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Lani Ford: Press

Live Show Reviews

Alright on to the 365 crawl. Today we go full circle back in time. The first bar I went to back on January 11th was Otto’s Shrunken Head in the East Village. I was really nervous because I had no idea how people would take to this idea, if the bartender would play along and just had overall jitters. So after about six courage-inducing beers I made my way to Otto’s and was greeted by the bartender Lani Ford. I told Lani what I was doing and she was really nice to me. She posed for pictures and was a great sport about it. It gave me the guts to go up to strangers and ask to take their photo. The night turned out great and 62 nights later here we are.

In addition to mixing and pouring a mean-ass tiki drink, Lani is a singer, bass player and songwriter. She’s one third of the rocking trio, Stark and they’re playing a show tonight at Arlene's Grocery in honor of their new CD, “Race to the Floor.Check out their new CD here: Stark, “Race to the Floor.”

There’s been many nights after the crawl is over that I’d win that race! Anyway, there’s no way I’d miss this show, so let’s go see Lani on the other side of the bar for a change at Arlene's Grocery.

Here we are at Arlene's Grocery. It's raining like crazy and that accounts for the polka dots in this photo. I kind of like them, how about you?
 

It's Saturday night and there's a full house and the joint is jumping.

 

Bartender Kevin is busy, but swiftly serves me up a can of Pabst.

 

My seat, my beer, my notes. Okay?

Hey, there's a familiar face in the crowd.

 It's Frank Wood, who I met on the very first night of the bar crawl at Otto's! This is like a family reunion! Frank was here with his pal, John.

Frank introduced me to his friend, Janis.

There's no food at Arlene's, but you can bring in your own pizza, as Shauna and Ashley did. It was Ashley's 24th birthday and Shauna asked if I remembered being 24 and I had to confess I didn't remember the night before. Shauna drums for the band Red Gretchen and they had just finished their set at Arlene's. Check them out here: Red Gretchen.

And here's Ronnie who is also in Red Gretchen. Ronnie plays guitar and is the singer and songwriter for the band.

Here's Aboibhin and David who just got here from Glasgow, Scotland. Welcome to New York!

Ethan and Andee were enjoying drinks at the bar. Andee wished my liver good luck on the bar crawl.

Mark and Robin were hanging out next to me at the bar. Mark plays bass for the band Underground Saints, who were playing that night at Arlene's. I told him I'd check out their set.

And here's Lani, ready to rock out with her band Stark.

Here's the aforementioned Underground Saints. They put on a great show.

Underground Saints rocking out in a Saintly manner.

There's a full bar downstairs in the concert area.

 

And it's more reunion madness as I see Denton (on the right) who I met at Manitoba's weeks ago. He's here with Frank Wood and Crazy Glen. Cheers, guys.

I got a fresh Pabst from Joe the bartender right before Stark was scheduled to take the stage.

Here's the empty Stage, Stark is coming out any second now.

Balloons are released and...

Ladies and gentlemen, it's Stark!

Lani rocking out onstage.

Joe Hogan on guitar and Eric Robel on drums.

Lani belting out a tune. I love her John Entwistle styled Budweiser holder!

Joe and Lani getting into a groove.

Stark rocking the house.

There was a full house for the CD release party.

 

Stark onstage, video one.

Video two.

And a three...

 

And a four. Goodnight everybody!

Review


The only cleanup mishap in aisle one of Arlene’s Grocery will most likely be a spilled can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Arlene’s Grocery is an upstairs bar, downstairs music hall that’s been showcasing original bands since 1996. The building is a former Puerto Rican bodega and the outside remains the same. Inside it’s now a host of upcoming bands showcasing their rock ‘n’ roll stylings. One of the bands who cut their onstage teeth here were The Strokes and the stage here has seen guests from, R.E.M., Dashboard Confessional, Guster, and the Violent Femmes.

There’s a full bar upstairs away from the music. It’s a no nonsense, brick-walled joint with cheap drinks and a back room with chairs and tables to relax before heading downstairs to rock out to the bands who are featured that evening. Most nights there are around a half dozen bands playing downstairs and the cover is ususally just ten bucks for the entire evening. A hand stamp allows you to come and go.

There’s also a full bar downstairs along with tables in the back and a decent-sized area in the front for rocking out and cheering on your local favorite band. There’s rock and roll karaoke every Monday and an open mic on Saturday afternoon. Support live music and check out Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side. Oh and Stark rocked the shit out of the house! It was a great show and the crowd loved them.

Arlene’s Grocery
95 Stanton St (near Ludlow St.)
212-358-1633

"It finally arrived! The long-awaited follow-up to STARK's 'The Curse'. It's called 'Put It To Your Head.' Lani Ford, along with her bandmates Josette & Rob have put out a ROCKIN' CD. It was engineered by Joe Hogan, so you know it's gotta be top notch…Josette showed up 5 minutes before show time but was up on stage and ready to rock and rock she did! This girl can shred on guitar. Rob's drumming and Lani's bass move the songs along the songs' placement in the set made for a thrilling aural experience! Lani's lyrics continue to show different sides of her and keep you coming back for more…Go check them out in your local [bar], while you [still] can."

