Friday, January 30, 2015

Caught Live: Thurston Moore Band, Psychic TV, gods and The Parlor Mob

Having spent most of this past December in a feverish attempt to keep the proverbial wolf from the door, the comparative calm this new year brings provides a moment for reflection.  Although it often felt like it, not every activity I encountered involved either some sort of crisis to manage, or the never ending pursuit of a financial shield.  Wedged in between those tasks came some not-to-be-missed live music shows.

December 11, 2014 presented one such opportunity as Thurston Moore brought his latest music project to Webster Hall in New York City.

Appearing in one of that large venues subdivided side stages,  The Marlin Room provided  an appropriate environment for the former Sonic Youth frontman and his newly minted "supergroup."

My journey to the building (from the relative "outland" areas I seek out to park my car) affords opportunity for an inspired street scene snapshot.

The night, the light and the random-chance turn down 11th street between 1st and 2nd Avenue put Veniero's Italian Bakery inside the camera eye.

Once inside the hall it wouldn't be long before Moore and his band took to the stage.

Followers of this artist are keenly aware that for this latest project, none other than My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe is a contributing member, both live and on current album The Best Day.

Though she doesn't venture anywhere near a microphone, Deb's presence, legend and the sound she produces from her bass provides Moore with a heavyweight foil for his new material.

As does guitarist James Sedwards, who distinguished himself playing in the heavy/jazz/punk instrumental UK band Nought.

As expected, the set featured and expanded on the tracks from "The Best Day."

Sedwards, Googe and Moore played with an interwoven seamless familiarity that belied their relatively new configuration.

Although Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley played on the album and is the regular touring drummer, an injury prevented him from playing this show.  His fill in (who I've seen play with other bands on the local scene) more than capably handled the parts.  Such is the life of a professional musician.

Thurston's new music here is much closer to his Sonic Youth work, rather than his previous solo album.

Most noticeably here in the live environment, where the emphasis is placed on the full band contributions.

My fave tracks are the Sonic Youth-like extended jams“Speak to the Wild” and “Forevermore.”

Deb does the FX stomp

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It wouldn't be until a few weeks later before the next live music experience could be had.  The days leading up to December 25 have a way of consuming every available free moment.  

Fortunately Psychic TV's appearance on Saturday the 27th at Brooklyn Night Bazaar came after the Christmas deadline, allowing for post-holiday stress free attendance.

The rich history surrounding this band and it's central figure Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has been documented thoroughly over the years.

The complicated nature of the lives involved there presents a unique portrayal of life outside the mainstream.

This live show and current personnel features a band revitalized by those additions, providing an expanded sound palette for  its central figure.

In addition to the deep catalog of music amassed over the years, the band can also put a unique spin on classic space rock compositions.

The backdrop at Brooklyn Night Bazaar provides one of the best sources for light and image projections.

Guitarist Jeff Berner is particularly animated, as he shines on select guitar solo moments.

Social networks provide additional gravitas to the whole experience.

Including post-show DJ sets at popular local Brooklyn bar Alaska

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The month of January can be a lean one as far as gigs go.  After the New Year's hoopla, many people tend to go into a shell and hunker down until spring.

The hard working, road-ready rock band can't afford such luxuries - and so continue to ply their trade  in venues of various sizes on a nightly basis.

So it was back to current fave haunt Brooklyn Night Bazaar on Saturday January 10th for a night of heavy blues-rock from a number of South Jersey's finest.

First up was the recently formed band gods, who feature founding member this night's headline act The Parlor Mob.

With the core members of Paul Ritchie (guitar), Sam Bey (drums) and Nick Villapiano on bass, a refreshing collection of new songs were presented to an early (but attentive) crowd.

The band also features Scott Liss on second guitar and backing vocals.  Scott continues to create wonderful music via his own long-running solo project.

Social networks continue to established an awareness level for the artists.

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Up next was a band that made the most of their opportunity in front of an ever increasing crowd.

Claiming New York City overall as their point of origin, Silverbird played a set that emphasized sophisticated vocals and intricate rhythms.  Their 2014 EP "Surface Life" has been met with significant critical acclaim and those songs went over well in this live setting.

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Long time South Jersey mainstays The Gay Blades dug deep into their blues-rock canon, putting on an exciting performance in front of the now sweat-soaked crowd.

Originally a two piece of guitar and drums (in classic White Stripes / Kills / The Black Keys mold), having a bassist for this live set provided the right amount of bottom under an already impressive collection of songs.

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Finally it was time for headliners The Parlor Mob

Having witnessed many shows from these guys over the years (one such show cromicled here), I knew their performance would be nothing less than amazing.

The crowd was pumped and the boys delivered a blistering set that pulled from their entire catalog.

With the better part of a decades worth of music to draw upon, classic tracks like "Real Hard Headed" were mixed in with newly composed material.

"Into The Sun" from their 2011 release Dogs perfectly captures what this band is all about.

As things continued to heat up, lead vocalist Mark Melicia cast aside his hoodie.

Already warmed up from his opening set with gods, guitarist Paul Ritchie was already sporting the trademark band white t shirt.

Paul is truly an accomplished guitarist (one of my all time faves) and he never fails to impress.

A real musician who plays with as much soul as any acquired technique (of which there is certainly an abundance).

The whole band interacts with the ease and intuition of having played together for a decade.

Mark, super drummer Sam Bey and founding guitarist David Rosen never sounded better as the audience head-bobbed to every deep and heavy groove.

Social media (once again) for the win.

The Parlor Mob (with gods supporting) have a number of additional shows upcoming.

With the west coast now on tap for most of February.

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