Irving Plaza NYC, October 29, 2002
Thursday, Jonah's onelinedrawing, From Autumn To Ashes, Planes Mistaken For Stars
It's nice that I live one hundred yards away from Irving Plaza, a great mid-size venue by Union Square. I end up there all the time, drawn in by their trendy corporate booking. Tonight wasn't as bad, as tickets were only $10, partially explaining why the show sold out. The other factor is obviously Thursday’s rising popularity among the young, quasi-hip crowd in attendance. I left a half hour early, and found a line around the block, full of a combination of hoodie-hardcore kids and scenesters wearing a preposterous amount of pre-faded denim. I did my time in line, then smuggled my two cameras inside, and further flouted their paltry rules by not checking my "European carry-all." Despite being so far back in line, I managed to get fairly close to the stage, and patiently awaited the first act.
Coming into the show, I only knew that Planes Mistaken For Stars were signed to Deep Elm, and had a feeling that they rocked a little bit more than some of the other bands on that label. When they finally came onstage, my attention immediately was drawn to their pants. Tight, tight denim. If I have learned anything in my days of concert attendance, it is that the tighter an artist’s pants, the better the rock. I was not at all disappointed. PMFS looked like truckers through their combination of poor hygiene, long, often ratty hair, and tattoos. It worked. The music was straight on rock with some interesting "twinkly" guitar parts, justifying their Deep Elm contract. The telling moment of their set was the signer’s announcement of "This song is about f***ing..." drawing cheers, odd looks, and frightened gasps from kids who thought they were in for an emo cry fest. While not intensely interesting, PMFS were a completely decent rock band who gave it up on stage and were genuinely entertaining. I would let them sleep at my apartment, but I'll go to their shows anytime.
From Autumn To Ashes seem to follow the continuing trend of Long Island being the next New Jersey. More and more well known underground bands are coming out of the indigenous scene, to the joy of indie-rock lovers everywhere. As they prepared to play, I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that, wonderfully, FATA was also wearing tight jeans. They started playing to a crowd that loved them, with friends of the band rocketing from the stage into the crowd every few minutes. I could look behind me to see a decent pit forming, with standard issue hardcore dancing I've seen from most kids in New York. The band was fairly standard issue as well; somewhat preppy fellows playing the music of the positive youth. Chug-chug guitars, double bass drumming, sing/scream dynamics, and the classic twinkly guitar parts. FATA does it well, but it's nothing that original. Stage presence was great, but nothing really set this band apart from a lot of others like them. A high point occurred in their last song (of epic length) when a female vocalist came onstage to sing several verses. I would assume that she's on the album as well. Not a lot of hardcore bands have done this, and it's a step in an interesting direction. I also must give props to the drummer for wearing a Britney Spears-esque headset mic for his singing parts, as it went against the tough guy image that hardcore has intentionally acquired. All around FATA are fine, just nothing spectacular.