I never understood why epilepsy was triggered by strobe lights until last night. Indian Jewelry shut off the lights at Mercury Lounge and turned on two very high-powered strobes. It was dark, it was moody, and it was difficult to look at them directly, though when you did it was pretty cool. I think that’s a pretty apt way to describe their music, as well. I’m not sure I enjoyed the schtick with the lights, the music was cool enough to stand on its own, but it made sense, I guess. Kind of like Crystal Castles but with better music.
Effi Briest were were really awful. Oh my goodness. To be fair, Mercury Lounge had the bass way too loud in the mix all night, but you’d think that would be extra motivation for the bass player and drummer to actually play in time together. Maybe some of it sounds cooler on record, but their music has an identity crisis. Are they trying to sound like The Knife? Are they trying to sound like The Slits? They sure didn’t sound much like anything on their own. It seems like they’re all trying to dress in a particular way, but it doesn’t come across in a coherent statement. Plus, none of the players played particularly well.
Total Slacker opened up the show. I’ve been in to Total Slacker in the past, but one of my co-workers recently mentioned to me that they seem like a mediocre high school band to her when she’s watching them. I saw where she was coming from. That comment stuck in my head, and I had it as my mindset going into their performance. Could she be right? Has my read of Total Slacker been totally wrong all along? I admitted to myself that they are definitely a little sloppy, and haven’t gotten tighter since I first saw them several months ago. Their songs are really simple. But as their set wore on, the sneakily simple guitar playing shone through, the tongue in cheek hilarity of the lyrics won out, and you remember that the band is smart in the way that they cleverly manipulate simple rock songs (the guitar player is actually an accomplished classical guitarist, I believe). Then he goes and plays a pretty cool solo behind his back. So, yeah, I do think that they’re much, much more deserving of regard than a mediocre high school band, and I’m looking forward to their 7″ that’s coming out on Impose.
Speaking of Impose, you can see my pictures from the evening right here.