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?
Whew. Whatta year, amirite?! Yes, new music may have been a bit lacking, but fortunately the one constant that remains is that there's a shit-ton of great live music coming through NYC year-round. When I moved to Williamsburg in '08, I did so almost entirely because of the proximity to so many music venues; nearly 6 years later, that remains my biggest motivation for sticking around.
In fact, my show-going affliction reached new heights this year - I did a rough count last week, and if I wind up going to the New Mastersounds afterparty following the Phish show on December 29th, I will have seen a robust *98* distinct concerts in 2013. According to Jalepzerz' / MeatBox archives, that's a personal record (although I've eclipsed 90 shows in several other years), and as proof, I uploaded literally hundreds of videos to my YouTube channel, effectively documenting my own crime spree.
So, here I sit on Christmas Eve, workin' on my final post of the year for this blog; a post that focuses solely on the highlights of my showgoing for the year. In 4 evenings, Phish NYE Run starts, and if some notable, epic shit goes down, several of these lists could be (at the very least) a bit out of whack and (at most) completely irrelevant. I welcome that. :->
See you in the new year, everyone!
Best Live Show of the Year - Phish at Hampton Coliseum, 10/20/13
Top 10 Phish shows I personally attended this year:
10.) 10/25/13 DCU 9.) 11/1/13 AC 8.) 8/4/13 BGCA 7.) 11/2/13 AC 6.) 7/6/13 SPAC (fuck off, I loved this damn show) 5.) 10/19/13 Hampton 4.) 7/14/13 Merriweather 3.) 10/27/13 Hartford 2.) 10/26/13 DCU 1.) 10/20/13 Hampton
The best three non-Phish arena shows I saw in 2013:
16.) Split Open and Melt at SPAC, July 6 15.) Rock and Roll at BGCA, August 3 14.) Crosseyed and Painless at Holmdel, July 10 13.) Twist > Under Pressure at AC, November 1 12.) Theme from the Bottom > Shaft theme at AC, November 2 11.) Drowned at Worcester, October 26 10.) Harry Hood at Merriweather 9.) Runaway Jim at BGCA, August 4 8.) Stash at Merriweather, July 14 7.) Carini at SPAC, July 6 6.) Carini at AC, October 31 5.) Golden Age at Hartford, October 27 4.) Piper > Taking Care of Business at Hampton, October 20 (yup, this is cheating) 3.) Light at Merriweather, July 14 2.) Seven Below at BGCA, August 2 (in spite of the butchered composed section) 1.) Carini at Hampton, October 18
If you're expecting typical quiet-LOUD-quiet-INSANELY LOUD-quiet / guitar squall-heavy Mogwai, yer in for a surprise. This one (mostly) back-burners the guitars in favor of pensive, haunting, minimal minor key piano instrumentals. Still as weighty as anything in Mogwai's catalog, and works well as a cohesive album despite also functioning as a soundtrack piece.
Cyclopean - Cyclopean EP
Features two dudes from the legendary Can, including my favorite member, drummer Jaki Liebzeit. (Fellow Can alum Holger Czukay once said of Liebzeit that "His deepest desire was to become a human machine... and he found the right guys to enforce that. He was The Can, he was the central figure; we all played around him.") Cyclopean is four tracks of knotty, rocksolid, deceptively minimal krautprog, characterized by odd instrumentation, subtle dynamic builds, and intricately interlocking performances by a supremely talented quartet of musicians.
Lotus - Build
This album was described to me as "poor man's Holy Fuck," which sounded like it could be kinda cool, since even the least inspired parts of Holy Fuck's last two albums are interesting. Sadly, it turns out it's more of a "poor man's Ratatat" type situation on this record, which, if you've heard the last couple of Ratatat releases, is a very, very bad thing.
THANK YOU BROOKLYN VEGAN. I would've never had any idea that the supiciously-named band Holy Fun! (punctuation theirs) was playing a show, or that said band was actually Toronto's mighty Holy Fuck, or finally that said show was going down 9 blocks from my place. Again, THANK YOU BROOKLYN VEGAN.
And the show was frickin' GREAT. I've been obsessed with this band since '08, since they manage to embody everything that's good about 'electronic' music [spoiler alert: a live rhythm section makes all the difference] while somehow avoiding everything that usually makes electronica, you know, awful. Here's something I wrote about five years ago when I saw them for the first time:
They take Battles' energy, live drumming and
(occasional) distorted vocals,
while avoiding Battles' allergy to hooks. They take !!!'s (again,
occasional) devotion to grooves and do away with the shitty,
generic R+B vocals and annoying frontman. They emulate
Ratatat's devotion to melody while leaving behind the lazy
sameyness. They take the Fuck Buttons'
uncanny ability to incorporate distortion while leaving behind the
lengthy stretches of uselessness.
Well then! Anyway, back to the present. At this show, the band played a healthy mix of old chestnuts ("Super Inuit," "Red Lights," "Royal Gregory" among them) while whipping out several new jams, each of which were pretty bumpin' in their own right. Here's hoping the next Holy Fuck album comes out sooner than later!
Below - a couple videos I shot at the show - the first, "Royal Gregory;" the second a fragment of one of the new jams. I post these videos with a disclaimer that they sound terrible due to the overloaded bass at the show. So, enjoy them at the risk of blowing out your computer speakers.