Check out his wonderful graphics for each band!
chickfactor fanzine was founded 30 years ago by Pam Berry & Gail O’Hara (in DC/NY) and we are incredibly excited to celebrate with you on October 28 & 29 at the Lexington and October 30 (afternoon) at the Betsey Trotwood. Cannot wait to see everyone and see these wonderful bands play! (Our 30th-anniversary issue is out now too and 5/6 of these bands are in it.) Presented in cahoots with the Hangover Lounge folks.
Fri. October 28:
Sat. October 29:
Sun. October 30: Daytime event (Noon to 4!)
Hangover Lounge at the Betsey Trotwood
The Catenary Wires
& Special Guests
Fri. Oct. 29: Doors 7pm, show 7:30
Sacred Paws (from Glasgow!) have a natural inclination not to take things too seriously. You can hear it all the way through a conversation with its two members, guitarist Rachel Aggs and drummer Eilidh Rodgers, punctuated by rolls of giggles and thoughtful pauses, and you can hear it in the light touch they bring to their music, a jangly blend of indie pop full of fizzing world rhythms and bright horns. Shimmering guitar riffs dance between snappy beats and swooning melodies that will have crowds committing to far more than a simple head-bob. “I think we’d get bored if it was too slow,” Eilidh says. “We’d never want to play something live that people couldn’t dance to. It would feel really strange to us. It’s kind of the whole point.” Joining them at this show will be Jack Mellin on guitar and Moema Meade on bass!
London debut! Artsick is an indiepop band from Oakland/Seaside, California, consisting of Christina Riley (Burnt Palms/Boyracer) on guitar and vocals, Mario Hernandez (Kids On A Crime Spree, Ciao Bella) on drums and Donna McKean (Lunchbox/Hard Left) on bass. They formed in 2018 and released a 7-inch single, followed by their debut album Fingers Crossed, on Slumberland Records.
Rachel was guitarist and singer in the seminal 70/80s band Dolly Mixture who were signed to Paul Weller’s Respond label and championed by The Undertones & John Peel. She was the singer in the band Spelt and has released her first solo album, Picture in Mind, in 2021. Also half of the Light Music Company.
Sat. Oct. 29: Doors 7 p.m., show 7:30
London debut! “The Umbrellas are one of the most exciting bands to come from the indiepop underground in ages. Bursting out of the SF Bay Area’s fertile indie scene, The Umbrellas come correct with a sound that fits snugly into a long line of classic pop, from The Byrds to Orange Juice, The Pastels, Comet Gain, Veronica Falls and Belle & Sebastian, along with a noticeable garage-pop/Paisley Underground flavor that is a hallmark of San Francisco’s best bands. Their self-titled 2021 debut album dazzled with a dozen perfect pop tunes, charming the indiepop faithful but also winning fans outside the scene, leading to sold-out tours with bands as disparate as Ceremony and Destroy Boys.” (—Mike Schulman) New Releases – ‘Write it in the Sky’ 7″ released via Slumberland, Meritorio, Tear Jerk, and Fastcut records.
Debsey Wykes (Dolly Mixture, Saint Etienne) and Paul Kelly (East Village, Saint Etienne) decided to form a group together while they were members of SAINT ETIENNE’s backing band in 1994. For two years, Debsey (backing singer) and Paul (guitar) toured Europe, Japan, America and played most of the major European festivals until SAINT ETIENNE took a break and BIRDIE was born. For this show, it will be: Debsey (bass and vocal); Paul (guitar and vocal); Jon (drums); Patrick (guitar or piano) and possibly Sean (piano)!
London debut! Seablite is a four-piece pop band from San Francisco inspired by 80s/90s indie and shoegaze. In June 2019, Seablite’s LP debut, Grass Stains and Novocaine was released by Emotional Response, garnering domestic and international praise. They’ve since released a 10″ EP, High-Rise Mannequins (2020) and most recently their new single, Breadcrumbs c/w Ink Bleeds (2022). Seablite are back in the studio recording their sophomore LP and looking forward to what the upcoming year will bring.
