Posts Tagged ‘Live’

Live Review: “A Midsummer Night’s Concert”

September 1, 2010

THE SHAKE, LILY & THE PARLOUR TRICKS, CHAPPO, RACCOON FIGHTER, THE WALK-ONS AND F. MICHAEL HAYNIE AT CAMEO; CITIZENMUSIC PRESENTS “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S CONCERT.”

Post by Meijin Bruttomesso (aka, The Damn Sexy Scenester)

Last Saturday night, North 6th Street in Williamsburg overflowed with musical possibilities. I played my cards correctly and hit Cameo Gallery, the intimate hideaway space behind The Lovin’ Cup. With splendid sound quality and eye-catching décor, spaghetti-like strings draped over the stage, that performers enjoy swatting much like cats mesmerized by yarn, the dimly lit venue hosted a hefty line-up organized by CitizenMusic Presents: The Walk Ons, Raccoon Fighter, F. Michael Haynie, Lily & The Parlour Tricks, The Shake, and Chappo.

The Walk-Ons

The Walk-Ons - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

I’ve taken on a bad habit of a scenester, arriving late to shows now, missing the acoustic set by F. Michael Haynie before The Walk Ons ran away with my heart. Music that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, but also rocks, is a rare find. This quartet has found a balance between blazers, ties, and rock ‘n roll; their new EP, We Did This On Purpose, features a handful (literally five) tracks that elicit smiling, dancing, and repeating. Take a listen to my favorites, “Can’t Be Satisfied” and “State of Affairs” at www.thewalkons.com/The_Walk_Ons.html.

Raccoon Fighter - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Raccoon Fighter - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Up next, Raccoon Fighter, a trio of multiple talents, played musical chairs as vocalists/drummers/guitarists Sean Gavigan and Zachary Ciancaglini traded places, and bassist Gabe Wilhelm held down the foundation and backing vocals. Despite some amplifier difficulties, the three blues-rock gentlemen handled their run-ins with grace, and impressed listeners with their small band, big sound dynamics and selections from their two, new, FREE EP’s, Liars Feet and Terrified, available at http://raccoonfighter.bandcamp.com. In an effort to apologize for the technical snafus, Gavigan observed, “You paid ten dollars to get in, but you get eleven tracks for free!” Good point. My top picks include “No Lover” and “Rollin’ Wheel.”

Lily & The Parlour Tricks - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Lily & The Parlour Tricks - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Stepping outside for a long moment, I returned at the final two songs of Lily & The Parlour Tricks, barely able to fit into the venue. The costumed ladies had magically shoe-horned the sextet on stage and attracted an influx of onlookers. I am still disappointed in my concert attending strategies, but according to some reliable, musically savvy sources, Lily and company not only dressed to impress but astonished listeners with their vocal range, harmonies, and precision. Find out on how I slacked at www.myspace.com/lilyclairemusic.

The Shake - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

The Shake - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

A favorite of the DFH’s and mine, The Shake, crammed the venue even more tightly. Their set gave fans “the hits” from The Shake Go Crazy, spotlighting the irreplaceable talents and solos of Eliad Shapiro, a sample of tantalizing new material with a dancier pop direction, and a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” featuring bassist Jeremy Stein on dead-on lead vocals. Probably one of their best gigs, these boys have honed the spirit of that “old time rock ‘n roll.” My Shake staples remain “Your Idols” and “Merry Musket;” decide which are yours at www.myspace.com/theshakeband.

Chappo - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Chappo - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Around 1 AM, I imagined I had begun hallucinating. Instead, it was just Chappo. The tri-member group floated onto the stage, donning feathers, capes, and feathered capes. The tribal influences were not lost on front row fanatics, who danced and chanted in a circle. I think one guy even commented on my lack of participation, “Come onnnn! Get in the circle! You’re missing out!” One lucky lady was crowned with an elaborate headdress from front man Alex Chappo. Chappo were pleasantly exotic and psychedelic to say the least, and I would enjoy seeing their spacey, Native American get-ups again. I’ve been rocking out to “Sci-Fi Bandits” and “Space Shoes” (Maybe I just like S’s?) from their Plastique Universe EP. Enter a new dimension at http://www.chappomusic.com.

