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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
  CWK, Figurines and Tapes 'n Tapes @ the Middle East downstairs, 06.05
great expectations. i was full to the brim with them, last night, skipping into Cambridge - just thinking of the names of the line-up alone.
  • Cold War Kids: a recent blogosphere favorite, a contender for Pitchfork attention and thusly the attention of everyone else.
  • Figurines: a Denmark-native band, a previous top seller on Insound (right now at #52), and five guys with a lot of fun and style.
  • Tapes 'n Tapes: the obvious Pitchfork-adored pick, and consequently the most established of the three and the headlining act.

  • oh you bet i was psyched.

    the first on the floor was CWK. because i'm a flake, we basically weren't able to see most of them - i forgot the tickets, we got there late, blah blah. i wish i could write a fuller review of their set and of their performance, but from what i saw, i was as impressed as others have been in seeing them - Ryan at Good Hodgkins ( he has great photos from the show, too) admitted that, for him, they were better than TnT. check his comments for the spilled beans. CWK are animals on the stage - they jump around with their guitars, practically growling - and they're quite a spectacle. in terms of energy, they won out of the three.
    ::::for your sampling pleasure, in case the Kids haven't made it around to your mp3 library yet:
    Cold War Kids - We Used To Vacation

    we had to wait a little while for Figurines - CWK's set was only about half an hour long - but when they came on stage, we were psyched. they're very tight, musically; instruments are perfect, performances are just as good as in the studio, if not more accessible. i had a great time watching them. i really wish, though, that the vocals would have been turned up significantly. i couldn't hear those guys at all, especially the frontman. he's particulary dynamic on the stage - fascinating to watch - and therefore I'm giving you my only good picture of him. alex is taller (this is my new favorite reasoning, as you can tell) and therefore is able to take better pictures. he'll post those tomorrow, i should think.
    ::::rock on - two very strong tracks that they played, now up for you to imagine live:
    Figurines - I Remember
    Figurines - Fiery Affair

    the great part about seeing Tapes 'n Tapes is that they completely surpassed my expectations of them. Pitchfork had made such a big deal of them that there had been a backlash effect on me: i thought, they can't actually be that good. so i started to think it was all hyped-up craziness and that they weren't actually capable of living up to it. thankfully i was way off. these guys were just awesome. i think it's important for us not to do exactly what Pitchfork does in the very process of trying to defy them or throw off their influence. i think, first of all, that that's impossible, and second of all the act in itself is hypocritical. we should like what we like based solely upon our own impressions and carefully recognized responses.

    TnT were, in effect, the most confident performers there. they were aware that the majority of their audience was their fan base - they were the headliners, they had the most heads bobbing and mouths moving to every word of their songs. they fed off of this response from the crowd and just continued to get better as they went along in their set. i was pleasantly surprised and very into their performance. i was down. in particular i liked the vocal activity of and the consequent relationship between frontman and bass player. they had a great chemistry beyond any other that would be visible within the band - the keyboard/alternative perc guy seemed useless sometimes but at others he was a great addition to the overall energy - and the drummer is always the drummer, freaking out on his set. they were all very unassuming, and that was also rather pleasant. all in all, i gave these guys the rock on rating - they aren't hug 'em squeeze 'em kiss 'em, but they weren't headbang it, either. they were Tapes 'n Tapes, and they had a good time while we had a good time. and that's what it always comes down to.
    ::::deliberately i choose the songs i liked the best live:
    Tapes 'n Tapes - In Houston
    Tapes 'n Tapes - Cowbell

    another convenience to alex's being tall was his being able to slip over and stealthily grab a set list. no need to decode, this is what it says:

    Just Drums
    The Iliad
    In Houston
    10 Gallon Ascots
    Crazy Eights
    Jakov's Suite

    you bet. those crazy kids.

    check out their tour schedule here.
    "TCBA" is actually "Toba", for Manitoba. I was at the same show, over right/center stage. I actually agree with Good Hodgkins...TnT were great, but nothing could touch the energy of CWK, who really have the look and sound of an already accomplished, established indie band. too bad you missed their performance. TnT were great though, exactly what I expected!
    I just posted some photos of Tapes 'n Tapes @ Cafe 11... dig it.
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