last long hiatus (or: he decides to blog for real) pt.1

now that I have a professional looking header with words and everything, I have decided to get serious about blogging things and in general about music and writing. so, to start, an update of things have happened and a resolution to update frequently, in reverse order.

I hereby resolve to blog more often. onto shows:

does it offend you, yeah?, yo! majesty, time machine @ southpaw, May 17

the show started late, as shows will, and had me purchasing two extra beverages and looking at all the records on the wall, most notably a beat-up vinyl of “arthur” by the kinks. it reminded me of home, of all my friends drinking and celebrating nothing in particular, and it provided an adequate amount of wistful revelry before the opening act climbed on stage.

time machine are a three part rap duo from LA–two rappers and a dj, ala yo! majesty. both groups indeed share the common theme of party-starting, picking up women, and dancing, but that’s as far as the comparisons stretch. time machine’s beats were far more west-coast (for obvious reasons) and lacked the panicked tenacity of yo! majesty. their rhymes were less jaunty and playful than y!m and felt a bit contrived.. in the bad way, not the pleasant throwback way. although they bounced the club, they left me wondering what the overall point was of the set. plus, the portly dj’s rapping ability left something to be desired.

does it offend you, yeah? graced the stage shortly thereafter. they attempted some banter with the audience, but due to poor response, ended up just regulating song after song. their sound, expectedly, sounded gritty and unpolished, quite different from the tidy disaster zones contained on their title tracks. it felt like a hawk trying to escape from a cage, almost bursting free, talons digging underneath; from the band, who would exchange sidelong glances to each other, not sure of how best to contain it. it was raw and powerful, yet easy to dance to and get lost in.

the set was insanely short, powering through seven songs in 35 minutes. they played the hits: “we are rockstars,” “let’s make out,” “being bad feels pretty good.” the girl next to me urged the band to play “dawn of the dead,” and since they’d already blasted “let’s make out,” I yelled for them to play it too. they never did, and I offered my condolences to her at the end of the set:

nox5: I’m sorry they didn’t play your song.
girl: no you’re not!
nox5: no, seriously, I am, I wish they would have.
girl: you don’t even know what song that is!
nox5: ah.

they ended their set by thanking yo! majesty for a smashing tour and launched into a pitch-perfect cover of “whip it” by DEVO–a bizarre ending for a bizarre set.

as if to out-bizarre does it offend you, yeah?, yo! majesty (this is becoming a rather punctuation-filled affair) decided not to play, and instead let two guys jump on stage and sing all of their songs. at first, I thought it was another warm up group–but no, they were actually just performing yo! majesty’s material. I saw shawndra k. chilling off to the side of the stage, macking on some ladies, drinking beverages–it seems they just decided to skip this event. needless to say, the show made me lose some luster for y!m, and I don’t know how eager I’ll be to go back, jj fad beats and naked fat lesbians be damned.

as for does it offend you, yeah?? I’ll be back.

anathallo, dosh @ mercury lounge, may 23

showed up a bit late to this one, I’m afraid. still new to new york, so I ended up heading east on houston instead of west. asking around, I found out I had just missed one song. I cozied into the middle with my five dollar pbr, swore to myself I would henceforth only purchase whiskey drinks, and watched anathallo attempt to lull the crowd into a hush state.

note: attempt. the crowd was loud, crass, and boorish during anathallo’s quiet bits, only shutting up when matt joynt and pals would literally scream and bang on their instruments in notably frustrated moments. their banter confirmed (in my opinion) their anger, talking curtly about a basketball game and extolling the virtues of tour partners dosh.

in the end, whenever the crowd would pipe down, anathallo’s set was stirring and evocative, bringing me immediately back to the first time I saw them live back at coachella last year. their onstage histrionics still seemed fresh and expressive, a logical extension of music not from the heart, not from the soul, but from some ethereal swimming about the band in a sonic soup.

while waiting for dosh to get started, I picked up a whiskey drink and chatted up another midwest native, connecticut via london via chicago. I’m finding more and more that by wearing interesting t-shirts in the city and looking disinterested, you can make friends galore. not that I necessarily purchased an interesting t-shirt and stood disinterestedly gazing at dosh setting up a myriad of pedals and synthesizers for the sole intent of picking up chicks–it’s just something I noticed.

dosh was essentially jazz. I hate jazz.

rephrase: I don’t hate jazz; I just don’t have the patience for it. it’s the same reason I don’t like when bands just jam. I’m saving my enjoyment of jazz, politics, and sailing for when I’m 40. by then, I’ll be rich and have the mental faculties and spare time to have a predilection towards jazz.

that being said, dosh and buddy mike lewis are incredibly technically proficient and I envy their musicianship greatly. as a side note, the header you see up top is lewis’ foot and a bunch of pedals. all the words are mine, though. all of them.

mirah & spectratone intl., the sparrow quartet @ castle clinton, may 28

on the a train, cursing myself silently, I can’t help but realize how terrible I am, in terms of punctuality. I get ready (for the most part), brush teeth, comb hair, etc., and then: OH HAY LET ME CHECK THIS ONE THING ON THE INTERNET REALLY FAST and I’m late for everything; movies, work, and in this instance, shows. well, not actually shows–picking up tickets.

so I’m hustling along, transferring trains like I’m dr. mario, when I finally get to castle clinton and gaze upon a vast line outside of it. “shit,” I say aloud to no one in particular. “no mirah tickets for me.” then, to my right, a person with a stack of cards. the approach:
nox5: excuse me.
girl: did you need tickets?
nox5: for, uh, for mirah, yeah?
girl: mirror?
nox5: no, no, mee-rah. m-i-r-a
girl: I.. I don’t know..
nox5: or bela fleck, maybe?
girl: ah! yes! bela fleck. here are two tickets.

it’s clear who the more popular artist is. I scuttle over to a local bar (turns out that english/irish pubs are the best for pre-show drinks) for a pint, then back to the memorial for mirah.

the whole of the memorial was filled with chairs facing a makeshift stage, already loaded with equipment. a bar near the sea-facing cannon ports sold five dollar heinekens, of which I foolishly consumed two (what’s going on with five dollar beers these days?). I took a seat to the right hand side of the stage, squeezed between two disheveled old men. one smelled distinctly of hay and I have no idea why.

after a lengthy introduction, mirah and spectratone international were welcomed onstage with mild applause. mirah, dressed in a shimmery gold top and frumpy white hat, thanked castle clinton promoters and new york in general. the sound was remarkable–it sounded exactly as it does on “share this place,” with mirah’s waifish voice situated firmly atop a palette of colorful instrumentation.

abigail washburn and her sparrow quartet feat. bela fleck came on afterwards and played a folky show, but it wasn’t terribly interesting. they sang some songs in chinese, but they sounded… odd. bluegrass + chinese = nope

pics to all above on flickr; part two to follow hey willpower tonight.


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