The Grooms have the best drummer I have ever seen. The most entertaining to watch, looking like he's flailing around, but completely in control, throwing his whole body into it. Dedicated to these crazy half beats and never ending fills, totally in his own structure. He's pounding the weirdest way...he half falls off his stool from rocking back and forth.
I hadn't expected to catch the Grooms at the Less Artists More Condos annex on Bayard Street but I'm glad I did....they were the best thing all night.
I loved this space...it was big enough to not have the DBA problem of being packed early in the night and impossible to get into...it's cavernous...it looked like it must have been a photo studio. It's great to see a show in these places that aren't even venues. There's something about seeing bands here that makes you feel like you're in on something important...no tickets, the band is setting up their own equipment...piles of empty cans on top of an amp. But what happens when they get knocked over? Someone grabs a trashcan and sweeps the whole thing into it. It's a beautiful moment.
But back to the Grooms...a perfect three piece...bass, guitar, drums. Really Sonic Youth inspired, weird guitar tunings, distortion is an instrument. Slide guitar with a beer can, bursting into walls of sound...he even sings along with the guitar melody like Thurston at points. Songs are built around indiscernible chords....an anti-melody, coming down out of it to hint at something, rework the rhythm. Minor chords into a high phaser melody, rising out over the wall. The drums are following this lead, changing the whole time from all out fill patterns, rim shots, muted crashes...perfect...I loved it. I'm gong to have to get this album...the myspace is great stuff. I had to get up this morning and put on Daydream Nation just to make sure I wasn't completely insane...and it's the next best thing until I pick this up.
Blues Control were up next, I got this single from Sub Pop a while back and wanted to see what they would bring live. They have an extensive setup with multiple racks of keyboards, power for everything...pedals lined up, two guitars...unfortunately it just didn't work. There's a wall of sound and then there's just a wall of sound. The rhythm would start on a flat drum machine and then all the sounds would just pile up improvising on top of each other. It's two people trying to make as much noise as possible...there was just nothing to grab onto...nothing to keep me interested after the first 5 minutes of pounding on a synth into delay...distorted guitar chords. There's no energy, no direction. It's all jamming around itself. It's fun to play, and hear what things are working their way out of the cloud.... the sounds you didn't even play, I just wanted something?
Then finally Kurt went on around 2, 2:30...half of the Violators must have been playing another show or something...we had to wait for them to show up...so how was it with the band? Just ok.... I really wanted to like it so bad...Constant Hitmaker is amazing. It had nothing to do with the sound, the time...I tried to block it all out. The band must be a recent addition, the drummer is playing along with a click track and the few songs I recognized were extended versions of the concise little jems of experimental intimacy. It was huge here...so Kurt can yell and really get into it, but the vocals are lost and the refrains go on forever. He's really channeling Dylan, I know its crazy, but there was this folk singer, acoustic guitar, storytelling in an outsider way.