I was very excited to see Spoon. Their Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga album is one of my favorite albums of last year. Unfortunately, the night started inauspiciously. I was supposed to go to the concert with my friend, but she waited too long to buy her ticket and the show was sold out. So, I had to go by myself. I arrived early enough to get a good spot in line, right behind about twenty people all smoking at once. While in line, someone from the Monster Energy drink team was handing out samples. I tried the Mixxd drink, which is quite possibly the worst thing I have ever tasted. Still after the doors opened at 8:00, I was able to get a good spot, right up front in the center.
White Rabbits opened but did not start playing until 9:00. I have listened through their album a few times, to me they sound like yet another post-punk revival act with not too much special about them. Still, a few of their songs made me think they had great potential as a live band.
Technical difficulties marred the band's entire set, and indeed all the bands'. For White Rabbits, the lead guitarist and co-lead vocalist could not hear himself in the monitors and was distracted the whole set. The keyboard player and other co-lead vocalist tried to bring the band's energy to make up for it. On the first two songs the band was disharmonious a bit, but on the third song, they really came together. They stayed tight throughout the rest of the set and brought the energy, despite the lead guitarist's continuing problems. They closed with a visceral, dissonant, sped up version of "Kid on My Shoulder". That track opens their Fort Nightly album, and I always thought it lacked a certain punch on record, but live it certainly did not. The wall of sound they delivered blew me away.
White Rabbits had only played for forty-five minutes and were done. Surprisingly no one moved from their spots, to go get a beer, go to the bathroom, or buy some merchandise. Well, at least not in my little cluster. These kids were determined to keep their choice spot. The Walkmen did not start playing until a little before 10:00.
I was not fan of the Walkmen before going into the show; I thought they were one of the blander bands to come out of the garage rock revival of a few years ago. They won me over by their third song. The singer, Hamilton Leithauser, really gave it his all, putting everything into the songs. He held the mic and moved around like a punk rock singer, very unafraid of what he looked like on stage.