Dear Web Journal,
I like music. Yes, oh yes, I do. And not really being skilled in playing anything myself, I have to listen to other people instead (am I sad about this? Maybe a wee bit). This week, being CMJ and all, I was bound to see some shows. Monday I saw The Presets again, with the Rapture. Good fucking show-Webster Hall was full of actual, dancing people, instead of the kind that don't stand too near the stage, and then refuse to look like they are enjoying themselves. You know what kind of people I am talking about. So I hope the Presets impressed some people, and the Rapture are, in fact, a great live band. Better than they are on CD. But that's not the show I want to talk about.
The show I want to talk about is one I went to on Friday night at Studio B in Greenpoint/Williamsburg/I dunno. Studio B is, I gather, one of these Polish night clubs popping up as music venues. I was really only there to see two bands (please reference the title), but not being one of these people who don't show up for opening acts, I got to the show fairly early.
The first two acts were all from the West Coast. I don't really have more than that to say-Ferraby Lionheart (Los Angeles) was too mellow for me, and Birdmonster (San Francisco-my first love) were good but forgettable.
Henry had shown up by this point (not too impressed either, I'm sure). So we went outside to smoke a cigarette. AND THAT'S WHEN IT HAPPENED! The lead singer of The Thermals came out through the door we were standing next to.
Me: "Pssst, Henry. That's the lead singer from the Thermals".
Then Mr. Thermals lit his own cigarette, and said "Hey, mind if I smoke with you guys? (to me) I like your shoes".
Me: "Thanks man, your band is pretty cool. Yeah, really looking forward to the show."
Mr. Thermals: "Oh I'm so glad you think so. Especially since your shoes are so cool! Would you like me to dedicate a song to you?"
Me: "Haha that won't be necessary. Well, we're gonna head back inside now. Good luck".
(Ok, so here's what really happened. Mr. Thermals comes out two feet away from us, I discreetly point him out to Henry-yes, I can be discreet- he lights his cigarette, makes eye contact-maybe I'm not so discreet-and then moves past us. But I like my version better. And you know how you know the conversation is fake? I don't actually address anyone as "man".)
In all seriousness though, the fucking Thermals were fucking great. Henry and I had been standing comfortably during the set just prior, but as soon as Sam Champion finished their last song, the floor got very crowded very quickly. The Thermals played a great set of good, clean-sounding pop punk. I had a fantastic time dancing around. I mean, I'm no shrinking violet when it comes to dancing. I danced so much I knocked an earring out of my own ear. The crowd were definitely there to see The Thermals, and the energy reverberated between the band and the fans to the point that I forgot about my stressful job for the entirety of their set. Amen.
(I did not take these pictures, because i donot have a digital camera)
RaRaRiot played in between the Thermals and the Horrors. They were decent sounding, but they covered Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" as their last song. Great song, but The Futureheads kind of cornered the market on that one for this generation.
By now, it was late in the evening, I had switched to whiskey and coke long ago and my poor feet were tired (cool shoes or not). And The Horrors took forever to get their set going. Many people left. But luckily, I have an infinite amount of patience. And thank god, too, because though the Thermals definitely were best band on the night, the Horrors were not far behind.
Say what you will about the band being more about their clothing, hair and make up then anything else. I say, that's the whole fucking point. The swagger, the theatricality, the keyboardist coming out and banging on his keys like a demented young thing! Was he playing actual notes? I don't know, but it didn't matter. And it's not like those boys don't know a thing about music, either. In their somewhat unfinished cool garage-y sound, you can hear the surf rock and punk influences. Sure, the single "Sheena was a Parasite" could have sounded a lot cleaner, but with a few more songs under their belt they should be an entertaining band with an entertaining look AND sound for a little while yet.
Faris, the lead singer, jumped into the audience three times, each time landing right next to me. Talk about audience participation. Maybe it was a good thing that not too many people stuck around. On the third time he jumped over my left shoulder, clipping it with his boot. We danced on the floor together, round and round a bit before he climbed back onto the stage. Ok, maybe I was dancing with him, maybe he chose me because he thought to himself (in a Southend London accent) "Bloody hell, that facking bird knows wot she's doing". Or maybe, it just looked like I got tangled in his mic cord. But whatever, I like my version better.