California Blues

A needle in a steel wool haystack.

Club NME at Spaceland with Noisettes

First time I’d ever seen a line outside of Spaceland, which was especially shocking as I didn’t hear about the show until two nights before. Apparently, I’m simply late to the game. At least I got there in the end. And it wasn’t even that late, as the doors didn’t open until well after nine. From the few 60s outfits sprinkled throughout the crowd, and the unknown opening acts, it seemed like half the audience was there for the Noisettes’ new take on the Motown wall of sound. Unfortunately for them, the Noisettes and their opening acts were still in love with the garage punk sound from their first album.

The Barracks were the first band up, and the last band to rush through their sound check. From all appearances, it seemed like these guys stepped out of a time warp from 1990s Seattle. When the music hit the floor, they pulled a refreshingly modern take on classic rock out of their instruments. Complete with a southern rock hint, the Barracks play a “noise punk” style (post-punk, prog-ish attempt at classic arena rock).* They definitely wear their influences in their long hair and on their sleeves, dropping a reference to themselves as “Ted Zeppelin.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard drums provide what passes for melody in a song before. All of The Barracks’ songs had a weaving wall of guitar and bass pushed forward and kept in line with rapidly rhythmic drumming. In the end they feel a bit like an updated Double Felix, which is remarkable as this was their first show.

Next up were the Nashville duo Magic Wands, whom I’ve seen before with The Kills and The Horrors. I gather they were able to get a decent sound check this time, as I could finally hear their backing click track.

They tour with tiger heads.

While The Kills make their fortune with the concept of dueling guitars fighting and destroying the stage, Magic Wands play a duet of dancing guitars: less tumultuous energy, but more trackable, danceable melodies. Teenage Love sounds a bit basic, until you realize the lyrics are mostly mocking the realities of teenage foibles. Their last few tracks, including Kiss Me Dead, gave the feel of a 50s slow dance, straight out of Back to the Future. The low lighting, Dexy‘s sunglasses and low sexy voice do nothing but add to this feeling of laid-back love with a dash of fleeting innocence. The lyrics may seem a bit simple, but for what they seem to be trying to capture, they fit better than elastic. Overall, see these guys at a smaller venue, as I never really got a feel for their music until this show.

True to form, the Noisettes start their set with the familiar beat of Wild Young Hearts, but there’s no lead singer on stageā€“no microphone in the stand either. The music fades. The dulcet tones of Shingai Shoniwa start the chorus a capella. Soon the music comes up again, as she emerges from backstage. Continue reading

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6 August 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment