Moonface solo piano @ Littlefield…After the shittiest commute comes the reward. We fucking made it!
Moonface solo piano @ Littlefield…After the shittiest commute comes the reward. We fucking made it!
Summer made its weekend debut like a cheeky miss in a cotton dress blowing in the wind this past Saturday and Sunday and it felt as though the beauty of these days couldn’t be better celebrated anywhere other than Governors Ball.
Saturday was the laziest of days spent laying in the grass, taking a nap with a hat guarding our faces from the sun listening to Santigold, Major Lazer and others from a distance. It was the perfect summer day and spending it as packed into a crowd was not the way to do it. Sunday proved opposite as we shot into active mode darting between the two stages. Starting off with death by folk and adorableness via Devy Banhart to feeling too many feels with the soul-rattling talents of Fiona Apple and Explosions in the Sky back-to-back and putting the dot on the i with the wicked fun of Modest Mouse.
Overall, Governors Ball offered the most easygoing festival experience this city could ever give us. The smooth bus commute to and from the island, the wonderful food options HELLO WAFELS & DINGES!, free access to water, the choice acts, everything was just so well-organized and great we may just do it again next year.
Words & pic by Cheep
In my life as music obsessed person I’ve learned to come to terms with the fact that there are live shows, either real or imagined, that have no chance in hell of ever happening. Ideal lineups combined with venue preferences that shall live in the far reaches of my mindscape until I cease to exist. Seeing Refused live was one of those far-fetched fantasies.
Through most of high school and during three years worth of bus commutes to university, I listened to the Swedish post-hardcore band, picturing singer Dennis Lxyzen get on that James Brown tip doing splits and shit and me going buck wild to “Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine.” I could see myself going hoarse belting out “Rather Be Dead” or “New Noise.” All of this in vain, as the bittersweet reality that I would never see those four Swedes do their thing, front row as chaos reigns in the pit, always kept me in check. Watching their documentary, Refused Are Fucking Dead not only gave me a taste of the unattainable but solidified the fact: These dudes are never going to get back together and make my life by playing a show in NYC. This was true for very long time…until 2012 rolled in.
Announcement of a reunion tour included a show at Terminal 5. At ticket sale time, everything seemed to be against me. Scalpers scalped and credit cards malfunctioned, all seemed lost until it wasn’t. A second date was added due to popular demand and the deed was done: I was going to see Refused rip Terminal 5 a new butthole. On a Monday night, nonetheless.
My dream wouldn’t exactly be fulfilled as I imagined it. Much Iess daring than I was back then, I found solace from the impending whirlwind pit of sweat, skin and aggression that was bound to develop below on the last floor of the venue, with a bird’s eye view of the stage.
Nostalgia wafted through the venue as the pre-show playlist blared all the bands I fell in love with over a decade ago along with Refused: At the Drive-In, early Thursday, Glassjaw blared through the speakers until openers Ceremony hit the stage.
The California punks warmed up the crowd with a short set, highlighting the tracks on their punchy 2012 debut Zoo. The singer was absurd yet charming flailing across the stage like a contorted Smiths-era Morrissey — coif ye high in a stretched out worn white tee and faded black jeans — sideways inclined and falling short of oscillating wildly. The band inspired the semblance of circle pit that fizzled quickly (maybe they were just saving their energy for the headliners?). It didn’t phase them and they played on for what seemed like 10 minutes. We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to some guy named Robbie then next thing I knew the singer was blowing kisses at the masses and it was over.
The curtain went down for the last time and through the veil flashed “REFUSED” in amber, the crowd yelling the band’s name at the rhythm of the light. Once the veil dropped and the band got rolling it was full steam ahead. Dennis was just unstoppable. Owning the stage with complete finesse, he sashayed all over, got a few splits in, jumped off stuff and into the crowd. He’s got one of my most favorite stage personalities since Cedric Bixler-Zavala. These guys are soulful creatures with endless energy oozing out of their lanky bodies until they’re dripping in sweat. When he wasn’t being a choatic yet graceful swan on stage, his on stage banter comprised of gratitude and self-deprication. Especially before Lou Koller of Sick of It All came out and he said they were just a band trying to sound like the NYHC legends before going into a SOIA cover.
Needless to say, the band was loud, the whirlwind growing with the volume, reaching it’s apex when that solo introducing “New Noise” played. That was fun and expected and all but the most memorable moment for me was hearing “Rather Be Dead” live. It was cathartic, as usual, like a shot in the arm. I damn near lost my head yelling, “RATHER BE AAAALIVE!” it was as if everything was Millhouse and nothing hurt.
