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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Glass Candy, Chromatics @ Pony

posted by on August 29 at 15:30 PM

Music Video: Chromatics - “In the City”:

Pony isn’t really built for live shows. The entire bar is an afterthought, or a happy accident—the fly-by-night dive is, of course, set to be demolished (along with the rest of its Pine st block) to make way for condos later this year. So, while they’ve added a low stage in one corner of the bar’s back room, it doesn’t really change the fact that the place was hardly designed for live music. And given the bar’s limited lifespan, there’s not much motivation to invest in little things like DI boxes or a reliable PA. Pony manager Marcus Wilson was calling around looking for DI boxes before the show and fretting that the neighbors might call in a noise complaint. In short, seeing a show at Pony is a lot like seeing a show in a punk house basement (especially when things get sweaty), which is to say: awesome!

So Chromatics set suffered from some unexpected technical issues. During new song “Mask,” anesthetic chanteuse Ruth Radelet’s mic cut out, and there was no back-up. But the band—main Chromatics man Adam Miller on guitar, Johnny Jewel on bass, and Miller’s brother (?) on drums—carried on, turning out a little impromptu instrumental dub. And the instruments sounded fine. Miller’s delayed guitars are prickly and cool, Jewel’s programming is precise and his live bass loose, the other Miller’s drumming is perfectly spare. Radelet’s mic wasn’t a problem for most of their set, though at one point it cut out again and Jewel could only shake his maraca and tambourine at the thing. Difficulties aside, the band delivered satisfying takes on odl Chromatics songs like “Healer” as well as newer material like “Night Drive,” the lead single from their new cdr, IV.

Glass Candy had more issues with the vocals, but Jewel and vocalis Ida No handled it pretty well. No happens to be a mesmerizing frontwoman, and when her mic went dead, she would simply sink further into her barefoot, glassy-eyed dancing, seemingly as happy doing that as she is singing. By this time, most of the crowd was dancing too, and the place was packed and hot. The band sounded great as usual—their pre-programmed drums and backing tracks give them solid ground from which Jewel’s live bass and synths and No’s vocals can take off. The band probably sounded better when they played the Baltic Room recently (full disclosure: they played at my night), but the overall show at Pony was a lot more fun. Like the best things, Pony can’t last, but here’s hoping they keep doing shows until the second the bricks come down.

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