Friday, March 18
the madness really sets in quickly this
I did not get to see Okkervil River play tonight,
the club was at capacity by 7:15
so I moved on down to B.D.
pub for one of my favorite American shoegaze bands, The Brotherkite.
I had no idea what to expect from this band visually and I found
it fascinating that they are led by a giant of a man
makes a doublenecked SG guitar seem small. This band has proven
over and over again that there is plenty of room for pop music in
the shoegaze genre, and their live set infuses the songs with even
more pop energy. Not only that, but this band was loud, loud, loud
precisely the way that they should be. They were so loud,
in fact, that the drummer was wearing earplugs. As I had expected,
the band tore through a very melodic set, weaving older songs with
the new songs from their latest release Eye To Eye. This
band takes the art of dual-vocals and three guitars and elevates
it to the next level, infusing their noisome tunes with Beach
Boys-esque harmonies. The girl with the Mustang bass rocked
it. The Brotherkite are as able live as they are in the studio,
building walls of sound extremely well, layering instrument upon
instrument effortlessly, taking what would be considered a drone
and infusing it with a sublime energy.
I headed some few blocks away and caught most of Josh Ritter's
solo acoustic set. I was reminded of the first time I ever experienced
Ritter perform live; he was solo then and the power of the songs
shines through remarkably well when the show is simply the man and
his guitar and his songs. I was once more impressed, as I've been
most times I've seen Ritter perform, that the man seems genuinely
excited to be performing, grinning his sincere yet Cheshire grin,
and bouncing around on stage when not tied to the microphone. Ritter
treated the crowd to new songs and old, including such greats as
"Kathleen", "In The Dark", and off his most
recent release So Runs The World Away, a fitful, keening version
of "Folk Bloodbath". At one point, he asked for the lights
to be taken down and stepped away from the microphone, which worked
wonderfully in such a graet acoustic space as the little church
that we were all in. Ritter continues to amaze me with his live
performances, drawing more power alone on stage than it seems he
musters with a fantastic band backing him up. What a great show
Trekking back across town I arrived in time to be treated to another
enormously loud show with The Black Angels. The band was
on fire, coming off a long winter tour they were still hitting on
all cylinders, firing it up with a fury and noise that would make
Kevin Shields proud. There are few words to be said about The Black
Angels live other than the fact that you need to see them. It will
never be a regret, but could lead to eyes being opened and hearts
being set free. The band was as loud and beautiful, the songs were
tight, yet noisy, supersonic and beautiful.
across town again to catch Men Without Hats play a show
and Ivan was wearing a hat!?! I would never have believed
it had I not snapped a couple of shots from the show. They began
their set with an anemic cover of The Rolling Stones' classic
"Jumpin' Jack Flash"
but it didn't have much gas.
Despite some technical difficulties and the presence of hats, the
band turned things around and went on to play a rousing, but short,
set of classic material. The set list went like this: "Jumpin'
Jack Flash", "Moonbeam", "Antarctica",
"I Got The Message", "Living In China", "Safety
Dance", "Pop Goes The World", and "I Like".
As expected, a large portion of the crowd left as soon as the band
finished "Safety Dance", but everything sounded great
once the difficulties got smoothed out a bit. Ivan sang, there was
a keyboard player and a guitar player and then some girl running
the computer, and having plenty of problems with it. The crowd was
getting riled up and very into the music by the time the band had
finished "Antarctica", but then there were computer problems
and after about 4 minutes of silence, a lot of the crowd got restless.
The set was good, not extremely tight, but once the kinks were figured
out, everything seemed to straighten out and be fine. Well worth
seeing the little Canadian technopop band that could, and did, but
then almost did not. I was honestly a bit disappointed that nothing
off of Sideways got played. But in such a short set, there
was little room for much variation in the setlist.
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