Crystal Castles, Health, Team Robespierre, and Apache Beat @ The Mercury Lounge. Wednesday March 26th, 2008.

So I was looking forward to this show for quite a while. Four bands, all with hype, and I hate to say it, but it peaked really early.

We got to the show and Apache Beat was already playing. We saw probably about four of their songs…and I was pleasantly surprised, but not totally blown away. It is always nice to see a really confidant strong female vocalist and Ilirjana Alushaj is just that. Apache Beat makes dark punky new wavey sounds. I know that it was early in the night, and I feel that this band might really continue to grow, and I do feel that Ilirjana has great potential with her wailing vocals and on stage dancing. I did have one complaint, and I hate to knock someone for trying, but the bass player in the band almost seemed like he was too into it, and trying to steal the show from Ilirjana (as well as Philip Aceto the guitarist/vocalist). It almost looked like he was playing in a completely different band. I didn’t get to see their whole set, and I am not sure that I would seek them out on their own, but I would definitely be interested in seeing them as an opening act again…Like I said, I think this band has a lot of room to grow.

Now this is what I mean about the show peaked early, Team Robeapierre (TR) stole the show. I have been listening to their myspace for a while, and even picked up their 10″ split (which sounds nothing like they do now), but have never seen them until this show. The pictures of this band look crazy, but seeing them open provided what I imagine to be a slightly more tame show from the TR. TR brings the positive vibe of Matt and Kim, but with the craziness of Tim Harrington and Les Savy Fav. TR’s band members were rotating on and off of guitars, bass, and several key boards…with everyone taking turns on the vocals. While Mercury Lounge has a stage, at any given time 1 to 3 members of TR were off the stage and in the crowd. There was no stage diving or moshing but everyone up front was dancing and having a good time. They put on an intense show, and I predict that they are going to be one of those bands that is playing tons of shows this summer, and I hope to see them many times. They only played for about 30 or 35 minutes, but it was really fun. I picked up TR new 7″ “Bad Habits” (limited to 750 copies on MaxMin Records…and it has been on my record play a lot), and asked if there are plans for Everything’s Perfect to be released on LP…I got the response that they want it to be released on LP, but they haven’t had a record label picked them up yet…I am totally surprised by this and French Kiss or No Idea Records if you are listening I think (not that my opinion matters) that TR would be a great addition to your roster…pick this band up (if I had more money I would love to put it out). I can’t wait to see this band at a Todd P show, or some other no-venue space…punk rock dance party (I plan to be drunk and singing along to every word)!

Up third was Health. I picked up this LP around the beginning of the year, and liked it enough to follow up with the Perfect Skin 7″. It was really interesting to see the fashion difference between Health and TR…one distinctly LA and the other distinctly Brooklyn (which can be just about anything). Health, while not able to show up TR, was really great live (and I look forward to seeing them again on Monday)…they were loud and noisy, and really rocked out. They played longer than their album which I found impressive, and were even more abstract than I expected. I was both intrigued and confused by the bass/synthetic drum/pedal player’s bass only had 3 strings (the fourth obviously missing)…it appeared that this was purposeful, but I really don’t understand the advantage of missing a string on your instrument. Health has a really intense stage presence, and I hope to hear more from them in the future…I wish I was going to be in SC in a couple weeks to see them play New Brookland Tavern with Henry and Thank God.

Crystal Castles was actually the most disappointing of the four band. I can’t say that they were bad, because they make really badass dark dance music…nor can I say that I thought they, as a band were bad live. They are both totally cute, and she is a super awesome front woman…but my problem with their preformance was their light show. During their preformance there was a non-stop strobe light! Ok I can see a strobe light being used during parts of songs, or even for like one specific song, but the use of it through out the whole set is just excessive. A strobe light can make anyone look cool for a while, but if it is on too long it ends up looking like the band is doing the robot the whole time (which it did). We stood right up front for about the first five or so songs, and then moved to the back for the next four or so…the strobe lights didn’t stop, and it was getting late so we headed out. I would have liked to stay, but I just couldn’t take the strobe light, and it just kinda ruined the live show for me…it made it feel tedious…now I just want to think of their music and the pictures (as you can see from this one the band totally looks great) rather than the show I saw. Actually the coolest part abotu the show was the focus lights of the cameras, from photographers, that were flashing non-stop…these provided the effect of part of her body moving, while the rest of her body was being chopped up by the strobe light…I really can’t explain this unintended effect, but it was pretty cool, and I wish that someone would use this on purpose.

