October 29, 2009
JezebelMusic.com @ Santos Party House
October 20, 2009 | Panache Booking & New York Night Train CMJ Showcase
As someone who often judges music by her backbone, I’d like to take my hat off (yes, it’s a little fedora with a press card in the band) to Panache Booking and New York Night Train: both have a knack for putting on shows that get the crowd to really move. That being said, I was moving more than I’d expected at their two-floor showcase at Santos Party House, because the CMJ-tight scheduling meant that whenever a set ended upstairs, we could conceivably run downstairs just in time for that set to start, then scramble back upstairs to repeat the process – for a dozen bands, whew! My feet were pretty sore by the end of the night, and after a few hours of drawing, our sketch artist Hazel Santino had to start taking breaks to stretch those priceless thenar muscles of hers. But here it is, finally, a quick-and-dirty rundown of the ups, downs, hits, misses and highlights of the Panache Booking/New York Night Train CMJ Showcase of 2009.
In case you didn’t go to any CMJ shows this year: Surfer Blood is the new hot shit. If you did go to CMJ then you probably saw Surfer Blood: they played like a billion (or ten or twelve) times last week. They’re a surf band, but don’t think Dick Dale; think heavily-reverbed indie rock songs about the beach. I understand the appeal of Surfer Blood, and I think they should score a teenage summertime movie (maybe with The Drums?) and I’ll go see it simply for the tunes. That said, though they played cleanly and with friendly exuberance, Surfer Blood didn’t get me pulling my skirt over my head or anything. Sorry. I couldn’t hear the danger and chaos that’s been ascribed to their music by critics. Had it been there, maybe the set would’ve been tugged into a tenser, more interesting place.
If, as a child, I’d been aware of the possibility, I think I would’ve wanted to grow up to be in a band like Dinowalrus. Maybe it’s the Star Wars laser sounds, or the constant instrument trading, or lead singer Pete’s yeti growls and propensity for balancing on one leg. Hell, maybe it was the awesome screaming eagle t-shirt he was wearing that particular Tuesday night at Santos. Wherever it stems from, there’s definitely a child-like playfulness beneath all the noise of a Dinowalrus show. “This song’s kinda baggy,” Pete exclaimed at one point, “so put on your bucket hat like you’re going to Manchester!” I like the way Dinowalrus works their noise into a song, letting it gurgle or stew at the beginning, thunderstorming it out at the end, but making room for discernible and surprisingly catchy melodies at the core. From the “Once in A Lifetime”-esque synth and bass of “BEAD” to the snarling “Cage Those Pythons,” (which somehow kept reminding me of “Rowche Rumble,”) to a goose-call clarinet solo, Dinowalrus had me hooked in the gills from their very first song to the moment they rolled their snare drum into the audience, signaling that it was time for me to book it upstairs to catch Harlem’s set.
October 18, 2009
THIS WEEK IN SHOWS
It’s time for CMJ again, which means the same New York bands you can see all the time in will be playing alongside some touring bands – who would’ve all come to New York at some point anyway – in marathon-length shows full of semi-interested badge-holders and grumpy photographers who get angry when you accidentally bump into them while rocking out in the front row. (Except our photographers, who are very cool and friendly.) We tend to complain about CMJ, but since it’s here, we might as well embrace it. It IS really fun to see ten of your favorite bands in one night, and, exhausting as it may be, it’s fun to do that five nights in a row! As usual, these are my totally subjective and incomplete recommendations for the coming week. You can flesh this out by telling us who you’re going to see… Send us some photos if you go. Or boycott CMJ; that’s totally respectable too. As for us, we’re just excited for a reason to shirk our other responsibilities for a week and rock out in the name of journalism.
TUES, OCT. 20
PANACHE/NEW YORK NIGHT TRAIN CMJ SHOWCASE
Upstairs: Heavy Trash, Golden Triangle, Lovvers, Harlem, Surfer Blood, K-Holes
Downstairs: The Stalkers, Unnatural Helpers, Flexions Dinowalrus, Julianna Barwick, SCREENS
Santos Party House
7:00 PM, $10/$12, 18+
It seems that every other show I get excited about is somehow connected to Panache Booking or New York Night Train (or both), and Tuesday night’s bigass blowout is no exception – just check out the lineup!!! I just need to figure out how to be upstairs and downstairs at the same time. I’ve yet to see Heavy Trash, though I’ve heard good things about their show, but Stalkers deserve some props too. They don’t seem to get much press, but they’re one of my favorite live bands: their songs are totally fun and anthemic, and besides, I’ve seen them throw cymbals, get naked, dribble vomit, and last time I caught their show, lead singer Andy Animal was tossing firecrackers into the crowd with a menacing glee. Alright!
More on This Week In Shows: CMJ EDITION!