First single from The Men's newest album, Tomorrow's Hits, which comes out today... tomorrow night I get to see them play at Bowery (YEAH!!!). Check below for a live version of this song from their show last May at Union Pool.
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
Ceramic Dog just might be the best band in NYC at this moment. Just gonna put that one out there - feel free to think it over for a minute. Your Turn is the best studio album I've heard all year, and as their great set at (le) poisson rouge in May proved, they're a live powerhouse.
This show had Ceramic Dog trotting out a set's worth of songs that showcased each of their diverse strengths: grungy rockers, Hendrix-y jams, noodly numbers that lend themselves nicely to head-spinning improv, funk, even a little reggae. I found myself very much impressed by their improvisational chops. Although Marc Ribot, Shahzad Ismaily and Chas Smith are each incredibly talented musicians in their own right, the ability to deftly and fluidly improvise is a skill that's entirely separate from simple technical proficiency. These guys have both, and in spades.
I wish I had as many nice things to say about the opening band, Dinner, who weren't the worst band I've *ever* seen, although they were probably the worst band I've seen this year (out of well over 100 bands). Like so many other opening acts I've suffered through in the past, these guys proved that the combination of reverby surf guitar, inscrutable vocals, and an arty presentation are shorthand for "no decent song ideas."
Anyway, look below for some very poorly-shot iPhone vids of Ceramic Dog, including their cover of Dave Brubeck Quartet's "Take Five."
[Blackout's press photo, a/k/a the band photo that renders all previous and future band photos irrelevant.]
In all my years of excessive show-going, I don't think I'd ever attempted attending three different shows in one day, but with me having absolutely nothing else going on this lovely Saturday, I figured why the heck not. Right?
First stop was Union Pool for the second installment in their 2013 Summer Thunder weekly series. I've seen scores of shows at Union Pool, but this was the first time I'd ever seen one outdoors. Got there in time to catch the second half of opener Love As Laughter's set, which was highlighted by J Mascis joining in on guitar for the final song, a raunchy, slow two-chord monster that sounded an awful lot like Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane."
This foreshadowed what was *supposed* to come next - a performance by Mascis' Heavy Blanket side project. I thought that the Heavy Blanket album was too wanky, but I can totally get behind the psychedelic / bluesy / gratuitous guitar solo thing in the live setting. Unfortunately, with Mascis and his backing band right in the middle of their first song, they were told by what appeared to be venue management that the show was shut down because of noise complaints, and they complied after finishing that first song. This really sucks, and it doesn't bode well for the remainder of the Summer Thunder series, one would think, because it really wasn't all that loud.
[I talked with a few Union pool employees after the show who told me that the bar's elderly neighbors had complained about the noise, and Heavy Blanket posted on their Facebook today that, in fact, the cops had insisted on shutting it down. And simply moving the show inside wasn't an option. Sucks.]
Anyway, the show getting shut down was only the second worst thing that happened here, with the worst clearly being the dude wearing a Paramore tee shirt. Wtf? [Oh, yeah - don't bother watching the below video unless you really, really like looking at the backs of people's heads.]
So, tail between legs, I headed back to my apartment for a couple comfy hours before heading over to Vitus for White Widows with Blackout. Although I've heard both of these bands' studio work (the White Widows EP is pretty damn good), I'd never seen either of them live before. This was a free show, serving as a video shoot for a White Widows song. [Note: it looks like the band has officially changed its name to White Widows Pact, which makes sense, seeing as how "White Widows" was such a good name it had to have been used before. At this show, vocalist David Castillo introduced the band as "White Widows," so who knows.]
Blackout's set consisted largely of dirge-slow stoner / doom licks. Here's a small, unsatisfying tidbit:
White Widows was up next, and they brought the thunder, featuring heavy-as-fuck thrashy licks, dual lead vocals, and lightning quick drumming. These guys are tight as hell and I highly recommend their live show.
Needing to catch up on my pregame, I busted it out of Vitus a bit early and hurried back to my apartment to fuel up on cheap vodka. J train into Bowery, then walked over to Sullivan Hall... got inside at 11, just as Lawn Boys were finishing tuning up. This was my second time seeing these guys live, with the first being in late January, also at Sullivan Hall. I raved about the band's performance at that show, but they've somehow managed to further improve their jamming. The set was crammed to the gills with impressive type II improvisation.
