Saturday, November 26, 2005

live review: the long winters [featuring ghost stories and slender means]; the crocodile cafe; friday, november 25, 2005.

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i could have sworn that the show started at nine, so i get to the croc at about 8:50, and there were people standing in line. this being my first time at this particular venue, i just decided to do as the romans. a good-looking young woman asks noone in particular, "is this the line to get in?" "i have no idea," i replied.

finally, we were let in, and i promptly headed towards the merch booth, where i ritualistically buy a couple of buttons [it's tradition: i've done it for every show i've been to]. a clean-shaven john roderick was peddling his own merch, and so was sonny votolato, the guitarist for slender means. i gave them both a copy of the north caroline ep as a present, and they both thanked me sincerely, which was really unexpected but very flattering.

after about a half-hour, ghost stories took the stage. they played their first number, which was a slower piece for the audience to get their toes wet to. from that very first song, i was hooked. i suppose i'm just a sucker for indie-pop bands, but everything about their set was top-notch. the boy-boy-girl harmonies, the instrumentation, the fast-slow-fast-slow pace of the set; everything. if i had to give them a comparison, they reminded me of the comas. plus, the multi-instrumentalist had this keyboard that had a mouthpiece. a keyboard.... with a mouthpiece! i wish i knew the correct name for it, because i want one. i tried to google the band, but nothing comes up about them. they have no website, no myspace [trust me, i looked there, too, and the ghost stories that they had was like a screamo band], just a lasting impression on my brain. someone please give that band a record deal. UPDATE: here it is:

slender means took the stage shortly after setting up, and you can tell that the young kids [well, young as in "early 20's", due to the fact the show was 21+] were there to see them. they had a really nice following of pretty young women and their boyfriends. oh yeah.. music. i almost forgot. slender means sounded very tight and professional at the show. you'd think that they had a major-label deal or something. as far as the sound, if i had to make a comparison, i'd have to bring up the cars. slender means is going to be big. you heard it here first.

as the clock struck midnight, the guitarist for the long winters comes onstage, and starts playing a riff. then, the drummer comes out and brings the beat in. the bassist joins the duo, and they all play whatever they're playing. then, a tall figure struts onstage. it's john roderick. IN. A. FUCKING. CAPE. priceless! they jump into the first song [and i'm not intensely familiar with their catalog, so i couldn't name it for you if i tried].

let me tell you something: john roderick is the king of onstage banter. "so, we have a new ep out. we really wanted to do a full-length album but the label wouldn't let us, because that's not 'indie', so we came out with an ep."

a heckler shouts, "and you didn't have enough songs!"

"AND.. we didn't have enough songs."

i would post some of the night's best quotes, but there were so many, that i wouldn't know where to start. like, seriously. i'm drawing a blank, but take my word for it. oh, and if you ever want to have john roderick explain to you why the long winters don't do encores, ask him. it's very complicated.

seeing the long winters is like going to your best friend's college dorm for the weekend. the only people you know out of everyone is them, but they do everything they can to make everyone feel like part of the party. it wasn't like they were the most technically-proficient live act ever, but i'll be damned if i had more fun at another show. sometimes, that's what a great live act is all about.

set highlights: "cinnamon", john's solo acoustic version of "ultimatum", and the two songs from the long winters' forthcoming album. EVERYONE shouting along to the chorus of "the sound of coming down" ["you know noooobody's chasin' us..."] and john's banter in general.


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