NYC Scene Report – Drive-In, Kay Day, & Chris Conde

This week’s NYC Scene Report features Drive-In heading to “Ronkonkoma,” Kay Day playing the role of an “East Village Villain,” and Chris Conde taking a crowd on a wild ride. 

* Last month I found myself at Arlene’s Grocery for a four band bill that was headlined by Drive-In, who were celebrating the release of their new EP, Location Scouting. Lemme tell ya, they turned out to be a great discovery.

The indie pop-rock project of Alessandra Rincon, Drive-In’s music features inspirations that range from singer-songwriter pop, all the way to pop punk with a bit of a Hayley Williams vibe.

One of my favorite songs from their set was the EP track “Ronkonkoma.” Because I went to Hofstra, hearing anyone say, or sing, a stop on the LIRR gives me flashbacks to some very good times an older teen, and young twenty-something, but even that aside, it’s a great song you should definitely check out.

Here’s hoping we get some music videos from Drive-In in the coming months, and perhaps some more shows this spring/summer … even if I now ride Metro-North, and won’t be passing through “Ronkonkoma.”

* On the evening before Valentine’s Day, on an especially snowy day, I was back at Arlene’s Grocery for Kay Day’s “Fuck Love” pre-Valentine’s Day show.

I’d seen Kay Day before when she headlined a bill that also included Big Gorgeous, and No Grudges, and her absolutely manic, hip-hop meets pop punk meets pure sleaze set was really something to behold. In fact, when I mentioned the “Fuck Love” show to a few folks at Arlene’s a handful of days earlier the reaction was pretty much universal – “Kay Day’s gonna be here? She’s totally out of her mind, but I love her!”

On this particular evening, her set, which she shared with an artist friend named Luna, featured everything from high energy anti-love songs, to an interpolation of the Paul Anka classic “I Love You Baby” performed to a bag of (fake) cocaine.

In the mix of all of that Kay Day also broke out her latest single, “East Village Villain,” which is a remarkably catchy, bouncy, in your face winner.

Check out the video for “East Village Villain,” and make it a point to check out Kay Day the next time you see she has a show near you. She’s always a wild time.

* Preceding Kay Day on the stage was an artist based out of Brooklyn named Chris Conde. A large, bearded man, during his sound check everyone raised an eyebrow when they heard his gorgeous singing voice. When he started rapping, the crowd was equally impressed. What none of us first timers could have possibly been prepared for what was came next.

Dressed conventionally in a t-shirt, shorts, and hoodie, Conde rapped a few songs, and the general consensus was – this dude is dope. He rapped about being gay, and had an exceptional flow, and lyrical delivery.

After those few songs he cranked everything up to eleven.

Conde stripped off his clothes, showing damned near everything. Wearing only the tiniest leather thong underwear, a leather cap, and leather straps across his chest – an outfit that revealed the word “QUEER” prominently tattooed over his stomach – he launched into some of the most explicit songs I’ve ever heard in my entire life. A rowdy standout was “C.O.M.B.,” which has lyrics that would make 2 Live Crew blush, and a hook so catchy it can get stuck in your head for days.

The emotional highlight, however, was when the stripped down rapper stripped down musically, and performed an a capella version of his song “Growing Up Gay.” An unbelievably raw song about his personal journey discovering his sexuality, trying to suppress it, and ultimately finding self love, I’ve never seen an entire crowd so emotionally invested in a performance. There were audible gasps from people after certain lyrics, and some folks were nearly in tears.

Check it out, and get to know Chris Conde, as he’s an artist who definitely has something to say (the song starts three minutes into the video, but the intro is well worth listening to, as well).

For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.


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