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he hit so hard... i saw stars

i know, i've been lax again in reporting what i've actually been up to and instead have been droning on about what i've been over analyzing as of late. Well, let's see if we can't fix that a little. I know I still owe a nice wrap up of days 2 and 3 of sxsw, but lets get to what I've seen since I got back...

Saturday, April 2nd... Tiswas @ Donhills

The Walkup (aka - Hot Alex's Band)
I pretty much would have been happy to just sit back and appreciate the empirical beauty of Hot Alex, but then a funny thing happened - my body started involuntarily moving. Hot Alex's band is actually...good. They're catchy and fun, they're light and sweet without that nasty saccharine aftertaste, they're... definitely going places. And just in case you feel my opinion on them may be biased due to my pre-teen "i want to hang you on my wall" style affinity for the lead singer? I'll have you know that actual heterosexual boys actually liked them too and are as eager as I am to see them play agin.

The Bon Savants (aka - That Boston Band Ashley's Always On About But Never Took Me To Before)
I blame Ashley entirely for the lack of Bon Savants in my life up until this point. Seriously. I don't think there could be another band in Boston that is so clearly in line with my musical tastes. Tastes which Ms. Wicked has proven she can recognize without fail over the course of the last few years. So for the love of all that is good and holy - I can't understand why she hadn't dragged me out to see them before. But, bygones... I got to see them and they were wooly & wonderful. The set was incredibly tight, the boys were all sweethearts - and I honestly couldn't get enough of Tom's voice, sheer brilliance.

The GoStation
Fantastic show. Seriously. They always have great shows at Don Hill's... the lighting, the sound, the energy - it has to be the second best small stage in the city. (sure the Merc always wins due to it's super-human acoustics, the kit riser at Don Hill's really makes is a close second in my book) Anyhow, the boys of The Gostation played hard, tight, and kept the crowd twirling about and shuffling their feet to their special blend of Brit flavored New York rock & roll.

Tuesday, April 5th... Morning Theft @ The Mercury Lounge

As noted above, the Mercury Lounge has superhuman acoustics. Everyone sounds good here, and Morning Theft was no exception to the rule. Pat whipped out some new moves as "the man in the middle", and kkept us all entertained while Rob serenaded the small but dedicated crowd with selections from their brand new CD, The News Says It's Raining In New York. Oh and the new T-shirts? So cute.

Thursday, April 7th... Bloc Party @ The Bowery

This was my third time seeing Indie darlings Bloc Party. The show ran circles around their performance at sxsw, but imho, still didn't touch their stellar showing in January at Motherfucker. They were in high *cough, cough* spirits and very playful with the crowd - teasing us with snippets from the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, The Killers, Radiohead, Coldplay & even The Smashing Pumpkins. My only regret is that we were a smidge late to the show and walked in to them already belting out the chorus of Banquet. I mean, really... that's not a song to open with - yes i know everyone wants to hear it & they probably wanted it out of the way, but really, they ought to be building up to it. There should be anticipation hanging in the air before they sink their teeth into it.... you know? It should be an orgasm, not a first kiss.

Friday, April 8th... Tori @ Hammerstein

See This post.

Tuesday, April12th... Dandy Warhols acoustic set @ Rothko

First off? Free beer. Thank you SPIN & Red Stripe. There were some other bands on the bill... I didn't much care for them. But I did think that Courtney & Brent's oh-so-quiet acoustic set was the prettiest thing I'd heard in ages. Amy & I built an entire fantasy around what it would be to lie in the grass and listen to them as a warm summer's day passed into twilight. ::sigh:: Yeah... it was that kind of dreamy, mellow music with simon-and-garfunkel type harmonies that just floated through the air (well at least when you could hear them over the thunderously rude roar of the crowd occupying the back half of Rothko).

Saturday, April 16th... The GoStation @ Pianos

What you really need to know about this show is that they debuted a completely re-worked version of When I'm Gone that was just brilliant. And yes, I know I've loved the song in both it's previous incarnations, and yes, they dedicated it to me for the second time ::insert ridiculously huge grin here:: but all that aside - this is going to turn out to be one of their best songs, definitely single material.

