Monday, December 4, 2006

A Brief Smile, The Stills @ Bowery Ballroom

Saturday night started out innocent enough. It was to be a full night at Bowery Ballroom and then a stop by at a birthday party and then home in one piece. And yet half way through the night I remembered why I try and stay in most weekends. No, it's not just that the lower east side is awfully packed and you can't find a bar to sit comfortably at. It's more so the fact that I realize I don't have to get up for anything the next day, and that, in itself, makes me a little bit crazy.

I'll spare you the details of the alcohol infused ridiculousness that ensued after Bowery Ballroom. Let's stick with the music, eh? And make this a family blog.

So it was the second time those A Brief Smile boys have played Bowery Ballroom, which in my book now makes them experts and superstars. I probably sound like a broken record every time I post about this band, but I couldn't be more proud of how they have progressed over the years. Their live show has really become something quite professional, and their songs are the real star. Donned with two Christmas trees up on stage, the young fivesome came out to a quickly filling crowd. While they may look young, and are indeed quite are, they play like they've been doing this their whole lives.

A Brief Smile @ Bowery Ballroom
A Brief Smile @ Bowery Ballroom

It's a rewarding experience to bring someone to see a band you love for the first time. Especially when it's a band like A Brief Smile, who I have seen more times than I should probably admit to. I'm always nervous that I've been biased after all this time, but when they share the same enthusiasm as's nice reassurance.

The set in itself was what I've come to expect: layers upon layers of sound melding into each memorable tune, filling up Bowery Ballroom with its grand themes. The boys debuted a brand spanking new song in which I had to ask both Vanessa and Sean whether it was a cover or not. It was instantly familiar, and completely unpredictable at the same time. I hear a self-produced EP is in the very near future. I can't wait.

The Stills @ Bowery Ballroom

The Stills were, in a nutshell, a complete surprise. I, of course, was freakishly obsessed with Logic Will Break Your Heart. I initially liked Without Feathers, but hardly with the same intensity. Without ever seeing the band live before, I expected a good show, but something that could be a bit mundane. It was completely the opposite as The Stills brought a high-energy playful rock to a very enthusiastic crowd. I remember jumping up and down and singing at the top of my lungs. That was unexpected.

As soon as they lashed into "Lola Stars and Stripes" as their second (second!) song, I was convinced. The Canadians bounced back and forth between old and new, and there was never a dull moment. Although they left out my favorite "Animals + Insects," I let them off the hook.

Perhaps that total excitement from the show is a reason for the anarchy that followed. I'll never know for sure.


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