Sure, there was some mention of a shiny ball dropping a few miles away, but the real story last night was the ‘mericans* and The Figgs ringing in the new year in Brooklyn, NY. The Trash Bar (named for the trash can displayed at the front of the stage?) featured a friendly bear of a bouncer, old license plates, free tater tots, a G. W. Bush action figure, and comfy plush carseats. Live music was in the back room, accessed through a little tunnel sort of like the one at the Paradise, except instead of glowing blacklights you got sketchy peep-show curtains. Since the tunnel was dark, you just followed the sound. When your teeth vibrated, you knew you’d arrived. (More after the jump, plus additional photos in side blog.)
Not that the sound guy was bad, but he basically ranged from LOUD to REALLY F-ING LOUD, and quite a few folks were shelling out $2 for earphones. We braved it plugless (my hearing’s already shot) beginning with Sub Rosa, and Beth Comery would have been quite taken with their guitarist’s emaciated-Brit-punk/Flock of Seagulls look. Besides featuring the largest bassist known to man and matching all-black outfits, Sub Rosa bore a passing resemblance to Echo and the Bunnymen, except louder. Not bad, but the crowd was thin and we drifted back up front for another drink after a few songs. (Or, like, eight drinks, because somehow we missed Heap’s entire set, as well as D.T.O.’s if they played. Whoops.)
The ‘Mericans were given a scant 30 minutes to rock the crowd, asked to wrap up by the midnight countdown. Luckily, Chris Daltry, Mike Moore, Pete Lima, Chris Monti, and Eric Smith had a perfect set for the pared-down spot. Opening with a tricked-out version of “Table’s,” a drinking song usually reserved for setting a folksy mood at acoustic shows, The ‘Mericans got even those in shadow-hidden carseats lining the room nodding and jiving. Then the ‘mericans followed with some energetic hometown hits: “Pawtucket,” “Stonewalls,” “Car,” “To Find Favor,” “Up a Creek,” and ended with rousin’ versions of my two favorites, “Off the Trail” and “Faded & Threadbare.” The sound was still on “really f-ing loud,” so some of their usual subtleties and harmonies were somewhat lost, but that didn’t hurt them. It was a pretty thrilling year-ending performance, and we wouldn’t have wanted to be at any other show. [BTW, I love how The ‘Mericans take turns facing & interacting with their drummer during shows. Take note, other bands. Maybe your drummer gets sick of looking at your butt, too.] When the set ended at 11:58, The ‘mericans instructed everyone to find someone to make out with ASAP. So we did.
The Figgs took the stage in 2009, all pep and some punk, and we were clearly the only Figgs virgins in the suddenly-packed room. Everyone sang and danced fearlessly to the tunes (in fact, one or two crazy, half-moshing folks looked suspiciously like ‘Mericans), with fancy light effects to boot. Best songs included “Regional Hits,” “Bungalow Bill,” a fantastic Kinks cover, “Something’s Wrong,” the Guy Lyons song (the chorus may have been “time is a meltdown”?) and “Casino Hayes.” Drummer Pete Hayes appeared to be the band’s resident hunk, as elbows were thrown and hair was pulled in a group rush to fill his request for a vodka and tonic. (Again, ma’am, I can’t apologize enough…) Bassist Pete Donnelly’s slick, seasoned playing belied his adorable baby-faced, moppish-haired look, and along with great guitar licks and a Matthew Sweet-ish voice, Mike Gent was The Figgs’ athlete, with the Planet Fitness membership card to prove it. The band teased us, pretending each next song would be their last, but in fact they encored until 2:30 despite Mike’s needing to relieve his babysitter. What troopers! Don’t miss these guys when they play the Blackstone with The ‘Mericans and Barn Burning on January 17th.
*As I have the same capitalization predicament as Ms. Comery when it comes to this band’s name, I’ll just try ‘em all.
2 thoughts on “The ‘Mericans, The Figgs Rock New Year’s Eve”
Absolutely. It’s all about the reimbursements, and you can expect the first couple crates of receipts tomorrow.
Looks like we sent the right gal. I hope you saved your receipts. (Glad you all made it through the snow okay.)