I got to the Mercury Lounge early last night (8:30) to catch Chicago septet The 1900s who were making their New York debut. Despite playing to only a handful of people, they put on a fantastic show. On their MySpace profile, they describe themselves as " Psychedelic / Indie / Folk Rock" which is pretty accurate: part Chocolate Watchband, part Doors (the good bits) and a smidge of The Fairport Convention. And maybe just a little bit of Hee Haw: everyone was dressed like it was 1978 (in Nashville). Singer-guitarist Edward Anderson may be the frontman, but additional vocalists Caroline Donovan and Jeanine O'Toole (decked out in a Country & Western shirt and the kind of high-waisted denim the world hasn't seen since someone got between Brooke Shields and her Jordache Jeans) totally stole the show.
I really wish more people had seen their set, full of melodic "doo doos" and "bah bahs" and swooning violins, but also guitar and farfisa freakouts, tambourine shaking, choreographed dance moves and the occasional VU drone. The band was at their best when keyboardist Mike Jasinski would switch to guitar. His arpeggiated parts took the dynamics to a new plane that never quite hit those altitudes with the vintage organs. They played most of their debut EP, Plume Delivery, but my favorite songs were ones I hadn't heard before.
New York, you've still got two chances to check out the 1900's and I strongly suggest you do so:
Tonight (6/21) at Fontanas (10pm)
Thursday (6/21) at Arlene's Grocery (11pm, according to the website)
I'm going to try and make the Thursday gig if Asobi Seksu's show at Mercury Lounge finishes in time.