Last Night Easy to See Your Friends Down Here Under the Sea
posted by May 25 at 14:50 PMon
Japanther, DD/MM/YYYY, Little Party & the Bad Business, Sam Rousso Soundsystem - the Vera Project - 5/24/07
The Vera Project’s “Under the Sea” anti-prom was a blast. Kids came decked out in thrifted formal wear, pirate costumes, and fake cement boots; there were snacks and punch and Polaroid prom photos; and the entertainment was way better than the (probably KUBE-affiliated) DJ at my prom. Sam Rousso Soundsystem actually managed to get sober people dancing before 10:00 p.m., which is pretty fucking rare. Nice one, Sam.
I missed all but the last song of Little Party & the Bad Business, but I’m sure their set was the usual high-energy pop workout. They have a new song called “DFM,” which stands for “Do it for Me” (as opposed to “Do It Yourself”), which sounds like it could be pretty funny, in LP&BB’s typically tongue-in-cheek style. Little Party’s Casey Catherwood tells me that the band just recorded their debut with a full band—they’ve thus far just keys, vox, and drum machines—and he says their live band will soon expand to include drums, guitar, bass, horns, and possibly even a drum line. Sounds like fun.
DD/MM/YYYY were a pleasant surprise. The Toronto five-piece alternated between nerdy prog and propulsive rhythmic jams (there’s a difference), switching roles on drums, bass, guitar, keys, and vocals, and frequently incorporating multiple simultaneous singers or drummers on any given song. While changing strings, their drummer (at the time) delivered a monologue about Mr T cereal, with heavy allusions to the open Rube Goldberg contraption sequence of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Their sometimes singer dedicated a soprano sax solo to Kenny G. Their keyboardist skateboarded into the backstage after their set. They were pretty cool.
I have to say that I was nervous about Japanther. Their last time through town (at the truly awful downtown YMCA’s make-shift venue) was probably the least fun Japanther set I’d ever seen, and I was really hoping they’d redeem that lackluster performance tonight, and they totally did. The took the floor—oh yeah, all the bands played on the floor tonight, with Sam Rousso Soundsystem towering above them onstage—wearing suit jackets and no shirts, but the suit jackets didn’t last long. Ian Vanek goaded the crowd into dancing and professed his love for Seattle, the Punkin House (RIP), and the Vera Project in between songs. The first half of their set was devoted to almost entirely new material—the band plans to release a new record in September—and it only ended up being the first half because the crowd’s demand for an encore spurred Japanther into playing another half dozen or so songs including classics “1-10,” “Evil Earth,” “Claudia’s Symptoms,” and “The Gravy.” It wasn’t the best Japanther show I’d ever seen—it’s hard to compete with the Punkin House bills they shared with Dalmatians (RIP) or This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb—but it was fun, the crowd was great, and it totally made up for that last so-so show. I love the Vera Project, and I’m glad they’re getting shows like this Japanther and Lightning Bolt, but I’d still love to see these bands play a cramped basement or a street corner again.