Concert Review: Band of Horses @ Carnegie Hall, June 11th, 2009

How did we get to Carnegie Hall on Thursday evening?  Well, it was a combination of “practice….practice…practice” ….and the D-train. Ha.  All stupid (awesome) puns aside, last night Jenna and I traveled uptown for a performance by Band of Horses at a little place known as Carnegie Hall.  As we took our seats in the obstructed view sections on the third “dress circle” tier, it was obvious we were in for quite a treat. 

The opening act,  Arbouretum [myspace], was reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel in their softer moments.  This band, hailing from Baltimore Maryland, was a great match for BOH.  Their mountain-ish and melodic sound, along with the deep and throaty voice of lead singer David Heumann delighted the crowd for a tight set.  Once they were done, though, the whole hall was ready for BOH to take the stage.

Band of Horses took the stage around 9:15 and positioned themselves on metal chairs, which were on top of oriental rugs.  It was so appropriate.  They opened up with “Part One” and “Marry Song.”  The tempo of “Weed Party” was quickened while “Wicked Gil” was slowed down considerably. “The Funeral” turned into an extended jam session. They conquered Gram Parsons’ “A Song For You” and played two new songs, one by Tyler Ramsey and another that referenced “compliments down there.”  

The band left the stage, momentarily, and then came back for an encore of “Ode to LRC” and “Detlef Schrempf.” For their closing tune, “The General Specific,” the mood of the show swiftly shifted from mellow to cheery. As Ben Bridwell grabbed a tambourine, people throughout the venue began to rise from their seats.  There were even two people in our section who shook their hips and clapped their hands throughout the upbeat song.  The most awkward thing was a business-man, dressed in a baggy white button down and dress pants, who busted a move as his arms flailed around in a crazy fashion. You could tell this man really enjoyed dancing like the whitest man alive.  

Overall the show was a chilled-out, sit-back epic masterpiece.  Everyone seemed to embrace the sit-back-and-enjoy tone of the concert, except for the few random bros who decided it was appropriate to yell out “Free Bird” and attempt to get others to stand up when most people wanted to retreat to their velveteen cushioned seats. Even though BOH’s said this was the first time they had ever embarked on this type of show, the band seemed to be in their element: playing acoustic gems on carpets to a mostly mellowed-out and attentive audience.

  • Check out Brooklyn Vegan for a complete(ish) set list and some pictures.  

Live! The Ting Tings @ Terminal 5

Who says white people don’t like to dance? Last Monday night (March 16th, 2009) the floor of Terminal 5 was alive with a sea of bodies grooving to the pop sounds of the Ting Tings. In neon green sunglasses, Jules De Martino and Katie White dawning sparkling sky blue eye shadow and patterned art deco leggings, cat walked around the stage like models, playing a 45 minute set that could easily have doubled as a photo shoot. White’s perfected the rocker chick image, strumming her guitar and holding her microphone above her head striking a Statue of Liberty pose, beckoning the poor, the tired, and the hip.

But the Ting Tings were not all image. Playing the entire contents of the first—and only—album, their dance beats were infectious, a mix of Franz Ferdinand’s charging guitars and 80’s new wave electro-pop. White’s high pitched girly squeal combined with simple, lighting guitar riffs and a driving momentum had the crowd jumping. But nothing had the floor shaking more than the band’s singles, the second song of the night “Great DJ” and “Shut Up And Let Me Go,” which ended the first set. With easily repeatable choruses the crowd sung took up the nonsensical call, “And the girls ah ah ah . . . and the boys ah ah ah . . . and the strings e e e . . . and the drums (x4).”

At the end of the first set, the Ting Tings played an extended version of the album’s title track “We Started Nothing,” which featured a short musical reference to Talking Heads “Psycho Killer,” and four rainbow wigged hipsters to fill in as a brass section. The all female rainbow coalition of sound heralded out their parts in sharp blasts, or when not blowing revelry, promptly returned their hands to their hips, posing like an action league ready to fight crime.

The Ting Tings then returned to the stage for a brief two-song encore, closing with, “That’s Not My Name.” The band and crowd alike tired themselves out endlessly repeating , “That’s not my name,” the oddly feminist empowered chorus, and leaving behind no confusion as to what NOT to call the Barbie Doll-esque lead singer.
Opening for the Ting Tings was female rap group Hottub, who played dress-up, jumping around in a sequined pink party dress, hot pink leopard leggings and tribal eye makeup. But don’t be mistaken, these girls were anything but delicate. Like something out of the Riot Grrrl movement the three female MC’s paraded across the stage grabbing their crotches while shouting out songs like “M.A.N.B.I.T.C.H.” and raunchy, confessional lyrics, “I lost my cherry when I was 16.”

However shocking the lyrics, the raps were only mediocre and the beats loud and indistinguishable. Though the music wasn’t something to put on your IPod queue, their stage antics were radical. It was like performance art meets Gymboree, with the girls tackling each other on stage, falling down in heaps and then performing prone, air humping on the floor. Ambr33zy flashed her breasts and Loli Pop her jungle cat underwear, while both spit out mouthfuls of water at each other. In an effort to be closer to the crowd Co-Co Machete stood on an unstable crowd barrier maintaining her balance by alternately holding on to a concertgoers hand and leaning on a bouncer’s head, before jumping over it to dance with the crowd. Hottub’s performance got a mixed reaction (their sound itself just wasn’t that good) but hey kids, if the water’s too hot, get out the tub.

** If forgot my camera so for more pics of the show see PrefixMag.