A few times a week, Gothamist publishes music reviews by our contributor Jeff Baum. The opinions below belong entirely to the author.
The Morning After Girls seem able to adapt to whatever situation they are put in. A few days after CMJ last fall, Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre was supposed to play a solo acoustic show at Pianos with them. As was fairly well documented, Anton acted as a parody of himself that night. He never made it through a single song, fought with the sound guy, people in the crowd, and berated The Morning After Girls' tambourine player on stage after he asked her to accompany him during a song. Despite just playing a marathon week of around 2 shows a day, The Girls (who, I should point out consist of only 1 female member) could had blown off the set and gone back home to Australia, but instead stuck it out and played an inspired set of music that would have made Anton proud had he been in any shape to appreciate it.
This Saturday, The Girls were back in town to play two very different shows. One was to open for Neo-Psychedelic giants Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Webster Hall at 6:45. The other was a 1am party in the Meatpacking district.
The early set was extremely tight and to the point. They had a short time to make an impression in the daunting room filled mostly with people who had likely never heard of them before. They appeared to stay pretty close to the script, not letting themselves get too far out with the noisy drawn out jams. It was a pleasure to hear their giant sound fill a room like Webster. On the backlit stage with a surprisingly attentive early crowd, they did a great job showcasing their songs.
6 hours later they took the stage at Rare, a tiny rock club across the street from Lotus in the meatpacking district. They showed a somewhat different side of themselves. One they perhaps seemed a bit more comfortable with. One that felt perfectly in place for a bizarre late night set at an out of place rock club. They stepped on and immediately went into a bleary, hazy instrumental jam, followed with looser renditions of many of the songs played earlier. While I generally found myself more engaged at Webster, perhaps this was the point. They were supplying the accompanying music to the party, rather than having to fight for the audience’s attention. It was different, but it seemed to work just as well.
Whatever you get from these guys, I would be surprised if they ever seemed out of place. Good live bands go beyond the songs and have the ability to make their shows something of a complete experience. These guys had to adjust, but managed to pull that off twice in one night. Not bad.