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Dispatches from Noise Pop: Wednesday 2/24

Dispatches from Noise Pop: Wednesday 2/24

As I've stated already, the free happy hour shows at Benders this week are nothing to shake a stick at. Looking at the line ups, there are several great bands playing, though sadly with such little time to actually see them. In the hopes of capturing some of the music, it was with that rest-be-damned ethos that I set out after an 8 hour work day to catch the early Happy Hour show, with the promise of some quality punk rock later in my evening.

Mist and Mast were the first band at the happy hour show I found myself at when the clock hit five. I have gone, and will likely still go, back and forth on Mist and Mast's sound. Having heard their recordings, there is very little space in my life for the conventional, tired indie rock style that doesn't grasp at even a few straws outside the middle of the road. That may be my selfish desire to be assaulted by sound, but for indie rock perhaps  I can be overly critical. Regardless I was impressed with Mist and Mast's performance. They are accomplished musicians and with their performance they pushed at some barriers of dissonance that I would have loved to see them break further, so for that they garner some credential. If nothing else, they were a perfect band to prep the pallet for what was to come.

Taking the tone in a radically different direction (a theme for these noise pop shows) The Ian Fayes followed, performing a sincerely sweet pop set. With Coco Rosie backed by a drum machine as likely the easiest comparison, and infused with some form of tender sadness, their saccharine and delicate pop sounds were certainly something to call home about. Of course with my preference towards dissonance, I would like to say their sound is the exception to the rule, though such as that is irrelevant; their sweetness impressed.

Sadly I missed Love is Chemicals, but I had a grittier calling awaiting me.

Moving on to the Cafe du Nord with great anticipation for Harlem, I arrived early enough to be rewarded with a wonderful surprise - The Young Prisms. As best as I can describe it they inhabit some space between Asobi Seksu (especially with the female vocals) and My Bloody Valentine. Their swirling and cavernous soundscape, though at times slightly unsteady, was a pleasure to be smothered with.

Slowing the evening down momentarily were crowd favorites The Sandwitches. Inhabiting a similar space as the Ian Fayes, I was for the most part underwhelmed by their set. The sound was precise and their tone certainly much more dower than The Ian Fayes, generally a strong selling point, but by the end I was left with something to be desired. Maybe I was just antsy to get on to Harlem.

Best Coast followed, reeving the crowd back up with their harder indie rock. Again, certainly not an unaccomplished band but as with Mist and Mast earlier, the generic indie rock style is not a very strong selling point. They were enjoyable, and they certainly brought the energy back up, but as far as breaking any interesting new ground, they did not. Again, perhaps I'm a bit too picky but what can I say, I look for a challenge.

Something of a fury hit the stage as Harlem rounded out the evening with a performance that was everything it promised to be. They were loud, obnoxious, and confrontational in all the right ways. There is certainly nothing down low about their sound. Seeing their wild antics and hearing their slamming punk songs can't help but conjure up the spirit of The Replacements. Bopping around on stage screaming at the microphone, each other, the audience, their empty beers, and whatever else the room had available, they unleashed their set with all the insanity you could ask for.

All in all, a good night in music. Tonight, another Benders happy hour and Stomacher playing at Bottom of the Hill.  For now enjoy this ridiculous robot.

-Words and Photos Ada Lann

Published: February 25, 2010 |

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