Monday, October 22, 2007

My last Two Months in Rock!

It's been a little while... I know I should have called... It's not you it's me... There was no one else, I swear... Okay, maybe there was... I'm back now and I've got lots of Rock shows to tell you about... I know you'll never forgive my absence but please try to forgive it.

9/15/07 - Webster Hall
White Williams 61% - This band could certainly put on a decent show and there might be some good songs buried in their set but to a third full room and to my uninitiated ears it all came off as too polite, too unadventurous indie-rock with a lap-top on stage for show.

Dan Deacon 84% - Dan Deacon is one of the most captivating performers touring today. He has a singular vision and does nothing to adjust it for the size of room he's playing or the type of crowd he's playing to. Lucky for me I'm pretty feisty and managed to make it to the stage so that I could see some of Dan. Curiously though the visual aspects of the show have become less important as his popularity has grown it has become much more about the energy Deacon feeds into the crowd, that energy was on full display.

Girl Talk 94% - Girl Talk at Mercury Lounge last year is one of the best live experiences of my life. After the crowd reshuffle forced by people's being on stage for Dan Deacon I was pushed into the center of the now packed Webster Hall. I feared without full contact with Greg Gillis the show would be ruined. I was very wrong. The crowd was a pit of sweat and movement and Girl Talk has constructed a twisted wonderful world of samples including old staples and new surprises. The energy coming from the crowd on stage was huge and the entire Girl Talk set up nearly collapsed as the crowd almost pushed Greg and his lap-top off the stage. The very frustrated security guards had to help hold it up.

9/19/07 Music Hall of Williamsburg

Black Lips 95% - Of late garage rock is owning my heart. Whether the fresh gems of King Khan and the Shrines What Is?! or the well worn tracks of The Modern Lovers' self titled album this is where my head and heart are this year and no one captures that better at this moment than Georgia's Black Lips. It was a beer spilling rowdy time and I had no shame about jumping around and shouting along to every word in this amazing set (which included to bring it back around included a King Khan cover).

PS: This was my first show at "The Music Hall of Williamsburg" which might be the best (and most pretentiously named) venues in the city.

9/22/07 Bowery Ballroom
Les Savy Fav 89% - These guys have come a long way in the years between their singles comp Inches and their latest album Let's Stay Friends. With a new guitar player and a less tough edged more melodic sound this show is probably the best sounding show I've ever seen from the post-punking Brooklynites. Of course LSF shows don't get graded on music alone. Tim was in fine form running up the stairs and dangling from the balcony, dressing like a detective and rubbing his sweat forehead against mine. So why the low grade? The new music lacks a bit of the aggressive punch of the band's classics of which they played precious little. Seems strange to see a LSF show without "Tragic Monsters" or "No Sleeves". Maybe this is old fan griping, if so I'm sorry.

10/2/07 Webster Hall

Pissed Jeans 90% - Selling noise skronk-punk to a huge crowd is a bit like playing darts blind folded, it's probably not going to work but you could just make it. Pissed Jeans much to my delight seemed to sell all the Man Man fans smart enough to show up early. Their dirdges and caotic performance style wowed the audience and they managed to not over stay their welcome even with trips into the deep dark abyss like the nearly 7 minute "Don't Need Smoke To Make Myself Disappear" in their set. You like the rawk and haven't yet seen these Sub Poppers? Fix this as soon as possible.

Celebration 62% -
My indifference to your band grows daily.

Man Man 91% - New material went over amazingly, old material is the same old ruckus that we fell in love with a few moons ago. Still one of the finest acts touring and now they're refining and fine tuning their circus of a stage show. This band is poised to get much bigger this year, mark my words.

10/6/07 Randall's Island

Les Savy Fav 79% - I never thought I could give Les Savy Fav a lower grade than an 80%, but having all of the same qualms with this shortened set as I did with their previously mentioned Bowery set and watching most of Tim's shenanigans on the screens on either side of the stage was strange and jarring and I think the band might agree. I will say Tim had one of his best opening lines ever to what may be one of the largest crowds these guys have ever entertained: "We're Les Savy Fav and this our first show."

Blond Redhead 82% - Am I an asshole for knowing none of these guys albums? Even now three weeks after they impressed me so much in such a huge environment I haven't so much as downloaded a song. Their set was engaging and subtle which was an odd switch up from the rest of this event. They let the music do the talking and it was loud, clear, and mostly pretty beautiful.

LCD Soundsystem 94% - James Murphy is my pick for indie icon of the decade. Something like the Larry David of indie culture Murphy has been able to expand his snooty attitude into a big tent pop act that wowed the crowd many of whom were likely Arcade Fire obsessed depressive types. Inspite of an incredibly able band Murphy makes sure that the crowd's attention is squarely on him. He's charismatic and his songs are not out of place pumping up a crowd of several thousand. Someone get this guy the cover of Time.

Arcade Fire 91% - True or False Arcade Fire are the biggest indie band in history to still be an indie band? I'm not sure but it smells that way. Production values and arena rock moves suite this band well but it's the songs and the clamoring of the nearly dozen people on stage makes them the band Modest Mouse could never be.

10/10/07 Cake Shop

Sorry Jay Reatard and Hunchback, you both sounded fine but this venue sucks.

Stand by for my CMJ related ratings...

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