“Lani takes her band over to London & Leeds for a whirlwind mini tour and hits high notes at the Big Note [Hope & Anchor] in London! Replacing Josette…is Sonic Hogan. A mild mannered guy, until you stick a guitar in his hands and he turns into an animal! Rock out! Amidst cheers and encores, they battle their way thru a hard hitting set.”

“STARK first formed in 2003. Fronted by the luscious Lani Ford, a girl of many talents, 'cause not only does Lani sing lead vocals and play bass in the band, but she also does the traffic report on Fox channel 5. STARK hail from downtown Manhattan, New York. The line up consists of Lani Ford, Bass and lead vocals, Sweet Rob Endemann, Drums and backing vocals, and Josette on guitar. However, for this UK tour Josette unfortunately couldn’t make it, so STARK’s Producer and Engineer ‘Sonic’ Joe Hogan has stepped in. The band are over here promoting their new album ‘Put It To Your Head’ released on January 26th 2008, and featured in Volume One of Soundcheck. Their influences range from such a diverse sound from The Deadboys to Janis Joplin. Lani likes to refer to the bands sound as ‘Punk-try’. Tonight they rocked the legendry Punk Haunt 'The Hope and Anchor' in Highbury Islington with their old school punk songs and lovely melodies to an appreciative crowd. Lani, looking so much like a young Suzi Quatro, rocked with the band through a set of high charged good old fashioned Rock 'n Roll tunes. Songs such as '18 Again' are reminiscent of early Blondie, whereas the melodic 'Co-Dependent' and 'Dreams comes True' bring on a more mellow rock vibe to their set. They were tight and bright. Lani and the rest of the band send out a happy vibe which comes across to the audience. You could see people were really having a good time. As well as that, I have to say that STARK are one of the nicest bands I've had the pleasure to meet!! Check them out NOW at...www.myspace.com/STARK.”

STARK live show promo: There's nothing subtle about STARK. Led by Texas-bred, New York-based singer, songwriter and bassist Lani Ford, who called S.A. home while working at KONO. The trio plays all-out brassy rock. STARK's "The Curse" includes songs such as "White Trash R & R Diva", "Wrong Guy" and "Slut" that won't get aired on commercial radio (or non-commercial radio, for that matter) but will fire up crowds.

Jim Beal, Jr. - San Antonio Express-News, March 9, 2007

"Next up is another Lower East Side mainstay: STARK. Every year, in describing her band, I run the risk of falling all over myself: I'm so taken by front person Lani Ford's stage presence, songwriting and her band's otherwise tight delivery, Rob Endemann is a good friend (and former Baghdaddio--and I'm damn proud to say that!) His drumming is the glue that holds the whole ship together. And what can you say about Josette on lead guitar? She just leaves the room breathless. Finally, Lani has the unenviable task of not just fronting the three-piece rocker but in providing the fluid bass lines and keeping all the vocals straight. This she does with the ease of a seasoned vet--which I guess, now, she is. Her 'Rock 'n Roll Diva' off their first album 'The Curse' is already an underground Village classic. And from what I've heard of her latest disc, STARK, like a fine wine, continues to get better as time goes by. You would think that a bartending and waitress staff that had heard live music for over 10 hours would have been sick and tired of hearing bands by now. But as a testament to the sound and talent of the group they were clapping along with the near-packed house that had assembled by this point."

STARK Live Show Promo--"In a nutshell, if you combine Joan Jett and Shania Twain and a dash of NYC attitude, you have Lani's vocals. Meanwhile, Josette with her Les Paul just plays some of the best licks I have heard."

Bob Schaffer - More Sugar, March 2007

“CD Release parties! The best one so far, this year, has to have been for STARK’s new release, The Curse. Lani Ford bounced back from an emergency appendectomy with energy and life to spare, giving a really burning performance. If Debby Harry had been there she could have satisfied herself that the rock music she believed in was in good hands. Lani’s Mom and Aunt were there, and took the ambient raucous silliness in good fun, even taking pictures when I gave the Mighty Afrodite Salute during “White Trash R & R Diva”. (What? It was appropriate.) They went through their set like a hot knife through butter, coaxing and pushing the audience at the same time, and giving us a fision of sweaty, cheap beer, dance hall future to come, with as much ready, hard rock as we could listen to. What else can you say about a band that is so inspiring that Banana Fish Zero shows up?…It was a great night, and thanks to the CD, which was well engineered and really captured the character and soul of STARK, I don’t have to worry about passing on the experience to future generations.”