Comparing any cover act to the band whose songs they're interpreting is rarely a flattering exercise, but Lawn Boys really stand out in that regard. For one, the song selection is spot-on, with nary a "Joy" or "Show of Life" or "Alaska" in sight, and these guys' attention to detail is really remarkable. What's more, they're unafraid to give big-time workouts to songs that Phish themselves rarely "jam out" these days - notably "AC / DC Bag," "Gumbo" and "Destiny" (the latter of which Phish has never really jammed out, to my knowledge) in the first set alone.
Highlights for me were the hilarious crowd participation during the "Secret Language" bits, said aforementioned "Bag," and "Gumbo," a "Gin" which seemingly channeled the legendary Great Went version, a jam on Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" jam in "2001," and, oh yeah, they nailed "Glide." Just a great show, with a rowdy, appreciative crowd, an extremely talented band, and holy shitballs what a setlist:
Set II: Ha Ha Ha$, Carini% > Twist&, Tweezer* > Ghost > 2001+, Gotta Jibboo, Harry Hood, Run Like an Antelope
Encore: Character Zero, Loving Cup, Tweezer Reprise
*with all fall down, Simpsons, and random note secret language in intro
**with Sand jam
***with Mind Left Body jam
@with NICU tease and extended Theme from the Bottom jam
# with plinko jam
$ band announced this was the 100th Phish song they've covered live
% brief Mind Left Body jam
& Oye Como Va jam
* with brief Tweezer Reprise tease in intro and with random note secret language
+ with Get Lucky [Daft Punk] jam
Lawn Boys played for over three hours with about a 20 minute setbreak, and I wound up not leaving Sullivan Hall until after 2:30 AM, and not getting home until about 3:30 thanks to the total joke that is late night J service. A pretty great Saturday, as well as great primer for Summer Tour '13 which.... HOLY SHIT I JUST REALIZED SUMMER TOUR IS LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!
Jeez. What else can I say about The Men at this point? This was my fourth time seeing these guys live in less than six months (here's the first time, the second time, and the third), and each time they've somehow managed to sound better than the last. This was just a great, sweaty, rockin' set, no pretense, no horseshit, delivered by a bunch of dudes who seem to love what they're doing. I doubt The Men started out with the specific goal of saving Rock and Roll, but ya know what? They're doin' it and God bless 'em for it.
Good choices on the opening bands, too. If you don't at least somewhat appreciate what Juniper Rising's doing, then you probably shouldn't live in Williamsburg. Waaaaaayyyyy too many local bands do the chick-singing-over-reverby/poppy garage-surf thing, but few are as fun as these guys. The Men's Kevin Faulkner guesting on lap steel throughout the set accentuated the lively songwriting poifectly, particularly in the more western-tinged moments. (Also it was apparently the frontwoman's birthday, so 'felicitations!' and such.) Second band Organs also impressed with their brand of Stonesy garage rock; for example imagine if Natural Child actually gave a fuck. This was their album release show, and I'm'a be interested to see what these fux sound like on record.
The Men's set lasted about an hour, but they have such a wealth of stellar material in the hopper that they could easily rock the fuck out for twice that long without playing a single bum track. Most of the songs came from their fine new album, New Moon (including but not limited to "Electric," "I Saw Her Face," "Freaky," "Man Without a Face" and "The Brass"), with some from previous releases (among them "Candy" and "Night Landing"), but they also treated us to several great new songs, presumably from their already-recorded / yet-to-be-released follow-up to New Moon. This band is incredibly prolific, but not at the price of compromising the quality of their material; each of their releases thus far have been jam packed with quality tunes. To paraphrase Robert Pollard, these guys "crank it out at an astronomical rate... [they're] a rock and roll machine, kids."
I first heard of Thalia Zedek when her three-piece band (guitar / vocals, drums, viola) opened for Dinosaur Jr. at probably the worst rock club I've ever been to in late 2006 [they actually had stripper cages hung over the floor, if you can believe it - who knows, maybe they still do]. I was immediately drawn to her melancholy yet melodic style of songwriting, as well as the way the unusual instrumentation filled out the lengthy instrumental passages -- it's an uncommon alchemy achieved in the combination of raspy vocals, rich guitar chording, eloquent viola and busy drumming. Subsequently, the band added a bassist and a pianist while Ms. Zedek's compositional style continued apace, and as such it became appropriate for the act to be known as Thalia Zedek Band, instead of existing simply under her solo moniker.
2013 is shaping up to be quite a year for Thalia Zedek. She just released a new solo album, Via, on Thrill Jockey (I have to confess I haven't yet heard the album, although I will soon), and May 7th sees Matador's long-awaited reissue of Eleven:Eleven, the excellent debut album by Zedek's influential '90s band, Come. What's more, she just finished a residency at Boston's TT The Bear during March, at which she and her band performed one of each of her solo albums in their entirety per Monday.
