Archive for the shows Category

Scout Niblett @ the Knitting Factory Tap Bar. May 1st, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , on June 13, 2008 by criticalreviews

So I am kinda of back to the blog with this post, and I know it is from quite a while ago…but I plan to be in full force beginning again next week. Please excuse some of the old reviews that I am about to post…I think they were totally review worthy so be expecting reviews of a bunch of noise (Foot Village and No Fun fest!) very soon. As well as my new favorite bar…I’ll leave you hanging on that one, but now to Scout.

Scout Niblett‘s This Fool can Die Now was mine, and KLK‘s, favorite album of last year (of which had the song “Kiss” which was probably the best music video of last year too, see below). Scout played New York a couple times last year, and we caught her at Bowery Ballroom with St. Vincent, and then again at Union Pool. Of all of the shows this one I think was the most interesting, and for several reasons.

The Knitting Factory Tap Bar is a strange venue, and at it’s best it is one of my favorites in the city…at other times it comes off awkward and leaves some people feeling at of place. I had been feeling under the weather, but saved my strength to make it too the show, and Scout rocked harder than she ever has before but the audience made the show feel strange.

The audience at this show wasn’t loud or obnoxious, but exactly the opposite…about a fourth of the people at the show were just sitting in the middle of the floor. They were attentive, and taking pictures, but didn’t seem wholly into the music. We stood of to the side, but still close, and in front of the stage.

Scout played a really loud, and amazing set. I know some people can’t get into her voice, but no one who sees her live can deny that she is a great performer. Her set was a little bit of everything from her catalog, and she even bridged into a partial cover of TLC’s “Scrubs” (whether it was a joke or not it was pretty awesome seeing her play it). Listening to This Fool Can Die Now you sometimes forget how much of a badass she can be on the guitar, and while playing the other night I could envision her being in a really great metal band…her riffs just ringing out with only her voice and drums to back her.

During a break between songs Scout even asked if there were any quetions, and someone ask: “Why is everyone just sitting down? They must have never seen you play before.” Scout responded “Yeah, I know it’s not like this is some hippie show. Why is everyone sitting down? Maybe they are tired or something.”

Needless to say I would have moved up a little closer if the crowd had budged, but no luck. Towards the end of her set, Scout’s drummer left the stage, and she moved over to the drums….and proceeded to belt out “Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death,” and it was totally rad. As a performer, musician, artist, ect easily one of the best right now, and it is sad that critics don’t give her the respect she deserves. I hope she makes it back to New York soon.

Media:

Video of “Kiss” featuring Will Oldham (off of This Food Can Die Now)

Video of Scout’s Black Cab Session playing “Nevada” (also from This Fool can Die Now)

Click here to hear Jens Lekman cover Scout’s “Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death” (wordpress please let me embed imeed.com songs)

(Tom)

Advertisements

No Age, High Places, and Fiasco @ The Bowery Ballroom. Tuesday May 6th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , on May 12, 2008 by criticalreviews

Tuesday was a day of celebration. KLK presented her thesis, I took a half day off of work, and No Age released their first full length Nouns. We got to the show about ten after nine, and unfortunately Fiasco was already playing.

I had read about Fiasco on Oh My Rockness:

The young band is comprised of three mid-teenage guys from Brooklyn who (so far) seem to have grown up listening to all the right stuff. They especially like Sonic Youth’s feedback madness, Lightning Bolt’s distorted bass messiness, and Shellac’s scratchy rawness.
Make no mistake, this is punk rock. But there’s definitely a Strokes-y element to their vocals that make their noise pretty melodic, too.

Those are big words for a band that is so young (probably no older than 18), but they were great and played really well despite the fact that they kept making the “We Suck” joke (they might be young and insecure, but they are really fun to watch …I guess being insecure is better than being cocky). Their music is definitely punk, but almost more appropriately could be called chaotic rock. Besides the influences sited I definitely felt some Nirvana, Q and Not U, and Black Eyes in their music too. The guitarist, Jonathan Edelstein, and bassist, Lucian Buscemi, switched up instruments while playing, and both sang too. Their set up was interesting with drummer, Julian Bennett Holmes, up front while Edelstein was playing toward the back of the stage. For a young band they are doing really interesting things musically, including Edelstein doing some innovative finger tapping (utilizing this technique for both technical rifs, as well as making dancey beats). I was totally impressed with them musically, and if these kids are this good now I can’t wait to see what they turn into over the next couple of years. While they were playing there were a bunch of teens moshing up front (the show was 16+ and rightfully so), they were fun to watch and fairly courteous to the already really packed crowd.

