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Tag Archives: Live
The highlight of this evening was a deeply intimate version of “Blood Embrace” for which Matt Sweeney came out to play some guitar and sing a bit. Mr. Oldham paced, gestured, scowled and delivered in full a deeply moving performance, looking like a cross between a street preacher touched by the hand of god and a cro-magnon, what with his prominent brow and less prominent hairline. It almost felt like the audience was intruding upon a very private conversation of betrayal and bafflement, despite the spoken word portion being a performed excerpt from the film Rolling Thunder.
Mr. Oldham was fully possessed by each song, and in turn the audience was captive to his every move. The seven piece backing band – two drummers, keyboardist, violinist, upright bass, guitar and occassional sax – was incredibly fluid. The violinist – Jennifer Butt? – added her very light vocals to songs when required, but largely played a heavily countrified fiddle that fit well at this well-lit crossroads of country and indie rock. The lead drummer in particular (I wasn’t taking notes, obviously, but my wife says it was Jim White) pounded and deftly flailed, and was a joy to watch. Their version of “Easy Does It” hit all the right notes, being the most uplifting and joyful song he’s ever released; “Ain’t You Wealthy, Ain’t You Wise” was appropriately somber and mocking.
And so for two hours they played mostly newer material, a mixture of the sedate and the downright honky-tonk, ending with an endearing improv sing-along featuring the entire band with the members of Lightning Dust, the opening act whose performance we largely missed due to late arrival. There was one brief encore after that, followed by yet another standing ovation.
The Apollo is a great venue, and far smaller than it appears on television; unlike Town Hall it features seats where people over 5′ tall can put their legs forward a bit.
There was the usual contingent of shouted requests, all of which were ignored. All was truly right in the world.
Many years back I knew a gay Buddhist who lived in the East Village. He was the first person to play Antony & The Johnsons for me, and at the time I had no way to process it. I wasn’t familiar with the whole faux cabaret tradition, the post-Klaus Nomi camp theatrics and all that stuff. But something he said stuck with me, after I had finished listening to “Cripple and the Starfish” in his bedroom.
“Antony”, he said, with this strange gleam in his eyes, “is a true superstar in every sense of the word. He’s a superstar.”
I get what he means by that now. Continue reading
Man, Webster Hall was gross as all get-go last night; a million sweaty beards glistened in the disco lights. We arrived too late to see Torche, whom I’ve heard described as a kind of stoner rock but I think is a bit more shopping at the mall than smoking t’weed. We also missed Clouds, whom I’d never heard of, but seem kinda snappy.
Boris? It had more than a dash of what I’d imagine seeing Great White in a California rock club would have been like in the 1980s. The drummer was a whoopin’ and hollerin’ throughout the first half of their set – playing their overdriven cock-rock anthems with a furious tightness, he kept pointing his drumstick in the sky, at which point the entire middle of the crowd would howl with delight. Being old and cynical, it was very funny. Watching him nearly fall off his drumset after picking apart his kit during the heavy wall closer was an interesting coda as well. Continue reading
Terminal 5 used to be Club Exit, which I knew from radio ads and little else. Think a guido meat machine and you’re probably not too far off the mark – it’s not this venue in Greenpoint, though. It’s an interesting venue – loud but not too painful, cool and crisp and security was pretty good in terms of not beating people up and whatnot. Not that this was that sort of crowd, far too educated – and rail-thin – to engage in such ROCK AND ROLL shenanigans.
Do you like to yell?
Hands down the best live show I saw in 2006 in terms of intensity and insanity was Lightning Bolt opening for Boredoms. They stole the show from the dance floor of Webster Hall and drove my wife from the room. (Apparently earplugs make her dizzy; according to the internet this is a somewhat common phenomenon.) She wasn’t the only female making an exit – a number of what one might term “snotty chicks from Williamsburg” types shoved their way to the front of the circle surrounding the band, only to retreat en masse about three minutes into the set when people started pogoing.
Sometimes you just can’t fake the funk, ladies.