6 min read

Growing Pains.

Candid talk about a bumpy transition… and the long-awaited return of concert listings.


Hello! It's been a minute.

I've been relatively consistent about sending out my weekly "For the Record" updates on Fridays (okay, often on Saturdays, if I'm being honest), I've let a lot of other things that were important to me slide: news round-ups, calendar listings, and interviews, most importantly. It's partly a matter of available time: my present day job consumes my daylight hours and begs for more, so I work hard to preserve balance and boundaries.

What's also true is that I'm not wholly satisfied working in Ghost yet. I've not had any second thoughts about having left Substack, even as I see popular musicians and esteemed critics launching new ventures on that platform despite widespread coverage of its problematic practices. (Did you catch how Substack decided to go into comics—and then tapped one of the most polarizing creators available?)

Still, there's very little point in pretending that Substack doesn't have the easiest, neatest, and just plain best tool available for the newsletter homesteader. There are things I could do on Substack quickly and easily that are more challenging to do here, or don't work the same way. I'm also not thrilled by my new provider telling me when I inquire about something really basic, like hotlinks that open new tabs, that I not only can't have it, but don't need it and shouldn't want it.

Anyway, today's update is not meant to be an extended kvetch or an isolated drive-by, but rather an afirmation of intent: There are things I very much want to do, and this is the vehicle through which I get to do them. (One example is at the end of this very newsletter, should you want to skip ahead.)

I'm not here.

If you visit nightafternight.substack.com, the URL where this newsletter resided previously, you'll find advice from a seemingly nice fellow, whose name might be Lairds, offering you guidance on buying a motorcycle.

Probably needless to say, that's not me.

I don't love it that someone was able to move in and redecorate so quickly, but them's the breaks, I guess. Or maybe it's just boilerplate anytime someone shuts down a newsletter, leaving a good URL behind? Either way, readers: update your bookmarks, please—unless you're in the market for a motorcycle, of course, in which case go hog wild!

The correct URL for this newsletter is night-after-night.ghost.io. Here's what you ought to see if you're not signed in:

And once you are signed in, it should look something like this:

One more thing: some paying subscribers have made me aware that after I migrated this operation completely from Substack to Ghost, and even after I deleted my Substack profile (thus making way for Lairds), billing statements seemed to indicate a payment being made to NIGHTAFTERNIGHT.SUBSTACK.

Rest assured that absolutely no further payment was delivered to Substack. What happened was that Stripe, the payment facilitator for Substack, Ghost, and many other vendors, retained the original account name. I've changed it manually, so you shouldn't see any more references to Substack on invoices or anywhere else.

Heavy construction.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed a picture yesterday that looked a lot like the one you see above—except its colors were more garish, something I've tweaked a few decibels here. It's a screenshot of a spreadsheet I started a few years ago to keep up with live music events in and around New York City. I made it to help organize coverage in National Sawdust Log (RIP), and also consulted it for the listings I write for "Goings On About Town" in The New Yorker.

Having spent most of last year tracking livestreams instead of in-person events, I'm seeing more than enough activity now to shift back to concerts. That said, we're still in a transitional time, and plenty of organizations have seen the virtue of continuing to provide streams in order to serve potential audiences who cannot attend in person, whether because of distance or disability. So I'll continue to track livestreams when it makes sense to do so.

So, how about some listings, then? Starting now, immediately below, welcome to The Night After Nightwatch, where I'll share concert picks – both live events in the New York City area and online events catering to new-music audiences – every Tuesday. (I started this round on Tuesday, anyway.)

And, seeing as I'm already doing the work of tracking down and compiling all this useful data, I reckon I might as well offer to share it with anyone who really wants it. So by the end of this week, paying subscribers finally will have exclusive access to a long-promised, continously updated calendar of events.

The Night After Nightwatch.

L-R: Craig Taborn joins Tim Berne, David Torn, and Ches Smith as Mars July 28 at Drom. (Photographs: Monica Jane Frisell; Caterina di Perri)

Tim Berne's Mars
85 Avenue A (at E. 6th St.), East Village
Wednesday, July 28 at 8pm; $20

Hooked up as Sun of Goldfinger, saxophonist Tim Berne, guitarist David Torn, and percussionist Ches Smith have played some of the most explosively inventive music of their respective careers. They're joined here by keyboardist Craig Taborn, another longtime Berne collaborator (Science Friction, Hard Cell) and a similarly protean creator. What results should be – pardon the pun – otherworldly.

Peter Evans: Being & Becoming
20 Putnam St., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Thursday, July 29-Saturday, July 31 at 8pm; free with reservations

Trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Peter Evans, known among contemporary classical and creative-music circles for his superlative technique and unbounded creativity, plays a three-night stand with the quicksilver band heard on his 2020 LP Being & Becoming: vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Nick Jozviak, and drummer Savannah Harris. Each free show features a different opener; Thursday's event, featuring Tim Dahl and azumi O E, is booked to capacity, but space remains for Friday with Arun Ramamurthy and Saturday with Alice Teyssier.

Vision Festival 25
Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer St., Red Hook, Brooklyn
Thursday, July 29, and Friday, July 30 at 6pm; $65, livestream $15
The Clemente – La Plaza Outdoors
114 Norfolk St., Lower East Side
Saturday, July 31 at 5pm; $65, livestream $15

Perseverance, determination, and the joy of communal gathering and ecstatic expression are qualities common to every iteration of the Vision Festival, New York City's premier celebration of creative music, dance, poetry, and art—but this year's return to live action has felt especially charged, even if you've viewed it all through the vivid livestreams available each night. (The shows remain available for replay through Aug. 7.) On Thursday, the eternally youthful Trio 3 and an unnamed guest pianist headline a bill that also features Amirtha Kidambi and James Brandon Lewis. Friday highlights include a reconstituted David Murray Octet, an electro-acoustic project from Ingrid Laubrock, and Jaimie Branch's fiery Fly or Die. And a closing tribute to percussion magus Milford Graves on Saturday features likeminded shamen including Andrew Cyrille, Joe McPhee, John Zorn, and William Hooker.

Reiko Aizawa & Jesse Mills
Fulton Ferry Landing, Dumbo, Brooklyn
Friday, July 30 at 7pm, and Saturday, July 31 at 6pm; $35
Proof of vaccination required

On Friday you can hear Aizawa and Mills, the married pianist and violinist of the stellar Horszowski Trio, perform Morton Feldman's For John Cage, the trance-inducing piece complemented by the venue's amniotic sway and wobble. Then return the next night to hear Aizawa play Feldman's Palais de Mari, John Cage's Suite for Toy Piano, Augusta Read Thomas's Etude No. 5 (“Rain at Funeral – Homage to Morton Feldman”), and Mozart's Rondo in D (K. 485).

Lea Bertucci
The People's Beach at Jacob Riis Park
157 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway Park, Queens
Saturday, July 31 at 2, 4, and 6pm; free

Hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach this Saturday and you'll find intrepid composer, saxophonist, and sound artist Lea Bertucci exploring the acoustic possibilities of the handball courts at Jacob Riis Park: "one hard, flat horizontal floor with two hard, flat, parallel walls of concrete," Bertucci lists in her project precis. Presented by Brooklyn arts lab JACK, she'll interact with three avid improvisers: saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos and percussionists Ben Bennett and Shayna Dunkelman.