Sunday, August 26, 2007

After the Jump

Yesterday was the After the Jump music festival at Studio B. I hit up some of the free day shows, of which the only band I knew before hand was Ra Ra Riot. But like a good little blogger I did some research to figure out which bands I wanted to see. Here is how my day went:

It was super super hot outside, so the walk to Studio B from the G train (that's right, the G train) seemed a million miles long, but when we got inside the relatively spacious club it was fairly empty and air-conditioned, so it was heavenly (as opposed to hot and crowded like the last time I was at Studio B for the CSS concert). When I arrived around 3:15pm - I've already seen the Teenage Prayers so I took my time getting up to Greenpoint even though the festival started at 2pm - I could only find one of the two stages -the main stage, which was currently empty - until I asked someone where the second stage was. Turns out everyone who was there was watching Jukebox the Ghost in a small, slightly hidden, hot room (so much for that empty air-conditioned feeling). I couldn't see them because I'm short, the room was pretty full, and the stage wasn't very elevated but I enjoyed the last few songs that we happened to come in for.

Next up, in the larger, air-conditioned room was Locksley. Locksley was the only band I went in thinking I was really excited to see (besides Ra Ra Riot) based on the stuff I had listened to on their myspace and whatnot. They seemed the most like my favorite kind of music (poppy rock 'n' roll). And I was right. I think they were my favorite band of the day. I immediately had a good feeling about Locksley before they even started playing because they just looked so good as a band. They all have really great style (in my opinion) and their sense of style is very unified as a group. They seemed like nice guys the way the talked to the audience beforehand and they were all pretty good-looking. As soon as they started playing I liked them even more. They were really good and I really did love their music.

My favorite part of Locksley was probably when, in the interest of "music education" (the charity theme of the festival), they brought the idea of "audience participation" to a new level and literally brought audience members onto stage to play with them for a cover of The White Stripes' Hotel Yorba. That was fun, although they had a lot of trouble getting people on stage. It was a relatively low-key and apparently shy audience. They couldn't get anyone to come up and play harmonica, but they did get a mildly reluctant guitar player (who's girlfriend volunteered him) and a much more exuberant tambourine player.

After Locksley, Bling Kong played in the hot, stuffy room. I also really liked their aesthetic (they had fun costumes). They chose to play their set list based on a "choose your own adventure story" that they told between songs, which I thought was a neat idea, and a great way to force the audience to participate. I didn't actually stay for their whole set because it was just so unbearably hot in that room. But I did like what I stayed for. They were a lot of fun. My only complaint (besides the heat) was the distracting visuals being projected on the wall next to us while they were performing. Their performance was interesting enough, and the flashy (and occasionally pornographic) images were more an annoying distraction than anything else. Stick to performing guys. You don't need porn and seizure-inducing visuals to make you cool.

Back on the main (air-conditioned) stage was Golem. While their Eastern-European/ klezmer-esque music is not normally the type of music I listen to often, I was still a little curious to see them perform. I actually pretty much loved them. They were so much fun, and they were all very talented and such characters. My two wishes: that the violin player would've shown more of his personality and seemed like he was enjoying himself at least a little, and that the upright bass player had more solos. But the lead singer was so entertaining and energetic, and most of them looked like they were really having fun. The bass player was possibly my favorite. He would bounce up and down fervently with the music and his poofy hair would bounce with him. It made me giggle.

Last in my concert day (I didn't stay for the whole festival) was Ra Ra Riot. Like I said, they were the only band I knew before I found out about the festival. I liked them even more than I thought I would actually. They had a really great band chemistry - probably one of the best band chemistries I have ever seen. Not only did it seem like they were all really having fun and really getting into their music, but they all seemed to genuinely like each other. They were joking around and shooting each other smiles all the time. It was almost like we, the audience, weren't there and we were observing the intimacy of a band practice session or something. Plus they get major props for utilizing two of my favorite instruments - violin and cello. And they were really cool-looking electric ones too. Overall, it was a great way to end a day of concerts.

Heiroglyphs [mp3] - The Teenage Prayers - "Everyone Thinks You're The Best" (iTunes unavailable)
Good Day [mp3] - Jukebox The Ghost (iTunes unavailable)
Why Can't I Be You (Why Not Me) [mp3] - Locksley - "Don't Make Me Wait" (iTunes)
Enter Bling Kong [mp3] - Bling Kong - "Do The Awesome" (iTunes)
Warsaw is Khelm [mp3] - Golem - "Fresh off Boat" (iTunes)
Each Year [mp3] - Ra Ra Riot - "Ra Ra Riot - EP" (iTunes)

I'd say it was a very good day - especially considering it was free. Although I did spend $5 on raffle tickets and not win anything... Sadness. But it went to a good cause. I'll finish up with some more pictures (I'm definitely getting a new camera soon because the focus doesn't work half the time - sorry most of these are kind of blurry - and it also wouldn't turn on at one point):


I had to get a picture of his awesome white patent leather shoes.

The guitar player going over the guitar part with the random audience member that got pulled on stage.

The lead singer tries to entice someone up to the stage to play harmonica

"Music education"

Bling Kong


Ra Ra Riot

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