This Union Pool show saw the middle date of Thalia Zedek Band's "mini east coast tour," with them set to head on a longer jaunt out west. I arrived at Union Pool early, tired (still tired from the weekend, not to mention the previous night's Sigur Ros show, and way too much driving), cranky, and somewhat hungry; I fixed the latter with a taco and a tostada from Union Pool's taco truck (see below).
I finally walked into the show during opening band Brokeback's set, right smack dab in the middle of a satisfying, 90s-ish two chord jam. (Pretty sure this was an amped-up version of their song "Don't Worry Pigeon.") I really enjoyed what I heard throughout the rest of their all-instrumental set, which ranged from twangy Link Wrayisms, to jaunty Latin-flavored Los Straitjacket-esque numbers, to Crazy Horse-ish heavy fuzziness, all filtered through a healthy dose of Earth's patient persistence. (I've since bought their recent album, entitled Brokeblack and the Black Rock, and it's definitely worth a listen if you're into hazy instrumental rock.)
Thalia and her band took the stage a little after 11:30, treating the crowd to a full set of tunes from her new album, and throwing one one even newer song which hasn't yet been recorded (see the video for "Fell So Hard" below). Unsurprisingly, the new material fits right in with much of Zedek's previous solo work, with mournful, sometimes prickly lyrics backed by a downcast (if still ultimately hopeful) musical bedding. Since the last time I saw the band live (wow, was it really all the way back in 2009?), they've undergone a drummer change, and the new drummer's more minimal style really fits the band's aesthetic, nicely uncluttering the musical landscape somewhat and allowing the instruments (piano and viola, in particular) room to breathe.
As of this writing (nearly two weeks after the show), Thalia Zedek band has wrapped up their West Coast Tour, which went well according to Thalia's frequent Facebook updates. As for Come, their tour dates were revealed a week ago; here they are. I already grabbed my tickets to their Bowery show in late June - see you there!
COME TOUR DATES:
Wednesday, June 19: Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles (foldsilverlake.com) Thursday, June 20: The Independent, San Francisco (theindependentsf.com) Friday, June 21: Mississippi Studios, Portland (mississippistudios.com) Saturday, June 22: The Crocodile, Seattle (thecrocodile.com) Thursday, June 27: The Sinclair, Boston (boweryboston.com) Friday, June 28: The Bowery Ballroom, New York City (boweryballroom.com) Friday, July 12: The Empty Bottle, Chicago (emptybottle.com)
I'm just going to come out and say it - last Thursday's Fang Island show at Union Pool was probably the most entertaining show I've even seen in Brooklyn. Having the opportunity to see a band as great as Fang Island in such a tiny room for EIGHT BUCKS (?!?!) doesn't happen all that often, you see.
Of course, I'm prejudiced. But with good reason: I've seen these guys many times since I randomly stumbled onto them opening a Yeasayer show at Bowery in December, 2008. Furthermore, one need only look as far as the 'Fang Island' category button at the right of this very page to figure out that I consider Fang Island to be one of the finest acts in the known universe.
This particular show went off during the band Callers' March Union Pool residency; I arrived halfway through Callers' set, and noticed that the dude who was taking tickets / doing will call / handing out bracelets was none other than Fang Island's own Chris Georges, guitarist (a/k/a the super happy dude with the moustache). I wished him a good set, and my buddy, once he realized who it was, drunkenly slurred "D-Davey... Davey Crockett, breh..." to which Mr. Georges responded, "...eventually, yup!" much to our delight.
As for Callers, they weren't my cup of tea -- kinda dreamyish music with female vocals, heavy on the vibrato which were WAY too prominent in the mix. But who cares about me - to their credit these guys had the (admittedly tiny) room totally packed for their set. I wasn't alone, however - at one point a dude crashed into me while running out of the room, apologizing, "shit man, I'm real sorry. But I just can't take this shit anymore!!"
Fang Island's set was incredible. Opening with "Careful Crossers," they played practically all of their best stuff, including "Life Coach," "Daisy," "The Illinois," "Welcome Wagon" and "Sideswiper" from the self titled album, and "Sisterly," "Chompers," "Seek it Out," "Dooney Rock" (introduced as "a country song") and "Asunder" from last year's Major. When they finished, the house lights immediately went up and the sound guy inexplicably put on the house music, but we weren't letting them get off that easy. The few die-hards in the room shouted "ONE MORE SONG!" until the band reappeared for a gorgeous version of "Davey Crockett." And it was good.
