Delicate Steve at Glasslands Gallery
Delicate Steve. That is not the world's best nickname. Fortunately I'm pretty sure it's the name of the band, not lead singer/guitarist Steve Marion. Unfortunately he's going to get stuck with it anyway. We all know very well it's going to happen.
They are best known as the band behind the world's most bullshit press release. The press release was such impressive bullshit that it was reported on by NPR. Yes really.
Bad Cop at Glasslands Gallery
Some lead singers stand in one place the whole time and just sing. To these people, Adam Moult of Bad Cop is Satan. This guy was everywhere, on the amps, out in the audience, just pretty much being a one-man show (aside from the music of course, which was a five-man show). I get the feeling that back in Nashville they're known as something of a party band despite getting pretty heavy at times.
Heliotropes at Glasslands Gallery
Some of these shots are much better than I expected for Glasslands. I guess when they turn on more than one color of LED the lighting is actually okay. It still wasn't enough to really capture all of lead singer Jessica Numsuwankijkul's thrashing during her guitar solos. That hair is a weapon I tells 'ya.
Lady Lamb The Beekeeper at Glasslands Gallery
Silly me, I just wrote something about how how hard it is to take photos at Glasslands, then I took some photos at Glasslands. Silly me. I guess they turned the lights up a bit this time? Not much, but a bit.
I was introduced to Lady Lamb the Beekeeper during her time as a solo artist. She's this little lady with a really big voice. When she sings with soul she just blows people away, and she has decent guitar chops too. Obviously quite a few people aside from me have become quite impressed with her over the years since she is now headlining at venues like Glasslands.
Seeing her with a band is a little different than catching her solo show. The fellows in the rhythm section don't sing (probably just as well) and only play on some songs. When they do join in they add a sense of urgency to the music, making it a bit less like folk and a bit more like rock. This makes the pacing is more predictable, which also makes the music less personal. You know she isn't going to draw out one particularly noteworthy lyric or stop the song to crack a joke or anything like that. With the band it becomes less of a performance and more of a show.
Perhaps that is what happens when an artist goes from playing small rooms to headlining at medium-sized venues and touring Europe. Artists have to change and grow, such is life and all that. And as a side note I don't recall seeing her play banjo before either. Of course changes like that can alienate lazy old fans who still want to see the exact thing they're used to seeing. Perhaps aware of this, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper does some songs in the old solo style, some of the new accompanied style, and occasionally does something totally different like playing that banjo. That's probably the right compromise.
A Review Of The Newly Renovated Glasslands Gallery
(Better than before, but with one major flaw)
"In the early days of the Glasslands Gallery the place was constantly changing. Not only would the art installations change every month or two but the place was often literally under construction. Did you know there used to be a ladder behind stage right which you could climb to get to a little loft? They eventually filled that in. Remember the art room in the loft where you could literally go paint on the walls between sets? Those were the older, more experimental days of Glasslands Gallery. Back in the days when warehouse art spaces in that part of town were a new thing. Now there are what, five on that block alone?!"
Raccoon Fighter at Glasslands Gallery
Raccoon Fighter have something of a split personality. Most of the time they have a big, flashy sound with a bit of sheen. Songs like Slave Dancer and No Lover remind me of some of the more punk glam bands, say The Stooges or the New York Dolls. Obviously the band itself is not the least bit glamorous, and they're not really punk either. Their music is too much fun to be punk. It's just sort of a clean and catchy rock-n-roll style.
The thing is, they also have a distinct garage-rock style which emerges on songs like Butcherette and The Upbeat. On these songs they sound heavier, sloppier and a bit more serious. These songs stand out because they sound so different, which I suppose adds a nice bit of contrast to the set.
I wonder how a band can end up with two really distinct styles like that. Could the band have two songwriters? Could they be evolving out of their early garage style into a more confident sound? I don't know but I'm not all that concerned. If you enjoy rock music you'll like both.
Gringo Star at Glasslands Gallery
If you paid close attention while looking at these photos you might get the impression that they are out of order. Rarely is anyone playing the same instrument in two consecutive shots. Honestly they might be a bit out of order, but the guys in Gringo Star really did switch instruments between just about every song. The bassist on one song played guitar on the next, one guitarist played keyboards for a few songs, and everyone sang. Only the drummer stayed put. Maybe he had a nice seat and didn't want to move?
Gringo Star have the jangly guitars and raw vocals of a garage rock band. They also have a sort of smoothness which takes some of the edge off. I suppose this could be called a pop sensibility but more likely comes from a 60s Mod influence. At times they remind me of The Kinks. They are also a 60's throwback is that they expect the audience to dance. In Brooklyn no less (how quixotic!) They're not crazy, though. Most of their songs are in fact danceable and even at this show a handful of people got into it. Right music, wrong audience I guess.