Heart On Fire: The Ivan Julian Benefit – City Winery – New York, NY – May 4, 2016
On Wednesday, May 4, a sold out crowd of punk rock fans celebrated the life thus far of the great Ivan Julian. Struggling with bills for cancer treatment, artists and fans alike have been (and can continue to) contribute to a fund to help ease the financial burden. This night and its Saturday, May 7, counterpart also fulfilled this concept brilliantly.
It was an all-star cast of musicians that brought the vision and spirit of Julian’s rock aesthetic alive. The night began with emcee Debbie Harry who never sang on the evening, but did provide a welcome face and voice of continuity. The musical festivities began with guitar master Lenny Kaye. Though not beginning with his guitar artistry but with his voice on a lively cover of “Build Me Up Buttercup,” he did satisfy the eyes and ears with his picking on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Walk on the Water.”
And the highlights just kept on coming after that:
* Richard Barone kneeling down for a kiss from Debbie Harry and playing his signature guitar on a Bongos tune.
* The Bush Tetras, who are a rare live sight, were stunning with Cynthia Sley (the former wife of Julian) in the lead.
* With backing by the house band stalwarts of Nicholas Tremulis and Jim Mastro, Julian’s son Austin, did a lovely version of Julian’s song “You is Dead.”
* Garland Jeffreys stunned with The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man.”
* Ira Kaplan and Willie Nile each showed off their guitar skills in their own mini-sets.
* Ian Hunter brought Mott the Hoople back to life with “I Wish I Was Your Mother.”
* The Dictators NYC did a raucous “Kick Out the Jams” while Vernon Reid and Burnt Sugar scorched the room with some David Bowie and Prince.
* The best was saved for last, though, with Richard Hell making a very rare live appearance. “Blank Generation” stunned and after Ivan Julian came out to thank the crowd (but not perform as he did on Saturday) Hell returned to do a glorious folk punk cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
The whole band was made up of Tony Shanahan, Jim Mastro (music director), Nicholas Tremulis (co-music director), Al Maddy (Joey Ramone, Jesse Malin, Ivan) Vinny DeNunzio (The Feelies, The Outsets) and Steve Goulding (The Mekons).
What a night it was for an incredible cause. Let us hope Ivan Julian will be back doing what he is so great at in full scale soon.
To donate to the Ivan Julian Fund, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/IvanJulianFund
Copyright ©2016 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 12, 2016.
Photos by Chris Sikich © 2016