Stranded In Stereo: SIS At The Club: Abe Vigoda / High Places

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SIS At The Club: Abe Vigoda / High Places

For 7:30 on a Monday evening in Cambridge, I was surprised to see there was already a line of 20, maybe 30 people outside the Middle East. There they all stood, smoking cigarettes, tickets grasped in their hands, as they awaited for the doors to open at the top of the hour. Man, people really want to see No Age, don't they, I thought to myself.

Once I was in the club and I had taken the last spot along stage right, I started to take notice to something. As I looked around the group of individuals surrounding me and took notice to their hands, it was all big black X's abound. No wonder there was already a crowd formed - they were all kids. Usually, I lump in with my age bracket of one slightly older than the people inside the venue already, and I show up with some time to spare to catch the band I want to see. But this night, I was there to see the earlier bands, the bands supporting who everyone else was really there to see. Though feeling like the oldest one there, and because there was next to no one really hanging out in the 21+ section (a first I had never seen at the Middle East since moving here over a year and a half ago,) deep down I was happy. The underage Rusty of yore was elated that night, knowing that the youth was still coming out seeing bands who weren't on the map quite yet, who weren't right above the underground.

After an opening set from local sampler / No Age sound man
Palm, they walked on stage, they of Abe Vigoda. They looked sleepy at moments: Michael Vidal tuned his guitar, alfalfa standing up in the back. Juan Velasquez in an oversized Jesus & Mary Chain shirt that wasn't ironic nor unfashionable. Within 10 minutes of Palm ending, the AV had started their set. "Live Long" signaled the start of something I had been waiting for since Skeleton came in to my life like angel from the skies a few weeks back. "Animal Ghosts" would find Vidal singing and shuffling, thrashing on his guitar while Velasquez would play like a light swtich, going from sway to stifle. Reggie Guerrero, the oldest Vigodan at 22, played with precision and pep, clanging on the cowbell when appropriate. Of the nine songs played that night, seven were from the tour de force Skeleton, the others were brand new. The final number, listed on the piece of envelope set list as "Jammer," was the most brutal and abrasive thing I've heard from them, yet beneath it all was one of the catchiest melodies I've heard in awhile. Juan ended the set just clamoring about his side of the stage, before resting his guitar appropriately on his amp. When Michael kept yelling his name at the end, it was overpowered by the feedback erupting. "I like broke my string I play that song on, I had made up the entire song," I heard him say. Improvising never sounded more well rehearsed. Oh, and "Skeleton" was epic as well to see that in the flesh. Abe Vigoda Set List:
Live Long / Animal Ghosts / The Garden / Don't Die / Lantern Lights / Bear Face / Cranes / Skeleton / Jammer

Afterwards, the duo of
High Places plugged in for their set. Showcasing breakbeats, exotic noises and Mary Pearson's sweet vocals, Robert Barber cooked up a sweat as he turned knobs and playing his drum pad. While her vocals were buried in the mix earlier in the set, they would soon become as prominent as the beats and loops that pulsated through my body for their entire set. While playing what I hope are already underground club hits outside of their native Brooklyn from their 03.07-09.07 singles comp, they also previewed new material from their upcoming self-titled full length and that amazing contribution of their's on that split single with Xiu Xiu. Did the crowd prove Pearson wrong on her welcoming claim that Boston was nothing but prudes when it came to shaking money makers and getting the groove thing on, or other assorted cliche phrases described to dance? She exclaimed at the end of the set that we weren't prudes after all. The crowd's reception was very warm to High Places for their first night ever in Boston. I could only predict big things for them as the year goes on. High Places Set List:
Sandy Feat / The Storm / Golden / Oceanus / The Tree / Namer / Head Spins / From Stardust to Sentience / New Grace / Gold Coin / Vision's The First / Freaked Flight

View more pics [here]

Buy: Skeleton [here] // Buy: 03.07 - 09.07 [here]

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