Thursday, December 07, 2006

Interlude: Magnum Opus

Arizona and Friends
Club Europa, Brooklyn - Dec 6th, 2006

A few days after finally getting uptown, I took the L Train (with Tanmay of Musicality) east to the lovely borough of Brooklyn. The place has really been a fantastic incubator for great bands recently, from TV on the Radio to Grizzly Bear to Au Revoir Simone, and the night only heightened my impression of quality. There was a bit of confusion at the start of the show, with an opener bailing out, but once things got going, the night was really fantastic. Many thanks to Connor over at I Guess I'm Floating for originally bringing the gig to my attention.

Michael of Abraham Van

Mike started things off, playing a few songs, and then sticking around for the rest of the show with the crowd. I'm sorry to say that nothing really stood out to me in the set, but perhaps this lack of impact was just the sparsity of the setup. It is, after all, really hard to fill any space with acoustic guitar. I look forward to seeing him with his full band, Abraham Van.

MP3s: Here
MySpace: Here

Dawn Landes (and Friends)

Goodness, what an amazing performance. Dawn is a great singer, and she was backed up by a really solid cellist in Eric Stephenson, the second one I've seen in the last week. While there's definitely a country-twinge to her work, it has undeniable pop sheen and is really appealing stuff. I can't gush enough about it, nor can I recommend checking our her songs enough. If that isn't enough, she's also a sound engineer, having also worked with fellow New Yorker Joseph Arthur. Things got even better in the finale, with the additional bassist, handclapper, as well as vocals from Ben of Arizona, making for a great end to a great set. That really set the tone for the rest of the night, and there was a really nice sense of community, which isn't a vibe you really get at some of the bigger venues.

MySpace: Here
Official Site: Here

Gold & Gun Metal

G&GM were huge. Really, nothing quite compares to absorbing the roar of a band playing at full blast. Their half-hour performance was broken up into only a few songs, and each was a sprawling epic. It was mostly instrumental, punctuated by the singer's excellent baritone, and I guess the term post-rock applies here. The drumming was particularly insane, and many kudos for the relentless, awe-inspiring set. Their recordings, which you can find below, don't really do this live show justice, but definitely take a listen and definitely see them live if possible.

MySpace: Here


Headliners Arizona played a triumphant, full-bodied set. They really have a unique sound, coupled with Ben's distinct delivery. I have to admit that I'm a bit biased, as some of the inspiration of their songs originates from one of my favorite sets of novels, Stephen King's Dark Tower series. And no, it doesn't hurt that I share the same name as the protagonist, but esotericism aside, there's definitely the same immersive quality to Arizona's music. Highly recommended, and again, there should an interview (and potential live material) up soon.

MySpace: Here
Official Site: Here


Arms is Todd Goldstein, and he lived up to his name, playing some nasty acoustic guitar. There was some serious distortion, and his furious strumming made the set surprisingly upbeat. The highlight of the set was the crowd sing-along, just another example of the sense of community throughout.

A funny bit of banter between Todd and Ben:

"Thank God for Arizona."
"Thank God for Arms."
"I meant human arms."
"And I meant the state Arizona."

MySpace: Here

All in all, a really an incredible experience, and many thanks to the artists and the venue for their great work! I can't wait to get out to Brooklyn again!

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