January 25, 2012

Caveman / Au Palais / Heaven - Bowery Ballroom - January 20, 2012


I got to The Bowery Ballroom late, so I missed most of Heaven's set except for the last two songs. Heaven is a band out of New York City that I believe formed in 2010. There isn't a lot I can say about Heaven based on two songs, but I will say that I did hear their influences which according to their Facebook page are bands like The Cure, New Order and The Psychedelic Furs.

I'm gonna stop here and just say that the next time I see Heaven is playing around town, I'll be sure to check them out. I found a wet piece of paper on stage with Heaven's set list written in shorthand. I wrote Heaven's people and they clarified the song titles.

Heaven's Set List
1.Once the Heartache
2.Telepathic Love
3.Mountains Move
4.Falling Apple
5.New Amsterdam
6.See My Friends
7.Colors In the White of Your Eyes

Heaven are:
Matt Sumrow- guitar-vocals
Mikey Jones- drums
Ryan Lee Dunlap - synth-vocals

Au Palais 

Au Palais is a brother and sister duo, born in Toronto but now residing in London. Their music is synth/pop but not as poppy as defined by that description. From an interview I read, I know that David Cammathe was in guitar bands prior to working with his sister. Therefore, based on the sound of Au Palais' recordings, I was expecting a set up more like School of Seven Bells or The Hundred In The Hands. What the audience got was an electronic set up more like Erasure or The Petshop Boys. Love the latter two duos mentioned but let's face it, unless there is a show (dancers,video, an extravagant amount of lighting, etc.) happening around them - one person looking into a laptop while the other sings isn't very interesting.

Then again, in a white vintage dress, Elise Cammathe had a model like beauty that coincidently reminded me of Julie Budet a.k.a Yelle. I can't say that Elise's voice wowed me but it worked well in the the context of Au Palais.

The duo started with "In Heaven," from Erasurehead, sounding like an intro in and of itself to "Tender Mercy," which was the song that followed. For the first few songs, Elise kept the mic in the boom mic stand which as you can see in the pictures gave her a sexy sort of stance. With the first song having a minimal amount of lyrics, Elise spent a lot of time moving side to side and staring into space.

Fortunately, the following song had more lyrics and was more interesting musically. David joined Elise on vocals during the song's chorus, but they both sang in the same register and mostly in unison with only a hint of harmony coming from David.

Au Palais's set got a little more happening in the middle after they did their new song "Other Kids." It felt like Elise loosened up a bit by taking the mic out of the stand and by also talking about where her and her brother were from once she finished the song.

Elise then announced that Au Palais's next song was a Nancy Sinatra cover. Since I was unfamiliar with the song, I thought she was kidding. Though if she wasn't kidding, the song "Some Velvet Morning" would have been very kitsch rather than arranged in the same style as everything that proceeded it. But actually the song was a duet originally done by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood. It occurred to me, when I listened to the original on Youtube, that had Au Palais sang it as a duet it would have come off as rather incestuous.

Au Palais did another new song and then a song Elise said she wrote while she was going through her Kate Bush phase. It was one of my favorite songs in the set. Before going into the song, Elise said "When you live in England - it's hard not to feel like you're in Wuthering Heights" almost as an aside.

Au Palais ended with "Omamori" which sounded much like the second song in their set. By that time, Elise had really loosened up and was dancing a lot more. 

Au Palais Set List
1.In Heaven (from Erasurehead)
2.Tender Mercy
4.Other Kids
5.Some Velvet Morning
7.Little Wolf

Au Palais are :
David Cammathe
Elise Cammathe


In November of 2011, I heard Caveman perform on WNYC's radio show Soundcheck and recalled having seen them in the early days of writing this blog. I actually wrote into the show about remembering the event. (An audio clip is listed below) To be exact, I saw Caveman perform their first show on January 24th, 2011 as one of the opening bands for White Rabbits. Since they now have a recording out, I thought it would be nice to come full circle and see them again. Besides I have a better camera.

The stage lighting for Caveman seemed like it was kept very dark. Most of the lighting for many of the songs came from the video and/or slideshow that was being projected on to the screen behind the band. Some of what was shown on that back screen included the Caveman logo. Minutes before the band stepped on stage, smoke/fog poured onto the stage.

Caveman eased into their set with frontman Matt Iwanusa playing the tom that was center stage along Stefan Marolachakis on drums for the song "Easy Water." Iwanusa and three other members of the band sang a laid back harmony throughout the song over a beats played in unison that almost felt hypnotic along with the swirling sound of distorted guitar sounds.

I found it a little risky that Caveman decided to make the second song of their set, the first new song of the evening. I gathered from looking at the set list, that they haven't even got names for the new songs because they are listed as "New Jam." After their set, I found Caveman's set list written on a paper towel which I took from the part of the stage where bassist Jeff Berall was standing

Lead guitarist Jimmy Carbonetti, who by the way makes the band's guitars, is the only musician in the band who doesn't sing but who's voice was most prominent through his guitar, for "Thankful." During the song, Iwanusa switched between guitar and the drum while he sang with his three compadres.

The band did a few songs back to back, and from what I remember, they went directly into an intro for "Decide" that seemed like a wall of distortion. When the song came out of the intro, Berall's bassline almost felt like it had a raw punk feel to it. Whereas the following song "December 28th" had an easily recognizable quasi sneaky sort of reggae bassline.

One of the most interesting songs on Caveman's Coco Beware CD is the last song "My Room." Though the Caveman song is a completely different song from the Beach Boys' "In My Room" it shares the same sentiment in terms of safety and even some of the same melodic sweetness. After the song, the crowd perked up a little when the band slide into "My Time."

Iwanusa didn't speak a lot but did speak enough. He announced the two new songs as new jams and thanked the crowd several times for being there as well as making some off the cuff statement about it being 2012 and still being here. He didn't announce the song "Where's the Time," which I do remember being played but don't know if it's a new song or something already in their catalog that didn't make it onto CoCo Beware.

The band closed out their set with another new jam after doing "Thankful." It was kind of bizarre to have the last song, as a song that the audience didn't know but somehow Caveman got away with it. There is something about Caveman's music that is automatically loveable, personally I think it's the sing-along-able melodies that are a large part of it.

For the encore, drums were set up behind Matt Iwanusa which were played by members of Heaven along with a person who I'm pretty sure was Matt Clark from White Rabbits. Aside from having all those guys on stage as a grand finale, "Great Life" is the kind of song that always puts a smile on my face and on Saturday night it had the same effect. 

 Caveman's Set List
1. Easy Water
2. New Song
3. Thankful
4. Decide
5. December 28th
6. My Room
7. My Time
8. Where's the Time
9 The Country's King of Dreams
10. Vampire
11. Old Friend
12. New Song
13.Great Life

Caveman are:
Matt Iwanusa - Lead vocals, guitar, percussion
Jimmy Carbonetti - Lead guitar
Stefan Marolachakis - Vocals, drums
Sam Hopkins - Vocals, keyboards
Jeff Berall - Vocals, Bass

November 17, 2011 Broadcast of Cavenman on WNYC's SOUNDCHECK with John Schaefer

No comments:

Post a Comment