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Show reviews of Jonny Lives, Karwreck and Based on Graphs
You’ve heard of metal meisters Kreator and electro/industrialists Kraftwerk, well here’s Karwreck, a – wait a minute! – an art-rock band? Formed in 2000 by former Mozart’s Graver members Andy Fish (guitar/vocals) and Giovanni Palacios (drums), they eventually teamed up with Jesse McGrath (guitar/vocals) Katharine Blodget (keys/vocals) and Manny Parisi (bass). There’re obvious influences from Velvet Underground, Television and Talking Heads that combine with this group’s own vision to give Karwreck a very unique and full sound. They’ve performed on Terri T’s excellent Cherry Blossom Clinic (WFMU) and as Terri noted with her usual spot-on insight, “Karwreck grace us with their complex, textured sound. These guys have an old skool NY 1976 feel.”

Live, Karwreck brings back those days when Lower East Side bands could still have fun taking themselves seriously. The band delivered an intriguing set at the Luna Lounge, but I do wish that the somewhat demure Ms. Blodget (a performer of note in her own right) was featured more prominently within the group. Karwreck released a self-titled EP in 2002 that was recorded and mixed with longtime hardcore (!) producer Don Fury. Although Fury’s original rehearsal studio at one time hosted some of the better known punk and post-punk bands in the 70s, is this all a bit of irony, or is it perhaps where Karwreck got their Kname?
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Jonny Lives is a group fronted by guitarist Jonny Dubowsky. He’s joined on stage by bassist Mikki James and drummer Claudio Rochat-Felix to complete a power-pop trio whose songs are fueled by catchy melodies and rhythms. All three have varied and notable histories (among other things: Jonny opened for Stevie Wonder when he was 14; James is a former member of  Thin Lizard Dawn; Rochat-Felix is also a classically trained violinist and has an impressive jazz background that includes a recent tour of Asia). When I saw them at Piano’s they played most of the tunes off their highly-toted self-titled EP – songs like “Breaking Down,” “Do It Again” and “Lost My Mind” – but they also peppered the set with new ones like “Love Conspiracy” and “Little Secret” that sound just as strong. Jonny Live is a NYC band but that hasn’t stopped them from venturing out. They toured the U.K. this past Spring and returned this Fall for the In The City Festival in Manchester that also featured the Ravonettes.
Based On Graphs is a four-piece that Kristopher Yodice started up in 2000. Shortly thereafter they released the four song EP Novice. Then late in 2001 B.O.G. put out their first full length - Though The Moon Moves Faster Than Us. When I caught them at the Luna Lounge, the group’s personnel was in a state of transition with guitarist Pat Beirne being the latest addition and their bassist playing his swan song. But this state of flux didn’t prevent Based On Graphs from putting on a solid show. Yodice is a personable frontman who wants his audience to be as roused up as he is. But, Based On Graphs kills you gently with their punk-flavored rocking. One of the strongest songs of the set was “Soul Youngster” which set a nice groove. It doesn’t appear on either of their recordings, but a “live” track of it is available on the Based On Graphs website. Yet the highlight of the show may have been when Yodice put down his guitar and was joined by just Beirne for a moving version of John Lennon’s “Julia.” Pat’s finger-picking technique and Kristopher’s moving vocals made for a stirring rendition. Apparently, B.O.G. has also done a number of strictly acoustic shows and it might be interesting to see more of it in their ‘electric’ sets.
Commentary and photos by Jeff Rey
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