Archive for manhattan

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


The Glorytellers @ Cake Shop. Tuesday March 25th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , on March 28, 2008 by criticalreviews

So I have been a Karate fan for a really long time (I got to see them once a long time ago at MacRock, but I have become an even bigger fan in recent years)…and when I saw that Geoff Farina was playing several small New York shows I knew I had to go. I have been kicking myself for not going to see him play solo at the Knitting Factory’s Old Office at the end of last month, and when I realized that the Glorytellers were playing Cake Shop this past Tuesday I knew I had to go.

So this Tuesday was a night out alone for me…I haven’t been to a show by myself in a while, and honestly I didn’t think that I would go to this one alone, but I don’t have any friends in NYC that would be willing to pay $10 to see Farina. The night was really refreshing for me…I got to Cake Shop (and by the way this is one of my favorite places to see a band in Manhattan) and browsed some records, waited for the doors to the basement to open, got a beer, read some Philip K. Dick, and then finally watched the Glorytellers. Actually the Glorytellers were the opening act…Ida was headlining, but I really never listened to them, and after seeing Farina’s new band I didn’t feel like watching anyone else play.

Cake Shop filled up slowly at first… Glorytellers were scheduled to go on at 9pm, but didn’t actually start until about 9:30. I was standing right up front (I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else when I am at a show by myself), with Geoff Farina right in front of me. I forgot how tall he was, his head almost touched the celling, and was brushing against the X-Mas lights that line the top of the Cake Shop. Going into this show I had only heard a few tracks off the record and I was a little skeptical. I’ll be honest with you, I was highly caffeinated and very happy to be so. Glorytellers make very calm acoustic rock (roughly more blues based than jazz), but at the same time extremely complex and technical. I might have found myself falling asleep if it wasn’t for the caffeine because of how soothing I find their music. Farina plays acoustic guitar, and I typically don’t see very many complex acoustic musicians (I tend to be drawn to more straight up folksy stuff), but Farina plays using finger picks on each finger. I am not a guitarist, but I couldn’t help but stair at his fingers, and the wonderful sounds that he made come out of his guitar. This man is totally amazing, and I will try to see him play as many times as possible from now on. He was backed by and electric guitar and drums. I would attempt to name these musicians, but I cannot. From the research I did it appears that the guitarist and drummer in the touring band will be changing, but at any point the band can consist of former and current memebers of Karate, Cul De Sac, Him, Mice Parade, and Ida. The backing guitar really brings to mind Karate, and if it was the main focus I could almost imagine Glorytellers just being a Karate reincarnation, but the fact that Farina takes up the acoustic really makes the differance. The drummer to me, was literally backing instrumentation. While it contributed to the show it was really just providing a back drop for Farina’s finger picking.

I have admired Farina and a musician since Bed is in the Ocean, and got a great preformance from the Glorytellers. I picked up the LP, and think it is wonderful music but specifically for late at night or extremely early in the morning.

Overall Tuesday was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had by myself in a very long time. I can thank Farina and his band for making it possible.

Listen to the Glorytellers here!