The Vancouver two-piece, Japandroids, did not put on much of a show in Philadelphia. The whole experience felt like being stuck in some sad version of Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” video. But these guys were singing about French-kissing French girls and getting drunk in the basement, rather than breaking a human face. I’ll gladly take the former over the latter, but that’s not much of a compliment. It was also pretty upsetting to see these guys almost break down on a tour that does not seem to be going their way. I was one of the eight lonely guys in the so-called mosh pit trying my best to love it. In fact the show itself was an exercise in save-the-show CPR for one man in attendance. It only took one swell young George-Michael look-alike Starbucks barista dude up front to save the night. He single-handedly kept the band going with his ebullience. Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man…
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A few weeks ago Brooklyn based indie rockers The Subjects played an intimate yet compelling set at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. By intimate I mean there was not a huge crowd at the show, but attendees were appreciative nonetheless. Perhaps the spurts of freezing drizzle that night prompted people to take a rain check that night.
Back in June, I saw the Dirty Projectors play to a crowd of a few hundred kids at the Rufustival in Baltimore. It was the week before the release of Bitte Orca and I remarked at the time that it seemed, “a foregone conclusion that after years spent as an opening act, the band will soon graduate to headliner status,” What a difference a few months makes. Last week, I elbowed my way to the front of Washington D.C.‘s renowned Black Cat, to watch the Projectors play to a sold out crowd of 700. From the first song on, it was clear that it wasn’t just the band’s draw that had changed—rather, the Dirty Projectors had grown along with their audience.
Paw Tracks Showcase
Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn
The fizzy lo-fi of Annie Sachs, a.k.a. Tickley Feather, enchanted audience members at the small-space high-ceilinged Cameo Gallery on Friday. Alongside four other Paw Tracks greats, and her self-proclaimed biggest fans (members of Animal Collective) in attendance, Sachs churned out eerie, whimsical electro bringing to mind Tracy + the Plastics with a great deal more subtlety. Her live vocals are a different story from her records—otherworldly—even Kate Bush or Emilíana Torrini-esque, and expertly placed over budget electronics. It was a treat to hear Sachs’ voice stand out, unadulterated. Her tone is that of experience while her live sound remains light and accessible, however, with two bizarre albums under her belt, I’ll be waiting with bated breath to hear what fanciful direction Tickley Feather is capable of going next.
As long as The Foreign Exchange is performing, no one can ever even think about showmanship being dead. The eight-piece band that took the stage of B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grille on Friday night moved the crowd in a way that few acts are capable. And it all started at 1 a.m. As such, you would think a show starting that late would lend itself to a somewhat less-than-energetic audience. But that was simply not the case—this is New York City we’re talking about.