Have a listen: Boys Better
I’m not the type of person who wishes people dead.* I’m more the “live and let live” sort. To get Gandalfian about it, you can’t know a person’s full purpose in life, and I’d not want to bear the responsibility of deciding when a person’s path ends, no matter how harmful that path seems to be. HOWEVER, if I were someone who wished people dead, and had the power to make it happen, Maxwell’s on Friday night would have been a bloodbath.
Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ has a long, storied history of hosting some of the greatest bands on their music industry ascent (and sometimes descent), and a lot of bands like to play there just for the cachet.
That was certainly the case Friday night, when Freelance Whales started their first North American tour. Up to this point they’ve been the darlings of New York City, and have done well at music orgies such as SXSW. They’ve finally gotten enough press and support for a tour, and said it was an honor to be playing at Maxwell’s. Sadly, the crowd had no honor to return.
It was like being thrown into the middle of a fraternity party hosted by the frat you most despise. I was penned in by a mass of 19 year olds drunk on illicit PBRs, dancing around like hippies, texting, talking loudly to their friends, and taking high-voltage flash self-portraits.
I literally could not hear the band. I certainly couldn’t see the band because of the 300 pound knucklehead in front of me with a head the size of a VW Bug. D_ and I got the distinct impression that 80% of the crowd was there only because it was cool to be there, not because of the music. But instead of letting the rest of us enjoy it, they treated it like they were at any old bar. The chick next to D_ spent the entire evening texting a friend of hers to complain about having to be there.
The two youngsters in front of me were being such loud assholes that I was attempting to annihilate the one directly in front of me with my eyes. His friend noticed and yelled over to him, “Hey, man, that lady’s gonna punch you.” I felt like screaming, “I’m no lady!” and shoving his PBR can up his cornhole. Thankfully, I was too beaten down at that point to gather the necessary energy.
Freelance Whales did a good job (I’m pretty sure). They are certainly talented musicians, and everyone in the band can sing. I’d like to see them again, but at a 21+ show and in New York where the crowds tend to be a little more into the music and less into the scene. They have just about mastered the infectious melody.
Miniature Tigers opened for them, and as the crowd hadn’t blossomed yet into full obnoxious bloom, we could hear them. Nothing too adventurous in the style or sound department, but solid. I really liked them. They’re fronted by a cute, emo-y lead singer who took a stroll around the floor during one of the songs and worked the crowd well. I’ll be playing more of them this coming week to pass the time at work (where I just had to interview for my own job, and need something uncomplicated as background music to soothe me).
The next night (last night) found me at Webster Hall for the Dandy Warhols show. What a contrast. Granted, the crowd was a little older.** But still, everyone was there for the band. People were drinking, and probably drinking quite a bit, yet the only pictures being taken were of what was happening on stage, and with the flash off. No one was talking over top the music, or acting like an idiot.
I know I sound like I just need to relax about the whole thing, and kids will be kids, and live and let live, but for the love of God, if you go to a club to see a band then watch the band. Show some respect. Don’t spend the entire night documenting your presence there. BE there, in the moment, experiencing the actual event without filtering your experience through an electronic device.
Exhale. Rant over.
The Dandy Warhols killed it, by the way. What a fantastic show! I tend to see younger bands that haven’t been around that long, so seeing a performance by a band that’s been playing live for 15+ years is a real treat. We didn’t get a topless Zia, but we got fantastic performances of Bohemian Like You, Godless, Boys Better, and Horse Pills. Totally top-notch show all the way around.
The night ended at Ukranian paradise Veselka with their seasonal pierogi*** and a chocolate egg cream. F-ing heaven.
* Unless you drive like a jackass.
** A lot older
*** Ham, gruyere and potato, and it was good.