Great tunes for a great cause, at a great location (walking distance from my apartment). What else can ya ask for?!
This Uncle Ebenezer show was a benefit for The Mockingbird Foundation, and the early portions of the show saw a decent amount of people cutting some serious rug. By the second set a lot of the room had left, but the intrepid few who remained seriously fuckin' knew how to party. I'd imagine they were able to toss a nice chunk'a change Mockingbird Foundation's way, although that amount would've been dramatically higher if they'd had a percentage of drink sales - literally everyone I talked to (at least half the people in the room) was boozin' hardcore, brah.
Although Uncle E has only been on the scene for a few months (here's a show review from the first time I saw them at their second show ever), they definitely manage to do the music of Phish justice, no easy task. I'm particularly impressed with how deftly they go into and out of segues and teases within the jams. On this night, they were joined by a trumpet player - see above for video of the horn-augmented "2001" and see below for "Hood," also with horns.
In addition to the (awesome) music, what I'll always remember this show for occurred when about 20 police officers wandered into Club Europa, standing around sheepishly in the room (which smelled vaguely of pot smoke at that point). Needless to say, people were creeped the fuck out, but apparently the coppers only showed up to perform a routine building inspection. For those not in the know, Europa is located literally right next door to a police station, and I'm always dumbfounded by how many people just openly toke up right outside - a dude I met at the show apparently got nabbed at setbreak. Damn.
Anyway, highlights for me were the "Disease" (with "Manteca" jam), the "46 Days" > "Sally" jam > Jam > "Tweeprise" jam > Jam > "Carini" sequence (uh, obviously!), the "Mike's" > "Wilson" > "Paug" (with "Auld Lang Syne" tease) > "Wilson" reprise craziness, and the aforementioned "2001." Oh, yeah, and incredibly my buddy Salvador somehow called the "Twist" opener from nearly 3000 miles away, haha.
Until I get to see the real Phish in July, I'll be more than happy hopping around like a jackass to the music of Uncle Ebenezer. See below for the setlist.
Setlist: Uncle Ebenezer, February 21, 2014 Club Europa, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Twist Disease* Wolfman's YEM** 46 Days> Sneakin' Sally jam> Jam> Tweeprise jam> Jam> Carini Harry Hood Julius
Lizards Timber Mike's Wilson Weekapaug@ Wilson reprise Rift Sand Punch 2001
* with Manteca tease ** with Star Wars tease in intro @ with Auld Lang Syne tease
Before Fall Tour, I went into "Phish shutdown" mode during the weeks prior to tour so as to avoid oversaturating myself with Phish. As things turned out, I wound up seeing nine shows on Fall Tour, only skipping Glens Falls, Rochester and Reading. Of course, Lawn Boys are so fucking awesome that it was easy to convince myself that I could suspend the shutdown for a few hours.
Fourth time I'd attended a Lawn Boys show this year, and the first time within walking distance of my apartment (Europa's about a mile and a half from my doorstep). This show marked the first time I'd seen 'em with their new bassist, as well as the final show that their keyboardist would be performing with them. Great setlist (see below), tight playing, and a small-yet-enthusiastic crowd - including some fantastic dancers!
At the time of this writing, I've had the pleasure of seeing *TWO* more Lawn Boys shows, both of which were fucking fantastic. highly, highly enjoyable. Come back to the Greenpoint / Williamsburg area anytime, gentlemen!
[Oh yeah, nearly forgot - this show featured the debut of me turning on the pedometer before leaving the apartment and shutting it off when I get home. 13 MILES, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!]
SET 1 Tweezer (Earnest White Boy Funk) -> Possum Sneakin Sally Funky Bitch Mike’s Song -> Ghost -> Psycho Killer -> Weekapaug Groove
SET 2 Llama Tube Timber Moma Dance -> Sand -> The Wedge 2001 -> Harry Hood Chalkdust Torture Reba Tweezer Reprise Chalkdust Torture Reprise
One of the more heartwarming stories in the music world over the past several years is that of Detroit "proto-punk" band Death. Death's story has been pretty well documented at this point, including an in-depth writeup in the New York Times and plenty of coverage by the indie press at large (such as this Pitchfork review), and interest in the band was rekindled recently with the 2012 release of the documentary A Band Called Death.
Briefly, the story is as follows: three brothers form a band in Detroit, and they record an album worth of ahead-of-their-time rock tunes, before having their career derailed largely due to a poor band-naming choice. After releasing a limited run 7", the remainder of the recordings are stored in a dusty attic for nearly 35 years before the album, For All The World to See, is given a full release by Drag City in 2009. World rejoices.
