Angel Bat Dawid and jaimie branch & Friends @ IRL, July 28th
A few images from one of the most uplifting live music experiences my body has ever participated in
Even with the delta variant wrecking havoc and sending many folks back into seclusion, this week has given New York City musickers what feels like an overwhelming amount of positive energy, not simply the fuel to keep going but a direction. I am talking about numerous musical performances I’ve experienced over the past few days. But mostly, I am talking about the two nights that Angel Bat Dawid and jaimie branch organized at IRL in Greenpoint on Tuesday the 28th and Wednesday the 29th.
Though both musicians are bedrocks of the International Anthem family, because jaimie is based in Brooklyn and Angel in Chicago, they don’t play music with each other all that often. On the other hand, both do play in numerous projects and with many different people — embracing collaborators in the truest sense of the word. They are also incredible yearning, omnivorous musicians, who bring their own personalities to the material, while simultaneously uplifting the folks around them — and that’s a lot folks, many of whom have by now played with both Angel and jaimie, and whose reputations as musicians and musickers only keep ascending. Which is why the very idea of an “Angel and jaimie & Friends” show was instantly exciting, an opportunity for a vast array of people to share a stage and make some new energy happen. And ooooo-weeee, did they ever!
I only saw Tuesday’s performance, where these shots (c/o of Kate Glicksberg) were taken, and to say that the 2+ continuous hours (!!) of music were some of the most spiritually cleansing that I’ve had the privilege to live over the last few years, is a major understatement. I can gladly aggrandize and compare — the amount of freedom and structure with which the music naturally flowed, how much rhythm and improvisation were its core, how devoted it always was to the philosophical, socials and political ideals that are core to both Angel and jaimie’s work — but it doesn’t feel like the time. (Oh, and reports from Wednesday’s show confirmed that the majik which these incredible beings conjured is a cultivated gift, and not happenstance. Trust the creators!)
So, enjoy Kate’s photographs (if you use, please credit her), and wait on the tapes that were rolling all round us — even if they are 100% unlikely to capture the glory of a four-trumpet fanfare from IRL’s balcony, or how at one point the performance became two separate performances before coming back together, or how a vociferous clapping for an encore turned into a gospel sing-along. Some things tape just can’t capture - we call that presence. In the meantime, I just wanna list and give praise and thanks to all the players, who truly created a musical evening for the ages: Angel Bat Dawid, jaimie branch, Anaiet, Isaiah Collier, Kennedy Banks, Chris Williams, Tomin Perea-Chamblee, Heru Shabaka Ra, Viktor Le Givens, Luke Stewart, Tcheser Holmes, and the young lady who got on the mic for a minute. Explore all their music as individuals and in groups.
(photos: Kate Glicksberg)