Glasslands’ has this art instillation backdrop to the stage, a giant sea clouds made from tissue paper. With Christmas lights implanted, it looks like a snapshot of a fierce thunderstorm. It can make for striking photographs, but compliments some bands more than others. The clouds fit with chilly UK act Still Corners so well they feature in their press photo.
Portland’s Blouse, who made their New York debut at the venue on Thursday, mine ’80s mope and ’90s shoegaze and those clouds seem like they brought them with them. (Not that you can tell from my crappy photo above.) The band — now expanded a trio to a five-piece — sounded fantastic. Guitarist Patrick Adams, armed with a Rickenbacker and a floorful of pedals, has studied the Chameleons and early U2 albums and gets that Big ’80s sound just right. And singer Charlie Hilton, dressed in a shiny black jumpsuit Charlene Tilton might’ve worn on Dynasty, complimented it with her sad/pretty vocals. Blouse are much more “rock” live than on their keyboard-heavy album due out on Captured Tracks next month, though if I’d been standing near the keyboardist and not the guitarist maybe I wouldn’t be saying that. Either way, it’s not to their detriment. More a storm than a cloudy day.
MP3: Blouse – Videotapes
Woven Bones (who now sound more like Felt than JAMC) were supposed to be on this bill but dropped out at the last minute and were subbed out by Sound Bites faves Hospitality, who were the odd band out on this bill that also included headliners Unkown Mortal Orchestra. It was a party crowd and Hospitality can be on the delicate side, but the band turned it up, taking it as a challenge. Hospitality can rock too, like on rediculously catchy “Right Profession” and the slowly building “All Day Today.” This is especially true now that Nathan Michael has switched from drums to guitar who brings a little music school skronk to the band which tempers out some of the band’s more delicate leanings.
Some of my friends told me after that they thought Hospitality played to long but I was into it. (I am also a proponent of the “all sets should be 25 minutes” philosophy though.) Mind you, I got slipped a copy of their debut album a couple weeks ago and have been listening to it pretty much nonstop. (Merge [!] is putting it out in January, it’s really really good.) So I knew all or most of the songs pretty well. They also have no bad songs, or at least don’t play them if they do, and are an extremely tight unit right now. They might’ve thrown in a P.Furs cover, though, to get this crowd’s attention a little more but I think they made a few converts. If you’re close enough to the stage to really watch them play, I don’t know how you can’t be impressed.