the oh so quiet show

Cut Copy at Studio B

Cut Copy, taken by Amy

Last Saturday (only a week ago, really?) I went to Studio B to see Cut Copy with Amy, Jess, and Alex. It was my first “real” concert in…a long time. Strange to think that in high school I had the stamina to go to a concert, say, more than once every two months, but now I kind of loathe the thought of staying out until my contacts adhere themselves to my eyeballs and potentially having to go to work the next day. (I’m going to see Caribou this Friday though. Excitement! Wee!)

The main reason I went to see Cut Copy, besides that I like their music, was because Amy asked me to. Alex was a last minute add-on when he said, “OHAI, I’m coming down from Vassar for the weekend just because!” He didn’t have a ticket, but all we had to do was wait outside in a line moving at the speed of a disabled sloth before he was allowed entrance. Our wait was enhanced by shivering fun!—neither of us had brought jackets so we could avoid checking them in. This was the first time I actually left everything at home (“home” being Tristan’s not-too-far-away apartment) aside from a few necessities I could cram into Alex’s pockets. After waiting forever to check my bag in the last time I went to Studio B, I didn’t want to relive the horror.

This also mean I couldn’t lug my dSLR with me, but sometimes it’s okay not to take photos. I guess. Also, Amy took plenty.

Cut Copy, taken by Amy

So…the concert. I’ve become increasingly horrible at being able to describe these things. Most of the songs they played appeared to be from their first album, Bright Like Neon Love, which worked for me because I hadn’t listened to their newest one, In Ghost Colours. I think I…danced. Just a tad. It’s a rare thing, to see me dancing because I’m too self-conscious and feel like an mal-coordinated idiot when I move in ways beyond walking/running/etc. The band was into it, and the screaming fans led me to believe that the crowd was too.

The only low points of the concert were 1) standing next to or behind super-tall people/hipsters when I am barely over 5 feet tall, but i guess it’s my fault for having crappy genes ill-adapted for going to concerts, 2) standing next to people who wouldn’t stop making out (when people are shouting at you to “get a room,” you know it’s not good), 3) when at least one girl attempted to crowd surf and failed, 4) when this one guy wouldn’t stop hitting on Amy even though she was obviously not interested, although not obvious enough for this guy because her personality does not include “acting like a bitch.” Dear people of the male persuasion: do not talk try to a girl WHILE THE CONCERT IS GOING ON, IT’S KIND OF AWKWARD.

Otherwise, good times were had.

Lavender Diamond

So I went to this Lavender Diamond concert…

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Becky Stark

…about 2 weeks ago? Really? I feel like it’s been much longer. But the photos I took are only 3 pages back in my flickr stream, so I guess they’re not that old.

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still Becky

Ah, I know…time is slowing down as I approach the end. You know, death? Yeah. That’s why I feel like I’ve aged a few years since the concert. And soon time will stop completely. And I will know I have passed into the neeext woooorld.

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Guess who this is!

But…that’ll take a while. Yeah. While I am living, I’m glad that people like Becky Stark exist to make fun bands with fun songs because it makes living a little more enjoyable. She wasn’t as shy as she was during the NYPL performance. She was still silly, but confidently so. It’s quite a difference. I especially liked it when while singing “You Broke My Heart” she pointed at various members of the audience as though they were the perpetrators.

I wonder if someone really did break her heart. …I suppose so or else she wouldn’t have written it. Is the song even sad? It it happy? I can’t tell. If Becky sang about livers being torn out of squirrels, it would probably still sound kind of happy. … …Yeah.

