The Diggs / The Big Sleep / Field Music @ Mercury Lounge

I was quite tired, sweaty, and very drunk from the Idiotrod race a few hours before. Would I be able to stay up for a long night of music ahead of me?? Read on!

I was very eager to catch The Diggs live for this show. The trio from Brooklyn has been generating a lot of buzz in NYC and their new EP is just phenomenal. They blend catchy pop and droney builds to make very listenable and interesting songs. They conjure up elements I enjoyed from the 90’s indie rock scene, but adding some new tricks. Their sound and lead singer remind me so much of Tugboat Annie, but alas, after doing some research it is not a new manifestation of that beloved band. They put on a solid live performance and definitely a band to watch in the future.

The Big Sleep was up next. Now, I rarely see that many bands consecutively, but this band absolutely floored me at Piano’s the week before and I jumped at the opportunity to see them again. This time I was front row and center to take on the barrage of noise. I must say they were amazing and put on another intense performance. The sound system at Mercury held up to them and I felt they were more at ease this time around. I can’t stop listening to them. Although they only have a 3 song EP out, their new album will surely rock as well. I must say, seeing them live is preferred over the recording but it’s better than nothing. Finally a band to kick this stagnant music scene in the ass. And do yourself a favor, go to the link below and grab some mp3’s. Better yet, go to one of their shows and decide for yourself.

Coming from the UK, Field Music took the stage next. They were very poppy and had some interesting songs but nothing that was intriguing. Typical indie rock, this time with accents. Unfortunately they had some minor musical glitches but it still wouldn’t have helped them out if they fixed them. Too bad, I had high hopes for them.

Pictures from the show

Idiotrod Augt-Six

The Idiotrod. A race of speed, skill, sabotage, and complete absurdness. The Iditarod is the famous long-distance race in which yelping dogs tow a sled across Alaska. The Idiotarod is pretty much the same thing, except that instead of dogs, it’s people, instead of sleds, it’s shopping carts, and instead of Alaska it’s New York City. We got a team together and got ready for the treacherous journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The Durfey Family of Blooming Grove, OH (Birthplace of Warren G. Harding) was up to the challenge of avoiding tourists, cops, and potholes. Our tour bus was a double decker shopping cart and we had an insane amount of tourist paraphenalia. Our cart was so big we couldn’t get it out of the apartment.

The race started out rocky when the starting point was moved from Williamsburgh to Fort Greene Park after the cops showed up. We sent the cart on the road attached to a bicycle and 2 rollerbladers while we took cabs to the starting line. We made it in time and was overwhlemed with the amount of teams. I saw many impressive costumes. The race was so much fun and actually very tiring. The best part was going over the Manhattan Bridge. Ironically enough it was my first time over that bridge on foot. The race was full of costumes, cheating, drinking, good spirits, dancing monkees, and bananas. Oh those bananas!! The cops were surprisngly friendly.

Official Site:

Pictures I took here.

More Pictures of our team: Thanks Margie!

Other Pictures from Flickr:
Photo of me from the back. More from Blain Davis

Broken Social Scene @ Webster Hall

The ticket said “An Evening with Broken Social Scene” and it was exactly that. No opening band and music starting at 6:45 and lasting about 2.25 hours. This was 1 of 3 sold out shows at Webster Hall. If any band can fill a room (and stage) with sound, and overcome the terrible sound system at Webster Hall, it would be BSS. I was eager to see them again considering they gave me one of the most memorable live shows of my life and the best concert of 2004.

They played a selection from all their albums including their new one. They played very well and had a had a supportive and very sold out crowd to perform to. Seeing Emily Haines is always a treat and glad she was there. They had a good pace for the long show and never wavered from their enveloping sound. They were able to play “Ibi Dreams of Pavement” surprisingly well live and did a great version of “Lover’s Spit” for their finale. Although a solid show, it didn’t have the same energy as the Bowery show. Wish I could see that one again!

Calexico @ Joe’s Pub

Calexico sold out 2 shows at Joe’s Pub pretty quick. Although I had just seen them with Iron & Wine, I’d rather see them perform alone and in a more intimate setting. Although the sound was good and the tempo of the show was on target, the space at Joe’s just isn’t right for the band. Joey Burns even commented on all the food being feverishly served around him. The crowd was dead (and older) as it usually is at Joe’s. Their lively songs make you want to dance, move around, clap your hands but there wasn’t even enough room to stand up and not be interfered with the waitresses. The band surely felt the inadequate space, barely fitting up on the small stage. All the musicians were locked in place, not being able to move around. This put a constraining feeling on the music and energy of the show. At one point they had 9 people on stage, which must be a record. An OK show, wishing that I could revisit my experience of them at the Bowery last year.

Pictures from the show

Bell Orchestre @ Bowery Ballroom

The Clogs were the openers and what I caught from them I thought was really beautiful. Many textured layers flowing in and out. It created a nice soundscape to get lost to. The Bell Orchestre then took the stage featuring members of The Arcade Fire. They were all dressed in white and accented with tiny LED lights attached to various parts of their clothing. It was interesting to hear the sounds and instruments that make up the fabric of sound that is Arcade Fire more in the foreground.

Their songs were a bit more complex and flirted with somewhat experimental compositions. Overall they had a good groove and I enjoyed the various playful actions they performed on stage even if they were not that sonically successful. It’s refreshing to hear new sounds and new ideas in music. At one point the drummer abandons his drums to play the typewriter. For their encore they played with obscure instruments (which seems like the Canadian thing to do these days) such as a portable radio on a feedback loop and attaching effects on the backup sounds. A great show and a decent turn out for a Sunday night.

The Big Sleep @ Pianos

Alhtough I didn’t get home til 3 AM the night before, I mustered enough energy to go to Piano’s to see a bunch of various bands, but specifically The Big Sleep. I even passed on seeing the Editors at the Mercury Lounge. The UK can have them and their hype back. The Big Sleep consists of only 3 people but the sound that they producd is incredibly intense. Conjuring up the dynamism of Godspeed! with the energy and sound of Black Sabbath. The guitarist was stellar and it’s refreshing to see good guitarmanship in a live setting. The bonus was when Aaron Lazar of The Giraffes quietly took the stage and belted out the final song. It was powerful, tense, energetic, and I felt his voice met up to the challenge of the music. With his back turned to the stage he was able to control the intense sound until finally everything just exploded. A powerful band with a huge sound and a force to be reckoned with live. Their recordings don’t do them justice. So far the best NY band I’ve seen this year. A MUST see band live.

Beat The Devil, another trio was on next, and they mixed crazy jazz and bohemian rock. The band centers around Shilpa Ray’s voice and her harmonian instrument. Unfortunately they sucked and she kept reminding us how bad the show was going.

I was convinced not to go see Langhorne Slim at Rothko and stay to see the Lot Six from Boston. They are your typical rock band but far far worse. After hearing lyrics like “I have a big record collection, It gives me a big erection”, I quickly departed cursing that I has lost the last 10 minutes of my life.

Wish I brought my camera. 🙁

The Big Sleep