I think it's probably fair to say the wildest party of the showcase last night was at the Riot Room. I was there from about 7:30 pm to I honestly am not sure when. Two-something? Here are some things that I witnessed. Order vaguely chronological.
playing what is definitely the only show I've ever seen at Riot Room where the sun was pouring in through the east window. It felt very wrong. The band sounded good, though — their gentle pop-rock was a little peppier than usual.
It was my first time seeing Root and Stem
, and I was impressed with the five-piece Americana act's songwriting and energy. They've got a cello going, which adds nice flourishes to their songs. The guy who plays lead guitar has a two-inch Amish-style ginger beard and was wearing cut-off jean shorts held up by suspenders. No shirt, tattoos on his chest. It was like Deliverance
punk chic. It's like he came into the city for a butter-churning convention, fell out the back of the truck in Midtown, and never returned to the community. Dude was rocking Avias
Hadn't seen London Transit
before, either. On some songs, the band's synthy electronica was beefed up by a heavy guitar sound. When the synths took over more, things got kind of Thomas Dolby in there, which I'm into. I like that they didn't feel the need to be too serious or robotic. They also know how to build up a song, and where to queue up the synths for maximum fun.
performed with his new band, the Phantastics. He draped a big "thePhantom*" sign behind the stage, over a Pitch advertisement. The stage was too small to accommodate everybody, so the DJ and the keyboard player had to perform at audience level. A ragtag crew, the Phantastics. A very assembled-from-a-flyer-at-Big-Dude's type of vibe. The DJ did some real serious wika-wikas, the bassist had long brown hair parted in the middle and glared at his five-string as he bashed out the songs. Everybody was very herky-jerky. thePhantom* wore an expensive-looking white polo and a fedora that he flung out into the crowd on song number two.
At one point in the BleachBloodz
set, the band invited two girls on stage and ordered them to dance. (They also asked them to remove their tops, but no go.) So they started the song and the girls started dancing. About thirty seconds in, they got annoyed and stopped the song and kicked the girls off the stage, like they were just two stupid girls who had wandered onto the stage. What a bunch of dicks. Apparently they closed with a 13th Floor Elevators cover, but I had already gone back outside to see Reach.
THEE Water MoccaSins
do this thing where they basically set the smoke machine to 11. It sets a mood, but my eyes couldn't hack it. Now that I think about it, it would have been good cover to enjoy a cigarette in air conditioning, though. A girl next to me was noodle-dancing to their atmospheric rock jams with her eyes closed.
played outside with a full band, which he calls the Lonely Hearts Club. The band played a jam session for about ten minutes before Dutch even showed up, then Dutch showed up and gave shout-outs to everybody but the Riot Room janitor before he finally started actually rapping. He was wearing a BleachBloodz shirt. When I say Fuck you, you say Pay me
, went one of his raps. Dutch has charisma for days, and he had the crowd really going.
Inside, another Dutch — Dutch Humphrey — was leading his band, Cherokee Rock Rifle
, through a set of blasting cock rock. He was wearing thick-framed glasses, a fedora, and cut-off sleeves; he looked like a gutter-punk Elvis Costello. He banged a tambourine at his chest like a wild animal. At the end of one of the songs, he half-sung, half-said: "Even the devil knows the virgin's cunt." Then: "We have some stickers for sale."
were one of my favorite bands playing the Showcase, but they didn't go on until about 1:30 or so, a bum slot. Making Movies
played before them, during which I gazed at singer Enrique Chi and pondered my heterosexuality.
In the bathroom, a guy craned his head over the toilet partition and asked an apparent stranger if he'd heard of his band. They weren't playing the showcase, but they sound like Minus the Bear. "If you like Minus the Bear, you'd like us," he told the stranger, who nodded and left without washing his hands. I figured maybe that was my queue, and I humped on home.