Yesterday evening I dragged homeboy Jowell on up to Notsuoh for the rescheduled, shifted-around, and somewhat downsized (Ex-)Keene St. Warehouse Party. I had some serious misgivings about the whole thing, I have to admit -- I was halfway afraid we'd get there & find Notsuoh shuttered and locked down, with nobody in sight. Even if it was still going, I had a horrible feeling that there might only be a handful of people there. I figured, though, that I needed to make a go of it in spite of all that, with SCR acting as one of the show's sponsors & all.
Luckily, I was way off. The show did go on, and there was a pretty big crowd in attendance -- big enough that it was hard to move around inside the venue. I didn't see a whole lot of familiar faces, but hey, I'm thinking that's a good thing; I've been to more than enough shows that were attended pretty much solely by members of other local bands. The more kids that come out to shows, esp. the local ones, the better.
As soon as we got to the club, we ran into show organizer Jacob Calle, meeting him in the flesh for the first time, and I was mightily impressed. I've been to some shows where the booking folks just set the bands up to play & bail, but Jacob stuck it out the whole time, constantly bouncing from one part of the place to another. He explained the hassles he & Eric of I Heart U Productions (not to mention their army of kind volunteers) had gone through to get the show together, and man, the guy's had a rough week of it. Apparently the owner of the Keene St. Warehouse promised the moon w/regard to renovations and not only couldn't deliver but kept telling Jacob he'd have the place ship-shape in time for 7/5.
Alas, 'twas not to be. When Jacob & Eric finally got a look at the place, it still had no roof, no floor, and no power. The pair decided to take matters into their own hands and started building out the warehouse specifically for the show, but then nature intervened -- it rained, and when Jacob came by to finish the floor, he found four inches of water standing throughout the place. That's when the word went out that the whole shebang was cancelled.
Luckily, Jacob didn't want to give it up quite yet, so he headed on over to Notsuoh to see owner Jim Pirtle & beg and plead to be able to shift the show over to his home/club/coffeehouse, in part so that the organizers could begin to recoup some of their (substantial) losses. Pirtle, being the cool guy he is, immediately agreed -- from what I heard, he didn't even take any $$$ at the door.
So the show was a go. I don't know how much Jacob & co. still lost (as of 11PM or so, they had $500 of free beer that they couldn't do anything with), but things seemed to roll along nicely. And Jacob himself was hands-down the nicest guy, seriously -- I'm happy as hell I got to meet him.
Unfortunately, due to family stuff, we didn't make it up to Notsuoh 'til 8:30PM or so -- but the three bands we caught were pretty damn incredible. I'd heard all three before, but never seen any of 'em, so I was looking forward to checking 'em all out live for once. (Got some more pics up here on Flickr, if you're curious.)
O Pioneers!!!: Whoa. Color me impressed. I'd been up-and-down on these guys for a while, having only heard some of their older(?) recorded stuff, and I hate to say it, but it mostly just made me shrug and say "eh..." Live, though, I was bowled over -- Eric (who also does the I Heart U stuff, I believe) has nicely rough vocals, and the clean-yet-loud guitars make me think (favorably) of Against Me! or American Steel. Plus, Eric managed to put the evening into perspective nicely, summing up the show's difficulties by saying: "Fuck it, y'know? It's Saturday night; let's have some fun!"
The Riff Tiffs: Okay, so I still feel like an idiot for not realizing that the cute girl taking money at the door was Althea from the Tiffs; I asked her who was playing, and then spotted the list of scheduled bands and pointed to the Riff Tiffs' name and said, "yeah, they're who I'm really here to see." She gave me a funny smile, and I couldn't figure out why until I saw her step onstage and pick up her bass (at which point I slapped myself on the forehead). The band was freaking awesome live, hypnotic and mesmerizing and roaring all at once; surging, fiery guitars, high-pitched dreampop-y vocals, and the best damn rhythm section I've seen in a while. Jowell loved 'em, too (this was his first exposure to the Tiffs), comparing them to Royskopp and Sigur Rós, which makes some sense, although he said he lost the comparison when the band kicked it into overdrive.
By the End of Tonight: Another one I was somewhat uncertain about... I've heard BTEOT on CD many times, but it never really clicked for me, y'know? It was always too disjointed, too all-over-the-place, so much so that it gave me a headache and not a whole lot else. I think, though, that the live environment is really where the band shines -- they were absolutely fucking insane, spellbindingly so. The all-over-the-place-ness suddenly made perfect sense as the band threw itself across the floor of Notsuoh, stitching together a dozen different styles and tempos, and the whole thing just kind of snapped together for me: "Holy shit, this is what this band's about." The music was constantly on the verge of collapsing completely, but somehow pulled back from the precipice every time.
I should note, btw, that it was pretty obvious by the crowd reaction that By the End of Tonight was who the bulk of the crowd came to see, and people were going apeshit by about halfway through their set. The band played on the floor (as did O Pioneers!!!; Riff Tiffs took the actual stage), with their gigantic-ass speakers occupying the stage; bassist James (I think that's his name) climbed the stacks towards the end of the set and crouched on top, banging on his bass and screaming, "We will all be dead by the end of tonight!" at the top of his lungs. It was a beautiful sight to behold. When we left Notsuoh (with a brand-spankin'-new custom Space City Rock banner under my arm -- thanks, Jacob!), our heads were ringing, our mouths were open, and our necks were sore. All of which is a good thing, in my book.
So in the end, it all worked out, and Jacob finally got to throw his party, even if it didn't go quite like he'd planned (anybody know what they did with all the beer?).
UPDATE: Gah! Ignore the bit below -- real-live accurate info to come shortly...
Never one to rest on his laurels, though, he's got another show coming up, a combination art/music show on July 12th called Creature Comforts -- it'll be over at the ArtStorm/Caroline Collective (4828 Caroline), with a bunch of artists (incl. Jacob, Lisa Marie Godfrey, Eli Sebastian Brumbaugh, & others) and a bunch of cool bands/musicians, (incl. Young Mammals, Wicked Poseur, Hard Place, & News on the March). Check it out, y'all...
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