Sun. October 30: CF30/Hangover Lounge at the Betsey Trotwood
The Catenary Wires
& Special guests
& Hangover Lounge DJs
Formed by Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey (of Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and so many more!), Catenary Wires also feature Fay Hallam, Andy Lewis and Ian Button. Today will be Amelia and Rob as a duo. Their Birling Gap LP released June 2021 on Skep Wax and Shelflife (USA). Super early show! Noon to 4pm event. The show is technically sold out but we hope to be able to release more tickets.
We are thrilled to celebrate our 25th anniversary with friends, bands, and our awesome community this year in three cities. Please join us! Ticket links for all the shows are below.
+ a paper issue of chickfactor (#18) will be out in december so please make sure we have your news, records, ads, etc!
Thursday, Nov 2: CF25 New York
Kicking Giant, The Pacific Ocean, Bridget St John, HoneyBunch at Union Pool + MC Sukhdev Sandhu
Saturday, Nov 4: CF25 New York (daytime show 2-6)
Laura Cantrell, Joe Pernice, Cotton Candy & Special Guests at Union Pool + MC Gaylord Fields
Saturday, Nov 11 All-Ages Matinee: CF25 London
A benefit for Shelter featuring Wait What + The Numberz + more at the Lexington
Get tickets (100% of the proceeds to Shelter)
Saturday, Nov 11 Evening Show: CF25 London
The Pastels, Kicking Giant, Lois, Kites at Night (featuring Rose Melberg) at the Lexington + MC Gaylord Fields
Sunday, Nov 12: CF25 London, Night Two
The Softies, Stevie Jackson (from Belle & Sebastian!), the Would-Be-Goods, the Catenary Wires (featuring Rob & Amelia ex-Heavenly, Marine Research, Talulah Gosh) at the Lexington + MC Gaylord Fields
Saturday, December 9: CF25 Portland
Rocketship (first full band show in Portland since 1996)
Kites at Night (featuring Rose Melberg)
+ DJ Calvin Johnson
Sunday, December 10: CF25 Portland (free, daytime 11am–2pm)
Indiepop Brunch chickfactor special featuring DJs gail chickfactor, Jen “Softies” Sbragia, and chickfactor webmaster Janice Headley
at the Toffee Club (no tickets required)
Rocketship photo by Gail O’Hara, 2017
chickfactor #1 was given out for free at a heavenly gig at maxwell’s in hoboken (sept 1992).
chickfactor #2 was given out for free at gail’s manhattan penthouse in late january 1993.
chickfactor #3 was given out for free at gail’s manhattan penthouse in june 1993.
chickfactor #4: september 9, 1993: first chickfactor gig was at under acme and featured lovefish (douglas wolk’s band—they did a tune called “bridget cross”), purple ivy shadows, the mad scene, lois, glo-worm, tree fort angst, lilys, heavenly, containe (first performance ever, though they were billed as versus), honeybunch, and small factory. there was a surprise performance by franklin bruno, who covered joe jackson’s “different for girls” while small factory were setting up. this party was pure fucking magic and the night would have been perfect except that alex small factory was mad at me for the review of their debut album in the new issue. they played an all-dave-songs set and nothing off the i do not love you (“because it’s so poor”). I was in heaven. alex made me cry while heavenly were playing while dave auchenbach and erin smith were joining them onstage.
chickfactor #5: february 9, 1994: this was the second chickfactor gig, also at under acme. three of the nine scheduled acts couldn’t make it on account of the blizzard (three feet of snow). I was home all day answering the phone (“of course the party’s still on, this is new york fucking city”). the party was remarkably well attended and again had that special magic. who played? containe, barbara manning, cobalt, mary timony from helium played just with joan wasser from dambuilders on violin, and the magnetic fields (who performed “san diego zoo” with barbara for the first time), and the ropers who win the indie spirit prize for driving to and from washington, d.c., in the blizzard in the same day. I was crushed for a while because you know who brought a hideous date and it nearly ruined my evening. it was the first time I met stephin and he wasn’t particularly sweet, but that’s no surprise. I also met ilsa who used to star in TMF videos.