This show, overall, really made my love for Team Robespierre grow as well as make me really excited to see Health (and High Places) on Monday! I am here writing this review tonight unfortunately because The Convocation Of… canceled their show at Cake Shop, but at least that didn’t inhibit me from seeing a whole lot of bands play this week!

Since Team Robespierre was the best part about the show, you should check these out:

All of the great photos from the show are from Ryan Muir’s Flickr (thanks Ryan for the rad photos!!!)


10 Responses to “Crystal Castles, Health, Team Robespierre, and Apache Beat @ The Mercury Lounge. Wednesday March 26th, 2008.”

  1. Briana XX Says:

    Interesting coming across this blog. I agree that Crystal Castles were the weak point of the whole show but feel Apache Beat should have gotten a better review. I’ve seen these guys a couple times and their shows are always different in terms of stage persona, I personally prefer the bass player letting loose for he’s pretty darn incredible and doesn’t seem to give a hoot about anything, after all it must be pretty hard to get a crowd going at 8:00pm on a wed. I think his backing vocals are a big bonus up there too. Maybe it’s just me but it’s only rock ‘n’ roll and I like it. The other two acts were cool, Team R were a bit of the same ol’ hipster thing coming out of Brooklyn for the past 5 years which is fine. Apache & Health have my vote for the night.

  2. Squeaky Clean Says:

    Apache Beat was pretty amazing and seemed a lot more sincere than the act that followed them. They have some interesting themes present in their music and I agree with the above statement that the bass player (and drummer) were phenomenal. It would have been a subdued performance without them in the the fold. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how they grow in terms of songwriting and performance. Health was good, but again, one can easily get the impression that this outfit is more concerned with trends and looking cool than self preservation and integrity. Like Crystal Castles, they’re very “of the moment” and as we all know a moment is just that and fashions change at the blink of an eye. They did have some good songs though and a good (if not forced) punk rock vibe.

  3. I really didn’t think that my review of Apache Beat was all that negative (I want other views to be represented too…thanks for commenting). I agree that it is really hard to get a crowd going at such an early time in the evening…and I feel a little bad about the comment I made about the bassist, it seems like the two of you are more familiar with the band than I am (I was just making an initial observation… and his stage presence did remind me of some other bands I have see in the past and that might have been what sparked my reaction). If you know the band…get me into a show, and I would be happy to revisit (just kidding, but if I get to see them again I will definitely write about them.)

    As far as Team R…they have a lot of influences in their music that remind me alot of music from my past (I grew up listening to hardcore and punk rock….I can just hear Milemarker in their keyboards)…I think they are alot of fun. Health…they say upfront Noise/Fashion/Disco…I got exactly what I was expecting.

    Thanks again for the input

  4. Jingles Says:

    This show was fun and I enjoyed all the bands. This was a good line-up from start to finish.

  5. Apache Beat Mo-fuckers… great name, sweet sounds.

  6. I have to agree with Tom about the bass player. Though APACHE BEAT show signs of some good tunes and their stage show was super tight, there was a moment when he was just trying TOO hard. It looked like there was too much “acting” and not enough “feeling”.

    So Tom, please do not feel bad about your own opinion. It’s warranted.

  7. Interesting thread to come across. Funny how we individually perceive these things going back to the above post. It seemed that Apache Beat were the most earnest of the line-up that evening and were just out there playing their music and yes, “not giving a hoot.” I agree it must be hard for a new band to open a show like that and get all of us uptight stiffs into it. I’ve been there.

    As the evening progressed the “act” element kept stepping it up a notch with each band, climaxing with Crystal Castles. So I’d have to disagree with the host and Alfonsio. If anything the later two bands were all about the “act.” Wasn’t that obvious? Regardless, I like Apache Beat and think they’re onto something. Caught them this past weekend with Chairlift and it was so much fun and….gulp – sincere.

    xx – (Megan)

  8. Village Greene Says:

    Hot Cakes….. I wasn’t at this particular show but Apache are fantastic and the bass player is all class, tops. I don’t get what it is that people see in Crystal Castles? They really do suck on so many levels. Perhaps it’s the strobe light? Speaking of trying too hard… Castles are the poster children of fabrication. Team Robeapierre are full of shit too, more of the same hipster noise we’ve been bombarded with for the last few years. YAWN….

  9. I do not care to read any of your comments, or check the date of last reply for that matter, but one thing about the strobe light; it IS necessary. It is the core of electronic music. Any other dance/drum and bass/psy trance concert will utilize as much strobe as possible.

  10. And this is not hipster music. This scene has been going on in Japan, where I come from, and Europe for ages. I’ve been listening and participating for years, so just because you know(or knew) nothing of something, please don’t associate it with dirty hipster fad.

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