Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

2 Nights With Maps = Bliss!

Posted by xneverwherex on October 4, 2007

9/28 – 9/29

I somehow ended up with 2 tickets to Maps for each of the nights. Initially I had planned on seeing them on Friday night with a friend from out of town, but that didnt pan out, but instead of selling both our tickets, I sold off hers and kept mine. And I must say, I’m sure glad that I did.

It was an early set at the Mercury Lounge on Friday night starting out with Brooklyn’s own The Silent League. (as this is a recap of both nights – im infusing two nights shows together, got it?) 🙂 The Silent League played a really great set. I recall last time that I had seen them, there were more members in the band. (I havent seen them in at least 3 years).  Their sound was as incredible as always, and the trumpet player ended the set playing 2 trumpets at the same time. Their songs were quite slow and more mellowed out and we should have been just sitting around a campfire. I guess Kevin (or one of the other guys) was right when he stated that. Justin, formerly in Mercury Rev, has still managed to keep some of that sound in their style and it complements them perfectly. Has that feeling of being in an orchestra with the variety of instruments.

The highlight was definitely on Saturday when Justin brought his brother, Jason, along to sing backups on 2 of the songs. Jason is the lead singer of Hopewell and one thing that I did notice was that it seems Silent League’s new stuff invokes some of Hopewell’s last album. Such as Calcutta. Not necessarily the same middle-eastern/indian flare, but for whatever reason that is what it reminds me of.

Saturday night’s set was really great as well. The crowd didn’t seem to be quite as into it, with very few of us clapping or yelling in appreciation. Im definitely set on seeing them again. I got to meet Justin on Saturday night, and he’s a cool guy. We talked for a bit, and I told him I had come out here to see them. He playfully joked to me, that I better stay around for Maps. 🙂 I had told him that I had first seen them quite a few years back at the Mercury and he seemed pretty stoked about it. Good guy, good music, great sound! What more.

For those thinking that their music is completely different from Maps (which it is), they met when they were playing some festivals in the UK. And they all got along great, and voila! Together the bands were awesome.

Before I get to Maps – there was a 3rd band on the Saturday night show, but I swear it was a joke, and it was really awful. The lead singer cannot sing at all, and it was a cringe-worthy set. For that – I wont even name their name, aside for the fact I also blanked it out.

Maps, from Northampton, UK, were the band to see. Friday night I wasn’t sure what to expect. I remember falling in love with their sound the moment I heard it, but it still couldn’t match what was on stage. The Mercury set was packed and felt overflowing with Brits. I’d have to guage that at least 80% of the crowd were from the UK and the band was quite excited. This was their first show in the states and they were clearly excited to be playing in NYC.

James asked everyone to move forward to be as close to the stage as possible and wanted everyone dancing. Their music, while many would probably think is not the most danceable, works quite well live to dance to. James not only fronts the band, but is apparently THE band and he brings the other guys along with him when touring. His lush vocals almost drowned out by the guitars fit with the music. An electronic beat infuses with the swirling guitars complementing James’ vocals.

Now put all that combination together and you get Maps. A dancey-electronica band with guitars that you’d expect to hear at a My Bloody Valentine or shoegaze show. James seemed excited about Saturday night in a different way than Friday night. He seemed much more relaxed on stage and was having fun with the crowd. He was on the sides while The Silent League were playing, and I caught his eye a few times, and he gave me the biggest smile. You could just see the excitement. While it was not a sold-out show at Luna Lounge, the crowd up front seemed really into them (I think a lot of us saw them on Friday night). The girl next to me grabbed my arm at one point, and excitedely tells me “ive been singing this song all day, i couldnt wait to hear it”. About this time, her, me and some other excited girls continued to dance to a very happy James Chapman.

Stand outs from the set were definitely “You Dont Know Her Name” and “It Will Find You”. Great friends (new and old), great bands, great music = awesome time!

I also managed to catch +/- {plus/minus} on Friday night, but barely remember the rest of the night after a butterscotch shot and some beer on an empty stomach. I do remember trying to find somewhere to eat in Tribeca at 2am and that was not fun!

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