Tuesday, April 19th... Benzos @ Rothko

Ok, so we spent a good 2/3 of the show trying to determine which guitarist was which... the whole same size / same hair / sxsw thing really threw us for a loop, but it turns out it was Brian (the original, beloved guitarist) and once that was settled, we eased back into enjoying the lovliness that is a Benzos show. All in all, an incredible homecoming for one of my favorite NYC bands.

Friday, April 22nd... Ivy @ Bowery

So, I had all intentions of finally catching opening band The Natural History...and then these pesky free Yankee tickets got in my way (thanks Rob). But after a disappointing loss, I at least had ivy to look forward to. A little background on Ivy & Jocelyn... once upon a time I was obsessed with a tv show called Roswell. More than that, I started noticing that I really enjoyed the music they used to soundtrack the episodes. In particular in April of their second season (2001) I took notice of a band they used twice in one episode... their name was Ivy, and the songs were Worry About You and Undertow. Unable to find the band's as-of-then unreleased album, Long Distance, I instead searched tirelessly for whatever MP3's limewire could offer me, and Undertow quickly became my theme, my mantra, my constant companion. Now since I'd also just recently been introduce to the concept of smaller bands touring by one Miss Melodynelson (who at the time was just plain Audrey, seeing as she had not yet fallen into the ranks of the bloggers) I made it a habit to search out possible tour dates for my beloved band, but to no avail... until one day in July, when I noticed they would be playing the very next day at some venue called Tonic somewhere in Manhattan (yes this vastly pre-dated my geographical knowledge of the LES). That Wednesday July 11th, I hopped in my car and made my way to the Lower East Side of Manhattan for the very first time. Found an incredible parking spot on the street & walked up to the venue to find it... sold out. In my naiveté, it had never occurred to me that this was even possible. But I held fast to my dream of seeing them and just waited around in front of Tonic in the hopes that a ticket would simply materialize in my hands. well you know what? one did. Or at least, some girl's "plus one" (i recall thinking "plus what?" and wondering what she was talking about) didn't show, and she grabbed me and brought me inside with her. To my utter amazement, Tonic was roughly the size of an average bar, with a small-ish stage in the back that I had no trouble sauntering up to. Shortly, the room was packed, and Dominique Durand appeared 3 feet away from me and proceeded to serenade me with not only the tracks I'd memorized, but a bevy of fresh melodies that stuck with me the whole ride home. But what became of my obsession with the trio you ask? I immediately bought their back catalogue & the Japanese import of Long Distance (which became THE album i listened to on the beach) and then sat and waited for their next tour. And waited, and waited, and they scored Shallow Hal, and i still waited, and they came out with an album of covers, and I waited, and waited some more, and then waited... until one day Scott clued me in to their impending new album In The Clear, and I watched and waited, until finally a Bowery date was announced... and so here I was, almost 4 YEARS since last I'd seen them, once again pressed up towards the front of the Stage watching Dominique Durand serenade me. It was simply heaven. I was seeing Ivy LIVE - it could have been awful and I would still have been thrilled. And to be honest, Dominique had a hard time with a few of the songs, including their hit (and show closer) Edge of the Ocean... but she handled her warped notes with grace, and came back strong in her encore singing a singularly perfect Undertow that very possibly made my entire month. Let's hope I don't have to wait another 4 years to see them again.

Tuesday, April 26th... Stars @ Northsix

and here's where today's title comes in... I did indeed see "Stars" at Ashley's behest (and as her treat) and I can't thank her enough for pleading me into making the trek to Brooklyn. Stars were pretty and poppy, and that blend of magical and kooky you only seem to get with Canadians... the four piece (who curiously enough seemed to have morphed into a 7 piece on stage) blended horns and strings and keys and layered guitars, until my head wanted to explode for all the pretty that they were creating. I left Northsix feeling like I was walking in the clouds - just absolutely reeling from my giddy experience - and as bad a pun as this is about to be... one could say I was seeing stars. Yep. told you. bad pun. but totally true :)

I promise to tell you all about Ari's acoustic set on the Upper East Side & my insane trip to Boston with Morning Theft shortly...