Sure the Summit could use some character, some warmth, some signage to delineate it from its Bourbon neighbor, but there’s no other place that could pull off Monday night’s indie-smorgasbord, and for that fact I’ve been making it a second home.
Show of the Year? Close, but I’ll stick with the sticky summer triplet of V. Girls/Crystal Stilts/TNV – two of those bands were here on this night, it’s just the impending weather reports and the fact that this was a Monday knocked it down a few.
The Stilts though, are slowly winning the hearts of everyone they come in contact with. I’m a bit sick of hearing all the comparisons – Joy Division (duh), Jesus and Mary Chain (duh), the Doors (well I’d rather hear Alight the Night than most of that catalog honestly), Interpol (on the cheap). Yes, it’s obvious, it’s all there in spades, only this band stretches it into widescreen, almost meditative mantras. The basslines are tucked into the back, the guitar shimmering in shades of black, the drums simple and snappy, and those vocals – enough to scream mercy for the dourness. Yet when the noir gels, they become hypno-pop, erase the keys from the equation (which is their current form) and that rids the music of any distraction. And these guys (girl) seem to fit a niche that isn’t represented in Columbus. They could easily come from here or adapt to here and leave their Brooklyn address for good. They seem to radiate in front of Columbus crowds, even when the mope is forced through song.
Love is All, the sprightly quintet from Sweden, were perfect sandwiched between gloomy shadowplay and bouts of romantic nihilism. Don’t worry, as much as I liked them I’m not going to “overblog” them as one punter asked backstage – no need to, they spoke for themselves. One who was unfamiliar with the band’s distinctive “shit-pop” by way of any number of twee collectives (see Architecture in Helsinki, Arcade Fire, Fat Albert’s Junkyard Band) could have likely come away thinking their sound is a bit dated, played out like a late ‘90s ska band or perhaps the angular disco-punk popular less than five years ago. Yes, well, all might apply, you’d be half-right – I think it’s just the instruments they choose and the abundance of riffs they pour on that aligns them with that. What makes them a great band, on record and live, is their endless amount of energy and ambition. Few bands have that connect these days, but Love Is All looked genuinely thrilled in every one of their shows twists and turns, shifting into overdrive when the crowd allowed. Very noisy, extremely poppy and precious, eschewing anything trendy by stitching Contortions skronk to indie-rock clamor, X-Ray Spex and Archies -- dare I mention the Rapture mixed into the Sugarcubes. It may have wore a little thin towards the end, but I think that came from the crowd deflated from dancing feverishly the first 45 minutes. Come back soon.
I’ve seen a lot of TNV shows this year. A ton. More than any other band. This is their home, their turf, and it shows. Not sure if it was post-tour stress disorder or all the strangers crowding up the front, but there was a tiny disconnect from the audience. That didn’t cause the performance to be anemic though, quite the contrary. They were tight and often transcending through noise and feedback. Jared’s riffs have become even more monstrous and euphoric than ever. I don’t think the disconnect, or lack of audience back and forth was on purpose, or because the trio was lacking sleep and sustenance or care, I just think they are riding the crest of this year long wave right now and there’s nowhere farther they can take these songs until they get into a studio, rip it up, and begin again. Ears still ringing and it’s Thursday.