Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bat for Lashes

Incredible performance...

Waiting in the bowery ballroom for the Bat for Lashes show to start. Question: Why do shows start so goddamned late now? It's ridiculous man. It enrages me! If the doors are at 8 then, logically the show should start at 9. Tonight, Bat for Lashes come on at 10:30... Really? Even with Lewis & Clark opening that's late. Ugh.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Of Montreal

A tiger in a 3-piece suit assaults a young robust woman. Gas mask wearing nuclear families and their Christmas trees poison one of their own with a strange, infectious, and deadly gas. Feathers shoot out of elaborate tubes. A sex maniac wearing a hot pink asymmetrical leotard throws glitter. Jesus and Pigs. There are dancing red sheet people aiding a musician in acrobatics. A myriad color show of bizarre and dynamic proportions is projected behind the players on the stage. There is a guitarist wearing feathered football shoulder pads. The icing on this crazy ass cake is that this all takes place in an old olive oil factory. This is not a drug-induced nightmare. This is not one of my wildest dreams. This is just another Of Montreal show that happened in Williamsburg this past Friday night in its Music Hall on 6th street.

Kevin Barnes, adorned in a Prince-esque purple leather waist cinched jacket, obscenely tight pants, and a pair of fantastic magenta kitten heels is the ringleader to this nightmarish circus of sound and vision. He wore silver eye make up and sang like a cherub freshly introduced to cocaine. I was in a sheer opulent heaven of confusing sound and vision.

Of Montreal is one of those groups that hipsters once knew and loved. Then- the unthinkable happened. They sold a snippet of one of their more famous tracks to be used in a commercial for Outback Steakhouse. They were shunned from the Indie scene for their "sell out" tactics. I was never a fan of the "scene". I am not in it- and I pray I never am. For, the "scene" has too many unreasonable rules and stipulations... My only rule is, "If I like what you make, it's good for me." Of Montreal is good. They are glitter and nightmares combined... the unknown love-child of David Bowie. Their eccentric sounds and visual representation make them one of the more interesting groups out there. If you have even a shred of creativity in you you'll appreciate what they're doing. You may not like it- but you'll certainly appreciate it.



The sound was stellar and over the top. I have seldom heard such a wild montage of musical styling performed on one stage. One moment they were Glam to the extreme, the next they were funk, soon there after they were punk rockers, another moment they would transform into a sketch comedy group. YES there was even interpretive dance. This is all flashy I admit, but underneath the "show" there's quality music being made.

NO style is safe from them. They will take it, remodel it, and make it their own. I have seen the future of music, and it's model is Of Montreal. Do have a listen sometime. OH- and remember to smile and dance. That seems to be their lifelong musical mission.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Janelle Monae!!

Imagine for a moment if James Brown and Ella Fitzgerald and Outkast and every other stelllllar woman of music got together, pooled their genes, and had a gorgeous androgynous baby... then you may get Janelle Monae! I'M in love!

Smile...

videoIf... you... just... smile...

UHHHH WOW

Holy Janelle Monae!!!!!!

Opener #1

videoNot sure of the sound quality but to quote my sister: " these guys are swinging"!

At the Of Montreal show...

AT the of Montreal show now... here's opening act #1 ;-) I don't know their name YET! Something "transmission"? They have kind of a funky TMBG crossed with Modest Mouse thing going on...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Long Live the King?

There's something so disturbing and sad about the dethroned king of pop Michael Jackson selling off his posessions from Neverland Ranch.

The NY Times wrote an article and pictured some of the more "memorable" items (as seen above & below). They pointed out the juxtaposition between his affinity to Royalty & Child-like themes. Peter Pan was the most dominant icon for me. Michael Jackson created a sensation not seen since The Beatles and there has yet to be a performer today to prove themselves as his equal. No one has given due credit to the legacy he created. Granted, he is partly responsible for the degradation of his status. He went from pop culture icon to the notorious & derranged man-boy we see today. Is his ostricization going to be remembered more than his music? I doubt it... it may take decades but I think some day the legend will outlive the infamy.

