Top 10 “Live At Shea Stadium” Bootlegs, Starring Screaming Females, Teeth Mountain, And The So So Glos

Shea Stadium has been one of Brooklyn’s finer DIY-type venues since opening in April 2009 — after a quick move from Debevoise Avenue over to its current home at 20 Meadow Street (neighbor issues, alas), the spot has hosted hundreds of oft-chaotic rock shows that now live on as high-quality bootlegs in the fantastic Live at Shea Stadium archive overseen by venue owner/founder/soundman Adam Reich. “Recording (and eventually releasing the shows) was the original concept behind starting the space in the first place,” he explains. “At first I was thinking about opening a more traditional studio, but I wanted to do something different with it. Something a little more exciting and interactive.” And daunting, too — it’s tough to know where to start. So we asked Reich to pick his 10 favorites; after struggling with it a bit (“it’s like picking your favorite child!), here’s what he came up with.

Andrew Cedermark 8.14.10
A great performance from one of the most memorable nights at Shea from this past summer, when we hosted the Underwater Peoples summer showcase. It was a total marathon, I think the show went from around 6 p.m. until 4 in the morning! It was quite possibly the longest show in our short history. So many great sets were played that night from bands like Big Troubles, Alex Bleeker & the Freaks, Airwaves, and Real Estate, but for some reason I seem to go back to this one the most.

Dustin Wong 9.17.10
There’s some totally mesmerizing guitar-playing on this one … a few minutes into this set, I left the soundbooth and watched the rest of it five feet from the stage. After recording over 700 bands at Shea these past two years, it’s easy to get jaded, zone out, and not focus on the music all of the time, but sometimes you’re forced to. This was definitely one of those times. It’s always exciting when someone performing solo can create so many different textures with one instrument. You can listen to this to a few times in a row and find something different in it each time.

Guardian Alien 1.21.11
This is my most recent favorite: one of the many musical projects of drummer extraordinaire Greg Fox, who also happens to be my second cousin. Just finished mixing it down last week and got really really into it. I’m pretty sure it’s going to get properly released at some point. The set was more or less improvised, but it has such a natural flow. Things build slowly and then explode, with some really great spontaneous dialogue between instruments. I’m also partial to this one because I got to hop on the drum set for a few minutes while Greg switched to keys. It wasn’t really a planned thing, but surprisingly it all worked out. It’s always great to play music with one of your family members, especially when they’re also one of your favorite drummers.

Small Black 10.15.10
One of my favorite shows from last year. It was the release party for their latest record, New Chain. I remember during soundcheck thinking that they were particularly on point and that it was going to be a great set. They played nearly 60 minutes’ worth of great live versions of a lot of the new songs, and some older ones as well. The crowd was way into it — there was a serious party vibe that night. Definitely one of my favorite recordings.

Future Islands 7.4.10
Taken from our Summerjam 4th of July BBQ throwdown. It was a celebration for Shea’s one-year anniversary on Meadow Street curated by the aforementioned Greg Fox. Future Islands closed out the night with a bang… I remember looking out at the audience halfway through their set, it appeared as though every single person was so visibly in the moment. No sidebar conversations or chain-smoking on the balcony — they were all on the same page and having a blast. It’s the moments like those that reassure that what you’re doing is worthwhile. I think that energy translates well on these tracks.

Teeth Mountain 12.18.09
This is one of my favorites for different reasons. I’ve always really liked their music … it’s way out. I had a lot of fun mixing this one, messing around with panning and stereo space, etc. It was a chance for me to geek out and indulge … usually I try to keep the recordings very true to form. I want to people to hear them as if they were standing in the center of the room that night between the PA speakers. The show itself was kind of dismal … it was absolutely freezing (it was before we had heat) and there were less than a dozen people there. A huge blizzard hit the next day and I was snowed in at Shea for like the next three days, leaving me with a lot of time to mess around with this one.

