Sweet Soubrette at Pianos
At some point in the evening I got the impression of attending an early Valentine's Day show. The overwhelming red-ness of the place may have had something to do with that, but also the fact that Sweet Soubrette's new album features so many songs about desire. Not really love songs, mind you. They were more like songs about longing (see "Be My Man", "Sweet Time") or about relationships under stress ("Just Your Heart", "Rock Paper Scissors", and perhaps "What's My Desire?"). So it wasn't really a romantic evening, though the fervent "Live Wire" certainly added a dash of heat to the mix.
It is probably safe to say that classic love songs have never been Sweet Soubrette's thing. Returning to the themes of her first album, most of the songs on "Burning City" are about the dramatic moments in relationships, the moments when things are not quite as they should be. However the new album has a definite optimistic streak. This time you get the feeling that some of those relationships might just work out. For once there is an honest-to-goodness (implied) happy ending in the song "Port in a Storm". Well that's new.
Slothrust at The Knitting Factory
Why do they always turn the lights way down when I try to take pictures of this band? Ugh.
Anyway, Slothrust call themselves a "blues-influenced grunge" band. They do bring back vague memories of the 90s so I'm buying the grunge part, but I'm not so sure about the blues part. The singing often sounds like plain-old talking, which if anything seems closer to the folk tradition than blues. What it really reminds me of though is Beat Happening. If you can imagine the music of, say, L7 paired with a singing style which alternates between L7 (or 7 Year Bitch?) and Beat Happening (or the Minutemen?) then I think you've got it.
Royal Baths at The Knitting Factory
The last time I took some photos of these guys it was at Death By Audio, more or less in the dark. What a difference a few LED arrays make, eh? These shots are much better. Dark and moody, well suited to the music, not dark and "that could be a photo of anything so anyway what is it?"
Gary War at Saint Vitus
I promise never to take photos when they "turn down the lights" at Saint Vitus again. Way too dark. Anyway, I heard someone say that Gary War sounded like Devo. Odd considering the locale but not completely wrong. More like Killing Joke, really. Dark but not particularly hard rock with a bit of electronic sound. This particular performance included a drunken pseudo-rapper who I will call Mr. Crack for reasons which have nothing to do with drugs (don't worry, the photos are safe).