Sunday, February 4, 2007, 05:46 PM ( 1315 views ) - Show Reviews - Posted by AdministratorWith a triple bill of Monsters Are Waiting, Stellastarr*, and Editors I needed to stake my place early right in front of the stage to get pictures. The show was sold out and I didnít feel like the audience would have let me back up to the front if I had left for one moment, so in total I stood about three and a half hours. Festival-goers can snicker at what appears to be my lack of fortitude. And it was scorching in Chop Suey (donít get me wrong, itís a lovely venue), leading to a mammoth thirst on my part. Those are the only down sides from the show. Well there is one other to come up later. Not one of these issues was the fault of the bands, who were all just brilliant.
After listening to Monsters Are Waiting I was curious to see them live. Their music has such a vim and drive to it I wondered if they would duplicate it live. In fact, the four-piece, often called sexy - well they are that - played marvelously together and charmed with tender and sensual vocals from Annalee, slinky bass playing and sparkling guitar playing by Andrew and Jonathan respectively, and drummer Ericís responsive drumming (They seem to prefer being known by first names only.) Songs like Fascination and Ha Ha were particularly groovy live, and their set closer, the lusty Christine saw the band go quite mental - in the best way possible. I am in awe of bassist Andrewís ability to play guitar, after he and Jonathan switched places, while nearly stretched out on the floor.
Meanwhile it got hotter and the woman next to me still wore a sweater - a sweater I ask you! When Stellastarr* came on I was really starting to hurt for water but was stubborn and I kept my place even when another photographer burst his way in and out of the crowd with impunity. For some reason crew from backstage periodically came out and mopped up water on the stage floor.
Iíve admired Stellastarr* since I saw them open for the Raveonettes in 2003. Thereís something loveable about them and the other two bands of the evening and I just canít place my finger on what it is. Perhaps itís singer/guitaristís Shawn Christensenís tortured and disturbing presence, or Michael Jurinís culinary guitar work, or the centered drumming by Arthur Kremer. Or it might be the bass playing, some of the most sophisticated bass playing you will ever hear, coming from the seriously foxy Amanda Tannen. Itís probably all these things. And each time I have seen Christensen I feel like he must fall apart every night. He seemed to break down in earnest. This was good stuff and made me flinch. After they finished the classic My Coco - a guy yelled, ĎAgain!í. This got a smile from Tannen, who really seemed to play joyfully.
Editors headlined and even though I had been listening to their cd and really loving it I was a bit concerned about the hype around the band. By that point, after seeing shows by bands who would more than capably headline, I had decided they needed to be something special for me to stay in the front through their entire set. I was not disappointed - only more than a bit thirsty, which was when I realized that a pipe above the stage was leaking, and that was where the mystery water came from. It was slightly distracting let alone quite dangerous around the plugged in equipment. I was tempted several times to jump on stage to get some of the water. Guitarist Chris Urbanowiczís (joking and very funny) comments such as ĎDonít panicí and ĎIím going oní were very apt.
At one point singer Tom Smith knocked out the speakers leaping around the stage - I had never seen this happen at Chop Suey before and I enjoyed the danger. Smith, trapped like an animal, seemed to want to climb the walls.
They are a beautiful band and I fell in love them from the start of their set. Songs such as Blood and All Sparks are pure wonders. I was deeply touched by Camera, and Fingers in the Factories was aggressive and salty. Several audience members were already familiar with the songs and that gave me hope that important music has made it. Smithís resonant vocals recall more of Jim Morrison rather than Paul Banks. Ed Layís drumming stunned me. And Russell Leetchís bass and Urbanowiczís guitar playing joined in perfect sounds and grace.