Posts tagged ‘Annuals’

4/21/09: Virgin Forest @ Cake Shop (89/100)

April 21st, 2009

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Damnit, I’m tired. Really tired. I’ve been on my feet shooting TV commercials all day. Not the kind of shoot you see on Madmen(too bad) or Trust Me (thank god). It’s run and gun. Lots of back and forth, moving from one shot to the next, etc. Basically not a lot of time to relax for 10 hours. So, being up at 7am + shooting till 6pm + a 2 1/2 hour drive back to NY + doing work for a couple hours at home + a band @ Cake Shop = fucking tired. Oh right, and add in 89 straight days of live music to that, too. Luckily, I got one of these bad boys on the shoot to come home to.

Many people ask me how I decide on which band to see, if I have any specific criteria. I can’t remember what I’ve mentioned here before, but it’s pretty simple. I check the better venues (Bowery, Mercury, LPR, Music Hall) then Timeout NY, if I don’t see anything worth seeing, I check other/smaller venues (Pianos, Cake Shop, Living Room, Fontana’s). If I don’t recognize anything, I just start picking bands from these venues and check out songs on their myspace pages. This is how I’ve stumbled upon some good bands: The O’s, The Answer, The Mess Around, Blonde Acid Cult, Lights, and tonight, Virgin Forest.

I have to say, as random as this selection may seem, this was a really good band. And, it was at 11pm on a Tuesday night and there were only probably 20-25 people there, they were still better better than some more well known bands I’ve seen so far, like Annuals, Maps & Atlases and The Bird and the Bee, for example. Who were fine, I guess. It’s just that this band had something none of these bands had. Problem is, I can’t totally put my finger on it.

They didn’t put on much of a “show,” I mean the bass player and singer/guitar player sat down the whole time. The set was pretty short, and so were the songs. But it just felt good being around their music.

My initial reaction was they sounded like 70s AM radio. It was really warm, and comforting, and familiar. But not in a badly derivative way, although they did seem to be pulling from some major influences, I thought: Van Morrison, Willie Nelson. They even covered a Leonard Cohen song, and reminded me a bit of some No Depression bands I grew up with. More references escape me at the moment, but I guess the point is this: maybe they sounded so good because they sounded familiar.

Again, not in a bad way. I really, really liked it. And could’ve sat there for another half hour, at least. But instead, they wrapped things up around 11:30p.

Before the show, I was worried that this selection was sort of phoning it in, on the 89th day. But not after. I stopped up to the stage after the show and talked to the guitar player and told him of my project. He said, “I think I’ve heard about you. Or someone doing something similar.” I don’t know if there is someone else doing something similar in NY. If so, show your face, nemesis. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure he meant me. I told him it was day #89, he thanked me, I gave him $5, took one of their 45s they had for sale, and jumped in a cab.

Holy shit.

Tomorrow is day 90. The last 10 days. Let the countdown begin.

1/28/09 Annuals @ Bowery Ballroom (6/100)

January 29th, 2009

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Where do I start? How about the end:

(all times are approx.)

12:11 Annuals walk off stage. House lights turn on.

12:10 Thanks New York…

11:58 The Annuals are ending with a wimper, not a bang

11: 52 They play one of their best songs (“Carry Around”) second to last. Not sure I care anymore. They lost me about an hour ago.

11:42pm Update Facebook status: Nick is wondering if encores are optional – I need to decide on a ruling here.

11:40 Encore break.

11:38 [yawn]


11:30 Good song: “Brother” ruined by the singer spitting (spit? water?) toward the crowd to punctuate the end. Less emotion, more arrogance.

11:21 Oh man, sooooo much vocal wailing. Does every other word really need to be this epic, painful and gut-wrenching? Is this the new genesis of emo happening before my eyes?

11:12 Update Facebook status: Nick is zzzzz @ Annuals

11:11 I look around. Half the crowd looks bored. Why are they all here? Are there people making themselves go to shows, like me?

10:49 “Are you having fun yet?” asks the singer(weak crowd response) I said, are you having fun yet? Scream louder!” he pleads (whiney, snotty – not fun, pleasant)

10:45-11:21 A lot of songs I don’t understand. Arrangements that just seem flat and boring. A lot of instrumentation, sure. But the songwriting is just not there.

10:35-10:40 Great intro. Double drum sets is always great. Add two more toms to that and it’s super tribal and percussive. So far so good.

10:31 Annuals are off the side of the stage. They’re going to start on time. Perfect. It’s not super packed. Maybe half full? (I’m optimistic, for now).

10:26 A lot of people with cameras crowd the front row. Some actual photogs, some just people with cameras.

10:15 The ticket guy downstairs says, “Annuals will be on in 15 minutes.” Nice and prompt. I like that.

10:14 Get to the Bowery Ballroom, show my ID and get a wristband. It doesn’t rip any hairs out of my arm. Bonus.