Walking through the Bowery Ballroom, there was more of a party atmosphere than a concert atmosphere in the air, on an unseasonably warm Friday night in February. Perhaps the warm weather made people feel like partying, or maybe it was just excitement over the bands that were about to perform. You wouldn't normally think of Plants and Animals
and Blitzen Trapper
as party bands, but on this night one would could easily have thought they were at the wrong show.
Montreal's Plants and Animals were first up and surprisingly, the band came on stage as a three-piece. After listening to their debut album Parc Avenue
many times, it surprised me that a band with such a big sound could reproduce it live with only two guitarists and a drummer. Somehow they made it work, and work well. With "J'aime La Musique" stickers on the heads of each guitar, the band was ready to rock. The audience took a little convincing to get involved, preferring instead to continue their conversations through the first half of the set, while the band played some of the best moments from their debut album, as well as a couple of new songs that sounded promising. It wasn't until the band played the dancy and addictive "Mercy" that the crowd finally realized that they were missing a great performance by one of the most exciting bands to come out of Canada in the last few years. The band ended their performance with arguably the two best songs on their album, "Faaerie Dance" and the epic "Bye Bye Bye" to the delight of those who cared to listen.
The din of the crowd reached a new octave in between sets, as people had a chance to get some more alcohol into their systems and renew conversations that were interrupted by Plants and Animals great set. Most of the crowd didn't seem to notice when Blitzen Trapper took the stage, but as the lights faded to black, they finally realized that the band they had paid to see was on stage and ready to go, and they responded with thunderous applause. Opening their set with rousing rocker "Fire and Fast Bullets" from their latest, critically acclaimed album Furr
, the crowd finally got into the show for a little while. While they played a fair amount of songs from Furr
, the middle part of their set was comprised of a few older songs as well as some covers, including an excellent cover of Reverend Gary Davis' old folk classic, "Cocaine Habit Blues". The audience, by this time thoroughly inebriated, sang along to every word of the bands most commercially popular song, and album's title track, "Furr", and after a set that lasted close to two hours, Blitzen Trapper, or as I like to call them, the Blitzen Beards (as every member of the band, save one, was bearded), brought their amazing set to an end.
While the show itself was incredible, the crowd, as you may have guessed, left something to be desired. It really seemed as if all people cared about was getting hammered and having a good time. Of course there's nothing wrong with that, but there are plenty of bars in Manhattan where you can have a good time without having to deal with pesky sober people who want nothing more than to see a show and listen to some great music. Maybe it was just me, or then again, maybe it was just the weather. -Greg Lozoff
Plants and Animals
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Blitzen Trapper on Myspace
Plants and Animals on Myspace
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