Screaming Females 6.5.09
I wanted to include at least one highlight from our first home on Debevoise Ave. in Greenpoint. We were over there for a few months when we started out in spring ’09, but were forced to leave by several unhappy neighbors. I really don’t blame them — it couldn’t have been easy sharing a wall with us. This was the first show I can remember that we had that a few hundred people came out to. It was the first time I could hear the roar of a crowd on the recording. Of all the initial shows, I think this is the one that best represents “the early days.”

Fiasco 6.11.10
This was probably the most “dangerous” of all the recordings in the archive. This was during the Hillstock festival, another marathon night with a dozen bands or so. We set up two stages so that the show would run (close to) on time. Fiasco played on the “second stage,” which was pretty much just a small area of the floor next to one of the bathrooms. I was recording it and doing sound from a mixer five feet from where they were playing. As you might expect, things got crazy … everyone was completely amped up that night. The kids went nuts. Bodies flying all over the place. The power got kicked out several times. I was plugging things back in every 30 seconds and had to deflect at least five cans of Miller High Life from hitting our gear. This one really short song was the only track that survived. The funny part is, since the room mics got unplugged within seconds of the first song, it doesn’t really sound dangerous at all … but everyone who was there knows the truth.

The So So Glos 12.11.10
Choosing a favorite So So Glos set is tough … they’ve played so many times. They’re kind of the “house band,” literally and figuratively. They essentially live at Shea, rehearse at Shea, and help run the space. We’re all really close friends from a young age, growing up together in Bay Ridge. I’ve worked on all of their records since the band started. To be honest, I feel like the best moments were the ones that we decided, for whatever reason, not to record (the 5 a.m. set on New Years Eve ’09 comes to mind) but of all the stuff we’ve been able to capture, I think this one is the best. There was a very intense vibe at Shea that night, as the show became somewhat of a spontaneous memorial for the untimely and tragic passing of our friend Ariel Panero. There was an unparalleled sense of camaraderie at that show, which made for so many great performances. Also worth checking out from that date are the sets from The Beets and Tony Castles, two great bands who also brought it extra hard that night. One of the best nights in Shea’s history for so many reasons…

Woven Bones 10.21.10
I think this one best embodies the Shea style and spirit of sweaty, basement-style guerilla recording … I remember listening to all of those bootlegs from back in the day at Max’s Kansas City and loving all of those raw “what you hear is what it is/was” qualities in the recordings. Sonically, this is one of my favorites in the archive. I feel like it best explains what these recordings are supposed to be, without having to use all the tired adjectives I’ve mentioned above. They’re just rocking out.


SXSW Cheat Sheet 2011

So you’re going to SXSW, presumably for a whiff of The New, The Exotic, The Next Big Thing. Most likely, that band/artist/cultural phenomenon will hail from right here in New York City. So here’s a few local luminaries making the trip, too. Drop by their showcases and help them feel at home—and perhaps they’ll do the same for you.

Nicole Atkins & the Black Sea

You will initially be disappointed that Nicole Atkins’s “Cry Cry Cry,” off her new Mondo Amore, is not a Johnny Cash cover, but then very suddenly you really won’t be: It’s a sharp, spry, insidiously catchy, cheerfully clear-eyed pick-me-up, delivered in a brisk 3:07 and capturing the mystique and mass-commercial appeal of Sheryl Crow back when she had teeth, verve, charisma. Atkins is alternately a crooner and a belter—parts of Amore echo PJ Harvey’s reckless, feral abandon—and she’s got lots of relationship calamity and major-label insidiousness to croon and belt about. Though she’s not averse to the occasional cover: Look out for her stupendous take on the Church’s “Under the Milky Way Tonight.”

Roc Marciano

It’s a daunting challenge, being the guy to finally Bring New York Rap Back—many a critically lauded MC has tried and failed. Long Island vet Roc Marciano is the latest up-and-comer, though he’s been coming on for a while, his gritty 2010 full-length Marcberg capping a career that’s seen him work with everyone from Busta Rhymes to Pete Rock to Das Racist. (Das Racist is also playing SXSW, but hopefully you’re up on them by now.) He’ll blend right in with all the surly Southern rappers who inevitably flood this festival, but hopefully also rise above them.

