sit on weeknights — if you’re lucky. The first time my band played our now show-stopping version of “99 Luftballons,” it was for the opening of Loreley way back in 2003.
Above: a video of Nous Non Plus playing “99 Luftballons” at the great Lower East Side rock club Sin-é before it was closed to make way for gentrification (read the stockbrokerization) of lower Manhattan.