Photos (for Impose): War On Drugs, Light Pollution, and Xylos at Rock Shop

On Tuesday night I walked down to Rock Shop to check out both Philadelphia’s War On Drugs and the new Park Slop venue.  Rock Shop’s downstairs music component is pretty alright.  There were a ton of sound problems throughout the night, which mostly seemed like bad cables to me, so I think they have a little bit more investing to do in some sound equipment.  But other than that fixable issue, it was a nice place to see music.  It’s got a Mercury Lounge vibe with benches lining the side walls, except much smaller than Mercury.  You have to walk through a skinny bar area to get to the performance space, which is a bit awkward but also somehow intimate.  There’s a big red bulls-eye painted on the floor, and the result of the whole place is a bit cooler and less corporate than Mercury Lounge, but still not that cool.  A fitting new place for Park Slope, and I think it should attract some better acts to South Brooklyn.

War On Drugs were up first.  Their new EP has been generating some buzz online, so there was a nice crowd for a Tuesday there to see them.  They’re very, very good at building up an exciting background of acid/psych guitars and then turning that into a vehicle for vocals that always chime in at key moments.  I’m not sure if they have the energy to break out of the pack in terms of popularity, but this is definitely a smart band you’ll want to check out if you have any love at all for 70s psych rock.

Xylos were second, and they had a startlingly large crowd for a Tuesday.  I mean, man, a ton of people came out to see this band.  And I might get some dissenting comments for this since the majority of the crowd was really into them, but I did not like Xylos.  They were dealing with some pretty lame sound issues, but that wasn’t causing their hackneyed chord progressions and high-school-talent-show-choir-kids feel.  They do have a couple things going for them: super tight and effective vocal harmonies, several very attractive band members, and a great live energy.  But I just can’t get behind the songwriting on this one.  Not for me.

The sound issues had caused some delay in the evening, so by the time Light Pollution came on I was feeling the pull back to my apartment.  I did stay for a few songs, and they were way more straight-forward then I was expecting!  I imagined the Chicago band would be pretty noodly and moody, but they played a couple straight-up rock tunes, that were pretty catchy.  I’ll definitely try to catch them again the next time they come through.

And, of course, you can check out my pictures on Impose here.  I was having some camera troubles and had to reset everything, and I of course forgot to turn the picture quality settings back to the way they were.  I’m kind of amazed by how crappy they actually look (no raw files for Photoshopping!), but, ya know, they’ll do.

MP3: “Comin Through” – War On Drugs

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