So last Wednesday night I went once more to the Bowery Ballroom, this time to see The Dismemberment Plan. This was one of those shows that I’d been anticipating so greatly that I almost managed to be disappointed just because my expectations were so high. Nevertheless, they put on a fantastic show and I left quite satisfied. They played a ton of stuff from Change - all of the last four songs, which all kick ass, as well as “Superpowers” and “Come Home”; and a lot from Emergency & I - all of the last six songs except “8 1/2 Minutes”, plus “What Do You Want Me To Say”. They also played a bit of earlier stuff - “The Ice of Boston”, “Bra”, “OK, Joke’s Over”, “Onward, Fat Girl”, as well as “The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich”. Good stuff.
The crowd seemed to be much more satisfied with the earlier, more punk-ish pieces - the reaction to “Bra” was astonishing - but I was particularly taken with the new stuff from Change. “Following Through” and especially “The Other Side” were really high-powered and well-played. The band was clearly having a great time, with bassist Eric grinning foolishly for half the show and frontman Travis joking with the crowd between songs. A fabulous show, marred only by the terrible opening band (Need New Body, who seemed to be more about gimmicks than music) and a second act that I was rather disappointed by (Ted Leo and the Pharmacists).
I’ve seized with the ice cold rage of a lover betrayed, half a million miles away
I’ve cried so hard for hours and not known why, I never do
I’ve been knocked down flat by joy that makes my face pulse like a sugar high
I’ve been cornered by the screams of a body as it freed itself of its mind
— Dismemberment Plan, “Superpowers”
Of course I made my standard stop by Other Music, intending only to pick up the Múm album, Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today is OK; I did, but I also ran across the new Present (which is on a Belgian label! - bless Other Music) and convinced myself to also drop eight bucks on eight minutes of Magma - the single, Floe Essi / Ektah.
The Múm I got because it’s been getting insanely high praise and has been recommended widely to fans of Sigur Rós. I think the latter is just because they’re also from Iceland, because aside from the pretty melodies I can’t see any relation at all, musically. Múm plays a very sparse form of electronica, and have a pretty neat knack for making very brittle rhythms sound soothing and attractive. It’s not at all what I was expecting, but I quite like it. But of the three purchases, the new Present, High Infidelity, is definitely my favorite. I’ve only heard the Cuneiform twofer that has Triskaidekaphobie and Le Poison, so I was quite surprised by the very different feeling of this new one. It’s moved away from the “Univers Zero with guitar” style of those early albums, and has a much more aggressive sound to it now, helped on by some loud bass and Dave Kerman’s drumming, which is less atmospheric and more tear-your-head-off than Daniel Denis’ ever was. I dig it.