Words by: Gabriela Kerson :: Images by Rachel Seiden

Bustle In Your Hedgerow :: 08.28.06 :: The Rocks Off Concert Cruise :: New York, NY

Bustle In Your Hedgerow :: 08.28
(L to R): Dreiwitz, Benevento, Metzger, Russo
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.

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.

Bustle In Your Hedgerow :: 08.28.06
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.

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.

Metzger & Szufnarowski :: 08.28.06
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.

"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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[Published on: 9/18/06]

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SuperDee Mon 9/18/2006 02:18PM
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what up nyc hardcore crew! rockin da boat!

racheldawn Mon 9/18/2006 02:56PM
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Larry the lemon loves the bustle

makeithappen77 starstarstarstar Mon 9/18/2006 05:33PM
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Can these guys just become a (more than a few times a year) band already? Their chemistry is otherworldly. Nice work Gabriela & Rach!

cvanac starstarstarstarstar Tue 9/19/2006 07:54PM
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jake use to book a band I managed a while back. good and honest person.

FatChance Wed 9/20/2006 09:47AM
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i frequented the wetlands from 1988 to 95....what an amazing guy Jake is. The Wetlands is sorely missed and Jake was a huge part of its success. I wish him the best and agree with some other comments--would be sweet to see a tour of this and have Dreiwitz & co come out to the west coast. did anyone tape this show and will it be up on archive.org?

Tan starstarstarstarstar Wed 9/20/2006 09:55AM
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3 stars for Zepplin, 1 star for Virgos, and 1 star for a party that floats.

Tan starstarstarstarstar Wed 9/20/2006 09:55AM
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3 stars for Zeppelin, 1 star for Virgos, and 1 star for a party that floats.

aaronbenor Wed 9/20/2006 02:20PM
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what a great night... but no mention of jake's new tattoo? for shame... :)

the420cloud starstarstarstarstar Tue 9/26/2006 10:57AM
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so...somthing to learn here about tributes...these guys get together from time to time to do this to get thier rocks off....not to make billions of dollars or a big name in the biz for themselves (shame on Chris Sheldon).....thats class, anyway!

still doesent resonate as mucth as the first TJ Kurk album for me but what will?

Boodzy1 starstarstarstar Sat 9/30/2006 07:22AM
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Great article, The author really captured the special feeling this night. What a monday! True this band has quite the chemistry but lets keep it our little secret.

mreezal Mon 10/23/2006 08:34PM
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i saw these guys this summer in chicago, but bayliss was there instead of metzger and it was off the fucking chain