The Gregory Brothers

Whether you know it or not, you are very likely familiar with the work of the Gregory Brothers, the not-quite-all-male contingent (one of the brothers’ wives is in the mix) of merry pranksters responsible for the viral “Auto-Tune the News” phenomenon, not to mention the Twilight-spoofing faux-musical video made specifically for, uh, the Oscars telecast. They are both legitimately funny and deathly serious about same. What they’re gonna do live is anyone’s guess; a couple of ’em will also be taking part in an interactive panel called “Too Soon? Timing Topical Web Videos.” Charlie Sheen jokes will hopefully be totally outdated by then.

Fergus & Geronimo

It’s rarely a good sign when you’re already complaining about rock critics on the second song of your debut album (that’d be the acidly droll “Wanna Know What I Would Do?”) and the 10 other songs therein don’t much sound like each other, but this charmingly ramshackle Brooklyn-via-Texas duo make a total commitment to lack of commitment feel like the deepest commitment of all. Their lo-fi pop is breezy and rough-hewn and half-assed in an appealing way you’ll certainly recognize, but there’s order to their chaos and guile in their guilelessness, fusing the wide-eyed wonder of Jonathan Richman to the sardonic schizophrenia of Sparks. You rock critics in the house know what I’m talking about. Request “Girls With English Accents,” which is a request in itself.

The Strokes

Maybe you’ve heard of them.

Gay for Johnny Depp

Every year, there’s an informal Wackiest Band Name contest at this thing, a quest to get bemused, half-drunk SXSW patrons to scan the daunting schedule at random, circle your name, and show up to your showcase on general principle, sight unseen and sound unheard. Gay for Johnny Depp are a good bet to take the prize this year, and their bratty, abrasive poli-punk screamo blasts will hopefully not make those people regret the general trajectory of their lives.

Beach Fossils

These dudes have been through a few hype cycles now, but we just thought we’d point out that their live sets of polite, tuneful, wistful nostalgia-pop frequently end with an abrupt instrument-trashing freakout that comes totally out of nowhere and is better for it. Their bassist actually threw his bass into the East River during one such calamity (they were playing Water Taxi Beach); he’s out of the band now, but if his replacement is anywhere near as mentally unsound, this might be the highlight of your week. Just don’t run afoul of those Texas authorities, boys.


Roseland Was Totally On Fire

A two-alarm fire broke out at Roseland tonight around 10:30 (originating on the mezzanine level) and was contained a little over an hour later; the latest report at the moment says six firefighters suffered minor injuries, but thankfully that’s the extent of it. There was no show happening, thank god — the next gigs scheduled are the Dropkick Murphys Thursday and Friday. More on this as events warrant — in the meantime, let’s thank @balzerdesigns for the best photo Twitter has to offer at the moment:


Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, Tune-Yards, And Dan Deacon Lead Bonkers Our Band Could Be Your Life All-Covers Tribute Show

This show is crazy: To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life — an exhaustive history of ’80s-indie giants from Sonic Youth to Fugazi to Black Flag — the Bowery Ballroom is hosting a one-night-only parade of modern alt. superstars covering the bands profiled in the book: Ted Leo playing Minor Threat, Tune-Yards playing Sonic Youth, and someone named Delicate Steve handling the Minutemen. It’s all happening May 22; per Brooklyn Vegan, the lineup so far:

Nat Baldwin, David Longstreth and Brian McOmber play Black Flag

Delicate Steve plays the Minutemen

Ted Leo plays Minor Threat

Titus Andronicus plays the Replacements

Tune-Yards plays Sonic Youth

Dan Deacon plays the Butthole Surfers

St. Vincent plays Big Black

Wye Oak plays Dinosaur Jr

Buke & Gass plays Fugazi

Other bands who got chapters in OBCBYL: Mission of Burma, Mudhoney, Beat Happening, Hüsker Dü. They should get Odd Future to do Beat Happening. Tix are on sale Friday — more info here. As for the current slate, the immediate highlights here are fairly obvious — Titus! The Replacements! — but look out for the St. Vincent/Big Black pairing: Annie Clark can shred and snarl with the best of them, and knows from badass cover songs:


Todd P Is Plotting A New Venue Offering Both Mexican Food And “Avant-Experimental Music”

Totally did not expect to see über-promoter Todd Patrick beaming from the virtual pages of both Grub Street, but there he is and the Voice‘s own Fork in the Road, eagerly discussing the new restaurant/club he’s looking to open at Avenue A and Third Street in the East Village, at the spot most recently home to Aces & Eights, a beer-pong-hosting house of evidently ill repute. Working with Two Boots mastermind Phil Hartman, Todd P’s vision is twofold: tamales and free jazz, roughly speaking.

Per his chat with Grub Street:

Patrick says the venue “will not be an indie-rock club, dance club, or punk-rock club — we’ll be something more in the lines of Tonic,” meaning “avant-experimental music” in the vein of the original Knitting Factory over on Houston Street.

“The hope is to bring a home back to Manhattan for esoteric free jazz performance,” Patrick tells us. “We want to be about what the East Village came out of — this downtown experimentalism and this reverence of the artistic.”

The Stone, John Zorn’s nearby spot, is another key precedent here, though that one is of course alive and well, already serving what Patrick calls the “edgy, gritty, downtown-oriented intellectual experimental community.” (He tells Fork in the Road that “Both the Stone and Issue Project Room are great, but they’re maybe more of a museum setting than we would like to be. I have a great respect for those things, but you’re seeing kind of a presentation of something rather than it being a little more free-form.”) There’s probably a substantial lease/code tapdance to be done before this comes to fruition, but the other reason to eagerly anticipate this place is the food: Our man “is speaking to two restaurateurs about a menu of Pacific-coast-style Mexican food (think lemon and lime cured fish, tostadas, and tacos in the style of Jalisco or Sinaloa).” We will indeed start thinking about that, yes. First he brought you to Mexico, and now he’ll bring Mexico to you.


Smith Westerns Are Playing Saks Fifth Avenue (?) Thursday Night

We all know that the best spot to catch hot new buzzbands in New York City is . . . Saks Fifth Avenue. So with that in mind, please join dangerously underaged Chicago garage-rockers Smith Westerns there Thursday night, playing some sort of free, free-vodka-soaked evening soiree at the behest of womens’ apparel outpost Rag & Bone (free denim tote if you buy something!). The flyer/RSVP info is below… prepare to be surrounded by bearded dudes who could fit into womens’ clothing no problem. I’d suggest you request “Weekend,” but hopefully that’ll be unnecessary.



Download Mr. Dream’s Set At Glasslands Friday Night

Yes, we are quite fond of not-at-all-lo-fi Brooklyn rock band Mr. Dream. Yes, we know several of the dudes therein personally. And yes, there some of us were, Friday night at Glasslands, for a sold-out show capping a huge week for the band: Their debut album, Trash Hit, is out at last, well received by the rock-crit cognescenti from which several of the dudes therein originally sprung. And thus does dear friend-of-SOTC Nick Sylvester have occasion to tell L Magazine about how he used to take girls to the restaurant where Zach Braff worked at the beginning of Garden State. The Internet is magic.

Naturally, NYC Taper has a fine bootleg of the Glasslands show up this morning, catching the band in all its blunt, melodic, prime-Pixies anti-glory. Given the sparkling wits assembled onstage, it’s a little disappointing the set list doesn’t have more tracks called “[banter]”, but for that I suppose you can just go to the restaurant where Zach Braff worked at the beginning of Garden State and wait for one of them to show up.


