Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Crush on Radio

I went to go see the amazing Visqueen open for Neko Case and The Sadies last night at Bowery Ballroom. I arrived there early and met up with a few friends who had also arrived early to catch Visqueen's opening set. They went on at 8:30 sharp and absolutely tore it up. They play with a fire, energy and zeal that most bands just don't have or aspire to have or wouldn't conjure even if they sold their souls to the devil. It's a real shame that they were the openers and that there were only 20 people or so watching them. Rachel Flotard is the obvious star of the show, as the one who writes all of the songs and sings them (and plays guitar as well), but Ben Hooker absolutely blew me away with the intensity of his drumming. 3 or 4 drumsticks went flying through the air and one almost hit Rachel. I haven't seen anyone hit 'em that hard in a long time. Wow. Anyway, they played mostly stuff from their latest record, Sunset on Dateland, which if I would've gotten it sooner, would've been higher on my Best of 2004 list. They also did some stuff from their first record, King Me, as well. After their set, I ran into Rachel and told her that I liked the show and what not. She was really nice in general, though she got a bit weird when I asked her where in New Jersey she's from (Closter, it turns out). Regardless, she signed the setlist I snagged and put a nice Valentine's Day message (as well as a Visqueen sticker) on it for me. It's hanging proudly in my office now.

The Sadies were kind of ho-hum country-rock with a couple of guys who can't really sing. The highlight of their set was their cover of the Byrds/Gram Parsons song "Lazy Days".

Nevertheless, I thought that they would be a better backing band for Neko Case than they were on their own and I was right. During the first half of the set, Neko (one of the hottest women on the planet) and The Sadies played a bunch of songs from her live CD The Tigers Have Spoken and the title track from her brilliant 2002 album Blacklisted. Though it was all good, midway through the set, it got a bit on the boring side, though they did bring out Garth Hudson (!) to play accordion with them for about half of their set (which didn't include an encore, but include a break between sets, though the 2nd set only lasted about 3 or 4 songs). They did a gospel song, a Hank Williams song and a bunch of newer songs (she's recording a new album now) that I didn't recognize. Neko joked around a lot about Valentine's Day, Bad Company (they played "Feel Like Makin' Love" so many times over the PA that I don't think I wanna hear it again for years now) and Blue Oyster Cult.

Oh, and before the 2nd set started, Neko had Rachel from Visqueen come out and they engaged in a mock St. Valentine's Day massacre complete with fake blood, knives and a fake punctured heart that Neko pulled out (ruining a Sweet "Teenage Rampage" shirt that she said she'd had for 12 years and that she looked incredible in, if I may say so myself).

After the show, I talked to Ronnie Barnett, Visqueen's new bass player as well as the long-time bass player for the similarly-inclined Muffs. Real nice guy. I can't wait to see them again in a few weeks at Maxwells, where they'll be opening for Shonen Knife.


Blogger daniel harvey said...

I saw a show during that run at the Bowery as well. Reviewed and shot it for my blog as well. Take a peek if you're interested.

Do you plan to see Neko perform at Joe's Pub in the upcoming weeks?

11:49 PM

Blogger japanesegodjesusrobot said...

I'm not sure if I'll be attending that one. Frankly, I was a bit bored with her set on Valentine's Day (though I generally thought the show was good) and like you, I was also disappointed in the lack of material from Blacklisted and the focus on The Tigers Have Spoken in her set.

With that said, I think that Joe's Pub would be a great venue to see her in as opposed to Bowery Ballroom (which I love but isn't so good for singer-songwriters), so I may go if I can snag a ticket at the last minute (they're probably sold out, I would imagine).

11:10 AM

Blogger daniel harvey said...

My guess is that the set list will probably pull from her upcoming album heavily.

12:29 PM

Blogger japanesegodjesusrobot said...

That would be my guess as well, which is why I'm still on the fence. I'm quite curious about this upcoming album since I absolutely love Blacklisted (the Tigers Have Spoken is mostly covers).

12:38 PM


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