In the meantime, why don't you go and check out the pieces being auctioned off from this modern day Citizen Kane's Xanadu...

A True & Timeless Masterpiece

I weep at the INSANE BEAUTY before me...

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Faint and Ladytron.

As my previous entries have stated, I attended the dual headlining show for Ladytron and The Faint at Webster Hall on Friday night... The details are muddled to me now, mainly because I got ABSURDLY hammered off of delicious Sangria at a little restaurant called La Paella on E. 9th Street only moments before we entered Webster Hall. I'm amazed I managed to take that picture above and that it is only slightly blurry, but I digress... We got to Webster Hall slowly, sloppily, and without any sense of urgency. This pleased me, not just because I was inebriated, but because it is keeping up with one of my 2009 concert going resolutions, that "I will attempt to NOT be so anal retentive and stressed out when it comes to arriving to shows." BUT I DIGRESS AGAIN. There's a reason for all these tangents... I'm sorry to say this, but... the show was lack luster. I was wholly unimpressed. I am a VERY enthusiastic concert goer. More often than not, I am told that I am an easy to please critic, and that my entries come off more as "the ramblings of a soccer mom" than the stereo typical embittered music fan. It's a title I find myself happy with, despite my "dark" appearances, but there's a reason for my enthusiasm. I will be energetic and positive about the show, as long as that enthusiasm is equal to or slightly less than that of the band on stage. The show can only be as good as the people performing it. Fans can only do so much.

We got into Webster Hall whilst the opening act was still on. The crowd was sparse, so we managed to finagle some rather awesome seats (aka hoisted our asses up next to the speakers on the right, at the FRONT of the stage), a GA show became seated! Victory!! WHAT a good start!

The Faint came on swiftly and VERY efficiently. Without any reservations, they proceeded to MELT OUR FACES with raw energy and some killer ass thumpin' grooves. I found myself nodding my head in a zombified state, dancing in place, and when I DID take a break to look up at the rest of the world, I found that I was not alone. Everyone on the floor was moving. Every person in there was thrilled to be there and were having a GREAT time. More importantly, the FAINT were having fun up on that stage. Their energy was palpable and the crowd responded incredibly well to it. It made myself and my concert bud Brian instant fans. The keyboardist in particular was in rare form. I haven't seen someone standing behind a stationary instrument seem so alive in QUITE a while. The entire band was full of a vibrant and infectious energy... the whole room seemed to buzz with it. I'm happy to say that the keyboardist wasn't alone up there in energy level, why, the lead singer bounced around so much that I couldn't capture a still image of him! The music was the perfect marriage of post-new wave rock pop, with a smattering of my ever reliable industrial sentiments. The sound was FULL, complex, and interesting- which with as many people as there were on that stage can some times be hard to do. On a side note, the people around me were pleasant and accommodating during the Faint's set DESPITE the somewhat aggressive yet dance-able music.

Now, I am sure you are saying to yourself, "Wait, Madame K said the show was lack luster... I ain't reading anything even remotely lack luster about the Faint." WELL, you won't hear any bad reviews of the Faint... Ladytron, however, is another story all together. The contrast between these two groups were incredibly obvious. The Faint left the stage, as quickly and efficiently as they had entered. The roadies ran about like maniacs preparing the stage for Ladytron... this is when time seemed to slow down to a trickle. The audience was so high from the Faint that they barely noticed- initially... but then the minutes stretched on and on... normally you wait a WHILE between sets for the "headliner"- SURE, but this was a co-headliner show. There were no "frills" to set up. The only real "frill" I picked up on was a rather meticulous roadie taking 15 minutes to tenderly place folded towels and carefully unscrewed water bottles at the feet of the ladies mics! I was irritated before the show even began. I think we can all agree this is NOT a good start. The show FINALLY began about 45 minutes later. And here is how it came off to me:


