Archive for mercury lounge

you’re not really sold out, are you?

Posted in music, neither with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2009 by MonsoonSeason

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?”

“yeah, sorry.”


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
jasper:  hello!
nox5:  I, uh, I saw you guys today..
jasper:  ?
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?
jasper:  yes!
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.

art brut’s myspace
tiny masters of today’s myspace
demander’s myspace
the picture’s myspace


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

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2008 by MonsoonSeason

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.