chickfactor #6: june 18, 1994: god we were prolific in those days. this show, also at under acme, had the most bands ever (13) and was on the most godawfully hot day ever but it was a damn fine show: ivy, musical chairs, nik-l-nip (featuring mark pipas), juicy (featuring kendall mascott), salmon skin, tree fort angst’s terry banks, belmondo (featuring pam berry), glo-worm (ditto), blast off country style, yo la tengo (quiet and sans james), air miami (billed as “bridget & friends”), honeybunch, and andrew egg solo (did a most amazing cover of momus’ classic “bishonen”—wow). ivy, air miami were making their live debuts tonight. air miami were drunk and sloppy as hell. salmon skin set off fireworks (natch) and set the (borrowed from a stranger) drum kit on fire—they also cleared the room. I was sick as a dog with a cold but drinking margaritas in spite of it all. another really good show.
chickfactor cmj show: september 22, 1994: at under acme. this was our first cmj show and I had to fight like hell to get our own pure lineup, which I had been promised from the beginning, but the cmj marathon people kept trying to add bands such as milk and blonde redhead to our bill. ha! they hated me, but I stood firm, even to the point where I was ready to go have a guerrilla show down at the delancey bar. who played? the shapiros (featuring pam), the mad scene, the lois, dump (with georgia and ira as backing band), barbara manning, the magnetic fields, and eggs. what a show! it was the most full-of-good-karma and people cmj event I have ever attended. liz clayton, carrie mclaren, and all our other zine nerd pals were there. it was such a long day that began with a cmj panel on zines (organized by byron coley and featuring yours truly), followed by live performances by versus, stereolab, giant sand, and 18th dye in the hilton hotel. our show started late because eggs (bringing the one and only drum kit from d.c.) were late.
chickfactor #7: october 8, 1994: this was a fun show. also at under acme, it featured unlimited lou from d.c. (featuring my friend joanna virello with dana and nick and adam), godco duo, musical chairs, rachael and chris from sleepyhead (quiet), mary lou lord, romania (d.c. new wavers who stole the show), fire in the kitchen, and versus (with guests bob bannister and gerard cosloy, with whom they did an envelope song). “this is such a coup!” said stephin merritt about romania.
enchanté records/containe record release party: october 20, 1994: this was supposed to be a black tie affair but not all complied. it also sucked that sebadoh happened to be playing across town with versus opening but it didn’t really hurt our show that much. the lineup was first ever u.s. shows from australian pop gods nice and ashtray boy, along with kicking giant, team dresch (with complete self-defense demo beforehand), and of course containe performed. containe were awesome; so were team dresch. nice were amazing and randall from ashtray boy performed wearing a (my) dress because it was chickfactor. next night we had ashtray boy, nice, and the magnetic fields at mercury lounge as well. susannah from nice bellydanced and dragged some indie kids onstage to learn how as well.
random show: october 25, 1994: this was a chickfactor/slumberland records thing at under acme, featuring ivy, musical chairs, the ropers, and boyracer, who were fantastic despite horrific sound issues. this was the first show that fm cornog came to and he loved it. very laidback.
chickfactor tour: december 2, 1994: our first out of town cf event was in providence, r.i., at the last call, and featured romania, belmondo (who cancelled), gerard playing solo, containe, the magnetic fields, and helium. awesome. maybe the best containe show yet, and I have yet to miss one. all our providence pals came, it was ace.
chickfactor #8: april 1, 1995: no shows for a while because I was out of commission with surgery during february. we actually had chickfactor 8s since late february but we handed them out at this shindig anyway featuring stephin merritt reading his own poetry for 10 minutes (high comedy), the mad scene, tree fort angst’s terry b, glo-worm, the nonpareils, nord express, heartworms, kickstand, and the lois. it was a great show even though this asshole soundman tried to make our lives hell. this was the last ever chickfactor party at under acme.
chickfactor on tour: april 22, 1994: this was our second out of town gig at the khyber pass in philly. it was oddly divided into two shows: the first was all ages upstairs (with nik-l-nip, versus, andrew egg solo, and romania); the second was not (the mad scene, kickstand, and the magnetic fields). the bands were all great but it sucked that the khyber pass ripped us off bad. never again.
