1/3 Au Revoir Simone + Slow Club = Really Big Band | “The Killing Moon”

I originally had this as part of my Moshi Moshi party report but it seemed too good to bury at the bottom of a post. In between band sets, Annie Hart and Erika Forster of Au Revoir Simone did some fine iPod DJing. A cover of Echo & the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" caught my ear in particular so I went up to Annie and asked who it was. She smiled really big, saying it was her and Slow Club and that they'd recorded it earlier in the day using Garageband and the internal microphone on her laptop! They're dubbed themselves The Really Big Band, though I suggested The Slow Harts. (That's actually a good name for a band I think.) Annie was nice enough to send it to me and let me share it here.

MP3: Annie Hart and Slow Club – The Killing Moon

She wanted me to stress the part about recording it in an afternoon and with the laptop microphone as if to dissuade any criticism of sonic quality but I think it's quite good even if the ending, like the Killing Moon itself, comes too soon. (I don't know why the last 30 seconds of the mp3 are silent either.)

While we're on the subject of Au Revoir Simone, their new record, Still Night Still Light, is in the can and will be out in May. It was produced by Thom Monahan of Pernice Brothers fame. (And Monsterland before that if you listened to indie rock in the '90s, they were good. Check out "Peanut Butter Karma" on their MySpace memorial.) He produced the new Vetiver album as well. Au Revoir Simone play three shows at SXSW and then are off to France. Lucky girls.

Mar 19  2:00p Brooklyn Vegan/Agency Group Party Austin, Texas
Mar 19  4:45P Music for Listeners/Moshi Moshi Records Party @ The Red House Pizzeria Austin, Texas
Mar 20 11:45P Maggie Mae’s Rooftop – Friday night at one a.m. Austin, Texas
Apr 18  8:00P Alhambra Theatre – Les Femmes S’en Melent Festival Paris
Apr 19 8:00P Grand Mix – Les Femmes S’en Melent Festival Tourcoing
Apr 21 8:00P L’epicerie Moderne – Les Femmes S’en Melent Festival Paris

Also check out this crazy, double-speed version of "The Killing Moon" from 1983 that sounds more like the Echo of Crocodiles instead of Ocean Rain. Kinda cool:

Echo & the Bunnymen | Radio City Music Hall | 10.01.2008

Photo courtesy gussifer's Flickr:
Echo & the Bunnymen @ Radio City Music Hall

"C-c-c-cucumber! C-c-c-cabage!" I never though I'd hear Echo & the Bunnymen do "Thorn of Crowns" again after seeing them on thier 1987 tour with New Order and Gene Loves Jezebel. Certainly not like this. Yet here I was, at the awe-inspiring Radio City Music Hall no less, seeing them perform it with a 16-piece orchestra. Holy crap. Lots of rock records employ orchestration, but few are as integral, as essential to their sound as 1984's Ocean Rain. Sure, every song is great, Ian McCulloch's vocals soar, Will Sergeant's guitarwork is intricate and beautiful, not to mention the killer rhythm section of Les Pattinson and Pete DeFreitas… but the strings kind of are the album.

This was a swoon-worthy night. The Bunnymen are 30 this year, hence this
celebration of what they consider their crowning achievement with three
shows: London, New York, and their hometown of Liverpool."The Killing Moon" is what a lot of people were there to hear, and many unbelievably left after that, but for me it was the album's more obscure gems that made my knees a bit weak. The sweeping drama of "Nocturnal Me." The genuinely weird "Thorn of Crowns." But mainly the utterly gorgeous songs like "My Kingdom" and the album's title track where the strings swept over us like gentle waves.

That said, it wasn't just violins and oboes. Ian McCulloch, decked out in standard sunglasses and sporting a weird, bulky sweater-coat thing, obviously trained for this, and his voice hasn't sounded this good since the Bunnymen's original run. Though it's only him and Sergeant left of the original lineup (drummer Defreitas died in 1989; bassist Pattinson bowed out in 1999,
though part of me hoped he might come back for these gigs), the band assembled were obviously skilled but also seemed to dig the gig. The opening set of non-Ocean Rain classics was good too, though selections from earliest in their career would've benefited from a few less instruments. But when he hit all the notes singing "screaming from beneath the waves" on "Ocean Rain," it was worth the price of admission just for that.

Radio City, as a venue, can be vast but with the right band it is a magical place, and on a night like tonight I am truly glad to live in New York City.

SETLIST: Lips Like Sugar | Rescue | Bring on the Dancing Horses | I Think I Need it Too | All That Jazz | The Back of Love | All My Colours | People are strange | Nothing Lasts Forever/Walk on the Wild Side | The Cutter BREAK Silver | Nocturnal Me | Yo Yo Man | Thorn of Crowns | The Killing Moon | Seven Seas | My Kingdom | Ocean Rain

MP3: Echo & the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
(buy one of the best album of the last 25 years already!)

Earfarm was there too and shares some live MP3s from the show.

Opening was Scottish band Glasvegas whose debut hit the UK charts at #2 and has remained in the To 20 ever since. There was probably a nice crowd to see them, except they were scattered across the reserved seating instead of all being down in front, making it seem like something that just happened to be going on while people were finding their seats. Too bad, Glasvegas' '50s-rockabilly-croon-meets-JAMC-reverb-sheen sounded great in a giant hall like Radio City. This is music of the people, glass raised, drinking anthems set against an array of effects pedals and it totally works. Perhaps in a year the folks who were in the lobby downing $7 buds will claim they saw and loved them there first.

MP3: Glasvegas – Geraldine

Glasvegas are on a very short US tour so if you can go see them, do. As good as they sounded at Radio City, I bet seeing them at the small clubs they're playing this time will be better.

Oct 2 Ottobar Baltimore, Maryland
Oct 3 Rock & Roll Hotel Washington, Washington DC
Oct 4 Mercury Lounge – SOLD OUT New York, New York