High Places played second and, I am sad to say, was the least exciting act of the night. I have heard a couple people say recently that they “really like high places, but they don’t really do it for them live.” And while I love High Places I can definitely see this . I enjoy seeing them play, but after a couple of times their performances start to run together in my mind. Honestly they were all pretty much the same…a couple tracks off of the digital download, and a bunch of new stuff…so much the same that I am starting to recognize some of the new songs that haven’t been released yet. I’ll continue to buy their releases, and see them live, but I’m not sure that High Places alone can bring me out to a show (yet their full length coming out on Thrill Jockey is still one of the albums that I am anticipating most this year!). For more of my thoughts on High Places go here or here.

No Age had a big Tuesday, playing their album release show to a sold out Bowery Ballroom. I got the impression that they wouldn’t have been playing here if Todd P was in town, because they even mentioned that he was in Central America (not sure if this was commentary on the show not being all ages). Todd P or not the show was still a blast, and everyone was dancing within seconds of the first song.

I am honestly a fairly recent fan of No Age. I saw one of their music videos on New York Noise, and have listened to the music on their websites(I liked them right off the bat, and had even considered ordering some of their eps from Upset the Rhythm) , but had not bought anything until Nouns. For those who haven’t checked them out yet…No Age is a drum and guitar duo (Randy Randall and Dean Allen Spunt) that play noisy experimental rock, some might call it punk but I think that is more of the attitude that the band has than the sound (don’t really sound like Times New Viking, but I would love to see them play together).

No Age, honestly seemed a little older in person than I expected them to be (they look super young in these press photos), and this was refreshing because I was starting to feel old after seeing Fiasco (I’m only 24).

There was a pretty big mosh pit, and for the most part it was courteous…there were some lame people that weren’t being considerate: knocking down girls who were dancing, and pretty much acting like a gorilla (reminded me of some of the meat ball hardcore shows I went to when I was in middle school). Despite the couple lame people in the pit No Age is one of the most fun bands I have seen live in a quite a while. They play loud, hard, and fast…I think it would have been hard not to be bouncing around a little during their set. I’m really excited that they will be playing at South Street Seaport on Friday July 11th with Abe Vigoda (and unfortunately Telepathe). This summer is looking pretty good.

Media:

No Age “Eraser” off of Nouns

No Age live at Other Music!

Listen to High Places!

Listen to Fiasco here!

Photo Credits:

No Age at Bowery Ballroom by Staticsilence (via vlickr)

Fiasco at the Silent Barn by this meik (via flickr)

*Sorry about the lack in posting…it has been a busy two weeks. I hope to be back up to normal posting speed this week.

(Tom)

Destroyer and Andre Ethier @ The Bowery Ballroom. Wednesday April 23rd, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , on April 25, 2008 by criticalreviews

When Destroyer comes to town he draws with him friends of ours from all over the country, to see the show and crash on our couches…company is always fun, but that usually means drinks before the show and in this case missing Colossal Yes…but that was fine. We got to the show around 10ish and Andre Ethier went on right after we got drinks.

Ethier was backed by a full band (bass, guitar, drums, saxophone, flute, and keys), but it was easy to tell he was the leader. Musically they sounded a lot like Bob Dylan, and if you like bands that sound like Dylan you will probably dig his stuff. He was charismatic, and the crowd seemed to be really into him. Ethier and his band were entertaining to watch, but not really something that I would find myself listening to at home.

