Monday, January 28, 2008

Interlude: Back In Time

Things are a bit garbled as far as chronology now, but I'll try to resolve that. Eleven days ago, following what was almost a two month hiatus, I finally made it back out to a show. I had seen Au Revoir Simone a couple times before, and they seemed a fine way to ease myself back into the groove, particularly at the always great Bowery Ballroom. Thankfully, I was unfamiliar with the openers, which always makes it a little more exciting. Many thanks to Jen Appel from Press Here Publicity for making it possible.


Russian-born Olga Bell opened the night to a packed floor. The late start time (9:30 on a Friday night) didn't hurt, but I was pleasantly surprised by the large turnout. While her recorded music is much in the singer-songwriter vein, quiet piano with the addition of some electronic elements, her live set was far more impressive. The wise addition of a bassist, guitar player and drummer turned those bedroom songs into louder, more ambitious compositions. While Bell would describe one part as a "snore song," even that developed into something more. The most memorable part was, inevitably, her two-headed cover of "Videotape" and "The Eraser," by Radiohead and Thom Yorke respectively. I thought the second half was more interesting, with the clanking percussion, Bell's "Doing me in" buildup, and the stuttering piano. With a "debut EP in the cooker" according to her MySpace, hopefully we'll hear more from her in the future. Bell plays at Cake Shop with Takka Takka on February 1st.

MP3: Bell - Videotape / The Eraser (Live)
MySpace: Bell

April March

This I was not expecting. When a decent looking quartet stepped out (all of them wearing pink on one part of their person), I prepared myself for fun, head-nodding indie rock. When they were joined by a singer, who then proceeded to sing in French, I was stunned. Surely an up-and-coming group would hesitate to sing in a foreign language? Turns out April March (née Elinor Blake) was most active in the 90's, and this was her first show in New York in four years. She was definitely not your typical Bowery resident, but the backup band played with an enthusiasm that made them seem right at home. But I thought her vocals were a bit stiff, and while they aren't really comparable to anything around these days, I'm more inclined towards an Emilie Simon or Stereolab. April March said she had a new album finished, and she's looking for a label to release it on.

MySpace: April March
Official Site: April March

Au Revoir Simone

During the intermission, one of my neighbors observed that there were "many dudes here." Au Revoir Simone would seem to appeal to the gentler sex, but perhaps the guys were hoping for a dance party, which unfortunately never quite materialized. The trio is always impeccable when it comes to harmonies and interestingly little keyboard sounds, but there comes a point where you want a little more at a concert. When the "dance" portion of their set finally came around, it was capped at two songs. As with their South Street Seaport appearance, I was left wanting more. Thankfully, they did play "Night Majestic" this time around, but "Stars," remained absent. While quite good on record, they need to do more live if they want to get people more excited. At least the show ended on a high note, when the trio was joined by members of the openers, which makes me wonder if it would hurt to add a live drummer or guitarist to the mix.

MP3: Au Revoir Simone - Through The Backyards
MP3: Au Revoir Simone - Fallen Snow
Official Site: Au Revoir Simone

1 comment:

n said...

bell was great. au revoir simone was super that nite.

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