Wednesday, March 18, 2009
3-14-09-Blank Dogs Music Hall of Williamsburg
I completely loved Blank Dogs from the minute I heard them, Mike Sniper was building on the greatest parts of new wave, really early Cure...everything that I had written off at the time as boring old synth crap from high school. It takes someone like this to go out on his own, realize the good things that were happening...the potential of re-imagining this scene now, really making it something new. So good, so stripped down it really sounds effortless, so inspiring it's firing up old 4-tracks everywhere I'm sure, myself included.
Why was I going to this show you ask? Well, I wanted to see Silk Flowers, Women and Naked on the Vague also, but the idea of standing there for 4 hours is just not going to happen any night of the week. I'm just getting to old and don't have the patience to sit through all the take downs and set ups, but there was no way I was missing Blank Dogs, they had played around too much to miss them again and the Stilts, well the Condos show I know wasn't a good representation of their sound...it was rushed, the venue has maybe a preamp mixer before it hits a PA. So I wanted to hear them in under the best possible circumstances, plenty of sound checks and preparation.
I was up in the balcony, which was surprisingly empty, I usually never think to go check it out ever.
So you know what you're in for Blank Dogs live is going to be a completely different show then anything you've heard recorded... it's almost a cover band, a full 3 electric guitar band, bass and synth where all the individual parts are now separated between band members and most notably different, a live drum sound. It's just everything that the cassettes and 7"'s aren't. A fast moving, rock show with weird vocal effects. I recognize and love the songs when they come up...in the end they hold up, it's great songwriting after all, it's just a different feel completely from the demos, which is what I guess they are, I've been listening to. I just wanted to see maybe a solo show with a backing track of the minimal rhythm stuff. But then that's pretty daunting to be out there alone in front of this kind of crowd keeping it interesting.
It's not Dylan going electric or anything, but it's a different sound that isn't anything like what got him this attention in the first place. I just wonder what the thinking behind this is. They are completely different versions, interesting in their own right, but not the feel of the original tracks...that's all I guess.
Go have a listen to the show for yourself....Blank Dogs at MHOW.
Just a side note, and I had long discussions into the night about this....that afternoon I was at Academy record and noticed all the Captured Tracks releases in the new LP section had handwritten notes on them recommending them for fans of...etc. It seemed like they were being given special attention. Now I know there's some connection between Mike and Academy so it just seemed a little weird to me.
That being said I love the Dum Dum girls 12" that he put out so I don't disagree with maybe highlighting the release...and then I wonder how much those really make a difference anyway, if that kind of singling out really affects sales, so who cares right? But I just think it's a little weird that connection isn't completely disclosed.
Not that if you go there you aren't looking for that album or know what's going on. I can't find fault with Academy at all really, if that does move a few more records and allow Mike to put out more great music, well then what am I bitching about. I just wonder where the line is a little but when the standard falls a little bit and they just give special attention because they are friendly? It's a slippery slope.
Then another point of contention....I went to check out the merch table for a second during the Stilts and all the back singles from Blank Dogs were out...everything, including a few I had missed, but all were selling for $15! I think I'm mostly pissed I couldn't bring myself in principle to spend that kind of money on a single I missed when they were out there. And maybe that's to prevent people from just taking the whole table and quadrupling their money when they should go out to fans....it just was another weird page to the story. Again I'm not saying he shouldn't be making money, I'm sure he's not saving up to buy another condo on McCarren park or something...I don't know how I feel about it. That's what they're worth, so by all means get it. Make a living for god sakes. Quit you're day job, press records....I'll help you.
I'm a pile of contradictions.