can you recall something memorable that you’ve witnessed at a chickfactor party?
stephin the magnetic fields: james mcnew (dump) playing “sunshine, lollipops and rainbows” right after september 11. everyone was sobbing.
daniel handler: I remember my slowly realizing that lois was lois, but I think I kept pretty cool about it.
bridget st john: being completely ignorant of the aislers set’s music and briefly exchanging words backstage with a seemingly reticent linton – and then watching their set and being much affected and surprised by her powerful presence and energy – I love this band!
gaylord cf/wfmu: at the most recent chickfactor party in new york, I saw more people of color than ever in the audience.
janice cf: adrian tomine showing up for the softies set!
michael white: the aluminum group, at the 10th-anniversary soiree in new york, not so much playing a gig as performing a tag-team sit-down comedy set that happened to be broken up with some of the best love songs of the past 20 years.
clarissa cf: I once accidentally walked in on [redacted] making out with [redacted]. it was cute.
rachel blumberg: seeing both small factory and aisler’s set reunite. never imagined either might happen. both were amazing. more than memorable. I can think of something very personally memorable to me, which was when a certain person and i got love potion dumped all over us or something during the first night of the shows at the bell house. ahem.
gordon the fan modine: stephin merritt debuting a dozen or so of the 69 love songs at under acme on a uke way before the record came out. you booked that right? (yes. —editor)
jennifer o’connor: lots of things. 3 favorites include: seeing dump doing his solo looping pedals thing for the first time, aislers set at the 10th anniversary show at fez, gail singing “fuck and run” during the cover girls set.
fran cannane: chickfactor parties are always in the wrong hemisphere but my memory is appalling so I would not recall anyway…
corin tucker: have I been to one? that one at fez? I remember mary timony on stage in braids?
dawn cf: mary timony/joan wasser (later to be policewoman) duo performance.
james dump/yo la tengo: I saw the cannanes beat and rob an audience member at a 1995 CF show at acme.
kendall mascott: I loved seeing brilliantine at the blue cabaret.
gail cf: more euphoria than anyone should be allowed to have. I have a record of them that I will someday publish. along with some footage!
tim dagger: sigh…have never been to one.
chickfactor 17 is out this fall on paper!
chickfactor shows happening this autumn!
easy ticket links here.
starring stevie jackson (from belle & sebastian) + LILYS + the legendary jim ruiz group + kim baxter (from all girl summer fun band)
starring THE SOFTIES + stevie jackson (from belle & sebastian) + LILYS + allen clapp + kim baxter (from all girl summer fun band)
november 16 in london: films & pop quiz (TBC/TBA)
starring the pastels + the aislers set + amor de días + would-be-goods + mc gaylord fields + chickfactor djs
november 18 chickfactor + hangover lounge all dayer at the lexington in london! 2pm to 11pm
starring pipas + tender trap + bridget st john + the real tuesday weld + the legendary jim ruiz group + harvey williams and josh gennet + the starfolk + gaylord fields fake beatles + chickfactor & hangover lounge DJs
(please note there are no other official ticket sellers apart from wegottickets.com for the london shows)
chickfactor fanzine continues its all-year-long 20th-anniversary celebration with a series of concerts around the U.S. and UK. cf heads to Los Angeles on Sept 20 for an amazing show, followed by San Francisco on Sept 22 for another! And then there is our beloved London Nov 16, 17, 18. Here is the lineup below — get your pop plane ticket now and come on over!
Film screening and pop quiz (venue TBC)
November 17 at Bush Hall
The Pastels! The Aislers Set! Amor De Dias! Would-Be-Goods!
(Doors 6:30, super-early showtime 7pm) Tickets are here!
The Pastels and chickfactor go way back. the inventive Glasgow pop group has a new record coming out early 2013 on Domino, recorded Glasgow, mixed Chicago with John McEntire. It will be their first record since the 2009 collaboration with Tenniscoats, Two Sunsets. The group is currently Stephen McRobbie, Katrina Mitchell, Gerard Love, Tom Crossley, Alison Mitchell, John Hogarty.