Of course, as with anything that benefits from significant amounts of pure, unadulterated hype, the facts need to be separated from the fiction. Claims that Death were "the first punk band" and "punk before punk existed" are nothing but laughable, credibility-damaging bullshit; The Stooges had released three albums prior to Death's formation, and punk forerunners The Velvet Underground and the MC5 (among others) were alive and well around the same time, as well. It's also questionable how "influential" a band that only released a few hundred copies of a 7" during their lifetime could actually be. Rather than showering Death with unrealistic praise, I compare them to Los Saicos, a Peruvian band who, without having been exposed to the garage rock explosion in America and the UK in the mid-60s, somehow developed a sound oddly similar to their contemporaries around the globe. Anyway.
I was fortunate enough to be present at Death's show at Europa in Greenpoint April 2010, which was opened by the band Rough Francis, featuring children of the members of Death. I enjoyed the bejeezus out of that show - it was arguably one of the most joyous concert experiences I've ever witnessed, since it was truly a family affair. I've literally never seen performers that were as excited (and appreciative!) to be playing a packed house in New York City as I did on that night.
So, a little over three years later, we have this show, which coincided with local showings of A Band Called Death at a nearby indie cinema. While the band's material speaks for itself, a couple factors contributed to this show being less enjoyable than it should've been. First off, apparently some idiot had arranged for an incredibly obnoxious MC to work this show, and predictably this devolved into an embarrassing display of shameless self-promotion. I don't want to devote any more time than is absolutely necessary to discussing this attention whore, so I'm'a cut that shit off here, but suffice it to say the easiest way to make it painfully obvious that you don't go to many NYC shows is to berate the crowd with mindless "party people in the house!" bullshit and / or admonish the crowd for being "complacent," both of which happened. Seriously, go fuck yourself.
What's more, the club on this night was SWELTERING hot. No clue why lpr didn't have the AC on; hopefully this doesn't bode poorly for their finances, since this reminded me of times I've walked into a deli that's just barely hanging on, and the poor bastards have their lights off to save on the electricity bills. Would be a shame to lose lpr, since it's easily the best non-Bowery-affiliated venue at which to catch a show in Manhattan, but no AC on July 1st is pretty brutal any way ya slice it.
I walked in towards the end of The Everymen's set, and these guys had Jersey written all over them. Their "thing" reminded me of the final time I could bear to see Titus Andronicus live, which included (for me) the exact dividing line at which Titus' earlier, rockin' punky material gave way to overwrought, cloying emo garbage. Not that The Everymen were as unbearable as what Titus Andronicus has become, (that would be tough!), but it certainly seemed like things could turn out that way. Man, was it hot inside (le) poisson rouge.
Purling Hiss was up next, and I was excited to see their set. They started off with a patient, rockin' stoner groove which reminded me quite a bit of Dead Meadow's best work. Unfortunately, slowly but surely the set morphed into a bunch of samey, poor-man's Dino Jr. soundalikes. Still hot as balls up in this sum'bitch.
Death's set was up next, and not a moment too soon. With the modern lineup of surviving brothers Bobby Hackney on bass and vocals and Dannis Hackney on drums with Bobbie Duncan on guitar (guitarist and third brother David Hackney died of lung cancer in 2000), the band tore through their coulda-been-hits like a band half (a third?) of their age. They played every song off of ...For All the World to See, and a couple off of the "odds and ends" follow up from 2011, Spiritual Mental Physical, braving the stifling heat and turning in a roaring performance. Personal favorites were "Keep on Knocking," the show-stopping "Politicians in My Eyes," and "Masks," which hilariously cribs the verse section from the Beatles "Got To Get You Into My Life" note-for-note. See above and below for videos, of course.
Yes, I'm aware that Big Business was headlining this show, but due to a few lame excuses (including a wardrobe malfunction) I decided not to stick around for much of their set. Aforementioned lame excuses aside, by the time I chose to take off, Panthers and Hull had rocked my ass sufficiently; anything more would've been a redundancy.
