Monday, August 14, 2006

The New Year | Middle East | Aug 11th

Some bands seem to tour constantly while others make limited club appearences like The New Year. Therefore, you have to make the effort to catch them when you can. That's why I made the trip down to Boston last Friday to catch the multi-guitar sonic beauty that is The New Year. The band had flirted with the idea of a Vermont show (even momentarily considering Bill's barn) but ultimately decided to do one show in Boston and one in Brooklyn.

My friend, Peter, and I made the 180 mile trek down to Cambridge early Friday evening for the show. We got down there in time to grab a quick bite to eat with some longtime friends of mine at Phoenix Landing and even play some silly music trivia game which won us a Coors Light t-shirt which we gave back. There's no need to contribute to the landfill problem in America by accepting a crappy-ass logo shirt for a crappy-ass beer.

We then headed over to Middle East Upstairs to catch the first of the three bands, Kahoots. I had been downstairs at Middle East a number of times but never upstairs. It's a nice little room. You never feel far from the stage. Kahoots are a band from Martha's Vineyard. I've never associated Martha's Vineyard with any sort of rock music; just folkies playing to sunsets. So, I had a bit of a bias against them for that reason. However, they had a few good songs and held my attention for 45 minutes.

After Kahoots' set, I met up with b.f. of extrawack! and Brad of Bradley's Almanac. Go ahead and make your "room full of bloggers" jokes...I'll wait...hey, good one...OK, seriously, it's great to talk music with b.f. & Brad. Nice guys who know a boatload about music. Brad also caught part of the 50 ft. Wave & Throwing Muses show downstairs but made it upstairs in time to record The New Year's set. Hopefully, the files will be up on his site soon.

Nina Nastasia was up next. I'm going to defer to extrawack! and goth brooks for opinions on Nina Nastasia. I wasn't in the right frame of mind for judging her performance. It was 11pm on a Friday night and I was having fun but looking down the barrel of a three hour drive home after The New Year's set. So, I wasn't looking to hear some quiet plaintive folk songs. I needed to keep the energy going. Therefore, I spent her set focusing on things other than her music. But b.f. and goth brooks liked her a lot and their opinions are probably more valid for the reasons I mentioned above.

Middle East runs a tight ship because each band came out right on time including The New Year at midnight. They opened with "Age of Conceit" which was a huge treat since it's often left out of their sets since it requires them to bring other guitars with a different tuning. However, they brought them on Friday and it was a great way to start the show. Chris Brokaw's sudden rapid drum beat called the room to order and then once they had everyone's attention, Matt Kadane's gentle strumming and hushed vocals led the song into its ultimate build-up and fiery ending.

The set also included a bunch of other favorites like "18", "Disease" and "Carne Levare". When you're standing there and they get all four guitarists kicking, it's quite the aural salad of rhythm, melodies and fuzz that gets your head moving. They had a bit of electrical buzzing throughout the set that would be noticeable and distracting during the quieter portions of the songs but would become imperceptible as the songs progressed.

The New Year doesn't always do the automatic encore but I guess the 200 folks in the room made enough noise to bring them back out for two more songs. They closed the set with "Gasoline" which is another favorite. The show ended at 1am but here's the cool part, somehow Paeter and I made it from the back of the room at Middle East to Peter's house in Montpelier in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Considering the walk to the grage, waiting to pay and finding our way back to Storrow Dr., that's great time in getting home. The show would have been worth the drive even if it had taken the usual three hours but the quick drive made the night that much sweeter.

The New Year | Age of Conceit | Buy
The New Year | Carne Levare | Buy

Here's the video for The New Year's "Disease":

1 comment:

Bob F. said...

awesome. great review!