Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 2011 gigs

It’s a small crowd tonight in a small band room [max capacity 76]. Cakeshop is a good little, bleach smelling venue. I like this place not simply because they sell cakes, but because they have bands every night, with some interesting line ups. Not all nights are good, but they’re a place for bands to try out their style in NYC, and I admire venues that give this opportunity to kids. I’m in an international city: THE international city – so why see an Australian band? Well frankly I’m homesick, plus I’ve never seen them before, plus it’s an interesting line up, but unfortunately I miss the first act.

The Second act onstage are Hedgehog, a 3 piece Chinese rock pop band hailing from Beijing featuring a lady drummer. They’ve got catchy melody driven pop songs, so it was it was a pity that I couldn’t really hear the singer. Still, it was something different. Sydney's Straight Arrows are doing a tour of the USA, and this four piece [pardon the pun] really know where they’re going. They approach their work with direct attack, their songs are written in this style, and their sound is that brand of faux crappy DIY rock that is really happening. But they’ve got a set of strong songs and who doesn’t like that? 
Straight Arrows


143. Royal Headache Death by Audio Brooklyn 8/9/2011
Royal Headache at Death by Audio
I know, I know, I’m on the other side of the world to experience new things, so why see a band I’ve seen before from my own country? I have my reasons [rendezvous], and upon trying to find this venue, I’m told by two friendly Brooklynites that the music venues around this corner of town are what’s keeping Williamsburg cool. Death by Audio is an effects pedal company and an all ages venue [like], adorned in street art [like], with heaps of personality[like]. The aesthetic would deter some, but I it’s quite comfortable if you’re used to stinky band venues. The first band, name I did not catch was a duo doing an electro thing that I did not care for. Sydney’s Royal Headache has a very melodic pop sound common with the DIY scene, that’s real popular right now. The lead singer has copious amount of energy and looks like an A grade bogan, which believe it or not is refreshing in this epicenter of Williamsburg hip. French group Cheveau played too, but I had to go to meet my cousin.
NB: My LES cousin hates Brooklyn because it’s full of New- New York people, plus he was there 8 years ago.

144. Brick and Mortar, Maxwells Hoboken , New Jersey 9/9/2011
I’m on the other side of the world, an opportune time to throw yourself into new things, see things never seen before. And Maxwell’s is a good place to take such a risk. It’s a venue with a good reputation, so why are these guys playing here? A little bit Primus, a dash of reggae, a little Sting, and a bit of US macho from this two piece [bass and drums]. There’s plenty of ego and plenty of calls out for audience participation, with their terrible songs. The only participation I planned on doing was walking out the door. So bad, I even missed the main act.

145. The Jim Jones Revue, Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds, Des Roar, Music Hall of Williamsburg, 10/9/2011
Des Roar 10/9/2011

Des Roar are a NY based four piece band, featuring a lady drummer. Honestly, I don’t really remember them, but they have some fine moments, especially when vocals stop, and the guitar bliss commences.
Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds 10/9/2011
I’d heard about Kid Congo from my Tender Prey album, so when I saw his ludicrous band name on the gig guide, I thought why not? Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised.  Kid Congo summons the audience to come back into the almost empty hall, because “Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds are on now!” All in blue denim jackets, KC&PMB’s are a tight band, with good songs that have lots of space to show off the musical abilities of the band members without being excessive or boring.  Kid Congo is a pro with his between song banter, segueing into the next song. Example: “You’re in trouble! Bubble Trouble!” [Bubble Trouble song proceeds]. Get what I mean? There were silly lyrics, [think Rare as a Yeti] high campness. Kid Congo can’t really sing, but what he can do is tell a story, play the guitar really well - at times with a slide, and quite simply entertain. They were a party band, but they had depth too. There was reference to roots being a Chicano & a record store guy in CA], and they did a fun tribute to Lux Interior, about having a cramp.  Did I already say his band members were grade A musicians and world class rock posers? I came out loving Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds.
Jim Jones Revue 10/9/2011

I’d seen the Jim Jones Revue earlier in the year, and was impressed, having not seen anything like it. To the unfamiliar, they’re a rock band that merges old style rock’n’roll with firey performance, but they’re old English guys - totally respectable right? It was as if they summoned all their human powers and threw everything at this gig, directness; drama, volume, all black attire, human movement - including rock facial expressions, it did not work for me. Even though they’re great performers, this performance seemed to be soul-less: as if they were running on empty.  Although the keyboardist appeared to be out of his head, he was insanely good[a different keyboardist from last time]. Finally, I had the choice, leave and get back to Manhattan at a reasonable time, or stay to witness the rest. I left.

More Kid Congo

146.Household, Regal Degal, Bachelorette, Cake Shop 12/9/2011
Household at Cakeshop
Household are a 3 piece: guitar, bass and drums playing in that angular post punk style, so the songs are short. Drummer and guitarist interweave vocals.  I love seeing all rock chick rock bands. This was enjoyable but I didn't walk away thinking this will change the world.
Regal Degal are also a 3 piece. It starts off all angular and disjointed, then mellows out as the set goes on. Stylistically the singer sounds bored, and his voice is hidden in the reverb, but he’s got good manners. The drummer has exceptional power, and everybody plays their parts in time, but they don’t quite play together. But they're young right?!

Regal Degal at Cakeshop
Bachelorette is  a Kiwi in New York, who prerecords, presets or pre-programs her sounds, then plays live on a variety of instruments: guitar, keys; tambourine, etc, then records her live sounds, loops them, and plays live on top of it. Potentially it has the ability to fall so flat. But tonight I’m hearing dense, rich songs. Her songs are intriguing and build. Her harmonies with her own voice recorded only moments before really work. Although she’s centre stage, she’s an introvert, constantly making self deprecating remarks, and has a light show behind her to steal away the limelight. But in my mind, tonight’s show indicated, Bachelorette has got everything going for her. Sometimes alarming sounds, other times serene but this is sublime pop music.  Bachelorette is a master of her instruments, and is a true musical talent.
Bachelorette at Cakeshop 12/9/2011
Bachelorette's light show at Cakeshop 12/9/2011

147. Ponderosa Stomp, The Howlin' Wolf, New Orleans 16/9/2011
Ponderosa Stomp is an organisation dedicated to recognising the talent of under appreciated American musicians, and exposing it to a new audience. The Stomp is a concert to showcase the artists. In 2011 it's a revue style event, held over two nights for more than seven hours each night.  Aged artists travel from all over the country for this one night on stage. There's a house band, but most acts have 15 minutes on stage, so it's a revolving door of talent. Logistically, it would be hard to pull off. But they did it well on this night. There was an Excello tribute, and the performer selection marked a strong Louisiana focus. Most of the evening was dedicated to Cosimo Matassa, a NOLA a engineer/producer who is said to have helped develop the "New Orleans Sound". There's so much to say, so I'll just do most of it in pictures.

In queue for Ponderosa Stomp

Ike Padnos, the evenings host and Ponderosa Stomp Producer
See the rest of the Ponderosa Stomp entry
http://julianwulifeproject.blogspot.com/2011/09/ponderosa-stomp-special-edition-sept.html and


149. Mike Hurtt and The Haunted Hearts, The Lamplighter, Memphis, Wednesday
Mike Hurtt shakin' the Maraccas
The German backpackers Frank and Simon turned to me during this set and said: this is such a cliche: We're sitting in a bar, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and listening to country music. Of course he meant it was a good cliche, but yes, it was totally suitable front bar music on the eve of Gonerfest 8.

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