Thursday, June 28, 2007

King Crab (Live at The Scene, Los Angeles CA)

These guys are a mystery. A white rap duet composed of two blond blue eyed fellas that imbue the California dude. Tonight, they have "disguised" themselves in cheesy Elvis aviators, trucker caps with stuffed rats stapled to them, and cheep terry cloth robes. Despite the sinking feeling I got when I saw them on the bill the performance was really entertaining. They made rapping on an empty stage to a group of about 20 people seem easy and kept it entertaining. It took a song or two for them to win over the entire crowd but when they busted out with shake that ass, shake that pussy, lookin' at you I like your moves, just about everyone in the bar was dancing. These guys are entertaining but, the thing is, it's hard to tell if they are trying to put one over on everyone. It leaves you at times scratching your head wondering if Jamie Kennedy is going to bust out of some side room with velour sweatsuit on. The set lasted for about 40 minutes and it seemed like everyone had enough about a half hour into the performance. So be warned all you quasi-jokester-white-boy-rap-duets that sing about genitalia. The half life for audience attention is 15 minutes. If you get thirty, be proud.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sikamor Rooney (Live at Asbury Lanes, NJ)

Sikamor Rooney is one of those bands that has such an eclectic mash of personalities it could be destined to either blow up like a Molotov cocktail or be the type of concoction that makes you kinda drunk and want to get all sexy with a large woman. Thankfully they are the latter... but the chic is really hot... and you're not wasted you're high. They play upbeat tunes that are reminiscent of early... very early... Blur with a stripped down, back beat style, rhythm section. Bradley York plays catchy guitar and sings clever lyrics about girls, while Dave Rosen (Parlor Mob) accents the songs and plays guitar leads that make you kind of wonder what would happen if you spent less time looking at Internet porn.

Ana Lola Roman (live at Luna Lounge, Brooklyn NY)

For me Ana Lola has been an enigma since she first appeared on myspace more than a year ago. I was originally drawn to her left of center approach to song writing and abstract lyrical style. Live, Ana Lola plays as a three piece. Her piano and vocals take the lead to a laid back rhythm section. This evening Ana sat at her piano and sang but the set still had theatrical feel to it. She defies comparison as a song writer but the songs are so unexpected, original, and have such a genuine quality that it is nearly impossible to look away while she is performing. You can find Ana Lola Roman's records on the Family Business which is a testament to her originality.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Glass Trees (Live at 58 Coles St., Jersey City NJ)

Glass Trees is the brainchild of Shaun Towey. This evening I found him leaning against a lamp-post outside the gallery staring down the street with an introspective gaze. I would later realize this is the perfect metaphor for his approach towards music and his performance on stage. The show was so laid back and the band was so comfortable but all the while there was a subtle electricity from Towey's delivery. Once the audience connected with that undercurrent the entire room had his undivided attention. It was really uncanny and something really cool to have witnessed. The band was a surly crew of misfits that Towey must have handpicked. They fit the bill perfectly and brought real musicianship into the fold. For me the songs are somewhere between Wilco and Ween with moments of unique ingenuity that gives the music its own "thing". I imagine this is what Brian Wilson would have sounded like had he been raised in upstate NY instead of Hawthorne, CA.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Flat Marry Road (Live Manhattan Room, Philadelphia)

It is usually a bad sign when you roll up to a club and one of the opening bands is scribbling their lyrics into a napkin on top of a pay-phone outside. But somehow this worked like magic for Flat Mary Road. They appeared to be a 5 or at times a 6 piece fronted by a spindly Steve Teare who's style on and off stage is reminiscent of Stuart Lupton pre-mental-breakdown. Papa's vocals are accented by Chrissy Doughty's harmonies which give the music an occasional airy quality that makes you want to smile. The set was sincere and at times endearingly shambolic which is to be expected from a new band. These guys were such a pleasant surprise and worked together so well I am sure shows 4 and 5 will be amazing... and shows 100 and 101 will be an unforgettable experience.

The Press (live at Lit Lounge, NYC)

The Press are 4 of the most laid back unassuming guys you will ever meet. I had no clue any of them were in the band... that is until they hit the stage in leopard print tunics. Ok . ok. You might say to yourself? Gimmicks!! Maybe. maybe. But in this case it is pulled it off to perfection and seems completely at home with the music, which is so catchy and so original but at the same time so familiar. The music goes between novelette arctic monkey like verses that sing the kind of story you wind up humming in your head all day to four piece harmonies that are reminiscent of of something that might come from the Ace Fu catalog of bands. These guys have toured the US and Australia on their own and their live show echos it. The Press is truly a unique band that has managed to write anti-pop songs with a hauntingly familiar sound in that "I have never heard anything like this before... I think" way.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Gay Blades (Live at the Manhattan Room, Philly, PA)

These guys were on fire from the minute they showed up at the venue. Or at least when I got there 5 hours before they hit the stage. Puppy Mills pulverizes the drums while playing the straight man to front man Clark Westfield's manic fits. Fits that occasionally force the songs to a screeching halt so he can shine the spotlight on unsuspecting audience members. The Gay Blades are a two piece guitar rock outfit with a pop sensibility that has just enough of a fresh edge to let you feel like you are witnessing a huge huge secret. They have done what very few bands can. They have successfully married the vulnerability that indie rock had long ago with a current rock aesthetic. This is one of the best live shows this author has seen in a long time.