Kingston After Dark: It’s all about delivery

Mikaela Davis & Southern Star

Welcome to another edition of Kingston After Dark, brought to you weekly from the enticing bowels of the Hudson Valley. While bowels do not often entice, this is really a hip place. You should totally come here.

I am just playing, y’all. I’m constantly torn between promoting our “new best thing” status and keeping, as they tried to do in Shangri-La, our occult secrets to ourselves. Regardless, it has been really nice the last few semi-overcast days to drive around, go thrifting in every possible local outlet for such things, watch the skinny arms of the trees become more exposed and feel the vibes as the onset of winter darkness creeps in a little earlier each afternoon. It’s a moody but compelling time.

As a culture writer there are times when you know certain indelible truths or concepts have grabbed hold of popular attention, topics that resound for us all with either an exacto-keen edge, eagle-eyed analysis or the admirable grit of true resolve and fortitude. This past week, it was the underlying certainty that America is on a path out of the darkness. Just kidding. One can hope, but truthfully the only thing everyone agreed on last week is, “Aww, isn’t Baby Yoda a cutey-wootie little alien.” Otherwise it was still as muddled a mess as usual, with at least the shining beacon of a Roger Stone guilty verdict to serve as a huge logical light towards the right way to avert apocalypse.


Anyway, at the end of the day, what do I know? I try my best. Let me get back to giving you the here-ya-go-heads-up on some local happenings to distract you on your night off. Every moment of peace we can carve out — ethically — in this world helps, right?

The big show I want to plug this week in none other than rising Rochester act Mikaela Davis. Her Rounder Records album Delivery was produced by Grammy winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, David Byrne, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) and features a wide array of influences. I really enjoyed the title track video on YouTube, an evocative black-and-white performance video that reminded me of a weird shared space between Norah Jones piano jazz, sentimental indie rock and personal revelation.

The piano and bass line kind of slink together like a flowing stream eliciting the main melody lines that are semi-reminiscent of “Lean on Me” if it were topped by a thin-timbered yet quite soulful and very human vocal. The composition is layered with some halfway-committed sounding but actually very well aesthetically placed fuzz guitar for accent’s sake that doesn’t tip the emphasis too far from the vocal. Davis, who sells mixtapes, disposable cameras, handwritten lyrics and more in her pretty excellent merch shop online, seems very invested on every level in her art. She really shines on her material as a band leader and more than incidentally is also a classically trained harpist who can switch modes on the drop of a dime.

“Just let my songs resonate with you somehow. That would make me so happy,” Davis says of the album.

Davis will stop by BSP for one of the better remaining shows of 2019. Mikaela Davis & Southern Star will take the stage on Wednesday, Nov. 27 in the front room. The price is $15 advance and $20 day of show and the event will feature a performance — by the band, we think — of The Grateful Dead’s “Live Dead.”

You can’t kill rock ’n’ roll

The big rock news of last week was that Ozzy Osbourne has announced the make up dates (after a health scare) for the No More Tours Part 2. Marilyn Manson is set to open the dates, which kick off May 27 and conclude in July 31 in Vegas next year. You will want to get tickets to this in advance or, as Marilyn recently sang in a decidedly decent and speakeasy-worthy cover, “God’s gonna cut you down.”

One thing I love about Ozzy is that he always exclaims “I love you all!” onstage to his fans. Maybe it is calculated and cynical minds might assume so, but he has absolutely gushed this phrase with enthusiasm for decades. Trump, on the other hand, oozes fake populism over a very thinly or not at all masked disdain for anyone who gets in his way. I am not saying Ozzy’s team haven’t made some cutthroat choices over the years (or that even the Prince of Darkness is comparable to a monster like this fake POTUS), but half of getting people to really remain amenable to you is delivery. I know I’d much rather have Ozzy or even Marilyn Manson as president than Trump. More than that scenario though, I’d really just like Elizabeth Warren.

All hail the King

Speaking of metal, I am one of the biggest King Diamond fans in the world. My friend Bill H (from Brat Marketing who has worked with the likes of Amanda Palmer, Gerard Way and Mindless Self Indulgence) and I once even tried to write a book about the Danish metal man-banshee overlord, but we just got too drunk and screamed “The Invisible Guests” instead. Probably. Anyway, King Diamond just released his first new anthem in a decade or so, a little ditty about falling off your rocker called “Masquerade of Madness.” Longtime Mercyful Fate and old-school King Diamond bassist Timi Hansen just passed away of cancer, so Armored Saint’s Joey Vera to fill in with his blessing on a reconstituted Mercyful Fate upcoming sickeningly rad reunion era. Anyhow, The Chance Theater is welcoming Fatal Portrait, an excellent King Diamond cover band, to the stage tonight. Sonic Sacrifice and some other locals share the bill, which kicks off at 7 p.m. No word if Fatal Portrait will be covering the newest King song, but I am sure it will rock regardless.

Until next week, remember to kiss your grandma and take care of one another out there.