I emerged from Cameo a “merry wanderer of the night” (Thanks Shakespeare!), satisfied with the full evening of memorable bands. Next mid-summer, let’s do it again!

-Meijin Bruttomesso, aka The Damn Sexy Scenester

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Two Post from Deli Mag This DH Endorses

September 1, 2010

Saves me doing a lot of work I don’t feel like doing. Nice work, Deli Mag!

FIRST: New Video from The Drums (I still have something to say about this new breed of Indie music that is somewhere between a satire and a blatant copy of a previous style of music, but I’ll save it for another post. This particular song is still very good, regardless.)

THE DRUMS – “Down By the Water” (Would like to hear from the readers about whom the band resembles/might be portraying; I’m thinking The Righteous Brothers. Hit me.)

SECOND: A really great NYC band this dirty motherfucking hipster loves. Apollo Run doubtless puts on a top-tier live show. Don’t be a dipshit. Spend $8 of your freelance paycheck and go see them. According to their myspace, they’ll be playing next in NYC at Rockwood 2 on Sept 16.)

LIVE REVIEW OF APOLLO RUN AT PIANOS

‘Nay. -DFH

TUNE IN TUESDAY, Ed. #6

August 31, 2010

It’s too hot to write. Just watch this video and learn something about Rock n Roll. I’m gonna go throw up or something.

Enjoy? -DFH

One Helluva Gig

July 29, 2010

Jack White, perhaps the coolest musical figure of our generation (certainly up there with Andre 3000 and Prince, who may be the coolest musical figure of any generation), performed The Beatles’ classic “Mother Nature’s Son” at the White House. The task alone is impressive and threatening enough, but when the seating arrangement puts the leader of the free world and a knight directly at the performer’s feet, shit, even a professional as traveled and accomplished as Jack White’s got to get goosebumps. He, as expected, performed wonderfully, of course. Enjoy!


Jack White performs The Beatles’ “Mother Nature’s Son” at the White House. Aired on PBS, July 28, 2010

Brought to you by the Public Broadcasting Service, viewers like you and the letter “D,” for Dirtyfuckinghipster.com. -DFH

‘I Know, I Know,’ or, ‘Such Thing as Too Much? No.’

June 25, 2010

I post this with the awareness that DFH.com is on the brink of becoming a Hank & Cupcakes fanpage, and it don’t seem to bother me none.

I happened to be shuffling through Union Square Park yesterday because it’s pleasant to be outside surrounded by concrete when the temperature reaches 140, when I came across a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. He was setting up drum mics on a stage that had been built in the square and I asked him who was playing. “Uh, Hank and the Cupcakes, or something?” Must say, was not a very big surprise, after all, this event was sponsored by Best Buy where the dynamic duo had played several months earlier. And, shit, they seem to play once a week, and somehow garner bigger and bigger crowds each time.

This dirty, sweating, heaving fucking hipster wiped the hair from his burning eyes as he entered the square from the southeast corner to see the silhouette of about 100 people standing or sitting on the steps observing the band playing their initial single, “Pleasure Town.” As the show carried on and picked up momentum, a momentum that could be deciphered from Cupcake’s cheeks, which grew from pink to red in the beating summer sun, the crowd multiplied steadily throughout the set until nearly the entire southern quarter was packed full of children dancing, grown men crying (for real, dawg, for real) and cell phone snapshots going off every ten seconds.

This was certainly the biggest crowd I had seen the band play in front of. On a sweltering New York summer day Cupcakes was the only thing in the universe shining brighter than the fat old sun, and right there with her, playing flawlessly and sliding gracefully around the stage with her as always was Hank, the perfect Edith to her Archie. Whether it was a ballad or a banger, I felt as though I saw hundreds of New Yorkers all falling in love at the same time, and it was a very special site. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself what it would be like to be the band’s William Miller on their first national tour, but for that I’d have to give up my secret identity. Might be worth it. -DFH

PS – The band just released a video for their cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control.” It’s pretty damn good. Check it.

