December 13, 2004

Counting down the hours until the headliner starts playing

Rose and I went to see Ted Leo last night at the Bowery Ballroom (and tonight I'm seeing the Pixies with Mission of Burma, and tomorrow night we'll be going to see Travis Morrison -- what am I, in college?) and he was sooper-awesome. His free show this summer was good, but this topped it by quite a bit. I was glad he pulled out his cover version of "Suspect Device" by Stiff Little Fingers, because that was a highlight of the previous show, which Rose had missed; also on the cover version front, he played Split Enz's "Six Months in a Leaky Boat", in a much harder-rocking style than on the Balgeary EP. So, yes. Awesome.

But let me talk a little bit about one of the opening acts.

First up was Mary Timony, formerly of Helium. She is not the act of whom I wish to speak. She was good. I enjoyed her performance more than her two solo albums, but still not as much as Helium's "The Magic City". Her set was an entirely enjoyable way to spend 40 minutes. And then came...the Seconds. Never have I loathed a band with such a fiery hate.

They opened with repetitive unstructured noise. Then the drummer and guitarist swapped positions and I thought, oh, they played some stupid in-joke song and now they're going to do the real songs. And then they played more repetitive noise.

Buried among the dreck were two decent songs with a sort of Fall/Gang of Four sound that I might have enjoyed if they hadn't spent the rest of their time trying my patience and losing every ounce of my goodwill with songs which repeated the same seven-syllable lyric 100 times. They were so bad, I would refuse to have sex with the cute Japanese-I-think girl who played bass. Do you understand how bad this is? Playing in bands traditionally makes women more attractive.

Also, the bass player got on our nerves with her constant requests to the sound man of "Could I get more bass in the monitor, please?" I replied, after the third time, "Could we get less sound in the audience, please?" (I wanted to go on, "And the sound man heard you the first time -- your band is just too loud for it to make a difference and too crappy for it to matter.")

Normally when a crap band opens for a great band, one assumes that the venue booked it. Oh no. These people are friends of Ted Leo. Ted Leo asked them to play. Why? What did we do to you, Ted Leo? Why do you have to treat us this way? Why? I didn't even correct your mispronunciation of "demurred" (said as if "demure" were a verb and this was its past tense) when you were sitting at the table next to ours at dinner before the show. And this is how you repay me. Oh Ted Leo. It is only because you rock so hard that I can forgive you. But next time your friends are in a crap band, show them some tough love and tell them to get their own gig.

Posted by Francis at 10:24 AM | TrackBack

The Seconds' website is incoherently written, poorly designed, and not updated since March. ("Their going back into the studio in may to record and their planing on recording a bunch of new songs including...") So it's hard to get a good picture of the bass player, but she does seem somewhat cute. Sadly, the connection was so slow that I couldn't hear their sample MP3s. Or maybe it's not so sad.

Posted by: Lance at December 13, 2004 12:42 PM

Dude, you soooo don't want to hear any of that band. We put our fingers in our ears they sucked so bad. I told Francis that I didn't want to forsake any decibels of my hearing for them.

After Ted Leo played, my ears were ringing and Francis and I kept replying, "What?" to each other as we made happy little comments on the way to the train station. And I didn't give a fuck -- awesome mind-blowing guitar god performances are *allowed* to temporarily mess up your hearing. [long happy sigh]

Posted by: Rose at December 13, 2004 05:36 PM

So, I decided to see if it was just us being uncharitable, and perhaps by "uncharitable" I might mean "old and boring".

Huh. I certainly don't think I would have liked them more if I'd heard them another night -- our show sounds tame compared to some of the descriptions I read.

I found a few reviews of Seconds' related crap. This one tells us that at a show in Richmond, the band the Ex Models (which shares members with the Seconds) did this:

One of their guitarists jumped into the crowd, knocked a guy's brew out of his hand, and then hit my friend in the face with his instrument.

The author went on to say:

If the Ex Models' and the Seconds' music were a person, his behavior would be unpredictable, and he'd be really hard to talk to. So if beer spills, it just feels like a natural extension of what's going on in the music, not a stylized rock move.

If their music were a person, this would be a person you would walk away from quickly but calmly, with your hands in the air, saying, "Please, please don't hurt me." And you'd make sure to not invite them to your next party.

Another review/interview tells us that:

Lehroff's riffs stretch out and snap back in a way that's almost as elastic as his face, which contorts in ways previously unknown to the human anatomy as he squeals, yelps and stutters his way through each song. Unfortunately, his strings aren't quite so elastic and the set is interrupted several times as he tries to repair the damage, compounded towards the end by Kwon's bass, which pertwangs into a mess of tangled wire, and Chase's drumsticks, which are accidentally sent flying at several points during the performance.

Yeah. That sounds great. Why on earth are these people allowed to own instruments, as opposed to maybe having rocks they could bang on cans?

Both those articles were nearly entirely sympathetic to the band, though -- the authors seem to feel that this is some sort of genuine expression of energy and ideas and points of view. I think it is wacked-out bullshit.

Posted by: Rose at December 16, 2004 02:01 PM

Oddly, I've heard some songs by the Ex-Models and liked them fine. Clearly I should also avoid seeing them live, though.

Posted by: Francis at December 16, 2004 02:42 PM