Of course, the crowd sucked, but making fun of Williamsburg crowds for being lame is so clicheed by this point that we might actually be up to a third or fourth level of backlash / irony here. Whatever, y'all can seriously go fuck yourselves; while yer all behaving like we're at a fuckin' bris, I'll be the big fat moron at stage right, giving myself whiplash, sweating profusely, and grinning like a moron.
GOOD LUCK TO FANG ISLAND ON THEIR UPCOMING EUROPEAN TOUR!!!!!!!
[NOTE: as indicated by the above title, the entry you are currently reading completes this post, albeit almost exactly a month later / tardiness duly noted / bite me. Also, thanks to Ben for supplying a couple of these pictures.]
Wild Yaks at Cameo Gallery + (PARTY TYME), Saturday March 12, 2011
At about 6 AM I got a phone call from my friend, who we'll call "Cindy Shouts," (hehehheheh), who was coming down from Buffalo for the weekend-plus for some good old-fashioned show-going and good timez... she and her friend, who we'll call "Ben," were rapidly approaching NYC. About an hour later they were at my doorstep... pleasantries were exchanged, and I was generously bequeathed gifts the likes of which I've rarely seen, including some wonderful baked goods, a Buffalo Sabres beer coozie (HAHHAHA AWESOME) and a Garfield-themed promotional glass (inside joke). Since it was still mad early, we retired to our respective sleeping quarters for a few hours before meeting up for a splendid Vietnamese sandwich lunch and, then... retiring to our respective sleeping quarters again, hahaha.
Picked them up for dinner (Wild Ginger, yummo) before heading first to Radegast for beers and then to Cameo for the Wild Yaks show... apparently I had seen this band before a couple summers ago opening up for Brooklyn's Your Nature (who I enjoyed), but I didn't remember jack shit about 'em. Before the show I wondered aloud what they sounded like, and was told "beards and yelling." Lamentably, this description turned out to be all too accurate. [For the record, the yelling was horrendously off-key to boot.] But the band's suckitude was our gain; the horrible music only served to remind us how much more fun we could be having at my apartment.
Not gonna lie -- there are few things in life I enjoy more than combining cheap beer, expensive appurtenances, and gratuitous musical discussion. Said enjoyment is amplified exponentially when one's companions have great taste in music, as was the case in this instance. Snippets of the evening's conversation, each of which still ring true at the time of this (relatively) sober writing:
Major Stars are FUCKING AWESOME.
Sleep's Jerusalem / Dopesmoker is THE SINGLE GREATEST ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT BY ANYONE EVER IN THE HISTORY OF EVERYTHING.
My new apartment beats the shit out of my old place in every possible way.
I love the new Parts & Labor album, and I'm OK with being a bit obnoxious trying to convert people. Sue me.
God fucking dammit do I wish Cindy still lived in Brooklyn.
Eventually 4:30 rolled around and my roommate and his girlfriend, who were just getting home, stepped up to the plate and joined the party... Cindy and Ben headed back to their hotel just after sunrise, and the impromptu shindig finally petered out at my place around 8:30 AM. Yay.
Harvey Milk with Occultation at Union Pool, Sunday, March 13, 2011
With the previous "evening" not technically ending until mid-morning, none of us were feeling especially spry. I finally rolled out of bed sometime between 2 and 3 PM before heading out to Saint's Alp on Bedford for some noodles, dumplings, and a lovely smoothie type thingy of some sort. Bought a couple of pricey muffins (Muffins! WHEEE!) on the way home before contacting Cindy and Ben; at this point in the day, for some reason I felt like a million bucks; suffice it to say my comrades did not. It was agreed that we would meet up at Union Pool not much before the show was supposed to start so as to provide for an ample opportunity for further recharging of batteries.
As things turned out, "doors at 8" turned into "doors at 9," with the opening band, Occultation, not starting their set until about 9:40 PM. Ouch. But, in this case, the good thing about an interminably delayed show was that by the time the band started playing, I'd had a few, putting me in the perfect frame of mind for enjoying Occultation's doom / stoner / prog / psych / ultra-reverby bag. I quite liked these guys.
By setbreak, the combination of exhaustion, light beer, and the puzzling spell of natural euphoria which had accompanied me throughout the day had my head fucking spinning. [AWESOME.] As I hung tight to my spot on the right side of the stage, more jackasses began elbowing and jostling for position... this is what happens when you have a sold out show at Union Pool via 'small room / obnoxious entitled scenesters n' posers.' But what can ya do.
