Bush Tetras and Co. get hot for Justice

BY BOB KRASNER | Dance beats, punk rock and noise mingled in the heat in Tompkins Square Park on Friday in the interests of justice. Specifically, Avenues For Justice, a nonprofit that was founded 41 years ago on Avenue B.

The organization’s main focus is to keep kids between the ages of 14 and 24 out of prison by finding alternatives to incarceration and preventing recidivism, according to Gamal Willis, the group’s manager of outreach and court advocacy.

The Bush Tetras performing at Tompkins Square Park, from left, Pat Place, Dee Pop, Cynthia Sley and Val Opielski. (Photo by Bob Krasner)

Headliners Collapsing Scenery instigated the show, suggesting to an A.F.J. board member that they celebrate their latest album’s release with a benefit gig.

The Bush Tetras, definitely the crowd favorite, were also celebrating a new release — a single on Third Man Records. Their mix of old and new tunes included the classic “Too Many Creeps.” Lead singer Cynthia Sley had some complaints about the heat, but not after they hit the stage.

“Once we were onstage we were happy,” she said.

From right, the Bush Tetras’ Cynthia Sley and Pat Place, with an audience member on percussion. Sley invited people to come up and dance onstage. One woman danced. This guy played. (Photo by Bob Krasner)

Also appearing were the ambitiously eclectic band Nymph and solo artist Zah. An intriguing performer, Zah mixed voice and electronics while wearing an elaborate robe, horror-movie contact lenses and a piece of lingerie that is not normally found on one’s head.

Weston Muench, A.F.J. social media director, judged the event a success.

“It was our first time doing this,” he said. “We raised money, people signed up for our newsletter and took the pamphlets. We’re gauging the possibility for future events — we want to do it again.”

Zah was a change of pace. (Photo by Bob Krasner)

More information about Avenues For Justice, including on their two Manhattan community centers, can be found at www.avenuesforjustice.org .

The Bush Tetras will be at the Mercury Lounge, at E. Houston St. near Essex St., on Aug. 3.

The band Collapsing Scenery, from right, Reggie Debris, Don DeVore and drummer. (Photo by Bob Krasner)