The Dandy Warhols @ Webster Hall

The Dandy Warhols @ Webster Hall

The Dandy Warhols at Webster Hall (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

On a windy, rainy night in New York, The Dandy Warhols blew back into town as part of the tour for their latest album Rockmaker, their 11th studio record. Over an impressive 30 years the Dandys have racked up a lot of miles and a lot of tunes, and they played a set that spanned their career while highlighting their newer work.

 

Detroit psych-rockers Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor were a suitable opening act, whetting the audience’s appetite with their fuzzed out guitar. Their most recent album Nocturnal Train to Mars came out last month on Little Cloud Records; I recommend the track “Zapalski.”

 

 

Their poppier singles may be part of the zeitgeist of the late 90’s and early 00’s, but The Dandy Warhols are actually a pretty heavy band, and nowhere is that more evident than at a live performance. They have cultivated a thick wall of sound which was demonstrated immediately by the opener “Ride” from 1995’s Dandys Rule OK and continued right into their latest single “I’d Like To Help You With Your Problem.” 

 

 

They employ an interesting stage setup, with singer and guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor and drummer Brent DeBoer set somewhat back from the edge of the stage while flanked by guitarist Peter Holmström and keyboardist and bassist Zia McCabe. She’s the most energetic member of the band, grooving out in her keyboard corner with her fan-blown hair streaming behind her, making me wonder if I, too, can pull off a beret. (Probably not.)

 

Taylor-Taylor uses twin microphones to get a variety of vocal effects, while DeBoer provides a lot of indispensable harmonies. I do wish that Taylor-Taylor’s vocals hadn’t been so low in the mix on many songs; as the sound crew at Webster Hall is generally quite on point, I have to assume this was a choice by the band. Holmström achieves a wild guitar sound, with effects and a number of different Koll guitars, including a baritone (which he discusses in a Guitar.com interview here.)

 

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols at Webster Hall (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

The song choices were strewn across their eras and included tracks from their “failed” 1996 second record known as The Black Album (“Arpeggio Adagio” and “Crack Cocaine Rager”), all three singles from 2003’s Welcome To The Monkey House (“We Used To Be Friends,” “You Were The Last High,” and “Plan A,” which was beautiful and laid back) and selections from the albums of the past decade Distortland (“STYGGO”) and Why You So Crazy (“Be Alright”). Four selections from Rockmaker (I’d Like To Help You With Your Problem,” “Danzig With Myself,” “Summer of Hate,” and “I Will Never Stop Loving You”) were also in the set, seamlessly melding with their oeuvre and proving the Dandys are still making crowd-pleasing tunes.

 

They didn’t play “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth” or “Every Day Should Be A Holiday” which may have disappointed some audience members (myself, I wanted to hear their 9 minute noise cover of “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald” but I knew that wasn’t happening). They ended on a high note, though, with “Godless” (probably my favorite song of theirs), “Bohemian Like You” and the swirling, noisy “Pete International Airport” gliding into a blazing rendition of “Boys Better,” while the Webster Hall disco ball twirled. There was no encore; rather Zia McCabe treated us to stories of coming to New York in previous years, seeing the Violent Femmes and touring with Love and Rockets, and an acapella version of The Velvet Underground’s “After Hours.” 

 

 

Although the band is a tight unit live, there was something pleasingly raw about their sound. I always prefer this instead of a totally slick performance that simply duplicates a record. I’ve been a fan since Come Down came out back in 1997 but this was my first time seeing them in concert, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m happy the Dandy Warhols are still making music and touring after 30 years. What more can be said other than Dandys rule…OK! 

 

Scroll down for setlist, pics of the show (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

Setlist: Ride, I’d Like To Help You With Your Problem, We Used to Be Friends, Crack Cocaine Rager, Danzig With Myself, STYGGO, Plan A, Be Alright, Summer of Hate, I Love You, You Were the Last High, I Will Never Stop Loving You, Arpeggio Adaggio, Holding Me Up, Godless, Bohemian Like You, Pete International Airport / Boys Better, Zia Outro

 

THE DANDY WARHOLS

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

The Dandy Warhols performing

 

 

 

Mclusky, Martha’s Vineyard Ferries, Pure Adult @ Warsaw

Mclusky, Martha’s Vineyard Ferries, Pure Adult @ Warsaw

Mclusky at Warsaw (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

It’s been nearly 22 years since Mclusky (or mclusky, or occasionally mclusky*) found success with their breakthrough album Mclusky Do Dallas, and nearly as long since they appeared live in New York City. A large and eager crowd awaited them at Warsaw this past Thursday to hear old favorites, as well as the new music the band has surprised us with.