I walked out to buy some merch right after ‘New Noise,’ to beat the crowd. Came back to the floor for the finale and after Dennis shouted “Stay curious, stay wild and stay fucking hungry,” I walked out before the masses had the chance, heart warmed and full of hope and happiness much like I always do after a really good show, sad that I couldn’t share this with Snail but happy I could now say that the seemingly impossible happened and it was pretty damn sweet. —Cheep
Photo by Jonathan McPhail via brooklynvegan
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING IS COMING TO NYC IN EPIC OCTOBER!!!!!!
It’s time to resurrect excited middle aged Asian man because two years later our October will still be of epic proportions and Everything Everything is returning to New York City for CMJ. The fest runs from Oct 16-20 but the official schedule is TBA so we have no idea when they’re going to play yet!
I had a date with these three tonight, it was pretty fuggsin’ perfect. —Cheep
This is what we did today, plus exploring the city and its culinary delights… Earl grey gelato and glorious Tibetan dofu! All is possible here.
Tonight we say, New York we love you, and you’re not bringing us down. Love, C&S.
This weekend went in the books for many a reason, one of which was finally meeting our favorite New York City personality. For years we’ve called him Dress Vest, after one of first pieces of an ensemble we ever saw him in, admiring his sartorial creations and sass from a far. On Saturday, our lives reached a new high when after catching Snail trying to take a picture, our hero came up to us concerned the staples he was using to hold together his skirt bottom were showing in the photo. Relieved he was not angry —the last thing we want to do is disrespect this man — we assured him they were nowhere to be seen and ended up in a 20-minute conversation with this visionary. He told us how he made his current outfit, from his elaborate flowered and feathered hat to his slip and skirt to giving him input for changes. Starstruck and complete immersed, all we wanted to do was listen to him go on about his creations and ideas and forgot to ask him his real name. Either way, it was the best thing that could’ve happened while Moz was here.
Last year’s release of Modeselektor's bouncy third LP Monkeytown filled us with giddy and lying in wait for some live action. After all, studio versions are fine but the live show’s the thing and it was only a matter of time until Gernot and Szary would come around with our favorite bangers. On this fateful day, our set wishlist in our brainpans, we were more than ready for this jelly.
A righteous stuffing of pizza and beer from Fornino prefaced the party at Music Hall. Low Limit made bodies rock with his mixmastering. One dancer in particular wowed us with his graceful undulating movements. I christened him AZN Child (said like Beyonce says it in her stellar role a protective wife and mother in Obsessed), he was like an angel whose badassery put us all to shame.
Much like Modeselektor and Pfadinderei awesomeness always does.
Fresh computer interface-themed visuals and our favorite monkey mascot reincarnated as a blue light portrait flashing behind them, our boys turned it out, working down a fantastic mix of new and old for a packed floor at our sixth Modeselektor show — third at this venue. Wasting no time, we went hard from the get-go to opening bassy bouncer “Grillwalker.” Super-favorite “Pretentious Friends” made us go ballistic. Classics like “2000007” and “Godspeed” were not left behind but our bodies began to malfunction. Having gulped 2 lame beers each and becoming increasingly dehydrated by the second, we were put out of commission pretty quickly. Despite the ultra-cotton mouth and physical lag, stopping the dance was not an option.
During “Evil Twin” we missed Otto Von Schirach an “OTTOOOOOOOOO!” escaped us. Maybe he’d magically appear in his lucha libre mask and bejazzled grandma sweater from Highline Ballroom where he was opening for Atari Teenage Riot, again, but alas he did not. Everyone went cray as expected to their mega hit “Black Block” and their staple champagne showers. By the time “Shipwreck” came up we gathered enough energy to go nuts during this glitchy Thom Yorke collab. Like last time, Moderat's beautiful “A New Error” was our closing encore.
Unlike before, there were no remixes, Siriusmo songs or disturbing comedic art from Fantastic Nobodies :(. Also, after what feels like an eternity of waiting, WE FINALLY GOT OUR MONKEY SHIRTS, too! Now we can be red pants Thom Yorke for Halloween — or every day — as we’ve daydreamed.
Tore up from the floor up from the night’s madness, we still entertained the idea of seeing the German duo play Bowery Ballroom the next day. Maybe we could finally meet and bear hug the poop out of these bringers of fun and happiness but it didn’t work out. Again. Will we ever bite the bullet and tell these dudes in the least creepy sounding way possible how amazing they are to our lives? Stay tuned to find out on the next “C&S see Modeselektor Live for the umpteenth time.” —Cheep
There’s a problem that’s plagued us for years: missing bands we love play live. Consecutively. For no good reason at all. It happened with Battles and it happened more recently with Tanlines. The city’s best tweeting band have slipped past our radar every time since we first listened to them, last year’s MoMA PS1 free show hurting the most. Needless to say, on the day of our first Tanlines show, mundane tasks were damned and restlessness and exciting anticipation ruled us.
