September 2016 – It was a month of memorable shows. A night where Jonathan Andrew and I opened up for our own band with solo acoustic sets. A three and a half-hour show at Finnegan’s. And more. Here are some photos to help preserve the memories.
A few beautiful Saturday’s ago, Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors performed at Stevens Institute of Technology. Check out a couple videos from the day, including our covers of “Seven Nation Army” and “Cheap Thrills.”
What a night! On Saturday, August 6th I was pleased to be part of the opening of ARTxSOUL NJ Vol. 3. Curated by Rich Lopez, there was a DJ, dancing, cocktails, and a mix of photography, paintings, and digital media by talented artists. John Grayson, Nicole, Pelle, Ken Lucas, Steven Bley, and I have taken over the walls of Sticks & Stones, just below Artisan Kitchen in Hawthorne, NJ. Our art will be hanging through Friday, September 23rd.
I was proud to have sold 12 of my photos that night! I’ve reprinted and reframed them and my wall is back to looking like it did just as the evening started:
Here are some other photos from the evening. What a fantastic event!
I remember the night I learned it all was happening.
I was riding an Uber from Hoboken back into the city. I had just played a solo acoustic show at Northern Soul. It was the day we learned of Prince’s passing. I was sharing the Uber with Jaime de Jesus, mastermind of ALEO Productions and also the man who not only booked me for the night but also ran the soundboard.
He said, “Hey man, I’m putting together a tribute for David Bowie. It’s going to be on the waterfront. We’ll have the Manhattan skyline in the background. The sun will be going down. It’s going to be extraordinary. You should be part of it.”
How couldn’t I?
“Oh… And instead of doing the thing where I have a core backing band and then swap out the singers, I’m going to open it up. I want to feature everyone… the full breadth of this music community.”
It was then that I knew this man had to be insane. Not only is he trying to put together a tribute to a brilliant and musically-challenging artist, but he’s also trying to organize the entire music community? Just thinking about getting a rehearsal scheduled made my head spin, let alone how we were going to orchestrate the changes during the performance. Each drummer will have to use the same exact setup… there’s no time to make adjustments when we would be constantly swapping!
But wow, did it happen. The community pulled together and more than 35 musicians paid tribute to the music of David Bowie in front of the most beautiful skyline there is. It was an amazing display of community, artistry, and camaraderie. I felt proud to be part of something so special.
Here is the final song of the evening, “Young Americans,” where the role of backing vocals was assigned to EVERYONE. So here we are. Everyone involved in the performance on stage at once. Enjoying the moment.
I’ve enjoyed a few great shows in Hoboken with the Toll Collectors this month. The first was at Finnegan’s on July 16. I actually got to open up the night with an acoustic set. Here I am with Ty Tuschen on electric guitar and Jack Breslin on bass.
Our second show was at Maxwell’s on 7/22 opening for Jane Lee Hooker.
Here was the setlist.
And here’s a video of our cover of “Long as I Can See the Light,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. If you can’t see the embed below, here is the link.
On Tuesday, June 14th Ty, Ardith, and I played the Pianos Upstairs Lounge. We had a nice turnout and a great time playing for everyone. It’s such a joy to play music with such talented and down-to-earth musicians. Thank you for joining me, Ty and Ardith!
Here we are, getting our music on.
Here’s the setlist.
And here’s a live video of us playing my original song, Howlin’. If the embed doesn’t show below, you can watch it on YouTube here.
On May 6th, I took a seat behind the drums as part of Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors to play three sets at Finnegan’s Pub in Hoboken. We had a lot of fun mixing up covers and originals for over three hours of music.
Here was the setlist.
We also covered a new Beyoncé song, “Daddy Lessons.” Check out the video below or on YouTube here.
Hope to be back here with the Toll Collectors again soon. This was a fun one!
What a fantastic little spot we found in Montclair, NJ. It feels like a living room, charms you like a coffee shop, and tastes like a restaurant. Ardith and I had a fantastic experience playing for a packed house of family, friends, and new friends. Really enjoyed this gig!
Thanks to my sister for the awesome photo above. You can check out some of her other work right here.
Just a few hours after we learned of Prince’s passing, Northern Soul’s Thursday night of music began. Surrounded by videos of Prince performances on screen and the feeling that music has the power to connect us in mysterious ways, I took the stage with Ty Tuschen joining me on electric guitar. It was a special night to be playing music and one that I won’t forget anytime soon.
At the end of my set, we paid tribute to the purple one with two songs. “Nothing Compares 2U,” which Prince wrote but Sinéad O’Connor made popular. And for “Kiss,” we were joined by Jaime De Jesus, who had the perfect falsetto to take the lead vocal up into the stratosphere. To close the night, Jaime, Ty, James Calio, and I did a collaborative rendition of “Purple Rain.”