Last night I was in attendance at Rothko with members of OL and MMM to check out the Austin, TX-based band Voxtrot at "Call the Cops" night (which I'm assuming is a Happy Mondays reference). I skimmed an MP3 or two courtesy of BrooklynVegan, and thought they were worth a look.
Firstly, I seem to recall Rothko being shut down a little bit last fall on account of fire code violations, and the place is still more than a little creepy if you ask me. They've expanded the basement area (relative to when I was last there in May) to include a bar and a very narrow lounge, and there's also a completely dark room with some thrift store couches and what appeared to be exposed wiring. Direct Drive was in attendance downstairs spinning some hard D n' B, but the whole downstairs area just felt a little unfinished/cramped/unsafe. It's nice to see a hipster rawk joint other than Pianos with Magic Hat #9 on tap, but I've had so much of the stuff in the past 5 years or so that I think I've acquired a distaste for it. Too syrupy. Blind Faith and Humble Patience are better.
Upstairs however, features a decent sized room bathed in red hues with surprisingly good sound. Voxtrot hit the stage at around 11, and were decent. Their studio stuff seems to have some further subtleties that are somewhat lost in the live translation. They've got the right influences....Belle and Sebastian, some R.E.M. and lots of Smiths, but their influences were a little too apparent at times; one original was a note for note "This Charming Man" rip, and closing your set with The Cure's "In Between Days" seems like a cop out-evidence of a lack of faith in your original material. The melodies were good, and there appeared to be potential hooks, but very few distinguishing attributes otherwise. I'll need to listen to their studio tracks some more.
Oh yeah...unless another band happened to go on at 1:00, the "surprise headliner" was some band called "Soft." It's impossible to take a band seriously with that name. I only caught three songs, but the first one seemed surprisingly decent....sort of a Madchester type thing with high pitched vocals, faux Brit-accent, loose limbed drumming and a definite guitar hook. Can't recall anything else, except that the lead singer looked just like the dude from Soundtrack of Our Lives were he to drop about 40 lbs. Still, why the hell are you going to call your band Soft? Dumb, dumb name. Rothko was completely packed at that point. Was everyone there to see what they thought woud be a surprise band, or do Soft have some kind of significant following? Who knows.