Wednesday, July 29, 2009

junior boys @ webster hall

Historically, I have never counted sleep deprivation as a good thing. It makes me cranky and unpleasant, gives the world a somewhat disconcerting fuzzy-around-the-edges feeling, and is generally just not a fun state to exist in. However, due to various extenuating circumstances, lmc and I found ourselves more or less stranded, hotel and/or crash pad-less, in New York City in such a state. In hindsight, I probably wouldn't have had it any other way. In a rare example of actually doing research before diving into something, we noticed that Junior Boys were going to be playing a show at a place called Webster Hall the same night that we were planning to be in the general area. Despite neither of us being terribly big Junior Boys fans, we naturally bought tickets and eagerly awaited the show.

Exhaustion and the finely detailed eccentricities of this particular venue aside (they have one unisex bathroom inside which there is a vendor who sells candy and Sun Chips), this turned out to be something of an Experience. Speaking as someone who was a small fan of 2006's So This Is Goodbye and frankly bored to tears by this year's aptly titled Begone Dull Care, Junior Boys themselves were actually surprisingly awesome. I have a feeling they came onstage with the intention of playing one of the more energetic shows of their career: when they were touring back in May, they had a massive equipment flip-out at this very same venue that forced them to cancel the show two or three songs into their set. Singer Jeremy Greenspan has gone on record saying that that was one of the worst nights of his life, and I'm sure it was something of a redemptive occasion for the whole band to finally be able to come back and do the thing right.

Their enthusiasm was palpable, as they rattled through various choice cuts from each of their three albums. Fan favorites "In the Morning" and "Birthday" (before which Greenspan announced that at midnight it would, in fact, be the drummer's birthday) were punctuated with rocking renditions of tracks like "Double Shadow" and "The Equalizer." Even the songs from Begone Dull Care were given a vitality I could never have imagined based solely on their sleepy album versions: "Hazel," which opened the set, was groovy in a cool nerd-dance kind of way, and "Work" stands tall as one of the evening's biggest highlights. Even so, they conspicuously saved the best for last. Bands' encores are rarely better than the main set, but the Boys re-emerged to play a 10-minute extended jam version of Last Exit track "Under the Sun" that could likely beat the hell out of anything they've ever produced in the studio. It was that awesome.

Still, in spite of this revelatory performance, it was the opening bands that made the evening so ... er, memorable. First opening act San Serac may be the biggest dork I have ever seen onstage before, and I most certainly mean that in the most endearing way possible. The man was dancing his ass off so un-self-consciously that I can't help but feel something of an attachment.

Second opening act, on the other hand, I have no words for. Their name was Perfect Storm, and try as I might to summarize their performance, I just can't. This is the best I could come up with:

Suffice it to say I LOST MY SHIT. No opening band for the rest of time will be able to match these guys. The Decemberists could open for Sunset Rubdown and I'd be like, "Well, they're no Perfect Storm." Now all I have to do is convince myself they actually exist. Sleep deprivation does mess with you and, eerily, there is no information about these guys anywhere online. No matter what, though, the trip down the rabbit hole was a fun one. Now I finally know what's on the other side. It's Webster Hall in NYC, and it's kind of glorious.

mp3: "In the Morning" by Junior Boys
mp3: "Work" by Junior Boys


LMS said...

I love that we both just wrote two "lack of sleep" entries in a row.

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