Live Review: The Morning Benders (MHoW) 4/24/10

May 3, 2010

I still don’t know the name of the openers’ opening act, but let’s just say that their “lead” woman came off as something closer to terminal cancer patient who had been granted her wish to perform at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Rubbish. This dirty hipster, as lazy as he may be, does not have enough time to waste discussing such a band. Painful. Fortunately, the two bands whose names were written on my ticket, Holiday Shores and The Morning Benders, were terrific.

After taking a stroll down Kent to try and wash the bitter taste of the opening act’s set out of my brain, I reentered after Holiday Shores had begun their set. The room was beginning to fill up, and a much-needed adrenaline boost was delivered to the audience by an (unexpectedly) excellent band. I couldn’t help but say out loud: “this is the kind of music you want to hear at a show,” even though I was at the show alone. I got a weird look from an unattractive girl. This is when sunglasses at night come in handy.

Holiday Shores
Holiday Shores

Following Holiday Shores, I grabbed a beer , okay, a couple beers, drained the lizard and heading back into the room. Doesn’t it suck when you leave for ten minutes only to find that the only place to stand is right next to the stinkin’ sound guy? Either way, anyone who has read this dirty hipster’s review of The Morning Benders’ album will know that I was highly anticipating this show. I did not leave disappointed.

The Morning Benders
The Morning Benders

The Morning Benders lived up to their title as the headliner and put on a truly remarkable show. They were charming, engaging and, perhaps most importantly, tight as all hell. They executed every note to utter perfection. Julian, the lead guitarist, manned his instrument with a noteworthy adeptness, striking notes with both a machine-like precision and a genuine passion. But the show really rotated around Christopher Chu. Chu is a singer’s singer, ya dig? He delivers his lines with a contagious youthful sincerity. And, despite the fact that he resembles the sort of fresh-faced dweeb I’d push down the stairs in middle school/a prostitute in Apocalypse Now, he bears a commanding and professional presence on-stage. Heartfelt, melancholic songs of love, upbeat dance songs, brilliant musicianship and an undeniable band chemistry made for a truly outstanding performance. This dirty hipster highly, highly recommends seeing this band from Berkeley as soon as the opportunity presents itself. There are, allegedly, still tickets remaining for their July 28 show at Summerstage with the Black Keys. Skip Union Pool for a night and put that PBR money towards a ticket to see The Morning Benders. -DFH

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

April 18, 2010

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

Live Review: CitizenMusic Presents “The Theatre Shows”

March 21, 2010

I got this email from the guy who runs CitizenMusic [Presents] inviting me to something they put together called “The Theatre Shows.” Wouldn’t you know that this dirty fucking hipster was one sick dog this whole week? Fuck. Couldn’t get to Titus Andronicus – and everyone who reads this blog knows how much I wanted to post something overly-malicious about their performance – nor could I get to see one of my favorite bands in town, Black Taxi who were headlining the three nights of The Theatre Shows. Whoever these CitizenMusic folks are, they sure have their hands in some killer shit. I’ve been holding onto a review I wrote of one of their bands, The Shake, for well over a month now because their manager doesn’t think it’s “the right time to release a review.” Usually I’d say he was just another industry pig, but through several months of correspondence I’ve gotten to know him as a pretty good dude with good taste. Anyway, this paragraph is way too long already, I’ve just got to stop.

As fortune would have it, I was sent these reviews from Meijin Bruttomesso at The Deli Mag. She reviewed the shows, and now I’m sharing those reviews with you. I’m also kicking myself for not loading up on Vitamin Q and getting my dumb ass to these shows; seems as though they were pretty damn good. Fuck me.

The Theatre Shows: “Masquerade Ball”
Old Wives, The Shake, and Black Taxi, Live at The Players Theatre

Black Taxi Headlines All 3 Nights at The Theatre Shows

Black Taxi Headlines All 3 Nights at The Theatre Shows

On March 4, Greenwich Village’s Players Theatre bustled with feathers, masks, and glitter, for the “Masquerade Ball,” the first of CitizenMusic’s Theatre Shows. Verona, New Jersey’s Old Wives, a jazzy, funky, and soulful quintet, brought swing and sway to the sold-out venue with bluesy jams and a swanky sass. Although seating was available, the audience could not be restrained, especially when The Shake appeared. Masked and made-up, the four New Yorkers blasted through an explosive set, accompanied by confetti cannons, unstoppable noise-makers, and a slinky dancer, armed with flashlights for their final “Got No Soul.”

