Where: Monster Island Basement
Stupid Party is the shit and I've already made that perfectly clear. But this show at Monster Island was the first one where I really got a sense of the fourth member. Recklessness and a bare-bones sound are what makes Stupid Party so exciting, and the more players a band has, the less reckless they can be and needless to say, the more flesh they put on those musical bones.
I walked in to a extended instrumental section, and I was all like "who is this???" But then Cory Feiernan would start drunkenly* yelling into the microphone and I was all like "oh yeah, Stupid Party!" The instrumental bits were just kind of unspecial. They sounded fine, but when they lasted more than a few bars, the music lost its kick and its focus. When the songs stayed on target, though, they were as good as ever. And they added some slick, old school guitar solos too. Those don't yet sit fully comfortably in the music, but they are mad cool and I think they'll work their way in. Whatever happens, Stupid Party are still the shit and if you don't think so, they don't give a fuck and neither do I. [myspace]
Now Harlem I had mixed up with another band so I was extra disappointed to discover they're a happy-go-lucky cookie-cutter garage rock band. As this blog probably shows, I don't really like music that doesn't take risks. And Harlem is the opposite of risky. They smile and swing their guitars while playing backwards-looking, conservative music. B+ for effort but F for content. [myspace]
I stuck around to see Frankie & the Outs, the new vehicle for Crystal Stilts drummer and one-time Vivian Girl Frankie Rose. This show was the first time I'd seen Rose in guitarist/frontwoman role. She fit it well, as I figured she would. With her uncombed hair and oddball dresses, she's always cut a figure on stage and her personality is unchanged in front of the microphone.
However, unfortunately, her band is not so well suited for the job. She's found all-female group, which is super cool, but not all of the ladies selected are up to the task and frankly, personality-wise, some came off as pretty obnoxious. For one thing, they had a tambourine player. Tambourine was key in giving the music its faint Eastern European flavor, but gosh, get a drummer who can play it. It just looks gimmicky to have a girl up there waving a tambourine around. It looked to me that there were at least five or six members of the band, playing music that would only require four, and to my eyes, that makes the band a bit of a joke.
Sonically, however, they have potential. There were hints of the Crystal Stilt's dark post punk and of the Vivian Girls' lo-fi. However, the meandering melodies coupled with a certain flowing atmosphere set this apart from Rose's other projects. I'm not pissing my pants over this, or anything, but it's got some potential. We'll see. [myspace]
*I have no idea if Feiernan was or is ever drunk, but he sings like someone who's had a few dozen too many.