I’m one for two on white kids doing african pop

first and foremost, happy bloomsday joyce disciples

professor murder, the hearts of darknesses @ cake shop june 14

while working off a hangover in bryant park, I was unable to catch vampire weekend and kid sister at summerstage in central park. I was doubly dismayed when I heard that the affable andrew w.k. acted as emcee over the proceedings. while I doled out sandwiches to hungry tourists, the rained-out yet cheerful masses were undoubtably partying hard.

but, thanks to a tip from a hungry local, I learned that professor murder was playing at cake shop, so the day was not a waste (besides turning 22). so I had a fantastic dinner, bought some new shoes, and popped down to cake shop, missing the first two opening bands. sorry uuvvwwz and the show is the rainbow.

however, I did get to catch the hearts of darknesses, who rocked intense amounts of ass, and not solely because of the hilarious name. their set-up was loud and abrasive, nervous and horrified, and their songs seemed to die right as they were about to build into something much greater. I loved it not only because it had just the right amount of dissonance, but because it felt thematically in tune with conrad’s book. it seemed that, after opener “shit fan punx get busted,” the band moved further into the gruesome unknown, exploring the darkness with one foot attached firmly to a safety net. at the end of their relatively short set, I had felt that I had been on a journey with the band, making their reprise of “shit fan punx get busted” feel like a victory anthem. the crowd responded positively, and it’s a shame they haven’t recorded an ep yet.

while professor murder set up, I took a quick look around cake shop. the bar/concert venue portion of cake shop (the upstairs being a vegan bakery) was a total dive, but thus far one of my favorite bars in town. the sound was good, the drinks were only moderately overpriced, and it was dingy and leaky. normally, dingy/leaky is a bad thing, but it reminded me of all the crap basement parties I went to back home (having mostly local bands perform reinforced this opinion), and it made me feel welcomed and nostalgic.

plus, the concert-goers were personable and well-spoken! waiting in the wings for the good professor, a man came over and placed a bucket under the aforementioned leaky roof; however, almost as soon as he did, a drunk guy came up from behind and pushed it out of the way. for the rest of the show, I cracked wise with my neighbors about the bucket feeling dismayed that it couldn’t adequately perform its job, and they responded by making jokes of their own. it’s things like that that make me like cake shop over, say, bowery ballroom, where people just keep to themselves. I won’t diss too heavy, though, because I’m probably going to see the futureheads there soon.

anyhow, professor murder came on stage. I was expecting more of a dance punk show, sort of like their “professor murder rides the subway” ep, but to my surprise, they played an reggaeton-inspired show not unlike our good friends from columbia u, vampire weekend.

although not nearly as bookish (more songs about dance, less about punctuation marks), professor murder lived up to their name and killed it. the synthesizer board they built had at two mini keyboards, one full size, a kaoss pad, several pedals, and an mpc poking off of the corner. michael bell-smith, lead vocalist, held the party at a constant throb, occasionally ducking down to the synth board to layer some beats. they stuck mostly to new material, ending the set “for the sound guys” with ‘free stress test.’

happy flag day and happy birthday to me

The Hearts of Darknesses myspace
Professor Murder myspace
okay of course Vampire Weekend myspace


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