Short and Sweet NYC Presents @ The Knitting Factory Brooklyn, 1/22/2010


Though we were all on needles Friday night at the Knitting Factory for our second-anniversary party featuring DJ Rob Swift, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, Apse and Venn Diagrams, I believe we pulled off a properly successful evening. Rather our CEO and editor, DaVe Lipp worked his eclectic network of stars.

The night began with the modern-day cabaret, two-man duo Venn Diagrams. Jeffrey Marsh on vocals and Rick Sorkin on guitar were one-part David Bowie and one-part…um, something else. The artistic-duo entertained us with a blend of witty banter, snarky commentary, show tunes and original songs to include a strange and delightful number featuring a guitar, a bow and a saw.

As the energy increased (and the drinks), ambient-rock band Apse also made a lasting impression. Aside from a lead singer who largely wailed and a bass player who often kneeled while playing, the band was an eclectic and impressive mix of multi-instrumentalist. At various points throughout their rock/instrumental set, the keyboardist switched to a clarinet, tambourine and then a guitar; while the guitarist played the organ. Apse could be described as progressive rock, in an peculiar sort of way.

What can I say about Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers? Well, her “Happy Hookers” are three dudes that have performed with her at SXSW, among other popular events and spaces. Her sound is a twisted fusion of perverse blues, rock, punk, and jazz. Her onstage presence is loud and disturbing. Her instrument of choice: the harmonium. To be honest, I believe the bulk of the music heads in the audience came for Shilpa Ray. Though Rob Swift headlined, she rocked it as people danced, bobbed, semi-moshed, screamed, and heckled her throughout her 35-minute performance.

Wrapping the night was X-ecutioners lead man, DMC East Coast champion and NY Scratch Academy instructor DJ Rob Swift. As a member of the innovative 90’s turntablist crew which featured the late Roc Raida; Total Eclipse and Mister Sinista, Rob’s 50-minute set was a mix of old school hip hop, funk, jazz and Latin rhythms that reflected upon his Bronx upbringing.

If there were a proper checklist to showcase the ridiculous skills of Rob Swift, it would go a little somethin’ like this: Chose the right records, check. Beat juggled, check. Proper mixing, cutting, scratching, stops, spinbacks, ill mixes, insane tricks, and an ending that rendered a crowd speechless…check, check, check, and muthaf**kin’ check.

ND McCray + Photos by Leslie Torre

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