I left the outdoor acoustic show on Roosevelt Island a few weeks ago with a lot of homework. Having seen twenty-something acts, many of them previously unknown to me, I had a lot of following up to do. And so I leaped at the chance to check out a couple of that show’s highlights, Lidia Stone and Necking, at a recent benefit for Showpaper.
Showpaper is a new bi-weekly concert listing focusing on shows and venues that are all-ages, d.i.y., and offer some of the most exciting bills around. Three issues in, the paper is already bringing together lots of good spots that previously required a bit of digging to track down individually. Where else can I see what’s happening on any given night at Pete’s Candy Store, Goodbye Blue Monday, Issue Project Room, Silent Barn, and some random loft off the Jefferson L stop? The free listing also features poster-sized original art on one side (the current issue is by Dustin Pilkington of Best Fwends) and is free for the taking at an ever increasing number of spots citywide (I spotted a stack at Rush Hour on Ludlow last week). Finally, my favorite new feature: the “I Saw You” missed connections-style personals, which for their debut, are hilarious and probably mostly made up, but currently include one entry written by a member of No Age and another directed at Angel from the Dirty Projectors.
Clearly, the bands playing the benefit also knew a good thing when they saw it. At Roosevelt, Lidia Stone had cheated on the “acoustic” part of the billing with a battery-op keyboard; this show saw them cutting loose their high-octane armageddon electro with fully amped urgency. Since the three piece deals in a pretty simple keys/drums/shouting formula, the only actual changes from last time I saw them were that the keys were noisier, the vocals were louder, and the drums weren’t made out of a briefcase. And now that we in the audience weren’t sitting in the grass but rather standing, frontman Nites had a much harder time leaping over us. This did not prevent him, however, from leaping off of a monitor several times. At three dollars, their debut E.P. is steal.
Necking was the actual headliner, creating a complete racket of raucous drums, electronically generated noise, zapping keys, indiscernible vocal yelp. It’s not that I actually expected them to throw things and run around carrying their drum sets as they were able to outdoors, but I did find their noise set to be surprisingly free of gimmicks.
Of course, Necking may have deferred any mid-set-wrestling tendencies they might have had seeing as opener Michael Jordan had already covered that ground pretty decisively, as well as doing a pretty thorough job of proving that moshing and singing are not mutually exclusive. While both Michael Jordan and co-openers No One and the Somebodies (the only band I can think of that is currently based in Westchester) created similar levels of noise-rock frenzy, the former came off as more strongly rhythmic (they are one of the growing current crop of bands to make use of dual drummers) and the latter as more melodic (occasionally dropping out the crackle of guitar to allow keyboard arpeggios some room to breath).