Rob Trucks’s “Possibly 4th Street” expositions, in which he invites musicians to perform live and impromptu somewhere in New York City, run intermittently here at Sound of the City.
Howlin’ Rain opens for the Black Crowes tonight, October 28 at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Tickets are $55 and still available here.
My Name is Ethan: photo by Rob Trucks
Possibly 4th Street
Number 23 (Part One)
by Rob Trucks
Just before our prearranged meeting time six months ago, Howlin’ Rain leader Ethan Miller tumbles from a white-paneled van (parked, thankfully) on 23rd Street, looking ever so much like a Jason Lee body double for My Name is Earl.
At the time, Miller’s band, the rock-and-roll pride of California’s Humboldt County, had just been offered the opening slot on the Black Crowes fall tour six months away (New York happens tonight at Hammerstein Ballroom). The group is justifiably juiced, as this is an uncommonly good match: the more retro-than-not Crowes with Miller’s collection of neo-psych groovists. For yet another Jason Lee reference, know that the Rain could’ve easily served as musical doubles for the Billy Crudup-led Stillwater in Almost Famous, such is the magnanimous nature of their ‘70s rock vibe.
So the Chelsea Hotel, with plenty of cinematic and historical reminiscences of its own, serves just about perfectly as setting for them to perform. The accommodating staff even offers the hotel lobby as a makeshift stage, but after seeing the Rain’s third-floor suites, we’re no longer in need. From the balcony we can not only view the length and breadth of 23rd (including that iconic neon Chelsea signpost), but Miller can peer into a curtains-up ballet studio directly across, causing no small diversion.