Destroyer was up next, and we made our way to the stage before he started. Since the show was sold out, and we were rolling deep (there were five of us), I never thought that we would get up as close as we did but we were able to stand just to Dan Bejar’s right and watch him do his thing. His backing band was a guitarist, bassist, keyboards, and a drummer. I had read this review of the show from the night before:

Understandably so, there is a tendency to conflate Destroyer and Dan Bejar, but in concert there is no question that they are a band, and not simply a solo act in disguise. Indeed, Bejar has an extremely commanding presence on stage with his floppy mop of hair, carefully crafted persona, and distinct vocal styling, but last night, he was frequently upstaged by Nicolas Bragg’s gorgeous renderings of his songs’ achingly romantic lead guitar parts, and Fisher Rose’s jaw-dropping performance on the drums…In lesser hands, much of Bejar’s work could collapse into self-parody and pastiche, but his bandmates hold it together, resulting in deliberately pretentious romantic pop ballads of uncommon grace. [Fluxblog] [reposted on BV]

And I agree that the band was really tight…but I have seen Bejar play with at least 4 or 5 different backing bands, and while they are all different I don’t think that any of them let his songs fall by the wayside. And if people are saying that this current backing band is upstaging Bejar, I would have hated to see what they had to say when he toured with Frog Eyes backing him (it was really crazy to watch Bejar and Carey Mercer ons tage together)… totally amazing. Needless to say I thought Bejar played great, and his band accompanied him nicely.

This set was about an hour and a half long (including a short encore), with the beginning consisting mainly of songs of of Trouble in Dreams, but about five songs into the set Bejar (who had been soft spoken until this point) said:

“this song is off of Your Blues, you probably haven’t heard it.”

It might be me just thinking about it too hard, but it made me wonder if this tour was the first that he had sold out, or headlined, a date in New York (please correct me if that is wrong)…I was wondering if Trouble in Dreams brought in a significantly larger fan base? After that song was finished they went directly into “Trembling Peakcock.” I recognized it right away (being that it is my favorite), but taking a quick look around the crowd very few people seemed as moved as I was by this gem off of This Night (hence my take that alot of the crowd were newer fans). They did not play anything that was older than This Night (which I kind of expected being that Bejar has a different band each time he tours). As mentioned the set consisted mainly of songs off the new album, a couple off of Your Blues, maybe one off of Rubies (not sure), “Trembling Peacock”, “Self Portrait With Thing (Tonight Is Not Your Night),” and finished the encore with “Modern Painters”. Seeing them play these three off of This Night really made my night, and I would have been totally happy if they would have walked off stage after “Trembling Peacock.”

Bejar carried his signature aloof persona, and let the rest of the band be a little chatty with the crowd. The band seem to be very good friends passing around a bottle of Jameson’s whiskey that Bejar brought on stage, and even sharing beers. I really enjoyed the show…it actually left me wondering why the Bowery Ballroom show sold out so fast, and the MHOW show didn’t sell out (I’m sure it was just as good, and they played “Crystal Country”)? I am excited to finally own Trouble in Dreams, they were selling copies of the 180 gram 2xLP that Merge put out! This show really makes me look forward the the Merge 20th Anniversary next year (Merge 15 was great! I hope they do another anniversary weekend). Oh Destroyer.

Listen to Destroyer Here.

(Photos by J. Russell <via flickr>)

(Tom)

High Places, Ecstatic Sunshine, Cex, and Evangelista @ Market Hotel. Friday April 18th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2008 by criticalreviews

I’m getting this up a little later than I had hoped…sorry about the delay.

So this was my first experience at the Market Hotel, and I have to say that I was really impressed. I had heard stories about how it was way too smoky, and whatnot, but they put an end to smoking in the room where the bands play…and it was over all really enjoyable. The space really great, and plenty of room for everyone.

We got to the show right around 10pm, and Evangelista (Carla Bozulich of the Geraldine Fibbers new band) started shortly after. So I picked the new album Hello, Voyager when it came out (klk had heard a track off of it on WNYU, and then TMT gave it a really killer review), and I really enjoy the album. I wasn’t familiar with her earlier work, but later picked up the first record, which was released as Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista, which was also really good (I am still unfamiliar with Bozulich’s previous bands, but I am throughly enjoying Evangelista). Evangelista played as seven piece on Friday night. Their set started off noisy and atmospheric, with Bozulich on the floor. This part of the set was really cool, and I wish so many people hadn’t just talked through it…it was really distracting during something that could have been extremely beautiful. Bozulich emerged from her slumber on the floor and the band began to rock…it was no longer easy to ignore their presence. Bozulich is an intense figure, a bit belligerent, and really fun to watch. She storms through the crowd dancing, and singing and intimidating people. The band was a bit more of a rock band than I expected…but now thinking back on it I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting it…Evengelista pretty much sounded like they do on record, only bigger and more in your face…grungy and dark. It was kinda crazy that they were the opening act (they can easily headline a show). We were going to go see Evangelista again the next night as well at Cake Shop, but opted for Kids in The Hall in stead. I’m glad I got to see them when they were in town, and I sure they were great at Cake Shop too.

