The Date: Feb. 22, 2007
The Venue: The Knitting Factory, New York
The Bar: Open bar for the first hour, though drink tickets seemed to be in steady supply afterward
The Rumored Lineup: March cover girl Norah Jones, Trey Anastasio of Phish and indie rapper Matisyahu
The Actual Lineup: Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur; guitarist/vocalist Kaki King; modern rockers Son Volt and Melissa Etheridge-in-training Brandi Carlile
The Crowd: Paste's Decatur, Ga.-based editorial staff was in town for the occasion, as well as a crowd full of the music mag's subscribers who got the exclusive invite to the secret show. And since Trey was a no-show, Phish fans had to settle for a sighting of the defunct jam band's main songwriter, Tom Marshall
|Norah Jones might be the cover girl, but she was a no-show at the 'Paste' party.|
In a week of long-gestating rumors coming true -- the XM/Sirius merger, Britney Spears' revealing her true identity as an alien, etc. -- Freeloader was hoping the buzz fairy would sprinkle some magic dust over last night's party to celebrate Paste's March issue at the Knitting Factory.
For its last bash, the monthly publication somehow lured Beck to play a no-holds-barred electric set for a crowd of maybe 200 people, a moment as permanently etched into Freeloader's memory as the YouTube footage of Anna Nicole at any awards show. Pre-show rumors had it that Paste would top itself with a lineup of Trey Anastasio from Phish, Matisyahu (Freeloader's favorite Hasidic indie rapper) and the March cover girl herself, Norah Jones, who's been doing a lot of undercover gigs lately wearing wigs even Britney wouldn't touch.
But that was definitely not Norah when Joseph Arthur came out as the first act and played a remarkably good lineup of rock songs (and a surprise cover of the Pretenders' "Brass in Pocket" that had Freeloader strutting across the Knitting Factory's V.I.P. balcony). Nor was that Matisyahu when guitarist Kaki King sat down for a mighty impressive batch of acoustic songs played at warp speed, a la her Gap ad from a few years back.
Freeloader was willing to forgive and forget Paste as long as the headliner delivered. But since Minneapolis' Son Volt was nowhere near as engaging as Trey Anastasio would've been (and significantly lacking a recent DWI track record as Trey has these days), we were a bit bummed.
Instead, Freeloader spent the remainder of the evening stocking up on free beer and ham sandwiches (hey, not everyone can float a fountain of free-flowing sushi at their guests), imagining the boys of Son Volt joined by Trey, Matisyahu or the cover girl herself. Oh Norah, we don't know why you didn't come.