The Harmonica Lewinskies – The New Rock & Roll

1534914_736776236334669_2079248357_oIf you think Rock & Roll is dead, I’m here to tell you that you can relax, there is some serious hope.

I’m not telling you to check out a small venue on lower Manhattan that offers beautiful rock-blues infused sounds on occasion, or that there are enthusiasts at Julliard who work really hard to be the next Bob Dylan and we’ll soon see their senior showcase soon. You’re clearly not going to find it on radio either, no.

I’m talking about a real band right here in New York – Brooklyn more specifically – that has not only brought the almost forgotten sound back but has also diversified it through individual talents of each artist on the band.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to check out the Battle of Five Boroughs at the Green Space. Out of all talented Brooklynites representing pretty much every genre of music, there’s was one that made me text a fellow music aficionado that ‘I just saw actual Rockstars in the making.’ Although they’re not just Rock musicians and there’s way more to their music, Lewinskies’ live performance and energy on stage reminded me of Red Hot Chilli Peppers with their nice shirts on.

The Battle of the Boroughs lasted for over 3 hours. I was getting really tired towards the end and so was everyone else after all that free beer and wine (and a lot of hit-or-miss performances). I could not see anything that could entertain me at that point, not without a few red bulls.

But there they were. A group of 8 suited-up twenty-somethings or as they refer to themselves “8 piece, NYC, Soul-Rock band,” all dressed up in white button-ups, black pants, black ties and black suspenders, called Harmonica Lewinskies (yes, how awesome is that) lit up the stage. I guess there was a reason they were scheduled to perform last.

Side note here: Music is great but you know what else is great? Fashion. That’s right, the band looked minimalistically professional in Black and White but their semi-formal outfit was a beautiful contrast of how crazy and energetic they actually are. You’d think they’d tear all their clothes off. Well, at least the vocalist Dan “Jesus” would

I am a big hip-hop fan and as much as I appreciate and listen to all kinds of music, it takes a great performance, energy and actual well executed, catchy song with interesting lyrics and a special touch for me to become an fan of a non-hip-hop artist/band and look for more music by that specific artist/band. But that’s exactly what happened.

The performance started with the vocalist Jesus doing a split and ended with him doing a split again. One song, two splits. That’s the special touch that I’m talking about. When you see artists feel the crowd and give they’re all on stage – not just to get the audience going but because they love it – is priceless.

It’s an additional perk when you see the members of the group feeling each other’s vibe on stage, when maintaining the eye contact with each other and even improvise a little bit while keeping the audience excited about what’s coming next. Long story short, Lewinskies have that incredible on-stage charisma that allowed Rock & Roll to really touch people and has been missing in action among modern day “Rockstars.”

The song performed by the Lewinskies had everything you look for in either blues or rock joint, which is everything you cannot find easily today. “Jesus Christ is Just Rock and Roll” is the title of the song – not at all self-explanatory but definitely clear in its message. And indeed the band took it back to the 60s and early 90s with the concept – that’s how crazy-weird-surprising-awesome-mind blowing it was to me – but still made it sound like 2014 with their futuristic sound and impeccable balance of instruments that don’t always go together (like bass guitar, rhythm guitar, drums, saxophone and trumpet). Everything from song-writing and engineering to performing and energizing was top notch, with a special touch.

The Green Space performance raised a lot of questions for me about the Lewinskies’ future and their aspirations because I haven’t seen a band this complete in a very long time. I got a chance to speak with some of the band members after the concert and as it turns out they will keep going until they can keep creating quality music and “aren’t going to stop for at least another 20 albums/20 years…whichever comes first.” They understand the value of the music they create and pay homage to the tunes their fathers used to show them when they were kids. That’s why Lewinskies sometimes refer to themselves as a “Dad Rock Band.” And you know what, who cannot relate to that?

What I appreciate most about Lewinskies is their dedication to music itself. When I asked about their aspirations as a unit, they said they want to create music “that has a message and a soulful edge” and perform at festivals where “people are generally responsive and outgoing about new music,” although they could easily roll through MSG and rock it.

Keep your eyes and years out for the Lewinskies’ music and performances. They might be rocking in the venue next to your apartment and you gotta get some of it.

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Author: Aka Khipashvili