Text by Joe Yanosik
Copyright of image: The Plastic People of the Universe
The Plastic who of the what? Never heard of them and I’ve been playing music for decades, you might say. Well, it’s not your fault. Even on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean where they’re from, the Plastic People (actually from Czechoslovakia, not the Universe) remained obscure. In America, fans of alternative music may simply know them as a cult band who made weird, experimental music. In fact, the Plastic People of the Universe were one of the greatest rock groups to emerge from Central Europe during the Communist era and their incredible history should be known far and wide by everyone who plays music for a living.
Formed in Czechoslovakia in 1968 shortly after the Warsaw Pact Invasion in which Soviet tanks and troops crushed the liberal period known as the Prague Spring, the Plastic People of the Universe endured two decades of persecution from the Communist regime simply because they refused to conform to the Soviet “normalization”. Since the era of Stalin, the Communists knew the importance of controlling the art in a society and they used art as propaganda to promote their own fake reality. They were fully aware of the power of music and art and couldn’t let it be created freely for fear that the truth would escape.
…The blues had a baby and they named it harmolodic.
Review by Joe Yanosik
Photo by Joe Yanosik
the City Winery (NY) / Date:
May 10, 2018
The legendary guitarist James Blood Ulmer performed an amazing solo concert at the City Winery last Thursday night in the West Village. It was a truly intimate show in a brand new cozy upstairs space called the Loft above the Winery. At 78 years old, Ulmer remains an impressively foreboding figure even before he plugs his guitar into his amplifier. Befitting someone of his renown, he’s a big man. Dressed in African garb, and sporting a grey beard, he walked slowly to the stage and immediately began conjuring his signature sounds from his uniquely-tuned Gibson Byrdland. A guitar-playing friend of mine who attended the concert with me noted how difficult it must have been for Ulmer to step on his wah-wah pedal considering the giant boots he was wearing.
Date: November 12th, 2017
Venue: Joe’s Pub (NY)
Concert Review by Joe Yanosik & Claudia Yanosik
Photographs by Claudia Yanosik
The two dozen or so patrons that attended Joe’s Pub last Sunday for a concert by the French band Lo’Jo were treated to a unique and wonderful blend of world music styles and sounds. The venue was only half full, understandable for an early afternoon (12:30PM) show, and the audience seemed to be mostly comprised of French expats and longtime fans, but the band gave everyone there a show to remember.