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Phish
Photograph: Peter YangPhish

Five reasons you should stop ignoring Phish

As the polarizing Vermont crew hits town in support of its new 12th LP, we help you get over your jam-band prejudice

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Let’s face it: Phish could have a better rep. The legendary jam band, which released its excellent 12th studio LP, Fuego, last month and plays a three-nighter on Randalls Island this week, is associated with never-ending songs, nonsensical lyrics and smelly fans. Here’s why they’re worth your time.
They’re funky.
Photograph: Ben Oxenburg

They’re funky.

Featuring female backup vocals, powerful horns and a gripping wah-wah solo from frontman Trey Anastasio, Fuego’s “555” takes a page from the book of Allen Toussaint funk. Phish captures that sophisticated-groove vibe and makes it its own.

They’re funny.
Photograph: Ben Oxenburg

They’re funny.

On the zany new “Wombat,” for instance, Phish references 93-year-old actor Abe Vigoda (Vigoda appeared onstage with the band when it played the song for the first time) and drops lines like “herbivorous, crepuscular” and “cuddly but muscular.” Who else but Phish?

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They’re ambitious.
Photograph: Ben Oxenburg

They’re ambitious.

Fuego’s epic nine-minute-plus title track includes dramatic pop, funk-rock, a cappella singing and an eerie minimalist conclusion. Here, as on the band’s legendary jam vehicle “Tweezer,” Phish goes above and beyond.

Anastasio is a real-deal guitar god.
Photograph: Benjamin Oxenburg

Anastasio is a real-deal guitar god.

He picks with a unique mix of warmth and sharpness, offering lines that simultaneously hug and hurtle you. The sound he conjures from a six-string is unlike anyone else’s.

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Someone special could cameo at a show.
Photograph: Jon Klemm

Someone special could cameo at a show.

Phish sit-ins aren’t exactly frequent, but folks like Blues Traveler’s John Popper, the late Jimi Hendrix drummer Buddy Miles and even Jay Z have popped up onstage at NYC shows. A Hendrix song title sums it up, in fact: “Ain’t No Telling.”

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

It’s a damp Wednesday evening in October and inside a historic five-story building just south of bustling Astor place, Manhattan’s latest exciting venue yawns itself awake. The unmarked door out front opens to a stark red-lit hallway with iridescent glitter flooring. At the end of the entryway, a piece of construction paper leaned against the wall reads simply, “THE DANCE”. Turning the corner into the Sparkle Room, you can see folks head-bobbing to punk beats blaring from the speakers while others mingle along the left bar that has a mirrored-tile backdrop like someone flattened out a discoball. The spirit is similar to what you might find on a Friday night at a space in Ridgewood or Bushwick. “I feel like a lot of people think Manhattan is over,” says Billy Jones, head honcho of The Dance and co-owner of music venue Baby’s All Right. “They often asked me, ‘Where can you even dance there anymore?’ But I began to notice people still wanted a space in the city where they could feel safe and comfortable to experiment and try new things. I really didn’t have an answer for them of where that could be until now.” In the multi-room venue there are a total of three performance spaces: one by the entry bar, the main 350-capacity room that coalesces the club, and another upstairs space with a disco ball and additional bar. While The Dance officially opened at the end of 2019, a wide swath of secret, but erupting, gigs went on here starting in September through late fall, featuring t

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

So often going to see a concert or checking out that one friend of a friend's DJ set means choosing between a good time and decent food—there's only so many sad fries and Buffalo wings we can eat. But, thankfully, 2019 New York nightlife values food and drink as much as any performance. The dual forms of entertainment work in tandem to create the ultimate vibe with menus that no longer lack innovation. Bushwick’s newest music venue, The Sultan Room, opened last weekend—part of a trio of projects, which includes the Turk’s Inn and Döner Kebab—by owners, Varun Kataria and Tyler Erickson. The childhood friends, who grew up working at Erickson's family's famous Minneapolis jazz club (which hosted Prince and Philip Glass, among others), went on to start their own recording space and see this project as a return to form. The Sultan Room brings a level of kitsch to both the venue's listening room and its attached space for food. In fact, the neighboring restaurant, which opens to the public today, is a near-exact recreation of a beloved Wisconsin spot they used to dine at, using decor the duo bought at auction after the restaurant closed. The to-go area, Döner Kebab, is inspired by revelers of Berlin's clubs, who often hit up Kreuzberg döner spots in the late-night.   Featuring a state-of-the-art sound system, technicolored lighting, wall decals inspired by mosques and a sunken dance floor, The Sultan Room will offer both live concerts and DJ sets, influenced by global sounds. Exp

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