In May 2019, I reviewed a concert by Bovine Social Club at Roy’s Hall in Blairstown. It was a tribute to Tom Waits titled “Clap Hands” and a unique event: A concert with theatrical flourishes, featuring readings of his poetry and quotes from his interviews between songs.
NJArts.net is proud to be participating in Bovine Social Club’s Virtual Concert Benefit Tour, this month. From Oct. 13 to Nov. 19, the band will be streaming a film of that Roy’s Hall show, with proceeds (following expenses) going to various organizations including MusiCares; HelpMusicians.org.uk; the Godfrey Daniels coffeehouse in Bethlehem, Pa.; and the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Pa.
Proceeds from the Oct. 16-18 screenings will go to NJArts.net. The concert is an hour and 40 minutes and will begin at 8 p.m. each night. Tickets are being sold through eventbrite.com.
Bovine Social Club is led by singer and guitarist Samuel Saint Thomas, who also arranged the Virtual Concert Benefit Tour. He, violinist Casey McGinty and pianist Damian Calcagne sang most of the songs in Blairstown.
To quote from my review:
“McGinty turned ballads such as ‘Green Grass’ and ‘Temptation’ into torch songs, while Calcagne came closest to duplicating the flavor of Waits’ gravelly growl on songs such as ‘Take It With Me’ and ‘Old Shoes (& Picture Postcards).’
“Band members stood in a semi-circle, clapping, on the opening song, ‘Jesus Gonna Be Here.’ Later, ‘Way Down in the Hole’ became a boozy singalong. Guitarist-vocalist Jesse Bardwell, formerly of the Quimby Mountain Band and now a frequent Steve Forbert collaborator, guested with the band on songs such as ‘New Coat of Paint’ and ‘House Where Nobody Lives.’
” ‘Well, since it’s New Jersey and all …,’ Saint Thomas said before leading the band through the encore, sentimental favorite ‘Jersey Girl.’ “
Saint Thomas writes, in the streams’ Facebook event page, that the band “set out to find inventive ways of expressing and arranging each song story, prompting them to go down into the song hole to mine the dimly lit layers of their personal experience.
“A prominent intention in their process was to explore and perform each song through both feminine and masculine lenses, providing the audience with a rare glimpse of the tension and tenderness in Waits’ collaborations with Kathleen Brennan.”
For more on Bovine Social Club, visit bovinesocialclub.com.
Streams of the concert can be puchased at eventbrite.com.
This trailer will give you a taste of what the concert was like:
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $10, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.