Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Spectacle that is Anton Newcombe!

Oh Anton, will you ever been taken serious again? That was the question going through my mind last night while I watched Anton Newcombe “perform”. The show was billed as a special Brian Jonestown Massacre show. But it was anything but special. The show was supposed to be an all-acoustic performance but instead it turned into just another typical show for Anton. For those that are unfamiliar with the trouble front man of the neo 60’s psychedelic rock group, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Anton Newcombe was at one time consider by many to be a savior of rock’n’roll. He brought back a sound that many people had forgotten about and made it a sound all his own. He was had many imitators through out the years. However Anton has always been quite mad, and self-destructive. So it was no surprise that the original members of the Brian Jonestown Massacre left the band and Anton slow began to slip into oblivion. But just when people thought he was gone for good, the 2005 documentary “DIG” brought the band back in a big way. Then there was the release of greatest hits and then slowly rumors that Anton was more in control and that his live performance where not just about going and watching and waiting for Anton to do something crazy.
Anton Newcombe
Perhaps it was these rumors and people hopes that Anton would live up to his potential that got them 3 shows during CMJ and 2 post CMJ shows. It was during the second of their second show of CMJ that the announcement that the bands equipment had be stolen. I am unsure what happen at those shows but my guess is it was similar to what happened last night.
 Anton Newcombe  2
Anton was showing signs of begin a little crazy from the beginning of the show when he was arguing with members of The Morning After Girls about who was going on first. Anton won and eventually took the stage with a barrowed guitar. Here is a roughly what then occurred Anton yelled at the crowd and complained about the guitar he was barrowing. He then yelled at the soundman. Then he went and did the sound himself. He then returned to the stage. Then started a song and then he stopped. He then started again. Then he yelled at the crowd for yelling at him. Then he insulted one of the other bands. Then he threatened a person in the crowd. Then he tried to play a different song. Then he played most of the song “Stars”. Then stopped and yelled again. He then got pissed off and decides to start playing the Morning After Girls’ instruments. And then Anton just jumped of the stage and left.
 Anton Newcombe  3
I walked home last nigt wondering as I have often wondered “Is Anton just crazy?” “Does he just act this way because it is what is expected of him?” “Is this really what the crowd wants?” and of course “What will happen to this one time great musician?”
You can download a lot of Brian Jonestown massacre songs here including their performance from this years Lollapoloza where they were joined bu original member Matt Hollywood.

The Morning After Girls, play after Anton.

Last night The Morning After Girls played after Anton stormed off the stage and disappeared into the night. Their set was almost cancelled after they demanded an apology from Anton who insulted the keyboard/tambourine player of the Morning After Girls. But they final did come on and I glad they did. It was nice to hear some more music after Anton’s debauchery. The Morning After Girls are a psychedelic rock band from Australia that sound similar to The Warlocks and BRMC . They create a kind of wall of sound effect with heavy riffs and lots of reverb. But the one thing that separates them from these other bands it that they seem to have more fun and encourage the audience to dance. This was definitely one of their strong points because their sound is very familiar.
The Morning After Girls
Stream songs by The Morning after Girls Here
The Morning After Girls 2

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sub Pop Showcase (Part 2)

The big winner for me was Kinski . These guys are incredible and by far the most unique sounding band among
a lineup in which many of the bands sounded very similar With their Black Sabbath and AC/DC riff rock meets God Speed Your Black Emperor instrumental rock they speed through a 45-minute set. Only one song contained vocals at all. This set of heavy riff played at intense speed was what this showcase needed. Kinski said more with this set of all instrumental than any of the other bands said with songs full lyrics. I will definitely check them out again.
Kinski downloads.
The Wives of Artie Shaw
There's Nothing Sexy about Time
New India
Next Up was Rogue Wave . I kind of felt a little indifferent to Rogue Wave. I think their set might have gone over better had they performed before Kinski. Rogue Wave also played a country indie rock style of music that was similar Holopaw and the Fruit Bats. Again there were elements of this music that I liked such as the use of the pedal steel and that the band switch up instrument is always quite impressive. But I felt that their music was limited by the range of the lead singer’s voice. He often came of sounding whinny and hurt. There just wasn’t enough emotion in his vocals. However their set did get better as the night went on.
Rouge Wave
Next up was The Wolf Parade who were one of this years most hyped bands of this years event. Wolf Parade hail from Montreal and have developed a reputation for their live shows. Most of this reputation derives from stories about how they were kicked out of the Queen Mary during last year ATP Festival . Wolf Parade showed a lot potential during their short set. The songs definetly got the crowd moving and the is very caramatic and have a lot of stage presence. They also never used their real name on stage but only refered to themselves as “the queen haters from Canada”. However their sound did sufer from their poor choice to rent equiment instead of bring their own. I expect their set on October 24 at Bowery Ballroom to a lot better.
Wolf Parade
Wolf Parade Downloads
Shine a light
You are a Runner
Wolf Parade
I decide to leave after Wolf Parade, since I had seen the the Constantines the night before. I kind of wish I had stayed because I am sure a lot of people left after Wolf Parade leaving the room empty which makes it hard for a band to put on a good show. Overall I was very pleased with this show. I will definetly be checkig out both Wolf Parade and Kinski when they return to NYC. This was also the final cmj show I went to this year.

