Reviews

The Fad

Dfactor
The Fad

The Fad

City: New York
Venue: Luna Lounge
Date: 2003-03-25

Recently, there was a thread about up-and-coming New York City bands on The Velvet Rope, the online hangout for music industry hoo-hahs and assorted hangers-on. Impartial observers threw in their two cents on whom they thought were worthy of a look these days, and those less-than-partial pitched bands they knew or liked. But with so many good bands playing in the city, it's ridiculous to try to pick one or two that have a buzz on. At the end of the day, it comes down to committed band members who like the music they play (and it shows), lots of gigging, and a good sense of self-promotion. As the old adage reminds us, there's a good band playing somewhere in the city every night of the week -- you just gotta find 'em. In a roundabout way, that brings us to the Fad, one of the many decent bands playing here. Hailing from the city's outer environs, the Fad have been ratcheting up their live show calendar in the last six months. A few weeks ago, one could have seen the Fad at CBGBs one night and at Continental the next. I caught them at Luna Lounge, the comfy no-cover Lower East Side rock club, on a sleepy Tuesday night, with a war-distracted half-full club. Under the watchful digital eye of their stage side manager, who hovers around the band like, um, a good manager should (I guess�), the Fad turned in a pretty blistering set of originals and a few choice covers (the Kinks' "I Gotta Move", and T-Rex's -- by way of the Replacements -- "20th Century Boy"). These guys are young, play fast, and know their way around their instruments. Playing all six songs from their debut EP, the band certainly punched up the somewhat tinny sound of the EP with a nonstop energy from the stage. John Laurence (guitar/vocals) did double time work, singing his heart out while bashing his guitar on the rapid-fire tempos of the songs, especially on opener "103" and "Bad Connection". As did bassist Michael Pisano, who carried the songs' bass lines on the high strings, along the melodic scales of the song, not unlike Mike Mills' work with early REM. His bass-playing gives the Fad's songs a certain quickness and a sense of melody that neatly fit their retro Jam/Kinks/maximum R&B sound. And drummer Anthony DeCarlo is a speed freak, I guess, cuz these boys don't slow down. Maybe one mid-tempo song all set, called "Le Tambo", the rest all a-blazin'. Banging his cymbals and beating the skins hard, DeCarlo's the coal-fire engine to the band's locomotive speed. Some of the set highlights included "Anyhow" from the CD, which has a descending chord structure, not unlike Guided By Voices' "Echos Myron"; a new song called "Right on Time" sung by Pisano; and "Waiting for You", the set closer, with its enchanting dual harmonies. Pisano mentioned he had a cold, and it seemed his vocals were affected, for it was apparent that his singing was less powerful than at a Village Underground show a month earlier. With their pseudo mod-garage look and fast, riffy songs based on Beatlesque chord changes and early Who tempos, the Fad reach back to a sound not unlike early Cavern Club, or mid-'60s Marquee Club. That's not necessarily going to win them originality points with New York's notoriously cliquey local scene makers, but I reckon the Fad are going for the long haul and not for the quick buck. Their songs will improve, I'm sure, as Weller's did with the Jam, and Townsend's did with the Who. And they will likely continue to draw fans both old and young to their stripped-down, frenetic heavy R&B rock style.


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