you’re not really sold out, are you?
welp, back in new york, better start blogging again. hello to all the readers who have left since I stopped updating because there’s nothing to do in indiana except drink and play risk
so, grand return to form, let’s start with show reviews!
actually wait first: I’m posting a job! the very first nox5 job posting! my camera, which was kind of a shit point-and-shoot deal, just died on me, so instead of moping and looking at my feet, I will use this as a sign. therefore, I’ve decided to hire someone with a nicer camera, like a DSLR deal, to take pictures at events for nox5. the pay is your admission to events. free shows, just to snap pictures! wow! if interested, send me an email at nmaloneyiii (at) gmail (dot) com.
okay plug over, look here:
art brut, demander, the picture @ mercury lounge, june 1
I have recently learned that if a website confirms that a show is indeed sold out, it is just not so.
I travelled to the mercury lounge to see if I could get a scalped ticket for day one of art brut’s 5 day residency. I actually knew about the shows for a while–when I was doing some nyc show lusting back home in indiana, I saw they were doing this kind of ridiculous residency (only ridiculous because they’re a pretty popular bound and headline mostly, and those who do residencies are usually singer-songwriter types who mumble between songs and have a Local Following), so I was definitely on board. I did not know, however, that merc lounge was selling 5-day passes for each day for $50, which I definitely would have snagged (single passes were $18, so that’s a savings of like $40).
so I arrive, looking all sheepish because there’s nobody standing outside, no shady characters wearing rain jackets even though it’s clear out. so I walk up to the door, brazenly, BRAZENLY, and say “yes hello any more tickets available,” even though the sign right next to me reads “ART BRUT SOLD OUT” in bold, confrontational letters. the guy looks at the sign, looks inside, and goes, “yeah we got tickets, hold up” and ducks inside to talk to the ticket girl.
see my thought is that when a sign says SOLD OUT, it means that a venue is stuffed to capacity and any more folks inside would be against fire code, but what it really means is “hey look how populaaaar this shoooow is~” and it’s just free advertising. if you take nothing away from this review, just know that you can probably get into a “sold out” show regardless of its sold-outedness.
drink prices at the mercury lounge are still outrageous, with PBR @ $4 per plastic cup and whiskey drinks a respectable $6 per. I got a whiskey soda (the classy concert-goer special) and headed to the show area, which was remarkably sparse considering hold sold out the show was.
it took a while for the picture to get up the initiative to play, but eventually they did and it was alright. they play that sort of unremarkable keyboard-driven pop rock thing that keane does, or travis, or the walkmen. it’d sound alright shopping for clothes, but it’s not something I’d necessarily seek out. they did have one or two awesome moments where the drummer (who was large, fuck yeah large drummers) would really just beat the hell out of his drums, but it was ruined when the guitarist wryly added “ooh, loud drums.” like, shut up, douchebag, you’re undercarding art brut, of course we like loud drums.
next up were demander, who were kind of cool, mostly the guitars.. you know, I hate to say this, but the singer was kind of like amy lee of evanescence, which was a turn off. I think maybe that’s entirely a thing with me and girl singers–if they try to be really pretty when then sing, it sounds bizarre and unpalatable. what I’m trying to say is that the girl from demander sings really well, if you like classical singing styles, you’d probably be down. but it was okay! I still had fun. franz nicolay of the hold steady showed up and played with them, and his moustache is always pleasant to view.
and then: art brut took the stage with the force of a harrier jet, launching into “alcoholics unanimous.” it was awesome–the band was in top form, sounding exactly like frank black recorded them on their new LP “art brut vs. satan”, crisp and direct, like a hammer to the face. eddie argos was in typical boozy fashion, vamping around the stage and muttering new lyrics halfway through a song. I was waiting for a “such and such band, top of the pops!” montage that he usually does during “bad weekend”, but they never played it. c’est la vie, though, since they ripped through a bunch of my favorite tracks: modern art, good weekend, my little brother, direct hit. and I shouted nearly all the words, got lost in the mosh pit, and pretty much had the best party ever. I drank too much and didn’t feel sick afterwards. on the way out, I thanked freddy in kind of an out-of-breath “you were brilliant I will try to make it to every show” way.
and I caught the F train as it was arriving in the station! take THAT, chance. art brut is now the concert to beat of the year.
