Live Review: Lights Resolve, Black Taxi, Blackbells, Deadbeat Darling

The Easter Bunny’s Early Arrival

Before I begin my tirade of praise for my music-filled weekend, I would like to thank The Dirty Fucking Hipster for inviting my writing into his space. I thought about the nom de plume “The Damn Sexy Scenester,” but I am far from that confident; and there are plenty who would disagree with the alias. Alas, I am simply me. Please enjoy my attempts to “dig deep” into the NYC music scene…

For the sake of story-telling, let’s assume the infamous Easter Bunny is real (spoiler alert!). The spring figure was good to me last weekend, bringing six of my favorite New York artists, Outernational, The London Souls, Lights Resolve, Black Taxi, Blackbells, and Deadbeat Darling, and a newbie, Uzuhi, over two days and three shows to the Tri-state area.

Outernational take over Santos

Outernational take over Santos

Santo’s Party House became a Friday night sweat-fest when Outernational returned, after five weeks on the road, to their home territory for the band’s only East coast show and before hitting the road again. Accompanying the Brooklyn-based rebel-rockers for the “One Way Finale” were New York’s Japanese punk crowd-pleasers and hosts, Uzuhi, and sultry, blues-rock trio, The London Souls. An ideal match for Outernational, Uzuhi (translates to “the Sun”) advocate music with no borders, a message preached with fervor in their inter-song patter. Fans melted at the touch of Uzuhi’s front man, Gosha, who shouted and perspired along with Dr. Tsu’s aggressive drums, Tsubasa’s elegant keyboard and back-up vocal melodies, and Katsuragi’s frantic guitar riffs. Audience participation was essential as Uzuhi commanded fans to sit down, guided one listener by the hand on stage for a serenade, and squished everyone into a group photo at the end of the set. A change in demeanor and style probably surprised the kiddies when The London Souls hit the stage.

The London Souls also rock Santos

The London Souls also rock Santos

Nothing short of soulful, the trio showcased their vintage vibe, intricate instrumental interplay, call and response vocal interchange, three-part harmony, and solid, intertwining solos. “Under Control,” “Stand Up,” and “I Think I Like It” happen to make me swoon; and throughout the venue, people agreed: the Souls’ bona fide rock ‘n roll brought on dancing, head-banging, or both, satisfying a wide spectrum of tastes. At this point, the antiperspirant levels were low but quickly plunged to zero as Outernational brought the heat. Never a disappointment, the quintet hit the stage running, cramming sixteen riotous rock-reggae-punk-world fusion songs into their stage time. Moshing and less belligerent activities accompanied highlights, such as “Future Rock,” “Sir No Sir,” “Que Queremos,” “Deportees,” an acoustic cover of a Woody Guthrie tune that brought the entire band stage front, and my new personal favorite, “Outernational.” Mid-set, members of Uzuhi paraded around the stage, while lead vocalist of Anti Flag, Justin Sane, joined the politically charged line-up. The evening’s intent of uniting people with music was evidently successful; everyone left with tinnitus and a piece of political shake-up.

Saturday afternoon, I suffered through hours of intense popcorn odor and equally stinky acoustic sets by innumerable Warped Tour-esque bands at Angels and Kings for a quarter-day, all ages “AKoustics” event. Relief finally arrived with Lights Resolve who, sadly, were having their final live show before escaping to the studio. Shockingly, Matt Reich (vocals/guitar), Luke Daniels (bass/vocals), and Neal Saini (drums/percussion) have not released a full album yet, together or individually, marking the upcoming studio stint as particularly historic. They plan to reemerge with new material, just in time for a summer tour. Joined by their previous bassist (who now plays in The Veronicas), LR debuted a few unrecorded songs, recently released tunes, the hit RockBand download, “Dreaming of Love,” and familiar tracks from the band’s EP’s, Currency and Prelude. In acoustic form, the vocal nuances, angst-ridden lyrics, and anthemic modulations stood out, demonstrating why LR’s music might outlast the rest and continue making Jersey Shore a bit more tolerable.

Black Taxi take the show on the road

Black Taxi take the show on the road

That same evening, I made the “trek” to New Jersey for an NYC invasion of Hoboken. The cream of the crop, Black Taxi, Blackbells, and Deadbeat Darling, played Maxwell’s for their first time. I have not found a single person that sits still during a Black Taxi show or leaves unsatisfied; and consistent with my field observations, this crowd had no exceptions. Mixing and matching their “grit-pop,” dance-rock tunes from Things of That Nature, a new favorite, disco-infused “Be My Friend,” and a cover of a golden oldie, “Miserlou,” Black Taxi made the evening worth a thousand Path train trips. Blackbells went west for their fifth show as a band and showcased material from the quartet's recently available self-titled EP. “High Healer” and “Young Again” have been ringing in my head for days. A consummate blend of rock ‘n roll and psychedelia with a touch of new wave and soul, Blackbells transported a classic but/yet refreshing sound to Jersey ears. Speaking of Blackbells, they will be playing Wednesday, April 14 at Mercury Lounge. It’s an early show, beginning at 7:30PM, so you won’t miss your bedtime. Deadbeat Darling completed the boast of the best from across the river with selections from Weight of Wandering and some unreleased compositions, “Broken Down Kiss” and “Insomnia Salvation.” DBD is not about showiness; instead, they channel a soft reggae-electronic rock ambiance that enchants listeners.

Deadbeat Darling bring a taste of NYC to Jersey

Deadbeat Darling bring a taste of NYC to Jersey

A triumphant NJ cherry pop, each band’s Garden State debut was well-received, reaffirming NYC band camaraderie and guaranteeing a holler back to Hoboken some time soon.

-Meijin Bruttomesso

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