The Lo-Down will be heading “up town” to the Jerome L. Greene Space tonight to support the selected artists competing in WNYC’s Battle of the Boroughs: Manhattan Throwdown. The “showdown series” was designed to bring out the best undiscovered bands and ensembles of all genres: instrumentalists, singers, DJs, spoken word artists and performance artists in the five boroughs. We’ll be cheering for the band PaperDoll tonight, because they got their start (and play often) on the Lower East Side. Often described as “Pat Benatar meets the Killers,” PaperDoll considers their music to be a “unique blend of nerdy rock pop.” I spoke (via email) to pianist and vocalist Teresa Lee Chaisiri about the band’s LES history. Here’s what she had to say:
Patrick (guitar) and I met at an open mic at The C-Note on Ave C and 7th (now closed) which is technically the East Village – but really – has the lovely grittiness of the LES. We started playing together as a duo – piano and guitar acoustic stuff – one of our first gigs was at Iggy’s Celtic Lounge (132 Ludlow Street) which I don’t think even has live music but I think the manager noticed Patrick’s Irish accent and let us play there. We met Chip (drummer) through our old bassist and played our first gig as PaperDoll at CBGBs. Our usual spot is Mercury Lounge – though we also play at Arlene’s Grocery, The Delancy, Pianos, Crash Mansion, and other local LES spots.
I love playing in the LES ’cause you can sound-check and then go for a walk and get whatever food you want. Patrick can get pizza from the “Original Famous Rays“, Steve can get a sandwich from Katz’s, Chip can get a Crepe from Crepe-de-Paris, I can get Nerds (remember Nerds?!) from Economy Candy and organic hummus from any corner deli. You can literally get whatever food you can think of within a 2 block radius!
I love that, even though I go to the LES almost every weekend, I always seem to get lost coming in and out of the stores and winding through non-number streets. I can turn a corner and all the signs will be in Chinese. I love it!