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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *


Mirror said...

Scott Orr
January 30 at 5:44pm

"Sedwards, Googe and Moore played with an interwoven seamless familiarity that belied their relatively new configuration." This. Plus some great pics. Nice job, Crom.

DaveCromwell said...

It sounds like you are definitely into the latest Thurston Moore band material, Scott. Yeah, that quote underscores how much it feels like a real band (and not just side musicians on a tour).

Mirror said...

gods (via Twitter) favorited:

New #DaveCromwellWrites music blog featuring @listentogods + @theparlormob at bkbazaar plus additional…
05:39 PM - 30 Jan 15

- - - - - - - - - -

gods (via Twitter) retweeted and favorited:

@listentogods your recent show (among others) at @BKBazaar featured here:… @Paul_Ritchie @ScottLiss66 @nvillapiano
06:02 PM - 30 Jan 15

DaveCromwell said...

Very cool Paul & Co ( gods / Parlor Mob).

Wishing you guys continued success on the west coast swing of your current tour.

Misty said...

all the bands sound really great here. i think i'm leaning towards psychic tv as the one that grabs my attention the most this time. there's something about that pink floyd jam that is getting to me. i love when a band mashes up classic stuff and makes it something of their own. plus, the personal story behind the history of that band is really interesting too.

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, I think it's pretty cool that Psychic TV chose to cover an early Pink Floyd song called "Interstellar Overdrive," - but then Genesis is including lyrics from another (less obscure) PF song - "Astronomy Domine." Somehow it all works!

The Midnite Rambler said...

It's good to see that Thurston Moore and Psychic TV are still chugging along. Interstellar Overdrive was a cool choice for them to cover.

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, the Pink Floyd homage is certainly a good fit for the loose and jammy vibe PTV presents, Midnite Rambler. On a lot of their other songs it felt like Patti Smith fronting The Velvet Underground. Which is a very different thing entirely from "space jams." As for Mr. Moore - he seems revitalized by this whole new band experience. The live show is where he really shines.

NYCDreamin said...

I came very late to the Sonic Youth party and was lucky enough to see them do a free show in Battery Park in NYC on July 4, 2008 but then missed a chance I had to see them on their final tour here in Minneapolis a year or two later...will always regret that. But the NYC show - killer. Lots of video of that on Youtube. Not sure if I'd go see Thurston solo or not. I know what you mean about hunkering down in January and not making a lot of shows - we made it out for only two this month ourselves. Out of the batch presented here I think I would go with Parlor Mob as something I might check out if they ever make it this way - poppish yet a nice hard drive to it - enjoyable stuff.

DaveCromwell said...

Hey NYCDreamin - I went to that very same 4th of July Battery Park Sonic Youth concert too! That was really one of their finest performances. They did a lot of the Daydream Nation album that day. One of the hightlights of that decade. Also, I'm not surprised that The Parlor Mob caught your attention as a band you'd like. I had a feeling they would.

Mirror said...

Steve Goodman wrote:

Have to echo what Orr already mentioned. That really was a great sentence. Sure glad we caught Gods/PMob in Brooklyn as California is quite a trek! Looking forward to the forthcoming new solo record from Scott Liss.

DaveCromwell said...

Even though a trip to Cali sounds pretty good right about now, I'm happy we were able to catch The PMob clan in Brooklyn too, Steve. And it appears Scott's record is now in the mixdown stages (based on this tweet/instagram: gods @listentogods •

Mixing new scottliss66 tunes for his up coming release. retromedia_sound_studios

The Grim Reefer said...

Perhaps you remember my dozen or so posts on Sonic Youth back in the halcyon days of the glorious MOG. I think it was only myself & the long lost PoeBgone who championed them. I first saw them in '83 and followed their career 'till the bitter end.
Thurston's unique vision, his spiky musical landscapes have always provided rich listening experiences. As the band explored different pathways through the aural blizzards and pastoral shifting sonic hazes they learned to harness their unique blends of dissonance to the songs in ways unmatched anywhere in rocknroll.
It is good to see He (thurston) hasn't lost touch with his Muse.

Anonymous said...

Great review Dave! I like the photos, looks like a cool venue.

DaveCromwell said...

BKB has become my new fave hang, Anouk. I've been there (and Pianos in Manhattan) the most over the last year.

Always great to hear The Grim Reefer weaving a backstory to what is presented here. I DO remember the many discussions you and the other MOG members had on Sonic Youth. I was involved in most of them! You are right about him 'not losing touch with his muse.' This latest record and series of live shows proves that without a doubt.

William said...

Great stuff man (sorry for the late comment) - Thurston has always been my fav Somic Youth guy so will check his new stuff out more (I saw Kim Gordon's new thing in London which was alright)

Glad to see the jersey crew still going- bn a while between parlor mob stuff

DaveCromwell said...

Even when SY was still together over this past decade, all the members (Thurston, Kim, Lee and Steve) also did solo things and side projects. That just comes with having a lot of creative ideas. This latest incarnation is no exception, William.

As for the PMob clan - they are back! Chatting with Paul at the show he said they are revving up the machine again for a productive year. More power to 'em, I say.

Mirror said...

Ray Kimura wrote:

Wow, the great review by you as usual Dave!!

Next month, will see Thurston's show in Tokyo, so, can't wait!!

They will play at the music fest in Tokyo together with Temples.

My expectation has become MAX thanks to you.

DaveCromwell said...

It's very Sonic Youth-like, Ray. With a bit of Neu! motorific rhythms. I think Steve Shelley's playing that style a few years ago when he toured with Michael Rother's Hallogallo may have influenced the current bands sound some.

Mirror said...

BrooklynNightBazaar (via Twitter) retweeted:

@listentogods your recent show (among others) at @BKBazaar featured here:… @Paul_Ritchie @ScottLiss66 @nvillapiano

DaveCromwell said...

Ah, BKB! Has become one of my top fave places to catch a show.

Mirror said...

Michael Laughlin wrote:

Good stuff, Dave. I especially like the part where you write about people hunkering down in January. I myself don't go out unless something really spectacular is happening.

DaveCromwell said...

The "hunkering down" is even more ferocious now - deep into the dog days of February. We get out and to the things we need to as best we can, Michael.

smork said...

well i hate bands that are melancholic and on stage looks like they are on drugs, just looking up and slowly swinging while mumbling something under their nose.

i love bands that kicks ass! that are passionate!
"the parlous mobs" does it all!
and yup i think they are great!

btw, nice caps.

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, I know how much you dig that Parlor Mob sound, Mr. Smork. Along with these live shows, they also have a new album on the way! So, more good news indeed.

Unknown said...

Great pictures, nice bands and cool review as always Dave.

benilhalk said...

That’s true!! This is one of the best live music events of “Thurston Moore Band”. I was there at same place and enjoyed every performance. Well, please let me know about recent NYC events.