A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Lohio, Landline
Saturday Februrary 27, Brillobox
with Lisa, Chris L.-H.
I had purchased a ticket for this show a long time in advance since I was already buying tickets for some other Brillobox shows I really wanted to go to. I had at least heard of ASDIG via the whole Pitchfork/eMusic musico-blogosphere, so I watched a few videos on YouTube and listened to Ashes Grammar (their latest album) on Lala to get a good idea of their sound, and it seemed like it would translate well in a live show. The tickets were kind of an impulse buy right at the cashier at the grocery store, but I think it worked out.
I usually take the 54C to get to the Brillobox, but this time Chris was coming along from the other direction, so Lisa and I decided to walk to the 86A stop on Centre Ave. and meet him on the bus. As it turned out, we were both waiting for a (rather late) bus only one block apart. Oh well. We were waiting at the corner of Graham & Centre, right in front of the relatively new restaurant Avenue B, which features large (almost) floor to ceiling windows and outward-facing tables. As such, it felt a little awkward to be standing there for 20+ minutes alternating between staring down the street in the direction of the bus and turning around to catch someone in the middle of a slurp of soup or what have you. After a while I decided, and declared, that I was going to give these people “dinner and a show.” In retrospect, and in the moment, this is absurd, since I had nothing to do with their dinner; I did attempt to provide a show, though. The combination of recent flurries and warm-then-cold temperatures made for some perfect packing snow: just the right amount of moisture to form solid snowballs. I crafted three such spheroids from a pile on the sidewalk and commenced juggling. It was going pretty well for a while, and I did the only “trick” I can really do: switching from juggling 3-balls-in-2-hands to 2-balls-in-1-hand, then doing this with the other hand, and so on. After a minute or so, I caught them in my hands and tried to think of another trick, when I heard a knocking on the Avenue B window. A table of four up front was offering some applause, so I gave a mock bow while Lisa blatantly laughed at me. I started juggling again and tried to toss one around my back, but that failed miserably, so I threw the other two snowballs into the road in mock disgust. At that point, the same guy knocked on the window and offered support in the form of a wave of the hand as if to say, “Ahhhh, who needs it?” To stay entertained, I threw some snowballs at the mural on the side wall of the restaurant, but then the bus came and we took off.
Landline opened the show. This is now the 4th time I've seen them, and I keep liking them more and more. Heavy guitar rock, insane pounding drumming, thumping bass, with a nice variety of punk vocal stylings. I wish I knew where to find more of their music; these two songs on MySpace aren't enough, and I had portions of two of their songs stuck in my head for days, neither of which were available on their page. We overheard at least a couple of groups of people in the crowded room talking about them while they were playing, wondering who they were and such. I think that's a good sign. Their drummer managed to break even more stuff this time, continually knocking over the bass drum microphone, and snapping one of the snare drums off of its stand, trying futilely to fix it mid song, then giving up and banging twice as hard on the one that was still standing. Chris also made a comment about how he seemed to enjoy local opening acts more than some openers that tour with the national act, making a specific comparison to the openers at the Tortoise show the week prior. My point here is: you should see Landline play. Don't listen to Asa.
Lohio played next, and this time it was the full band. I liked them a bit better than the duet version I saw at Howler's, but they still fall under that category of country-twinged indie rock that isn't really my favorite style. For what they do, they do it pretty well. The guitarist who had been playing with all sorts of effects at the Howler's show stayed towards the back of the stage in the corner this time and filled their songs with guitar solos and neat effects. He seems to be the most instrumentally proficient, and the others were more performance-oriented and vocal. I also think the female singer/guitarist looked a bit like Annie Clark (from St. Vincent). Strangely, Lohio also seemed to be the big draw of the evening. The room was jam-packed for this portion of the show, and I noticed later that the crowd had thinned out towards the end of ASDIG's set.
ASDIG took the stage last and a little late for a Brillobox show, even for a Saturday. Their sound was reverb-heavy and thick for the whole set, a veritable wall of melodic noise. Strangely, the drummer wore headphones the whole time, maybe to tune out some of the reverb? It's funny to think that he was listening to Shostakovich while playing, or something like that. Maybe Raffi? Haha. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed their set and found myself bopping around to the beat (although certainly not as much as the two dudes towards the front of the stage who danced nonstop for 45 minutes), but I'm not sure about listening to their music outside of a live setting. It probably works best as something to play in the background during a party or when I'm sitting around reading/working. The female voices were somehow perfect complements for the guitar-laden sound.
All in all, a solid concert: good openers, good headliner, good mix of genres. Before I go, I want to recommend a new (to me) beer that I've enjoyed at the last few Brillobox shows I've been to. They have a good selection of craft beers in cans for $4 at the upstairs (concert) bar, including a bunch from upstate NY's Butternuts Beer & Ale, and Oskar Blues' Old Chub Scottish Ale, one of my all time faves. Recently, they've featured a new one: the Chupacabra IPA from some Mexican brewery. I tried it on a whim, and it was quite tasty; not as hoppy as other IPAs I like, but it had a uniquely flavorful malt character. I just did some Googling and can't seem to find it though. I'm not sure this is the same brewery, since I specifically remember it labeled as an IPA (not a Pale Ale) and it did come in a can, not a bottle. I'll have to read the can more closely next time I'm there to get the brewery name . . . In the meantime, if you see it somewhere, try it!
update: ASDIG - link to mp3 downloads of a live show in Brooklyn on March 29 2010
ASDIG - Live @ Union Hall
ASDIG - Live in Philly
Lohio - Live on the radio