Since I have come out from under my rock and started seeing bands live again, I went to see Ladytron play last week. CSS (or Cansei de Ser Sexy), a dancy, punky band composed of mostly ladies from Brasil, opened up for them. Though this photo is not by me and shows them playing in London, not NYC, I think it shows some of them nicely, though it doesn’t capture their completely FOTR fashion sense (that’s Fashion of the Ridiculous) or the fact that they are about 20 years old and having a ton of fun up there and as a result, are a ton of fun to watch.
I’ve been really slow to blog the photos I’ve posted, but the other week I went to see my friends The Shondes play at Sin-e. Just back from a summer US tour, they sounded awesome… really tight, incredibly gripping melodies and harmonies and just plain good dancy rock with a refreshing political message. Being radical, Jewish queers who are passionately pro-Palestine and anti-occupation is no small thing and it made me realize how much I appreciate the presence of these people and their thought and action in my life. Louisa (bass) and Eli (violin) are pictured in this picture, but not Brannigan (guitar) or Temim (drums)… Hopefully they will be playing again soon in NYC… in the meantime check out http://www.shondes.com.
In the garden there is a section of poisonous plants with a sign that says “do not touch.” Of course, a child ran up and started pulling at the deadly nightshade. The hazzards of having era-specific gardens I guess. But the gardens were amazing and it wasn’t even that crowded (and since the Cloisters is part of the Met it’s suggested donation, so if you go, forget about that $20 suggested admission, give them a dollar and hang out for the afternoon).
Fooled you! It’s not more photos from France, but from the Cloisters, in upper Manhattan. To get there you take the A train and then walk through an amazing park, to stroll through a sort-of-reproduction ancient church to see a mish-mash of mideval, religious art, including some amazing tapestries of unicorns. It was the perfect Sunday vacation close to home, as I arrived back in Sunset Park tired and satisfied and relaxed, as if I’d been out of town for longer.
I have never seen a bad Gossip show and I’ve been seeing them since their first tour with Sleater-Kinney in 1999 (my office mate LM and I just realized we were both at that show in Boston, which made us laugh). Though I felt their show at the Knitting Factory this spring where everyone was packed in and dancing so hard the floor shook captured a little more of this band’s spirit, they sounded great and looked great. The best part of the show for me was the girls in front of me, pressed against the stage. They were probably about 20 years old, all young women of color, screaming their lungs out for Beth and jumping up and down the entire show. As jaded as I might be, this, for me, is what makes going to shows like this worth it. To know other young ladies can feel inspired, alive, excited by this music. It certainly did that for me. It’s funny to think that the kids in the Gossip are my age and I know they might have made the conscious choice to be rockers and it makes me think about how once I might have wanted to be a “rock star”, but when I think about the late nights and hauling heavy shit around, I feel happy about the choices I’ve made.
This photo of Ellie is about the only decent shot I got of Erase Errata, but I was admired her knitted bass strap cover. Erase Errata sounded good, but again, it was strange to see them in such a large venue. This was the first time I’d seen them in a few years and the first time without Sara Jaffe on guitar. Without the fourth person some of their crazy, frenetic energy seemed to be lost. They’re less rough around the edges, no trumpet, no weird hair or crazy outfits. They’re more than just a rock band, for sure, one of the best rock bands out there right now I would venture to say, but maybe… maybe we’re all just getting a little older (or I know I am and that crazy punk energy is really hard to sustain). I find their new album infinetly more listenable than the others, but live the songs didn’t seem to pack as much of a punch as the older songs.
I saw Mika Miko play with The Gossip and Erase Errata. I had seen them last summer while W. and A. were visiting from Belgium in the Good Good’s loft and they stood out among the mush of punk/ post-punk bands that played that night. It was strange to see them in such a huge venue, as they seem suited for basements, lofts and holes in the wall, but they sounded great and I later compared them to sounding like the Frumpies, if the Frumpies had had better songs and actually practiced… but same kind of sound and energy and one of the singers (maybe her name is Jenna, pictured here) sang into a distored red telephone. Theirs is the first CD I’ve bought in a long time and I am really pleased with it, it sounds like the music that made me love indie and punk music in the first place.
Today was an achingly beautiful September day, the kind of weather where you know it is fall. It was not unlike this day 5 years ago that was being commemorated so much… Sunset Park offers a straing view into Lower Manhattan. I hadn’t even heard of this place when the skyline was changed, having just moved to New York two weeks previous. Today makes me feel like I “should” reflect on what’s changed, but the fact is is that it has infused my daily life so much now that reflection catches me at odd moments, emotion and shortness of breaths, flickers of memory coming when I least expect it. There’s nothing too different I have to say on the actual “day of” that I haven’t been saying “since”… racial profiling, torture, deportation, war, curtailment of civil liberties, all this continues on a day-to-day basis, so I don’t feel like I need to commemorate this day particularly (I understand the need if a loved one was lost, for sure…), but I do want to say that we can use it as a place where we can keep struggling, working, hoping for truth, peace and justice. Is another world still possible? Most days I am not sure, but we have to keep believing so.