So, my concerting kinda seems over for the summer. Maybe I will go to a Pool Parties show, but man, Williamsburg is far from me at the moment. If I were less dumb, I would’ve seen Feist and Grizzly Bear. But no…I am full dumb. And sleepy. [eyelids droop]

a week after PB&J

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Peter is blurry

Posting about a concert a week after I’ve gone to it is somewhat pointless. But I’m really lazy. So lazy that I sat in the balcony at the Peter Bjorn and John concert last Tuesday at Bowery Ballroom. I only sit in the balcony at the insistence of friends, but I was thankful that night to plop my bum down for a few hours and not have my nose squished against the back of an obscenely tall guy (because I almost always end up behind an obscenely tall guy) or suffer from “the nerve endings in my feet have died” syndrome.

crowd 2
crowd

I would have never known the show/crowd was so “bad” if I hadn’t read Brooklyn Vegan’s immediate response to the show. Hmmm. Um. Well, I didn’t go to the first two shows. I’d say that the Bowery show was a lot like the first time I saw them, except I was looking at the band from a different angle. I must be one of those people most other people hate—the kind that doesn’t dance (a rock could dance better than me) or seemingly move to any kind of beat. I sat quietly and still the entire time while staring at the band. That’s how I soak it in. Don’t like it? Eh.

You can download live mp3s from ryspace (plus a few more). I wasn’t annoyed at all by Bjorn’s memory lapse during Amsterdam. It may have bothered me if another artist did it, but Bjorn…nah. They played my favorite songs (The Chills, Up Against the Wall…oh, and that really popular single I overheard someone whistle the other day. Over and over again and over again. DO NOT WHISTLE THE SONG, YOU WILL ONLY KILL IT) and they looked happy while doing it. More people were talking during the show than I would’ve liked, but you can’t do much about that. The show was enjoyable and I left feeling tired and satisfied.

snow
snow?

…And cold. It’s snowing? W-T-F? Ah well, it made the otherwise gloomy Bowery look a bit prettier.

Peter Bjorn and John

Janet sent out a mass email asking if any of us wanted to see Peter Bjorn & John at Mercury Lounge on January 29th or 30th.

Um…hell yeah?

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ow, my eyes

Annnnd thus I am inspired to write about the PB&J concert I went to nearly two weeks ago. (I’ve been a bit busy/lazy lately. It’s finals week and I somehow need to not fail things while say goodbye to people and eat as much in Paris as possible and buy a million gifts and blah blah blah, not that I’m complaining or anything considering that when I walk out of my apartment and turn left I have a full-on view of the Eiffel Tower.)

I disappointingly took very few trips for someone who is studying abroad for one semester, but I managed to plan a weekend trip to London that coincided with the concert. Which was great because there were no concerts I wanted to go to in Paris (or by the time I found out I wanted to go, it was too late).

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twinkly

After wandering around under the depressingly early sun-less sky, I met up with my awesome host/longtime Internet friend Leanne, ate a burger for the first time in months, and we both made our way through the chilly weather to ULU.

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Peter

Standing in the venue was the most New York City-esque experience I had since leaving NYC. Being squished up against the stage reminded me of the Bowery Ballroom, except…smaller. With additional legal cigarette smoke. And with everyone speaking English.

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Bjorn, Peter

I was most struck by how differently they played their songs live as opposed to on the album. Not that they replaced their instruments with chainsaws or anything like that, but…ye know, more noticably different than live performances of other live artists. Either I was really tired, or they made some of their songs longer. Or maybe some songs just feel long, like one of my favorites:

Peter Bjorn & John – The Chills

It feels endless to me, but it’s only 3 minutes and 50 seconds long. Uh. Maybe it’s just my inherent lethargy.

Victoria Bergsman shakie shake
Victoria, Peter

Victoria Bergsman came out in some ridiculously cute purple dress + vest outfit (you will rarely ever hear me comment on people’s clothing; I usually don’t give a crap) to sing her part for “Young Folks” while Peter did some furious shaker shaking. This song was obviously everyone’s favorite song.

Bjorn John
Bjorn, John

Oh yeah, there are other members of the band; I just didn’t get good photos of them. Although Peter and Bjorn did the most talking, John did randomly get a few words in, which were somehow the only words that stuck in my head. He mentioned that the band usually ate Thai food, but went for Japanese food that night instead, consisting of some fish on rice thing. I didn’t get the impression from his nonchalant manner that he was trying to be funny; there was just…something funny about it. The randomness.

