Okay. Going to way too many shows isn't a great excuse for not writing them up, but it's the only one I have. Here's part two of the Yard.
Some YouTube research notified me that singer Molly Siegal was crazy, but it didn't quite prepare me for the madness that was this set. The crowd was just nuts, almost trampling each other in excitement. Although their songs can be nonsensical, the message was pretty clear: freak out. Siegal was the spark plug, inciting the masses like a demagogue, before leaping into it. Listening to their studio work, I'd wouldn't understand quite what the fuss is about, but as they say, you had to be there.
Ponytail play at the Knitting Factory on August 23rd.
MP3: Ponytail - Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came From An Angel)
The Chinese Stars
Inevitably, the Chinese Stars' set would be a letdown after Ponytail. As it stood, there wasn't much distinguish it from generally angsty rock. Singer Eric Paul howled and stormed across the stage, but there wasn't too much to get worked up about.
MP3: The Chinese Stars - Arson Hotline
MySpace: The Chinese Stars
Official Site: The Chinese Stars
The keytar is a mostly cosmetic instrument - everything it does can be duplicated by a conventional keyboard. But what it allows for is movement, and Pete Cafarella took full advantage of that feature. Melding his robotic vocals and drummer Nate Smith's percussion, the duo played a dynamic, energizing set. It's been done, but it was done well.
Shy Child open for the Faint at Terminal 5 on August 18th.
MP3: Shy Child - Astronaut
MySpace: Shy Child
There was a streak of anarchy coloring Titus Andronicus' set. You could credit frontman Patrick Stickle's scruffy mantra - "The enemy is everywhere" - emblazoned on a ragtag sign. But his stage banter said otherwise, as he called it "the best day of my life," and although he was surrounded by strangers, he said he considered all of us his friends. And ultimately, that's what the day was all about - there was a sense of community that's often lost in the concert grind.
MySpace: Titus Andronicus
Latecomers Ninjasonik were slated to play much earlier in the day, but snuck in a quick set between bands. It was gleefully absurd hip-hop (choice chant: "Somebody's gonna get pregnant!"), and a nice change of pace after a bunch of guitars.
MP3: Ninjasonik - Tight Pants
MP3: Ninjasonik - Holla For A Dolla
Official Site: Ninjasonik
The unlikely blow-up from last fall, High Places are hard to pin down. How does such innocuous dream pop catch the ears of people who like weird stuff? It must just be the downright appeal of these tracks: all jumbled percussion and Mary Pearson's pretty, wide-eyed vocals. Alas, the bass was much too high here, and said vocals were buried in the mix - for some reason the band set up on a third stage, amongst the trees, and the quality was diminished as a result. Nonetheless, a gem of a group, and their 03/07 - 09/07 comp just came out physically.
MP3: High Places - Head Spins
MySpace: High Places
Oneida churned out instrumental epics, creating somewhat restless conclusion to an insane day. It was both a study in minimalism - repeating one riff or drum line - and maximalism, as the band stretched said moment endlessly. While not the most engrossing moments, it was a cinematic ending.
MP3: Oneida - Up With People
Official Site: Oneida
As darkness settled across the city, I felt a real sense of magnitude. Although many of these bands often play in these parts, bringing such a variety and scale into one spot was incredible. Ultimately, it was a reminder of why I do what I do - and how much I enjoy it.