Ladytron was one of the DULLEST groups I've ever seen perform live. All the members remained frozen in place, barely lifting a finger from their keyboards and sound machines. The crowd became comatose. Sure, we responded when a more popular song came on, but, really, there wasn't anything there for us on stage that we couldn't have gotten listening to our IPODS in the comfort of our home! They took thrashing violent exciting waves of people, and turned them to dull stagnant pools of apathy. The ghostly voices of the Ladies couldn't even be heard over the din of the synthetic music. The ambiance of Ladytron was gunned down and left dead on that stage by their chilly indifference. I found myself nodding not to the music- but TO SLEEP. I wish I could say I got a decent photograph out of it, but they left the stage so intolerably dark that you couldn't even really see the group. I got the sense that they were shy little girls whispering on stage. It reminded me of the Mike Myers Sprockets Sketch- not just because of the all black get-ups... but because of their stillness paired with only the occasional jerky armed thrash-about, and their DEAD PAN seriousness! This image was the only thing that amused me during the entire performance. It's a damn shame, really, because it was shaping up to be a great show. About the only positive thing I CAN say is that Ladytron certainly helped me wind down after such a raw energetic show from the Faint.

I am sad to say am not alone on this sentiment, I was perusing the Brooklyn Vegan (as I am apt to do) and I stumbled across an anonymous poster's commentary from 3/15, with a similar perspective.
videoGhosts!

Sweeeeeeet!

videoOh yeah!!

More Faint!!!!

MMmmm YES!

The Faint

videoMY MISAKE! This is the FAINT

Ladytron& Guests!

and I'M Going in!!

Ladytron & The Faint!

Preparing myself for one hell of a good friday!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Conspiracy of Beards.

Leonard Cohen is a legend among men. He creates a lyrical & poetic landscape of pure romance and unapologetic smut with one deep throated whisper. He makes even the most grizzled man whimper for the love of a woman, and yearn for nostalgia once forgotten. Listening to his music makes women aware of the depths of a man's soul and his plight through this complicated world. He is mans answer to romance. "roMANce" if you will. When I hear songs like Chelsea Hotel, Suzanne, I'm Your Man, and countless others- I sense an intimacy and subtle understanding of the harsher sex. He relays information to me about what it might be like to be an intelligent, concise, and creative man. Countless scores of men have chosen to sing Leonard Cohen's music over the years. He has become a celebrated- yet obscure beacon of light in the arena of emotional masculine expression. A tip of the trademark fedora is due to this icon among men.

So, I ask you this, what is better than one man crooning the songs of Leonard Cohen? Why, THIRTY of them of course!

The Conspiracy of Beards appeared in my "Upcoming Shows" list via Sonic Living on my Pandora a few months ago. I was instantly intrigued. I looked them up and discovered that they are a 30 man A Cappella group who sing the songs of Leonard Cohen. Emails instantaneously ensued. Like a crazed whirlwind, my comrade Lee Ann and I set the date with Sara. We ended up having a cabaret style lunch complete with booze, very delicious food, and the music of Leonard Cohen.

A rather sweet opening act- who's name I can't remember right now, played sweet songs on his guitar and sang with his eyes closed. I definitely dug his style. Very chill.


Then, on shuffled 30 men, all in suits, varying in age and style. At first I was disappointed when I saw that only some of the men were BEARDED... but then, they started with "If It Be Your Will" and all was forgiven. WOW is all I can say. Simply wow. They sounded INCREDIBLE.

A choir of the MANLIEST angels ever!

They held my attention for the entire performance. I was worried that it was going to feel silly, or become formulaic and get "old" fast, but that never happened. These men are genuine and have very obviously dedicated themselves to each song and its performance. They treated each tune with the utmost respect and made even the more "trite" lyrics suddenly sound sacred (i.e. "All the ladies go moist" and the song, "Don't Go Home with Your Hard On"). Incidentally, I fell in love with every baritone up there. As a deep voiced lady m'self, I got to say I have a soft spot for any man who's voice is on the verge of being a low frequency pitch nearly unrecognizable by human ears. I could gush all night at the perfection of this choir... their panache, their pitch, their humor, their grace, even their choice of songs from Mr. Cohen's catalog. They performed- If It Be Your Will, Suzanne, So Long Marianne, Tower of Song, Who By Fire, Hallelujah, Chelsea Hotel, First We Take Manhattan... and so many more incredible songs. All that is left to say is this, if you love Leonard Cohen and find yourself in need of a good thorough crooning, do yourself a favor and see Conspiracy of Beards.