Cex played second. It was pretty much an electronic/DJish set. People were dancing. This was my second time seeing Cex play (he has sounded extremely different both times I have seen him…the first time it was a hip hop set). I know some people really dig him, but it’s just not my thing.

Next was Ecstatic Sunshine. I was unfamiliar with them (except the bits and pieces I had heard on the internet), but I knew that they recently had a line up change (going from a four piece to a three piece). They play instrumental stonery psychedelic rock. So I know that string of adjectives can lump them in many categories, and I will try to elaborate. Live they were really loud and droney…very much a wall of sound…but on the recordings they appear to be much more intricate, atmospheric, and gentle. I enjoyed their set, but I wasn’t as fully immersed in the music as I would have liked to have been (next time I am going to try to be as close to the band as possible). Ecstatic Sunshine played a short set, but they were much harder than I was expecting from the recorded material I have heard (their record label even says that they are still a punk band at heart). I will definitely try to catch them the next time they come back to New York…I sense that there are even more interesting psychedelic things to come from these guys.

High Places headlined the show, and by this point I was kinda drunk. This was my second time seeing the band, and I was still as excited as the first. Their set was very similar to the first time that I saw them…they only played two or three songs off of the emusic download, and rocked out quite a bit. I know that since I started writing here I have been pushing High Places, but their music is truly wonderful. Rob really goes crazy while on stage, and Mary’s voice is just beautiful. Although the crowd wasn’t moving that much we were all dancing, until there was an abrupt stop in the music…something fucked up with the sound system. Before the slight technical problem High Places songs were long and great for dancing (I had read that they were trying to make it so the songs didn’t stop as soon as people got into it, and it appears that they have been successful in this)…totally fun…but after the problem with the sound they only played two more songs, and they were both short….still really fun though.

Despite the technical difficulties High Places were once again amazing, and so was the show over all. I’m really glad that I finally made it out to the Market Hotel (and hope to go back there again soon). Two comments on the venue…if coming from the L Train…make sure you know exactly where you are going (or be with someone who knows where they are going, not just says that they know where they are going)….and also the bathrooms at the Market Hotel are a bit rough (especially for girls)…they do not lock, and people can look over the door….it would be a great investment for them to install some simple latch locks on the doors (who knows maybe I will do it next time)…it would be a much better experience for everyone.

The great photos are by Georgai Kral (via flickr)! (click here or on any of the photos to go to her flickr)

(Tom)

The Weakerthans & AA Bondy @ Musichall of Williamsburg. Friday April 11th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on April 14, 2008 by criticalreviews

So this show is a really longtime coming for me. I have been a fan of the Weakerthans since Fallow, and consistently followed them through their various releases. KLK and I even had tickets to see them once at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC (four years ago) but couldn’t make the 5 hour drive due to illness. I am always a little nervous seeing bands that I have listened to for a longtime, but have unfortunately missed live time and time again.

I did get to see Propagandhi on the Todays Empires, Tomorrows Ashes tour, but this was after John K. Samson left the band. I love Propagandhi, but when Samson left the band it marked two very important things: 1) the creation of The Weakerthans as a band and no longer just a side project, and 2) Propagandi getting heavier and faster as well as the end of the Less Talk More Rock(one of my favorite punk rock albums ever) era (as well as the permanent break up of I Spy, another great Canadian punk band whose singer, Tod, filled Sampson’s spot in Propagandhi). Overall I think this change was a good thing, because it let Samson develop his own voice, and his wonderful poetic lyrics (but at the same time let some of the things I really love about Propagandhi die). While some of the punk rock feelings remain lyrically, and somewhat musically, the Weakerthans are very much a rock band and they do it well.

We were hesitant about going to the show (the nervous anxious feeling of seeing a band you like…and the fear of disappointment), and almost decided to sell our tickets outside…but in the end we ended up going in…and it turned out to be really enjoyable, except for the opening act.

