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20th Anniversary Maxwell’s Shows (last minute & final details)

Here are the hastily-assembled details for our 20th Anniversary shows tonight & tomorrow.we’ll be joined by our old friends (literally), 12:01. We played with them exactly 20 years ago when we both just starting out in southern New Jersey.

And per voting consensus, our set list will be some kind of re-ordering of these old chestnuts...

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Show - Washington, D.C. @ the Black Cat

On Fri November 20, 2009 we'll be playing in Washington, D.C. at the Black Cat.

Tickets available here.

More about the show...

The wrens 20th anniversary rolls on and into our nation's capital.

Ok, while not really a part of the official 20th shows at Maxwells, in an effort to get ready for those, there's a pretty good chance we'll be blowing the dust off some some weird back-catalog chestnuts as well as cramming for some new songs.

Hope to see you there,
the wrens

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Third show added for 20th Anniversary (Meadowlands start-to-finish)

Howdy,

Just dropping by our own electronic ghost town to say that we’ve added a third show for our 20th anniversary / mirthday shindig – an early show for Friday, Dec. 4th at 7:30. In keeping with our theme of…um, having themes, this show will be the Meadowlands record, top-to-bottom. We’d tried setting this up last year to put that baby to bed, but it never really came together. This will be the one time you’ll probably ever hear ’13 months in 6 minutes’ or whatever it is and ‘ex-grille confection’, although I think we tried that one live once. Anyway, thanks to the folks that requested this - very flattering.

So that nicely ties up the three anniversary shows in a Ghosts-of-Wrens-Past (old songs request),
-Present (hilariously, the 6-year-old Meadowlands) and -Future (new ones) way that would make Tiny Tim proud. And in show order, no less.
Tickets here and more info on the other two shows here (two posts down).

No County for Old Wrens and their Stories

And if you come by, maybe we’ll pour some sherry and regale you with the story of the time we walked one end of Hoboken to the other, handing out demo tapes to every bar & club in town – including Maxwell’s – in the hopes of securing one of the many lucrative live concert bookings that seemed just a lucky break away in the big city (that’s Hoboken in this story). And how we were surprised to find most of the bars closed.

It turns out both that it was the evening of January 1st – you know, the day after the busiest tavern day of the year – and that we were jackasses.
(It was also New Year’s Day 1990 but that part of the story is more about how old we are, not how dumb we were.) And come to think of it, that pretty much is the story.
Gaston, my son, it’s not much of a story, true, but hey…

Hawaii Four-0

And forgot to mention that if you’ll be attending the Dec. 3rd show, that also happens to be Kev’s special birthday (starts with a ‘four’, rhymes with ‘sporty’). And hilariously or sadly, depending, he’s the baby of the band. Tempted to say BYOCake but if we get it together we’ll have some there.

As always, thanks,

the wrens

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20th Anniversary Show #2 at Maxwell's

On Fri December 04, 2009 we'll be playing in Hoboken, NJ at Maxwell's.
Tickets available here.
More about the show...
The second of our “We’re Twenty Years Young” shows. This night is the All-New-Wrens-Songs show, or at least as many as we can pull off.
Oh yeah, we’ll have some as-yet-to-be confirmed friends’ bands from the days of yore playing as well.
Details here (one post up).

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20th Anniversary Show #1 at Maxwell's

On Thu December 03, 2009 we'll be playing in Hoboken, NJ at Maxwell's.
Tickets available here.
More about the show...
The first of our “We’re Twenty Years Young” shows. This night is build-your-own setlist so email us to tell us what you’d wanna hear. Preferably pre-Meadowlands, just to make it worth the trouble typing.
Oh yeah, we’ll have some as-yet-to-be confirmed friends’ bands from the days of yore playing as well.
Details here (two posts up).

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Our 20th Anniversary Shows

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Our 20th Anniversary Shows

Charles has given new meaning to the old sexist phrase ‘nice knobs’. It now means ‘knees’. He’s also going a little heavy on the “She Blinded Me with Rest-stop Sunglasses and Short-Pants” and looks, not so much further back in the photo, as he does much, much smaller than everyone else.
As if Kevin’s imagining him...

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Polls close county-wide

Howdy,
With many, many thanks to all the folks who wrote in to request songs for the 'make the band do your bidding' portion of our 20th anniversary thing (a few posts down), just officially drawing the curtain on the polling booths. We were really nicely surprised at the high voter turnout and the sweet messages so again, thanks.
the wrens

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Show - Music Hall of Williamsburg

People often think of Williamsburg as full of trust fund hipsters, but the reality is that a significant percentage (about a third) of Community Board 1 is under the poverty level, and there are other major challenges -- displacement due to gentrification, out of control development, no infrastructure to support the influx of new people, environmental and open space issues, just to name a few.

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Drill, Baby, Drill?

Really?

Ok, doing my part to fight the Death Star, and with apologies for another last-minute plug, Charles is playing a solo show along with the Console War for a Barack Obama fundraiser tonight, Thursday, 9/4/08 in Washington D.C.

