Up next in the Friends of Probably Awkward blogging series: the wonderful KS, who writes over at Morland, and who happens to be HT's favorite wino buddy. She devours hamburgers like nobody's business, is unafraid to admit to loving Beefaroni, and reads a hell of a lot more than you do. She also does what we here at PA don't do enough of: she goes to shows. Yup -- money saved by living in the most ridiculously rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan goes towards seeing loads of live music, and then living to tell the tale -- and telling it well.
(We here at PA would also like to mention here at the outset that HT is not an enabler; she merely facilitates the inevitable. Ahem.)
When HT asked if I would be interested in posting something on PA, the first thing that came to mind was perhaps a couple quick reviews about some of the CMJ shows I was planning on attending. CMJ is a local music festival showcasing up-and-comers as well as more "household" names and it's an awesome opportunity to stuff your face with indie music. I highly recommend you get out there this week to any one of the hundreds of venues and try some new music on for size.
My intended CMJ itinerary started out last night with an ambitious evening of music at the Bowery Ballroom put together by fellow blogger Brooklyn Vegan. My motivation for choosing this line up, as opposed to the thousands of other options available last night, was the presence of Dean + Britta on the line-up. And I was happy to see that some of the other bands on the bill were ones I had heard about and wanted to checkout so I originally planned to make it a long night. However, I keep using the past tense because in reality I only made it to the D+B portion of the show: HT got me wasted at the local on Monday night and after battling the resulting hangover all day (combined with a desperate need for food between work and getting to the show) I missed the bands before D+B and left shortly after they were done. I blame it all on her.
That said, what I did see was awesome. So much so that I struggled in deciding how to approach this post because having something snarky to say in a review is generally easier to write and perhaps more fun to read. But I have nothing bad to say about the set they played last night: the sound was great, the venue is one of my favorites, the two of them were having a great time and they played wonderfully.
D+B consists of Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, both of Luna fame (and, as I just found out, Britta was also the singing voice of Jem. Yes, Jem. How awesome is that?!). Luna was generally dominated by Dean's über-cool stand-offish vocals and his singular guitar style, but D+B is equal parts Dean and Britta which results in an airier and sultrier sound than Luna. Also unlike Luna, Britta is given more room to shine in this project and the first song of the evening, "Singer Sing", was a perfect example of this: Britta opened the show with the soft vocals on this song and Dean's distinctive voice and guitar came in and out only when the song was truly underway. The rest of the 45 minute set covered most of the songs from their newest album, Back Numbers, as well as some of their gems off their first duo collaboration together, L'Avventura. One highlight of the night came during "Ginger Snaps" when I realized that the back-up keyboardist was playing the xylophone-sounding part with a drum machine. Awesome. They closed the show with a cover of New Order's "Ceremony" (which Dean first covered in his Galaxie 500 days and is apparently featured on the new Ian Curtis biopic, Control).
Dean + Britta are off for a European tour and probably won't play the City again until after the New Year, but I'll be keeping my feelers out for word of their next NYC show. I could definitely do a repeat performance.
Perhaps if I stay away from HT tonight I'll be able to make it through the showcase I have lined up on Thursday and you'll get some thoughts about more than just one band later in the week…
[Photo swiped from ryan muir's flickr set.]