AA Bondy was the second of two opening acts (we didn’t get there in time for Christine Fellows). Bondy was a plays slightly whiny upbeat acoustic rock (solo), and seemed like he wanted to be a mix between Conner Oberst and Ryan Adams. Singing about emotions, relationships, and drugs just didn’t quite do it for me. One of his songs started out with the line “Sweet Sweet Cocaine,” and while this might work for some other artists to me it just came off sounding cheesy. I realize that Bondy may have been in an influential band previously, but I can’t say that I was moved at all by his set the other night. If the show hadn’t have been sold out we probably would have showed up right before the Weakerthans went on, but got there early to get a decent view of the band and had to endure Bondy’s set.

The Weakerthans came on around 11pm, and played for an hour and a half including two encores. We watched from the balcony, and The Weakerthans played a really tight set. While many bands today have a cohesive look, The Weakerthans are all individuals and presented to me just a bunch of friends in a band doing their thing. The four piece was joined on stage by Christine Fellows (playing keyboard and guitar), and overall had a very unpretentious vibe (as expected). I really don’t think of The Weakerthans as a punk band (but I guess I used to), and while there was very little moshing there was quite a bit of finger pointing and dancing. Overall a really fun show. They surprisingly only played a handful of songs from the newest album, Reunion Tour, while playing fan favorites from all of the previous albums. While I haven’t gotten super into Reunion Tour I can appreciate it, but I thought it was wonderful to see them playing songs that were released so many years ago. One or two off Fallow (hurrah for “Confessions of a Futon-Revolutionist”)and several off of Left and Leaving. And a whole bunch of Reconstruction Site (I was really happy to hear “Plea to a cat named Virtue” and “Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault In Paris, 1961)”).

Samson was actually really cute…he came out on stage before the second encore by himself and took pictures of the sold out crowd. This show really brought me back. We stayed until the end of the show, and headed out into the night with really positive feeling. I kept hearing people yell out “Anchorless,” but I guess John needs some back up to do that one live (see below). We left the show feeling so good that we ended up drinking until 5am….cheers to the Weakerthans and good friends!

Media:

Listen to “Plea from a cat named Virtue” off of Reconstruction Site:

While searching for photos of the show on flickr I came across one with the caption:

“JD joins JKS for a very impromptu duet version of “Anchorless”, as viewed through Weakerthans drummer Jason Tait’s camera LCD screen. “

Although the video isn’t the best it is worth posting: John K. Samson and John Darnielle playing “Anchorless” (thanks Lalitree!!!)

Weakerthans photo is from Anti-Records’ website

(Tom)

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

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , on April 10, 2008 by criticalreviews

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.

Media:

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.

(Tom)

The Dodos and No Kids @ The Mercury Lounge. Sunday April 6th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2008 by criticalreviews

I am not sure when this show got announced, but it sold out fast. On Tuesday I went down to the Mercury Lounge Box Office to buy tickets for it. I got all the way down there to find out that the show had sold out the day before, and that they had not had a chance to update the website (bummer). I thought all hope was lost for this show…but I had a stroke of luck. I was ridding the 1 Train home from work on Thursday (which I don’t normally do), and my phone rang while the train was underground. KLK had called to tell me WNYU was giving tickets away for the Dodos show. I was like “I’m underground I don’t know what I can do” (she would have called but she had already won tickets from WNYU this month). So when the train stopped at 145th Street I ran out of the train and up the steps….my phone is ringing and ringing….WNYU answers, and I ask “Have you given the Dodos tickets away yet?” and she was like “No, what’s your name?” So we still got to go even though the show sold out(sorry Leah).

We got to the show while Silje Nes was still on stage. She played guitar and had a drummer backing her. Her music was pretty (as was she). She layered her guitar tracks on a loop pedal crafting her songs. Other than the song that she was playing when we walked in (which was pretty rocking, and although she was sitting down she was still thrashing), her songs were slightly anticlimactic, but very pleasant. The loops didn’t quite build up into something more…the songs remained pretty minimalistic, not that this was a bad thing, I was just expecting the songs to keep building rather than breaking back down (when I think about it though this concept of building a song and breaking it down before the finish interests me). I can’t say too much more other than I think I would enjoy seeing her play again.

Next up was No Kids.