The setlist went something like:

* Let’s Call It Off
* See Through
* The Chills
* Paris 2004
* Far Away, By My Size
* Start to Melt
* Big Black Coffin
* Amsterdam
* Young Folks
* Objects of My Affection
* Up Against the Wall

…not including the possibly 4 songs during the encore.

I know this is one of the least enthusiastic reviews one could possibly write, but I really did enjoy the concert aside from the subsequent stench of smoke in my clothing. That night I ended up going to sleep much earlier than usual if it’s any testament to my tired-ness.

I think $15 is alright for their Mercury Lounge show. WHY MUST YOU WHINE? The London show was 10 pounds, aka almost $20. Yes, that exchange rate makes my eyes bleed too. The only souvenirs I brought back from London were four packs of biscuits and a Cadbury advent calendar.

— update-ish —

The Mercury Lounge shows seem to have sold out already. Oooops.

Sing-a-long with Kings of Convenience

on the beach
gather ’round, kiddies!

Kinzaza went to perhaps the best Kings of Convenience performance ever in St. Petersburg. Totally worth the 10 hour trip from Moscow? Yes. Read about it in her journal entry.

First the guys played in the club itself (well, it isn’t even a club, just a few large white tents with a restaurant arranged inside). However, Erlend & Eirik were obviously not prepared for a +30 C degrees at 10 pm in a North-West city, and after having played about 8 songs Eirik suggested leaving the tents and going to the beach nearby.

[...] Following my example, a lot of fans then surrounded Eirik and he had to stop, while Erlend went farther and sat on the sand not far from the water, and about 20 people sat around him in circle. First he we were talking for a while, then he played Röyksopp’s Remind Me and after that I suddenly said “Erlend, let’s sing something altogether! Maybe Homesick?” – “Ok, – he answered, – but not altogether, let’s do it you and me!”

[...] Don’t trust the name of the band – Erlend and Eirik can hardly behave as Kings or as superstars (who they are, in fact:). They’re just 2 simple guys, awfully nice and open to everyone. And they really made everyone happy that wonderful night.

Awwww. I think that’s even cuter than thi blind puppy romping in the snow. Seeing Kings of Convenience live was one of my most memorable concert experiences. I love dem weegies.

Midlake and Cold War Kids at Maxwell’s

Maxwell's
not the entrance, actually

Last night I impulsively went to Maxwell’s to see Midlake. I rarely go to concerts at the last minute…by myself…in Hoboken. But all those things had to be done. Besides, it was the last day for me to use my unlimited train ticket to Hoboken. Of course, there was also that nagging feeling in my gut that said “You want to see Midlake”, despite that I still don’t have any of their albums and have based my large interest in them in the handful of songs I’ve found on the Internet. The gut refuses to be ignored.

IMG_1521 bar
stage and bar

I hadn’t been to Maxwell’s before (years ago my mum would tell me that it’s a dangerous place and going there would spell my doom…and I think she still has that idea despite that I told her, “I think it’s different now; they have Coldstone and Panera Bread, and I didn’t get mugged”) so I didn’t know how small the performance area was. Well. It’s small. And intimate. There are steps to sit on along one side of the room. I like it.

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Midlake

Midlake started with “Van Occupanther” while an animated movie starring the yellow dude on their album cover played in the background. Odd, but a good odd. The movie for “Bandits” was more straightforward, featuring a bunch of robbers invading a rich guy’s home and then getting beat up, or beating each other up in addition to running through tunnels. You have to see it for yourself though because my description is horrible and makes it sound like a weird action movie when it’s…not.

