CMJ Day 5: Round Up Is Up, But So Is Down


The rennaissance, the rebirth, the avant-garde

Let's finish this thing off, yeah?

Ohsees + The Fall Hiro Ballroom

Not much music to what the Ohsees do - you watch the guitarist scrape his strings with his pick, the drummer moves his arms up and down, sometimes puts his sticks into the space where the hi-hat ought to be but isn't; the vaguely Marine Research-y vocalist opens and closes her mouth; it all sounds like strumming, even the vocal. At one point they may or may not have apologized for being drunk. Biggest cheer they got was when they announced the Fall were up next.

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The Fall were not up next.

Cue instead a screen, which descended from an improbable nook in the faux-Asian arch above the Hiro stage: visions of Fat Elvis and Young Michael Jackson and maybe a Pixilated Natalie Portman while the crowd brought out the traditional heckles: "Hey Mark-UH!" "Is Mark in the building-UH!" Etc. My guess is this happens every time they bring this video guy out.

Kind've a fuck you thing, since nobody cared, and when the Fall finally came out, they kept it up by playing covers instead of originals (best: The Move's "I Can Hear The Grass Grow"). Mark E. Smith sang into as many as four mics at once (closing explanation for that: "nice to be back in New York. Microphones still don't fucking work.")

As he gets older he looks more and more like David Lynch, which couldn't be more appropriate. (Or, as my companion had it: "I can't look at him--he just looks like drugs.") Two bass guitars, clean and locked in, working their riffs into total exhaustion, Smith ranting like a crooked politician, and then they're gone. House lights stay down, and for the first time all week you actually see a crowd sit still for 15 agonizing minutes until it becomes clear: show's over. In the bathroom on the way out there's an Englishman pissing in a stall yelling HOO-HA -- no good way to verify if it's the man himself, so I leave too.

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