Time does get away from one. When living a life you keep under your hat inarticulate, sometimes you fall back on making lists of songs that would go well with a chilly autumn Saturday afternoon. Don’t you know it.
What have I been doing? I managed to get out to see Jesse Malin and Gaslight Anthem last night at the luxurious Brooklyn Bowl. Brooklyn Bowl is a place out of a fictional New York. It’s something from a movie about New York at the height of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street era hubris with a little of that vulgar Cash is King Saturday Night Fever mentality about it. When you’re inside the squeaky clean and enormous cathedral of entertainment beneath its gleaming TV screens and ensconced in its unreality you have a hard time reminding yourself that, hey, there aren’t places like this in New York City, because there you are.
Jesse Malin finished his set with a tirade against the largely unmoved crowd, a tirade about precisely that suburban imperialization of the city, a city in which everyone is hip and brand name and friends with everyone else- everyone’s cool and it’s cool because, as Malin mentioned, you’ve gotten rid of everyone else who isn’t like you in imperial Williamsburg. I’m not sure the crowd even knew who he was. Shame, because he played a great set. He definitely played a better set than the marble-mouthed and groove-impaired Murder by Death who who followed him. The kids really went all in for liking those guys, but there really wasn’t much in the messy miasma of their sound to like. They play a breed of music that jumps the shark while chasing authenticity. It’s like wearing Americana as drag. It’s been 150 years since it was 150 years ago, guys, and you’re not Lazarus back from the dead.
They need to get rid of one of their bassists. I say the big dude takes a hike- the cute blonde was positively molesting her cello and I was rapt.
Gaslight really didn’t put on a show with the same verve and messy punk swing to it as I’ve seen them do before. The bookmarks are falling out of their fakebook and the highlights are fading from the songs they reference. It’s amazing what this band was able to do- create an entire critically lauded album imbued with positive energy out of references to other songs. I love the album, but their hearts didn’t seem to be in it last night. The bros really seem to have gotten into these former scrappers, and Gaslight threw them the bone of doing a Pearl Jam cover. Something tells me they’re heading into a serious sophomore slump. I guess you can take some guys out of Jersey but you can’t necessarily take the Jersey out of some guys.
I saw the Dodos on Wednesday, clean whiteboy twee without an ounce of soul, but man that guy can play the acoustic guitar. The band has great vox and mastery of the ax, but can’t anyone play a sleazy sexy beat anymore? Does everything have to be happy and copacetic? This is how the yuppies relax in their natural habitat.
Tomorrow is David Bazan and next week is Atlas Sound, and for these I am genuinely excited.