Jun.29: Michael Blake and Red Hook Soul @ Wolfe Island Grill

Thusday, June 29
Wolfe Island Grill
$15 at door / $10 advance

  • MB (sax)
  • Tony Scherr (guitar)
  • Avi Bortnick (guitar)
  • Rob Jost (bass)
  • Moses Patrou (percussion)
  • Tony Mason (drums)

Red Hook sits on the southern end of Brooklyn. Just a short ride from Manhattan, it has a rich history and a gritty past having been a major player in the bustling days of NYC’s harbor. It was the centerpiece in Eli Kazan’s film On the Waterfront. There’s a funky sea fare vibe there and in some areas it’s still an active port. You’ll find rusted out ships sitting next to the water taxi stands that shunt shoppers to and from popular consumer warehouses There are loads of low-rise buildings so the light spreads over the flat lands and you can see the skyline of lower Manhattan and the harbor from many vantage points. Cut off from neighbors by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (one of the most devastating urban projects in NYC history) it is tied together by a strong community driven housing project and a random mash up of residential and industrial buildings that somehow all seem to get along. I used to jog down the long pier on Columbia Street where impounded vehicles are held and I’ll always remember stopping in my tracks one day because I came upon the emergency vehicles that were towed there after 9/11. Most people will remember seeing residents waste deep in floodwaters after Hurricane Sandy pummeled it in 2012. But New Yorkers find a way to rise above adversity and Red Hook is no different. From gentrification the landscape has changed a lot but ‘old’ Red Hook is still evident – especially at places like Sunny’s – a long-standing former speakeasy where this band played its first gig. There is a lot of community spirit in this music; built on the same kind of familiarity and roughneck Brooklyn character as the neighborhood it is a tribute to.

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