And now, I leave you with the closer (see below post)

FWD:FIN.

videoLook @ the serious bro-mances going on up there!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Something to Whet Your Appetite so to Speak haha

videoThe Chelsea Hotel by The Conspiracy of Beards... Can I just say how much I LOVE the baritones??? Ugh I want to have some deep voiced babies with one 'Em lol

The Conspiracy of Beards!

If it be your will...

Opening Act @ the Beards Show...

Aww and awe to those who sing with eyes closed. Opener for the bearded choir (Who's name I haven't caught)...

Mmmmm....

Lunch and Booze @ a concert? Yes please!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sub-Bowie

Random Bowie quotes on the subway always cheer up this down girl.

A Day to Remember... Literally.

I've been to a fair share of shows in my lifetime, but I do recall, quite clearly a time in my adolescence when I was deemed "too young" to be allowed to go into THE CITY to a concert or show, and I was left hysterical and dramatic begging for absolution, but, to no avail.

Not so long ago, I received a cryptic Facebook message from my 15-year-old cousin Chloe, she was writing to ask about the safety of the neighborhood around "The Fillmore at Irving Plaza". I could've laughed out loud at the absurdity of this question- "All of NYC is pretty safe now, Union Square is crawling with cops now... why are you asking?". I could sense the hesitation, then she tells me, "There's a concert going on there and I REALLY REALLY want to go, but mom thinks it won't be safe..." I can feel the question forming over the internet, but I know she won't want to inconvenience me, so I ask it for her, "Do need me to chaperone?"... You know where the story goes from there I assume. Why did I do this? I certainly didn't know the bands she was so desperate to see. My spidey senses were tingling with the warning of teenaged angst that I know longer knew or understood as an adult (FINALLY), but something came over me as I read her words. I could give her the opportunity I never had. I could be the cool cousin who gave her the chance that her mother would've refused her- OH IF ONLY I HAD HAD SOMEONE LIKE ME when I was her age! YES! I'll do it-I thought- It's a mitzvah, a good thing I am doing for her, and her 2 friends... I have to get out of work and lose some money? Oh, O...K... "So, what are the names of the bands?" I ask... "Oh, The Devil Wears Prada and A Day To Remember... and there are 2 opening acts... Emarosa and Miss May I". It was as if she was speaking Greek to me. I decide to do a little homework to prepare, and promptly head to Myspace to find check the bands out.

The names alone imply the sound... or so I thought. I mean, one band referencing a female oriented fashionista book and the other sounding like sentimental nostalgia + the fragile and girly frame of my 15 year old cousin Chloe? These'll be pop bands perhaps with some cutie boy crooner singing about heartache. I won't enjoy it but, sure, I can handle it. I find the page for the Devil Wears Prada... the music is buffering... when, I hear the familiar riff of angry metal, the boom of the bass drum, "OH!" I exclaim to myself... "Metal? Really? Wow, I wasn't expecting metal- but uhhh cool!". It's a moment later when the shredded barks and incoherent vocals kick in, that I get one of the rudest awakenings of 2009. "OH GOD... it's- it's METALCORE? I'm going to chaperone a METALCORE show??". That's right. Your humble narrator is escorting 3 teenagers to a METALCORE show. If you've ever been to Hot Topic you've heard METALCORE. Know that music that plays so loudly you can't hear yourself sort through the overpriced "unique punk-like" merch? Yeah, that's METALCORE. Chloe, my cute adorable Chloe, is listening to metalcore. She still looks like an angel to me, a cherub, but now, it dawns on me, that she is adolescent, and I am her shepherd and protector.

A month flies by and it's already the day of the show. I leave my office promptly at 2 to meet my cousins in Penn Station- her mother and father have ridden the train in with them- safety first, always adult supervision! (This is when I realize, I am SO glad I'm an unescorted adult). We have a pleasant lunch/dinner of my picking which, luckily everybody enjoyed, we left around 4:45 and off to wait in the LINE that had no doubt already formed outside the club! Yes... indeed it had, and then we wait.

