I honestly kept forgetting that this show was even happening this week. With my new portfolio, job, and band to worry about, this show sort of just slipped my mind. I’m kind of glad I forgot about it in a way, because before I even knew it I was having a fucking great night with my friends, singing along to some of my favorite music of this year.
Driving to Ridgewood was not as much of a pain as it was the last time I had to. The last time I drove to Ridgewood was for an Our Daily Fix//Toasted Plastic show and I ended up taking a long time because of my foolhardy trust in print-out google maps (I have this hatred for GPS’s because they were the cause of my first traffic ticket, which was right after my senior prom nonetheless, but that’s a story for another day). This time around I just put my faith in the GPS, gave my friends and myself less anxiety, and got there with some time to spare. Upon arrival I caught up with future suite-mate//dad of all dads, TJ Stevenson, along with my other Our Daily Fix pals, Bryan and Greg. I actually ended up conversing with them for a bit too long, because before I had even realized it, the show had already started. I don’t know how many songs I missed, or if I missed any, but I do know that as I entered purchase buddy Dave Benton’s (guitarist//singer of SPOOK HOUSES and LVL UP, and also the co-founder of Double Double Whammy) basement, Toasted Plastic was in the middle of playing “So Much Time.”
Toasted Plastic was amazing, as usual. It always blows my mind how good those kids are (as they are still in high school.). I wish that more people danced or moved around during their set because those dudes (although young) are totally on par with everyone else that played, and even any band that is currently slaying the music scene. I was a little worried that the rest of the show might be really tamed. You never really know what a basement show is going to be like when you get there, because people either are not aloud to move around too much, or are afraid to move around too much. However, my fears vanished as the night progressed.
Next up was Suns, who honestly always puts on a good show. These guys are just so full of energy, and on top of that they are just amazing musicians. They started off their set with the track “Crocodile,” which is one of my favorites off of Engine Room. They are always spot on with their sets. Nearly identical to the recordings, these guys are extremely solid. When you watch them, you just really know they were meant to be a band. You’re pretty much guaranteed to be satisfied in some way when watching SUNS perform.
Bad Sound directly followed Suns with a nice contrast to them. They played their very upbeat and catchy tracks. This was my first time seeing these guys live, and I was definitely impressed. The singer actually holds up extremely well live. I was really psyched though when they started playing “Bee Sting.” I literally love that song, it was jam during my winter break and it’s a fun track to drive to. Although heavily stripped down (I.E. no melodica, clarinet, or glockenspiel), it was still really enjoyable. The best part of their set for me though was definitely when they played “Beautica.” At the end everyone who knew the lyrics sang along, and the entire basement rattled with the words, “I’ve got a car in my driveway, I’ve got a kid in my home, I’ve got friends with the spirits, so today I’m driving out alone.” Bad Sound played a seriously awesome set. Some of the live versions of their tracks I even enjoy a lot more than their recorded counterparts. For example when they played “Paint,” it was a lot more manic and had more character. The same goes for a lot of their tracks. Even though the tracks were missing a lot of the instruments used on the albums, it was still very enjoyable to hear them with the live drums and energetic atmosphere.
It was almost time for SPOOK HOUSES. As they set up, drummer Nick Corbo started playing this smooth, hip-hop worthy beat on the drums that of course was going to make my friend Steven drop some funny-ass raps. I wish I could do his skills justice and remember what he said, but I can’t. What was really funny though was that literally seconds before the set I ran into another purchase buddy, Rachel Gordon, along with Elaiza Santos of WHATEVER, DAD fame. Even though Elaiza attends the same college as me, I’ve never met her before. It was kind of strange meeting someone that I only knew through this music blog. I probably made an ass of myself, but I think it was okay in the end (sorry Elaiza).
Finally, SPOOK HOUSES played, and they killed it. They started off the set with some new tracks off their upcoming first full-length, Trying. It was good to get such a nice preview of the new album. Within minutes of their set everyone in the room went ballistic, and I lost track of most of my friends that were in the room. Luckily, I somehow got pushed to the front (I don’t know how that always happens). It was great to hear their new track “American” this time around. Having finally getting to hear the recorded version this month, it was good to revisit it live. Of course everyone enjoys a song more when you actually know it. One of the other new tracks they played was called “July” I believe. I really love what they did with that track. I’m pretty sure it’s a song that’s been floating around in the mind of Dave Benton, as I’ve heard him play that song a few times during his solo acoustic sets. It was really cool to see it played with a full band. I loved the very fittingly ominous drums that loomed throughout the song. My favorite out of the new tracks that they played though probably had to be “Garden.” That track is the essence of SPOOK HOUSES in a song, having an elegantly rendered introduction with a graceful instrumentation that ultimately builds up to a powerful fucking explosion of power.
To quote my friend Steven, “Spook Houses is like ‘this is really sad, but fuck it were moving on, together.’” He’s definitely right in that SPOOK HOUSES’ music really is uniting, because by the time it came time for them to play “Witching Hour,” my friends and I had somehow reunited in a sudden stroke of fate. I put my arm around them all and slowly rocked back and fourth to the song. What a great night.
All in all this show was a lot of fun. I wish I could’ve stuck around more and chatted with some folks, but at the end of the night my friends and I were exhausted, and I was definitely not looking forward to the drive back. If this is just a taste of what the SPOOK HOUSES//SIRS tour is going to be like, then I like where this is heading. Now I really can’t wait any longer for Trying to be released!
*I’m sorry there are no pictures! I forgot my polaroid when I was heading to the show. I promise from this review forward there will be pictures from the shows with these.