Archive for the ‘Shadows and Light’ Category
There were notes on stage asking people not to sit on the floor “because we need every inch we can get.” Luminaire, you’re so sweet and honest.
La Sera is full of bouncy bass and hairbows. Katy Goodman and her friends brought us sweet, swirling indie rock from Los Angeles. Goodman, the lead vocalist and bassist, looked like she’d just walked off the set of The Virgin Suicides in a baby doll dress, tights and her long, red tresses. She was accompanied by Jen on vocals and guitar, and a drummer named Matza, except the spelling of his name is probably wrong, but he can cry or yell at me if he’d like since I can’t locate him on the interweb. Matza looked like Napoleon Dynamite’s brother minus the social awkwardness, a lot, plus some great drumming capabilities.
Standing in the midst of an English audience, I thought about how there’s something alluring about Americans when you’re not in America. There’s something mysterious and colorful about them. A couple of months ago, I didn’t believe anything about Americans was foreign or interesting, but today I’d say different.
Sweet-voiced Jen could probably convince a dragon or some other similar beast to let her be just by speaking to it. I’m probably going to read this tomorrow morning and think ‘wtf?’ [I did.]
La Sera is upbeat and calming at once. It’d be great in your living room mixed in with the carpet and a conversation across the coffee table– or while driving in the heat with your arm riding the air that’s going in the opposite direction of the car.
Twin Shadow’s “Slow” began to envelop the space in between sets.
If this is any indicator, their music feels as good as they look. Jenny Lewis couldn’t stop smiling, which in turn made Johnathon Rice smile. Their set was a shot of life through yours ears, eyes and skin… waking us all up. I hadn’t noticed the country in her voice until tonight.
“This song’s a love song,” said Jenny raspily, sarcastically and sexily while looking at Johnny. “From one English boy to another,” added Johnny.
Goodness, they’re both so charismatic. Johnny is a whisper and Jenny is a howl. After asking the audience what they wanted to hear, a girl called out “Sweet Home Alabama.” [!] J+J’s faces dropped and stared blankly in her direction. Johnny leaned towards the microphone and drawled, “Not on your life, sweetheart,” which produced a big, collective laugh.
They were about ready to play something, when someone we would soon learn was named, ‘Tim’ asked, “Can you play what you’re about to play and “Silver Lining”?” which was met with “This song’s about people from elsewhere that like to tell other people what to do.”
One encore later we were left riled and revved up, and Jenny+Johnny sent us off into the night to conquer ourselves.
Shadows and Light Take 3: There’s A Shield Around Us. Casiotone For the Painfully Alone + Powerdove.In Shadows and Light on November 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm
There was a tube strike beginning any minute and my friend Regis and myself were standing on a street corner apparently one shop number away from the venue we were looking for, but couldn’t seem to spot it. Without hesitation, I asked a guy in a blue hoodie about to walk past us, “Excuse me, do you know where the Luminaire is?” He said it was just ahead of us. My guard was already down, so I asked him where he was from and what his name was. (No, not in the same sentence.) It was Dan, pronounced ‘Don,’ and he was Irish. Cool. We reached the venue and there was no sudden need for any sort of guard to be put back up.
For the first two acts, most everyone was sitting on the floor in front of the low stage, and the bartenders were whispering drink prices to the thirsty show attendees. I bought an overpriced bottle of pear cider that had been marketed to me earlier that day in the tube station and took my seat in between a boy twice my size and a girl with voluminous, curly, blonde hair. We had missed Rob Stillman’s set, but were able to catch most of Powerdove. Powerdove’s music is a heartbeat in the dark. It’s getting lost in a tunnel of memories and rediscovering the details underneath the sheets in the morning light. Annie Lewandowski and her accompanier didn’t use words to communicate in between and during songs– only nods and glances sometimes accompanied by a smile.
Soon after their set, the positively inevitable happened. Owen Ashworth of Casiotone For the Painfully Alone took the stage. Casiotone is made up of the thoughts you have in between thoughts. It gives the mundane a melody. A few songs in, Ashworth asked if we had any questions so far.
The conversation went something like this:
“Alright. Any questions so far?”
“How are you?”
“Very well, thank you. Nice of you to ask.”
“Is this really your last tour?”
“No, I’m going to keep touring. I’m just going to write some new songs. I don’t see why I should have to play the same songs forever and ever.”
Collective audience laugh. “Time for the ska band!”
Laughs. “Yeah. The ska band. Me and nine trombones.”
If it was possible to play, he made playing what we asked for a priority. And what made this night a combination of gripping and cozy, besides hearing “Young Shields” played live on Ashworth’s last tour as Casiotone, was bits of the night like this artist and audience conversation.
What I’m trying to combat here, is the idea that there is no sense of community in London. Sure, there is. It’s just not holding a sign saying, “Here I am!” on a street corner in somewhere you’re supposed to look, like Soho. The bands that played there tonight, the audience, and the Luminaire hold a piece of it.
I found something fantastic when I was planning on just spending a few minutes on Twitter. It was the community Matt and Kim had created. They had a post that said, “More postcards came in. The pinata one is priceless. See them on mattandkimmusic.com.” So naturally, I swooned over. It turned out to be a fan project where the heads of Matt and Kim were placed on top of a white postcard and people could draw or collage around them. It was awesome– these people had taken the time to color in and draw on a postcard and send it over to these musicians. Funnily, there was more than one involving a baseball bat and a load of candy. Though, if you scroll down past the postcards, there are a few videos. The first being a tap dancing video to “Daylight.” It’s a little hard to watch because after about 30 seconds into the song, the tap dancing overpowers the song and it doesn’t really work together anymore. But it’s so nice to see the teamwork that’s present- both Matt and Kim and these tap dancers are using this music to get through and enjoy their day. The next video was a music video set to “Cutdown.” You have no idea what to expect since at first it’s just a young guy to the right armed with a boom-box and a black bicycle helmet, and another to the left in a plaid shirt and dark sunglasses. They’re standing there until the music starts and the boy in the plaid shirt begins to bob his head and then rotate his hands and forearms like– I’ve never seen before. Maybe you haven’t either, but they start walking towards the camera and more kids join in until it’s this group of about eight, dancing together. The boy in the plaid looked like Ferris Bueller singing, “Danke Schoen” in the parade. He was the ringleader with blind confidence. It made me laugh and tear up because this is how they chose to spend their day; in the back of a Sears department store, together.
A good memory being worked over in your mind lights your body up from the inside, out; its goodness burns and turns the corners of your mouth upwards. That’s what the songs on Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice’s new poppy folk album I’m Having Fun Now feel like. In songs like “Switchblade” and “Big Wave,” their voices and instruments mix with your own memories and become that much more colorful, deep, and gut-wrenchingly real, beautiful, and nerve-wracking.
The album’s release date is Aug. 31st 2010; it’s streaming on NPR Music and can’t come soon enough.