Monday, August 27, 2007

Revenge of the Book Eaters @Beacon Theatre, Aug. 26th

What a great lineup -- A.C. Newman of The New Pornographers, recent tourmates Grizzly Bear and Feist, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene, and Britt Daniel of Spoon, with affable host Demetri Martin, and guests Sarah Vowell, Leo Allen and Eugene Mirman. This year's show benefiting 826NYC was much more music-oriented and therefore more enjoyable than last year's benefit show.

To sum it up, A.C. Newman is good, but can't replace Neko Case on "Challengers." Grizzly Bear again wowed me with their haunting harmonies -- I must buy their album. Jim James blew me and the rest of the crowd away.
Feist not only read beautifully, but sang beautifully ("The Water"). It was strange but cool hearing BSS's "Superconnected" performed with only two members (and Kevin Drew is kinda douche-y, thanking the crowd several times before we even started applauding). And Britt Daniel is such a wonderful crooner.

Here's Britt singing "Black Like Me" from Spoon's latest album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga:

With all this indie rock goodness, you'd think they would have taken advantage of more collaborations, but alas, not really. Feist sang on a Grizzly Bear song, and A.C. joined Britt for a cover of an Alex Chilton song, "Hey! Little Child":

Good times for a good cause.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wolf Parade @Warsaw, Aug. 19th

Earlier this summer, Julie1 had mentioned her interest in catching Wolf Parade, and when tickets re-appeared on Ticketbastard on Friday, I thought sure, why not? Um, $11.05 in service fees for a $20.00 ticket, that's why not!

Anyway, I figured at least I'll only drop $5.00 on dinner. Can't really beat the Warsaw Special with those yummy pickles and help yourself condiments including applesauce and sour cream! It certainly made my last visit to Warsaw for Wilco awesome.

We positioned ourselves decently close and center just before Wolf Parade was to hit the stage. Everything pretty much went downhill from there.
For someone who had little expectations about this show going in, I walked away surprisingly disappointed. Didn't even stay for the encore.

While on their album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, they may have shown promise, their live performance suffered from a lack of cohesiveness. Perhaps it was the new material that slowed them down. Or their audio setup difficulties. I found myself searching the whole time for any little moment to latch onto, and really nothing grabbed me.

As Wolf Parade traded off between their two lead singers, it resulted in a disjointed feeling, as though they were attempting multiple types of sounds. Like we were at a high school battle of the bands, and they were on stage going, okay, okay, what can we play next....okay, let's do this one! and then they'd play a song, and go, okay, it's your turn! It felt very slapped together and thoughtless.

The band also had very little stage presence and connection with the audience. Julie1 thought for a fledgling band with only one full (albeit good) album, they didn't do a very good job of playing to the crowd. The only consistency I observed was the identical Yeahhh! this annoying woman would yell behind me at the conclusion of every song. The only glimpse of their greatness as a live band I got was when they played "I'll Believe in Anything" which got the crowd going, but then the following song killed any momentum they might have had.

Oh well. I was not very impressed at all.

Dan Boeckner, doing his best Steve Buscemi imitation

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists @McCarren Pool, Aug. 12th

Sunday marked the first time ever I made it to one of the free Sunday pool parties at McCarren Park in Brooklyn, and the weather was perfectly sunny and warm for my debut. After checking out people flop around on the slip 'n' slide and grabbing some gratis beers courtesy of The Music Slut while Birds of Avalon played in the background, Julie1 and I headed pretty easily to the front of the crowd for a band I had been dying to check out for years now, The Thermals.

I have had their music on all three of my iPods -- and whenever I have my iPod in shuffle mode, and one of their songs comes up, I always go, Damn, that's a good song...who is that? And lo and behold, it's The Thermals. I love their distinct lo-fi, no frills punkish sound, and finally seeing/hearing it in person delighted me to no end. Here were three people wheeling out their rock, but not relying on gimmick or thrills to capture the crowd. Plus, chicks on bass rock!

After The Thermals wrapped up their swift set, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists took the stage as headliners. I had seen Ted and his band (Jersey boy represent!) previously only once in an abbreviated gig almost two years ago at Irving Plaza as part of a benefit, so this time I got to check them out full blown, up front and center.

Ted got the crowd hopping with his fantastic blend of punk, pop, rock, reggae, and even bits of Thin Lizzy. A few years ago, Julie1 introduced me to him by making me buy Tyranny of Distance, and I have been a convert ever since. We were trying to pinpoint what about TL is appealing, and we decided it's his earnestness in playing his music that we dig. Perhaps that's what made the pairing of The Thermals and Ted Leo so fantastic -- both bands rock out without using coordinated outfits or laser light shows. Maybe that's why I found Ted's random cover of the day -- Daft Punk's "One More Time" -- so cheeky.

Check out my Flickr for some more shots!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @Webster Hall, Aug. 7th

Not the frightening sweatbox I imagined it would be, Webster Hall tonight hosted the magnificent Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Then again, if the band is amazing enough, you forget about the perspiration dripping from your body. Instead, you admire the manic energy Karen O and her boys Nick Zinner and Brian Chase drive into their music and performance. As Wawa so aptly put it, the YYYs never mail it in.

The encore tacked on an additional four songs to the setlist above -- "Y Control," "Black Tongue," "Our Time" and "Tick." 75 minutes of insanity. I'm convinced Karen O devours vampires and Tasmanian devils for breakfast.

I initially had been reluctant to dump $45 into a ticket for this show, but ended up agreeing to go with Wawa as an exchange for him accompanying me to the White Stripes show two weeks ago (where we coincidentally sat behind Nick and Brian). Once the YYYs hit the stage, however, all doubts evaporated, and I remembered why I love them. Nobody loves you like the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs love you.

ot to Webster in time to catch the end of the first opener -- an all-female Mötley Crüe cover band called Girls Girls Girls -- lol! The second opener -- Tiny Masters of Today -- have received a lot of attention because the two front members are 13 and 11. They were dreadful singers, but cute and showed a lot of spunk. They closed out with a fun cover of House of Pain's "Jump Around."

I walked alongside the boy shown above on my way to the bathroom and realized he had to be the kid in the band only cos who else that age (and that pre-pubescent!) could get away with being in Webster Hall at that hour!