Jim Bianco performs with the kind of restless, masculine energy you don’t hear much around New York anymore. At times Elvis Costello, at others Tom Waits, Bianco wrestles his inner demons with a workingman’s honesty that (thankfully) doesn’t attempt to placate trends, but serves instead as entree to a long line of blue-collar rock frontmen.
Like him or not, Bianco’s the real deal, and seeing him live last Thursday at the Rockwood Music Hall was enough to convince us of that.
He crowded the small stage of Rockwood’s no-cover venue with a 5-piece band (including a tight brass section), strumming acoustic guitar with more power and passion than we’ve seen from most electric 6-string players. His set had enormous range, from barn-storming rockers (So Far So Good), to anthemic bar chants (Sinners), to timeless ballads on love and loss (Painkiller).
If you missed him last Thursday, he’ll likely be playing the Lower East Side again soon (he’d better!).
Until then, look out for his new record Loudmouth, dropping April 5th.
Written by Mike Levine [3rd Feb 2011]