The mighty Harvey Milk took the stage and greeted us by playing their newest release, last year's A Small Turn of Human Kindness, in its ENTIRETY. Yes, you read that right: top to bottom, front to back, head to toe, the crowd was treated to a complete run-thru of what's arguably the bleakest, most oppressively cheerless piece of music ever committed to tape. To start the show. Yep.
Which, needless to say, was fucking AWESOME. A Small Turn may have been described elsewhere as "a huge, steaming pile of unpleasantness, completely inappropriate for anyone who spends less than half their day plotting the deaths of themselves/others" by, uh, me, but I somehow managed to glean some honest-to-goodness beauty from this live rendition. Or maybe it was the euphoria. Either way, my grin stretched from ear-to-ear througout the whole thing.
Oh, but there was more. Earlier in the set Harvey Milk main man Creston Spiers had suggested the following to the audience: "we'll play for as late as they'll let us, as long as we don't have to play an encore." Sir, you've got yourself a deal! They then proceeded to plow through another 40 minutes of classics, including personal faves like "Shame," "Motown," and "I Do Not Know How to Live My Life." Great show, and Harvey Milk's was easily one of the best sets I've seen all year.
As for post-show, we were all still pretty shot from the previous evening's marathon blowout, so after a couple quick beers at my place we pulled the plug and called it a night, and wisely so.
[I doubt any enterprising tapers captured this set, but go here for an EXCELLENT recording from the Harvey Milk set from two nights later.]
Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Terminal 5, Monday, March 14, 2011
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a band that I figured I'd never see live, and for many reasons. For one, they hadn't played a live show in nearly 10 years. For two, there are like ten people in the band, and shepherding them all together couldn't be that simple after all this time (could it?). For three, given Godspeed's shadowy reputation as highly principled anarcho-enviro-socialists (um, or something), they seem like the last band in the world that would reunite behind the strength of absolutely NO new material for a quick n' dirty Filthy Lucre-tastic cash-grab-o-rama world tour.
But I'm glad that they did. I was actually originally thinking of skipping Godspeed on this tour despite them playing so many NYC dates (was it four? five?) because, frankly, the venues they had chosen in which to perform (Terminal 5 and Brooklyn Masonic Temple) are the two absolute WORST-sounding shitboxes I've ever set foot in. But my mind was changed by the simple facts that Cindy was visiting, and she already had a ticket and tix for the Terminal 5 show could be had for a reasonable price (about $40). SOLD!
Anyway, the hours leading up to the show were totally uninteresting, so I'll fast-forward to meeting up with Cindy and Ben at Terminal 5. We snuck up reasonably close on the left side of the stage, away from the seemingly constant shuffle of feet, the mind-bogglingly atrocious sight lines, and the terrible echo chamber effect you get well, pretty much anywhere else in this room.
Colin Stetson opened, he of the cartoonishly large bass saxophone and the flawless circular breathing technique. Stetson wrangled so many disparate sounds out of his instrument that I initially thought he was utilizing some sort of sampler triggering prerecorded snippets, but apparently he was creating all of the tones and textures live without effects, which is pretty astounding. Yup, I enjoyed his set (which can be downloaded here).
Finally Godspeed was up. And not 'finally' because setbreak took forever or nuthin' like that. 'Finally' because this would 'finally' be the 'final' set I would see over this 6 day, 7 show, 12 band shitzaster. Deep breaths, everyone.
Of course, this set was truly epic. I am going to do my best to forego too much flowery horsefuckery here, but what a great, great, great band. A few notes:
When discussing the vaguely-defined, unfortunately-named "post rock" genre, Godspeed is undeniably king. More virtuosic than Mogwai, grander than Sigur Ros, more dynamic and diverse than Explosions in the Sky, and just plain better in every way than bands like Tortoise, Maserati, Trans-Am, Red Sparowes, and on and on.
For someone that has spent altogether too much time taking in limp, uninspired sets by atrocious trendy Bushwick shitgaze / laptop pop / krustcock / twee / post-smegma / whatever acts over the past several years, the thoroughly maximalist experience of Godspeed concert experience is a revelation. And the respectful crowd combined with the emotive, dramatic nature of the music to somehow make the show seem more intimate than it should have, considering the 3000-strong attendance.
The set lasted about 2 hours, 20 minutes, lengthy by nearly anyone's standard. However, at no point did it feel like they had overstayed their welcome.
