Eric Burdon

Eric Burdon played John Varvatos Bowery....
Eric Burdon : Live

Eric Burdon : Live

John Varvatos Bowery has been having some special concerts of late.  The space that was formerly CBGB’s had its fifth anniversary party last month (QRO review) with Gary Clark Jr. & Vintage Trouble, and just recently had the iconic Cheap Trick reproduce (QRO review) one of their iconic Budokan shows – thirty-five years and half a continent away from the original Tokyo location.  And on Tuesday, May 14th, the space had a birthday part of classic blues-funk singer Eric Burdon.

John Varvatos Bowery

Both of the prior concerts had been good, but were hurt by the place being stuffed to the gills – the VIPs were out in force at the anniversary show, while the Budokan performance had fans from far and wide (and video streaming equipment taking up extra space).  Yet Burdon’s was a far more relaxed affair, where one didn’t have to fight to get anywhere near the front – or to get a drink from the open bar.  Admittedly, Burdon isn’t a hot new artist supposedly ‘bringing blues back’ like Clark (did it ever leave?  And if it did, didn’t Jack White already bring it back?…), and isn’t ‘big in Japan’ like Cheap Trick, so the RSVP list probably wasn’t as over-subscribed as previously – but that just made for a more enjoyable show.

Eric Burdon playing “It’s My Life” live at John Varvatos Bowery in New York, NY on May 14th, 2013:

Also making for an enjoyable show?  Burdon’s music itself.  The former frontman for the original British invasion rock ‘n’ roll band The Animals (contemporaries of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones), Burdon was with the band as it ventured from blues-rock into psychedelic (through changes in line-ups & names like ‘Eric Burdon & The Animals’ and ‘Eric Burdon & The New Animals’ – though lost the U.K. rights to the original name somehow).  He also teamed up with San Fran funk outfit War during the Summer of Love.  He’s done much since them, from comebacks (including a film Comeback) to doing an all-analog recording with modern day indie-blues band The Greenhornes for Record Store Day last year (titled, of course, Eric Burdon & The Greenhornes), and the John Varvatos Bowery event was a record release for his new solo album, Til Your River Runs Dry.  Yet his age hasn’t dimmed his spirit – or his fun nature, as his blues-rock fit very nicely in the space that was formerly ‘Country, BlueGrass, and Blues’.  How can you not enjoy a show with free drinks & Burdon’s well known “Spill the Wine (Drink That Girl)”?

Eric Burdon playing “Spill the Wine” live at John Varvatos Bowery in New York, NY on May 14th, 2013:

It was also three days after Burdon’s birthday, so John Varvatos himself had a pretty damn big cake brought out (unfortunately it wasn’t offered to the crowd – could have used the free food to go with the free booze, but maybe liquor + sugary frosting isn’t the best combination…).  Burdon had two shows after the event at Highline Ballroom (QRO venue review), and there will be more events at John Varvatos Bowery, but those who were there that evening had a special night.

happy birthday!

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