Monday, March 07, 2005

The Dirty Projectors, Akron/Family, Other Passengers, R. Stevie Moore / The West End Basement / Mar. 5, 2005

I guess all that blog buzz paid off, because this show was packed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the West End basement this crowded before. Like, I had to sit on a bass drum next to the mixing board in order to get a good view of Other Passengers. Now that I think about it, that probably wasn’t a very wise idea, since it meant that I was about 6 inches away from the bass player, and he flailed around quite a bit. But he was quite cute and doughy and Ben Gibbard-like, so I didn’t mind.

Watching Other Passengers, I felt the same way that I did seeing the Walkmen at that WBAR show in 2001: these guys are about to blow up, and I can see why, but I just can’t get behind it. Their music is dark and churning and, uh, “angular”… but so are the 500 other bands that send me their CDs every week.

At least OP didn’t physically repulse me like Akron/Family did. Ok folks, this hippie-revival thing has officially gone way too far. These dudes are like Need New Body without the creativity or the grooves, or frat boy Dave Matthews fans trying their hand at “that freak-folk stuff we’ve heard so much about”. Now, I must admit, I only made it through one song. But it was a really long song. The beards and wool caps and Christmas lights and noodling and a cappella campfire singalong and drum circle breakdown were just too much. And this band is signed to Young God! Michael Gira, cut down on the peyote, man, jeez!

The Dirty Projectors are the ones who should be getting all that big-indie label love. Dave’s vocal styling is kind of nails-on-a-chalkboard for me, but I have mucho respect for what he’s doing, and I can see why so many of my friends think he’s a genius. He never really hits notes, he just kind of flutters up and down the scale in this weird, otherworldly falsetto—kind of like Antony or Devendra, but a bit harsher. The last time I saw him play, he had a full band backing him up, complete with horn and string sections, and that was such amazing sensory overload. (Full disclosure: the drummer was my boyfriend.) This time, he was accompanied only by a pair of female backing vocalists and a cellist. It was chamber art-pop to the max. The ladies were insanely hot, too, like naughty secretaries gone Suicide Girl. Somebody told me they were from Finland. Unfortunately, their set was cut short by the West End’s manager, because the concert had allegedly gone over its time limit.

That was probably because R. Stevie Moore played for what seemed like 3 hours. Now I also have mucho respect for R. Stevie, but I only have so much tolerance for a guy croaking off-key ramblings making fun of college students. I know he has some good songs in his massive repertoire; he just didn’t play any of them. R. Stevie did provide the best line of the night, though: “SIT ON MY FACE, GRETCHEN WILSON!”