July 14th, 2008
Four bands played Mercury Lounge last night: War on Drugs, Abe Vigoda, Ponytail, and Titus Andronicus (in that order). One band was just competent, one veered from boring to embarrassing, and the other two made me deeply, ecstatically grateful to have ears & eyes.
I won’t waste much time on the two bands that didn’t much move me (sorry Titus & W.O.D. fans) — the net’s clogged full of enough art-venom and musicblog-spew as it is. If an artist has at least a small talent and some passion, no matter how misguided or tired the product is, least I can do is hold back on snark and say (next to) nothing at all. Let blogo-Sneerers do the rest.
Abe V came on second. I was all grins as the L.A. foursome powered into their set with spiky change-up prunk. Love the delay & reverb on the rhythm guitar, the disjunct & nervy lead lines, the elemental, fragmented imagery & hail of language (“men from the boys I’m a girl I’m a tree”, “hope is a white hand that moves through my body”), and the drumming, the drumming, the drumming. With all the hyper time changes this band puts your ear through, it’s important for them to have someone behind a drumset who can lead the time spasms — and Vigoda’s drummer, Reggie Guerrero, does. He’s the band’s calm, focused storm-eye. Such a kinetic set. Left my ears in static blizzard and my feet sore from bouncing.
Ears & feet got no rest once Ponytail came on. If yr gush-sensitive, stop reading now, since anything I say about this band is going to seem ridiculously hyperbolic unless you’ve seen Molly Siegel, beaming & transported, her face alive with expressions as wild and uninhibited as the band’s raucous-joyous assault — her vocal chords too, swooping all over wordless terrain — and her body facing you in half-crouch stance, mixing challenge & grateful embrace of the band’s sound with arms held out, palms up.
Arms out, palms up. Like she’s offering her band’s galeforce sound out of her body to you in some giant neon yarn-boulder — or summoning the same from the sky to catch. Ponytail made me really fucking glad to be alive. If you want a band to tornado you into exhaustion and then smile really sweetly over your panting body, find these folks in a town near you & come ready to play. You’ll be shaky with wild magic; you’ll be ready to pull teats down from clouds & make them give up their secret mango milk.
Hope is a white hand.
Arms out, palms up.
C. Way/ SnailCrow.com © 2008