by Casey Dewey
I will never say no to free BBQ. A free, hot lunch is always a special treat and will insure I'm out of bed and in the serving line at the proper time. This was at a Tumblr/Red Bull sponsored meet 'n' greet with some industry types and a DJ going nuts with the reggaeton. I'm not one to hobnob, schmooze, or otherwise consort so I was out of there as soon I ate.
I checked out the Brooklyn Vegan showcase down the street at The Main. I'm glad I did. Not knowing who was playing I stumbled on:
Anamanaguchi (NY) - The band I couldn't pronounce correctly all day long while trying to explain them. Apparently, this quartet is in the "chip-tune" or (ugh) "chip-punk" genre. I don't know a chip from from a mudflap, but I think it has something to do with making music from Nintendos. I didn't see any old NES' on the stage nor did I hear any Shinobi-type tunes, but what I did hear was hilariously awesome. These guys should be laying down new soundtracks to 80s sci-fi/action flicks like Megaforce or Warriors of the Lost World. In fact, they should just name all their tracks "Battle Sequence 1" or "Fight Scene (On the Beach)."
Maserati (GA) - It was a cinematic double feature this afternoon as Maserati followed Anamanaguchi. Maserati is also an instrumental quartet, but way over on the prog-rock side. These guys know their Genesis and King Crimson, with a little bit of Iron Maiden for good taste and measure. They mostly stuck to material off their latest release, Maserati VII. An album so good it made my top 10 of 2012. It was a blistering half-hour set of soaring guitar leads, climatic crescendoes and bombastic prowess.
As I did last year, I made the scene over at the Thrasher magazine Death Match party at the Scoot Inn. Two stages of punk and metal, and a killer half-pipe to boot. Over here I saw:
The Shrine (CA) - This was the first band I saw at SXSW last year. The Shrine play fun, blistering metal and they also make the best metal faces I've seen in a long time. This is eating pizza in a Camaro type stuff. The crowd packed in like sardines inside the small indoor bar, and The Shrine delivered the goods while numerous cans of Lone Star hurled through the air.
The Adolescents (CA) - I only caught a few songs from this veteran punk rock band from Orange County, but what I saw and heard was fun as hell. Lead singer Tony Cadena might not have the same teenage squeal that was the band's trademark, but "American Lockdown" sounded great. It was cool to see a gang of 12-year-olds charging into each other. The kids are still alright.
I think the only thing I've ever won before was a cake in a cake walk. Maybe I got five bucks on a scratcher once. This changed yesterday when I found out I won a a much coveted ticket for the NPR showcase at Stubb's. This is where I saw:
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (AUS, UK, USA) - Nick Cave has finally become what he's always wanted to be: a character straight out of a Flannery O'Connor novel, mixed with Las Vegas showman-zest. Taking the stage promptly at 8 p.m., Cave said "we're gonna play a long one, and hopefully when it's over it'll be dark." The band kicked into "Higgs Bosson Blues", the 10 minute talking blues track off their latest album. Granted, I haven't been much of a fan ever since guitar player/weirdo/genius Blia Bargeld left the fold, and after hearing longtime Cave collaborator Mick Harvey bailed recently as well, I didn't have the highest of hopes. I was wrong. Cave commanded the stage like a fire-and-brimstone preacher, conducting a nighttime sermon while his minstrels played on behind him. Violin player Warren Ellis handled his instrument like it was a hungry snake, tossing his bow, playing it like a guitar, swinging it wildly. Cave and the Bad Seeds played a few off their new album, plus a good chunk of their back catalogue. "Red Right Hand", "Jack the Ripper", "Stagger Lee", "Deanna" sounded great, but it was "The Mercy Seat" that just about shook me to tears. Bonus: Ex-Magazine and Ex-Bad Seed Barry Adamson is back in the band, this time playing keyboards.
After a long and intense day, I settled in at Valhalla, where I caught some bands before the night was over. I checked out:
So Many Dynamos (MO) - These guys and gals were adorable. Maybe too adorable. I'm a little suspect, they were smiling way too much and having too much fun. Think Liquid Liquid meets Up With People. Or the Tom Tom Club meets the "I Want to Teach the World to Sing" Coke commercial. There were so many of them they couldn't fit on the stage, but they played a great funk-punk set and had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
Parenthetical Girls (OR) - Put a bird on it.
Maserati (GA) - Yeah, I saw them again. And other than an amp blowing out in the first five minutes, it was even better than the show I saw earlier in the day. They might be one of the best live bands I've ever seen.
My shoulder hurts, my dogs are barking, and my stomach is growling. I gotta run, but I'll be back tomorrow with more action. Cheers!
Over and out.