'Here Comes A Regular' is written by an employee of Maxwell's in Hoboken, through the lens of his experiences working at a live music venue. Cults and Mrs. Magician played on 3/2.
Photo by Music Snobbery.
So-- not a whole lot exciting has been going on lately. Pretty standard rock club fare. Last week a band from San Diego called Cults
rolled through. A pretty large crew for a room our size. Lots of gear, and lots of hands to move it. I was told we were the first stop on a warm up tour headed down to SXSW where they'll be playing in smaller rooms than normal, so they're working out some kinks involved with playing in smaller rooms with less space. All I'll say is that at least it's a work in progress.
That said, what was noticeable and memorable about the Cults show was the opening band. The potential to be introduced to new and awesome bands when they come through is a perk to such a job that I often forget and rarely take advantage of. But, this was the case on Friday.
The opener was a band called Mrs. Magician. I got to the club once they'd already set up and I missed their sound check-- so didn't know what they sounded like, but I quietly admired their gear (being a musician and a nerd myself, I have an addict's eye for interesting guitars and amps). The sight of these guitars was immediately refreshing given the amount of keyboards that were floating around the room for the rest of the bands. (Aside: rock and roll has too many keyboards in 2012. Bring back the guitars!)
When Mrs. Magician took the stage, they immediately made it clear to the room how awesome they are: sort of surfy, sort of fuzzed out, sort of sinister. The best I can do to describe them is to say that if Nick Cave made a record with the Jesus and Mary Chain and it was produced by Jon (aka: Speedo) from Rocket From the Crypt/Hot Snakes-- it might sound as cool as Mrs. Magician. A very unique sound, yet accessible. Refreshingly "cool" (see: Nick Cave). It's the first band that has played in a while where I went "what is this I hear? This is quite nice. Let me further investigate..." I really really enjoyed their set.
Talking with the guitarist, Tom (the one with the sweet gear), afterward-- I find out that they're from San Diego too and that their drummer is pulling double duty in Cults (hence the opening slot). I also find out that they are in fact signed to Swami Records (owned and operated by none other than San Diego rock royalty Speedo), and that Speedo produced their new record, which is about to come out. They were out for a few dates with Cults before leaving the tour and meeting up with them again at SXSW. Tom sat and chatted with Billy (co-conspirator/co-door man) and myself for a while after the show. We shared tour stories (having all been in bands) and discussed the ups and downs of trying to play guitar while living in an apartment. When it came time for the band to head out we wished them luck and both made mental notes to pick up the new record when it came out (they unfortunately didn't have any advance copies with them).
I think Billy and I were both grateful for a band that we enjoyed that much. A lot of times the bands that play become white noise. Even bands we know and like become background music when we're working. But this was different. This struck us both (and other members of the staff). This is a band that I will absolutely actually go out and spend money on. This is a band I look forward to seeing return to the club. This is a new band that I can be a fan of. And, in the age of iTunes, and Spotify, and automated recommendations based on binary categorizations inside some server in Palo Alto, there is something, rare, exciting, refreshing, and essentially new about hearing a band live for the first time and thinking "wow-- this is awesome". Mrs. Magician pulled that rabbit out of the hat last Friday. Check them out.
Their new album, Strange Heaven
, is out digitally now and out physically on 4/17. Check out their website
for more info.
Billy Alpha with embellishments by Karl Heitmueller