Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Band of Horses W/ The Annuals @ McCarren Pool, July 22nd 2007

It's just so hard to skip a free Band of Horses show. Ahh, who am i kidding, what else am I going to do on a Sunday afternoon in July? This was the first BOH show I've seen in several months and their lead singer looked more grizzled and tour-battled than ever, sporting a chest-long beard and some new tattoos. They had a third guitarist this time, which is kinda over-kill for me, but you do get that big thick wall of sound. As usual, his voice was silky smooth, and I've always wondered what reverb effect he uses (maybe lexicon?). They played a couple of new songs from an album that is coming out in October, which were nice, so we have that to look forward to. He also played "Part One," which was the hi-lite of the show for me. Actually, I like their ballads more than their rockers (cuz I'm a wuss), and I've never seen them play my absolute fav "St. Augustine" live (although i keep requesting it), maybe it just doesn't rock enough to play live, or maybe the finger picking is too hard. Play it dammit! Next time...

Openers The Annuals, played an enthusiastic set of uptempo melodic indie rock. I know that's a generic description, but they're kinda hard to completely pin down. They've got a great front man, lotsa energy and stage presence, and he's got a pretty good scream. Their lead guitarist had some impressive solos. Their bassist looks like Flea. I don't know if that's good of bad. They use two drummers at times, and they have a long-haired girl on Keys (but you can't see her face because her hair covers it completely when she plays, it's kinda spooky and kinda awesome). I'd never seen them before and for some reason I thought they were all going to be in their 30's and lame, but lo-and-behold they're younger than me (ugh, I'm such an old fart! -- it's all in your mind ghory...) But yes, I recommend them. Better live, than on the album. Blah, Blah, Blah. They may need some more time to develop, but their next album should be interesting...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Matt and Kim, Elvis Perkins, Voxtrot, etc. @ Siren Music Festival on Coney Island, July 21, 2007

For me, Matt and Kim stole the show yesterday at the Siren Music Festival on Coney Island, although I didn't get to see Dr. Dog, We Are Scientists, or the New York Dolls, who were on the main stage, which I don't prefer in general (too crowded), and I was busy spending half the day lying on the beach with friends, working on my burn, for which I have no regrets -- it's amazing what a couple of hours on the beach with some beer can do to your mood :)

Matt and Kim play like synth-punk, with indie-rock vocals on top. Really they were in top form, overjoyed to be playing in their hometown of Brooklyn to such a large and enthusiastic crowd. They killed it (to use their own oft-used phrase). And I loved the story Matt told about when he went to summer camp and the kid in the bunk above him was chewing on a glow stick and it broke in his mouth and Matt woke up to what he thought were neon bugs crawling all over him and then he looked up and his bunk mate had neon bugs all inside his mouth and he freaked out (ewwwww!). Lotsa fun.

I also saw Elvis Perkins with his band Dearland who played a nice set of intimate folk waltzes. And while I might be reprimanded for liking them (because they're not the latest greatest art-punk-"it" band), it's still nice to be able to sometimes see a band and actually know the songs and occasionally sing along. Plus their album is good on a quiet evening when you're down on your luck.
PS. Voxtrot played their usual enthusiastic set, although they seemed a little tired, which is understandable given that they've been touring like madmen for the last 2 months and this was their last show in the states for a spell.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Besnard Lakes, Les Savy Fav, Land of Talk @ Citysol Festival, July 14th 2007

I got to the free Citysol Festival a little late after randomly watching Talladega Nights and drinking some home-made white wine Sangria with Steve-o and Shannon, so I missed the O'Death set (which is usually a good time). But I made it to see The Besnard Lakes, who surprised me with a killer live set. I just love seeing bands for the first time when it is really good. You never forget it. They played like a down-tempo psych-fuzz-rock set with harmonized falsetto vocals, real sunny and nice. They're definitely another great product out of Montreal which says something about that town.
Their friends (also from Montreal), Land of Talk, had their usual enjoyable set. I sort of zoned out for some of it (i have seen them a couple of times), but there is always like one or two LOT songs that grab you and make you realize why you like them so much and keep coming back. And they've got nice t-shirts...

