I like going to shows: the need to go see bands play live is
what prevents me from becoming a total hermit. Sometimes, i
go see shows based purely on the recommendation of others. This
show is a prime example: The Ides Of Space and Her Space Holiday
both came highly recommend by many a fellow internet music obsessive.
Plus, it gave me something to do on a Saturday. So off i sped
to the poorly ventilated Earl....
I got to The Earl barely in time to grab a beer and find a
spot to stand and see the stage before The Ides Of Space started
up. Which was fine with me -- i hate it when i show up at 10:30
and have to kill half an hour standing around waiting for people
to get organized.
Anyway, when Ides Of Space took the stage i was, well, shocked.
I had heard that this band was young, but wow -- their parents
let them come all the way over to America to play? They look
like they belong in high school. Except for the keybaordist,
who looks like somebody's older brother. Really, the band looks
young. It made me feel like, well, like some old fogey whose
mind is controlled by a small
salt-water dwelling pore-bearing animal! Sigh.....
So yes, The Ides Of Space are painfully young. And multi-ethnic.
When i had heard that they were Australian, i was expecting
them all to have that sun-hardened look of Paul Hogan (you know,
Cocodile Suburu-drivin' Dundee). Instead, the drummer and the
bassist were Asian, and the rest of the band looked like poorly
dressed indie rockers. Apparently the indie rock look is ubiquitous
throughout the remnants of The British Empire. Strange that
so many people should have so many bad haircuts.... Anyway,
the Asian thing surprised me. It makes sense i suppose, since
Australia is closer to Asia than the US is, but i still think
of Australians as being either Aboriginie or white folk.
And let me tell you this: seeing an under-nourished looking
Asian kid talk with an Australian accent is truly funny. I can't
explain why, but i giggled everytime the bassist would speak
between songs. It just seemed ... ridiculous? Really unexpected?
I dunno, but there is some real humor there!
Okay, enough about that. Musically The Ides of Space were very
fun. They create a loud wall of guitars with strong rhythm and
interesting keyboard bits. The lyrics were barely heard above
the sheer volume of the music. The rhythm section was very powerful:
the drums and bass really provided a lovely backdrop for the
sonic explorations of the two guitarists and the keyboardist.
In general they sounded like they stepped out of 1992, like
they hung out with Ride or The Verve or something. The songs
were not only guitar heavy, but they were also quite catchy.
I like a lot of that early shoegazer music, but one thing many
of those bands failed to do was blend a certain pop sensibility
into their sonic fury. The Ides Of Space have completed that
fusion -- their songs are loud and full-sounding, yet still
catchy and hummable. I think that this reflects highly on their
If there was anything that i did not like about the show it
was the vocals. Not that they were bad or anything, they were
just ... well, generic. The vocalist sort of half-sings in that
style trendy with indie kids these days. Most of the time, his
voice was buried under the guitars. If that was intentional,
it worked fine for me. However, well, the parts in their songs
that i liked best were where the singer would step back from
the microphone and focus fully on his guitar....
So what i didn't like about the voice, after all, is that it
detracted from the guitarwork. That's a really minor complaint,
i know. My overall verdict on The Ides Of Space is: go catch
them if they come to your town. They were a lot of fun in concert.
The second act tonight was Her Space Holiday, the other band
on the bill that i had heard of. This band consists of a nerdy
looking scrawny guy in thick rimmed glasses, and an Asian girl.
However, when they took off their sweaters i noticed that both
are heavily tatooed, as if they are refugees from a hardcore
punk band. This did not exactly blend with the gear they were
setting up on stage: several keyboards, a laptop (a Sony VAIO,
which breaks with the tradition of Mac laptops in electronica),
an array of lighting fixtures, and a little mixing deck. The
gear was electronica, the band looked punk. I was very curious
to hear what they sounded like.
Their set started off with the laptop reading negative reviews
of the band. Man, some of those German magazines give harsh
reviews: the computer read one in which the reviewer urged the
guy (who apparently is the entire studio band and is named Matt
Bianchi, or something like that) to commit suicide so that "there
would be more food for the rest of us to eat"! That is so harsh!
And yet, it's funny. And yet, i am jealous that some German
thought that up before me -- man, i can think of a few reviews
where i could have used that line! Sigh....
Anyway, the computer was sort of the MC of the show. Between
each song it would sarcastically point out how many more songs
the crowd had to sit through. It also got the best line of the
evening. At one point it said "Her Space Holiday are a hip-hop
act. So raise you Palm Pilots in the air, and wave them like
you just don't care." Of course, after that Her Space Holiday
laid down their funkiest beat, as people self-consciously felt
around for their PDAs.... The laptop added a real self-deprecating
levity to the show.
And the show was great. Her Space Holiday make catchy synthpop.
It was largely instrumental, but occasionally the two members
would trade vocals. And sometimes Bianchi would add some low
key guitarwork into the mix. All of the music was catchy and
happy, and the pessimistic computer voice provided a nice contrast.
They were fun, and i would go see them again.
The headliner tonight was The Gloria Record, who i had never
heard of. They took the stage around midnight, to a pretty full
house. The Earl had apparently filled up while i was enjoying
the two openers.
The Gloria Record are a guitar rock band from Austin, TX. Their
music was, well, it was guitar rock from Austin, TX. The guitarists
were doing some fairly interesting things, but the vocals were
placed well in the front of the mix. That was a mistake in my
opinion -- the vocalist has a sort of whiney high-pitched voice
that was also a little flat. It really grated on my nerves,
so i left after two songs, having gotten more than enough enjoyment
out of the first two acts.