As I mentioned yesterday (or very early this morning, as the case may be), CMJ Thursday was JAM PACKED. I got to spend the day taking pictures at the Impose/Pop Jew party, and those will be up on Monday most likely. After leaving The Woods, I decided that I was going to take it slow for the night, go over to Music Hall of Williamsburg for awhile, catch the showcase there, and take the easy walk to the L train on home. I saw Young Man. They were ok. Kid has a really cool voice. But do they deserve all the hype? No way! Maybe in a few years, but his songwriting just ain’t that interesting yet. Then Suuns came on, and after about three song of their electro dance beats, I heard Shea Stadium calling. I just can’t resist Hunx or His Punx. And really, why should anyone?
The Hardly Art showcase at Shea last night was one of my top favorite shows ever of all time. Not top ten, but really high on the list in terms of fun-times. It was one of those moments where it felt like anyone who was anyone was there, and you were lucky enough to be there, too. And every single band put on such a wonderful, refreshing performance. Guitars galore with no computers or drum machines or iPods or Korgs to speak of. There was a Hammond organ. Why don’t more bands still use in new and innovative ways? The show was a great reminder that rock and roll guitar music still has places to evolve without using endless samples and swirly electronic background noise.
Xray Eyeballs and Fergus & Geronimo both played excellent sets. I mention them first because we’ve come to expect excellent, high-energy sets from both of these bands on this blog. Time to move on to the surprises. Circle Pit, from Australia, looked like a bunch of throw-back punk rockers, except they weren’t. They were real, live, and very authentically of the moment. The range of different guitars they played perfectly translates into why their bands works so well as a unit. The lead singer, slight and completely coiffed, cigarettes in pocket, played a cherry red start. He was flanked on each side by two more guitarist. On the right was the serious lead guitar played, black strat in hand, completely died blond and never cracking a smile. The guitarist on the left, running her tele through tons of effects pedals, was also a bleach blond. Sometimes she would just sing and pump her fist. Both women looked like incredible thrift store shoppers. The bass player (honest to goodness the hands down most attractive bass player I have ever seen in my life- someone get this guy a modeling contract!) topped it all off with a white firebird bass. So perfect! There’s no better way to explain the effect of this band, other than to say they just meshed, in the same way their guitars all look good together. Oh yeah, and they play a nice, fast punk that reminds me a little tiny bit of X.
La Sera also surprised me with a beautiful, charming set. La Sera is one of Katy from Vivian Girls other bands. I’ve heard her sing a bunch with Vivian Girls, obviously, but I never realized how pretty and clear her high soprano voice is. There was a nice blog post on the NY Times website today about how the Vivian Girls work so well because they combine Katy’s sweetness with Cassie’s harder edge, and both of their other projects work well in exactly these ways. La Sera is sparkly and girly and sweet, like the flower girl at your cousin’s lame wedding- you’d rather hang out with the adorable little girl than any of the lame-o adults. Not that La Sera’s music is at all childish- it’s a very grown up sound- it’s just that it’s special and small and intimate. I’m definitely going to pay more attention to this band in the coming weeks, and I think you should, too.
Hunx and His Punx put on a 100% captivating set, of course, despite the fact that they were having some serious gear issues. Hunx himself is so very captivating, a true entertainer in every sense of the world. If I were an evil television executive looking to monetize people’s talent, he would be one of my go-to choices. He knows exactly what to say to get a crowd with him, plus he’s beautiful, plus he writes (I think?) totally fun, badass punk songs. It helps that he’s backed by a group of very talented women, including Shannon of Shannon and The Clams. The whole “I’m a totally flamboyant queer person who loves loving boys and any kind of love in general, and I’m also a sick nasty punk rocker” thing is really, really great. I can’t emphasize that enough. There aren’t many examples in rock and roll of a sexuality like his, and I think it’s an extremely positive role to put forth into the world. MAN last night was great. You can check out pics right here at Impose.