Music on Main: the New Paltz music scene

The big meeting room at the remodeled Elting Library has been the site of a series of artsy indie events put together by local musician and independent publisher Kate Larson. Many of the performers were touring acts, like the remarkable Busman’s Holiday from Indiana, playing unamplified to capacity crowds of what might appear to be atypical young Paltzonians, if you believe only the party-town image.

Grimaldi’s is doing fancy-pizza jazz, and 36 Main – one of the uppity joints in the community – has shown surprising adventurousness in its music booking, going for a restaurant-to-club nighttime conversion that will remind older residents of the legendary North Light (now the  A Tavola trattoria, which is also doing cool music).

Then there are the not-one-but-two independent record stores that New Paltz supports, Jack’s Rhythms and Rhino Records, both of which will slide some racks around to make space for performance. A feisty, informed contrarianism is exactly what I require of record-store culture, and that’s what prevails here. Thank goodness we still have record-store culture at all. One time, a motorcycle gang rode down Main Street while South China, the exquisite Minimalist duo from Maine, was playing on a summer day in Jack’s Rhythms, doors open. The roar of the bikes was picked up in the cellist’s loops and recycled for the rest of the song. Quintessential New Paltz moment?



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  1. For the sake of the historical record (as well as any and all fans of exquisite minimalist duos), it was South China that played in Jack’s Rhythms and picked up downtown motorcycle loops. They were great and I just wanted to make sure credit was given where due. A fine article!

    • @Matt Gordon, You are right! So Sorry! I was so sure I had it remembered correctly that I didn’t even bother to check. Eeek. My bad. And for the record, Matt Gordon also played that day, if I recall correctly, and was excellent…

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