I’m not sure we need another review of ¡Forward, Russia!’s Mercury Lounge show but I’ll post my thoughts anyway as I’m trying to return to a regular posting schedule after two months of not doing so. (Please note: this is not an apology.)
Try as I have, getting into ¡Forward, Russia!’s album has been an uphill battle. Maybe I’m just burned out on that particular post-punk sound (trace it back to Gang of Four’s “I Found That Essence Rare”) or maybe it’s the very emotive singing, but apart from “Twelve” and “Seventeen,” Give Me a Wall just doesn’t do it for me. But live, the band is a force that’s hard to deny. Singer Tom Woodhead was all emotion, sweat and wail whose microphone cable snaked around his body to the point that I thought he might choke himself on more than one occasion. The band was quite tight, and definitely pumped to be playing their first NYC gig – drummer Katie Nichols especially caught my attention, playing some fairly complicated parts. It was like unlike seeing Les Savy Fav, if Tim Harrington was, you know, totally serious.
The crowd ate them up, pretentious upside down exclamation points and all. In particular, a group of three guys (later five) left of the stage were going absolutely apeshit — jumping all over each other, hugging each other, fists pumping. I thought it was going to get a little Brokeback but in the end (…er) it was just boys being boys. Cameras abounded.
The show was not packed, though. It seemed more crowded for openers Holy Fuck, and when they finished three-quarters of the room filed out. It was only three songs into ¡Forward, Russia!’s set that it filled up again.
Speaking of… those who got there too late to catch Holy Fuck (do their parents know their in a band with that name?) really missed out. In the same party space as !!!, these Nova Scotians make keyboard-based dance music with no sequencers or drum machines. Everything was played live, with a drummer and bassist backing up two guys on a bank of rickety old synths. Apparently they also use some sort of 35mm film editing equipment to make their racket – there’s a fair amount of noise injected into HF’s grooves – but as I just read that today, I didn’t even know to look for such a thing while they played. Not that I’d know what it looks like.
I stayed out of the performance area for the entirety of first act The Rinse’s set. Did I miss anything?
Picture swiped from freekorps Flickr photostream