The Dirty Projectors and No Kids @ The Musichall of Williamsburg. Wednesday April 9th, 2008.

So there is controversy over whether or not this show was sold out…all I know was that I didn’t have to wait in line, and there was a huge line at the ticket window(it was really packed inside too, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if they stopped letting people in). I was pretty excited about this show, but even though The Dirty Projectors can fill a space this big, I’m not sure if it is the best thing for the band or the crowd.

First up was No Kids, and they went on right around 9pm. They were playing to a much less attentive crowd (than the other night) to the point where it was really hard to block out peoples conversations. I noticed a huge difference in No Kids between the show last night, and the Dodos show last Sunday. Last night I feel that the inattentive crowd had an a negative effect on the band. Nick seemed far less comfortable, and his dancing was almost non-existent (this made me a little sad). But none the less the band sounded great despite the talking, and Nick’s voice was as sexy as ever. Their set lasted only 45mins, but I was happy to see “The Beaches All Closed” live twice in one week. I wish the crowd would have been a little more receptive, but then again I think No Kids are a slightly odd pairing with the Dirty Projectors. I really hope No Kids come back to NYC…I dig them.

So I unfortunately had little experience with The Dirty Projectors previous work before Rise Above. Rise Above is the Dave Longstreth’s re-interpretation of Black Flag’s Damaged. He turns the seminal punk rock album into a groundbreaking, slightly abstract, experimental work of psychedelic rock. This vision that Longstreth fulfilled is not the complete album, but 10 of the 15 original Black Flag songs (it omits TV Party, Damaged I, Damaged II, Life and Pain, and Padded Cell), that were written almost entirely from Longstreth’s memory of the album (I wish I remembered Black Flag in the way that he does, but at least now I can share in his vision each time I listen to the record). I did pick up one of their older records at the show, an EP put about by Marriage Records called New Attitudes, and I plan on grabbing a copy of the Getty Address too.

I know the Dirty Projectors have a history of playing more unconventional spaces in the past (Death By Audio , and the Whitney for example), but while they played an amazing set, and sounded great …they seemed really detached from the crowd. It was almost like they were playing in a room by themselves. They rocked out for over an hour and all, but it just felt a bit sterile to me. As if the band was just in a different place (well they were up on the stage)…I don’t know what the other venues were like that the band had been playing in but MHOW is really big. The band has a never ending rotation of musicians, but they were playing as a four piece: Dave Longstreth (guitar and vocals), Brian Mcomber (drums), Amber Coffman (guitar and vocals), and Angel Deradoorian (bass and vocals). Their set up was Coffman on the right and Deradoorian on the Left…with Longstreth in the middle and Mcomber directly behind him. The stage symmetry was was really interesting with the women on the sides, and the men in the middle. While the all played wonderfully Longstreth steals the show as expected. He is just an intense figure, and even though the show felt sterile he was really interesting to watch. He was mainly focused on the music, and addressed the crowd very little. I also particularly took note of Mcomber who was a really impressive drummer and performer. This is really the first show at MHOW that I felt that the venue itself directly contributed to the show not being as good as it could have been (while we have fond memories of North Six, I really do feel that MHOW was put together really nicely). Again this band I think would have been all the more intense if the crowd just seemed a little closer (while people danced, and got into, I felt that the band might not have been able to tell). While I enjoyed every minute of the show, I long to see both the Projectors and No Kids again in a dirtier environment.


The Dirty Projectors playing some songs off of Rise Above in Washington Square Park:

Watch the Dirty Projectors playing “Rise Above”on NPR.

No Kids photo from Tomlab.

Dirty Projectors photo from Jonny Leather’s flickr.


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