So, I figured the lineup of Crime in Stereo, New Mexican Disaster Squad, Marathon, and None More Black, was surely worth missing a Super Bowl for. This decision was made even easier with the announcement that this would be Marathon's last ever show in the NYC / Long Island area.
Little did I know, my friend would be a bit of a flake in actually getting to the show on time.
And so I missed Crime. And NMDS. And all but half of a song of Marathon's set -- yes, as in 0.5. I suppose I may make a healthy investment in a roundtrip ticket on the Long Island Railroad next time around.
However, I figure NMB fans might be interested in the relatively drastic change in sound regarding the band's new material, and thus, wrote this up...
As soon as I stepped into the tiny Tap Bar stage area at NYC's Knitting Factory, dimly lit in all the right places, I visibly saw at least a dozen fists in the air for an abrupt gang vocal portion of the set's last song's bridge. Vocalist Aaron Scott's tan Achilles shirt was turned a harsh beige from the coating of sweat that covered his body, glistening off his forehead and what looked like an awfully tired jaw. I missed what I'm sure was a great set.
None More Black finished setting up and launched into the fantastic "Banned from Teen Arts." A new drummer was in Dave Wagenschutz's place, but this replacement may not be so recent if memory serves me well. He seemed to play all the fills flawlessly, so it was a rare case of DW not being missed -- though maybe his snarling grin was. The band was consistently energetic and bouncing around, notably during "Dinner's for Suckers" and "Oh, There's Legwork."
The majority of the short set were new songs from a record lead singer / guitarist Jason Shevchuk said would be out on May 2nd ("coincedentally the same day as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's baby!" he added). And if anything's obvious, it's that the band has been listening to a ton of Lucero -- they're still certainly playing rough-edged, Lawrence Arms-influenced pop-punk for the most part, but 4 of the 5 songs or so definitely had alt-country overtones. One song, which definitely reminded me of TLA's "Old Mexico Way," started out with Shevchuk and his guitar solo, singing slightly cleaner over the electric strum but still generally puking gravel. Another involved a powerful breakdown and the best song closing the band's written; Shevchuk spits a certain, repeated line several times with Colin McGinniss and Paul Delaney accenting it in backups, preceding clashing guitars that take us out.
Things wrapped up with terrific renditions of arguably my two favorite songs from the band, "Everyday Balloons" and "Nothing to Do When You're Locked in a Vacancy," the last of which Shevchuk dedicated to his band-mates; we can apparently expect this one to last beyond two full-lengths and an EP, and I think fans will be plenty grateful.