The Aislers Set
The wonderful Bay Area pop group led by Linton reformed for chickfactor 2012: for the love of pop! brooklyn earlier this year and blew the roof off the place. These days we have to fly them in from the East Coast, West Coast, Sweden and Germany — shows with them all are rare indeed so do not miss!
Amor De Dias
We at chickfactor cannot get enough of The Clientele and Pipas, so when members of those bands — Alasdair MacLean and Lupe Nuñez-Fernández — formed Amor De Dias (means Love of Days), we were stoked. They are finishing up their second album this summer, and we can’t wait to see their delicate set tonight.
Fronted by Jessica Griffin and featuring seasoned pop stars Peter Momtchiloff, Debbie Green and Andy Warren, the elegant London group has been around since Jessica released her first record on él Records in 1987. Like most of the artists here, they have played many a chickfactor show including the 10-year anniversary parties in NY, DC and London.
November 18 at the Lexington
chickfactor / Hangover Lounge All Dayer (2–10:30pm) Ticket link here!
The Real Tuesday Weld!
Bridget St John!
The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group!
MC & DJ Gaylord Fields!
Fantastic London pop group fronted by former Talulah Gosh / Heavenly singer Amelia Fletcher, we are very excited to be seeing them! Their latest release, Ten Songs About Girls, is out now on Fortuna Pop! records.
The super-charming Brooklyn-London electropop duo of Mark Powell and Lupe Nuñez-Fernández have performed rarely in recent years, but did reunite in April 2012 for chickfactor’s Brooklyn show. Do not miss this show!
Bridget St John
The stellar British singer-songwriter who John Peel started Dandelion Records for back in the day moved to New York years ago and occasionally returns to the UK, often for chickfactor parties. She performed at our chickfactor 2012: brooklyn show along with our 2004 party at Bush Hall called “Mon Gala Papillons,” which inspired her to write a song.
The Real Tuesday Weld
The ace TRTW is led by the talented Mr Stephen Coates, once inspired by the actress Tuesday Weld and the 1930s crooner Al Bowlly to make crackly vintage swoon-worthy pop tunes. His group’s 2011 release, Songs for the Last Werewolf, was a soundtrack to a book, and they have been known to put music to film as well.
Legendary Jim Ruiz Group
A rare show from the sparkly Minneapolis jazz-pop combo led by the Legendary Jim, who recently completed the long-awaited third LP with help from California pop dude Allen Clapp, titled Ambassador Jim – 1965. Also fresh from the stage of chickfactor’s recent anniversary parties in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, the LJRG lineup tonight will be Jim, Emily on drums, and Allison and Brian from The Starfolk. “I’m leaning strongly toward taking a 1964 le beat group approach,” says the Legendary one himself.
Harvey Williams and Josh Gennet
Fluffy-haired Harvey is well known to the pop kids as a former member of Field Mice and Another Sunny Day and an excellent if not prolific solo artist of a gentle nature; tonight he will play with former Holiday frontman Josh Gennet for what will certainly be some serious pop stuff.
Fun Minneapolis orch-pop trio The Starfolk is fronted by Brian Tighe (The Hang Ups, The Owls) vocals and guitar along with Allison LaBonne (The Owls, Typsy Panthre, Legendary Jim Ruiz Group) on bass, Stephen Ittner (The Hang Ups, The Owls) on drums and Jacqueline Ultan (Jelloslave, Saltee, Anti Gravity) on cello, though tonight Allison and Brian will be backed by Jim and Emily. The Starfolk is currently finishing up their debut full length, the mixing will be completed in September.
Gaylord Fields Fake Beatles Talk
The inimitable Gaylord Fields is a DJ on the prestigious New Jersey radio station WFMU, along with a chickfactor contributor and MC for these two nights! He will do a special presentation on Fake Beatles starting at 3pm.
(This set list was appropriated from Robin Banks, the lucky owner!)
