Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Doomstar w/ Shitstorm + Whistlejacket @ PA's Lounge, April 18th, 2008

I promised I wouldn't blog about myself, because that's kinda like tootin' your own horn (if you know what i mean), but Doomstar was just so damn good I had to give them some internet props. Holy Coooooooooow. They destroyed. I was expecting a pretty sick set, but this was disgusting. There was no slowing down. They jumped right in and started rocking large and didn't let the energy drop until the very end. They've got a very simple three man set up with guitar, bass and drums, but they manage to have a huge tight sound that stays interesting for the entire set. Phew. I wish more bands were this good (plus they're super-nice guys, and friends of mine, so double bonus). Oh yeah, and my band Shitstorm also played an ambient psych freakout set in the grand new tradition. The shit clocked in their longest set yet at 25 swirly, samply, mind-blowing minutes! For some reason we just can't seem to break a half-an-hour live, and yet in practice we can play endlessly - go figure. I think it has something to do with intense level of concentration needed to make this type of music. But still I think people left satisfied, and whatever, leave them wanting more right? Whistlejacket opened up the show and has this great singer-songwriter voice that sounds like a cross between Neil Young and Doug Martsch, very nice indeed. I'll have to check him out a bit more...

Parts & Labor @ Studio B, April 16th 2008

I arrived in the middle of Parts & Labor's raucous set at Studio B and was definitely impressed with their indie-rock energy and sound (not to mention the lead singer's shoulder-length beard), but was surprised at how flabbergasted the audience looked. They just stood there not rocking out, like they'd never seen a rock show before. All they needed was one dude in the front row to raise his fist and jump around a bit to get the crowd going (usually that would be me, but I had not yet had any cocktail inspirations ;) Maybe they were all fans of the headliner Yacht, who was so awful I literally had to go in the other room and cry a bit by myself just for the fact that some people consider this a kick-ass live show. Not that they weren't nice people, I just don't like going to a show and watching people sing over a pre-made beat on a laptop. What is this, Karaoke night? Btw, they mentioned that they just finished touring with Vampire Weekend and the crowd all booed. I guess the cycle of the buzz band is now shorter than ever.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nina Nastasia w/ Jim White / Phosphorescent @ Bowery Ballroom, April 7th, 2008

Last night, Nina Nastasia gave one of the best female artistic performances I've ever seen. Her songs have an earthy, timeless charm that recall heartbroken, sleepless nights and their long, often painful recovery. Stylistically she reminds me of Marissa Nadler, but more confident and weathered, with her emotions riding closer to the surface. Her voice is gorgeous, consistently in tune, with a wide dynamic range, whether playing a sweet and soft ballad, or a strong and bitter reproof. I don't know how she did it, but her acoustic guitar sounded wonderful, with the perfect amount of bite, and a rich, round, all-natural chime. The talented Jim White supported her, filling out her sound during the more intense moments, and instinctively laying out during the quieter, personal moments. She closed her set with a lovely version of "That's All There Is." Here are some of the lyrics:

"But that's all there is/
So stop all your dreaming/
It makes me so sad/
Let's keep what we had"

Btw, Phosphorescent opened the show, but I won't mention too much about them (see post below for more info), except that I enjoyed their smaller, intimate set at the Mercury Lounge more than this one at the Bowery Ballroom.