The event itself runs 6:00pm – 9:00pm w/ music starting around 7:00 and is at:

Darlington House

1610 20TH ST NW (right off dupont metro north)

Washington, D.C.

Please come by if you are free tonight. Although the suggested donation is $150 (it’s very ‘Beltway’) the organizers stress they want people to come to enjoy the party and contributing any amount helps.

Here’s their official invite/description:

 

...time is running out....

Please join us for a night of excellent live music with shows from Console War and Charles Bissell.

Downstairs, there'll be delicious munchies and big-screen TVs for Redskins watching...

....and, as always, there will be fantastic company and lively conversation. We're encouraging donations, of course, to attend, but all are welcome. Please click here now to donate.

For those who can't make it, please help us raise funds for the Obama campaign by contributing now!

(Those of our dear friends who are lobbyists, we understand, and yes, please come without donating. Yes, special treatment, yet again....)

Kristen Grimm, Gwyn Hicks, Alex Slater, & Norissa Giangola

Darlington House

1610 20TH ST NW (right off dupont metro north),

Washington, DC 20009 US

Thursday, September 4, 6:00PM

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show on

Hi.

This wasn’t probably the first post in x months you were looking for but work on the next album…? Begins soon enough, Grasshopper.

In the meantime though, there’s…Charles! Broadway Charles!

Jazz Charles! Freshly washed & waxed from his stint as Okkervil River’s guitar temp, he’s playing a solo set at Knitting Factory (NY) along with good friends, Get Him Eat Him and

The Capstan Shafts .

 

Besides, what else are you gonna do tonight? Stay home & watch tv? Is there even anything on?

I mean it’s not as if centuries of cultural history are culminating in one crystalline moment of staggering importance, reaching a key journey point in an American political roadtrip set in motion in part by Lincoln over 140 years ago - and on the very anniversary of M.L.K.’s earlier milestone, no less - with the official party nomination acceptance speech of a presidential candidate so spectacularly cast by fate and/or nature for the role of leader that his mere presence on a proscenium stage moves regular folk to civic involvement, to feelings of true patriotism, to at least awareness and not uncommonly, to tears .

Wait, is that tonight?

can I come over?

 

Well, you can always TiVo history. In the meantime, we’ll be holed up here:

Thursday August 28th,

Knitting Factory (74 Leonard Street).

Show starts at 8:00pm.

Tickets

are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

There’s even a Facebook page for this show, which is a kind of giveaway that we weren’t part of planning since it’s at all current, of our time or cool.

See you in September…

the wrens

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Benefit show for Sweet Home New Orleans 1/10/08

Howdy citizens of 2008,

 

Hoping your all your holidays and new year and stuff have been as nifty as our own. I got an actual stocking.

 

Just a quick little – yet important - news item for this next week. Charles has been invited along with an impressive handful of much cooler musicians (see below) to participate in a 3-day artist retreat and benefit show in New Orleans put together by the Future of Music Coalition and Air Traffic Control...

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CMJ loner show

Howdy,

In typical 11th-hour style, just letting you all know that Charles is playing a solo show tonight, Wed. 10/17, for the nice folks at Gothamist and WOXY who are holding court at White Rabbit (on Houston), lo this week of the CMJ Fest.

It’s a day-party-type thing so set time’s about 6:45pm.

And very honored to be taking up stage space before Rev. Billly and the Church of Stop Shopping. Great recent article on him here, also courtesy Gothamist.

The Forms, another great band, are also playing tonight and later in the week, the ongoing Gothamist/WOXY party will feature Palomar and Pattern is Movement (two faves) among a bunch of others.

To be forewarned, Chazzie cut a chunk off a fingertip chopping brussel sprouts two nights ago so all guarantees on quality-of-performance are even iffier than usual.

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a couple of benefit shows

Related to the story below regarding Bottom of the Hudson’s tragic accident, we’re doing a couple of benefit shows in September (details of both the accident and updates on news can be found on our label’s site,

Absolutely Kosher).

First, Charles is doing a solo show at Monkey Town in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this Wednesday, Sept. 5th.

This is the usual solo Charles thing with out-of-the-norm wrens songs into looping pedals but unusually this time, in collaboration with video artists Elizabeth Maertens and Phillip Kim who will be pushing Monkey Town’s four built-in video screens to their limits.

Also on this bill is Tris McCall (another of NJ’s own and a wonderful songwriter) and the really, really good Overlord.

Monkey Town is a very nifty venue and a very small one - reservations are required and seating is very limited.

But note that they’re currently having server problems with the online reservation form so best bets are to email reservation requests directly to:

monkeytownhq@aol.com

Whatever proceeds Charles drums up from this show will also be going to Trevor’s family and to help offset medical expenses for Bottom of the Hudson’s Greg Lytle, who was also seriously injured in the crash...

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Our Four-Year, Weekends-Only Meadowlands Tour Wheezes to a Halt

After four years, some 160+ shows, roughly 10 countries, and a sultan’s variety of late-night snack foods, our four-year weekends-only tour for the Meadowlands wheezes to a halt with this weekend’s shows in Texas.

 

For details, click on the tours page right over there on the right...

