Thursday, June 07, 2007

Interlude: Scale

Sorry, guys. That's the biggest gap in posts since my week in Florence, but it's officially over. I'm well and truly upstate now, and while that's about as far from my preferred urban environment as you can get, I think the setting will do me some good. But you can be happy to hear that I went out with a bang, although that might be my eardrums giving out after one of the largest daily doses of music I've enjoyed since CMJ week. And all that sounded unnecessarily nostalgic, it probably was, but I feel like the next couple months are an interim (with very few shows in sight) before the next major stage of my life, and I'm glad that, if nothing else, I got my fix.


So the scene was set: June 1st, with (inevitable) light rain, but more importantly, the inaugural show of the Seaport Festival concert series. I hadn't really considered attending this particular one, but the idea seemed so popular with my like-minded friends that I figured I had nothing to lose. In retrospect, in might pay to be more selective (or simply more conscious of whom I actually want to see) next time. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We made a bit of a roundabout trip to the Seaport, taking the Shuttle to Times Square and the 1/2/3 Line down (I had to make a pit stop - thanks Joe!), and arrived in the midst of Danielson's set. The group was six uniformed members strong, but with frontman Daniel Smith inevitably demanding the bulk of one's attention. It's fitting that Sufjan guests on the album Ships, because the set resembled some warped version of the Illinoisemakers, albeit a screechy and freakier version. In the end, I could reasonably conclude that they were generally not my thing, but the fantastic "Did I Step On Your Trumpet?" made the whole experience worthwhile.

MP3: Danielson - Did I Step On Your Trumpet?
Official Site: Danielson

Animal Collective

I try to maintain some semblance of objectivity here, but Animal Collective's set bored me to tears, or more accurately, severe ankle cramps and mild claustrophobia. Things started off well enough, with a kickin' tribal beat, but the apparent inclination to "play new songs" made for repetitive, difficult hour, and an acquaintance that actually enjoyed Feels said she didn't recognize any of the songs. I'm sorry to say that I walked out early (a first), but I will give Feels another go before I dismiss them entirely; the giant crowd that was in attendance can't all be wrong. To make up for all that hatin', here's a recording of a set they played at Haverford College on April 23rd, 2005. Incidentally, they also played last fall at NYU, so I guess it's a bit of a tradition.

1. People
2. White Antelope
3. Banshee Beat
4. Lake
5. We Tigers
6. Daffy Duck
7. Country
8. Grass
9. Muffins
10. Big Big Bea
11. Kids On Holiday
12. Baby Day
Official Site: Animal Collective

Reggie Watts

After a rather lackluster couple of sets, I was somewhat relieved to be heading to a drastic change of scenery. You might remember my last time at Crashin'In, in which a very good time was had, and this night was equally excellent. I can't recommend the experience enough, and despite the fact that some part of Galapagos is apparently relocating, this fantastic concert series will be sticking around. Reggie Watts kicked things off, and I have to admit that my expectations (he was billed as a spoken word artist) didn't prepare me for the awesomeness that ensued. I'm gushing, aren't I? So much for objectivity.

Anyways, Reggie started off with a beatbox, which he then looped to create a steady beat, and then unleashed incredibly soulful singing, tongue-in-cheek-but-still-effective rapping (for example, making a stack out of unspeakable four letter words), and best of all, random interjections. These consisted of hilarious anecdotes, delivered in his radio-worthy voice, although he'd go on and morph said voice into all manners of accents, and at one point used distortion to make it resemble everyone's favorite daemonic entity (seriously). It's really remarkable what this man can do with his vocal cords and some cut-and-pasting. Another (well deserved) hyperbole goes here.

Official Site: Reggie Watts
Etree: Reggie Watts

Kill The Lights

At this point in my night, there was still a disturbing lack of rocking out. Kill The Lights definitely filled that quota...perhaps to a fault, as my ears were ringing all of Saturday, but the results were immediately gratifying. While they aren't terribly innovative, they played a strong, confident set, with Alex Hackett's voice cutting through the guitar-and-keyboard crunch, and Stephanie Hanna occasionally jumping in to keep things pretty. Chalk up another very good band from Canada.

MySpace: Kill The Lights
Official Site: Kill The Lights


I saw Chairlift last time, and their presence was a great hook to come again. While I was perfectly prepared to mellow out with their closing set, it had a bit more bite this time around. While the songs were as lovely as ever, they were reinforced with a driving beat more often than not. Caroline seems to have emerged as the lead singer of the group, and she did an engaging job of shifting between their self-described "synthfolk," while throwing in the occasional bit of banter. So far, Chairlift has been the brightest gem I've discovered through a purely live context, and I was more than happy to pick up a CD after the set so I could share them with you. The band plays a great many dates over the summer (see below for info), and if they come to your area, absolutely check them out.

MP3: Chairlift - Bruises
MySpace: Chairlift
Official Site: Chairlift

So, after that crazy night, I discovered that I am a bit more inclined towards the small and intimate venue compared to the more accessible, but generally less personable larger stage. Of course, lineup has a great impact on my enjoyment of any show, and I'll definitely be heading back to the Seaport in August, when things really pick up. But by the same token, Crashin'In and similar events are equally adept at providing a medium for music, and in the end, it's nice to have both options.


Stephanie said...

Love Chairlift - Bruises, thanks.

mjlambie said...

bitchin! thanks for the chairlift jam. i heard it on KCRW last week and craved it! now i can listen to it on repeat. it's so good. can't believe i missed their LA show. dag!

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