Friday, June 17, 2005

Bloc Party @ Webster Hall - June 15, 2005 and some other stuff

a) I saw Bloc Party on Wednesday night at Webster Hall. I had seen them in the fall knowing nothing of them and enjoyed the show despite the less than perfect circumstances that the Tribeca Grand provides for concerts. I am somewhere in the middle on Silent Alarm: I do like it, but it's not earth-shattering for me (not yet at least). I decided to see them this time around in large part because of the love One Louder gave to the Bowery Ballroom show in April (anyone else besides the Kaiser Chiefs take the one-two-three steps of Tribeca/Bowery/Webster?).

I was substantially more impressed this time around with Bloc Party. I know the album now, which of course always helps. They also appear to have honed their stage craft, although it's hard to say how good they were back at Tribeca because the sound there isn't great for concerts. The crowd's unbridled enthusiasm also probably helped. My group was on the balcony, which made watching the audience just as easy and entertaining as watching the band - and I was particularly happy to not be up close when the sweaty shirtless drummer, Matt Tong (who is excellent), decided to stage dive at the end. Only the most devoted fan (and one that wouldn't kick Mr. Tong out of bed) would be anything other than icked out by his decision to rub his sweaty back on their outstretched hands. The crowd was completely mental - a far cry from the un-disaffected type that is supposed to attend NY shows - which would have pleased Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys. The double encore was probably very exciting for the devoted fans - I was tired by that point and I could have lived without hearing non-album tracks at that time, but the ending was very energetic, complete with drummer Tong spitting out a mouthful of water in sync with a crescendo (Brooklyn Vegan got a photo of it).

The two openers were a study in contrast. Engineers, a Manchester act that owes as much to the genre of shoegazer as Bloc Party does to Gang of Four, were very good. They could be described perhaps as a cross between Slowdive and Elbow (better than Elbow, probably not as good as Slowdive). Part of me would like to see them tonight at Mercury Lounge, but I will be out of town. The other openers, Automato, were anything but shoegazer. Their sound is live hip-hop, relying as heavily on machinery like Moog synthesizers and a Hammond organ, as much as drums, bass, and guitar. I am not going to bad mouth them because a sizeable chunk of the band (according to my sister) attended my high school, though in light of that I should say that they felt very young - they looked like a HS band. The music was interesting (they had some breakbeat flourishes in there) and their album was produced by the DFA, so they got that going for them.

Check out One Louder's pictures and write up. Peephole had little to say about the show, but it sounds like she enjoyed it.

b) Bloc Party remixer and superstar DJ Erol Alkan's website has some goodies on it (as per usual). First, he has provided MP3s of a couple of some of his very old mash ups: first, a Missy Elliot v. George Michael v. House of Pain track here, and a DJ tool here that melds the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" with Jacko's "Billie Jean" - wicked. Next, Erol graciously provided a link to a segment of an Our Disco set he spun in 2004 - grab the MP3 here. From Our Disco, you can also get a 35 minute set he spun recently there. And if you check out his forum (where he frequently checks in and answers questions about tracks), you will learn that the recent set opens with Primal Scream's "Screamadelica" (don't you love the track that an album is named after but the track isn't on it? other example I can think of is Gomez's "Liquid Skin" and "Bring it On") and is followed by the DFA remix of The Chems' "The Boxer." This remix is kind of in the vein as the DFA remix of The Rapture's "Sister Savior" but not close enough to feel cookie cutter. Worth checking out if you like Erol, The Chems, DFA, or anything, really.

c) Finally, on Allmusic, some love was shown for One Dove's Morning Dove White as it was featured in the Editor's Corner on the home page. Here is a link to their review.

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