 

The first opening act, local Brooklyn band Pure Adult kicked things off in high gear with their blend of experimental, danceable no wave post punk, grabbing the crowd’s attention immediately. Next, Martha’s Vineyard Ferries offered a thick, punishing sound. With members of Shellac (bassist Bob Weston) and Codeine (drummer Chris Brokaw) they are obviously no strangers to noise or droning, and have multiplied both in this act. I found myself focusing on Brokaw who provided deep, driving rhythms. They were great but if you want to be up front and have old ears like me, my advice is to wear earplugs or suffer the consequences.

 

 

Mclusky last appeared in NYC at Mercury Lounge in 2004, and this was a triumphant return. I always worry about three piece bands live and if they will be able to keep up with the promised noise of an album, but that absolutely was not the case here. Mclusky achieved amazing fullness and tone, sounding spot on, moving from walls of sound to (relatively) softer moments while maintaining total sonic control of the venue.

 

“Fuck This Band” was an excellent choice of opener, easing in to the set with that signature looping bassline. The band wound their way through songs off Mclusky Do Dallas, as well as selections from My Pain and Sadness is More Sad and Painful Than Yours (2000) and The Difference Between Me and You Is That I’m Not on Fire (2004). Mclusky are known for a cheeky vibe, but no matter how snarky the lyrics get they always sound straight from the heart. Singer and guitarist Andrew Falkous noted at one point in the set that dedicating a Mclusky song to anyone sounds like “a death threat.” 

 

“Rice Is Nice,” Whoyouknow,” and “Alan Is A Cowboy Killer” were all here, as were both tracks of last year’s double A side single “The Unpopular Parts of A Pig” (a particular favorite of mine) and “The Digger You Deep.” This single picked up right where they left off in my opinion, and it’s fantastic to see them still creating new music. 

 

Their most well known song is of course “Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues” (remember when the internet looked like this?) which Falkous noted in a deadpan voice was “described by the lead singer of Placebo as pretty good. What an astonishing life achievement.” 

 

Mclusky performing

Mclusky at Warsaw (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

Drummer Jack Egglestone played the gig behind a plastic barrier, which is for the comfort of Falkous, who was struck with tinnitus during their first attempt at a reunion tour, forcing the band to reschedule a number of dates. Fortunately, this did nothing to blunt the ferocity of his attack for the audience. (Falkous also wears noise canceling headphones to help cut out harsh sound on stage.) Current bassist Damien Sayell is an energetic force, dancing around the stage and contributing vocals. (The round vocals from the band on “She Will Only Bring You Happiness” were a highlight of the show.) Another highlight was “To Hell With Good Intentions,” which Falkous—jokingly? I can never tell—referred to as the worst song in the set. He asked an audience member to choose between two songs for a late addition, and while I would have liked “No Covers,” I must admit that “That Man Will Not Hang” sounded sick live. What a bass tone!

 

Before the show ended the band took time to thank the techs, sound crew and managers. Falkous said “I know I don’t look emotional… but this is a very big moment for us.” Judging by the crowd response, it was a big moment for them, too. Welcome back, Mclusky.

 

Scroll down for setlist, pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)

 

Setlist: Fuck This Band, Dethink to Survive, Without MSG I Am Nothing, Collagen Rock, What We’ve Learned, Day of the Deadringers, Unpopular Parts of a Pig, Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues, Chases, She Will Only Bring You Happiness, The Digger You Deep, Et tu, Edwards?, You Should Be Ashamed Seamus, To Hell With Good Intentions, Rice Is Nice, The Battle of Los Angelsea, Alan Is a Cowboy Killer, That Man Will Not Hang, Gareth Brown Says, Whoyouknow

 

PURE ADULT

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

Pure Adult performing

 

 

