Two John Cale Programs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Reviewed

John Cale
John Cale (Photo credit: jasperwiet)


A drone, sustained and hypnotic, opened John Cale’s first program at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, “Life Along the Borderline: A Tribute to Nico,” on Wednesday. It enveloped Nico’s “Frozen Warnings,” sung by Mr. Cale and Meshell Ndegeocello, to start a concert of Nico’s songs featuring a dozen guest performers. Another drone — Mr. Cale’s sawing, insistent electric viola part in the Velvet Underground’s sadomasochistic “Venus in Furs” (written by Lou Reed) — ended his second program there on Friday (repeated Saturday), featuring Mr. Cale’s own songs backed by the Wordless Music Orchestra, including a full performance of his 1973 album, “Paris 1919.”