The Park Slope Rap-Club Controversy Continues: Battle Of The Parody Petitions

So last week a brave young Park Slope woman named Jennifer McMillen entered the fractious debate over Prime 6, an allegedly hip-hop-friendly club set to open at Flatbush and Sixth in Brooklyn, to the trepidation of some neighbors who feared, in the memorable coinage of her Internet petition on the matter, the presence of “another Yo MTV Raps ‘bling-bling’ vip club.” Despite clarifying that Park Slope is not at all racist, she personally loves rap/r&b, and has several African-American friends, McMillen (whom no one, from the Voice to the Wall Street Journal, has yet been able to find, leaving open the possibility that this is all an elaborate prank) was nonetheless showered with derision, which at first took the form of people signing her petition under amusing fake names (Whitely McWhite, Lou Dobbs, Fab Five Freddy, U Haz No Blak Frenz, etc.), and has now spawned the inevitable: answer petitions. Let’s take a closer look at two of them.


Fairly self explanatory: She should either hold monthly get-togethers (“just like the kind portrayed in that Kid and Play film!”) to better understand the culture that so vexes her, or just flee the neighborhood in terror.

Degree of Earnestness
The Hamptons one is largely not fucking around. To wit:

It’s “racist” to equate hip-hop with an elevated crime rate vis a vi other types of musical genres — It’s just a statistical fact that Southpaw and Moe’s don’t have metal detectors in front for playing A Tribe Called Quest. R&B and rap happen to be the favorite types of music of a whole lot of white people, but no one (especially my White guilt ridden hipster friends and colleagues) would seriously deny that Jennifer’s extraordinary fear of hip-hop’s residual cultural impacts on a community is her subconscious saying “oh god not more unfamiliar Negros, I don’t feel comfortable around them.”

Comedic Value
Whereas Mr. House Party devotes most of his time to mocking the “Indie” scene McMillen suggests as a viable alternative:

Like you, I am not a Hip-Hop fan and would rather sit at home, reading the Sunday NY times while listening to Yacht Rock on my Bose speaker system. When I need some good, wholesome, indie rock created by Brooklyn’s newest inhabitants, I take a walk down 4th ave. to The Rock Shop where I am guaranteed to catch your average, run of the mill indie rock group that most likely holds deep roots in the suburbs of Ohio. Most of the time they usually have the same band there twice in one month! I’m sure I’ve seen you there!

That Ohio thing hurts, but point taken.

Accuracy of Parody
The Hamptons wins this one, actually, nailing McMillen’s most quotable lines, from “I don’t think anyone would deny that Park Slopers are about the most closeted ‘racist’ people on the planet” to “Jennifer has to realize this — but at the same time — Park Slope families need to realize that this is a free country, and that Prime 6, people who like hip-hop, and black people have a right to exist.” Bonus points for mirroring the original’s use of boldface.

Presence/Quality Of Yo! MTV Raps Jokes
Mr. House Party: “Since this will be such a ground-breaking idea for someone like you, I’m sure we can get MTV to donate some full-season DVDs of “Yo! MTV Raps” since it has been off the air for quite some time now.”

Signatures So Far
89 for House Party, 52 for Hamptons.

Fake Names Used As Signatures So Far
House Party used a different online-petition client that doesn’t allow for much fake-name chicanery apparently; the Hamptons is proudly supported by “fuck hipsters and yuppies,” “White Flight,” and “please don’t rape the white womens.”

Number Of Years This Calamity Has Set Back Brooklyn Race Relations, Whether It’s All A Joke Or Not
Roughly a decade and counting.


Thin Lizzy (Or What’s Left Of Them) Are Playing Best Buy Theater Later This Month

It’s tough dealing with Frankensteined, death-ravaged, radically lineup-shuffled entities like Thin Lizzy, the ’70s-ascendant twin-guitar-rock sensations whose performing days by all rights should’ve ended in 1986 with the death of bassist/frontman Phil Lynott but, y’know, didn’t. (Longtime on-again-off-again guitarist Gary Moore died just last month.) But a loose TL assemblage is on tour even now, featuring both old- and relatively new-timers, the former represented by guitarist Scott Gorham (guitar) and drummer Brian Downey (drums); they’ll hit Best Buy Theater March 25. (The night before they will perform in Jim Thorpe, PA, which is apparently a real place.) This is terribly gauche, on the one hand, but on the other, it’s a chance to see a band with a reasonable claim to playing “Bad Reputation” in public play “Bad Reputation” in public. Better put it on repeat as you think this over:


Live: The Get Up Kids Battle PA Blowouts And Crowd-Surfer Fistfights At Webster Hall

The Get Up Kids
Webster Hall
Wednesday, March 2

Better Than: Kickboxing while listening to Mineral.

