The formal confirmation that bandleader Max Weinberg would indeed not be joining Conan O'Brien on his new TV program (revealed first in City Pages months ago, by the way) somewhat anticlimactically ended that lingering melodrama, finally allowing people without lives to get back to them. But weep not for the mighty Max, who not only still has a pretty good, 36-years-and-counting gig with the E Street Band, but is now also leading a nifty 15-piece big band that will play its second local gig in just over three months. At the Dakota in July, Weinberg, his drum kit out in front of the band, seemed to be having a blast, introducing the tunes with stories and self-deprecating humor that really connected with the appreciative crowd. The band swung nicely with an energetic kick from Weinberg's power drumming. The repertoire was mostly classic big band stuff, with a special emphasis on Weinberg inspiration Buddy Rich, fellow Jerseyites Count Basie and Frank Sinatra, plus vintage TV themes from the '50s and '60s. There was also a cool Beatles medley based on a Basie arrangement, plus a couple of requisite Springsteen covers: "Born To Run," which was OK in a big band context, and "Kitty's Back," which was just about perfect.
Mon., Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m., 2010