Sunday, October 19, 2008

Antony & the Johnsons @ Apollo Theater - Thu Oct 16, 2008

For Today I Am A Boy

It finally came the time for one of my most anticipated shows of this year. Antony & the Johnsons have been another of my favorite bands for the past few years, but during that time living here in the NYC area I hadn't been able to experience live the both fragile and powerful Antony Hegarty's voice. Of course it was amazing.

The lights went off and they pretty much stayed like that for the whole hour and fifteen minutes of the show. It was so good it felt shorter. Antony began singing a cover of Mysteries of Love, which you might remember if you watched David Lynch's Blue Velvet, and during which I had my first (of many) goose bumps of the night. Antony looked like an angel and he certainly sang like one, or probably even better.

Just in time for the release of his great new EP, Another World EP, which raises a lot my expectations for his upcoming new album, The Crying Light, Antony decided to preview his new material live. I was expecting renditions of these new beautiful songs, but they gave us only one of them, the moving EP title track. I wished he would have played more, particularly the spectacular Shake That Devil, but instead played four very new songs to appear on The Crying Light plus his now classics Cripple and the Starfish, River of Sorrow, I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy, my highlight of the night For Today I am A Boy, and a gracious cover of Beyonce's Crazy in Love.

For Today I Am A Boy was ridiculously good and hit me hard, as I am gay and came out only a year ago. One day I won't be a beautiful woman neither I want it to be, but I share the lament he had to go through, before fully empathizing with whom he wanted to be, to live peacefully with himself. I am sure Antony's voice filled the Apollo Theater like a Nina Simone must at least once have done it back in the days too, and made our eyes to water when reaching those high notes we love to hear from him. I had a cold, so I am half excused, but apparently I wasn't the only one with all the sniffing I heard around.

Although Antony's short tour only hit a couple of cities in USA and will be in London pretty soon, I hope he will be back later when his new album comes out for a for a more complete and longer set. See ya in 2009 then. [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Of Montreal @ Roseland Ballroom - Oct 13, 2008

An Eluardian Instance

I went to see the best Broadway musical happening last night in the city. Of Montreal was in charge of the music, and Kevin Barnes, his brother David, his wife Nina, ninjas, and buddhas, were in charge of the theatricality. There's not much of 2008 left, so I might as well say it now: Of Montreal @ Roseland Ballroom might have been be the best spectacle I've seen this busy 2008 (and I just got home after seeing Madonna at MSG!).

So yeah, that's a real horse. And that's Kevin Barnes wearing super short shorts on a real horse. That was one of the many extravagances that happened last night and that everybody is talking about today, or at least all the teenagers (I am not one) who were in attendance, because I doubt people would forget a show like last night's just like that.

I have been excited all day listening on repeat their entire catalog (that's a lot!), particularly their new good album Skeletal Lamping, having flashes of half-human-half-animal creatures and a creamy Kevin asking for a hug. I am sure I am not the only one. Kevin Barnes and his gang played in its entirety his new baby, Skeletal Lamping, plus some great (now) oldies and an impressive cover of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. Very appropiate... it did really smell like it.

Of Montreal's new music is very adventurous, not conventional pop, twisted in its own and these days very melodic changing even within one same song. Only after way too many times listening to their new stuff I could start identifying where really the songs end and when they don't. With that in mind, I am very fucking proud of putting together the set list in the middle of all the dancing and fisting I did. Here it is:
Id Engager
So Begins Our Alabee
Triphallus, to Punctuate!
She's A Rejector
For Our Elegant Caste
Touched Something's Hollow
An Eluardian Instance
Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse
Gallery Piece
Wraith Pinned To The Mist & Other Games
Women's Studies Victims
St.Exquisite's Confessions
Ero's Entropic Tundra
Nonpareil of Favor
October Is Eternal
Wicked Wisdom
Disconnect The Dots
Our Spring Is Sweet Not Fleeting Knight Rider (Thanks P4K!)
And I've Seen a Bloody Shadow
Plastis Wafers
Death Is Not a Parallel Move
Beware Our Nubile Miscreants
A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger
Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit
Gronlandic Edit
Wow, that was long. Last time I saw Of Montreal they played most of Hissing Fauna, and this time they did the same but with Skeletal. When you hear the album, after several spins, you realized there is no other possible ordering for its tracks, and Kevin agrees. He is playing (like he did for the Hissing Fauna tour) most of the new songs in several groups keeping the same order as they come on the album without interrupting the flow.

He has several tricks to keep our eyes on the stage and don't, let's say, start doing some texting. He sometimes uses Sunlandic Twins' instrumentals, sometimes let his two drummers (yeah, now he has two!) get creative while he dresses up as a centaur, or wears some bath clothes just to be murdered, or sometimes he just gives us one of those classic Satanic Panic in the Attic tracks we all old school fans love.

Even though I loved Id Engager (and his scream) as a set opener, making clear from the beginning a party was about to start, the show really kicked off for me after hearing one of my favorite songs off Hissing Fauna, She's A Rejector, when I couldn't stand still with my (old) friends and had to go to join the youth. Stickiness and sweatiness came right after, with Skeletal's highlight Four Elegant Caste and its infectuous chorus about doing it softcore and going both ways that everybody loves singing to, and it pretty much lasted until what I think is the real closer track on Skeletal, Mingusings. I am glad I bought a t-shirt at the beginning of the show... I really needed it afterwards.

This time, I will never forget how much I enjoyed live my current favorite Of Montreal song, An Elurdian Instance, how touching Kevin sounded solo in a piano, and of course, Kevin on a horse in a venue in Manhattan. So thanks yet one more time... I couldn't feel luckier of being an Of Montreal fan. [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Dodos @ Spiegeltent - Mon Sep 29, 2008


Early in July I saw saw some of the most intense live shows I've had this year. There were too many good ones in such a short time, that I wasn't able to blog them properly. The Dodos were the act that impressed me the most. I waited for my first chance to see them after that hot Saturday afternoon at P4K Music Festival, where they blew my mind and convinced me they were not an Animal Collective ripoff, but an authentic folk/rock band rocking out one of the best albums of this year, their sophomore album called Visiter, and that day finally came a week ago. Unfortunately it wasn't as hot as before.

Not only the weather was not hot as before, but the set itself was not. It had more of their older songs which I don't think are as great as their new ones. Somehow it was good for me anyway, because I got to pay attention to something else different than Meric Long hands and his long nails, and his excellent guitar playing. The drummer, Logan Kroeber, is quite good too. To keep it short, he can pat his head and rub his belly at the same time. And he is cute.

It's amazing how much sound they can achieve basically with just an acoustic guitar (amplified, of course) and a drum set (plus a garbage aluminium can). That Animal Collective comparison that surrounds them is not for free. We've heard stuff like this before and very well done by that collective, but was it done with such great lyrics and sweetness? I don't think so. Right there, with Visiter, The Dodos made space for themselves to be noticed and they are playing it quite well. See you in December, even though it will be colder... I hope you guys warm me up again. [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

The Dodos links: Stream Visiter, Official Website, MySpace, Wikipedia