 

We will have commemorative tour t-shirts coming to the site in the next couple of weeks (no, seriously) along with some other more forward-looking news and stuff.

 

For anyone that’s made the trek in the last few years to bear witness to our being our own cover band, sincere thanks. We hope we were good that night. But I do know we almost certainly had a wonderful time trying to be.

 

Sincerely,

four active seniors

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Tonight, live on the radio via the telephone

“Phoning It In’ is a nifty radio show from WMBR in Boston and WBSR in Providence where they have musicians engage in what they describe as ‘live over-the-phone performances and awkward conversation’.

Earlier last winter we did an unplugged performance on “Phoning It In” with Nadav Carmel on WMBR. It was a hoot and we definitely provided our share of awkward conversation and impossibly-long converstional pauses. And we played a few songs (we’re looking for the link for that one as we type this).

But tonight (Thursday, 5/31/07) at 9:00pm, Charles will do a few songs solo-wren-style for the partner show on WBSR with James Brandt...

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the wrens on "Fair Game"

Kind of last-minute thing, but we wrens will be playing on today’s episode of the PRI (that’s Public Radio International, NPR-listeners) show ‘Fair Game’ hosted by Faith Salie.

Wikipedia describes it thusly:

“Fair Game with Faith Salie is a satirical news and entertainment program distributed nationally on PRI. Hosted by Faith Salie, Fair Game covers the important stories of the day and uses insightful humor to tease out what it all means. The show also features newsmaker and celebrity interviews, live music and regular appearances by comedians.”

…so I gues that makes us the celebrity interview – yes!

Oh wait, we’re the live music.

And when I say ‘we wrens’ in this case, that just means two of us: Jerry was 2 over par at an important business meeting and Kev was tending to his many illegitimate children.

So check it – the vocals are iffy! The maraca playing is intermittent! The guitars sound like banjos recorded at a distance!

But we did actually have a really good time and were already fans of the show so it was very nice to be asked on. Faith is pretty hilarious.

In the Big Apple-area, it plays at 8:00 on WYNC.

Fair Game w/ Faith Salie

 

Thanks…as always

 

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Tour de Foncy Ponts

Howdy,

Maintaining our more-or-less ‘two weekends a month’ touring schedule for about the third year going now, we’ve added a peck o’new tour dates (Ohio, Georgetown, Baltimore, Seattle, Texas).

Relatedly, one-man notefest Charles is hitting the boards solo-style tomorrow night, 2/22/07. He’ll be reprising his crowd-wowing solo turn as Petruchio in ‘Taming of the Shrew’ as part of the Brooklyn Next Festival at Southpaw. Kidding – it is the Brooklyn Next Festival but he’s just playing the same tired wrens songs with loops & stuff.

Mentioning this not because it’s so great, but because it’s one-day notice at this point and the good folks of Southpaw deserve better.

Click on this funny-colored sentence to see the grueling details of our non-consecutive show dates on the ‘tours’ page

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Esopus Event

Here are the official details for tonight’s Charles/Kevin duo show thing at the Kitchen in New York for the really wonderful biannual arts magazine, Esopus:

"AN EVENING WITH ESOPUS" AT THE KITCHEN

For its first event at The Kitchen, ESOPUS presents an evening of readings and performances whose theme—creative collaboration—is approached from four different angles by four different groups of collaborators. In "Autographs," an audio-visual presentation recorded exclusively for this event, actor/filmmaker Jennifer Jason Leigh reads a series of short poems by Vincent Katz, accompanied by projections of never-before-seen drawings by his father, artist Alex Katz. (The entire suite of 12 drawings and poems is published in ESOPUS 7.) Film production designer Thérèse DePrez ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch," "Happiness") and cinematographer Ellen Kuras ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Unzipped") discuss with critic Amy Taubin the process of working together to create the look and tone of films like Mary Harron's "I Shot Andy Warhol" and Spike Lee’s "Summer of Sam." Playwright Christopher Durang ("Beyond Therapy," "Miss Witherspoon") stages and co-performs with actress Alma Cuervo a reading of a short parody of "Medea" that Durang co-wrote with the late Wendy Wasserstein (whose plays often featured Cuervo in starring roles). The evening ends with a set of guitar, loops, piano and vocals from Charles Bissell and Kevin Whelan from acclaimed indie band The Wrens. In keeping with the evening's theme of collaboration, their performance will include a song for which they will ask audience members to join them onstage to contribute single-note drones on extra guitars...

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Charles solo residency at Knit continues…

Howdy,

Charles’ solo August residency thing at the Knitting Factory Tap Bar (NY) continues tonight with one of the wrens’ bestest old friends, Koester:

http://www.koesterrock.com/

And next Tuesday, 8/29, with Roman Kuebler (from the Oranges Band) and John Ralston:

http://www.theorangesband.com/

http://www.myspace.com/johnralston

For both shows, it’s $8 to get in the door, those doors open at 7:00, and the show you’re paying for starts at 8:00.

http://www.knittingfactory.com/

These solo thingies of his are definitely not ‘acoustic’ – more like a bunch of loops, pedals and an ill-chosen set-list of older weirder wrens songs (no turntables although there is a microphone).

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