The Lawrence Arms / White Wives

The Lawrence Arms / White Wives: live in Brooklynlive in Brooklyn (2010)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 4.5

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Lawrence Arms hadn't played New York in over four years, if I'm not mistaken. Their last bill here was a rather amazing Fat Wreck CMJ showcase at Brooklyn venue The Hook (which might be done, as I haven't been to it since) on November 1, 2006, alongside Strike Anywhere, Smoke or Fire, None More .

The Lawrence Arms hadn't played New York in over four years, if I'm not mistaken. Their last bill here was a rather amazing Fat Wreck CMJ showcase at Brooklyn venue The Hook (which might be done, as I haven't been to it since) on November 1, 2006, alongside Strike Anywhere, Smoke or Fire, None More Black (playing their last show before the hiatus) and Dead to Me. Yeah, I just spelled it out to make you jealous, really.

So with this short northeast run, they made their time here worthwhile, playing a double bill in one night at the new Knitting Factory. While I'll always miss KF's lower levels, this main space is just tremendously improved. It's notably wider yet just as intimate; you can stand in the back of the room and still see everything perfectly. If you wanted to avoid the sloppy, drunken bro-punk pits that ran rampant during these two shows, your vantage point was still a more-than-acceptable one.

I missed AM Taxi's first set, but I imagine their second was more of the same--which wasn't bad. It sounds like a dismissal to label them a cheaper version of the Gaslight Anthem, but that's not a put-down; the band's peppy, gravelly pop-rock with light punk edges got heads bobbing and a couple fans even thrilled to sing along with highlights like "Dead Street" and "The Mistake." And, at least on the second show, threw in a cover of the Clash's "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" that, sadly, no one else seemed to recognize.

Set list [second show] (10:21-10:51):

  1. Dead Street
  2. Woodpecker
  3. Shake, Rattle and Stall
  4. Charissa
  5. Paper Covers Rock
  6. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais [the Clash cover]
  7. Fed Up
  8. The Mistake

I'm not sure how extensively we've been covering White Wives, so it took me by surprise to hear they included two members of Anti-Flag (as well as someone from the Code). While their sound was not as easily classifiable, it did vaguely resemble a more mature and experimental branch off A-F. They had three guitarists and probably six times as many pedals, with a bevy of sounds being carried through the band's aggressive, indie rock-tinged punk. It had its moments: There's one point that came in the opener to both sets that sounds just like Bridge and Tunnel (along with extra percussion from Chris #2); it's beautiful, but some generic fast beat followed it and it was so frustrating. (They went a little overboard on the reverb sometimes, too.) If they take the former direction on whatever release they're prepping, I'll back it wholeheartedly. With their co-vocalist's shaky delivery and scrappy frame, I was probably just hoping for a Desaparecidos feel at times, which didn't necessarily happen. I honestly started to doze a bit during set no. 2, but the opening riff of "Where Is My Mind?" snapped me back to attention. They played only through its first chorus; despite the tease, I was pleased--although, again, c'mon audience. You don't know the Pixies? This song, even?

But then, the Lawrence Arms. Man, it is weird to watch a three-piece play in this day and age. But the lack of second guitar allowed for greater space to be given to slurred sing-alongs from both band and crowd. Yeah, TLA was drunk, especially Brendan. No surprise there, and moreso the second set. But it was a treat to be witness to both: The band only repeated two songs, and while they were visibly drunker during the sophomore set, it was hardly sophomoric. Both sets ensured plenty of pre-Fat classics like "100 Resolutions," "Brickwall Views" and "Turnstiles," but the first set catered more to late-era fans, with half of their 2009 7", Buttsweat and Tears and a small handful from 2006's Oh! Calcutta! dished out too. The second set went heavy on The Greatest Story Ever Told, and when it started with a fantastically energetic and cathartic trifecta of "Recovering the Opposable Thumb," "Turnstiles" and "The March of the Elephants," I felt vindicated for staying for the encore set despite a morning shift at 7 a.m.; hearing four more TGSET songs completed the feeling of gratitude. Sure, it might be impossible replicate Matt Allison's incredibly warm and moving guitar tones on "The Raw and Searing Flesh" in person, but Chris McCaughan did his best replacement with a layer of Schwarzenbach-like distortion to manuever the chilling classic through its sweeping opening.

