Last month I saw Lucinda Williams with my friends Mark & Mike. Before the show, Mark bought me a sammich and instead of cash, he got an IOU for a future sammich. CUT TO: a few days before The New Mastersounds played the Bowery Ballroom, I shot an email out to see who was going- the sole confirmation came from Mark:
And THEN we went inside. After all these years, I still dig the Bowery Ballroom. It can be slightly disorienting when you're shitfaced* (especially trying to find the bathroom), but I was not (this time!). But the room itself is really nice and the sound carries well.
The Higher Hands, a band out of Maryland (UMD) opened the show. They were actually pretty funky and good, despite that awful name.
This was my first time seeing The New Mastersounds as headliners. I'd only seen the English quartet once before on the 2nd stage at moe.down x, where they rocked out with Spaghett! sitting on the stage like some sort of twisted, bloodied mascot.
I wondered if Spaghett! would make an appearance this night and if not- then how would the band perform without his moral & structural support?
The New Mastersounds came out strong and rocked their hot little funky souls off in their English shoes with their rebellious mop topped noggins**. Every time they bantered I was cracking up, their accents are still such a novelty to me. Liam and Noel Gallagher have nothing on these guys. I love their use of tambourines as both hand-held and foot-stomping percussion instruments (a technique made famous by and clearly ripped off from Dana "Monty Roberts" Monteith during his Truckstop Love Ballads period).
The place was pretty packed and the crowd was loving it. There were a couple of drunk dudes in front of us, one was wearing a white Umphrey's McGee hat. They had snuck in a bottle of Jager and were attempting inconspicuous swigs (though the security guy saw them and did a shake-down). At times Chip & Chaz would get so psyched that they would start punching each other. I was glad there was a road-case separating me from them and thusly, the whole thing was keeping me fairly amused.
During setbreak I was finally able to hand the Daisy May's sammich to Mark, who was upstairs at a table. I thought it would serve as a mid-show-snack with a napkin-tucked-into-the-shirt-bib and photo-op, but he was planning on saving & eating it before going to bed. Nothing like a little pulled pork to put you to sleep***.
The band had announced the setbreak would be "10 English minutes". I didn't know what this meant and thought maybe it had to do with the metric system, but Mark explained that it actually means, "exactly 10 minutes". Are the English supposed to be prompt or something? Even so, The New Mastersounds are a band- a 10 minute setbreak just tells me they ain't drinkin' enough. I thought you boys were supposed to be Rockstars?
We watched the rest of the show from upstairs, which was totes sweet. Pete the Enforcer got to sit which he was really into cuz "that's one of (his) favorite hobbies". The place thinned out a bit as people left to go see some Norse God at Sullivan Hall****. Joel Cummins from Umphrey's sat-in on Carrot Juice, that was kinda special.
Aside from The New Mastersounds, there was plenty of entertainment in the crowd itself and from the balcony we could check it all out. There was one dude who was wearing tie-dye and completely spazzing out. There was also a chick wearing stripes with the biggest sneakers we had ever seen. By the end of the night the tie-dye spaz and huge sneakers chick were dancing together! A match made in heaven, it was meant to be.
My sammich was fucking fabulous, it was great to get out to the Bowery Ballroom for a night with fun friends, and it was pip-pip-cheerio snozberries to see those 4 chaps do their own thang (without Spaghett!). At times some of the spaces they reached felt repetitive, but I never once thought about leaving before the end. As an opening act, beer tent act, or headliner, The New Mastersounds are a fun band that might graduate to Irving Plaza over the next couple of years. The New Mastersounds, 11/7/09, Bowery Ballroom: 8 HUZZAHS!
Scott Bernstein taped! So, DOWNLOAD THE SHOW: http://www.archive.org/details/nms2009-11-07 (thanks, Scott Bernstein!)
*Down, around, up, behind, street level.
** Okay- only one of them has a mop-topped noggin.
*** At least that's what your mama used to say.
**** Who looks pretty awesome and I will have to check out next time!