We wait some more. Doors were supposed to be at 5:30... yeahhhhhh.... not happening. 6:30? O...K.

I'm already under the weather, and exhausted, but I don't complain- much. We get in and when I see the amount of equipment piled up against the side of the rear wall I know this is going to be one hell of an ordeal. I stake out an area for ourselves. There are metal barricades set up on the far right side of the concert hall near the equipment. As a salty concert vet- I figure this is the best place to experience the show yet hold your own ground with a physical assault only happening from one side of your body as opposed to all. I hate how right I am sometimes. I give Chloe and her comrades some tips before the show. "OK Chlo- I know you want to see these bands, but you also need to protect yourself. This railing is your LIFELINE. When the crowds gets too rough- I want you to hold on to this railing TIGHT with both hands and put your back to it. Now, your family, so I know you got a big ole booty to use as cushion against the crowd. USE IT. Trust me, your back is a LOT more resilient than your front- I don't want anything happening to your face or your internal organs! The position to remember is "CLUTCH and CRANE" again, CLUTCH AND CRANE. Clutch onto this barricade, and CRANE your head to view the performers. Got it?" She laughs at me and says she'll be fine. She's right of course... but she does utilize my technique before long.

The show begins. Miss May I are the opening act. A metalcore band from Ohio- they are everything I expect to hear blasting noisily from the speakers of Hot Topic- and they certainly delivered that (I thank god repeatedly for the ear plugs stuffed into my head). The music itself is quite solid- very metal. The nihilistic barkings from the youthful curly haired youth? Well, let's just say it ain't my cup of tea. It seemed before the show even had a chance to begin- the kids in the crowd were getting antsy. The massive sway had already begun, piles of sweaty flesh has already started to press itself against me and my flock. When Miss May I began? It was pure chaos. Almost instantly I felt the metal barricades buckle and begin to collapse under my clutch. Bouncers swarmed immediately and began bracing it a weak points. "Make room for the crowd surfers to move back to the back, please" one of the bouncers says to me, slightly irritated by my clutch and crane tactics. "I ain't stopping them. If they can move through this crowd at all they're certainly not going to be stopped by me." I smile as warmly as I can, because, concert lesson #2 ALWAYS be nice to the bouncers at a show because they can be your best friend, or your WORST adversary. This night, the bouncers were my best friends. I smirk and nod in acknowledgment any time one was near, out of sheer courtesy and respect for the crap they were putting up with. The nod even earned me a free bottle of water! WOW! Courtesy from a bouncer?? After a mere 25 minutes, Miss May I leave the stage. I am surprised. Chloe and her friends are not.

The second group Emarosa come on after taking only 15 minutes to set up. I got to say, I am impressed. Although it was a very slow and delayed start, everyone is certainly making up for lost time now. The crew techs are efficient and useful. The bouncers are helpful. It's like nothing I've ever seen before! Emarosa come out, and, oh yeah, they're all donning the euro-mullet, skinny jeans, ironic t-shirts, and are all slightly cute guys. I sigh in relief, knowing full well that they will be a little easier on the ear. Thank god, I am right. The singer can actually SING and the band can play. The crowd is still hyper active, moshing, and surfing, but it seems subdued. The calm before the storm, I imagine. With my arms and hands hinged firmly over the railing, I even manage to get some sarcastic texts in with my buddy WHILE the concert is going on FULL BLAST.