This feeling lingered through the opening sets and during the excruciating wait for the headling act to come on. Soon enough, everything was its right place.
On a stage littered with neon lit plastic plants and matching psychedelic backdrop, our beloved purveyors of winky-sadnesssinger/guitarist Eric Emm and synth master Jesse Cohen owned the night with tropical-splashed electronic pop featuring jammies off their new record, Mixed Emotions. From an ideal dancing spot against the wall, we got down like it was the best club night ever during the likes of crowd fave “All of Me” and “Real Life” (!!!!!!) and chilled just as hard on slower tracks. Betwixt songs, kind-eyed Cohen was acting MC throwing out adorable quips, stories and a sweet compliment or two at his buddy who reserved his voice and coyly smiled at his friend’s entertaining banter.
This night wrapped up in the best way with a total dance riot during non-encore “Real Life.” As time does tend to fly when you’re having fun and a band’s catalog is a couple of releases long, it felt all too fleeting but well worth the wait. Our band crush now in the redzone, we picked up copies of the Mixed Emotions limited edition tan vinyl and swooned into the night. —Cheep
eudemonia \yoo-di-MOH-nee-uh, noun:
1. Happiness; well-being.
As everything in the universe is interconnected, it was only likely this Dictionary.com Word of the Day would manifest in my inbox the morning after being consumed by the true happiness of seeing The Joy Formidable headline at Terminal 5.
Being early didn’t render us lucky this time around, the opening bands didn’t really tickle our fancy. Violens opened up the night with a post-punk set that reminded us of The Cure and The Stone Roses at times but didn’t rouse much from us besides being thankful that they didn’t blow incessantly. We can’t say the same about A Place to Bury Strangers. Despite having a pretty cool band name, the sensual assault they spewed was probably what being sucked into a black hole feels like. Literally, nothing short of torture, we were subjected to about half an hour’s worth of eardrum crushing distortion in the dark and blinding projector lights. It seemed as though no prayers could stop this mess soon enough. (Cheep’s Note: I realize this is quite strong and Neg-Nancy. Usually I’d rather just say nothing bad at all, just not our cuppa or whatever, but it had been a long time since I felt this uncomfortable and in turn pissed off at a band at a live show :()
Fortunately, order was soon restored by The Joy Formidable's permagrin-causing raucous. If their live show is any indication, despite their heartbreak-driven songs, the Welsh trio is the happiest band in the world. They have the time of their lives on tour. The stage is their playground and head (guitar) mistress, Ritzy Bryan is the leader of the coolest gang on it. The rambunctious pixie ran around in her black peter pan-collared dress with her own crazy grin and her big blue eyes open wide, guitar strapped — when not thrown haphazardly on the stage to bang a gong — belting the contents of The Big Roar including faves “The Magnifying Glass” and “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade.”
Her irresistible charm extended to the mid-set stage banter. Excited and littered with characteristic F-bombs, Ritzy vocalized their gratitude, recounted their first performance in the city at T5 when they mistakenly thought the solid greatness of their sonic boom caused the crowd to part — in reality, it was just a bit of sick in the back of the room that disgusted everyone into scurrying to the sides. She even got playful with her bandmates. Bassist Rhydian Dafydd, who was celebrating his birthday, was awarded an “old fart” from her lips. As for drummer Matt Thomas, he got the school marm treatment, hands on hips, formal address and all, for playing with the soundboard while she spoke. Ms. Bryan apologized for their craziness explaining they had been holed up in a studio in Portland, Maine recording their second album (!!!). Trapped in snow and isolated from humans so long, she said, they started talking to the animals outside.
During the encore, for being such good boys and girls Rhydian and Ritzy played a new song from that album, the soft and lovely acoustic number “The Silent Treatment.” Soon, Matt returned, to everyone’s surprise, in a full red lobster costume to play us out with the epic bang of “Whirring.” Beginning with a beautiful harp intro courtesy of a special guest and ending with Ritz jumping down to the barricade to greet her loyal groundlings before heading off into the night.
After the show, faces hurting from smiling so hard the entire set, we rode this state of eudemonia into the rest of the night. Everything was just coming up Millhouse: we caught a cab in front of the venue (usually impossible) and found a place in Times Sq. that sells veg fare (unheard of). The joy was so overwhelming we almost imploded. Almost. Instead, we just went to bed grateful for the feeling. —Cheep (w/ shitty photo by Snail).
Truth be told, we get blasted into hyperspace quite often at shows. Our addiction to this feeling is what keeps us attending concerts despite ourselves. So after a night of mind-melting dance madness hosted by SBTRKT we had a change of heart: there’s no use in planning to skip shows and save money next year.
Hell, we can’t even sit out on an opener when planned if the music moves us.