The Shake at The Theatre Shows: Night One - Masquerade Party

The Shake at The Theatre Shows: Night One - Masquerade Party

Closing opening night, Brooklyn’s Black Taxi energized the audience to a climax, as masqueraders, whether first-timers or devout fans, formed a fire-hazard in the aisles, dancing to newly debuted tunes as well as released favorites. The three exceptional bands joined center stage for a full-cast bow, and despite some sound kinks, expected from first-night jitters, the music set the bar high for the two subsequent shows.

The Masquerade Party

The Masquerade Party

http://www.myspace.com/oldwives
http://www.myspace.com/theshakeband
http://www.myspace.com/blacktaximusic

The Theatre Shows: “Prohibition Night”
Black Taxi, Apollo Run, and Milo and the Fuzz, Live at The Players Theater

Prohibition Night

Prohibition Night

The second of the three Theatre Shows, “Prohibition Night” commenced copacetically with the bees’ knees, Black Taxi. Due to the previous evening’s wild festivities, the joint encouraged dames and daddies to stay nearby their seats, but rules at a rock show proved baloney. The four Black Taxi members promenaded down the aisle with guitar and tambourine in hand, and flasks in pocket, before stepping on stage for an electrifying set that naturally brought flappers and bootleggers out of their seats and into the pit. Apollo Run, donning fedoras and suspenders, captivated with their impressive vocal range and nuance, and powerful lead keyboard. At the end of their set, the trio mingled with the audience and mounted the arms of the theater seats to serenade the front rows. Last but not least, Milo and the Fuzz, another band of three cool cats, played with a confidence beyond their age and put on the Ritz, wrapping up night two with a swell performance.

Prohibition Night - Milo & The Fuzz

Prohibition Night - Milo & The Fuzz

http://www.myspace.com/blacktaximusic
http://www.myspace.com/apollorun
http://www.myspace.com/miloandthefuzz

The Theatre Shows Night Three: “Post-Modern (PoMo) Night”
New Madrid, Toy Soldiers, and Black Taxi, Live at The Players Theater

The finale of the series on March 6, “PoMo Night,” featured an anything-goes, get-creative theme, that encouraged outfits which would normally not leave the house. First up, New Madrid, cleverly fusing Spanish and English lyrics performed with an intensity that surpassed the sound of three, and engaged the bizarrely dressed crowd with adrenaline-infused rock. During “La Araña,” the band even tossed out creepy crawly souvenir spiders.

PoMo Night - New Madrid

PoMo Night - New Madrid

Toy Soldiers, out-of-towners from Philadelphia, brought a classic, rootsy vibe and a standout brass section that left listeners swooning. Still standing after two raucous shows in a row, Black Taxi amped up the pace with perfected sound, riling up the off-runway-styled audience that demanded multiple encores. As the imaginary curtain closed and reopened, the leading men from the bands throughout the weekend reunited for one more celebratory bow before an exeunt omnes. The Theatre Shows’ all-around success promises a repeat of the event and proves that New York is home to pre-eminent music and original acts.

The bands take a bow together

The bands take a bow together

http://www.myspace.com/newmadridmusic
http://www.myspace.com/ohnotoysoldiers
http://www.myspace.com/blacktaximusic

-Meijin Bruttomesso

Concert Review: Old Wives, Hank & Cupcakes, New Madrid at Cake Shop

January 24, 2010

I got invited to Cake Shop for a concert hosted by a company called CitizenMusic Presents last night. Initially there were four bands on the bill: Hank and Cupcakes, Action Painters, New Madrid and Old Wives. According to Facebook messages Action Painters pulled out the show several days beforehand – maybe they broke up, again? Would love to find out the story there, that band is (was?!) really good. Either way, anyone who reads this blog knows I have a deep affection for Hank and Cupcakes. (In fact, they were the first review ever posted on here.) I had never heard of Old Wives and was pretty unfamiliar with New Madrid, but their MySpaces sounded good, so I was pretty excited for the show.

