Astoria Music Rock n’ Crawl: Only the beginning…
by Audrey Dimola
Published on licmagazine.com, December 2008
Ins&Outs Magazine was both thrilled and honored to be a part of Astoria Music & Arts‘ first ever live music ROCK ‘N CRAWL on December 27th. A HUGE thanks needs to go out immediately to Justin P. Finley of Astoria Music & Arts, as well as LIC Bar‘s Gustavo Rodriguez, for their incomparable initiative and dedication to furthering live original music right here in Queens. It was our privilege (and mine in particular!) to work closely with the both of you on something that we all believe so very strongly in. The Rock n’ Crawl could not have happened at all without all of the amazing bands and artists who performed, our 3 venues: Boîte à Café, The Quays, and Shillelagh, and of course everyone who came out to the events, helped out, stayed up, and supported this unprecedented rock & roll venue crawl down 30th Ave. in Astoria. THANK YOU!!!!
As for the events themselves, there’s so much to be said – look out for much more in-depth coverage in Ins&Outs’ forthcoming issue! – but I’m honored to highlight everyone that played throughout that foggy night in Astoria. The Crawl started a little after 6pm and went to nearly 3am by the time all was said and done. A very intimate set of great performances kicked off the night at Boîte à Café (40-17 30th Ave.) – singer Lauren Diamond took the stage first with her acoustic guitar, followed by LiLi Roquelin playing her trip hop tracks stripped down with vocals and piano, and ending with Theresa Hoffman on vocals/acoustic guitar and Anthony Rizzo on electric guitar, a couple (who always makes beautiful music together!) known to Astoria music as Little Embers.
The next venue, The Quays (45-02 30th Ave.), was packed out and HOT (literally) – the Martin Urbach Group let their jazz sounds loose, followed by rock (and instrumentals to dance to) from Seize Them!, and a monster set from Bliminal who played with a packed stage – two guitars, drums, bass, vocals, even a clarinet and video projections (not to mention a huge green monster hand… you had to be there). By the time we all got to Shillelagh (47-22 30th Ave.), spectators were gathered around in the pool room, sitting at tables and standing around, ready for more! The final two bands of the night were the “Machiavellian rock” of Gutter & Spine and last but certainly not least, the rock and hip hop-infused Illimanjaro, who kept the crowd going with no signs of energy fading, right on ’till the very end.
ALL of the night’s performers brought live original music FROM Astoria, Queens TO Astoria, Queens, which is truly something to be proud of. For me, one of the most memorable parts of the night was when Justin Finley, like the ringleader of this over-the-top Astoria circus, got on the mic and called out to those gathered at Shillelagh: “How many of you are from Astoria?” and then: “How many of you want to see more live music in Astoria?!” Needless to say, the whole room went up in unanimous shouts and cheers. As Justin said, “something is happening here,” and I’m thankful that I&O was there to see it. It is so inexpressibly important that we all stay connected and promote Queens music TOGETHER – this Astoria Music & Arts Rock n’ Crawl is only the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
A huge thanks again to EVERYONE involved!!