Les Savy Fav destroyed it as usual. It's starting to become a nyc summer tradition. Their lead singer is always ridiculous and just oozes energy and charisma. I liked when he took a gatorade bucket and dumped it on the front row like they won the super bowl (or the "super-b" as he calls it). And it looks like they're coming out with a new full-length soon, their first one in over 6 years! I've got a feeling it's gonna be bananas. Check out the track, "What Would Wolves Do" that was leaked on Pitchfork. If that doesn't make you do "the hipster shake", i don't know what will.

Menomena @ South Street Seaport, July 13th, 2007

Menomena is, well... phenomenal. I hadn't realized that all those instruments and sounds from their album were being played by just three musicians! (I swear it sounds like they've got a whole gaggle of musicians up there). They played an excellent set, with a few songs that I didn't recognize, but which followed in their now well developed musical style (aka. damn catchy), so I was pleased. Geez, I bet they would sound even better in a small club, next time...

Monday, July 9, 2007

A Sunny Day In Glasgow W/ Arbor Day @ Cakeshop July 6th, 2007

I got an email from my friends in Arbor Day about their upcoming show at Cakeshop, and when I learned that they were opening for A Sunny Day In Glasgow, I was like, "WHAAA!?!? How could I not know about this??" Clearly, I am not on top of my calender... Anyway, I timed it perfectly so that I could watch Arbor Day's set, skip over to Joey's B-day bash at the bar around the corner for an hour (happy birthday joey!), and then make it back later for Glasgow, which is what went down to a T.
Arbor Day has always been solid show, playing ridiculously well-crafted pop music, that tips its hat to the Beatles circa Rubber Soul (back when they had horns, but not quite full-on psychedelic yet). The only thing I think was missing from the band was a George Harrison type (lead guitar, background vocals) and I kept on thinking up perfect background lines and melodies during their set and was seriously considering asking them if they needed another dude in the band, and maybe i will someday, but i digress...

Glasgow Photo courtesy of AskMeAboutMyInvisibleFriends

...I got back from Joey's just as Glasgow was starting their first song and the place was packed. I muscled my way up front and found some empty space stage right (cakeshop doesn't really have a stage, it's all one long basement with a bar, so I was literally like 5 feet from the band for the whole show =) My first reaction was complete surprise. Was this the same band?!? I was expecting some lo-fi, heavily-effected ambient electronica, like on their excellent album "scribble mural comic journal." But lo-and-behold, they ROCK! You may not realize it from their album, but their drummer is playing hard! And the majority of those multi-tap delay sounds (which sound even better live btw) come from their inventive guitarist (who coincidently looks exactly like my friend Grant). Seriously tho, everyone in the group was good. I liked how the bass player would drop out for a few bars and then come back in at the perfect time. And the singer was always melodic and laid back, just floating above the music. A lot of their song structure isn't the traditional verse-chorus-verse shit that is over emulated, which keeps it interesting... and I was really taken by how cool they were, like actually cool (some bands try to be cool (but usually fail miserably) and rarely is a band both cool and good, but they pulled it off, and without any attitude! Fuck, maybe I should move to Philly, a lot of my favorite new bands have been coming outta there...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Man Man @ McCarren Pool, Brooklyn July 1st, 2007

I continue to be blown away by Man Man shows. They just keep getting better. I saw them a few months ago at the Bowery and they smoked it. But this time they were otherworldly, headlining at the McCarren Pool, a much larger and more intimidating outdoor venue. First off, their drummer is phenomenal, a joy to watch and hear. Of course everyone in their group is a percussionist, which adds to the tribal vibe. I love how they play facing each other on stage, like they actually care about communicating with each other musically onstage. Yes, their signature all white outfits, face paint, and bandanas were in effect, which at first might be off-putting but after a couple shows you come to expect it, in fact anticipate it, as it adds to the drama. They played an encore, which is the first one I’ve seen at McCarren Pool (which shows how huge this band is in Brooklyn). They closed with a slow, dreamy version of Van Helsing’s Boombox, my favorite song on their latest album, Six Demon Bag (of course, I don’t think any of their albums have truly captured the energy of their live shows). I had forgotten about that song, wrapped up in their gorgeous set, but once it started, I knew this show would be unforgettable.