Journeymen get ready for the real experience. Multitudes is the kind of band that makes the listener loosen their grasp on reality. Their music transcends genre and is best described as transformative. Bending time and space, a song could start psychedelic and dancey. Then it can turn to free jazz, climax as hardcore and settle into a sophisticated noise. I have always had a strong fondness for three piece bands. A player can stretch out without having to worry about stepping on another player’s turf. This comes with a big responsibility though as each instrument is quite exposed. What makes Multitudes a great trio are their simplicity to approach, the passion they play with and the virtuosity each player brings to the stage. I really admire that drummer Alex Lambert is front and center in Multitudes’ stage set up. He is right where a lead singer would traditionally go. Lambert has rightfully earned that spot as he is a lead drummer in the band.
The first thing I heard from the Brooklyn based band Ben Franklin was their record, Optimist. The recording has a great sound. It is no shitty demo. There are big sounding drums, present vocals, and each instrument sits in its own clear spot in the overall mix. On the other hand Optimist isn’t over produced like 95% of the major releases today. The songs are catchy and clever post-punk with a taste of indie-rock. They make me think of bands like Cake, Weezer (Blue and Pinkerton only), Cursive, and Sunny Day Real Estate. After hearing Optimist, I knew I had to go to a show and see if the band live stood up to the recording. I saw Ben Franklin at 11pm on a Wednesday at Bruar Falls, one of Williamsburg’s not so underground, hip spots. The club was packed. It took about four songs for the band to get warm, but once they got it they were on fire. Their vocal harmonies are well planned and spot on. I find the riff based sections of their songs to be where the band thrives. Billy Gray is not only the main vocalist but also the lead guitarist. His modesty on stage is dichotomous to his masochistic style songwriting. While speaking to the crowd he comes off as vulnerable and sincere. Bassist Eddie Garza does most of the talking for the night. His banter between songs is too long for me, though he does a great job of playing, singing and dancing during the songs. He is the designated fun guy in the band.
I had the privilege of being at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last Sunday where I happened upon the power trio Bo-Peep. I know many of us out there have our issues with the live music scene today. In general there is a lack of enthusiasm at shows on the stage and in the audience. It seems that if the current music scene needed a word to coin it, it would be “medium music for a medium crowd.” Bo-Peep, however, sparks a flash back to a time before the Facebook generation, when live music mattered. Bo-Peep is an all female band from Tokyo, Japan with more balls than every resident of Bedford Ave. combined. Their songs are a raw and savage celebration of life. Though they walked into the club almost completely unknown, Bo-Peep managed to possess an entire room of Brooklynites into breaking the norm: We all got our asses up and danced.
It is about 11:15am as I walk down Washington DC’s 7th Street to The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. The Rally, organized by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, is meant to draw attention to the fact that media entities sensationalize the issues, creating a lot of the political divide and conflict that the media feeds us. As I approach the National Mall, all I can think is holy shit. I live everyday in the urban congestion of New York City. I have been to festivals and large public events before. Despite this, I have never seen so many people in such a small area in my life. The feeling one gets from being around so many others is awing, like nothing that can be read about or seen on TV. As far as my eyes could see in any direction there was an endless sea of people.