You never know what kind of crowd there’s going to be at a show with no advance tickets, especially with a band like 1990s who’ve gotten a fair amount of blog love. They’re also Scottish, with a connection to Franz Ferdinand as well, and on a cool label (Rough Trade). I called Union Pool hoping for more info. "Doors open at 8pm." Uh huh, but what time will the bands start? "Not exactly sure, but doors open at 8pm." Thanks.
I walked over at 8pm to buy a ticket with plans on then going somewhere for dinner. But when I show up at 8pm, Cause Co-Motion! are still soundchecking. "Just a couple more minutes and we’ll be open," says the Union Pool guy.
At 8:30 the doors open. "What time will the first band be on?" I asked.
"Um, not exactly sure but soon," said the guy at the door.
"Soon," in this case, meant an hour and a half later.I don’t think it was exactly the fault of the guy who said that, or that he had anything to do with setting or enforcing set times. You could tell he wanted Cause Co-Motion! to take the stage a lot earlier, but he didn’t seem to be doing anything about it other than asking the singer if they were going to go on soon — a rather passive-aggressive approach to running a venue. This put me in a foul mood (I am old and uptight), though it lifted when the music started.
Cause Co-Motion!, I think, was waiting for the room to fill, but everyone who was there to see the bands was hanging in the garden, waiting for the show to start. (Can you blame them?) If they had just started playing, people would’ve come in. There was a little bit of prima-donna-ness to them, though I do like them and their early-Creation Records shambolic jangle.
Thankfully, 1990s have no such attitude and are all about having a good time. They even have a song called "Enjoying Myself," if you had any doubts about their hedonistic tendencies. The band takes "It’s Only Rock and Roll and I Like It" to extremes on their debut, Cookies, which was released the same day as this show. In some ways, 1990s aren’t all that different than the cock rock of Louis XIV, though nowhere near as calculated, crass, and misogynistic. But they’re also not as smart (that’s right, I called Louis XIV smart), with Cookies sporting some real lyrical howlers.
This isn’t really an issue when they play live, as it’s all about a good time. I may dis the band’s lyrics, but they’re so genuinely nice and charming, you can’t really hold it against them. The packed house ate it up, singing along with singles "You Made Me Like It" and "You’re Supposed to Be My Friend" and the ridiculously catchy "See You at the Lights." Drummer Michael McGaughrin, whose kit was up front alongside his two bandmates, is especially fun to watch — and he sings lead on a few songs too. I don’t think any of the them stopped smiling once during the show, including an audience-demanded encore in which frontman John McKeown seemed honestly taken aback by.
A girl standing next to me texted this to someone, "THE 1990s ARE YOU’RE NEW FAVORITE BAND." Add the word "LIVE" and I might just agree.
1990s continue their Stateside jaunt with two more NYC shows as well as dates in DC and California. Details below. Go see them — the band will be genuine glad you’re there.
Aug 1 Mercury Lounge, NYC
Aug 2 The Annex, NYC
Aug 3 Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington DC
Aug 5 Echo, Los Angeles, California
Aug 6 Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco
Aug 7 The Troubadour, Los Angeles
Despite all the delays and such, I really like Union Pool’s performance
space which is like a bigger version of Pete’s Candy store. Intimate
and very charming, with a red velvet curtain that makes me think this
is what the new Luna Lounge should’ve been instead of the tinny-sounding,
characterless space it is.