Review and photographs by Richard Brody
Additional photographs by Bryan Lasky
The day-long musical fireworks on Lark Street needed a grand finale, and who better than Willie Nile and his superb band to supply that at LarkFest’s Madison Avenue stage? The crowd was pumped from the opening salvo: “This Is Our Time,” with lyrics, “Can you feel the power, can you feel the drive, can you feel the feeling that it’s good to be alive?” Support came steady from the tight rhythm section of Johnny Pisano on bass and Alex Alexander on drums and Matt Hogan’s slamming lead guitar; band and crowd became one, and the party kicked into an even higher gear.
The set featured a number of songs from Nile’s recent album, American Ride, including “Life On Bleecker Street” about his adopted NYC home and specifically the street on which his career began some 40 years ago. Willie being Willie, this was not a nostalgic trip back home, but rather a humorous and somewhat cynical view of hipsters, stars, wannabees and tourists who all see Bleecker Street as the destination.