Archive for shows

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)

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

(Tom)

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!

(Tom)