Archive for Health

Health, Ghengis Tron, High Places, and Telepathe @ The Knitting Factory. Monday March 31st, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on April 2, 2008 by criticalreviews

Another great line up on a weeknight. I am really loving seeing these bills with a whole lot of good bands for a really great price…this show was only $8 bucks.

Up first was Telepathe…they were already playing when we got there, but judging by the set times we got to see about half of their set. I was excited to see this band at first because I saw that they are going to be opening for the Kills (not that I will be going…I hate Webster Hall, but I really like the Kills). Their music has a synthy dark avant electronic feel (almost minimalistic dance music), and vocals range from singing to chatty banter (with up to all three of the women singing at once). Live I really can’t say that they did much for me at all…and while I know that they were on a bill with three really rad bands that should be nothing compared to having to open for the Kills on their upcoming tour. I think that I heard one of the ladies on stage mention that they were missing a member, but even with that taken into consideration their stage presence just wasn’t there…nothing that made me want to stay and watch. Maybe they were having an off night or something.

Second was High Places…I will say I have never seen this many people at a venue to see the second out of four bands…it was clear that they had a really big draw, and I bought tickets for this show before Health and Ghengis Tron were even added (High Places was the motivating factor). Their set consisted of only two songs from the emusic digital download, and those songs were played first and last. The rest of the set consisted of new songs (which I assume are going to be part of the full length that was discussed here). If you haven’t heard High Places they make music that is both minimalistic and primitive, but at the same time totally enthralling and interesting …they are beat heavy, both digital and actual drumming, accompanied electronics and lots of bells, rocks, shakers, marbles, and pretty much anything you can think of. It results in upbeat music with a slightly tropical vibe that will just suck you in. I pretty much have a crush on both Mary Pearson and Rob Barber…and they are both a pleasure to watch preform. Rob is so into the music, and playing so many different things at once, that the sweat is just pouring off of his face. While Mary, with her beautiful voice, is messing with it (her voice) electronically (while having to move around Rob while doing so), and playing a handful of assorted makeshift instruments . My only complaint about their set, and this has nothing to do with them at all, but I was that I could really see what Rob was doing (and this is a problem going to a show with a stage, although you can see the band better you can’t really see what the band is doing all the time, so I can’t wait for the show at Market Hotel). The new songs that High Places played were rad, and I am expecting big things to come.

Ghengis Tron was next, and I honestly had no idea who they were until their name popped up on this show. My first impression of the band was when I went to check them out their mspace and the song “Board up the House” started…I was like this is weird, and digital, and I look to the bottom of the window and it says Relapse records…it was only a matter of seconds before the metal kicked in. At this point I was more interested in seeing them than I had been. Live G Tron has a really kinda crazy set up. They are a three piece: a guitarist, a singer who also plays keys, and a guy that only plays keyboard…no drummer. They have about five or six, what look light they could be florescent light bulbs standing tall set up behind them, that strobe all different colors, and overall have a very visual preformance for a three piece metal band. G Tron was definitely the band that was most out of place on the bill, but they rocked really hard…my biggest surprise was that there didn’t seem to be that many people were moshing (which is something that characterizes a metal show for me…I can only imagine how awesome it would have been seeing G Tron play with Converge and Baroness the next night). I really dig the hippie style art that G Tron has chosen as well…their new record looks beautiful.

Last up was Health, and I am really happy that I got to see them play twice while they were in NYC. When I saw them play at Mercury Lounge last week they were really good, but at this show they were just really spot on. They played really hard, and to me just seemed overall tighter. These boys from LA did well even when some NY kids were heckling. There was a nice mix of moshing and dancing from the crowd. To my surprise the bass player had all of the stings on this bass this time (which makes me wonder if it was just laziness last Wednesday with just three strings). Health played for almost an hour, and ended right before midnight. I think they would have played longer, but the bass drum busted which really limited what they could do. It would have been rad to make it out to the show with Dan Deacon the next night, but I didn’t quite have it in me.

Here is a fun unofficial video of “Sandy Feat” by High Places (by namustang):

Download the Emusic Digital Download of High Places Here!

Posters are from the Knitting Factory

High Places photo from Tiny Mix Tapes


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

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , on March 30, 2008 by criticalreviews

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!!!)