Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bishop Allen @ Mecca, Lexington KY 10/29/06

While I was still in shock from seeing what I thought was one of independent rock's most reclusive artists, my Sunday's worth of music continued in admirable fashion. After a solid year of attempting to see Bishop Allen, Matt took his WRFL position and did some justice to the music scene in Lexington.

[MP3] The Late B.P. Helium - Lightning Never Strikes Twice (Move cover)

Before the EP savvy Bishop Allen performed, The Late B.P. Helium took stage to remind us all why we love the Elephant Six Collective. Helium started as the solo project of on-again/off-again bassist of Elf Power/Of Montreal, but has creatively blossomed into a full band. After a recent tour with Of Montreal, Bryan Poole took his brainchild on the road to rock crowds - and rock he did. I haven't seen a better opening act since I saw Beck play before Radiohead at Bonnaroo, yet somehow B.P. Helium managed to make the small crowd feel like they were witnessing some sort of musical miracle. From their Christmas light decorations, to using a drum stick as guitar slide, to their tendency to improvisationally jam out a song - B.P. Helium quickly catapulted themselves into my category of cherished live acts.

By the time everyone had cleansed their musical palates of B.P. Helium, Bishop Allen were already setting up their equipment whilst performing a soundcheck. The charming four person Brooklyn band has undergone lineup changes, making it obvious that BA is the project of Justin and Christian - a winning combination if I've ever seen one. Their "a new EP every month" mantra has given the band a huge catalogue to choose a setlist from, allowing them to venture outside the confines of their LP and play newer material. With each released EP - Bishop Allen continues to explore and expand the boundaries of their musical abilities, only getting better at their craft.

As they started to delve into their setlist, I realized that these guys have nearly every component to woo fans of indie rock worldwide. Their eclectic pop sound meets experimental rock coupled with their on-stage quirkiness and powerful live shows are an easy 1-2 punch to fans of their genre. Perhaps the acoustics of Mecca were flattering, but by the end of the night I ended up liking Justin's voice live as much as I do on CD. His vocals resonated throughout the audience as he would gaze into the crowd and make eye contact with nearly everyone. Christian stood stage left orchestrating the production with his guitar (or mandolin) - unable to stop smiling throughout their set.

Granted, I've seen a lot of shows and had been wanting to see Bishop Allen for a good while - but something about their performance really stood out. My friend in Philadelphia told me in August that they put on one of the best shows he's ever seen and now I can understand why he said that. Bishop Allen didn't jump around stage, smash their guitars, or come equipped with a spectacular light show.. They just had it. It's an unexplainable phenomena withheld by a handful of bands, when they can take the vision of their own music and perfectly project it into the audience - causing their crowd of 25 or 2,500 to become completely captivated by their music.

[MP3] Bishop Allen - Busted Heart
[MP3] Bishop Allen - The Same Fire
[MP3] Bishop Allen - Flight 180

Be sure to catch Bishop Allen on tour and click below for even more pictures from the show!

Sunset Rubdown @ Southgate House, Newport KY 10/03/06

Yesterday was hellacious for a few reasons. Well, namely just one reason. EZArchive became the thorn in my side starting at 4 PM and didn't remove itself until right now. I crafted a nifty little post around 2 PM yesterday and attempted to upload MP3s until 11 PM with no luck. This is when I'm glad there are two people on IGIF - so God bless Connor and his many posts. The only (major) highlight of my musically frustrating day was getting to see Sunset Rubdown.

Connor and I had gotten to see Sunset Rubdown at the Pitchfork Pre-Show this past July and were, needless to say, absolutely blown away. I hadn't seen a show with that much intese energy in a good while, so I was naturally in awe of Krug's abilities onstage. While there were 2,000 or so people in attendance at the Pitchfork show, there were about 25 people standing in front of the stage last night. What did I expect? Lots of things. I'd seen Wolf Parade three times and never thought they were anything great in person, but after seeing Rubdown in Chicago my opinion of Krug shifted dramatically.

Last nights show was full of two things: energy and banter. I've never seen so much energy, intimate energy at that, between four people and classroom sized audience. Between broken guitar strings, multiple sweat headbands, and a vocal audience - Krug and company somehow find time to talk to the audience between each song for a solid 2 minutes. Some people hate when musicians talk and would rather hear their muisc - I personally love the awkward banter. Krug made fun of their lag between songs, applauded everyone for attending a concert on a Tuesday, and attempted to explain why you shouldn't play a song that belongs to two bands.

Southgate House provided amazing acoustics for Krug's non-traditional voice and allowed for them to play songs "that will sound nice in here." I went with two friends who had never heard more than one song by Rubdown and left with their jaws to the floor and a new t-shirt. Opening for Rubdown was a solo artist going by the alias Beaver. He was icredibly good and had a unique sound that made it obvious why Krug brought him on tour (expect a full post on Beaver). I got the chance to chat with Spencer after the show for a little bit, who is socially awkward (surprise surprise), and got a few tidbits about Swan Lake. Krug said that the group and recording experience was very different - which could mean many things coming from the mouth of two three eccentric rock groups. He would like to do a tour with Swan Lake but said it wouldn't happen for a good while. Damn! Until then we can only catch him wearing two different personas.

<-- Sunset Rubdown -->
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