Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back on the Block

Well it's a been awhile kids...

Not gonna recap too much except to say that daddyhood, new tunes and an exciting new side gig have kept me busy. More on the last two items to come. But for now just wanted to share my experience last night on the Lower East Side.

After FINALLY seeing Abel Ferrara's unreleased strip club dramedy Go Go Tales (which was pretty much a meandering bore except for Asia Argento's tour-de-force strip tease with a dog and her sultry seduction of a horribly bowl-cut Matthew Modine) at Anthology Film Archives, I wanted to take advantage of a rare night out in the city.

Over the years, I've often found myself in the position of wandering around the LES/East Village at various points of the night, hoping to find something "happening". In my head, that "happening" involves a Fellini-esque loft party or an encounter of Bukowski-esque gutter depravity. In reality, it usually ends up with me paying a cover charge to see some bands I've never heard of, hoping that one of them will be good. And 8 times out of 10 they are not good. They are deeply flawed and/or highly formulaic. But that 20 percent success rate is always rewarding and keeps me trudging through the other 80 percent. Thankfully last night, I was on the good end of that figure.

Walking east from the theater, I decided to pop into Cakeshop. I have continued to go to this club despite my personal experience of never liking a show there. I generally find the bands they book to be a bad combination of too twee, too amateurish or too noisy without refinement. But I do read/hear good things about shows there, and I am still naively wooed by critical opinion, so I keep going in the hopes that it has just been my bad luck. Well, last night proved that theory to be correct.

After a likable but unmemorable opening set by local band Guitars, Prussia (from Detroit) went on and immediately took control of the room.

The set began with the singer doing an acapella verse, which served as an inviting call to attention. His voice had a slightly bratty yet romantic and sincere urgency that reminded me of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys and The Last Shadow Puppets. He was a great frontman. Then the band kicked in and laid down a blistering set of tunes that combined classic 50s pop, 70s Two Tone and contemporary indie/jingle jangle/etc. The vocal harmonies were spot-on, the rhythm section had a deep pocket and the guitars were properly cutting. Their overall delivery reminded me classic Elvis Costello and the Attractions - tightly wound and executed with control, but always on the verge of boiling over.

I'm really glad I rallied through the cold and bad luck to happen upon these guys. As drummer and nightlife icon Don McKenzie says, "persistence beats resistance". Def check 'em out.

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