MARTHA’S VINEYARD FERRIES

Martha's Vineyard Ferries performing

Martha's Vineyard Ferries performing

Martha's Vineyard Ferries performing

Martha's Vineyard Ferries performing

Martha's Vineyard Ferries performing

Martha's Vineyard Ferries performing

Martha's Vineyard Ferries performing

Martha's Vineyard Ferries performing

 

MCLUSKY

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

Mclusky performing

 

 

 

Desert Sharks & A Very Special Episode- “DS+AVSE”

Desert Sharks & A Very Special Episode- “DS+AVSE”

Desert Sharks and A Very Special Episode DS + AVSE

 

Split releases are a time honored way for bands that admire each other to team up, to the benefit of both them and fans. In this tradition comes the new split from Brooklyn groups Desert Sharks and A Very Special Episode, aka DS + AVSE. Rather than simply submitting two songs from their back pocket to include on the split, the two bands decided on the theme of the four classical elements and composed the tracks based on that. Desert Sharks tackled earth and water with “Deeper” and “Siren Song” while A Very Special Episode were tasked with air and fire in their contributions “Airwaves” and “Smolder.”

 

Desert Sharks get the split started off right, as “Deeper” kicks in right away with thick, throbbing bass. The song is a perfect slice of the dark grunge the band is known for and will have audiences moshing. The recording makes great use of panning, so listen on headphones if possible.

 

 

If you were a fan of Desert Sharks’ 2023 release The Tower (read our review) and especially the lead song “Medusa,” you’re going to want to pick up this split on the strength of this track alone. Luckily, the Sharks aren’t done with us, and “Siren Song” is even sludgier, leaning into haunting vocal harmonies intoning “I want to drown under the waves of your gaze.” Full Time Aesthetic premiered the fittingly spooky, chilly video here.

 

Flip the tape (metaphorically speaking if you’ve picked this up as a digital release, although the split is also available as a cassette) and A Very Special Episode comes roaring in with “Airwaves,” a punkier but no less gritty song that punches its way through three minutes of headbanging fun. For the finale, “Smolder” brings the tempo down and switches the time signature for a swaying, burning torch song with bruising dynamic changes and soaring vocals. 

 

 

Clocking in at only four songs long, this is short but sweet, as so many splits are, very satisfying for fans of both or either band, and a great introduction to them if you are unfamiliar. DS + AVSE is out on Substitute Scene Records on March 8th; you can find Desert Sharks on Bandcamp, Instagram and Spotify here and AVSE on Bandcamp, Instagram and Spotify here.

 

 

Mannequin Pussy- “I Got Heaven”

Mannequin Pussy- “I Got Heaven”

Mannequin Pussy I Got Heaven

 

For their fourth studio album, Mannequin Pussy have decided to venture out of their comfort zone. As should be expected of a group that has been around for over a decade, I Got Heaven finds the Philadelphia band (consisting of Marisa Dabice on vocals and guitar, Maxine Steen on guitar and synths, Colins “Bear” Regisford on bass and vocals, and Kaleen Reading on drums) experimenting with their sound and composition. Rather than writing alone at home, the band convened in Los Angeles with producer John Congleton. Of this change, Dabice said “…this was shedding a lot of those hermit-like qualities to do something intensively collaborative. Your best work comes when you allow other people into it.” 

 

While their brasher, punkier tracks may be the ones that more often come up on playlists (they are certainly the ones I am more familiar with) Mannequin Pussy has always been capable of toning things down. They start this record off with a title track that is anything but, however, as “I Got Heaven” comes ripping through the speakers — or headphones, and give it about ten seconds, I promise they aren’t broken. “If I wanted it you really think I’d wait for their permission? / For protection and assurances that all would be delivered?” Dabice asks as she rails against Christian hypocrisy, and also poses maybe the greatest rhetorical question of our time: “What if Jesus himself ate my fucking snatch?

 

Mannequin Pussy performing

Mannequin Pussy in 2022 (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

By the third track the versatility of the band is really on display. “Nothing Like” is an undeniably poppy song delivered by a band capable of musical violence, in a way that reminds me of Smashing Pumpkins “Perfect,” although I find it disappointing the band turned to AI for the video. Things get even softer for the first half of “I Don’t Know You” before the interruption of some good fuzzy grime. 

 

 

But lest you forget how to truly rock out, “OK? OK! OK? OK!” is here to melt your face while being treated to Regisford’s equally compelling vocals. “Of Her” and “Aching” are in the same vein; these harder songs are all in the second half and only given a break by the mid-tempo, dynamically changing “Softly.” (I have to admit the track listing on this album puzzles me.) 

