Last night, I attended the “Best New Bands of 2006” at First Ave.
First Ave is not the same without the smoke. Perhaps they could have a fog machine and some cigarette-flavored-incense? Is that too much to ask? Pissing in a trough always makes me feel like I’m at Renn Fest. Where else can you strike up a conversation with a girl using the men’s room trough while peeing through a fake penis? You might have to pay extra to see that in San Francisco, but here in Minneapolis, it’s included in the cover.
Jeremy Messersmith – With a voice Exactly Precisely like John Mayer from ‘Your Body Is A Wonderland’, Jeremy creates his own percussion and backup singing sections by doing live looping on stage – he records a short section of percussion and vocals which loop over and over while he plays and sings the song. A clever gimmick which turns a coffee-shop folk singer into a one man band, and certainly deserving of ‘Best of 2006’ status. Unfortunately, that talent is only appreciatable in live venues, and will probably be lost on CD/MP3/Radio..
Maria Isa – You probably saw Maria grace the cover of CityPages not too long ago. I missed the article because the City Pages is crap now, but Maria Isa? Stop the fucking press. Wow. Best way to describe this is Sade (remember Sade?) got some balls and had a can of Rock Star Energy Drink. Or two. This girl took the stage by the horns, rode it hard, and put it away wet. The ONLY act of the night with meaningful lyrics. Best of the Best of.
One for the Team – Unapologetic polished pop. I zoned out into a bizarre discussion (another blog post by itself) and missed most of this act.
The Alarmists – Of all acts this one sounded the most ‘polished’ and while I usually mean that in a bad way, this time I don’t. The keyboard player needs to calm down though, or go play with the next band…
White Light Riot – Were clearly the crowd darlings of the event. WLR have a great sound and are well-practiced. Strangely, I didn’t like their songs and found their hyper-spastic stage energy distracting.
Vampire Hands – Surprise, surprise! A truly experimental band gets billed as Best Of! I bought a CD before they even finished playing.
The whole ‘Best of’ left a kind of mixed feeling for me. On the good side, there were no ‘Emo’ bands or Dashboard Confessional wannabees, and Thank The Gods that shit is dead or I would probably give up on music forever. There was also a hint of experimentation with Jeremy Messersmith’s looping and a WHOLE LOT of experimentation with Vampire Hands.
On the down side, there might have been a teensy-weensy too many short-haired-white-boy-lead-singers-with-keys-hanging-off-their-belt-loop-from-a-carabiner. I would have expected a little more diversity, maybe some colored hair or a mohawk. Where was the punk? Although Vampire Hands clearly has elements of punk, there were no real screamers. (Whatever happened to The Blue Up?? God I miss them.) Where was the metal? Not even something like progressive metal. No Grrrl bands like the Soviettes. I thought Radio K sponsored the show?