(Please note: this is bloggy #211 which is supercool, cuz it's an important one.)
*NOW WITH SETLIST & ARCHIVE LINK*
After the Tres Heteros crowd cleared out of Mexicali back in January, American Babies got onstage and played a late night set of relentless balls-out Rock music that left me hooked. I've been super pumped to see them again since that last note hit my eardrums. Very rarely does a band immediately grab me like that. The same thing happened the first time I saw God Street Wine, roughly 18 years ago. It's like being captured, in a good way.
American Babies have an Old Soul. The songwriting is smart & seductive, with brilliant hooks at every turn, and hints of Elvis, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, (classic) Elton John, David Bowie. Rock. Gritty & shredding guitars, ripping keys, a powerful driving rhythm section, and Tom Hamilton's howling vocals delivering the package. They're fucking awesome.
Anyways-- it's exciting. I get excited about getting excited about music.
Their new album, Flawed Logic, came out a couple of weeks ago-- it's very excellent (get it here). Last week, I bugged The Babies' brainchild, Tom Hamilton, with some questions & got some answers. And I fiiiinally got to see them live again last Friday at the Mercury Lounge, for one of their star-studded cd release parties. Totes sweet.
Core lineup: Tom Hamilton (guitar, swagger), Jim Hamilton (bass), Dave Butler (drums), Adam Flicker (Holy keys, though no light in his corner = no pics!). This night, Nick Bockrath sat in on guitar for all but one song.
The Babies kicked off the show with a romping Dance All Night and worked through songs both new and old. After a handful of songs, Joe Russo (played on the albums) came up to play a 2nd drumset next to Dave Butler for the duration. Yes!
Highlights (in no particular order):
- Joeline. Gorgeous, raw, honest. "When they knock your dick in the dirt, will you get right up?" ... "Oh Joeline / I think we got dealt the shit hand."
- Rocker. Who doesn't love Badass Rockabilly?
- Desperate Times. "I got a girl in mind and she knows that it can be such a drag, it can be such a drag."
- Streets of Brooklyn. It's *all* true.
- Weight of the World. Catchier than the catchiest song you know.
- Brooklyn Bridge. Solid. Vivid.
- Winter War Games. There are so many things going on in this song and holy shit, it is absolutely beautiful.
- Dark End of the Street. Great freakin' cover!
Oh, and then you know, almost the entire B-side of Abbey Road, featuring Dave Dreiwitz from Ween on additional bass & Ryan Thornton on percussion (both guests on American Babies albums). Yah. Just that. Jebus. They were having a blast and the place was raging.
They capped it all off with a loud and lively Winter War Games for an Encore (see above, re: Highlights). Beautiful.
What a Scorching Rock Show. Hot damn, I love this band.
To those who haven't yet heard these guys yet--- I've run out of ways to describe how great American Babies are, because I can still only barely comprehend it myself. It's time you take the next step and listen to them (this very post contains linked options). And/or, since their tour just started- go see them!!! Until you do, I've got no choice left but to brazenly insult you (I have a hard time expressing my feelings) for being so fucking ignorant, you Ignorant Fuck. GO SEE THEM.
American Babies^, 4/29/11, Mercury Lounge, NYC: 9.8 HUZZAHS^^!!!
Salvo ran a matrix mix.
Dance All Night
I Want a Girl
Invite Your Friends#
Baby, Don't Cry#
Dark End of the Street# (Percy Sledge... but you have to say "Percy Sledge" like Joey from the Commitments... "Perrrcy sLEHdge.")
Streets of Brooklyn#
Night Has Fallen#
Weight of the World#
You Never Give Me Your Money#%
Mean Mr. Mustard#%
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window#%
Carry That Weight#%
Winter War Games#
# w/ Joe Russo on 2nd drum kit
% w/ Dave Dreiwitz (Ween) on 2nd bass & Ryan Thornton on percussion
DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks to Salvo! http://www.archive.org/details/ab2011-04-29.salvo
Marc Whitman over at livemusicblog.com posted some video in his review, so you can check that out too. Though I'll warn you right now, he doesn't seem to use the word "fuck" nearly as often as I do. Brace yourself.
^ Let's just leave Jounce out of this, shall we?
^^ Gotta give wiggle room for flexibility.