The lead guitarist didn’t flub all his parts. The crowd did not react with eerie, motionless indifference to every single new song. And the vast majority of the overamped dudes crowd-surfing in the front row did not basically get into a fistfight with a roadie at the show’s conclusion. That much I know for certain. Nonetheless: a lotta flubbing, a lotta motionless indifference, and, yes, some good old fashioned fisticuffs to dramatically conclude this, a cheerfully nostalgia-soaked emo show. This was a weird one, folks.

The basic idea tonight is the crowd goes immediately apeshit for anything off 2000’s beloved, era-defining, alt-rock anthemic, still quite excellent Something to Write Home About, and scarcely deigns to bat an eyelash at much else. Certainly not the new songs: The recently reconvened Get Up Kids (the pride of Kansas City, Missouri, playing Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight) have got a new album, There Are Rules, with some OK bass-heavy dirges — “Keith Case” is a scuzzy, unapologetic Secret Machines rip, and not a bad one — that nobody much wants anything to do with. Here’s a show where frontman Matthew Pryor eventually finds it necessary to say, “That’s the last new one. Now we’re gonna play a lot of old shit.” Meanwhile, the old shit has its own problems: “Woodson,” introduced as “the first song we ever wrote” and pleasingly brash, feral, and garage-rock noisy as a result, is beset halfway through by a total PA freakout that unleashes an ungodly ear-piercing screech, followed by several minutes of blown-speaker ambient chaos to which the band is mostly oblivious. “You build me up/You break me down again,” we all scream into the void, trying to drown out the din. It’s a pretty unpleasant and still actually pretty rousing moment.

My, but those Something to Write Home About songs are fantastic; “You’re just a phase I’ve gotten over anyhow,” we all howl during the manic power-pop of “Red Letter Day,” clearly kidding ourselves. But the momentum comes and goes: the catchy, gnarly fist-pumping bromide “Don’t Hate Me” is immediately followed by the slow, maudlin, vaguely dub-inflected power ballad “Walking on a Wire,” an energy-sapping downer that leads to an encore that starts out half-hearted and then gets, ah, a little too full-hearted. All night the occasional crowd-surfer will get too close to the stage and be immediately shoved back off by a remarkably zealous roadie; more surfers appear, a few security dudes materialize, the band starts scowling, and suddenly the zealous roadie is throwing a few haymakers at a particularly irritating fella as the band is filing offstage, a bizarre end to a bizarrely uneven show, though I’ll take bizarrely uneven over straight-up boring, even if the lead guitarist sounds like he’d be better off playing left-handed.

Critical Bias: My friend regales me all night beforehand with tales of old Get Up Kids shows he’s seen, including one in a church basement in Philadelphia more than 10 years ago where there was apparently like a 30-on-30 hardcore-vs.-emo brawl during the band’s slowest song. And lo, tonight, during the tender ballad ‘I’ll Catch You,” Pryor is heard to remark, “No stage-diving during the slow songs. What is this, Philly?”

Overheard: Hysterical laughter from my friend after the Philly thing.

Random Notebook Dump: When you walk in the club and you realize you just missed the opening band, and they’re carrying their gear offstage and one of the dudes is wearing a poncho, all you can think is, “Whew.”

Set List:
Action and Action
The One You Want
Regent’s Court
Red Letter Day
Keith Case
I’m a Loner Dottie, a Rebel
Shatter Your Lungs
Close to Home
Holy Roman
Campfire Kansas
Don’t Hate Me
Walking on a Wire

No Love
I’ll Catch You
Ten Minutes