Good Time…

6 Jul

There isn’t much music buzz in my head today, so I’m going to cover the concert I went to on June 25 at the House of Vans in Brooklyn.

How I knew I was going in the right direction:

If I wasn’t impressed enough with the grafitti murals lining the streets as I walked from the subway to the venue, Vans made sure I left their pad satisfied. There was a corner with posters, mirrors, and tubes of red lipstick where, during the concert, people could draw and leave their marks. Cute.

I arrived (fashionably late) as Chairlift was literally crooning the opening lines of “Evident Utensil”, one of my favorite songs of theirs- I took this as an official welcome from the fates. Me oh my, do those girls (the lead singer and her backup) have beautiful voices! Even more lovely in person than on the record. Just absolutely lovely. The whole band looked like they were having a grand old time, enjoying themselves, and I felt it. They started groovin’, I (subtly) started groovin’.

After a short break came the guys I really trekked all the way down to see: Smith Westerns. I love their new “Dye It Blonde”, it goes down much smoother for me than their self-titled first album. I’m into gritty and lo-fi sometimes, but I can’t get a complete handle on that first guy- though in time who knows, my coming around to it isn’t out of the question. Stay tuned. Anyway, I didn’t love their set as much as I thought I would- I liked it, for sure, but I think my expectations were set a little too high. They’re still young punks, they’ve got time to win my approval and affections. The lead singer kept signaling to the sound guys to crank his guitar, and while I understand the importance of having functional instrument sounds, it was really distracting when he did it between every breath. Overall positive reviews, it was cool to hear “All Die Young” love, I think that was their best song of the set (as well as one of my favorites).

In between Smith Westerns and the last band, Spectrum, I meandered from the tight crowd right in front of the stage to the back, where chairs were set up. Behind these chairs was a half pipe, which I climbed up and squatted on. Suggestion to all concert venues: offer skate ramps as alternative seating. It’s fun, and awfully convenient as the height lets one see over the heads of those standing. I loved my perch, and not to discount the music but it may have been the highlight of my evening. I felt a bit like a wanna-be God: I looked down on the masses from my peaceful vantage point, could see but wasn’t noticed, a bit detached from others but without a great feeling of negative detachment.

I hadn’t heard anything by Spectrum before this, and boy was I in for a surprise. The first two acts were super mellow, so I was expecting something along the same vein. WRONG. SO WRONG. There was one part during their set where the focal point of a song was this electronic screeching, not unlike that dreadful sounds a mike makes when it gets too close to an amp. This went on for minutes. Minutes. On purpose. While that artistic decision was completely beyond me, I enjoyed the rest of the set. It was mainly interesting, loud, instrumentals with occasional haunting vocals, lots of reverb and echo. I can dig it.


Oh, and Spectrum’s guy in the center of the stage? Sitting in a chair, strummin’ on his guitar, back to the audience the whole time.

During all the sets, there was a light show of sorts being projected from the back of the room on to a screen at the back of the stage, think a rainbow kaleidoscope with a sprinkling of tie-dyed epilepsy- some of the effects were really crazy, really fast, really bright, really wow. Seemingly distracting, they added a nice tone to the bands, they fit the tunes. At a lot of shows I’ve been to recently, colored lights change in tempo to different songs, and that’s an effect I’m not in love with when because the lighting guys can get a bit overzealous and give too much of a good thing. Less is more, less is more!

Overall, it was a night of new musical and visual experiences (so. many. hipsters. and. skating. bros.)- thumbs up for lasting “I’m definitely going to remember that” value. It was an all around good time. :)

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