Archive for AA Bondy

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)

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