A couple totally random stage-divers and the push-mosh atop the slippery floor is probably an accurate depiction of the audience; the latter reached a level of mildly irritating during the second set, naturally. But we were funny at least; Brendan, who would come to the front of the stage either sneering or grinning in a shit-eating manner when he saw everyone singing along, found his fragmented banter wearing on the crowd's nerves at points; they would chant "Chris! Chris! Chris!" (second set). When he thanked us for not yelling "Lagwagon!" at them--well, you can guess what happened when the next song came (first set). It proved that the band had refused to recycle even banter for set dos. And when Brendan broke out into an off-the-cuff cover of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" that developed entirely too far into it, it did not seem scripted. And when he switched instruments with Chris for the first set's encore? That too. And they pulled it off admirably.

Set list [first show] (8:31-9:24):
  1. Great Lakes/Great Escapes
  2. Necrotism: Decanting the Insalubrious (Cyborg Midnight) Part 7
  3. The First Eviction Notice
  4. On with the Show
  5. The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City
  6. The Devil's Takin' Names
  7. There's No Place Like a Stranger's Floor
  8. Quincentuple Your Money
  9. Brickwall Views
  10. The Ramblin' Boys of Pleasure
  11. Jumping the Shark
  12. 100 Resolutions
  13. Hey, What Time Is "Pensacola Wings of Gold" on, Anyway?
    Encore (9:25-9:32):
  14. The Redness in the West
  15. Like a Record Player

Set list [second show] (12:00-12:58):
  1. Recovering the Opposable Thumb
  2. Turnstiles
  3. The March of the Elephants
  4. Presenting: The Dancing Machine
  5. Intransit
  6. Cut It Up
  7. Brickwall Views
  8. The Ramblin' Boys of Pleasure
  9. Lose Your Illusion I
  10. Spit Shining Spit
  11. Every Rose Has Its Thorn [abbreviated Poison cover]
  12. Beyond the Embarrassing Style
  13. Chapter 13: The Hero Appears
  14. Are You There, Margaret? It's Me, God
    Encore (1:00-1:11):
  15. The Raw and Searing Flesh
  16. The Disaster March


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldLess Than Jake - Borders and BoundariesThe Clash - London CallingJawbreaker - Dear YouThe Menzingers - A Lesson in the Abuse of Information TechnologyManchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to NothingThe Flatliners - CavalcadeLemuria - Get BetterOff with Their Heads - In Desolation

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
JaySaba (November 21, 2010)

During the second set your mistaking "Chris!" chants for "Neil!" chants.

TheViz (November 20, 2010)

I'm really glad I got to go to both of these shows, because either one of the setlists would make me incredibly jealous having missed it. Great fucking night.

Banger (November 20, 2010)

I was at the early show only and had a great time, but I really wish I had caught that second setlist instead so I could have heard them play "Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God" and all those songs from The Greatest Story Ever Told (my favorite TLA album), especially "The Raw and Searing Flesh" (my favorite TLA song).

quickattack (November 20, 2010)

Awesome setlists by TLA, opening with my favorite song by them and all.

damnitsderek (November 19, 2010)

Probably would have killed someone to have been at this show.

insidejoke2 (November 19, 2010)

in a world of amazing punk bands being ashamed of their old material, or for marketing reasons with new albums, the Lawrence Arms played a song of literally every release of theirs. And a great spread too!

keithus (November 19, 2010)

I saw them in Manchester the next night. Setlist was pretty similar to the first show and they played a Broadways song.

exspectator (November 19, 2010)

Actually, the Lawrence Arms played NYC in late 2007 with American Steel and the Falcon. I saw them on one of the Rocks Off concert cruises, and I think they played a show on land as well, it was the tour where they were playing Broadways covers.

jaimage (November 19, 2010)

God dammit. Fucking work sucks, wish I coulda been here. I did get to see them a few years ago on the booze cruise though where they played as the Falcon too, so I can't complain too much.

drunkwithpower (November 19, 2010)

Those are some precise set times right there

band is always pretty fun to really fun

daveysaurusrex (November 19, 2010)

i was disappointed when i went to buy tickets and the first show was sold out so i had to settle going to just one. but looking at the setlist i definitely got the better one, in my opinion. great show. and i agree, no one else seemed as excited as me for the clash cover.

RedScare (November 19, 2010)

Damn, some comprehensive reviewing of the sets. Aubin owes you a raise!

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