RNDM: 8 November 2012 - Bowery Ballroom, New York

RNDM is big, brash and bold. Will they take beef with this?

City: New York
Venue: Bowery Ballroom
Date: 2012-11-08

RNDM, a rock band whose acronym should not to be confused with MNDR or MDNA, is a group made up of bassist Jeff Ament (from Pearl Jam), drummer Richard Stuverud (who is one part of Tres Mts with Ament) and New York based singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur (who may have met Ament at last year's Pearl Jam 20 Festival). Their bold stage persona, drawing on super hero/comic book themes, incorporates a lot of bright florescent colors and a big expressive 'RNDM!!' banner, and conveys some brashness as the bandmates begin the set in custom ski masks (a clever merchandising gimmick to boot). As Cole Waterman put it in his review of their album Acts here, "the band comes across as buddies making music for the hell (or joy) of it". These music veterans have created pretty good songs for their side project but you need not have heard the main acts to enjoy RNDM.

Just a couple of day's after Election Day, this downtown New York show was also post-Sandy, which may have resulted in a sparser crowd than normal. At least there was one positive in regards to Election Day. Ament, a Montanan, must have been happy that his pal, the Senator Jon Tester, was on his way to victory in his race. As a band, the buddies' shared smiles proved they were only out to have a good time no matter what. Arthur, served as the frontman and interacted with the audience the most. As a New Yorker, he introduced the NY songs, "Williamsburg" and "Walking Through New York" for the audience. The latter song was an excellent cut, as it sounded like the perfect accompaniment for a meandering stroll through New York. Later, Arthur saw a fan holding up an "A-Ment" t-shirt (think "X-Men" style) and asked if he could have the shirt, swapping some sweatbands for it, which was pretty cool deal but it also meant the fan had to compose a message on his phone to someone or some forum and let the world know what happened right during the middle of the show.

After a short break, Arthur came out alone, harmonica wrapped around his neck, to start the lovely "Cherries in the Snow" before the rest of the band joined in. Without having listened to the album all the way through, I was surprised and pleased to hear this quieter gem. Then they transitioned into the Psychedelic Furs' "Into You Like a Train" and then their combination of "Aint Go No / Magnificent Seven" as the finale, excellent cover songs all around. RNDM are a successful and enjoyable band in their own right. It may be hard for them to come together on a tour again but I'm sure they will make the time. And when they do, put on some bright orange jumpsuits and go check them out.

View a larger gallery of high res RNDM images over at PopMatters' Facebook page!


What You Can't Control

Modern Times

The Disappearing Ones


Hollow Girl

The King of Cleveland (Joseph Arthur)

Look Out!

Throw You to the Pack

New Tracks


Walking Through New York

When The Fire Comes (Jeff Ament)

Can't Exist (Joseph Arthur)


Cherries In the Snow

Into You Like a Train (The Psychedelic Furs)

Ain't Got No, I Got Life (Nina Simone) / The Magnificent Seven (The Clash)

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.