Friday, July 04, 2008

Afternoons at Spaceland

I was flattered when Spaceland took my review of The Afternoons to promote their Monday residency at Spaceland. I was hearing reports that the Afternoons had packed Spaceland every week. I can confirm Spaceland was packed on this particular night.

The Boxing Lesson

The Boxing Lesson are space rock purveyors hailing from Austin, Texas. They were an intriguing trio with just guitars, keyboards and drums. Paul Waclawsky (Vocals, Guitars) had a Fender Jazzmaster dialed into his Roland Space Echo with a bizarre Triwave 4ms pedal in his signal chain. Paul's guitar tone would switch from light breeze to Texas tornado as he had a wide spectrum of frequencies to cover since they don't have a bassist. Jaylinn Davidson (Synthesizers) would not be outdone by Paul as she had a Korg MS2000, Novation keyboard and a MiniMoog Voyager. Jaylinn had her left hand on the Moog playing bass lines while using her right hand for atmospheric pads, and leads. The Boxing Lesson played a majority of songs from their new album Wild Streaks & Windy Days. "Dark Side Of The Moog" had hints of Failure, The Album Leaf and Airiel as the band soared through different galaxies with dense melodies. It was good to see Texas representing with some space rock.

The Happy Hollows

Was this The Happy Hollows Spaceland residency? No, but The Happy Hollows played liked it. The room was nearing maximum capacity as the Happy Hollows blazed through a set that was peppered with new and old songs. Some of the new songs such as "Labyrinth" and "Shark" were atypically typical tunes that whetted my appetite for a new album from the Happy Hollows. "Colors" was a crowd favorite as all band members chanted the various colors named off in the song. Sarah Negahdari gives Juliana Hatfield a run for her money as she wielded her Gibson SG like a battle axe. It is up for debate if the band is trying to keep up with Chris Meanie (Drums/Vocals) or if he is trying to keep up with them. Charlie (Bass/Vocals) crushed his vocals on "Delorean" to slam dunk the ending of their ferocious set. I see many big things ahead for the Happy Hollows once they release their next album if the thunderous applause and chants for an encore are any indication at the end of their set. I am excited to see them again in a few days with Bloodcat Love at the Detroit Bar on July 7th.


I got a feeling watching Airborne Toxic Event at Spaceland that they were going to break out into the national scene. The Airborne Toxic Event were playing as if their life depended on it. I got this feeling once again after watching Afternoons demolish the stage at Spaceland. Afternoons charged right out of the gates with "Love Is A Western Word". Claire Mckeon (Vocals) voice crosses over into Theremin territory with its astounding vibrato. Afternoons mastery of the guitar jangle was evident during "The Intervention of Daniel Fields". The gentlemen of Afternoons have intently studied the playbook of Johnny Marr and John Squire. "Say Yes" rivals Arcade Fire in intensity of performance as some members of the Silversun Pickups assisted by banging on some drums. I also have to mention the multiple keyboards on stage including an Arp String Ensemble. "Line Em Up" had Claire's haunting background vocals meshed against interweaving guitars and bashing drums. The Afternoons will be opening for Tokyo Police Club at the Hammer Museum on July 24th. Tokyo Police Club better bring their "A" game or Afternoons are going to steal the show.

The Movies

The late night slot at Spaceland can often have some people make their way to the exit. This was not the case for The Movies. It is hard to believe I haven't seen the Movies since February 2007 at the Echo. Timothy James (Vocals) is a natural born front man that commands your attention. Sporadic jumps, a cadre of bizarre faces and jerky moves are some of the many tricks in Timothy's arsenal. Jessica (Bass) seemed to have lost herself in her performance as she pounded on her Danelectro bass. Brian Cleary (Keyboards) has augmented his Kurzweil keyboard with another Yamaha keyboard as he pulled out a variety of intriguing patches to go with their quirky songs. "Rock In The Slingshot" welcomed the audience into the bizarre indie rock of The Movies. "Nam" was just as hilarious as I remembered it, but even better in the dynamics department. The stuttering keyboards of "Missed Opportunities" played like a call to arms as the song could actually be used in a motion picture. Based On A True Story is The Movies soon to be released album that may prove to be too smart for the average listener. I also need to check out some of their side projects Tables and Chairs and Very as well as helping out Adeline and the Philistines.

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