Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Live: 28 Degrees Taurus, Blacklist

When: 5/16
Where: Cameo, Glasslands, Public Assembly

OK, I know I've fallen really far behind here, but if you can think waaaay back to a week and half ago, there were a whole ton of amazing shows in one night. Luckily, most of them were on the western edge of Williamsburg, so bouncing back and forth between venues was not all that hard.

After grabbing the first couple numbers by My Best Fiend and determining it too mellow for my mood, I crossed N 6th St to Public Assembly to catch the legendary (in my mind) Beluga for their short set. I won't bother to review these lady punks, because I've reviewed them quite enough lately. But it is safe to say I was disappointed by the venue's decision to cut the set short (presumably to make room for DJs who would spin to an empty house the rest of the night. Ugh.)

So I cut back across the street to Cameo where 28 Degrees Taurus had recently begun their set. I wrote up 28DT a while ago but it's been too long since I've caught them live. 28DT play a shoegaze-inspired rock that completely defies classification or description. It is loud, aggressive and unruly, with an arty disregard for convention.

Frontman Jinsen Liu's high-energy noise guitar duels some of the best drumming I've ever seen (yes, I said it) - Greg Murphy plays about ten thousand beats a second, never losing track of the beat and never letting up. The velocity and intensity of his drumming and nearly unmatched. Bassist Karina Dacosta keeps things under control, though, her calm demeanor and rock-solid bass lines anchoring the frantic music and providing a much-needed reference point. The vocals, shared by Liu and Dacosta, are delivered with a careful balance of passion and humor that match the oddly arresting lyrics ("Let's drink / and drive / and crash / and die / Woohoo!"). It's art and it's fun, it's edgy, it's pop and it's just a damn great show.

As they hit their final notes, I bolted in a surprisingly successful attempt to catch Blacklist a few blocks over at Glasslands. I haven't written up Blacklist in ages, and last time I did, they were playing at the acoustically-murky Vanishing Point. For all its flaws, Glasslands has consistently excellent sound, and hearing Blacklist in full clarity makes a helluva a difference. At VP, the band stood on stage presence alone, but at Glasslands, the musical merits could also impress.

Simply put, Blacklist takes everything good from the darkest side of early 80's pop and combines it into a delicious darkwave rock. And it's not dated either - though I'm pretty sure of fans of the Cure, New Order, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus and the like will love Blacklist, their dense guitars and lack of electronics set them apart and make them a fully 2009 sort of band.

On stage, the band (dressed in black, of course) command attention with their professional, almost imposing stance. They play tightly and attentively, pouring their energy not into antics but into their solid front. The band's gloomy posturing is never whiny and never fake, it's the real deal. No wonder NYC's few surviving goths flood every show - Blacklist are everything we miss.

28 Degrees Taurus on MySpace

Blacklist on MySpace

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