As is rather typical, there was some early show at Cake Shop, some metal crap with a slew of black-clad creeps slithering out around 9 o’clock, when the Old Wives were supposed to begin. The CitizenMusic Presents show didn’t start until well after 10. Ordinarily I’d be pretty pissed off about that, but I was in an unconventionally good mood and just started drinking alone. There were some good-looking chicks there and everyone was having a good time, so a late start wasn’t so bad.

By the time the first band took the stage the room was packed from the front of the stage to the back door.

Old Wives
Photo courtesy of Deneka Peniston

Old Wives, a five-piece rock band from somewhere in New Jersey, began the show with a straight ahead, no bullshit blues jam. It was a nice way to start a set as it not only set the tone for the rest of their tunes, but it put their excellent musicianship on full display. As the band prepared to start their second song, lead singer Jason Gleason asked the crowd, “do you like to boogie?” The five Jersey kids then kicked into a seriously groovy tune reminiscent of Bad Company. Bella Gleason (keyboards) accompanied the driving, danceable number with organ tones that ricocheted between a Zombies-like church sound and some whacked-out, spacey Devo-esque noodling. The eight song set was superb, really superb. I hope this Jersey quintet won’t be strangers to New York, as they are just type of Rock n Roll this City’s yearning for. The musicianship is absolutely first class, the singer, Gleason, has the ability to scream it like Paul Rogers or belt it like Bono – he’s truly a top-rate talent. The rhythm section is perfectly in synch and the songs, especially “Rip Van Winkle” a track apparently about “the desert” according to Gleason, are great. Looking forward to writing more reviews of these guys.

The room was pulsating with an unusual energy in anticipation of the second band, among my very favorite acts, Hank and Cupcakes.

Hank and Cupcakes
Photo courtesy of Denika Peniston

Since I have previously written a rather extensive review of Hank and Cupcakes show (scroll down) I’m going to keep this one brief. If you haven’t seen them, see them. This salacious, riveting duo will have you saying “White Stripes who?!” after the first several notes. The ever-charming Cupcakes was the queen of the ball on this night. Whether exchanging on-stage banter with the crowd or dancing swinging her hips and hair (behind the stage, in the pit, on chairs) during Old Wives’ and New Madrid’s set, Cupcakes proved yet again to be a uniquely engaging personality. Hank, her partner in crime, is an absolute master. With a pedal board that must require its own Ryder truck to move from point A to point B, he created his singularly symphonic melodies from outer space that provided a perfectly tripped-out platform for Cupcakes to hammer away dance beats on her kit. The band will be at Pianos on February 5, this dirty hipster will be there and he’d think you all idiots if you’re not there as well.

I was extremely intrigued to see New Madrid. I’ve heard things here and there about them, but had never seen them live nor really dug into their self-titled EP, which was released last year. The four tracks and live videos on their MySpace had me very interested to see what they’d be live. And, while the songs off the EP are catchy and interesting, and the live videos (as home-made as they appear and sound) are pretty cool, this live show is off the fucking chains.

New Madrid
Photo courtesy of Crystal E

To start with, New Madrid shut off all the lights on stage and stood prepping their fingers, finishing their beers and checking the levels on their amps as Mozart blasted through the PA. The lights shoot on just as the band come in on a brutally fast, chugging punk song I learned from their MySpace is called “Radio Tranquila.” From the outset, frontman/drummer/lead singer, Axel, was in total command of stage and crowd. It was no surprise to see him and Cupcakes chatting it up after the show, because the two are awfully similar. Not only do they both stand and play drums while singing, but they are both supremely enigmatic. Guitarist, Erik Barragan, added massive distortion to his guitar, which, in conjunction with bassist, Anthony Formichella’s flittering bass lines, provided both grit and elegance to the set.