So the first time I saw Nick Krgovich was at the live preformance of Worried Noodles by David Shrigley at the Knitting Factory, and he was preforming with Phil Elverum. I was instantly intrigued by him. Not only was he collaborating with Elverum, but he has a sweet soulful R&B voice (ala Prince). The collaboration between the two was amazing, and I immediately looked into his band, No Kids. No Kids is Krgovich (keyboard), Julia Chirka (keyboards) and Justin Kellam (drums), all of whom were formerly in P:ano (whom I am not all that familiar with but am eager to look into).

No Kids jumped on the Dodos bill on their day off from being on tour with the Dirty Projectors (both of whom are playing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday). So they might have been just another keyboard rock band, but this band is so entirely unique that there isn’t anything quite like them going on right now (and if we hadn’t seen Krgovich play with Elverum we probably would have missed it). Live Julia and Justin are great musicians, but I really feel that Krgovich steals the show…not only with his voice, but his dancing…which I can say is second only to Calvin Johnson when it comes to indie rockers that can break moves. I might even say that my dream dance off would be Krgovich verses Johnson (where they choose the songs for each other….but this is far off in my dreams where they are dancing on clouds).

No Kids were actually really funny in between songs…including talking a little about their bad experience with Princeton frat boys, and even noting to the crowd that their world music tinged songs were “written before you know who” and noting their “Ivy League” vibe (ohhhh Vampire Weekend).

I feel like a lot of the reviews that I have read of the recent No Kids record Come Into My House (on Tomlab) rely far to heavily on a comparison between the member’s old band: P:ano. It’s not that I think it shouldn’t be noted that they were in what all of these reviewers consider a really great band previously, but you can’t expect a band to reproducing something that they have obviously moved on from (hence the new name). I almost feel like this album would have went over much better with reviewers if P:ano hadn’t existed, but whatever…I’m loving it. I was originally a little disappointed when Come Into My House was released because the CD came out way before the LP, but I was happy to pick it up from the band last night.

It was clear by the end of No Kids set that some of the people that were there to see the Dodos were getting a little impatient, but that was Ok with me…some people just might not be ready for the sexy voice of Krgovich, but we were…and we will be happy to see No Kids again on Wednesday.

The Dodos were up next. We had been given a heads up about these guys by our friend Cat who lives in San Francisco…and then a week and a half later they get best new music on Pitchfork. So I kinda had high expectations, and I was not disappointed. The Dodos set up was, for the most part, a duo with Meric Long playing mostly acoustic guitar and Logan Kroeber on drums…the stage set up has Long on a chair on the left side, and Kroeber’s drum set pulled up the the front of the stage (equally in the spotlight). They were backed occasionally by another gentleman who played xylophone, and a toy piano among other instruments. The intense folk sounds of The Dodos were absolutely tremendous, and they play with the fury of a punk band. I haven’t see a band produce as much sweat as The Dodos did in a really long time. I am really glad that I got to see them at a place as small as the Mercury Lounge. This is one of those bands that I think is going to get really big really fast. They are great both live and recorded. And I believe they deserve this…they are accessible and extremely innovative at the same time (this band is going to find itself a huge fan base while keeping music dorks, like me, interested). Musically The Dodos pull from an extremely large range of influences from Animal Collective to more traditional folk (I personally see a bit of old Mountain Goats or Billy Bragg), punk (even if it is just the speed and energy that these two guys put into their live music), blues, and even to The Magnetic Fields(see the song “Undeclared” if you think this is a stretch). They played for about an hour, which included a three song encore. The set consisted mostly of songs off of the new French Kiss release Visitor, but there were several songs played that I was unfamiliar with (new or old not totally sure). I have seen quite a few shows this year so far, but the Dodos and No Kids put on one of the best so far.

I don’t think that anyone who could physically see the Dodos, which might have been hard for some people both Long and Kroeber sit down while playing, would disagree that this band is great live, and their intensity can be matched by very few other acts out today.

The Dodos also had copies of the limited press of Visitor that French Kiss put out on white double LP (it looks wonderful).

I look forward to seeing The Dodos play again, but I am sure that it will be in a much large space, and that this show (I say this very sadly) may be the best show I ever see them play. It was just that good.

Media:

The Dodos “Fools” video

NO KIDS “The Beaches All Closed”:

Photos from Drew Katchen/Pitchforkmedia.com

(Tom)