A few years ago I saw this great drummer playing at BB King’s whose style impressed me. They introduced him but I didn’t catch or couldn’t remember his name at the end of that show. I did however remember the funny faces he was making while playing (he looked like Francesco Basile, another good friend of mine who’s a good drummer at Berklee and makes faces like that too) and I did remember that he was wearing a Shawn Pelton-style leather hat dropping form one side…
I hadn’t forgotten about the promising musician but I didn’t know where he lived so I thought I’d either never see him again or (if he lived in NY) I’d cross paths with him again at some point. Sure enough newly acquainted NY-based singer Kristen
Maxfield told me about this amazing drummer that sings while he plays drums and recommended that I’d check him out. I looked him up on the web and there he was: I recognized the face and the hat right away! So Josh Dion was his name and it was obvious now I had to go see him.
I am usually a Lower EastSide kinda guy but on this night (after I checked out the beginning of the monthly Warper Party) I set out to the West Village. That hood is happening! Nothing new, of course, but the village really felt like it had that old school live music charm to it that even the LES sometimes doesn’t quite have. I went to the Bitter End and saw Josh Dion’s set. Needless to say he killed it! Bass, guitar, keys and a background vocalist plus his essential four piece + ride + crash drum kit slapped in the middle of the decent sized stage. I take my hat off to the minimal drum kit because I can think of many other great drummers that wouldn’t even play if they didn’t have 2 snares, 5 toms and 10 cymbals! Less is more! But wait… he sings! Obviously there aren’t too many bands like that out there, but Dion’s band does it right. He has a great voice and knows how to keep the crowd happy and entertained (there is never a dull moment in his show and even if there was his faces would make up for that). This groovy cat is right on the money and smacks R&B/Funk/Blues rhythms in the pocket, barefoot while making funny faces and singing great songs! And that is one other very important thing here… Sure, Josh can play, he can sing too, but he’s got great catchy songs, which once again proves that ultimately, it is all about the song!
The one other time I felt that excited about an unknown/unsigned drummer was when I saw Nikki Glaspie playing the shit out of her drums with Martin Luther… My instincts told me she was dope and she was gonna make it big so I had gotten her number and called her up to hire her for a project two months later, but she had just been discovered by Beyonce’s talent scouts so unfortunately we never got to work together… but that’s another story… I hope Josh gets what he wants out of his life as an artist, he certainly seems to be on the right path!
What a great night out!