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Midlake

Clips of period films provided a perfect backdrop to their songs. Don’t ask me how; it just worked. One of my favorites, “Young Bride”, has it’s own movie-like video that adds to the song’s beauty:

It has a slow, natural and graceful feel to it that puts me at ease, as opposed to thinking, “GO FASTER, DAMMIT.” I think the high lilting level of the song gets to me. Enters my brain. Makes it gooey. It’s a nice feeling–you should try it. Tim Smith’s voice gives me the feeling of softly fluffy clouds and Thom Yorke. What does that mean? A happier, softer Thom? Of course, that’s just my opinion and it probably doesn’t make much sense to anyone else. (For instance, if soft fluffy clouds attacked you as a child, you wouldn’t find them very comforting.)

They played for about 45 minutes before clearing the stage of their mountains of equipment for Cold War Kids. I wish they played longer, but there isn’t much you can do about that when you’re first to play out of three bands. Or perhaps I could learn to make time bend to my will. Yes, that’s it. Opening bands I like will play longer and I will convert 4 hours of sleep into 10 hours of sleep.

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hand waving time

I didn’t know much about Cold War Kids, but I must’ve been one of the few as the room became more tightly packed and people, especially of the female persuasion, smooshed up front for an optimal view of the craziness going onstage. Quite the opposite of Midlake, the members of CWK spasmed around the small stage as much as they could while putting all their energy into the performance as sweat rolled down their faces (the bassist’s at least; like a leaky faucet, yes!) without missing a beat. While their music isn’t the kind I’d leisurely listen to (the kind being blues/soul/etc kind of rock, correct-me-if-I’m-wrong), they’re fun to watch live and even got me, the kind of person who’s nearly imcapable of coordinating body movements to any kind of meat, moving. Barely. But it still counts.

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blur

They move around a lot, as you can see. Lots of smashing into one another, yet miraculously not resulting in any bodily harm. Like controlled haphazardness. Cool.

I left right before they were going to play their final song and before Sound Team could come on since I wanted to go home and rest for a smidge before repeating the next day’s life processes (and I mainly went for Midlake anyway). For a more detailed account of the Midlake/Cold War Kids experience, read Music Snobbery’s review.

Of Montreal at McCarren Pool

The other title for this entry was “Endless sweating”, but that’s kind of gross.

more people
endless people?

The sun didn’t keep people away from this week’s Pool Party with headliner Of Montreal. The other performers were Asobi Seksu, Irving and Enon. I was mainly interested in Asobi Seksu and Of Montreal, which left a lot of time in between to bake and unintentionally bathe myself in my own sweat.

dance
makeshift pool

You could cool off in this accidental puddle (or the slip-n-slide in the back).

ohoh yes gimme delicious ice cream
ice cream

Or by eating Ben & Jerry’s. I wouldn’t normally go for a small $3 cup of cookies and cream, but I wasn’t hungry for anything else. Besides liquids.

zoom in
Asobi Seksu
Irving
Irving

I liked Asobi Seksu most out of the first three bands, but that’s probably because I’m most familiar with their music. I don’t have much to say about Irving or Enon besides that they played and…I watched. I’m just glad that no one died in a pool of their own sweat.

Of Montreal
Of Montreal

The members of Of Montreal came out waving home-made flags before Kevin Barnes appeared in his stylin’ green miniskirt, ruffled red shirt and red high-heeled, thigh-high boots. Good lord. He changed outfits two more times during the show. Because he is just that awesome.

Brian Poole
the sunglasses make sense, but the hat?

I don’t remember the setlist, but I remember them playing “Old People in the Cemetery” in particular because…it’s a song about old people in a cemetery. It’s funny, in case you haven’t heard it before. They played at least new song from their upcoming album…of course, I have no clue what it was. At some point Kevin pointed out that there was a fork on the wall. I liked that. (But why is there a fork on the wall?) The set ended with a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” for an encore.

