>Okay kids, here I go. Checking some of the last few blogs on here, I realize I never made any mention of my trip back to NYC (other than that last minute shame of a post hours before the trip), much less of the APTBS show I planned on attending. My bad. I did, though, see them on Oct. 29th. So, given that I’m obsessed with publicizing every minor aspect of my sad little existence –and this one counts as a big one– I’ll just blog about it.
I arrived at the Bowery a little too early, as I miscalculated and left about an hour before time — show would supposedly start at 8. There was nobody outside, so I took a walk. Came back about thirty minutes later and three old dudes were waiting outside. Just three people. Three old dudes who spoke about me in Puerto Rican and didn’t even stop to consider I could understand them. Dumb fucks. When they finally let us in, at about 7:45, the only people inside were the old dudes and I. For a moment there I didn’t think anyone would show up. Then someone came through the door. Then someone else. All alt-looking people, NY hipsters — the worst kind of hipster there is. People like this:
(Sorry it’s so blurry, it’s not like I asked the funniest looking, Einsturzende-Neubauten-t-shirt-wearing, emo-fringe-bearing, anorexic hipster to pose for a pic so I could make fun of him later on my stupid blog, ya know?)
Countless minutes later, at about 8:30, they let us upstairs. Still, there weren’t more than 30 people in the whole place. I took my place on the front row and waited… and waited… and fucking waited. People slowly started to populate the rather small venue, either taking seats upstairs or sitting on the floor downstairs like I was. As we all hopelessly waited for the band(s) to take their positions onstage, and watched as technicians plugged shit in, rushed on and off the narrow stage carrying equipment and water bottles, it occurred to me that it was too late and I should be home. It really wasn’t that late, it was about nine something, but damn, was I tired. I was tempted to leave, hop on the J and go back home, sleep off the backache and wake up fresh. Just then, I saw that drummer dude from All the Saints come out. So I had to stand…
I had heard very little about All the Saints before the show. I got their second album when I found out they were opening for APTBS, and I wasn’t disappointed. Their set was pretty simple, a small drumkit, a mic on the left for the bassist and a mic on the right for the guitarist/vocalist. The whole thing reminded me of the cover of Philosophy of the World by The Shaggs, and I really wasn’t sure what to expect from those dudes.
Heh, I didn’t think that much noise could come from those instruments. I couldn’t hear a damn word the dude sang, and I could hardly make up the songs they were playing, but they were energetic and played well enough to have me banging my head a couple times. Props to the drummer who despite his intense sweating managed to do a great job.
As soon as they left, a stampede of roadies stormed onstage and began setting up the place for Dead Confederate. I considered going home again, as my feet felt like they were being crushed between glass and a ton of bricks, and my back was no different. I dropped my bag and coat on the floor, feeling instant relief, and as soon as I looked back up, I found a familiar bearded figure standing by the stage door. I took a second look and realized it was Kyp Malone, from the seminal Brooklyn indie/hipster band Tv on the Radio. I glanced at the girl/boy/speed-taking person next to me, and he/she/they replied: “Yep, that’s him.” The moment I snapped out of it and attempted to take a picture, the dude went back inside, to never come out again. But I did see him and that’s enough for me.
The stage was way more crowded for Dead Confederate. There were lots of mics, a bigger drum kit, like two keyboards, one on each end of the stage, and a whole lot of cords and cables and amplifiers. There were six funny-looking people onstage, and I had the feeling the lead singer hadn’t washed his hair in weeks.
To be honest, these guys didn’t impress me at first listen. I picked up their albums not so long ago but I didn’t find anything particularly remarkable about them. I knew they’d be better live. I wasn’t wrong. They killed!!! After the minimalistic show All the Saints put on, my expectations for Dead Confederate weren’t high at all, but they bitchslapped me with their blinding strobelights and deafening guitar sound. I don’t know how they managed to turn their simple, stale rock into such an amazing psychedelic experience live. I was blown away.
At this point, a mass of skinny-jeans-clad hipsters had taken over the small setting. Everyone was waiting for the headliners, who, in all actuality, didn’t play any longer than the two previous bands. A blonde girl with her totebag full of beers swam through the crowd and took a place next to me, and a pair of Japanese dudes with funny haircuts soon joined her. She and the speed-taking-person next to me started drinking the beers and some cheap whiskey she had in a paper bag. Soon enough, the staple of all rock shows made its appearance, finally, after I wondered why it’d taken them so long to pull it out. That’s right, pot. A Place to Bury Strangers came out and that’s when the show got started.
At this point, I’d forgotten about my backache and exhaustion and was letting go, partially high off the pot smoke that was oozing around me. I was getting into it, really, until some fat kid no older than fifteen had the brilliant idea to start thrashing around to get some sort of indie/noise/alt-rock moshpit going. I, being as weak as grass, totally fell right in the arms of some dude who thankfully kept me from falling flat on my ass and making a complete idiot of myself. Then I tried taking a picture but my camera did something weird and stopped taking decent pics, and I remember thinking it was the pot that made my camera malfunction. I swear, that’s the first thing I thought.
The dudes started off with some stuff from the new album, which makes sense since they just released it and are playing shows to promote it. (duh) Keep Slipping Away, one of my favorite songs from Exploding Head, was like the third song they played, which really got the hipster kids next to me going, and the blond girl screaming “louder, louder, louder!” and banging her head like a maniac. They played some stuff from their self titled, which I was really pleased to see. Another Step Away was a standout, but I expected that anyway cause that’s a kickass track. Their trademark wall-of-sound style, combined with the amazing lights show and the screens made for a delightfully insane experience. I felt dizzy for a while there, like I was in some sort of drug-addled nightmare, or like I was living in the world of madness from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It was crayzeeeee!!! But alas! Thanks to my fucking camera being a total pothead, I spent most of their set trying to get it fixed so I could take pictures of the greatness my eyes were witnessing. I do remember that the blond chick started hugging me at some point, and pushed my bad under the stage. That was pretty weird. Then bam! Out of nowhere, a guitar pick flew across the stage and fell on my hair.
I was able to take some normal pics towards the end, but I had already half-missed most of the show. What I didn’t miss was when that Oliver Ackermann dude (lead singer) grabbed some poor guitar and ripped it to shreds before our eyes. It was all so surreal I felt as if I’d taken some speed from the individual next to me. I was in excruciating pain throughout the whole 10 min or so it took him to destroy that innocent guitar, but at the same time, I was enjoying it with the delight of a child in awe at the M&M store. When it was over, I was out of breath, about to bite off a piece of my lower lip. That was so punk rock. It was so beautiful, and it was over. In a way, I was happy it was over, cause I was honestly dying, but part of me wanted to stay and watch the dude destroy that guitar over and over again. Cause, fuck… wow…
Finally, I resisted the uncontrollable urge, that iron-strong arm pulling at my loins, to make a stop at the gyro place right by the Bowery door, and went right down inside the J train station once again. I got home at 2:30 and collapsed.
It was sooo worth it.