Events

Modern Rivals: 3 January 2013 – New York

Modern Rivals offer farewell show before returning to studio.


Modern Rivals

Modern Rivals

City: Brooklyn, NY
Venue: Cameo Gallery
Date: 2013-01-3

Cameo Gallery is a small but busy venue accessed through a darkly lit tavern in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A young quartet hailing from New York University called A Beacon School opened the evening. Frontman Patrick Smith creates solid pop guitar hooks, which the band delivers at full throttle while embracing the trend to bury vocals. Brooklyn based quintet Vensaire took to the stage next, a collaborative of musicians including Robert Earle Thomas of Widowspeak. Their down home jams incorporate some light hearted electronic flourishes, yet it’s all heavily structured and presented in a serious manner. (However, if you ask what the band name means you’ll receive a mischievous reply, “It’s a secret.”) Richard Spitzer’s NYC-based musical project Love Skills followed, with a drummer and rapper layering his trippy synth beats. However, any connection made with the audience during between-song banter was lost while watching the closed-eyed performances.

Modern Rivals kicked off their set with “Clocks Vs. Darts” from last year's EP, Sea Legs. With harmonies of seasoned friendships within the bandmates, lead vocalist and guitarist Erick Lee commanded center stage. Lee and Alex Schiff (keyboards) create the musical structure for each song, before guitarist Mickey Novak adds the lyrics. Andrew Sheron provides the bass foundation and Alex Raderman lays down the percussive foundation on drums. Their indie pop sensibility can veer towards the overly complicated, but with a steady hand they ventured into new material and returned to older songs with confidence. This being their last show before time off to record another album, the group seemed more animated since PopMatters covered a show last summer, with a refreshing buoyancy of self-reliance.

Things seemed less in control, but in a good way – the live performance was not trying to recreate anything already recorded, which is always refreshing. In “Defenestrate You”, the chorus became a shout out over extended reverb, and the instrumental break included a dramatic drop out. New tune “Dead Leaves” arrived clean cut and radio ready, a satisfying song from start to finish. The night ended with “To My Friends”, a sweet song featuring Lee’s pure singing voice, providing their send-off to fans crowding together in the tight space.

Photo Credit: Eric Groom

Modern Rivals

Modern Rivals

Vensaire

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

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
Amazon

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
7

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

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

rating-image