Wild Nothing/Abe Vigoda/MINKS
Sunday, February 13
Better than: Watching Netflix streaming with your girlfriend/boyfriend and falling asleep after 15 minutes with the laptop on your chest and rolling over in the middle of the night and breaking the laptop’s screen.
Right now I’m sitting inside one of those two sort of enclosed booths upstairs at the Bowery Ballroom, waiting for Wild Nothing to start playing. A lot of people walk past this booth and look into it longingly because of the comfy seating in here but then they keep walking because the way the booth is enclosed makes you think it’s like private/VIP/reserved, but it’s not. Anyone can walk in, just so you know, for next time you’re at the Bowery Ballroom and your legs are tired. Sorry if you already knew that, I just personally have walked past this booth a bunch of times thinking it was VIP and I wish someone had told me earlier that I could just walk in and sit down.
Anyway, the other people inside this booth (and at this concert mostly) seem to be dating each other — the girl across from me just fixed her boyfriend’s hair and the man next to me has his hand on the knee of the man next to him. Two girls holding hands just strolled past the booth, and I watched a guy in an orange beanie sheepishly dance with his girlfriend for a few seconds and then put his arm around her. Netflix streaming servers must be experiencing a diminished traffic load right now because of how many couples chose to come to this tonight instead of stream Netflix. I wish Elizabeth was here but I wasn’t allowed to bring a +1.
So the first band that played was called MINKS, and they play the same strain of peppy but introspective (dreamy, woozy, punchy, you know, etc.) ’80s-indebted indie pop that Wild Nothing does, so whoever put that band on the same bill as Wild Nothing hit the RIYL nail on the head. But the thing that really stood out about them was how beautiful the singer was. She didn’t look like she was trying hard to captivate the audience as she gently turned side-to-side, but I guess she didn’t need to. I liked that band.
Then Abe Vigoda played so frenetically and aggressively that they totally upended the comfortable date-night vibe MINKS had established and Wild Nothing will surely tap back into. I went downstairs and got a drink and the bar was packed! Then I checked out the merch and there were some nice t-shirts. Abe Vigoda would have been better appreciated on a different bill I think.
Now Wild Nothing is playing. Jack Tatum came on stage and said, “Hey everybody, thank you for being here!” That’s about the extent of his stage banter except later he mentions a concertgoer who apparently fainted that I couldn’t see and makes a faux-self-deprecating remark about how his own bad music may have made the concertgoer faint. The crowd reassures him that probably wasn’t the case. Tatum sometimes makes eye contact with the audience, which I like, instead of looking at the walls and his shoes and the other bandmembers the whole time, and he rocks his head back and forth and bounces around a lot in a standard guitar indie-rock way. Nothing wrong with that. He’s a shy guy, he’s a cool guy, he’s a nice guy, he’s trendy, he’s lonely, he’s wistful, he’s indie, he’s charming, he’s melancholy, you know, etc. His hair looks almost exactly like Justin Bieber’s hair.
The singer of MINKS walked out of the backstage area and is now standing in front of me drinking a 16 oz. Tecate. She remarks on how good a songwriter Jack Tatum is to the guy next to her and then Tatum launches into a cover of “Velocity Girl” by Primal Scream and a girl in the second row with a side ponytail goes crazy for it. I want to be there with that girl metaphorically, going crazy for this band, because I like their record a lot too, but experiencing it live makes me realize that they are inescapably bland and I wish this wasn’t the case but I can’t find anything challenging or engaging about this music or show, but maybe I’m just not in the right mood for it or maybe it really is just sort of bland, but there’s nothing wrong with that because it’s comforting and easy and familiar and that’s part of a balanced musical diet? I wish I could leave, and I want to apologize to Jack Tatum for not liking his show because he looks like a nice guy as I mentioned before, and I really do like his record I think. Tomorrow I will listen to it and hopefully like Wild Nothing again.
Critical bias: The debut Wild Nothing record was my fourth favorite record of last year.
Random Notebook Dump: The singer of MINKS was texting someone and I could see what she was writing from where I was standing (she stood next to me) and she typed up her text and ended it with, “what are you up to” and then erased that and thought about what to write for a second and then wrote, “what are you up to” again and I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and say, “I do that sometimes!”
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