by Steven P. Marsh
Lach, the mononymic artist at the center of the New York City Antifolk scene in the East Village for many years, is unable to tour and in financial straits because he’s caring for his family full time while his wife undergoes treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
While Lach long ago moved to Scotland, he’s still well remembered at the Sidewalk Café in New York’s East Village where his club, The Fort, held weekly Antihoot open mic sessions.
Those sessions helped inspire and launch a host of folk-based artists, including Rockland County’s own Jamie Block (who, like Lach, chose to perform in his early days under a single name: Block), Regina Spektor, Hamell on Trial, the Moldy Peaches, Nellie McKay, Jeffrey Lewis, Diane Cluck, and Michelle Shocked, and Block.
Some of those artists are coming together Thurs Feb 9 in a benefit show to raise money for Lach and his family in Edinburgh.
Admission is FREE, but there will be plenty of opportunity to kick some cash into the basket for Lach and his family.
The benefit show is night 3 of the four-night Winter Antifolk Fest 2017, which runs from Tuesday through Friday.
While, Shocked, who’s on at 9:30p, is arguably the biggest name on the bill, she’s not the most long-awaited appearance.
That honor belongs to The Washington Squares, the neo-Beatnik folk revival group that started about the same time as Antifolk was beginning to coalesce. The Washington Squares played countless concert stages and festivals until it played its final show on July 28, 1994, at the Bottom Line in Greenwich Village. The band simply couldn’t keep going after co-founder Bruce Jay Paskow died earlier that year.
The Washington Squares Facebook page has been active lately, apparently in anticipation of a new album of vintage tracks released before Christmas.
But there haven’t been shows — at least not as The Washington Squares, though Agnelli and Goodkind did a one-off in TriBeCa in 2015 under the name We 2 Squares — in nearly 23 years. As the About section of the band’s Facebook page says: “They stopped performing completely.”
It’s not yet clear whether the surviving members, Lauren Agnelli and Tom Goodkind, will perform songs like “New Generation,” “Greenback Dollar,” “Fourth Day of July,” and “D Train” by themselves or with a guest artist on Paskow’s parts. While the classic image of The Squares is as a trio with guitars and black-and-white Beatnik outfits, famed Television drummer Billy Ficca (now a member of Heroes of Toolik) also was part of the band. It’s not clear if the reunion will feature a drummer.
EMERGENCY AID BENEFIT FOR ANTIFOLK FOUNDER LACH
Featuring a stellar, all-star lineup of Antifolk superstars
He gave you Antifolk, The Antihoot (NYC’s longest-running open mic), the annual Antifolk Fest, hundreds of unforgettable songs and performances, created a brand-new music scene, and nurtured, supported, and inspired two generations of singer/songwriters.
Now — it is YOUR TURN to give back to music legend Lach and his family who are in urgent need of assistance.
Proceeds from the Thurs Feb 9 Antifolk Fest night will be used to help provide this support. Lach’s wife of 20 years, Anu, is undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments for metastatic breast cancer. In order to provide the full-time care needed for Anu and their 11 year-old son, Henry, Lach is currently unable to pursue his music, performance and touring careers, which are the family’s sole source of income.
The Feb 9 bill features a host of close Lach colleagues and friends and includes a VERY SPECIAL reunion concert by world-famous scene-setters The Washingon Squares, and a live in-person performance by celebrated artist Michelle Shocked who wowed audiences at the recent 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Donations are MOST welcome and needed! You do not need to attend the concert to support Lach and his family. Contact us for details.
Do not miss this once-in-a-lifetime bill of Antifolk superstars.
For your listening pleasure…..
6:30 – Steve Espinola
7:00 – Joe Bendik
7:30 – Kirk Kelly
8:00 – WASHINGTON SQUARES – a special reunion set! –
8:30 – Peter Dizozza
9:00 – Anne Husick
9:30 – Michelle Shocked
10:30 – Dick Jokes
11:30 – Alan Merrill Trio
Steven P. Marsh is a longtime professional journalist based in Rockland County. This article was originally published on his blog, WillYouMissMe.com.