Monday, November 8, 2010

Land Of Talk and Suuns Played Bowery - Pictures, Review, Video

On Saturday night, we swung into a (justifiably) packed Bowery Ballroom, and caught Suuns and Land Of Talk delivering a completely fantastic night of rock and roll. It's hard to convey the visceral, frenetic nature of the awesomeness the show brought forth, but suffice it to say that both bands are nearing (if not at) the top of their game. Unquestionably, there are a lot of rock shows to see these days, but if you miss this one, you're doing yourself a real disservice.

Suuns (apparently pronounced "soons") opened the show with a set that was unquestionably tighter than when we saw them last in San Francisco. Maybe it's because they've been moved up to the number two spot, or maybe it's just that the road has done good things for their chops. Regardless, the band have really tightened up their live sound, and the crowd responded in kind.

The set was loaded with fantastic noise rock, most notably reminiscent of Sonic Youth at moments. Still, the band has a sound that is certainly their own, and it only solidified when they added some extras to the mix. First a bari sax player joined the band and positively killed it. Shortly thereafter, Lizzie Powell joined the band on bass for their last tune.

Clearly, we enjoyed Suuns set. But even more than that, we'll tell you this: if crowd reaction was any indicator, these guys will be headlining their own tour in the very near future. Their sound is accessible but edgy, and their live show is killer. Definitely a win on all fronts.

When Lizzie Powell took the stage around 11, she had changed from her more casual onstage garb with Suuns into a notably dressier white lace getup. She quickly informed the crowd that she had gotten dressed up "just for New York" because she gets so much damn love in the city. And she was right: the room is one of the biggest the band are playing on the tour, and it was packed with fervent admirers.

The rest of Land Of Talk soon took the stage, and revealed themselves to be half made up of Suuns members, which was definitely not a bad thing. Apparently taking a cue from her Broken Social Scene compadres, Lizzie Powell is rapidly expanding the band's live lineup, and Saturday night saw 6 musicians on stage. The result was a lineup that was tightly knit, but sonically diverse.

What followed was a rock show of epic proportions: The band delivered on every track they played, and more. The setlist was a solid mix of new and old material, ranging across Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, all the way to the band's latest Cloak and Cypher. Despite the fact that the records can at times be divergent from each other, the live context gave them a cohesive underpinning that solidified Powell's talent as a songwriter.

Powell was clearly dumbfounded by the size of the crowd and the unbridled enthusiasm. Every song was met with a wave of cheers, and as a result, the band got more and more into the tunes. It would be hard to call what Land Of Talk does "jamming", because it's far more concise and tightly wound than anything in that category. The band's onstage presence is simply one of musical rapport, where all the players are on the same page, and delivering in turn.

At the heart of this, of course, is Powell. On stage she is an exploding ball of energy, dancing, singing, laughing, and clearly in love with playing her music. More importantly, she is the musical core of the band, and acts as the center upon which all the other musicians build. Once that occurs, all bets are off: the other five are quite simply on top of their game, and allow the band to collectively take a creative leap in the live setting that is unparalleled.

In closing, it's always difficult to take in a rock show and put it into words. But in the case of Land Of Talk, it's particularly tough. So much of their onstage presence and excitement is based around an energy release that can only be characterized as magical. While it doesn't completely prove anything, we did snag a video that we think does a pretty good job. The band closed with "It's Okay", and we caught it in its entirety (below). We'd encourage you to watch the whole thing, full screen. But if you can't put aside 7 minutes for rock and roll, at least skip to 4:30. That's when shit gets real.

Many more photos in the HAD Archive