From what I remember, the band was accompanied by provocative images / phrases projected on the wall at the back of the stage. That's all well and good, but in my state, listening intently with eyes closed tight worked just fine, thankyouverymuch-ah.
I have NEVER heard Terminal 5 sound this great, which is really a feat considering the (assumed by me) difficulty of micing and amplifying so many instruments. [If ya don't believe that it sounded great, hear for yourself.]
Post show, we walked a few blocks along 11th Ave. before grabbing a cab back to the the uber-hip Ace Hotel, where Cindy and Ben had a room. After wandering around for awhile in search of ABSOLUTELY ANYWHERE THAT WOULD SELL US BOOZE, we very cumbersomely and awkwardly bought about 20 loose Bud tall boys at a Rite Aid, and the party was on.
As fun as the show was, the remainder of the evening > early morning was probably funner. More music geekery, improbably vitriolic arguments (which is the poppiest Sleater-Kinney song ever?!?), dance party starring Ting Tings and Hercules & Love Affair, more Jerusalem / Dopesmoker (of course!), and yadda yadda yadda. I seem to remember finally cabbing it back to Williamsburg circa 6:30 AM, trashed, grinning and glassy-eyed.
So, across the board, GREAT. FUCKING. TIME. Come back any time, y'alls.
3 nights, 3 shows. Ain't no thang / that's how I roll, beetchez.
So, we got to Lit a bit early, and headed across the street to Kabin, one of my least favorite bars in NYC... my show-going buddy was already trashed so I had some serious catch-up to do. Several pints later (and, regrettably, a 'conversation' about evolution with a gravely-misinformed, semi-literate racist piece of garbage later) we headed back over to Lit and down to the basement.
I had missed Aminal's set when a buddy's band played with them at UC Lounge about a month ago. Anyway, tonight I caught the full set, and these bastards have got some honest to gawd straight motherfuckin' TALENT. I'm not going to tidily try to pigeonhole their music into one convenient category, because I'm pretty sure that would be missing the point entirely. Instead, what I was hearing veered chaotically between prog, funk metal, and some parts that reminded me of all the alternative rock radio I listened to in the '90s. Needless to say, I enjoyed the shit out of it.
At some point in or around summer '07 [uh, I think?] I was totally obsessed with Come's fantastic first album, 11:11. I'm pretty sure that said obsession coincided with the bizarre period of my life where I was running a door factory out on Long Island, which makes perfect sense because 11:11 is pretty damned bleak and disheartening at points (although it still manages to rock), and working at a door factory is fucking depressing shit, especially when your boss is a vicious wifebeating multiple felon scumbag. Anyway.
I totes missed out on Come the first time around during the '90s. Actually got into their shit when I saw Thalia Zedek open up for Dinosaur Jr in '05. Over the years I've seen Zedek's sol0 band several times. So, it's pretty safe to say that I celebrate Ms. Zedek's entire catalog, and I was pretty psyched when I randomly noticed that Come would be playing Bell House.
Got there towards the end of the opening act, D. Charles Speer, who were just finishing their set of what seemed to be uptempo rockabilly instrumentals. No complaints from me there.
Eleventh Dream Day took what seemed like forever setting their gear up. Not gonna lie, I really didn't care for their music. Most of it sounded like tired '90s tropes, and the stuff that didn't totally suck sounded like Neil Young retreads. Meh.
Come's set, however, did the trick. Much to my delight, they performed over half of11:11, also reaching back to several other notable highlights from their career (including personal favorite "In / Out" from Don't Ask Don't Tell). Zedek's raspy vocals effectively clawed their way into the mix somewhere between her own insistent, hard-driving chording and the more twangy, bluesy riffing of Chris Brokaw, with the ensuing turmoil driven onward by drummer Arthur Johnson's shifting rhythms. This was EXACTLY what I thought the Come live experience would be like. Well done.
[See directly below for the setlist.]
My third time seeing Monogold this year, and I figured "what the hey" and threw down accordingly. I had a feeling that my exhaustion would combine with Monogold's heavily reverbed poppiness and the splendid acoustics of the room at Union Pool to create a superior listening experience, and I was right. Yay!
Hmmmmm... today has some sort of significance, but I'm a bit foggy as to what that could be....
Yes, I'm pissed about Mogwai canceling their NYC dates, but fret not. I still get to see the Raveonettes Thursday night at Music Hall, Austerity Program with The Netherlands at Charleston Friday, and Crocodiles Saturday at Music Hall. Check them shitz out, y'all's.