Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Archive for November, 2013

Wood Shoppe … Free Music!

Posted by xneverwherex on November 8, 2013

Strange Talk
Battleme
Aan
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
November 5, 2013

Wood Shoppe is a free night of music that’s held monthly at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall. I had wanted to go another night, but of course, I had a show that night and as it turned out the band I had wanted to see had to cancel. But I will be returning as it was awesome – and they had a really great line-up.

Strange Talk

The headliner, Strange Talk from Australia, was a band that I had been wanting to see for ages. And one, that I would have gladly paid money to see. I somehow kept missing them at CMJ. The band did not disappoint. They came out, introduced themselves by mentioning their Aussie accents (hence the band name) and then quickly proceeded into the ever-catchy ‘Cast Away’. The crowd quickly got into their music and soon there was lots of dancing.

The band which mostly uses keyboards/synths, did use guitar on some of their songs. Their music is very similar to fellow Aussies The Presets/Cut Copy with even more dance-y electro pop songs and their ultra-bright sneakers. As the night progressed, their music started to have more of an edge as more guitars came out and they started sounding like they could be the new version of Innerpartysystem. The lead singer sounded really great and has a smooth sound to his voice.

As they ended the set there was a pretty decent sized dance pit for this small club. The crowd really got worked up during ‘Falling in Love’ and ‘Sexual Lifestyle’ which also included a couple getting a little too into it. They ended their set with their first single ‘Another Day’ and even had a crowd sing-along. It was fun indeed and I’m sure in no time they will be playing the larger venues. Definitely a band worth seeing if you enjoy their music.

My favorite band of the night was Battleme from Portland. I had listened to a few songs and they tended to have more of an acoustic folk sound on some of their songs, but live —- its a whole different story. They killed the set with tight, hard-fast rock-n-roll with a bluesy/psych rock sound. The band, which primarily uses guitars, looks like 2 bands in one. The drummer and keyboardist, who were more clean-cut, looked like members of Strange Talk while the other guys (the guitarists) had tattoo sleeves and long hair. It didn’t matter – they sounded like one tight kick-ass band.

Battleme

Lead singer, Matt Drenik, has amazing vocals with a sultriness to his voice. The band really reminded me of the 90s bands like The Replacements, yet also had the melodies of the power-pop bands (Fountains of Wayne/Matthew Sweet). ‘Just Weight’, the single off the new album, is my favorite song with a very catchy sound and when the gritty guitars sink it, its just the perfect blend.

The band really got into songs with Matt really working every inch of the small stage. While their songs can be loud, thrashy and heavy they were also quite melodic. Their music really had the crowd rocking out. They ended the set way too early (or so it seemed) and had the crowd wanting more and calling for an encore. They finished out their last song asking the crowd if they’d want a slow or fast song … we went with fast and it was fast, loud and powerful and was one hell of a way to end their set. Definitely a band that needs to be seen again!

Aan, another Portland band, started out the night. Their sound tended to be a bit here and there with some songs sounding very emo and some being more pop. It was kind of all over the place and its hard to pin-point them with their musical style.

While some of their songs were catchy and fun, a lot just didnt seem to fit in with the others. At least the band seemed to be having a great time on stage and they were pretty decent (just hard to live up to the other 2 bands). And their name as they said is ‘on – spelled aan’.

Set List – Strange Talk:
Cast Away
Take Me As I Am
Is It Real
Wanted
Eskimo Boy
Cosmic
Sexual Lifestyle
We can pretend
Falling in Love
Climbing Walls
Another Day

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Canada Night @ Hotel Utah Saloon

Posted by xneverwherex on November 1, 2013

Fast Romantics
Mise En Scene
Bears for Sharks
Hotel Utah Saloon
10/30/13

Wed. night featured bands from Canada at the Hotel Utah. The venue was an interesting space with a pole in the center and couch like seats around it. It made for a very odd playing space. It even had an upstairs. To make matters worse, the crowd was sparse at best with most people there other band members.

Bears for Sharks

The line-up was solid. The bands got exceedingly better as the night progressed. Each band a little better than the one before them. The first band, Bears for Sharks was playing their THIRD show ever. So they’re quite new to the scene – can’t find much on them online. I did like how they seamlessly blended styles. The 3 piece band managed to switch up instruments and singing on most songs. There was a lot of guitar/drums switch-ups going on, with the occasional singer switch up. It was kind of all over the place with all the movement but it somehow worked.

The lead singer (for the most part) had very low vocals reminiscent of Ian Curtis (Joy Division). The drummer/guitarist livened things up with his bear mask. He was definitely the spark of the band bringing them a lightness. Their music ranged from an alt-folk sound to more pop songs. They did hae some catchy songs and for only their third show they proved to be a fun band. Oddly enough, they also brought the biggest crowd with them consisting of lots of family and friends.

Mise En Scene

Next up were the ladies from Winnipeg, Mise En Scene. A two-some (think White Stripes) who wore matching sparkly jackets, brought lots of noise. A noise-pop/guitar driven band, they made the place feel alive and VERY loud. They have a garage-rock meet 60’s girl band sound. And it actually works quite well. Sadly, it was just me and one other girl in the audience aside from other bands. It was like a 30 minute serenade and it was awesome for me. But, Im sure it was more than awkward for the band who seemed to be having lots of sound issues from insanely loud guitars, to feedback, to other things.

Stefanie, lead singer, has amazing powerful, sultry vocals. She is a kick-ass guitarist and sounded amazing. She told some Canadian joke that had the others laughing and was trying to have fun on stage. The drummer, Jodi, was also good but seemed to stay more in the background and didnt say much. Regardless, the band was fun to watch and sounded great despite the problems. Plus, Stefanie is nice as hell which is always a plus. They’ll be at SXSW and with a better venue/better acoustics, etc they should be a band that is NOT to miss.

Fast Romantics, from Toronto now (prior they were in Alberta), was the third band (somehow not the last of their headlining set) and I had been waiting years to see them again. I had remembered enjoying them a lot when I had seen them at CMJ a good 3-4 years back. The members had changed some, but they still had the great pop songs. Their songs are still jangly, fun, catchy, pop(py) songs. Indie-pop goodness!

Fast Romantics

Matthew, lead singer, reminded me of a cross between Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker, wearing a lovely blue/green (the crowd was torn on what color it was) cardigan. Oh yes, he could have been in one of those 90s brit-pop bands. His voice screams Elvis Costello and if you didnt know it, you might even think it was him singing. He’s a great front-man and for our crowd of 12 (at most), he really tried to get us engaged. There was hand-clapping, a slow song that he tried to encourage a make out session (the bassist suggested masturbation for the single people) and trying to get us to dance. I guess someone did oblige him with the make-out session. The rest of the band is really great, from the woman playing keyboards and the other guys that were in the band prior to their new incarnation. They’ve also added a new bassist from Australia. They all have really strong vocals and are great together.

They ended the main set with the ever-catchy ‘Funeral Song’ off their new album Afterlife Blues. They played most the songs off the album, and its great. It’s gotta be one of the catchiest albums Ive heard in a long time. It will have you singing along in no time. The final song was Pulp’s ‘Common People’. Possibly the best cover Ive heard. We were all singing along and dancing and it was truly a great way to end the night. Oh yeah… Im hook, line, SUNK!

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