Amy Rigby

Amy Rigby
El Cortez
Bushwick, Brooklyn
February 24, 2018
Recap and photos by David Chiu

The last time I saw Amy Rigby on stage was probably in 2002 or 2003 at the now-defunct Lakeside Lounge, around the time of the release of her 18 Again compilation record. The spark and magic of that experience were recaptured through the singer-songwriter’s most recent performance at El Cortez. The occasion coincided with the release of The Old Guys, Rigby’s first new solo album in 13 years following her collaborations with singer-songwriter/husband Wreckless Eric. Ever since her brilliant and classic 1996 solo debut Diary of a Mod Housewife, Rigby has forged a career addressing the angst of middle-age life with wry humor and poignancy—qualities that were not lost on this past weekend’s performance. Several of the new songs from The Old Guys that were performed in the set felt like old favorites already, especially the driving “From PhilipRoth(at)gmail.com to RZimmerman(at)aol.com,” which opened the set,  followed by “Are We There Yet,” “Back From Amarillo,” “Robert Altman,” “One Off,” and the title cut. (Rigby and her band also performed a song that is not on the new album called “The President Can’t Read,” undoubtedly a timely reference to you-know-who). They nestled fine with older material from her catalog such as “The Summer of My Wasted Youth” and “Like Rasputin.” There were some outstanding highlights from the gig, one of which included a guest appearance by the great Lenny Kaye (who had earlier opened Rigby’s set) on the lovely “The Things You Leave Behind,” “All the Things,” and the rocking “I Don’t Want to Talk About Love No More.” The other special moment occurred towards the end of the evening when Rigby read a passage about a guy she met in the ’70s named Bob—their common interests included Lou Reed, disco and jeans; she then launched in a touching tribute via the eponymous song about him from the new record. Overall, it was a loose and rocking set from Rigby, who was accompanied by Wreckless Eric on bass and Jeremy Grites on drums. Even after a 13-year hiatus between solo albums, Rigby hadn’t lost her unique gift for personal and observational songwriting, as proven by The Old Guys and that El Cortez performance.

Read my interview with Amy Rigby via HuffPost.

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Set list:

From PhilipRoth(at)gmail.com to RZimmerman(at)aol.com

Are We Still There Yet?

On The Barricade

Slow Burner

Robert Altman

Summer of My Wasted Youth

Back From Amarillo

Like Rasputin

The President Can’t Read

(included verses of “Eve of Destruction”)

New Sheriff

One Off

The Things You Leave Behind

(with Lenny Kaye)

All The Things

(with Lenny Kaye)

I Don’t Wanna Talk About Love No More

(with Lenny Kaye)

The Old Guys

Encore:

Bob

Dancing With Joey Ramone

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