Whelp, back to Webster Hall again so soon in all its palatial glory. Upon entering, for the second concert in a row I was handed a free drink ticket for the nearby Village Pourhouse. Don’t be fooled my friends— a ticket such as this is only good for a Budweiser product or Well drink, both of which are not even close in caliber to any of the various fancy beers they have on tap there. I had my eye on the Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, but the bartender laughed boisterously and pointed to the piss beers I might choose from. Not to complain though, for a free drink’s a free drink, and I drank it merrily. But I digress.
The show opened with the UK’s own Fields. These guys created a nice vibe to start off the evening, presenting a set both pleasant and enthused. I noticed right away that the lead dude was playing a plugged in acoustic, which I thought was pretty rad. Chunky acoustic guitars always remind me of the hilarious Guitarrón of mariachi band fame. The thing usually only adds strummy accompaniment to the group’s sound, but it maintains an important part of the Mariachi aesthetic, and the player always has the biggest grin on his face. Anyway, that was cool. Also, the bassist played with a fervor I have rarely seen. Certainly not a note-picker, him vibrant and exaggerated strokes made me wish I could hear his part a little more clearly. Overall, the band’s sound is slightly jammy, but not without the components of pop hits (hee hee, on Myspace they’re listed as Psychedelic / Rock / Crunk). Plus, they’re British, so anytime they spoke I couldn’t help but be charmed, those gents. The lady band member rocked a nice keyboard and vocal part, and all was well.
Next we enjoyed the main attraction, Blonde Redhead. These guys have a good thing going for them with their outgoing, engaging, and might I say good-looking lady member (Kazu Makino). Their latest album and first since 2004, 23, is a hazy, ethereal addition to their catalog, and they played a healthy smattering from it. This resulted in lots of crazy lights foggily soaking the audience and lots of Kazu dancing about limb-flailingly and seductively. Another highlight, and also conveniently involving that vixen Makino, was the horse bench that was placed as her seat in front of the keyboard for the numbers requiring that instrument. She looked fine indeed perched atop the thing while tapping away at her parts, but the real fun came during songs featuring only her vocals, when she would saunter on over to the horsey and lovingly caress its face and various body parts. What a sensual lass she be. Oh yeah, and she has a good voice.
But let’s not forget the band’s other members, Italian twins Simone and Amedeo Pace (drums and guitar, respectively). Their stage presence may have been a tad overshadowed by a certain hottie, but they were surely powerful contributors to the band’s live presence. A rather tall gentlemen kept me from viewing Amadeo for a great deal of the set, but from what I saw by craning my neck and shuffling around behind said brute, he played with a grin that let you know that it must be pretty awesome to be in a band. And to be married to Kazu. Indeed, oft during her shuffling she would slide on over his way and they’d neck for a few loving seconds. Man, what a poetic relationship.
During the first of two encores, Kazu told the audience that she was glad they were eager for more, because she had yet to “Get her rocks off.” This rendered many cheers from an audience keen to hear “(I Am Taking Out My Eurotrash) I Still Get Rocks Off,” off 1995’s La Mia Vita Violenta to which this quote surely refers, but much to my dismay she quickly explained that this meant they would be playing some older songs, although not that particular crowd favorite. Ah well. Those in attendance was none too disappointed by the songs they instead played, and Kazu responded with words of thanks and kindness. So while this gracious hostess may have stolen the show a bit, overall Blonde Redhead are clearly a band whose long life and many albums have led to a comfort and precision that makes for a fine show and a fine time.