Sunday, April 9, 2006

A Recap of sorts...

That aforementioned detox went out the window last night. So far out the window, in fact, that when I woke up this morning (er afternoon) I realized I had dreamt of living in a vineyard. That's what you get when you think only drinking wine is not really drinking.

So I pounded some water, and started to listen to some old-school Blink 182 and No Doubt. No joke. It's all in preparation for this week's "Get On Your Dancing Shoes." Ever think you could find a DJ that plays as many guilty pleasures (I hear she'll be throwing in some Ace of Base) as well as new quality indie rock/pop (this week = new tracks from Sound Team). You are already so excited. I can tell. Plus it's the afterparty for The Upwelling. You can't get any better than that.

Alas, I digress. We need to catch up. Coffee anyone?

Thursday I sauntered over to Fat Baby for night numero uno of A Brief Smile's residency. I can't make up my mind on Fat Baby. On one hand I love the upstairs bar/lounge, and I have never been more comfortable watching A Brief Smile downstairs. I've seen bands play at Fat Baby where the sound is better than most venues in New York. But alas, that wasn't the case this week. I've seen these boys play more times that I probably should publically admit, so I think I have gained the knowledge to judge/compare with their previous shows. This, unfortunately, wasn't my favorite set by the band. Like Jerry pointed out, the stage is too small for them to really rock out and have fun with the tunes. But for me, it had more to do with the sound. Although I know very little about sound engineering, I do know when something isn't right. What makes A Brief Smile's unique is that it's a wall of sound that comes at you and fills up an entire room. Each part is so particular, but only with each instrument combined. For some reason, it seemed disconnected. It wasn’t a fault of the boys (or so I'll claim), but the levels weren't right. However, it was only week one. Chances are, I'll be there for the next three weeks and things will get better.

Friday, I traveled to the west side (gasp!) to Lion's Den (double gasp!) to check out Seth Kallen and The Shambles. It was infiltrated with young girls (ok so maybe just three years younger than me, but I felt old). Seth had sent me a couple rough tracks off his upcoming album, which is promised to be a large departure from his previous efforts. I agreed. Now it was time to hear them play live. What is great about acts like Seth, and many other singer/songwriters that play with a full band, is that they have the opportunity to retain a mainstream pop sound while progressing and tinkering with a new sound. If it's done right, you won't lose your core fanbase, but you will gain respect of new ones. When I see people like Seth, or even A Brief Smile, I forget sometimes that they are so young. It's incredible how mature and well composed their songs are. It's not easy to write something catchy, but Seth has done it time and time again. And even though listening to the new songs played live, I didn't hear as much of a departure as I imagined, I had so much fun listening to them that I didn't really care.

Last night started out at Rockwood Music Hall (now officially my favorite) for a nice showcase of a wide variety of music, and a lot of wine. They pour big glasses at Rockwood, but that isn't why it's my favorite venue. The small room is cozy, classy, and provides some of the best acoustics I've ever heard. The night started out with Rob from DC's The Hard Tomorrows who played a bunch of tunes off of their new album that is coming out this May. It was a treat to hear him play solo, a completely difference experience from seeing the band live. Stripped down and raw, the songs sounded sweet and playful. Hearing "Put Yourself Out" was wonderful. I've listened to that song so many times, but hearing it live in that environment was almost surreal. There's a certain element in The Hard Tomorrow's songs that are almost dreamlike, or perhaps nostalgic is the better description. You could really feel that when hearing them played solo.

After Rob, we stuck around for Seth's friend Miss Melody Gardot. I strive to think of a better female voice that I've heard play live, the only other I could think of is the wonderful Jaymay. Seeing all three performers last night made me feel so untalented. I don't get why some people are donned with such a natural beautiful singing voice. I definitely got the short end of the stick. Donned in sunglasses and a floppy hat, Melody Gardot's raspy jazz voice is infused with some Fiona Apple-esque angst. We got to snap our fingers, sing along, and hold our breathes for the next note out of this young talent's mouth. She was a wonderful surprise, and one that I hope, nay expect, to be heard by so many more.

Laura Burhenn was up next, and while she was equally as good as the performers that had played before her, the wine was getting to our heads. You have to stay quiet in Rockwood, due the small room and how close you are to the performers. So you can't get away with much. Jocelyn was doing her usual practice of making me laugh too loud, so we excused ourselves early so not to create a scene. But from what we did hear, Laura sounded a bit more mainstream than say Melody, up on the piano channeling the likes of Norah Jones, both sultry and confident. My only complaint was that she was up third and by that point I had begun to get a bit restless.

The rest of the night consisted of some embarrassing dancing at The Skinny with Jocelyn and Matt before the DJ booth became packed, and I begged Nora to play that new Kelly Clarkson song. Have you heard it? I'm obsessed. Then away I went to Brooklyn, with a stop in Williamsburg before I stumbled back home. The detox officially begins again today. I need to buy some more of those apples.

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