So we did it. We had six nights of rock (or pop) in seven nights. two in D.C., one at Maxwell’s, and three at the Bell House in Brooklyn, NY. it was total euphoria and ecstasy and emotional and all just completely great in every way. Mike from Black Tambourine tore off a finger in D.C., a few other BTs had stomach flu, many had terrible allergies, Pam had an ankle injury, and nearly everyone who attended all six shows lost their voices and had “retail feet” at some point! By Wednesday, April 11, I was nearly laryngitic. When I flew back home on Friday, April 13, I was so cloggy and allergic I lost hearing in one ear and I still have not regained it all! If it weren’t for all the dopamine we were hopped up on, we would not have survived.
Friday, April 6: Tonight was Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Honey Bunch, Dot Dash, and special guest The Pines (featuring Black Tambourine singer / CF cofounder Pam Berry & the Foxgloves’ Joe Brooker). Watching the Pines with Pam’s daughters Ava and Lulu was a highlight in both D.C. and New York. They already have a hunch that they totally lucked out in the mom department, and now they got to see mom (er, mum) up there singing like an angel along with Joe. The Pines did a quickie special guest set in D.C. but it was just delightful. Dot Dash, featuring Terry Banks of Tree Fort Angst and glo-worm, was super great and sold a million T-shirts. Stevie ended up joining forces with Honey Bunch on their set and vice versa (he said it was like playing with the Velvets don’tcha know), and how great was that? Worlds collide. I don’t think I’d heard the chickfactor song live since 1998 at the Supper Club in NY! The only issue with the venue was that it never quite seemed loud enough, except during soundcheck. Frankie Rose did all the hits and closed out the night with her cool pop combo. Dan Searing (of glo-worm, Big Jesus Trash Can, Saturday People) was the charmingly loquacious MC and booze coordinator for both nights. I only wish I’d been in town earlier to attend a party at the Pines, where parties are legendary. The age group tonight ranged from age 5 to 78 btw. chickfactor attracts a diverse clientele. (food diary: lunch veggie mezza at Lebanese Taverna Market, dinner a big salad)
Saturday, April 7: Tonight was Black Tambourine, Lilys, Fan Modine, Lorelei and special guest LD Beghtol (backed by some guys from Black Tambourine / Lorelei). LD is the bearish gent out of Flare, who also was a guest singer on 69 Love Songs and chickfactor’s art director in the later years (when the photos started looking amazing). I had asked him to do some covers of songs by Crash, an amazing late-80s, early-90s pop group featuring singer Mark Dumais (who died 20 years ago) and guitarist Kurt Ralske (of Ultra Vivid Scene). I learned about Crash from Pam and Mike and the Black Tambourine/Slumberland crew 21 years ago and LD has a great voice for singing those songs. He did a few Crash tunes, a Flare song and a Jesus and Mary Chain tune, and oh my god “Everything Under the Sun” was one of the most compelling live music moments in years. Really was so great and so happy to see LD backed with a bunch of Crash fans. D.C.’s Lorelei made everyone swoon by covering the Pale Saints and being generally foxy, and while they were plenty loud during soundcheck in an empty room, I would have liked to hear them even louder (this was one of our main concerns with the venue all weekend). The Fan Modine came up from NC to play some hits and sounded super-rad, though I prefer hearing them when things quiet down more. Lilys mainstay Kurt Heasley played solo, which sounded pretty ace, even if I have to admit it would have been great to have him backed up with a band on a few of those classic tunes from his rich, rich back pages (why are these not all reissued? what is wrong with the world?). The first moments of the Black Tambourine show were just dead exciting. It just moved me to near-tears seeing them up there! I was one of the lucky few back in the day (1991 ish) to see them live, but tonight! you could hear the vocals! the venue was, well, basically an art gallery and wasn’t always ideal (too bright, not always loud enough) but I was more than chuffed to finally be seeing these guys play live again (set list above, natch). “Aggi” was a highlight for sure! (food diary: again! Lebanese Taverna with the family; dinner: salad and a giant iced coffee)
