Dub Narcotic & Railroad Jerk End N. Y. Fest On Upbeat Note

ATN New York correspondent Eric Demby, who along with

Susanna Howe, has been attending the Macintosh New York Music Festival,

filed this report: A very pleasant sendoff for the week's festivities was

highlighted by a couple of veteran indie artists intent on declaring the

identity of our youthful times. Both Dub Narcotic Sound System (featuring

Calvin Johnson from Beat Happening) and NYC's own Railroad Jerk made it

their duty to show us that not only is there great music being made but

there's also a bunch of darn good people comin' out to see it.

Following a surreal (and way too loud) multimedia presentation at


Plaza in the form of a video bio for some band called Red Yak shown on

an enormous computer screen hung in front of the stage, came,

unassumingly, Dub Narcotic. A slow rolling

bass line gave no hint of the straight-up funk/disco onslaught that


about to arrive, a '70s sound updated solely by Calvin's signature

deadpan baritone poetry. A healthy group up front was movin' nicely


the grooves, spurred on by Calvin's hilarious gyrations on stage,

until he grabbed a volunteer, Maureen, from the audience and announced

an Us vs. Them dance contest which got everyone up and shakin'.

Maureen won and was graciously awarded a kiss on the back of the hand

by studly Cal. The

showdown loosened up the crowd and brought it together, and for the

last number--an extended jam of course--the stage was crammed with


indie men and women gettin' down front and center, with Calvin doing

his best to be a partner to all.

The Railroad Jerk show, headlining the Matador Records showcase at

CBGB's-which also featured the eerie, spaced-out Run On and the female

Japanese hip-hop-style duo Cibo Matto-was loud and hot. Railroad Jerk

were an

exercise in tightness, churning through their now well-refined hybrid


blues, folk and punk. Most likely aware of CB's rep for ear


the band exchanged its poppier folk side for all-out electrified

intensity, tearing through songs from their new album like "Gun


and "Rollerkoaster". The noise level seemed to be scaring some people


which wasn't so bad because the place was packed, it being late on the

last night and all. Railroad Jerk seem poised for big things. They

have perfected their sound and their lyrics sound

anthemic, as when singer Marcellus Hall screams the stadium chant from

"Gun Problem": "This

ain't the 60s/ Not the 70s/ Not the 80s/It's the 90s." You can just

see the video on MTV, which

is, presumably, what most of the bands that played the Festival dream

of as

they play.