Aside from the heat and feeling more like a sponge than a human, it was a fun day. The event seemed well organized to me, although I heard that there wasn’t enough water. (After the show there were definitely enough empty water bottles strewn about the pool floor to give someone who likes recycling a bit of moolah.) I’m pretty sure that the beer line wasn’t as scary as at the Bloc Party show, which resembled the DMV. On a bad day.

Mew at McCarren Pool

panoramic attempt
this pool is too big

I got to McCarren pool yesterday at around 5:45 to see Mew. On the walk from the subway station, we ran into other concert-goers.

“Who are you here to see?” asked CJ innocently.

“Secret Machines and Bloc Party.”

Annd…what about the opener?”

“Oh no, I don’t care about them.”

“WHAT, I’M GONNA RAISE SOME HELL!” At which point CJ’s eyes shot laser beams.

…Okay, the exchange didn’t happen exactly like that. But I could read CJ’s mind. Lasers, I say.

Mew
they’re so tiny

Mew came on at around 6:30 and proceeded to make some people very happy for the next…30 minutes. Yes, I know openers don’t get a lot of stage time, but it’s still a shame. The sound was surprisingly good. Jonas’s voice was as clear as on the album, but better since you could see where the sound was coming from. That little guy on stage, eyes closed, hair being wisped by the wind, standing almost perfectly still, but in a natural way, not rigid. Jonas would go from singing softly enough to put a baby to sleep (and looking like a sleeping baby at the same time) to opening his mouth to Totoro-like proportions and holding out a high note of other wordly pitch and clarity.

Jonas
so..far…

The setlist:

* Circuitry of the Wolf
* Chinaberry Tree
* Amy I Wry? No
* 156 (or was it something else?)
* Special
* Comforting Sounds

Comforting Sounds is one of the first Mew songs I ever heard and is still one of my favorite songs out of…all songs. Beautiful enough to make me cry, if I felt like it. (No song has every actually made me cry, but sometimes you get the feeling. Yes? Especially when it’s live.) The music video is great:

Download the song:

Comforting Sounds (Frengers version)
Comforting Sounds (Half the World is Watching Me version)

The performance felt peaceful even while being surrounded by a bunch of tall average-sized people and craning my neck every now and then for a better view (overall, I thought the crowd was good. There were either a lot of Mew fans or a lot of Mew fans in-the-making). I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like at Hiro Ballroom in a dark room…hell, in a room. Since some of my friends had to leave early and I figured I already experienced the best part of the concert (for me, at least), I left as Secret Machines started to play. After I got home three hours later (important note: 1 hour isn’t enough time to get from the pool to catch a train in Hoboken), I’m still Mew-happy and feeding their songs into my brain.

More photos:

jen c
baonguyen
tammylo
ewanian
thisismecl
Parka9898
bluberd

On a random (but still Mew-related) note, after wondering who sang the other part in “Symmetry” (one of my favorite songs!…damn, there are a lot of “favorites”), but never actually looking it up, I found out that the source is a 13 year old Becky Jarrett. Her story is sweet:

When I was 11, I decided to get on a music chat line to talk to other Hanson fans (yes I use to like Hanson). I asked,” Does anyone listen to Hanson?” and I received a private message saying ” no, but what other music do you listen to?” Little did I know that it was the lead singer for the band Mew. We chatted for a while and exchanged email addresses so that we could keep in touch. I sent Jonas some videos of me singing and he decided that he wanted me to sing a song called “Symmetry” on their upcoming album. So of course I was so excited! My mom and I flew to Copenhagen, Denmark in July of 1999 (I was 13) to meet Mew and record “Symmetry”. It was such a great experience and all the guys were super nice!

Interesting way to find a vocalist, but it worked out. For some reason I didn’t think the singer was actually a young teenager, despite that she sounded like one. I may as well upload these songs too, eh?

Symmetry (Half the World is Watching Me version)
Symmetry (Half the World is Watching Me version)

You know, you should just buy Frengers. I love And The Glass Handed Kites, but not nearly as much as Frengers. God knows why it hasn’t been released in the US by now.

