Noise Pop Journal, Day 3: February 25, 2010.
Back at the Bender’s, listening and looking at the end of Shark Toy’s
set through the Jimmy Beam neon lit window from the outside. The bands
reflection from the mirror juxtaposed with bikes, tenements and
passersby made me feel grounded, at home and prepared for yet another
Once inside I fussed over the happy hour price of Fernet-Branca
on the rocks as Social Studies took the “ASCAP” stage. Social Studies is a
great band with potential manifested through vintage synthesizer emulators courtesy
of Alesis, an old ass faux wood paneled Casio and a Korg. I first
thought they sounded like an indie dance act James Murphy forgot to
have sign on the dotted hipster-dance-dance-revolution line. Wrong. Social Studies adhere to the
psychedelized Music Emporium early Moog sound and John Phillips school
of creativity. The group proved this with the electric keys-zap attack of
their Grass Roots cover of “Let’s Live For Today.” A little help from
Tyler of Tempo No Tempo gave an added element of alternating crunchy
guitar licks and electro blips. Kudos gang.
I stuck around for a few numbers from The Old Fashioned Way who were
nerdy, fun, cute and having themselves a grand ol’ time. The group’s chirpy
tweeness was undeniable, even the hater within could not help but
simply adore the dazzling display of glee and nerves before me.
Minutes later I’m at Cafe Du Nord. It’s sold out, but this time I’m in like
Flynn. TDM brought some grungy fuzz pedals, wild ambient loops between
songs and an uplifting “pass out the scantrons to everyone we know”
refrain that ascended above Du Nord’s basement and into the rafters of
the Swedish American Music Hall. However, their cover of Danzig’s
“Mother” lacked the fire in the gut that a song of such canonical
magnitude should wield.
Next was Greg Ashley; just the man and his electric
Gibson. He strummed a ten minute set of instrumentals before performing
an honest rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “True Love Leaves No Traces.”
And that was the end. I was left with curiosity; what would the rest of Death of a Ladies’ Man sound like as interpreted by Greg Ashley? I
guess I’ll never know.
With an outlaw Hope Sandoval heart
and a mean streak of doom metal interludes, Scout Niblett slowly built up the
thunder. Yet through her songs of hard living and Master of Reality
riff apologies, there were moments of quirky rebellion told through
tales about a would be life on the run. “Wake up in the car, outside of
the bar, which way to Mexico?” she cooed.
Citay brought its massive ensemble to the stage. Sometimes it
sounded like your favorite forgotten west coast California sun pop
band, then the next moment you swear it’s a moment from Another Green
World or Taking Tiger Moutain by Strategy. (Which reminds me, why
couldn’t Brian Eno have headline this damn festival?) These folks have the passion but their prowess put me to sleep.
That said, I’m waddled over to catch the 33 outbound at 18th and