I spent, oh, maybe 30 seconds debating whether or not I should go to this show due to factors that really shouldn't've been a consideration (relatively high ticket price; opening slot for a mediocre band) before my buddy Salvador talked some sense into me. Holy Fuck's ~50 minute set reminded me what an excellent live band they are (not that I ever forgot), while giving the band the opportunity to perform a bunch of new material live.
In mid-November, Holy Fuck announced that they had just recently started mixing their upcoming album, the follow-up to 2010's excellent Latin LP, which is great news considering I'm pretty much obsessed with this frickin' band, and have been since I first heard LP back in 2008. They're on the short list of bands that I'll do whatever I can to get out and see live whenever they come around, and they've always delivered. (This was the sixth time I've seen them live.)
The last time I saw Holy Fuck perform was at a "secret" show at Death by Audio about a year ago, at which they treated the (relatively) small crowd to several new tracks, mixing them in along with plenty of the "hits" (ha!). It was, as can be expected, fucking awesome. This time around, however, they skipped over most of the more melodic stuff (no "Royal Gregory," "Lovely Allen," "Stay Lit," "Silva and Grimes") in favor of a whole raft of new stuff, much of which definitely fell into the category of "rhythmic" as opposed to "melodic." Of course, I thought the same thing when I heard the songs from Latin the first time, so what the fuck do I know. (See above and below for clips of a couple new ones. Also, here's the setlist - as you'll notice, a few recognizable names but mostly new shit.)
Needless to say, I didn't bother sticking around for !!!'s set (fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice...) Stay tuned for more Holy Fuck updates... here's their blog. Apparently they embarked on a tour of China shortly after this show. Who knew?
Having had basically no exposure to !!!'s catalog (save the occasional random compilation track), I basically went into this hoping for a less, uh, "flamboyant" version of the Rapture. I had read earlier in the day about one of the vocalists departing !!! so he could focus on his other group, Free Blood, who are fucking amazing (saw 'em in January at Knitting Factory opening up for Gil Mantera's Party Dream). Basically, knowing what Free Blood sound like -- think goofy white kids getting other goofy white kids to shake their asses -- I had to like the chances of !!! at least being danceable and fun.
Shitty weather all day led to delays on the LIRR, so I wound up not getting to Union Square until after 9 PM, where I met my friend Cynthia. We got some cheap beers at the dank, fratty Bar None on Third Ave., then walked over to 15th Street to enjoy the fall air around the l'il park dealie which is down there.
Got inside Webster Hall about halfway through The Field (some dude with a laptop)'s set, which consisted of groove-heavy trance with plenty of bass. After a few beers I'm generally pretty easy to please musically but this really, really hit the mark. As Cynthia remarked, it's pretty doubtful that this set would have been as great had we not had a few, but so fucking what, it was fantastic.
!!! took the stage at about quarter past 11, and right off the bat I was really digging their style: goofy white kids getting other goofy white kids to dance indeed. The first two songs were based around strong grooves and rock-solid bass thumpin', which had me moving around as much as a cripple can. And, again, I was fucked up, but the percussive vocals (perilously bordering on -- but fortunately avoiding -- the pitfalls of white-guy rap) augmented the two drumkit setup nicely.
After the first couple of songs, however, the music got shittier and I started to find the frontman kinda obnoxious, not gonna lie. Musically, shit devolved into slower tempo stuff and boring drum patterns (bass was totally MIA), occasionally with super-generic R&B vocals hollering over the top. Soulless quasi-eclecticism is not my cup of tea. But, yeah, the frontman was bugging the shit out of me
I didn't really enjoy much during the meat of the set, but just when all seemed lost !!! locked into an amazing groove towards the end of the show. Long story short, I enjoyed probably about 30-40% of the set. So, yeah, glad I saw these guys live but it's doubtful I'd be back for a return performance. (Sign me up for the next umpteen Free Blood shows, though.)