NYC’s own Cubic Zirconia's got us up off the floor and shimmying with timbale-happy disco house bangers. Once we caught wind of what was happening on stage, the sassy singer Tiombe Lockhart won our approval. Fearless and sensual, it was difficult to keep your eyes off her. She reminded us of Buraka Som Sistema’s resident dancing queen Blaya but left much booty shaking to be desired. We’ll chalk it up to her dress being too tight for her to get down harder than she did. Shit did get dark real quick for the last track, a rocking finale with Lockhart rightfully screaming her ass off. It was totally out of left for CZ virgins like ourselves but cool all the same.
Our own cool was lost upon catching the dynamic duo that makes up SBTRKT live set up their stations. Seeing Aaron Jerome and Sampha slay at this summer’s MoMA PS1 WarmUp did little to prepare us for the craziness of a proper headlining show. A short set sandwiched between acts in broad daylight was great but there’s a different quality to the energy of headlining the night and we couldn’t be more psyched about the possibilities.
After a brief introduction from Mr. Jerome, the guys went head first into “Heatwave” while we plunged into insanity from the sound. The sold-out crowd moved to tricked out versions of songs from SBTRKT’s out-of-this-world self titled debut. Sampha’s sweet yet melancholy honey-rich voice got the best of us during “Trails of the Past” and “Something Goes Right,” grooving as we wept inside. The particularly awesome Drake mix of “Wildfire" and a sick extended mix of our favorite "Pharaohs" (which they didn’t play the first time we saw them) were no cause for tears but a dream come true, it was absolutely mental. Also thrown in the loop was new-to-our-ears title track from the equally euphoric Step in Shadows EP. I kicked myself after listening to this live since the EP has been sitting in my computer for weeks, untouched. Currently it’s all I listen to. Snail said it’s better we didn’t listen to the EP before or we’d whine about how they didn’t play more of it. She had a point.
All night, Aaron jumped from drums to theremin to mixers and laptop like a mad scientist, frenetically fetching the right test tubes for this surreal dance experiment he and Sampha were conducting on the audience. The result was a hallucinogenic experience that left us all crazy for more. After a stunning encore with “Never, Never” and a purchasing of the vinyl, we left on a high. Refusing to believe it was over we were forced to ask “Where’s the afterparty?” To our delight they’re to return for Phase II of the experiment in March and we’re counting the days! —Cheep
Photo from Seattle date by David Lichterman
On a Mischief Night more akin to a sleepy Sunday night than the devilish eve before Halloween, Montreal’s Moonface lured costumed customers away from the holiday shenanigans to Bowery Ballroom for some nice organ music fun.
Hitting the floor well after Tammar's set, we caught Talkdemonic and became instantly enamored. The Portland, Oregon instrumental duo dropped some weather appropriate electro-folk jams that reminded Snail of I See Rowboats (now sadly disbanded). While the music was enough to reel us in, the band had us completely at their unique stage presence. Witnessing our first viola rock-out courtesy of Lisa Molinaro, we wondered why other bowed string musicians didn’t get down like that, too. Drummer Kevin O’Connor kept it classy, boldly jumping from stage to floor weaving through the scantily crowded audience playing a melodica.
Blame it on Sunday, the holiday, or the efficiency of Spencer Krug's unspoken strategy to revert to obscurity with this project (we'll go with the last one), the venue only grew to about half capacity by the time Moonface came on. Dimly lit with a fireplace going in the background, Spencer and his cohort, the amazing Mike Bigelow played a set similar to their previous shows at Envelope and Mercury Lounge with a few exceptions. No “Shit-Hawk in the Snow” left room for an unreleased song Spencer admitted rips off lyrics from Real Life’s 80’s classic “Send Me an Angel.” Quite generously, we were also gifted with a very rare encore with solo Spencer doing a beautiful cover of Fine Young Cannibals’ “I’m Not The Man I Used To Be”.
Seemingly growing more chatty with every leg of this tour, Mr. Krug not only entertained audience shouts but indulged us with a couple of silly anecdotes. First he recounted their plan to dress up like Jim Morrison and a member of The Blue Man Grouponly to can the idea because they’d be too busy dying of laughter to play. Later, we learned about his first run in with American police on a highway all due to a driver taking a joke sign, “Mike is stuck in a Haagen Daz container, Send Help!”, on the window back of the mini van too seriously.
Keeping his promise to reinvent Moonface as he goes (he’s currently recording material with Finnish band Siinai for the next release), Spencer announced this would be last time we’d hear the contents of Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped played live. While its bittersweet to think we’d have to wait longer than a couple months to see him live again, after three times, it’s easier to say goodbye to the old songs and hello to the next musical reincarnation of Spencer Krug. —Cheep
Photo by Charles Steinberg via The House List