To the none or so of you that regularly read this blog, you should know by now that I totally dig Panthers. My first time seeing them was at Club Europa in Greenpoint, with their set sandwiched between openers Titan and headliners Witch on a stellar top-to-bottom stoner rock triple bill, back about 14 months ago. Witch are fantastic, but between Panthers righteous riffs and explosive energy, they totally stole the show, sending me scurrying home post-show towards eMusic where I found Things Are Strange, a dense, thunderous slab of stoner metal awesomeness, complete with just enough punk to keep shit lively. Since then I've tried to catch them at every available opportunity (I think it's five total times I've seen them now -- Europa, Sin-e, Northsix, and again at Europa for their recent album release shindig), and they've never come close to disappointing. In fact, the only time I haven't left a Panthers show totally sat-si-fied was at last year's Vice / CMJ showcase, when I had to miss out on getting totally shitfaced on free Sparks (!?!) so I could get up early for my pointless, excruciating job the next morning. Thus, my lack of sat-si-faction was not the fault of the band, but instead due to my inability to quench my insatiable appetite for Sparks. Anyway, long story short, Panthers rule.
My hopes ran high for this show; what's more, I've had good luck in the past with loud shows at Knitting Factory. Comets on Fire / Woods / Blues Control was flat out the best show I saw during 2006 (of sixty total shows or so). Not to mention the 3 Inches of Blood / Early Man / Bad Wizard triple bill which unexpectedly rose from the depths of awesome and pretty much singlehandedly restored my faith in seeing metal shows. So, yeah, I had reason to believe that saucy times awaited on this night.
Opening tonight's show was Brooklyn's Hull, about whom I knew nothing other than that the sole Hull track available on eMusic is like 17 minutes long, which obviously had me hoping for lengthy, multi-part thrash/doom/stoner fare with a bunch of wacky time signatures. Well, good news; that's pretty much exactly what these guys are made of. Yippee! Seriously, they played for about 40 minutes, and their set comprised a grand total of THREE songs. How great is it when the band announces "okay, we've got one more song left in the set..." and the smoke doesn't clear for another 20 minutes? Fuck yeah! This is some way forceful, brutal, and even virtuosic stuff -- no joke, in the midst of the pummeling, epic riffage (three guitars!), I was pleasantly surprised to hear them ripping off some soulful, bluesy solos. Vocals largely inaudible, but really who the fuck cares, as long as you've got just enough Cookie Monster peering up above the cacophony.
After their set, they mentioned that they had some merch for sale "way in the back," i.e. not on the usual merch table in the same room as the stage, where the Big Business/Panthers swag sat, but in the corner of the bar room farthest from the stage. Made my way there as quickly as I could, but nobody from the band showed up, leaving a wasted little guy who identified himself as the brother of a band member to feverishly paw through the boxes of shit and try to make heads or tails of what people wanted. Unfortuntately, between me and him, neither of us could locate any "fat guy" tees, so I walked away with a limited edition CD in a handmade package, complete with wax seal ($5!).
Made my way back towards the front of the stage, waiting for Panthers to set up their shit. I've had their new record, The Trick, on pretty heavy rotation since it came out a couple of months ago. The band seems to like it well enough, too, since I haven't heard them perform anything from any of their other albums since that first time I caught them at Europa. Minor quibble, but hot damn I'd love to hear "We Are Louder" or "Legally Tender" or something (anything!) else from Things Are Strange next time I see them which looks like it will be at Webster Hall opening up for High on Fire some time this fall.
I had seen a MySpace bulletin announcing that Panthers drummer Jeff Salane's wife had recently given birth, so it came as little surprise that tonight he wouldn't be playing with the band. (He was standing to my left, watching the show from the crowd at the edge of the stage, however.) Shame, because he's a great, hard hitting-yet-nimble drummer, and author of perhaps the loudest cymbal crashes I've ever heard.
As the band shot into "Listen to Me," the best song off The Trick, I was pleased that they had switched up their setlist a bit -- no more "Goblin City" opener. It became pretty obvious that the new drummer wasn't as enthusiastic or hard-hitting as the music demanded. Fuck. I'm sure new babies are great and all, y'know, a little bundle of fucking joy or whatever, but here's hoping Panthers have their drummer back before too long. Also, singer Jayson Green appeared to be suffering from some sort of throat malady, as evidenced by the bottle of Chloraseptic he consulted a few times during the set.
This was probably the shortest set I've seen Panthers play, coming in at just seven songs and under 30 minutes, maybe because of Green's sickness. Either way, whatever the affliction, it didn't negatively affect his intensity as he stomped and sweated his way through the set before hopping into the crowd to thrash along to the instrumental coda to the set-closing "The Impeccableness" Fun, fun shit.
So why did I leave during Big Business' set? Well, a bunch of lame excuses which I'm not going to get into here. Fuck it.
No worries, though, as there are no less than a bunch more promising shows in the pipeline: Oxford Collapse with Cheeseburger (!!!) tomorrow night, Bobby Bare Jr. Thursday, and Bouncing Souls Saturday. I'm'a try to write something about each for y'all.