Value and rock shows....
Mucho apologies for the utter lack of posts last week. One would be surprised how difficult it can be to find a free 25 minutes or so, and blogging at work is generally verboten. Still, laziness also played a bit of a role. The Mets are tied 3-3 with the Nationals in the 7th, but let's concentrate on more musical exploits this time around.
So yeah, I'm assuming that most folks in the blogger universe are going to see New Order at the Hammerstein this week. I opted to pass considering the roughly $95 price for two tix before service charge. Last night I saw Stars at Southpaw ($15.00), seeing Decemberists on Wednesday ($17.50), and just bought tickets for Sleater-Kinney at Roseland ($21.00). So essentially I can see three relatively young, exciting acts for the price of one New Order show. Nothing against New Order, whose latest record Waiting For the Siren's Call is surprisingly solid, but until I make a little more scratch, sacrifices must be made (then again, I still probably would have gotten shut out). Hope you're down with the man who wrote "here comes love, it's like honey!" vocalizing "She's Lost Control."
Speaking of Sleater-Kinney, shame on you if you haven't visited their recently updated website yet. Take the quiz, download the new single, read the blog, but just make sure the volume on your computer is low because the first thing you'll hear is the LOUD power chords from opening Woods track "The Fox." Not safe for work without the mute button. You've been warned.
Regarding the Stars show at Southpaw...it's a shame the battery on my camera was completely shot because the "mezzanine" level really allows photo-ready bloggers to take some fantastic shots. I've only seen five shows at that venue, and while I remain in love with the Southpaw baseball cards in the men's room (Sid Fernandez....nice), sightlines, and variety of Brooklyn on tap (Mmmm...Pennant Ale), they have got to do something about the air conditioning there, or lack thereof. Always a hot box. I'm a big supporter of Stars' recent Set Yourself On Fire, and the band essentially played all of the good songs off of that record, plus a smattering off of their prior release Heart (nothing off of Nightsongs...not even their Smiths cover). Lots of crazy prancing and witty stage banter from frontman Torquil Campbell (apparently every Stars song is about 'fucking'), and they somehow managed to cram seven musicians onstage. While their performance was very tight and energetic, the show suffered from a weak sound mix, placing too much emphasis on the snare drum and too much volume overall ; making for a bit of a shrill din. Still, the interplay between Campbell and co-vocalist/guitarist Amy Milan carried the day, and their infectious energy on songs like "Reunion," "What I'm Trying To Say" and show opener "Set Yourself On Fire" was much fun to behold. It's refreshing to see so many people enjoy such an unabashed pop outfit, and I won't hesitate to check them out again. The next time for New Yorkers will probably be Summerstage as the opening act on a Decemberists/Death Cab For Cutie bill, and I could see myself attending that show, if leaving before the headliner comes on.
I'm a bit slow to report on this, but I joined members of OL , MMM , and peephole at the Tribeca Film Festival showing of 9 Songs last week, which for those out of the loop, is the latest film from 24 Hour Party People director Michael Winterbottom, and promises the viewer hardcore sex with hardcore live Brit-pop. And well....yeah, that's what the viewer gets. The music scenes were far more engaging than the sex scenes; the latter of which seemed more than a little awkward and borderline creepy....like walking in on your sister in the act. But the live performances (BRMC, Von Bondies, Super Furries, Franz, Primal Scream, among others) were well shot and extremely well mixed; Elbow actually looked like a totally kick ass band. The couple in the movie consists of a British dude and an American girl who leaves him at the end of the movie. Eh, no big loss. What kind of girl willingly goes to see Elbow and the Von Bondies but stays home when SFA is in town?
Far better was the TBFF showing of Punk Attitude, the latest in what seems like a long line of movies to explore the 70's punk explosion and the players therein. What made this movie better than most was a very large amount of interview footage, some interesting live performances, and an emphasis on seldom covered acts such as The Screamers, X-Ray Spex and The Slits; the latter being a big influence on Sleater-Kinney and whose frontwoman, Ari Up, appeared to have been on some really good shit during her interview portions. Just when it seems like the movie is running a bit long, it jumps ahead some 15 years or so, and the last 25 minutes is a jumbled mess as it somehow tries to reconcile hip-hop, the 80's, Nirvana, and nu-metal in...uh....25 minutes. Regardless, better than most rock docs., and worth it for Henry Rollins's spot on imitation of every Limp Bizkit song at the end of the movie ("if I was a 17-year old, I'd be like...yeah!"). And apparently, part of being punk rock is having really lousy dental hygiene; I have never wanted to brush three times daily as much in my life after witnessing the chompers on all the interviewees in this movie.
And yeah...back to using "Arial" for my font.