Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sound Team, Cold War Kids, Midlake @ Black Cat (Backstage), July 24th

Sound Team:

Cold War Kids:

Sound Team's Setlist:
"Handful of Billions"
"Your Eyes Are Liars"
"Born to Please"
"New Piano"
"Back in Town"
"No More Birthdays"
"Fastest Man Alive"
"It's Obvious What Happened"
"New Guitar"
"TV Torso"
"Movie Monster"

The coffee is bleeding in, making this a much easier task.

I came home last night, after work, unaware of the beautiful noise that lay ahead. I purposely occupied myself with all things outside of Sound Team, CWK, Midlake. I remember vividly the picture Sound Team painted before they opened for Elefant earlier in the year. I wanted it untouched. I wanted to enter tonight with that performance in mind, but with a clear slate of opportunity available. This said, I waited for Top with some episodes of nip/tuck. Dr. Christian Troy is like a TV-LSV version of Patrick Bateman. Without the bloodlust of course. The perfect entertainment to keep my mind off of the music. Budweiser. Harpoon. Rinse and repeat. Top arrives. Movement.

Midlake's sound reminded me of Fleetwood Mac void of Stevie Nicks' husky vocals. Throughout their set we are treated to a Victorian film that has been chopped and set to the sound (was it Polanski's Tess?). THE TRIALS OF VAN OCCUPANTHER, Midlake's latest, will occupy me for days, I am sure. Midlake segues perfectly into Cold War Kids who come in with their simple, sharp hooks that loom larger in the live setting. Each band is a perfect compliment and set-up to the next.

The foreplay of Cold War Kids, a surprise of sorts, has left me completely naked and vulnerable. The sound is heavier and has a fullness to it that doesn't translate on their EPs. How could it? They are wild and frenzied on stage and the Rickenbacher bass kept coming dangerously close to hitting human heads on stage. The random cymbal on top of the wooden crate, whose sole purpose was to be hammered and smashed in combination with the drums, was a fantastic touch that added to the attention grabbing scene. You could look at any single member and get caught up in their antics. It sounded so heavy. "Saint John" and "Hospital Beds" left a lasting impression. Every lick and furious cymbal crash pulled me in. It's 10:00 Ronald Reagan, do you know where your kids are? They're slaying the Black Cat on the darkhorse bill of the year.

Swirling with promise is the hope of the "TV Torso" return to grace. What is it with this album? No hype? We talk with the drummer, after the show, and that is explained, but upon entrance and then watching them set up I find myself wondering. The drummer noted that they "wanted people to discover the album" and that sometimes what seems like a good idea at the time (spreading the word through shows, fighting the label's overt hype machine) can sometimes backfire. This isn't to say, of course, that he thought it had backfired, just that it maybe didn't work out the way they wanted it to. At any rate, he didn't seem preoccupied with it, he seemed pretty indifferent to the whole topic.

When Sound Team hits backstage, everything is shattered. The expectations are gone, a fleeting memory that couldn't match the real thing. Sweat bleeds from your pores and your ears want it to stop. There are earplugs in your pocket. They could very well be dampering the damage of this intense sound. You opt for the full effect. As the riffs spin and unwind, we dance. Others choose to casually look on. We let go. Give in. Differences are made here. In this space we find ourselves. I have no idea what the crowd feedback was from the show because I was up front, shaking uncontrollably, what went on behind me, hopefully, was more of the same. I was blissfully alone in all that Sound Team had to offer, closing my eyes and rocking away.

There is more action here. The second time around, an air of confidence. As if, dusting the Pitchfork dirt of the shoulder they find themselves with nothing to prove, nowhere to go but up. Or, perhaps, louder. Visually there is more movement. They are contained on a small stage, the six of them, but the sheer whallop of sound emanating from the sunn o))) speaks volumes in terms of freedom. Unchained. And their presence on stage, their movement, camaraderie, and subtle violence touches this same chord. I find myself adrift in chaotic physical movements. Drunk, or liberated, it may depend, or it may not. You simply get lost amidst this sound.

With Sound Team, I can look down and see what song is coming next, it's right there on the stage, written on several napkins, but the actual song continues to exceed the humble prediction I allow. I don't want to get too excited with the natural fear of being let down. But, with each song, Sound Team continues to exceed their last performance here at the Black Cat. I am grateful, drenched in sweat and when I finally turn around, alone, save Top, and a handful of people buying CDs, I catch my breath. A large man begins to disassemble the tools of my unraveling and I walk away. I imagine the next time being louder. Better. Stronger. And laugh in my satisfaction. Among the masses, filtering out, we want more. Even when it is as good as these three bands were last night. The room empties out after a loaded set. Three loaded sets. I am spent. I just want to shake a Sound Team hand and say, "Fuck Pitchfork, your album is great." Because it's true. Fuck them. Their ears are liars. And we have seen and heard the truth about this band.

MP3: Sound Team - "Handful of Billions"
MP3: Sound Team - "TV Torso"
MP3: Cold War Kids - "Hospital Beds"
MP3: Cold War Kids - "Saint John"
MP3: Midlake - "Roscoe"
MP3: Midlake - "Head Home"


InMyTree said...

You Ain't No Picasso recently caught Cold War Kids as well.

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