The weekend started early. Thursday evening we trekked down to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ for a short-but-sweet set by my favorite live act of last year, Bloc Party
. "Waiting for the 718" was a snoozer of an opener, but eventually the party started and the kids of NJ got into it. One of the most singalongable bands, BP spells euphoric youth. It's an anagram only solvable in the fifth dimension. The venue was spacious, the beer stations plentiful, and the weather near perfect -with one small blemish. An electrical storm moved in, cutting the encore to only two songs. Two is ok, but theur main set was short in-and-of-itself. And no "The Answer"; it would be the first show they didn't close with it. An unforunate precedent was set.
When we saw them at MacCarren Pool on Saturday, the ability to get beer was hampered by having only two locations for 5,000 people. My sole experience of the Secret Machines
is from that line. Bloc Party didn't deliver a longer set this time, finishing 15 minutes before the 10:00 curfew. For a band that has so many songs -even beyond the LP- they left a lot of their best material back in London. Short-but-sweet, and still no Answer.
The night before, Friday night, I saw the Editors
play a few acoustic songs for Fader. That was alright, but I'm mostly drawn to their fist-pumping beats, amped up bass, and delayed vocals. When they don't sound HUGE they lose much of their appeal. Almost everything acoustic is lesser [unless the songs are envisioned that way]. The three little acoustic jabbers made me wish I could catch the real thing later... but alas, life is what you miss because you're busy with other plans.
I ran down to the South Street Seaport to catch the last song of N. Dunger and then nearly all of Elvis Perkins
. I've written a lot on Perkins before, so I'll keep this short: it was the best I've seen him. It was magical. They played much off their album - AND YOU CAN NOW BUY THEIR ALBUM!- and two songs I never heard before, both of which were fantastic. Don't take my word for it. Go see them.
From there, it was off to the Merc. Midlake
was better than my fears (and peers) had suggested. It's still not enough to compel me to listen to the Trials of Van Japanther
over another, but they were ok live. Cold War Kids
on the other hand were the shit. They were in top form, with the energy, songs and savior faire
to go even further. Don't sleep on these guys. Sound Team
closed the night off and seemed a little out of sync. I really like the album Movie Monster
, but they strayed a lot from it, especially in the beginning fo the set. The band that impressed me at Webster Hall seemed unfocused here. Julseas told me on Sunday that they were pretty good the following night so maybe it was just a bad gig.
So, yeah... Sunday. After sleeping in, I went straight back to MacCarren Pool. Of Montreal
got the crowd going, but I didn't have the energy or attention to give it my all. "You get what you put in," but I went all in for Bloc Party the night before and Sunday had to -as they say- "pay the fiddler." At one time all five band members had a guitar, but oddly enough very little guitar was being produced. My ears and eyes were debating over the discrepancy while the drum machine spat out it's beats. In simple terms, Of Montreal reminds me of a lesser Architecture in Helsinki. It's not quite "dance" music, but indie rock that's easy to dance to. Then again, my knowledge of Of Montreal is not very wide.
Later on, we went to Cake Shop for Think About Life
from - or perhaps "of" - Montreal. Yet another show with a band that only has one album and who play so little from it. No complaints though. The songs I didn't know were fun. Think About Life are intense and hiding underneath the almost hardcore sensibilities are very catchy melodies. A great conclusion to a music-infested weekend.
One show I did not see this weekend was the Gaskets
. I've spread the gospel as far as I can, so I'm glad others are beginning to take notice. Most recently, the Modernage
. Laura exclaims that the Gaskets are her "new favorite band." Glad to hear that I'm not crazy.