In which Desaparecidos, Joyce Manor, States and Kingdoms, Man Man, Murder by Death, Samantha Crain

Listening to: RVIVR “The Beauty Between”

Some delayed reviews to bring you. Gonna make this short and sweet, and leave you wishing you were at these shows. Oh yeah.

Desaparecidos/Joyce Manor/States and Kingdoms at Webster Hall Feb. 26

Desaparecidos: Viciously epic. Basically played every song they have and the new “Anonymous” song, which is fantastic if you haven’t heard it, by the way. A lot of bands out there sing pretty much only about relationships and feelings and growing up. A lot of other bands get political in their music, but do a poor job of it. Desaparecidos have all the feeling of songs about growing up, but with smart, serious political passion. Their songs are full of life on their albums, and they’re explosive at their live shows. Their set was meaningful and intense. And in their encore, they played Constant Headache on stage with Joyce Manor. And they killed it.

Joyce Manor at Webster Hall 2/26

Joyce Manor at Webster Hall 2/26

Joyce Manor: These guys are one of the great new-ish bands on the scene, and I was most excited to see them. The crowd exploded into a bunch of entitled young boys when Joyce Manor started playing, which I honestly wasn’t expecting at this show. Full beers were knocked out of hands and flew all over the place. Numbers of people were knocked flat down when a bunch of kids pushed through to open up a pit. And a kid that may have been the same short guy who stood in front of me at the Iron Chic/Slow Death show gave me the finger for pushing him back into the pit after he flung himself into me. Aside from the unexpected crowd, Joyce Manor played an awesome set. I love their albums, but I feel like some of their recorded songs lack excitement. Not true for when they play live. Their energy was way up.

States and Kingdoms: Despite the fact that their ranks include Thursday’s Steve Pedulla and Ian Love formerly of Rival Schools, I wasn’t completely impressed with these guys. Their songs went really hit or miss. The song they opened with was really powerful and had a serious bass-line that completely filled up the room. It might’ve been poor mixing, but I felt like the guitar and synth were completely unnecessary. And later, the vocals and guitar riffs started to remind me of Interpol, which was weird and unsettling. But other than that, they had some great moments.

Webster Hall: The last time I was at this venue was probably a few years ago, and it has seriously changed. They charged five bucks for a single bottle of water, and refused to serve tap water for free. A guy walked around on the floor selling beers like at a baseball game. Not at all how I remembered, and it felt too elitist for me.

Man Man/Murder by Death/Samantha Crain at Music Hall of Williamsburg Feb. 28

man man you cray

Man Man at Music Hall of Williamsburg 2/28

Man Man: These guys are absolutely crazy in the best possible way. I first heard them when I saw them play at Bonaroo 2011, and I couldn’t believe how much fun they were. I tried listening to them on my iPod a bunch after that, but it just didn’t have the same effect. Man Man headlined this show with MBD, and the bands had been sharing a headline throughout the tour. Not one dull moment occurred during Man Man’s set. They had neon lights all over the stage and drum set. An oddly-placed bouquet of flowers adorned the synth stand. Costume changes were frequent. Movement was nonstop. The crowd immediately turned into a dance party that didn’t stop for the near two-hours that the band was on. The way they were constantly going, it felt more like DJs at club than a band at a show.

Murder by Death at Music Hall of Williamsburg 2/28

Murder by Death at Music Hall of Williamsburg 2/28

Murder by Death: This was the band I came to this show for. I’ve seen them a few times, and this was the best. MBD’s energy never lacks. Guitarist and vocalist Adam Turla’s freakishly baritone and booming voice was the loudest and most powerful I’ve heard at a show yet. Sarah Balliet’s cello pulls their songs together on the albums, but goes beyond that by being a rich, important part of the sound at their shows. Samantha Crain, who did guest vocals on MBD’s latest album “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon,” joined in on some songs with a voice that blended in seemlessly. Plus, they opened with their single “I Came Around,” which is one of the best songs on their latest album, and played some of my all-time favorite tracks during their set. I wish they got an encore, and so did much of the crowd that chanted “One more song!” for a while after they had finished.

Samantha Crain: I was really interested to see her open the show, since I didn’t know anything about her other than her voice on MBD’s album. She’s got such a sweet, strong voice, and a new album out that I highly recommend. I didn’t expect her to be so talented or sound so powerful with just the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar. Plus, she’s really funny. She kind of ad libbed between songs and was hilarious. I’ll be listening to her a lot more.

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