Monday, August 27, 2007

Interlude: Bowery Electric

It's getting kind of out of hand, but I can't really complain. Last Thursday marked my return to the Bowery Ballroom (I saw Patrick Wolf just after school ended), and I'm definitely developing a fondness for the venue. It's right around my ideal concert size, striking the balance between intimacy and a decent crowd size. The night was filled an equally enjoyable of old and new, and despite the somewhat sparse attendance, I think everyone that was there had a blast.

Thanks to Kyle of Café Eclectica Music for the pictures.

From the first torso gyrations to the last guitar lick, New Jersey's Thing-One was tons of fun. The band opened with the self explanatory "Move It," which featured a thumping beat and an equally effective title shout. The next song's broke up its catchy chorus - "I'm living the American Dream" - with a stream of consciousness spoken interlude describing the equally red-white-and-blue corporate experience. The band wasn't all dance-punk; they were just as stirring when they slowed things down, as on "The Kid With The Pointy Shoes," which really showed off the singer's croon. This was one of the strongest openers I've seen.

Thing-One plays Galapagos a couple times in the coming months, once on September 13th and again on October 12th as part of the always excellent Crashin' In. Recommended.

MySpace: Thing-One

Natalie Walker

I should really like Natalie Walker more. As I stream her studio tracks (see below links), I find the arrangements more interesting, and her voice a little more distinct, and I'm wondering if perhaps it just didn't translate so well in a live setting. Natalie is clearly a very capable singer, but I found her set to be a little too predictable, just another pretty voice with the standard backing band (whom she remember to introduce, so props for that). The songs bordered on melodramatic, and for some arbitrary reason or another, I just wasn't really digging it. But as I say, the album stuff is more interesting, and I just might have to stop by when she plays at the SoHo Apple Store on September 23rd.

MySpace: Natalie Walker
Official Site: Natalie Walker


Bitter:Sweet is pretty much all of the latter. The band -which included the duo of Shana Halligan and Kiran Shahani, along with a DJ, guitarist, horn player and drummer in this incarnation - serves up a tasty blend of a bunch of things I really like. As I was hoping, the band played a couple new songs, the first a cheery, retro-pop tune and the second a darker electronic track. Apparently they've released The Remix Game since I last saw them, and unlike some of the groups that have done the remix thing, Bitter:Sweet definitely adapts well to mutability. While other production duos regard the live experience as an afterthought, there's something really exhilarating about hearing these songs - even the slower ones - in their live forms. Not only are they well executed with the variety of instruments present, but the band's enthusiasm is unmatched. Oh, and the recorded stuff is pretty good, too:


MP3: Bitter:Sweet - The Mating Game
MP3: Bitter:Sweet - Bittersweet Faith
MP3: Bitter:Sweet - Dirty Laundry
MP3: Bitter:Sweet - Moving Forward (Atjazz Remix)

MySpace: Bitter:Sweet
Official Site: Bitter:Sweet

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