 

I Got Heaven features clean crisp production that is never too slick or overdone and allows all the instruments to stand on their own. The ingredient that ties it all together is as always Dabice’s vocals, with her command of everything from screaming howls to delicate melody. As she sings on the lead track “I got a loud bark, deep bite!” Overall it’s a solid outing with a few skippable tracks, and it’s nice to see the band trying new things. I Got Heaven is out now on Epitaph Records. The band will next play in NYC on 5/16 at Brooklyn Steel.

 

Death From Above 1979, HXLT @ Racket

Death From Above 1979, HXLT @ Racket

Death From Above 1979 at Racket (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

Back for the second time in the past year, Death From Above 1979 appeared this time at Racket, a venue in the former Highline Ballroom that opened only this year. It was my first trip to the Manhattan space, and my first time seeing DFA1979, and I was anticipating the experience.

 

Opening duties were handled by HXLT, the rap/punk/electro project of Chicago-born Nigel Holt (fka Hollywood Holt.) Holt is an able performer, prowling the stage with great energy and losing himself in the music and crowd response. An MC and veteran of rap battles, Holt has been open about his punk rock influences and even recorded with Kathleen Hanna. He hasn’t abandoned his rap background, though, and there is a great focus on flow in much of his singing, even as he is backed by a guitarist, drummer, and apparently his brother on synth/sampler.

 

HXLT undoubtedly picked up some new fans with their high energy performance. It was, however, quite distracting to have a videographer with a phone on stage throughout the entire show. I assume they were capturing footage for a video, which is understandable, but I would hope they limit that to only a few songs in the future.

 

 

Death from Above 1979 are one of my favorite bands, and I was heartbroken to miss their stop here at Music Hall of Williamsburg last November (see our coverage). They more than lived up to the hype I built in my mind with an intense, non-stop set. The Canadian group is known for conjuring a punishing, relentless sound with only two members—Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler—and they filled the space with that signature bass and drum combo. The pair were visually contrasting, Keeler in black and Grainger in white (now with bleached hair) but completely in sync on every song. Keeler is a constantly moving wizard on the bass, with an enviable mustache and a large pedal board, although according to a 2014 rig rundown much of his sound comes from amp distortion, which I don’t doubt after seeing those things. (Many of the pedals likely run off the synths, which Keeler also provides.) He rarely approaches a mic, instead hypnotizing the crowd with hyperactive bass lines played on two Lucite Ampeg Dan Armstrong Plexi basses.

 

 

A drummer who sings is almost a novelty, and I’ve always wondered why. Is it the limited movement? Do people who shun the spotlight take up drums on purpose? Is it difficult to play them and sing? I wouldn’t know; I find drumming to be like trigonometry and do not attempt it. But Grainger is a compelling singer, overlooked in my opinion, with emotive, at times desperate vocals. His beats are in no way an afterthought, and in a two-piece band his drumming is able to draw a focus in a way he might not be able to in a more traditional four piece group. For all their noise, DFA1979 make extremely danceable music, with grooves to be found in their most hardcore of songs. This was a show where I could throw up the horns and headbang while also shimmying my ass off.

 

And that spirit seemed to extend around the room. The crowd was very into the set, which pulled from all four studio albums, and sang and thrashed and bounced along, especially when Grainger jumped out from behind the drum kit on “Romantic Rights” (a funny version of that trick can be seen here). For the final song of the encore, “Pull Out,” HXLT appeared from side stage to take the mic back and ended up crowdsurfing, infused with the same energy as the audience, an energy that continued buzzing well after the set had ended.

 

 

Scroll down for setlist, pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)

Nomad, One + One, Virgins, Turn It Out, Caught Up, Free Animal, Totally Wiped Out, Modern Guy, Little Girl, White Is Red, N.Y.C. Power Elite Part I, N.Y.C. Power Elite Part II, Freeze Me, Going Steady, Black History Month, Crystal Ball, Trainwreck 1979, Romantic Rights, The Physical World Encore: Right On, Frankenstein!, Pull Out (with HXLT)

 

HXLT

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

HXLT performing

 

 

DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing

DFA1979 performing