New York Post on In The Attic, NYC
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 25 07:41:03 CST 2007
SEE THEM, FEEL THEM
PETE TOWNSHEND INVITES PALS TO JAM IN THE ATTICA
By MARY HUHN
WHAT A PAIR: Pete Townshend and Rachel Fuller love each other and bringing together new and older artists.
February 25, 2007 -- Even Lou Reed cracked a smile at Joes Pub last week. The cozy Astor Place venue nearly exploded when legendary rockers Pete Townshend and Reed played Velvet Underground songs - the first time the two have ever performed together.
Reed, on the electric guitar, and Townshend, on acoustic, hit a hat trick of tunes - Im Waiting for My Man, White Light/White Heat, and the killer Pale Blue Eyes.
The big treat was working with Lou, says Townshend, who says he used to play along to Velvet Underground albums. It was great to see how it caught fire. It was magical for both of us.
Credit In the Attic, a music series cooked up by pianist/singer/songwriter Rachel Fuller, who is also Townshends girlfriend of eight years. This was its third stint at Joes Pub before moving on to Los Angeles and Austins South by Southwest festival next month. The concerts mix established bands and musicians - such as the Flaming Lips and the Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan - with up-and-comers.
I find it invigorating, says Townshend. I get to meet and play with these incredible musicians, emerging talents. Im always surprised.
Tuesdays show at Joes Pub, co-hosted by Fuller and comedian and indie-music fan Jimmy Fallon, featured Rachel Yamagata (who joked that if she didnt throw up while playing with Townshend, she considered the night a success) and Amos Lee and J Mascis (whom audience member Matt Dillon must have appreciated - he was wearing a Dinosaur Jr. T-shirt).
Each artist performed about three songs alone and then Townshend put on his reading glasses, pulled up a chair and a music stand for his notes and joined each singer, usually for one of their own songs, but in the case of Mascis, a song from The Who.
This is going to be a surprising moment, Townshend said as he took the stage and noted Mascis chose See Me, Feel Me/Listening to You from Tommy.
Hes quite shy, Townshend says later. At soundcheck I asked him, How do you want to do this? He said he just wanted to do the end of Woodstock. I said to him, Im not entirely sure about this.
But with the exception of the Reed-Townshend pairing, it was without a doubt the highlight of the evening as Townshend ripped his acoustic and Mascis channeled The Whos electrified Townshend.
While its fantastic to see The Who legend up close and personal, what makes the entire show work is the chemistry between him and Fuller.
Shes charming, funny and a talented singer and pianist, and Townshend reveals a warmer and goofier side of himself than one might see at an arena-rock show.
After a couple of minutes with Pete and me, [artists] feel at ease because its chatty and fun, says Fuller.
In the Attic began in September 2005 as a live Webcast from Townshend and Fullers London studio.
It was, she describes, a silly music chat show with silly fashion tips and the like. Eventually other artists dropped by.
It was very informal, says Fuller. Sometimes wed play music and sometimes we didnt.
When The Who went on tour last summer, the two loaded up an Airstream Trailer with equipment to satellite-broadcast the Web show from the European festivals. The new iTunes-only album, Attic Jam, which includes songs recorded live with guests artists such as Ed Harcourt, the Raconteurs, Death Cab for Cutie and the Flaming Lips, came from that tour.
Pete and I, we like to be together, Fuller says. I wanted to go on the tour, but I wanted to work, too. There are only so many times you can go to Bergdorfs.
When they came to America, the two continued In the Attic by staging live gigs as intimate venues, keeping them unrehearsed and as raw as possible. Even if it shifts to TV, Fuller wants to keep that stripped-down feel.
They plan to conquer the European festival circuit again this summer and hope to return to a live Web broadcast in March. Meanwhile, the Joes Pub show will be available by linking from Fullers or Townshends blogs (respectively, intheattic.tv or petetownshend-whohe.blogspot.com).
Townshend, who is just as chatty on his blog as he is on the phone, is clearly thrilled by these low-key appearances.
I get a little bit, Oh my god, its hard work learning all this stuff, he says. But just like Jimmy Fallon said, I had the most fun Ive ever had.
-Brian in Atlanta
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