Sunday, April 8: Day off from rocking. I had not enough sleep, took Amtrak north and guess who randomly sat next to me? Stephen Lorelei’s mom! Crazy. She was telling other people on the train about the CF20 show! Along with my mom, she made it to the event, which was great. I got off the train in Newark, Gaylord Fields picked me up, we stopped and chowed on a few giant vegan sandwiches, and then we did his radio show together, with me getting to play all the records! What a dream come true! He seemed to enjoy what I played, which isn’t surprising as we have similar (um, perfect!) taste in music. (food diary: we went to Angelica Kitchen! Where I would have many meals this week and where Lupe Pipas met us and hung out too)
Monday, April 9: Tonight was Black Tambourine, Fan Modine, Rose Melberg and special guest Musical Chairs. Downtime became a rare and valuable commodity this week, we realized after not having nearly enough. Today we were out at Maxwell’s in Hoboken by 5pm or something, and the classic venue lived up to its reputation as being one of the finest venues in the nation in every way (apart from the food maybe). Once I had some superpowerfulmagic spanish ibuprofen powder (thanks to Lupe), I overcame my giant allergy migraine and had a spectacular night. We all sat down and had dinner together, which was really fun. We hadn’t seen Ian from Musical Chairs in ages, and he played a short set of jangly kinda pop! Rose melted my heart by doing Kirsty MacColl’s classic “They Don’t Know” which many people know from Tracey Ullman, along with doing a handful of Tiger Trap songs! Fan Modine and Black Tambourine fared better in this environment — this is the kind of venue made for this music! I was woo-ing like a crazy Beatles fangirl and just completely losing my voice, it was so fun to watch them with Lupe and Gaylord and all our pals. Really super fun. MC Gaylord Fields was just as funny and entertaining as he is on the radio! (food diary: lunch with Loops at Candle Cafe on the Upper East Side; dinner at Maxwell’s, I think I had a veggie burger, it was not terrifically memorable)
Tuesday, April 10: Tonight was Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Versus, The Lois Plus, Dump and Mark Robinson (last two were special guests). What a lineup, holy crap. I think I probably would have put SF & BT on different nights originally but Dave SF specifically requested this lineup, and I really wanted them to play so… Dump did a proper set of tunes including their stunning version of the Pacific Ocean’s “Last Minute,” Prince’s “Pop Life” and a few of their own classics like “Superpowerless” (or what Dawn calls “Pants on the floor” or something). Dump said if it weren’t for chickfactor they probably wouldn’t play live, which is crazy! Mark Robinson was going to be there anyway and Unrest couldn’t do a proper set but wowed the kids (and the oldies) with just two perfect tracks: “Isabel” and “Yes, She Is My Skinhead Girl” so so great, love that guy! Miss Maffeo played with The Would-Be-Goods’ Peter Momtchiloff and Bratmobile’s Molly Neuman on drums, and it was just so perfect. “Rougher” was a highlight, as was “Strumpet.” Lois, as always, delighted the audience with badinage and persliflage. One would never suspect this lady has stagefright issues! Versus gave it to you. Richard and Fontaine looked foxy in their suits and Margaret is near the bursting point; Richard joked that they were my third choice (which is true: Containe & the Pacific Ocean were asked first, and it’s pretty hard to conceal that information from Versus, it’s all the same people!) They gave us exactly what we wanted: a trip back to the early 90s! Oh god, my heart was already overflowing when Small Factory hit the stage, delivering nothing but their ultracharming pop energy, including “Suggestions,” one of the top pop songs ever. Black Tambourine played their third & final reunion show and it was mind-blowing, heart-warming, just amazing, so great. This venue was perfect for everything, especially being able to see and hear from anywhere despite your height. Just perfect! MC Gaylord Fields had nothing but witty, erudite things to say as always, I wish we’d had him properly miked up so we could go back and hear it all.(food diary: lunch at Angelica Kitchen, special no. 2; dinner: vegan panini from S’nice and I didn’t realize how walking over there would seriously cut into my duties as promoter; note to self: next time: hire more interns!)
