Scene and Heard
By Jen Carlson
Its been way too hot for free outdoor concerts lately, so Ive been seeking shelter from the sun in air-conditioned venues like the Hammerstein Ballroom. There, I recently caught The Cloud Room (www.thecloudroom.com) and Muse (www.muse.mu). I was up on the balcony after The Cloud Room left the stage, waiting for the headliners, when J, the singer of The Cloud Room, texted me to let me know David Bowie was there. He was in one of the VIP balconies of course, so I spent the next 15 minutes trying to spot him. If there were Bowie Bingo cards, I think mine would be pretty full by now. Ive seen him at more shows than most of my friends. Somehow I validate my music tastes by this fact alone.
A few weeks ago I had another Movable Hype concert at The Knitting Factory. Ive brought the focus of these shows back on local bands. One of the more amazing ones that played that night were Brooklyns Goes Cube (http://www.lsadproco.com/goescube1.html). I had heard their songs online (all named Goes Cube Song Number 24, 25, etc.) and instantly realized why they were being compared to Nirvana. Of course, theyve got their own sound too but its safe to say if you enjoyed Incesticide then youll enjoy these guys. The trio brings the rock at high decibals, so you best bring your earplugs when you check them out.
Another Brooklyn band that took the stage that night was Takka Takka (www.takkatakkamusic.com), who is now part of my management company, www.5thFloor.org. From first listen you can tell that these guys have heard, and paid attention to a fair amount of Pavement and Lou Reed. They stray from and simultaneously build upon what their influences have created before, and the outcome is an original sound that isnt always familiar. The band goes on tour with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah this fall, and you can catch them at their CD release show on August 17th, at Union Hall in Park Slope.
I did make it to one outdoor concert recently: Elvis Perkins (www.elvisperkins.net) at the Seaport Music Festival. The show took place just after a storm, so the setting on the water couldnt have been more beautiful. I hadnt seen or heard a lick of Elvis Perkins music prior to him taking the stage, and I had no idea what I was in for. The moment he and his band began I went from drinking and chatting to friends, to standing drop-jawed, in complete awe. I would have told my friends to kindly shut up, as this man was amazing and we should all be listening and taking notes. But they were awestruck, too. Perkins is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter, and he is backed by an equally talented band that play instruments Ive never even seen before. Theres an air of sadness to his songs, but I heard hope in the sound.
There is some hope to be found in the following shows, too, even if its just for the a/c:
Friday August 11th, Jeremy Enigk (ex-Sunny Day Real Estate) and Stars of Track and Field are at Bowery Ballroom. I was a huge fan of Sunny Day, and Ive gone on about Stars of Track and Field here before, so its safe to say this will be a solid show if you agree at all with my musical tastes (and David Bowies, of course, because theyre pretty much the same).
Deerhoof and Beirut make heading out to McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg seem worth it, even when the L isnt running, and its 108 degrees outside. Check them out (for free) on Sunday August 18th at the aforementioned abandoned pool-turned-venue. And thank JellyNYC ( www.jellynyc.com) for making the music free.
August 15th, Dirty Pretty Things are at Bowery with Scissors for Lefty. The latter always sounds like a bad name for a ska band, so even though Ive been told they are alright, I still picture The Mighty Mighty Bosstones dancing around with left handed safety scissors and brass instruments. Dirty Pretty Things are spectacular though, like The Libertines minus Pete Doherty. In fact, that is quite a literal description.
Finally, one of my more favorite, less-hyped bands, The Damnwells, have two shows coming up at The Knitting Factory on August 17th and another the next night at the much more intimate Housing Works Cafe.