Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Muslims at Spaceland LA (8-16-08)

Being new to LA, it's weird to go to a club where they have valet parking for an $8 show. But parking sucks here so I guess that's a good thing. I was just worried that practically being the hometown band (....well from San Diego...that's close to LA right? Distance makes no sense out here.) it would be packed... or at least word has spread this short distance down the coast of their greatness and it might have sold out. Thankfully it wasn't....I was getting worried on the drive over, so hoping to catch them after playing their self titled LP over and over, and having no experience with the venue.
Spaceland sports blue and silver curtains with a crazy mirrorball with an asteroid belt on the's pretty open and not really separated from the rest of the bar. It's probably about the size of Union Pool where I was going to miss them in a few days in my backyard...and then they're opening for the Walkmen at the Bowery. So I figure it's going to easily be one of the last times to catch them at this level before I'm way back in the crowd at Terminal 5 or something.

A little worriedly I waited through an electronic, effects pedal band thinking there was another one still to go when Matt Lamkin got up on stage and put the set list down on the floor next to the mic stand. They opened right away with 'On my Time' and it wasn't the cool, collected... dare I say delicately recorded Muslims, this was full volume blow out Muslims where the vocals were a secondary vehicle for the seriously amp pushing sound.
It gives everything a decidedly more punk feel and the separation of recorded instruments all blends together in a blast of quick 2 minute songs.
Matt is even better live, he has that perfect mix of unaffected cool ...probably so cool it's not an act at all...or he could give a fuck. Towards the end of 'On my Time' he's not even holding the neck of the guitar anymore...just staring out into the crowd, strumming away, because it's about volume and tempo. The way he can simultaneously sing about looking for nightlife, repeating the chorus echoing that endless search for something that doesn't/won't exist and mocking the people that do, it's perfect. For 'Extinction', he's wandering around, his back to the audience, raising his eyebrows, barely holding the mic. These effortless songs just get better live where they are all about volume and speed, I don't mind the vocals getting a little lost, they are moving the hell out of this crowd, just enjoying it.

They played pretty much everything including a new one called 'Parasite' which I hope they get to properly recording soon.
Halfway through the set, during tuning or probably volume adjustment, (could they get any louder?) Brian, playing a vertical kick drum, standing the entire show, started playing a little rim shot rock beat, and Dave started playing a bassline. It seemed like in between song music banter... It definitely wasn't 'Religion' from their self titled 12". I think they spontaneously were working something out....Matt obviously stream of consciousness started singing 'Hanging 5... barely alive' channeling some kind of 50's-60's surf rock influence...of course......I just couldn't place it before, this is definitely some kind of extension of that, combined with California and maybe it's just because I'm here, but it all makes sense now.

Go get that 7" on Sweet tooth records already.

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