Bombs

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Brooklyn’s Bombs played the Lolita Party at Glasslands to a crowd eager to dance, due in some part most likely to the free cans of Sparks that were being served. Syrupy malt-liquor energy drinks aside, those in attendance were left with little decision but to shake it as the keyboard, bass, and drums trio took the stage and delivered their propulsive set. The beat is key in their expansive rock songs that are carefully rhythmically structured while also leaving room to soar and explore. An important part of the band’s attitude is set by singer/keyboardist Josh’s professorly delivery of words that carries a tone you’d not expect from his laid-back demeanor. Lyrics are sung in an almost British swagger with a conviction that makes it easy to image a megaphone in front of his mouth, a sensation that is augmented by the slightly echoey amplification of the words on the tracks. This in tight combination with the bass and drums lends towards a march-like sound that feels like a call to action while at the same time commanding your body to move in various directions, dance-style. The band’s three members play extremely well together and their blending of talent and energy brings an important element to their overall sound.

The ecstatic audience was certainly driven to answer the demand to rock as they swayed around the crammed art space, careful not to knock into the giant crafted tree or jostle a pretty lady. The get-up-and-go feel of the music definitely influenced at least one group of pals who celebrated the drunken rapture of the moment by pouring booze into one another’s mouths from the balcony that overlooks the stage. There’s nothing like trying to dance and at the same time successfully receive a stream of warm Sparks from your buddy above, all while eager fans around you attempt to focus on the presentation and avoid the splashes. Through such hilarious audience distractions, the members of Bombs maintained the precision of their songs as the drummer mashed out the beats with a sweaty authority that kept it all together. Their rousing style and catchy sound is capable of making a room full of people move while at the same time possessing an authority backed by strong words and tight playing. Bombs’ explosions of awesomeness certainly showered the crowd with goodtimes this evening.

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Photographs by Luciano Johnson

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Laura’s Special Report on the 2008 Oscars

Oscars

Laura here, reporting from my couch in Brooklyn. Like many of you, I watched the Oscars this year hoping for fun and excitement, and instead was met with a barrage of boredom. Regardless, the Academy shone its spotlight on indie talent this year in a rare departure from tradition, and you have to give them some credit for that.

Some of the night’s slightly more interesting moments included:

Javier Bardem winning Best Supporting Actor. Except for that Wolverine haircut he was sporting, he was looking foxy as always, and inspired Liz and I to finalize our plans to destroy Penelope Cruz for having the audacity to canoodle with him, when clearly he just hasn’t met the right Brooklyn-based comedy writers yet.

Cate Blanchett loses in a surprise upset. I guess it isn’t enough to put on a wig or a fake nose anymore. If all that critical acclaim and buzz meant nothing, then that begs the question — what happens to hype deferred? Does it wrinkle up like a raisin in the sun?

– Hooray for the Coen Brothers! They could direct an installment of Girls Gone Wild and I’d probably buy the Criterion Collection.

Paul Thomas Anderson was shut out. What in blazes? I was peeved enough that Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood didn’t get nominated for his brilliant soundtrack for There Will Be Blood, but PTA too? What does the academy have against PTA and his badass movies?

– Thank the sweet heavens, the Academy didn’t do a big jerkoff segment about how Green their production was like last year. Maybe they did and I missed it because I started zoning out around the Lifetime Achievement Award.

…And a few short notes:

Ratatouille was cute and I’m glad it won; I didn’t really like Once, but I’m glad those young’uns won, especially as they were the only independent entry in the category and deserved it more than anyone; Michael Moore dissed — I guess that means we have to wait four more years for universal health care; Brad Renfro was notably left out of the R.I.P. montage — for shame; I loved when Jon Stewart outed Angelina Jolie‘s pregnancy; respect to Diablo Cody for staying true to her rockabilly stripper look and ditching the million dollar shoes for ballet flats; Daniel Day-Lewis rules the school.

Oscars!

Bon Iver

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Mountain man Justin Vernon, who performs as Bon Iver, quickly packed the Sound Fix performance space last night for a cozy, record-release celebrating affair. The previously non-official availability of his debut album For Emma, Forever Ago apparently hadn’t stopped the word from spreading – thank you internet buzz. With a wacky salsa music rhythm dripping through the walls from who knows where, Vernon and band enchanted the tightly packed, lyric-mouthing crowd with their feelings-y songs. His rich falsetto was in excellent force as he crooned through most of the songs on the album, accompanied vocally by the percussionist and bass guitar player. The three lovely and finely honed vocal contributions blended beautifully to recreate the density of the layered sounds on the album. Each man squished his face up tight as he sang the heartfelt words, looking towards the skies to invoke the angelic talents needed to hit such high notes as the songs require. Sensitive material, to be sure.

As a mark of Bon Iver’s recent popularity, about halfway through the performance a camera man and boom mic operator came pushing through the crowd and took a place right in front of Vernon, who ignored them and kept right on playing to the intimate room. He’s gonna be on the TV, it seems. Although obviously this sort of intrusion is a bit annoying, not a soul seemed to protest as the audience carefully stepped aside – the interruption seemed only to cement that fact that it was pretty special to be at this small, free show at a time right before Bon Iver perhaps gets really big. After playing a few solo numbers – one being a gospel cover on piano – Vernon waded to the middle of the audience and joined his bandmates for a special acoustic version of the titular track in the center of the room. Cameras flashed as those in the back finally gained a better view and the room as a whole soaked in the awesomeness of this arrangement. Both the newly converted and established fans eagerly flooded into the record store part of Sound Fix to buy up the album on vinyl afterwards and speak to Justin himself. I saw him sign someone’s album “XO Justin” and thought to myself “What a nice man.”

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Anonymous delivers a peaceful ass-whooping on Scientology, protest-style

Yesterday, on February 10th, 2008 (the birthday of Lisa McPherson), thousands of people from about 100 cities and at least 4 continents worldwide came together to protest the crimes and cult-disguised-as-a-religion deceptions of the cult of Scientology, despite the ‘nattering’ (as they would say) of humiliated church officials accusing peaceful protesters of religious hate crimes and bigotry. This of course is ridiculous, as the protesters, if anything, are doing all this to help the church members and save them from brainwashing and having all their money stolen. It’s the last gasp of a desperate cult when they fall back on the Nazi Germany card.

Many of the protest attendees were not in fact related to the hacking group known as Anonymous (which came up with and organized the protests), but were inspired by the news of the protest (which spread in the open online on countless newsgroup and social networking sites, not in some sort of secret smoke-filled hacker room). It disappoints me that so many newspapers and magazines are lumping Anonymous together with the protesters, when in fact very few people make up Anonymous compared to the number of protesters we saw yesterday. And if there’s any further doubt as to the civilian nature of many of the attendees, just take a look at the crowd. You’ll see not one, but handfuls of women. Clearly this is not the work of computer dorks alone.  The dorks that did arrive representing Anonymous at least arrived in style, wearing the Guy Fawkes masks made famous by “V for Vendetta.”  Alan Moore must be creaming his pants.

Anyway, here is a Wikinews page on which pictures and updates are being posted from protest locations around the world. The New York pictures fill my heart with pride, though I was out of town over the weekend and couldn’t attend.

Wikinews international report: “Anonymous” holds anti-Scientology protests worldwide

And here’s a news article from Australia that’s not completely biased in favor of the cult like a lot of them are…

Aussie news

Limerick #116

Here’s a practice that raises red flag:
Placing hot drinks in a paper bag.
They slosh this way and that,
Where your good sense be at?
You’ll get burned while your pants act as rag.