Wednesday, April 11: Tonight was The Aislers Set, Pipas, Bridget St John, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, and special guests LD Beghtol backed by some Lorelei/Black T types and John Lindaman from True Love Always. John TLA just came out and did “Mediterranean” the excellent pop track his group contributed to the chickfactor mixtape comp from 2002. LD & the gang did their Crash and J&MChain covers and Flare song along with a Ben Watt-sung EBTG tune, the first of many EBTG references this evening! The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, or the Jim Ruiz Set as they may now be known, just blew us away with their midwestern pop genius. Highlights included “Goodbye to All That” and “Valentine”, such a great set! Bridget performed beautifully and made a lot of people well up. We loved hearing “Mon Gala Papillons,” something she was inspired to write after hearing the name of our 2004 London festival of that name, which was inspired by a Jacques Lartigue photo. The Brooklyn/London duo Pipas haven’t played anywhere in years, and made the crowd so happy. They did so many hits. I really love those guys! The Aislers Set played a better set than I have ever seen them play, and I found myself wondering: Why, as a society, we ever allowed this fan-effing-tastic pop group to disband? What the hell? the Dubya era killed so many good things, and this was one of them. They did nothing but hits. Apparently they have nothing but hits! And they were just on fire tonight, ask anyone. The video doesn’t really even capture the greatness. But wow, wow. And Peter Momtchiloff commented how this music being played this week doesn’t feel like it’s just about the past, but also about the present and the future. So true. Professor / film critic / indie nerd Sukhdev Sandhu was the MC tonight and he was irresistible as always albeit a bit quiet in his subtle Britishness. (food diary: lunch at Angelica Kitchen; dinner at S’nice)
Thursday, April 12: Tonight was Stevie “Belle and Sebastian” Jackson, HoneyBunch, The Softies, the Pines, and three! special guests Franklin Bruno, Ladybug Transistor and Fan Modine. Someone noticed that all the special guests were, uh, boys! I did try for some ladies, I’ll have it be known that Mascott, Jennifer O’Connor, The Cover Girls, Laura Cantrell, the Naysayer were among those on the list but for various reasons they could not! The manguests were super anyway — Franklin did after all play at our very first CF party with live music in 1993. Ladybug did a few fine Nordic-tinged Brooklyn tunes, and Fan Modine did a couple ace covers. Again, watching the Pines with Ava, Lulu and Bix Madell may have been one of the festival highlights for me. The paparazzi could not get enough! It felt really special to see the Pines doing a proper set in a proper venue in New York — about time! The Softies hadn’t played in 12 years and that was hard to believe because they just sound so fresh! HoneyBunch and Stevie did their collaborative thing again tonight and it was bliss. Stevie ended up with a real interactive fun set drawing the audience in and making them love him even more. We were at a chickfactor show and we were all singing our hearts out to Stevie’s cover of “Rocket Man” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. MC Phoebe Bluesky Summersquash was on hand to keep the audience entertained, man, she is a good one. In case you didn’t know who HoneyBunch wrote “Hey Bluesky” about, now you do. The whole week just filled me with so much love, luck, dopamine, euphoria, pop love, friend love, I know I sound dorky but who cares. All that was missing was more time so we could all have spent more quality time together. Pam and I didn’t even get to go shopping like the olden days. In fact the New York economy would have fared better had she been able to shop instead of just rehearsing! (food diary: lunch at Angelica; hummus sandwich with the kids from S’nice)
I got thanked an awful lot and CF did and I did work hard but it took a village to pull this thing off. Next stop: Portland, Oregon! May 30 at Bunk Bar featuring The Softies, Joe Pernice, Lois, and Selector Dub Narcotic. Later this year: San Francisco, Los Angeles and London, and maybe Chicago! (Sorry, kids, Black Tambourine not likely to play those dates)
• Here is a piece about chickfactor in the Washington City Paper, where Pam and I met. WCP also had some post-show commentary and photos.
• The DCist writes up the Black Tambourine Artisphere night and they interviewed Dot Dash as well
• Here are some items from Killer Femme, The L Magazine, Exclaim, Pitchfork, Reverb City, NPR Intern Edition, TBD, TimeOut NY, New York Times, Yale Daily News, Express Night Out, South County Music, Eardrum NYC and Orange Juice in Bishops Garden
Tae Won Yu made a poster for the event!