New Madrid deliver a set full of highlights. When they decide to get loud, they get fucking loud. Axel is not only an irresistibly engaging performer, but he is a phenomenal singer. Not to mention a very good, original-sounding drummer. Truly a great talent. And the songs are really great. There were a group of very tall, hip-looking girls no more than 6″ from the stage with their hands in the hair from start to finish; a little punk dude headbanging at the stage’s edge with his shirt off; an old, bald man contorting his body in an almost disconcerting fashion; people making out left and right; an agglomeration of flashbulbs fit for a Paris Hilton appearance.

The crowd stayed, drank and cheered from start to finish. The energy was palpable, and the performances by the bands were really, really great. This dirty hipster has two new bands on his “must see” list: Old Wives and New Madrid. If last night’s concert at Cake Shop were any indication, it appears that good times and good… okay, great bands are alive and well in New York. -DFH

Debut Post / Hank and Cupcakes 12.15.09

December 16, 2009

This initial post has been a long (long, long, long) time coming. Finally, thanks to a terrific performance by one of the hip, Brooklyn scene bands, Hank and Cupcakes, this dirty fucking hipster has put down his sub-par grandma slice from Sal’s and has gotten the inspiration to start this darn blog.


Photo courtesy of SUPRAMOD

On a Tuesday night in Williamsburg there’s not typically that much going on. Metropolitan isn’t flooded with large groups of newly-acquired New York residence like it is on a Saturday night; Union Pool (really, since the first cold day of the year) is a barren wasteland; the hotbed that is N. 6th is uncomfortably tame; but, there is luckily a great act playing at Knitting Factory. I hadn’t been there before, so this was a welcoming invitation to check the joint out. Not exactly the charming back-room digs at Cameo, though not quite an overdone venue that you’d find in Midtown – overall pretty nice.

Anyway, Hank and Cupcakes took to stage a little after 8, opening for The Prigs. Right off the bat this band introduced something sexy, something raw and taboo to a room full over cross-armed hipsters. Apologies in advance for the liberal use of sexual simile and metaphor that is to follow. To paint a picture of how the set started, imagine it’s 3am on a Friday and you’re a guy who hasn’t been laid in a while. The 60 hour work week sucked – again. You’ve just gone out with the guys and sauntered home drunk alone. Suddenly, as you’re brushing your teeth, you get the text message you’ve been fantasizing about getting for the last several years. It’s that girl you always wanted to fuck, and she’s looking to get down. She shows up at your door before you have time scatted open books around the living room and create an iTunes playlist. And it’s fuckin’ on! Two songs hit you in the face and before you’ve had time to put into perspective how awesome what’s happening really is, you’ve had an orgasm.


Photo courtesy of SUPRAMOD

Cupcakes, the band’s drummer/lead-singer who proves you neither need kick triplets nor a drum throne to make a phat beat, clad in glittering purple spandex tights, utters between songs, “well, so much for the foreplay.” Just what must have been on everybody’s mind. The next several songs continued on with the same sensual, erotic fervor. Smack in the middle of the set is a brilliant cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control.” Hank, the bass player extraordinaire, who surrounds himself with an arsenal of pedals and triggers fit for a space shuttle pilot, and hammers out intensely intricate melodies. At times it seems as though there are 10 people on stage all playing rare, exotic synthesizers, when in fact, of course, there are only two. Following the an excellent cover Cupcakes flitters from behind her drum kit and drifts nymph-like along the front edge of the stage while Hank fiddles with his whistles and bells in preparation for the next song. It was a perfectly placed comedown from a previously (nearly-)overwhelming set. It was that moment when you (remember that you’re a drunk mid-20’s guy finally getting it on with that girl you’ve always wanted) hold the girl in your arms, both completely out of breath and acknowledge in a silent embrace how great the sex you just had was. The duo ended the set with a new song that was the hookiest song of the night. Sent me home singing about some dude named Jimmy who’s apparently got a TV show, question mark?

In this dirty fucking hipster’s estimation, you’re doing yourself an injustice by not seeing this band. I recommend bringing a date because you may not make it out of the venue before getting laid. -DFH