Unfortunately, I did not make it to the Trash Bar in time for two things.
One: The open bar from 8-9. Although, considering that I ended up drinking PBRs and whiskey like they were going out of style (and paying for it the next morning), I was probably fine on that account.
Two: The Robo-Sapiens’ performance. (Sad face for that one.)
By the time I did arrive at Trash Bar, Sneaky Legend were starting their set.
Featuring guitar, synth and drums, this was Sneaky Legend’s first live performance. And they had over-rehearsed for it. And that’s a compliment.
They presented a polished (read: catchy and somewhat radio friendly) but still raw and bluesy tone. The lead singer/guitarist, Eric, was carrying the show in my opinion, with a lot of pedal work. They were incredibly focused on their technical performance, which made for (what I’m assuming are) near-flawless renditions of what they had been practicing for months, but it wasn’t as engaging as I know it will be in time.
They have good songs. They’ll get more comfortable with the stage. All in all, as first performances go, it was really impressive.
Next up was Swordfight. I was smoking a cigarette outside with Brian Maverick of The Nuclears when he told me they were solely instrumental. Oh god, red flag number one.
[From here on out, all pictures are credited to Glenn Baughman.]
Okay, get one thing straight. Swordfight is not bad. They are SO technically amazing, and they have a mastery of their instruments. However, I just didn’t really care. About them. At all. To be blunt? They bored me.
There were two guys, a guitarist and a drummer. It was a bit like industrial Impelliterri. Another way of saying this? Proggy masturbation.
I appreciated the drummer’s New York Dolls referencing t-shirt. If this is actually not a New York Dolls reference, I will deduct points.
Honestly, it was probably my favorite thing about them.
While they certainly had power (the stage was vibrating) and skill, they also had an inflated sense of ego. The lead singer told the audience a song was titled “Shatter the Brain”…
Needless to say, my brain remains unshattered. By this performance, at any rate.
They also used a laptop backing track. Any potential points the drummer gained for his t-shirt are lost because of the little Apple remote he used to cue each song.
Their last song started out really promising, too! But then it just dissolved into arpeggios and self-indulgence like all the rest of it, and I just tuned it out.
I’m sorry for being mean, but I can’t be sunshine and candy-flavored kisses all the time.
Wise Girl providing a refreshing burst of humility after Swordfight. While their overall sound was a bit too generic for me, they had a solid rock foundation, and a lighthearted approach.
The power lay in frontwoman Abby Weitz’s songwriting ability, though I think that hampered her ability to compose more engaging hooks. Weitz has a strong voice, but it wasn’t strong enough to withstand the instruments behind her, being lost in oceans of sound at points in the performance.
I found Wise Girl hard to classify, and that is a bit of a detriment. Overall, I got the impression that their material is probably much stronger recorded than live…or at least not in this setting. A venue more geared towards acoustic singer-songwriters would, at the very least, produce better sound.
As a side note, here is a picture of their bassist, Margaret. She was wearing an incredibly short dress. She looked damn good in it though. Just had to point it out.
Anyway, Wise Girl’s set was really made special to me because of their choice of cover. I’ll post their setlist, which will automatically ruin the surprise, but if you’re like me, you’re terrible at waiting anyway.
Be My Baby, originally by the Ronettes, is my boyfriends’ and my song. Well, the We Are Scientists version specifically, but still! I talked a bit to Abby Weitz outside about our shared love of girl groups and we shot the shit about some comps.
I always appreciate someone who shows knowledge of a broader understanding of the history of popular music. Be My Baby was obviously my favorite song in their set, but Roles Are Reversed was a good and memorable ending tune.
Finally, it was time for the men of the hour, The Nuclears. Here is a picture which demonstrates their high level of rock.
Do you see the guy on the far left? That’s Brian Maverick. He has literally ROCKED HIMSELF SIDEWAYS.
This was my first time seeing The Nuclears with their new lead singer, Nick Vivid. He had previously been described to me as a “mixture of Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger” and I found that to be more accurate than anything I could spit out. As I watched him shirtlessly strut across the stage, I wondered just when he would smash the bottle near him and begin slicing his chest up.
Vivid changes the overall aura The Nuclears give off. It’s more theatrical now, a little less gritty, a little more cock rock, but still with that high level of intensity we’ve come to expect from what I will now bill as the loudest band in Bushwick.
Yes guys, you can use that.
I chuckled when, during a song, Vivid cried out “NUCLEARS! DEACTIVATE!” and they brought it down. I wish that worked on men all the time.
At another point, Vivid decided to cross the sea of people over to the bar. (Maybe he needed a beer?) He climbed up and entertained us for a while from that vantage point before making his way back to the stage.
The Nuclears ended their set explosively. Literally. The band had spent most of the morning taking out the neck pickup and packing in a smoke charge. Pretty badass, and pretty memorable.
As The Nuclears left the stage, and the drummer from Swordfight began getting the karaoke gear together, the odor of burning remained. The smoke charge was the culprit, but it just as easily could have been the odor of burned out eardrums and the crackle of alcohol-fueled energy.