Friday, September 17, 2010


River City Extension played The Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn last night. They, of course, did not disappoint, even after my high expectations following the Gogol Bordello show at Starland Ballroom last July where they opened with The Dead Kenny G's (who by the way are absolutely insane and wonderful and are SO worth checking out live!) for their gypsy punk headliner.  The gallery itself is located in the most obscure spot humanly possible which I very well may never have found had I not thought to acquire directions prior to making the voyage from New Jersey to Brooklyn.  It's off the Bedford stop on the L, down a bunch of blocks, past what appears to be somewhat abandoned (or at least closed and abandoned for the night) buildings, around a corner and down toward the water.  Walking back did not take nearly as much time as walking there, but I blame my quest for some delicious vegan fast food at FoodSwings for side-tracking me to Grand for an hour. (You can read about that on my food blog by clicking HERE). 

Anyway, the venue is this little "hole in the wall" sort of place that is deceiving from the outside.  Inside you have a very creative, inventive, swanky sort of vibe with a bar to your right, a bathroom with a shower in it, vines on the walls, church pews to sit in, a little overhang that reminds me of what a fort from when I was 9 would look like had I made one now complete with a few tables and chairs with flickering candles.  The stage is framed by a piece of installation art resembling clouds against a sky blue wall, elevating the bands into the heavens and creating a very gorgeous visual.  They are a fully licensed bar so there is beer on tap, some in bottles, wine, and other lovely spirits.  I stuck to a night of Shock Top myself.  The sound quality was considerably better than average and the event was fairly priced: $10 ADV / $12 DOS.  This is the way shows used to be, the way they should be... no ticket, pay at the door, get your hand stamped, reasonably priced drinks, and a very intimate, inviting, and inspiring environment.  Needless to say: I was most impressed by the space. I won't lie, though, it was slightly overrun by catty hipsters... but this is Brooklyn we're talking about, and Bedford at that.

Now, on to the show...

The opening band (Only Son) reminded me much of bands I would see in high school and the singer had a voice that I never expected to come out of his body. If I had more cash on me, I'd have looked into buying their CD. It's a nice mix of slow and upbeat with a very chill sound. Apparently the singer (Jack Dishel) was also the lead guitarist for The Moldy Peaches. I can dig that. Anyway, you can check them out on myspace if you'd like a sampling of their music, but they had a very different feel live. Perhaps I am partial to live music or perhaps these recordings do not do them justice. Regardless, check them out.

Second up was a band called Common Prayer whose website pretty much sums up the experience of seeing them live. The most valuable members of the band (musically) are without a doubt the singer and the drummer, flanked by an interesting keyboardist with a very ska scene vibe and ensemble to match, and two women with varied talents.  One had a very sweet sort of style that reminded me of a friend from youth group ten years back. She sang and played a free standing drum. The other woman had the most peculiar style to match her instrumental expertise... she reminded me of a young Sophia from the golden girls (strictly based on her choice of glasses and hairstyle) and played the clarinet, a milk pail, and a coach whistle in addition to singing as vocal support to the lead singer. Their music is a little bit of Unicorns meets Neutral Milk Hotel, meets a mellowed-out family in the south playing banjo and whatever other creative instruments they had lying on their front porch. Listening to their music on myspace has a VERY different effect than seeing them live because of the visual distraction of how eclectic this band really was. It reminded me of a family of roomates, not that that's a bad thing, but it was different... more relaxed. I'd give their CD a shot to listen to in the car or just relaxing and editing photos or writing. The singer's voice reminds me a bit of Delta Spirit whom I love because of their fist album and am supporting through their second despite its different feel.

After a significant time of technical difficulties from the bands prior, we finally did get to enjoy River City Extension. Here are some clips from the show (I am sorry if the sound is a bit blown out... I just got a new camera that I am not quite used to filming with yet!):

Something Salty, Something Sweet

Our New Intelligence

Friends & Family

With the single tweet: "River City Extension does not disappoint." I believe I summed up their performance. They were well worth the wait to see them between sets. Great job, guys. Very tight. I really appreciate the energy in an amazing live show... and quite frankly that was some of the hottest drumming I've seen in a long time.

The headliner for the night was Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea who is described on myspace as "heartache in combat boots climbing a mountain in the dreamy lands." The woman has quite a voice on her, let me tell you that. I'd have enjoyed her more had the venue not become a bit of a sauna from the energy of the crowd mixed with the humidity of what was apparently an insanely destructive storm outside... it was also after 1am, so I was starting to lose steam after a long day of being awake, traveling in, enjoying vegan fast food, and consuming numerous beers. Check her out and see what you think for yourselves... it's some very cool stuff if you're into sexy female singers. She's apparently on tour with The Black Keys on the west coast for the next few weeks if you're out there and want to check her out live.

Sadly ducking out early into a light drizzle, we caught the L to 14th, grabbed some garlic knots, and then waited an eternity for the PATH (which, as always, was only running one way at 2am and that way was of course not the direction we wished to head... I think it's NYC trying to tell us to stay).  Rolled in around 3am and passed out cold.  Overall, a great success on an otherwise stormy, dismal night.

And now, for a little exit music...

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