Monday, March 1, 2010

Live: Jeff the Brotherhood, Screaming Females and Stupid Party

When: 2/23
Where: Death By Audio

This one is gonna be a bit short, because I recently reviewed all three of these bands. But the Death By Audio show was different enough to warrant a few words.

Stupid Party were themselves as they've been lately. There were too long instrumental parts and with their fourth member, they aren't able to be quite as charmingly reckless - at least not yet. But their slurring, unaffected grungy punk is still refreshing and they belt it out with the same fun. They're still the coolest kids in Brooklyn. [myspace]

Screaming Females followed. Their set was a far cry from their recent Bowery performance. At Bowery, the band nailed their rock songs with precision so fans of their albums could follow, note for note. At Death by Audio, though, the band let go. They rearranged their songs to create wide spaces for raging guitar solos and jamming. Familiar songs morphed into something entirely new while our generation's greatest guitar hero, the diminutive and frumpy Marissa Paternoster, cut loose, shredding her strings and our ears into oblivion.

Nothing is without its price, though. The band's reinvention cost them their usual tightness - a close listener could hear more than a few stumbles - and put a dent Paternoster's singing abilities, pitchwise. But the band sized up their audience correctly. The people cramming Death by Audio at midnight on a Tuesday were the band's most loyal fans, true music lovers and notably many musicians themselves (members of Titus Andronicus, Vivian Girls, Woods, Sisters, A Place to Bury Strangers and These Are Powers to name a few). It was an event for the indie community and the band provided its audience with something fresh, something DIY, something you just won't get at Bowery Ballroom or Terminal 5. [myspace]

Jeff the Brotherhood closed out the night with their usual masterful showmanship. Rocking the best riffs anyone's written in years, the two Orrall brothers sparked a moshpit that quickly engulfed at least half the room. They tossed out a couple of large inflatable aliens to surf the crowd, and these were soon joined by some terrestrial surfers, Jake Orrall included. Too my surprise, although we were crossing the 1 AM mark on a weeknight, the crowd did not thin at all. Wall to wall, fists pumped, heads banged and moppy hair flopped to the beat. [myspace]

The whole time, I was haunted by a little sadness. These bands can pack a room after midnight on a Tuesday and for fans who saw them first in crowds of twenty or thirty, this is the end of an era. The secret is out about both Screaming Females and Jeff the Brotherhood, and while that gives me hope for American culture, it also means bigger crowds cramming between me and the stage, the bands rapidly shrinking into the distance. It's right, but it's bittersweet. Congratulations, guys.

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