Mew may be touring in the US again this fall. Hopefully as headliners. I miss them already.

Update (8/2):

Video of Comforting Sounds from ewanian:

Mew at Hiro Ballroom

Judging from other people’s reactions, Mew’s show on Wednesday night was awesome. Not that I expected anything else. I figure that tomorrow’s show opening for Bloc Party will not be as awesome. It will most likely be shorter, sunnier, and hotter. But I’m still very muchly excited.

Dedicated Japanese Mew fan no snow rounded up lots of photos and reviews.

mew mew
taken by newstreamer

Flickred:

blueberd
metal guru
newstreamer
marcymakesaparty
irockiroll

Video (by slidesong):

Update: Another video by marcystuckinjersey:

Reviews:

brooklynvegan
Central Village
JANEMAG
musicsnobbery
cmj blog
the trip wire
Official Mew Forum topic
Sound Bites

Setlist (plus CJ’s excited comments):

* Special
* Shelter….Swanky
* Am I Wry? No…156
* White Lips Kissed
* She Came Home for Christmas
* Apocalypso….Saviors of JAZZBALLET! (WHAT!?)
* Snow Brigade….Zookeepers Boy
* Louise Louisa
Encore:
* Comforting Sounds (AWESOME!)

“They actually were supposed to play SheSpider but Jonas told me that they were running too long (70+ minutes). ”

There was an after-party at The Annex.

ONE MORE DAY UNTIL…TOMORROW!

mm…cephalopods

Girl 1: This music sounds tentacle-y.
Girl 2: Yeah, it makes me want calamari!

huge
the human sea

Yesterday I checked out Yo La Tengo at the Propect Park Bandshell to watch them perform Sounds of the Sounds of Science, their instrumental score to a selection of Jean Painlevé’s short undersea documentaries. I had no idea what the films or music would be like, but figured…hey, it’s free, one of my friends is going, and there isn’t much point in going back home to NJ if I don’t have to. (And of course, I like Yo La Tengo. And sea life.) As the bandshell was completely packed, I guess lots of other people had similar ideas.

I dunno what it is, but it's from the sea
looks like tentacles?

While watching the films, you didn’t really notice the music. Or maybe that was just me. And by that I mean it went really well with the films–it certainly wouldn’t be the same without any accompanying music. You could also listen to the music by itself, but it makes more sense when seen with…jellyfish budding, octopuses mating, shrimp shedding, etc.

The audience sometimes cheered on the documentary subjects, most notably when the male seahorse painfully birthed babies from it’s engorged egg sac. “The Love Life of The Octopus” was also particularly freakish (cos ye know…they look a bit freaky), but also funny due to the fertilization process during which the male octopus hooks it spermy tentacle into the female’s respiratory cavity and just…leaves it there for a while. Let those eggs and sperm do their thing and voila, end up with a gajillion eggs linked together in a ghostly plant-like fashion.

I probably would’ve focused more on the music if I had sat closer within view of the band (we picked the last row figuring it’d be a good spot to view the film from), but I happily walked away with the message, “The sea is full of crazy-ass stuff.” Which is is. I wouldn’t otherwise think that looking at the development of nearly microsopic jellyfish or the countless undulating tentacles of sea urchins could be so interesting. It made my accomplishments feel highly insignificant; “Damn, I can’t reproduce by budding.” Seeing the survival instincts nature pre-wires into all organisms makes me wonder what’s up with humans (a highly eloquent and deep question). Of course, we’ve had to do many unnatural things to populate the whole world. May someday we can be ROBOTS!!!

…And thanks to Yo La Tengo and Jean Painlevé, now I want fried calamari.

Holy crap, it’s birthing time! (Also time to “dissect the male seahorse” and “show the embryos”. The music and film are beautiful. Thanks to John for taking this video:

Better reviews/photos:

Brooklyn Vegan
Qbertplaya
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society