Words by: Gabriela Kerson :: Images by Rachel Seiden
Bustle In Your Hedgerow :: 08.28.06 :: The Rocks Off Concert Cruise :: New York, NY
Sometimes there are magical moments in life. You get to return to the dream quality of high school, when the real world was "out there," and had yet to drag you down. Back to a time when sex and drugs were more of a fantasy then a reality, when your friends meant everything. When music was the only escape, the only language that you really understood.
Bustle In Your Hedgerow :: 08.28
(L to R): Dreiwitz, Benevento, Metzger, Russo
Monday, August 28th was one of those nights. I skipped up the steps of the subway, ducked and weaved through Times Square, and half-jogged down 41st Street, flat-out running the last block to catch the light across the West Side Highway. My destination? Heaven - well almost - Jake Szufnarowski's 33rd birthday party and the third anniversary show of Bustle In Your Hedgerow. Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Dave Dreiwitz, and Scott Metzger, doing, wait for it, Zeppelin covers, on a boat circling the universe, well, Manhattan.
Szufnarowski, to quote Kevin Kendrick, "shapes the musical aesthetic of New York City." He booked/books the final days of the Wetlands, Tribeca Rock Club, and now CBGB's. His company, Rocks Off, produces events all over the city, from hardcore to rock to cover bands to Widespread Panic after parties and pretty much everything in between.
Bustle In Your Hedgerow :: 08.28.06
The boat, a large one with two levels and a five hundred-person capacity, was comfortably full with a wide assortment of music geeks. Within two songs I felt like I was fifteen again, filled with intense sexual frustration, the need for experimentation and the pushing of every limit (I did mention it was Zeppelin right?). The crowd pushed close to the stage, listening to songs whose names we didn't know but whose rhythm and melodies were ingrained in our bodies. The intense realization that we were watching a professional performance of the most highly acknowledged pieces of masturbatory music. Instrumentally, I mean. Benevento's new scruff hid his normal flirtatious looks, but the notes from the organ crept out and around the boat, the way his grin used to. Szufnarowski edged against the backstage wall to watch; "the king of New York" someone whispered next to me. The set break came quickly, leaving us near the Statue of Liberty desperately craving more.
Szufnarowski, a big fan of Paul Green's School of Rock, invited a few of the students on board. A young woman named Sarah, maybe 16, took the guitar spot, and a young man took the drums with Benevento and Dreiwitz supporting in the background as the band launched into "Traveling Riverside Blues." She was amazing, her slim pubescent body contrasting with the very accomplished playing, harnessing the pure energy of teenage frustration. When Metzger and Russo returned to the stage, their sound was darker, as if they had something to prove. Dreiwitz leaned back, stroking the neck of his bass with the look of a proud father in his eyes as he watched his friends play their hearts out. On the next song, Russo soloed on the drums, his glasses off, pounding with his palms and then with one palm and one stick. Dreiwitz crouched before him, snapping a picture on his cell, as Benevento lolled beneath his organ.
Metzger & Szufnarowski :: 08.28.06
"When the Levee Breaks" rolled over the crowd, reminding us all just how much has happened in the past few years. NOLA, 9/11, life, death, cancer, and how we survived, continuing with music through strife and history. Metzger's fingers flew on the guitar, Russo wailed on the drums, Benevento's vibe flowed, and Dreiwitz chilled on the bass.
They closed the Zeppelin portion of the show with a few words from Jake, "Metzger's Birthday is in three days. Sing him 'Happy Birthday.'" "He wasn't going to come out tonight." They shared a look, and Danjaboots (Russo and Metzger) played two songs. "Go Home Hippie" and the song Metzger wrote for Jake, "Flaco Dominguez." At the end of the song Metzger said, "He booked me, paid me, believed in me," and then softly, "I love you Jake."
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