Willie Nile: Hudson Square Music and Wine Festival 18 August 2015

This was the next to last of the free Hudson Square Music and Wine Festival concerts for this summer held on the loading dock behind City Winery. For me, it was an ending on a very high note.

Opening act was Hoochie Coochie Men. No, not the Long John Baldry group from 1964 or the Australian blues group formed with Bob Daisley in the early 2000s. This is a group from the Northeastern US composed of Zach Gold (vocals/acoustic guitar), Joey Tumulty (vocals/keyboards), Alex Musso (slide/lead guitar), Grant Kempski (bass), and Brian Duke (drums). There was also a female backup singer on stage. meli, rtb, and I were all surprised at how crowded the site was for the opening act. They were there for the headliner – all the tall men had to make sure they had the best places up front. The Hoochie Coochie Men version of blues rock was very late 1960s/early 1970s and listening to them took me back to a lot of okay bands I listened to at that time.


Willie Nile is a post-punk rock god. Along with band members Matt Hogan (lead guitar), Johnny Pisano (bass), and Alex Alexander (drums), Nile rocked the hell out of the place playing new songs and old. He has a tremendous amount of energy and keeps up with his younger bandmates. One of the funniest things was Nile kept name-checking audience members and throwing them kisses. I was all set thinking what a great show I’d seen when the band played Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” and then launched into Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died.” Now it was one of the best rock shows I’ve ever seen when then they played “One Guitar,” the Rivieras’ “California Sun,” and ended the night with the Ramones’ “Sheena is a Punk Rocker.” Phew. What a great evening of rock and roll.



By Carene Lydia Lopez