It’s only the third day of 2007 and the first UK buzz band has already played. With The View‘s single "Wasted Little DJs" single making NME’s #9 single of 2006, it meant a sold out show at the Mercury Lounge. Actually it was their second show at Mercury Lounge; while tonights show was the first announced, an early show last night was added, attended primarily (according to blog reports I read) by industry types and other people in the know.
This show felt more like genuine concert-goers, or at least typical scenesters. Not so many suits. The first thing I’ll say is that when I first heard of The View, I confused them with The Fray, and dismissed them immediately. Then when I realized they were a different band, the name put me off. (It is an AWFUL name, even if there wasn’t a talk show already called that.) Once I actually heard some of their songs, however, I was more intrigued and the Anglophile in me couldn’t pass up the chance to see them on their first US excursion.
After a somewhat long delay (roadies fiddling with equipment) The View took the stage, and in a sign of my age, the first thing that ran through my head was "Dear god, they’re babies!" They made the Arctic Monkeys look like elder statesmen.
Speaking of Sheffield’s most-hyped, the View’s nickname of "The Scottish Monkeys" isn’t entirely undeserved. You can hear the same influences (Libertines most apparently) in both bands though it’s pretty apparent they aren’t quite as developed melodically as Alex Turner‘s outfit. The singles are great, but the rest of Hats Off to Buskers might have benefited from a longer gestation period. But lyrically, they are contenders. And they have the energy that being 18 or 19 provides.
But I was underwhelmed by their set. It was sloppy (Libertines comparisons are dead-on there) and the songs were too samey, which doesn’t come across as much on record. And while I don’t feel a need to see them again any time soon, I’m looking forward to watching them develop. From afar. Despite the sold-out status of the show, it never felt that crowded. I was pretty close to the stage for the first half of their 40-minute set, then moved back with no real problems maneuvering.
Not to sound like Page Six: Indie Rock Edition, but there were also a couple notables in the crowd. Klaxons singer/keyboardist James Righton (I think, can’t find a picture where the names are listed) was there, but left after five songs. Aside: Have you heard the Klaxons’s "Golden Skans"? It’s fantastic.
More interesting to me was Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos, who took time out of his schedule finishing up producing the third Cribs album to check out these fellow Scots. I’m not one to go up and bug members of famous bands, but seeing how my blog and his just-released book bear the same name (about similar interests, music and food), I couldn’t resist. We chatted a bit, though he was getting bombarded with people coming up to him, but it may lead to a longer conversation here (fingers crossed). Genuinely nice guy.
Opening was Favourite Sons, Ken Griffin‘s current band, he of neglected but awesome ’90s band Rollerskate Skinny. (I’m not one to encourage illegal downloading, but you should procure 1996’s lost, out-of-print masterpiece Horsedrawn Wishes any way you can.) Favourite Sons are more straight-ahead than Rollerskate Skinny ever were, and these days, Griffin’s bears an uncanny vocal resemblance to Ian McCulloch. This peppered my thoughts of their whole set. Kept thinking of Echo & the Bunnymen. Which is certainly not a bad thing.
What was a bad thing, however, was the drunk asshole who mocked Favourite Sons via some insane dancing for most of the set. At first I thought he might be a Favourite Sons superfan, but it became quickly apparent he was just a jerk The dude kept going to the front of the stage, dancing like an ass, until his embarrassed friends finally pulled him out of the room. They left behind a huge beer-spill on the floor. I’m hoping someone took a picture of him that I can forward to Idolator’s "Hey Asshole!" section.
Prior to the show I took in Aldomovar’s Volver, which I thought was quite good. Though he may be less audacious these days, I think he has just gotten better in the last ten years. Volver was my third great Spanish film in a row (following the wonderous Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Alfonso Cuarón’s incredible Children of Men). I admit to nodding off for a moment but that was not from boredom, but lack of sleep the night before and having just eaten a delicious, enormous bowl of tonkatsu ramen at Men Kui Tei on 3rd Avenue just below St. Marks. They do Tampopo proud. But those noodles make you sleepy.
Photos swiped from Sandwich!’s Flickr photostream.