Friday 04.19.2013 | 4:23 PM EDT
The Go-Kartel Live @ Shrine, Harlem NY
Posted by contributing editor Dick Starkey
b/w Photos by Rachel Carey, Snapseed processing by The Chairman
Color Photos courtesy of ShrineNYC
In 2010, Brooklyn’s Hank’s Saloon hosted a shambling, lively set of songs by The Go-Kartel (Kevin Brady – guitar, vocals, “the dangler” accordion; Rob Grover – stoic yet jaunty bass, Bill Wyman-style; and Mauricio Carey – drums, boom, pah, pow!). The band rehearsed these songs for only seven years before unleashing them to an adoring and eclectic audience of both Manhattanites and Brooklynites. That’s mass appeal.
Last night, three years later, The Go-Kartel took the stage at Harlem’s Shrine World Music Venue, where Wednesday night is Rock Night. And Rock they did. The boisterous crowd was stunned to silence by the poppy opener “280-Z.” You could hear a pin drop. This was true, awestruck appreciation. But once the blistering “Carrie, I Don’t Mind” growled and cracked across the stage the crowd broke from their reverie into an applause wall of sound.
You like The Cure? Billy Bragg? Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello? Of course you do. Everybody does. And thusly, The Go-Kartel is liked by all. Composed of two dads and a rabble rouser, the trio brings Manhattan urbanity and Brooklyn credibility to a brand of pop that manages to be both fresh and nostalgic. And their taste in covers is simply superb. The band brings a wisp of the country to Elvis Costello’s rueful “Kid About It.” And on Burt Bacharach’s “Little Red Book,” they replicate the sound and spirit of a song that would ten years later serve as the template for The Cure’s “Killing an Arab.”
Towards the end of the set, fearless leader Brady tries to leave the audience wanting by cutting the set list down by one. But the road-wisened rhythm section bulldozed the idea in favor of one last bit of pure pop pleasure, the rousing and complex “Cannonball,” a song that took the band a mere 12 months to master. And with that last song, the audience was still left wanting. But I have a feeling we won’t have to wait three more years to get a chance to watch The Go-Kartel rock us out again…
The band has asked to thank sound man Lauren, along with the entire management staff of Shrine for their kind attention and all-pro back line.
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