Subpop Showcase (Part 1)

Subpop has long been a record label that I have had respect for. Since the early Nineties they have been a powerhouse in the indie rock world. So it was no surprise that this years CMJ showcase was one of the most anticipated shows. I felt that this year’s talent showed a lot of potential, however many of these bands sounded very similar. They all seem to be sharing a country indie rock sound. One that seem to rely on acoustic guitars and pedal steel to create its sound. Many of these bands seemed to lack real depth in their music. But the bands that were the most successful were the ones that weren’t limited to a new trend in indie rock. First up was Chad Vangaalen who is a singer songwriter that has elements of folk and blues in his music. Chad’s set was very impressive. Chad plays all of the instrument on his albums so I assumed he performed alone but the entire set was performed with the accompaniment of a drummer. Members of Rogue Wave also joined him at times. He also preformed a very inspired version of Bruce Springstein’s “Dancing in the Dark”. Download Clinically Dead from Chad’s newest album “Infiniheart”.
Next up was Holopaw They were by far the weakest of all the bands the nights bill. And although the set did get better this band lacked a sound all their own. They also lacked any really stage presence, which might have helped contribute to their very weak show. They also shared the indie country rock sound that was so prevalent in this showcase.
After Holopaw I began to worry that this showcase was going to be a let down but then I was quite pleased by The Fruit Bats set. Although the Fruit Bats shared a similar sound to other bands on this showcase they still managed to separate themselves from the rest. First starters they had a lot of stage presence and their lead singer often teased about all the people that were there to just see the Wolf Parade. He also commented that they hadn’t played NYC in 2 years which is a shame.
Fruit Bats
Fruit Bats Downloads
Lives of Crime
A Bit of Wind

Monday, September 19, 2005

Oxford Collapse, Oakley Hall & The Constantines @ The Palace Tavern (CMJ Part 3)

On Friday night I headed out to Greenpoint to see see Oxford Collapse, Oakley Hall, and The Constantines at the Palace Tavern.
The first band to play was Oxford Collapse. I had never heard these guys before but had heard good things about them. They have pop punk meet the Talking Heads kind of thing going. They were restricted to only playing a 30 minutes set which kind of sucked because I would have like to have heard more. They are playing on Wednesday at the Mercury Lounge.

Oxford Collapse

Oakley Hall was the only band on the showcase that I was familiar with. They play a kind of roots American rock’n’roll that is heavily influenced by musicians like Neil Young. I really enjoyed their performance a few months ago when they warmed up for Magnolia Electric Co.. whom also have a very similar sound. However there are more female lead vocals in Oakley Hall’s sound. There performance at the Palace tavern was good but suffered from the rent PA. At one point they tried to turn the sound up which in turn produced a serious amount of feedback. Oakley Hall also announced that they have a new cd coming out soon. I bought a pre release copy of the album called “Second Coming” it is remarkably good.

Oakley Hall

The final band of the evening was The Constantines. The Constantines played at least three times during CMJ. I was pretty tired by the time they came on so I moved to the back and sat for most of their set. I also figured I would see them on Saturday night at the Subpop showcase so I decided not to take any photos. It was pretty good show and their dark, moody, dancey songs got the crowd moving a little even though a lot of people had moved to the bar area to drink the very inexpensive beer. Overall it was fun evening

Beans at the Bowery Ballroom (CMJ Part 2)

Beans 2
Originally uploaded by danfun.
Beans and Holy Fucks performance was one of the most pleasant surprises during this years CMJ festival. Beans is a former member of the rap group Anti Pop Consortium The last time I saw Beans perform was when he opened for Tortoise. I wasn’t very impressed with his performance at that show. He false started a few tracks and was only a cd player backing him up. But now with the strength of the live backing band his performance was great. The array of instruments that the members of Holy Fuck played was also impressive. One member was using some sort of film/magnetic tape and running it through a very old analog reader. It created a very cool sound. Beans even gave the band two opportunities to play by themselves. The first was kind of intro jam before he came on and the second time was when he told them to “make something up” when he needed a break. Beans' great word play worked well with the trippy heavy beats of Holy Fuck


Devendra Banhart @ Bowery Ballroom (CMJ PART 1)

Devendra Banhart
performance at the Bowery Ballroom last Wednesday was amazing. He is in top form. I have seen him perform in every stage of his career and his music is as strong as it has ever been. The current band he has put together is one of the major reasons Devendra sounds so good. Often he takes on a curator role as he introduces Noah Georgeson and Andy Cabic. Both of whom material was equally as good as Devendra’s songs. Andy’s new Vetiver cd is an album I very excited to here. At times this band makes want to draw comparisons to Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. The set, which was a bout 1-hour long consisted mostly of new material, as well as two songs by other band members and one song by two members of the crowd, named Patrick and Kevin. Devendra has also built a larger fanbase which will probably be even bigger when he plays Webster Hall on October 20th tickets are onsale
Devendra during Long Haired Child

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Whitestripes at Cincinnati Music Hall.

The Whitestripes 2
Originally uploaded by danfun.
The Whitestripes played Cincinnati Music Hall on September 12, 2005. Have seen the Whitestripes quite a few times and although this show was not my favorite performance of theirs it was still a very good show. The new material sounded great live some of it much better than it does on "Get Behind me Satan". One specific example of this "the Nurse" which was speed up and shortened and was preformed with Jack playing the xylophone and triggering feedback from his guitar. "Instinct Blues" also sounded great and is even more powerful live. In addition to the new songs sounding great the Whitestripes have not forgotten how to play their old songs. Ball & Biscuit sounded great, and continues to be one of their best songs live. They decide to play two 45 minutes set and then a 15-minute encore. Although I was more than pleased with the length of this show the two sets format, which kind of gave and A and B side feel to the night didn’t completely work for me. I kind of wish they had kept their momentum going and just played straight through. Jack and Meg were also joined by Johnny walker of the Solebad Brothers for Fought Piranhas/Going Back to Memphis. And jack also treated the audience to a five-minute story about a dream he had, which involved a cheese danish and city bus. The Whitestripes play Keyspan Park on September 24th and 25th.