alright didn’t do anything tuesday, moving to wednesday
wednesday I did some job hunting, because drinks and shows in this town don’t come cheap (unless they’re free, which they are infrequently). I was trying to find a waiter gig, because I like tips and serving, but here’s the kicker: if you don’t have bartender-like drink knowledge, you are not wanted as a server. sample interview:
interviewer: name three single malt scotches.
nox5: oh um.. johnny walker…? *rotates hands*
interviewer: how is your wine knowledge?
nox5: pretty basic, I can tell you what food goes with what color
interviewer: what do you know about winemaking regions in france?
nox5: dude come on
and so on. so maybe I’ll get a job at a busboy or end up working fast food and that will give me “5 years nyc fine dining experience” or “extensive champagne knowledge”
anyhow, left that interview, walking on 7th outside the rockerfeller center, who should I stumble along but art brut! walking around! wow! I was bummed out and when I saw them I got excited and shouted out as they passed “art brut! top of the pops!” they did a nervous little laugh and a wave and I was walking around like I had just hugged a kitten and then it hits me: oh my god, that was very rude. I mean they’re just guys (and one lady) walking around, taking in the city, not being a rock band. maybe they don’t want to be hounded in public by fans in ties. I felt like a total prick.
I resolved to go to the show once more to apologize!
art brut, tiny masters of today @ mercury lounge, june 3
oh noooo, the show is sold ouuuuuttt, what will I doooooo~
now positive I can get in, I ask the guy at the door “hey tickets aren’t sold out, are they?”
devastation. I can see ian and jasper of art brut at their merch table, but I can’t reach them to apologize. and no scalpers sitting around for me to buy a ticket. I wait outside of the venue, hoping that someone will come along with extra tickets. I miss the first band, sorry guys, couldn’t get in. people keep entering with tickets. I ask the doorman if, hey maybe people didn’t show up, right? any chance I can get in? he sort of looks around and points to a dude smoking. “try that guy,” he says.
I try that guy, and he has a bunch of tickets. I don’t understand why he just showed up, he must have been watching the show inside. I buy a ticket for actual admission price (no scalping!?) and head inside.
okay, I’m in. busy bar. I buy a courage drink and nervously walk to the merch booth:
nox5: so, hey
nox5: I, uh, I saw you guys today..
nox5: outside the rockerfeller center on 7th and I shouted–
jasper: oh, you’re the “art brut top of the pops guy!”
nox5: yeah, I’m s–
jasper: that was awesome! we were talking about it all day!
nox5: oh jeez really? I felt badly about it, I thought it was rude..
jasper: no, it was cool! it had never happened before.
nox5: what really?
jasper: (turning) ian, it’s–
ian: oh is that the “top of the pops” guy?
ian: oh that was awesome, thank you!
*we do a handshake*
nox5: wow this is not what I expected whatsoever! btw you guys did great on monday
so yeah, that pretty much made the night fr me, compounded on the fact that two excellent acts played after that.
tiny masters of today, that preteen brother-sister band from brooklyn had a bit of trouble setting up, lots of distortion, but I mean what are you going to do they’re 12 and 13, give ‘em a break. I don’t know what was the deal with the drummer but she seemed much much older, like 26, but whatevs. they played a good mix of bang bang boom cake and the new skeletons, which I quite like. tiny masters play an barebones show with absolutely no stage banter, primarily because I think that they haven’t developed those skills yet. at the end of the show, ivan said “okay that’s it” and stood there awkwardly. that’s part of the charm, I guess–kids playing music because they like it, not because they want to be famous rock stars. they decided to end the show with a cover of “youth against fascism” by sonic youth, which was actually pretty deftly handled. atta boy and girl and babysitter, TMOT.
art brut came on stage and did a show much like monday, with high intensity and I had fun, but significantly less fun for two reasons: 1.) I was stuffed in the back where nobody was having fun, and 2.) there were two hipster fucking douchebags standing behind me making fun of me jumping up and down and singing along. I mean, fuck! how often does art brut cross the pond and play? last time was in 2007 supporting it’s a bit complicated. eventually I turned around and said “hey you fucking hipster scum, why don’t you cross arms elsewhere,” but that only made it worse. I tried to ignore them, but they definitely got in the way.
but you know what? I can take them. it’s me and art brut vs. pretension. and this time, I think we won.