Photo Caption: "One young performer on her way up from the rock club circuit is Carolyne Mas, who performed this week at the Other End."
A NEW SOUND IN THE CLUBS
By IRA MAYER
"Steve Forbert graduates to the big time tonight when he moves from the hoot night at Folk City/Kenny's Castaways/Other End circuit to the Bottom Line.
The Roaches have already made that transition. And a young woman named Carolyne Mas is likely to do the same very shortly.
What is news here is that the Folk City/Castaways/Other End circuit (along with several other local clubs that died in the early '70s) was once THE route for any aspiring folk musician. The people emerging from these clubs now have far more in common with rock than with folk.
'I hesitate to say that there's a folk revival,' says Forbert, who does play an acoustic guitar most of the time, and who does bear some vocal (and other) resemblance to the early Bob Dylan. 'But as far as it's being a training ground,' he adds of the New York clubs, 'that it definitely is.'
The club owners themselves agree. Pat Kenny of Castaways and Paul Colby of the Other End have, for the past few months, been claiming that 'there's something going on on the street.' The something is a harder (than they're accustomed to) sound. The street is Bleecker, where their clubs are located. Both men are watching these new performers carefully.
Forbert built his stage presence and reputation through repeated appearances at the Castaways, and by 'playing the hoot night at Folk City religiously for months.'
A few months ago he stepped up to the Other End. Tonight and tomorrow he shares the Bottom Line stage with Nicolette Larson. And in April he plays the Palladium with McGuinn, Clark and Hillman.
Colby is cooperating with Mas' manager by booking her repeatedly as a showcase act in the hope of sharing in some of the excitement that 'breaking an act' generates--among performers who might be more inclined to play the room and among patrons who figure they can catch somebody new on the way up, which is indeed the case for those willing to pay to hear someone about whom they know little or nothing.
After two two-night stands as an opening act (and plenty of time at Folk City, the Cornelia Street Cafe and Kenny's), Miss Mas headlined the Other End Wednesday and last night.
She is operatically trained--but plays a mean electric guitar. Don't expect any bel canto renditions of Stephen Foster (or Bruce Springsteen) from her. Similarly, the Roaches do have a quirky, folk-based sensibility. But their overall aesthetic is far broader than the folk idiom.
Yet each of these people, along with Forbert, Jack Hardy (the closest of all to folk) and George Gerdes (probably the most brilliant of all--and the least likely to find himself with a record contract), has come up through the small city clubs, even as those clubs themselves have undergone a metamorphosis.
'Every time I go into, say, Kenny's,' points out Forbert, 'I see more and more groups with drums, bass and even synthesizers... There's a lot of different stuff going on, but not a lot of acoustic solo performers.'
Ten years ago that would have been heresy on Bleecker Street."
Ira Mayer - NEW YORK POST (3-16-79)