Voxtrot @ Magnetic Field 12/15/05
This show was added a day before to make up for Voxtrot
cancelling the second half of their current tour due to van problems. I first heard them over the summer and I downloaded a few of their songs, which I liked, especially the insanely catchy and very
Smiths-like “The Start of Something.” But though they’ve played New York several times since I heard about them, I somehow missed them, and so when I heard about this show, I made sure to check it out. And boy am I glad that I did!
My initial thinking going into the show was that they’re a young band with a lot of potential and talent, but they’re not quite there yet; my impression definitely changed after seeing the show. Playing in a tiny room (imagine a venue half the size of Maxwell’s or Mercury Lounge), Voxtrot put forth enough energy to fill a room many times the size of Magnetic Field and showed that their chops, songwriting talent, and the magnetism of singer/guitarist Ramesh are for real.
Voxtrot’s sound recalls that of The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian, their most obvious influences along with New Order (whose “Love Vigilantes” they covered on this evening). The band’s make-up consists of two guitarists, a multi-instrumentalist who mainly plays keyboards, and a crackerjack rhythm section. While on paper, this combination of influences and musicians may sound potentially derivative or even generic, Voxtrot manages to make this combination into a sound that’s most definitely their own. Even better, they communicated passion and fun (not a standoff-ish cool like oh so many other buzz bands) with every note, which endeared them to the enthusiastic audience.
They played several songs that I recognized, including “The Start of Something,” “Wrecking Force,” and a version of Talking Heads' “Heaven” (originally on the terrific LP Fear of Music), as well as the aforementioned New Order cover. Yet it was even more of a pleasure to hear them play unfamiliar songs, songs which I’ve come to enjoy after picking up Voxtrot’s excellent Raised by Wolves EP. The biggest treat was unexpected: Andrea Vaughn, formerly of the similar-minded Long Island band My Favorite (who I always liked), came on-stage to duet with Ramesh on a great version of the EP title track.
If you have a chance to see them play, I highly recommend it. With good looks to match their terrific playing and memorable songs, I predict big things for them and hope that they come back soon.