Went to the Bowery Ballroom last night to see Menomena, who were quite good,but I'll get to that. The opening act was Land of Talk... a band that looked like they were sleeping under the stage for a week... and were woken up suddenly and expected to play immediately. Clearly this band had been on tour for a while, and had not found the money in order to have nice hotel rooms and let's say shower. But it didn't matter, this band proved once again that Canada's music scene is superior to the American one. They didn't blow me out of the water by any means, but they were solid, straight up indie rock. I'd like to hear the music in recorded form. The lead singer was a girl wearing an eighties outfit that looked like she'd robbed Deborah Harry, but she had a voice that sounded (I could be hearing things) but Stevie Nix. Which was quite a treat. The base player had a beard that you can only get away with if you are a civil war general or a relief pitcher from the seventies. their songs particularly worked when he harmonized with the lead, but that could be because I had the Stevie Nix thing in my head and it sounded more like Fleetwood Mac that way.
The next act was Field Music. This band clearly had more talented musicians, more honed song writing skills, more practice, and more time together as a band. In other words I hated it. So I went to go read some of a Bill Bryson book a friend lent me downstairs on one of the couches. After a smoke, and returned upstairs and got a spot, and the most curious scene was displayed behind me. Their was a guy who was a dead ringer for John Cusack, but with long hair... like in Being John Malkovich... he was standing next to a guy who was clearly a dead ringer for Ewan MacGregor as Obi Wan beard and all, and a woman who could pass for Angelina Jolie standing in front of the two of them making a triangle, or triumvirate of celebrity look-a-likes.
A guy asked me if they could pull off their sound live... I really didn't know. The truth is they didn't pull off their sound live, it sounded stripped down, which actually made it better. Instead of being distracted with all the noise, hesitations of silence added an incredible amount to the music. This little pockets of nothing gave you a moment to collect your thoughts and wait for the next barrage. Few bands out there, especially in a trio, are as reliant upon one another for their music to work. Songs were written and played in turn by all three members, but what each member added to the others songs could not be replaced. This is a formula that rarely works for long stretches as everyone in the band realizes they could have their own band (which would be sad, cause none of these guys would sound as good without the others in my estimation). The Drummer in particular seemed to have a ferocity on stage. I rarely notice the drummer, and in most bands that's not a band thing, there just seems to be something a little more musical about this one. The band also interacted with the crowd cracking jokes, attempting crowd participation, and even bringing out a birthday cake. I also am always interested in rock music that veers away from traditional instrumentation. Songs could go on without any guitar, or bass, and often included a sax or xylophone. All in all an invigorating performance.
They also had a fucking great tour poster.