David Byrne Blogs, Rides Bikes and Books New Gigs
After a period of relative quiet following a series of shows at New Yorks Carnegie Hall last February, David Byrne has returned to his busy schedule. On Thursday David Byrne made a surprise appearance with Lucinda Williams during the second set of her performance at New Yorks Town Hall. The gig was the final night of Williams five show New York residency which found her reinterpreting her first five album albums in succession during her first set and performing with guests ranging from Steve Earle to Joan Osborne to Jesse Malin during her second set. Williams introduced Byrne by saying he was kind enough to ride his bike over to play a few songs and the former Talking Heads leader preceded to offer a version of his solo song Buck Naked’ and his classic Heaven. He then shared a duet with Williams on ‘Over Time,’ before yielding to fellow 1970s legend David Johansson who performed with the evenings headliner on ‘Jail House Tears.’ At the end of the night Byrne returned for a sing-a-along version of Al Greens Take Me to the River.
On Saturday Byrne returned to the Town Hall to host an event called How New Yorkers Ride Bikes. The avid cyclist entered the venue on bike and introduced a number of speakers, authors, panelists and short films centered around bicycling, in addition to the Norhampton, MAs Young@Heart Chorus, who fittingly covered Queens Bicycle Race. At the end of the evening Byrne took the stage himself, leading the chorus through a version of One Fine Day.
The event capped off a busy week for the performer, which included the announcement that he will play a pair of shows at New Yorks experimental Wordless Music series this January (though Byrne is expected to perform vocal tunes) and will include a cover of Fiery Furnaces’ ‘Ex Guru’ on an upcoming Thrill Jockey Box Set. Byrne also used his spare time to review Animal Collective and Vampire Weekends recent performances on his blog. He described Vampire weekend as really good poppy, but fairly skewed too, with bits of soukous guitar thrown in from time to time, as if it was just a way of playing lilting guitar and not a specific African style. He went onto say that theyre not a world music act by any stretch; these various styles of playing are all just out there now, to be used when appropriate and that he wondered if they sounded a little like early Talking Heads, a little bit, maybe, which of course wouldnt bother [him]. Later he mentioned that in the past, Animal Collective were very briefly lumped in with the freak folk crowd, but they couldnt be further from that now. Very few acoustic instruments remain a cymbal got hit and a guitar appeared briefly, but the rest was all pre-recorded tracks, loops and samples. Byrne will speak at Bostons The Institute of Contemporary Art tomorrow.