Being in full view of all my buddies, the bouncers, one sees me texting, leans over and asks (well screams, really) "You're not enjoying the show?" I look up from my phone, laugh, and shout back "NAH, it's OK it's just not my sound- I'm chaperoning." He looks confused, and asks "Wait, you don't have an ID Bracelet on- are you old enough to chaperone?" I laugh and say "Oh yeah, I didn't get one... let's just say I am 10 years older than the kids I'm looking after". "Oh, cool- usually we're not allowed to talk to anyone in the crowd b/c they're usually underage, but now that I know you are... we can talk! So, Why didn't you get a bracelet, then? Wouldn't you want to drink- or are you a cougar lookin' for some teenaged boys to corrupt?" I laugh out loud, and roll my eyes, "PLEASE. I am chaperoning, I wanted to set a good example and NOT drink, you know?". He comes back with "You're babysitting NOT NURSING THEM!". It's then I realized a little too late that this guy is hittin' on me. He wasn't creepy about it so I don't mind too much... I laugh again, and say, "Nahh, it wouldn't be the responsible thing to do, besides, this is WAY more interesting sober!". At that the crowd gets riled up again, and I am pressed up against the barricade trying not to crush any vital organs, or my giant purse. The flirtatious bouncer sees my struggle, and is nice enough to take my bag and put it safely behind the barricade. Emarosa exit. Again, they played for a mere 35 minutes!

We hear it announced that the next act is A Day to Remember, and Chloe and her friend go NUTS at the sheer mention of the name! "YESSSSSS!" They scream together... and the rest of the crowd is just as equally excited. The massive sway returns, and the bum rush of all 1000 teenagers ensues. Oh lord, this next act is going to be rough. I brace myself and wait calmly, knowing fully well that I am in the eye of the storm. A prompt 20 minutes later. The first headliner, A Day to Remember emerge. The chaotic din of the angst ridden teens has begun before they even set foot on stage. Now they are on- and it only increases in madness. They are indeed metalcore- but audible for this old lady. Let me tell ya- it has been YEARS since I've seen this sort of energy at a show! The are relentless onslaughts of moshers. There're crowd-surfers are being passed over in 3's and 4's. The massive sway is on full throttle- and all 1000 kids when they're not surfing or beating the crap out of each other- are all JUMPING up and down in sync to the visceral beats of the double bass drum. I literally FELT the floor beneath me quivering and buckle with the force. It even cause the delicately placed equipment behind the barricade to topple over and cause the bouncers to scramble. Several times during the show the barrier collapsed, and the bouncers would swarm to recover ground. Kids in the center of the chaos were getting trampled and then promptly rescued by the bouncers. One girl even got punched square in the face by some douche bag man-boy and flew back 10 feet before hitting the floor and being trampled. She was saved quickly enough, but it was at that moment that I turned and looked at my delicate little cousin Chloe and said- "You see? THAT is what I was scared of!" She just smiles. It is then that I realize the euphoria she's experiencing at this show. The energy and excitement is radiating off of her in waves, and I realize, this is why I offered to take her. She's having a memorable experience, and I helped make that happen. It makes me misty! YES! I actually got MISTY at a METALCORE show! In between Chloe screaming "YOU SHOULD HAVE KILLED ME WHEN YOU HAD THE CHANCEEEEEEEEE!" I am getting bleary eyed! I'm becoming a sentimental old fool... but it's all good.

A Day to Remember exit the stage roughly 45 minutes after. The heat and sweat and angsty exhaust is settling in.. and the crowd is beginning to thin out. "What? No one's staying for the last act?" Chloe looks at me and says something like "Honestly, I could leave now and be happy... and uh... haha, the next act is even harder then ADTR... and I uh, barely handled that!" I get worried that she's only willing to leave for my sake- so I make sure to say "It's all up to you guys- I don't want you missing out on anything on my account..." I look at my watch and see it's only.. (930??? REALLY? wow, what an early show!!), "BUT if you guys want to leave that's ok with me too..." They go and buy their concert swag (which is surprisingly affordable). We hail a cab and go. I was in bed by 12:35! A concert night record!

What an evening, what an experience. I did a good deed by helping my cousin out and survived a metalcore show! I taught valuable concert lessons, and even got a chance to see a family member in a new light. It certainly is an experience I won't soon forget... and now, that torch is passed, and perhaps one day Chloe will be the one to chaperone a teen to their first concert experience... ::insert the Lion King's "Circle of Life" here::

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Standing. Waiting for a show

Standing. Waiting for a show I'm not even remotely interested in to start. You see, I'm chaperoning NJ teenagers to a NYC show. More later.

Waited 2 hours

FINALLY going in...