Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Rock Shows of Note LXXXII

I'm all lined up to play catchup on the last week's worth of Media Diet reports, but I'm going to start with the most recent and work my way back. Apologies for the chronological confusion.

Last night, Deb and I, along with her visiting friend Kate, headed down to the Lower East Side to a place called the Pyramid to see a couple of bands. The draw was a new band called the Bedouin Thieves, which includes a woman who used to be in another band, Me Jane, with a mutual friend. But we arrived in time for the first band's set, which we watched courtesy of closed-circuit TV in the bar.

Madam Robot and the Lust Brigade was a somewhat sloppy but still interesting four or five piece that seemed to specialize in dramatic space rock. Parts reminded me of David Bowie, but beyond their on-the-edge performance, I was primarily struck by their lyrics, which addressed robots, politics, media control, and other topics. I'd have to check them out again -- or listen to their MP3's -- to make a decision whether I like them, but in theory, I like their concept. (Now that I'm listening to some songs online, I don't think their live show does justice to their recordings. Once they polish their live act, they'll be a band to watch; the recordings show a complexity, direction, and humor that didn't communicate live.)

The Bedouin Thieves -- who don't seem to have a Web page yet -- however, were amazing. With three women and one man in the band, they had an on-stage presence and balance that was welcome. Two of the women -- guitars and drums -- are sisters. And the man played cello and sang along with the other women. For the most part, they reminded me of late '80s and early '90s DC-area hardcore turned art rock. The front woman had a droney yet punctuated guitar style, and the cellist's barks and vocal contributions were well in line with those of Guy Picciotto or Einar Orn. I will certainly go to see them again.

Yet I hope that the drummer, who seemed to be the youngest of the group -- but not the least expert by any means -- tones down her attitude somewhat. Susanna Hoffs cute, she had a watchdog glare and demanding nature that was slightly irritating. I can understand displeasure with too much volume on stage -- while not hearing her own vocals enough -- but she occasionally snipped at her other bandmates, going so far as to shout "No!" at the bassist when she appeared to be about to come in too soon. Right now, the band is great. If they can get their band relations and performance anxiety worked out, they'll be even better.

Back to the closed-circuit TV's in the bar. I understand that this is common practice in New York. I'm curious, though. Do any venues record those in-house microcasts -- even just for a courtesy tape to give to the band? Seems like a good takeaway, as well as rich fodder for community television. Do any Media Dieticians have any ideas for how these closed-circuit TV's could be put to better use?


After the first two bands -- we left before the third of many, which seemed to be Madam Robot's members all over again with the addition of a female keyboardist -- Deb and I crossed the street to another bar whose name I forget for a quick pint before braving the snow to head home. On Sunday nights, it seems that the bar screens horror, science-fiction, and B movies -- while a DJ spins punk and new wave music. Only problem seems to be that they just have one small TV -- and that the bartender tries to get DVD's with subtitles and closed captioning... it's not really a proper movie screening. Does anyone know of any Psychotronic Video-style screenings in the city?

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