Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Tapes 'N Tapes @Bowery Ballroom, June 4th

Met up with Shana and Eddie early for yet another smashing pre-concert meal at La Esquina, followed by ice cream at the Nolita Ice Cream Factory -- yay, almond cookie! We met Julie1 at the doors and headed in.

Tonight featured a 3 band lineup. The opener was Cold War Kids, and boy, did they have loads of chi. The drummer remained stationary as the lead singer, lead guitarist and bassist ambled all over the stage. You could only wonder how they would fare at a tighter place like Rothko or the Knitting Factory. I really enjoyed the first 5 or so songs. The lead singer yelped it like he meant it. Meanwhile the mostly lead guitarist would alternate between guitar and smashing a lone cymbal atop a wooden crate with a maracca or drum stick with a splintering drum stick. And the bassist kinda creeped me out -- I think he kept locking eyes with me -- but it was in an axe-murderer kind of way. They were interesting both vocally and visually. I don't think they'll achieve any great success, but I was not upset I saw them.

The second act of the night was this band from Denmark named The Figurines. Now, if you had given me their cd, I probably would have appreciated it. There are definitely some solid rock/punk elements to their music, with good bass riffs, energy, etc. But seeing them live? It was during their first song that I immediately wished I hadn't been out till 3am partying with the kung fu crowd and Shifu -- how often do you get to do special water training with the man himself? I really hit the wall with the Figurines. The speakers were too loud for me, yet I wasn't sure I wanted to relinquish our prime spot 5 people deep from the stage. As for the band visually -- never have I seen a group so disparate in appearance. The lead guitarist looked normal and cute. The bassist -- a member of Bon Jovi circa 1998 with his tight black polyester shirt, leather pants and perfectly coiffed hair with blonde highlights. The lead singer -- if you asked Ryan Adams to wear a horrible poofy bleached blonde wig and sing like Neil Young meets Jello Biafra. His hair was the worst -- it really reflected the various light effects very well. Perhaps this mashup of styles accounted for their music -- it was a little all over the place. The Figurines were solid musicans. They just managed to be very loud without being interesting, which is how I think Eddie put it.

Last, but not least, the reason why we came -- Tapes 'N Tapes. I had bought these tickets a month and a half ago based solely on buzz, both in blogs and in print. Rolling Stone named them as someone to watch in 2006. Their sound has been compared to the bastard stepchild of Frank Black and Stephen Malkmus, and that assessment might be right for some of their songs. I heard all kinds of similiarities with them and many bands. Particularly, their cut "Manitoba" reminds me of Arcade Fire. Then again, it could only be because Manitoba is in Canada, right? I'm so geographically retarded...

They were a solid live band. I enjoyed them but unfortunately, I was really, really tired at that point, so I was impatient to leave. I have enjoyed their debut cd very much, and probably would see them live again at some point. But they didn't knock me out, like Arcade Fire or Clap Your Hands have during their fledgling careers. Once they finished their main set, Eddie and Shana made a beeline for the doors to head back to Jersey and Julie1 and I met up with Heather and Julie2 at the back. We were all ready for bed.

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