Shellac w/Helen Money
The Bell House
Monday, October 3
Better than: Bawling indie-rock wuss tears as Jeff Mangum sings a Neutral Milk Hotel weeper.
For the second year in a row, Chicago post-punk veteran goliaths Shellac graced The Bell House stage for two post-All Tomorrow’s Parties hangover shows, ready to give their loyal (and very male-dominated) following a world of aluminum guitar-scraping hurt, their trademark side-splitting Q & A sessions and one-liner between-song zingers.
When Sound of the City last checked in with Shellac bruiser, stud recorder, poker ace, food blogger, Yankee hater and Occupy Wall Street supporter Steve Albini, he was preparing to man the card tables at the sprawling Kutschers resort in Monticello. This year, the annual music fest was re-located to Asbury Park where, once again, Albini hosted a poker bacchanal and played two sets—a Friday night show and a surprise early-Sunday show—with the pudgy, hysterical cowbell-playing bassist Bob Weston and the toothpick framed and weirdo-haired drumming god Todd Trainer.
Worshiping at the Albini altar is routine, but the first of the band’s two Bell House shows displayed why the band deserves the props. The musicians were ass-tight meticulous, the song selection stellar, the sound immaculate (Albini called the Bell House “the best place to play in the NYC metropolitan area”), and the set lasted a staggering 100 minutes. Albini’s bizarro-world, rhythmically challenged dance twitches are worth the price of admission alone, but the between-song shenanigans and banter set Shellac apart from the typically abstract inside joke jargon usually spewed at shows. Some highlights (or lowlights), if you will:
• Best joke of the evening, courtesy of Weston: “What’s brown and sticky? My Beyoncé poster.”
• Funniest song intro, courtesy of Albini: “This song is called “I Came In You.” “It’s about intercourse.”
• Best baseball-related advice for the recently managerless Chicago White Sox, courtesy of Albini: “They need to hire Buck Showalter.”
• Best hot-dog-related advice from Weston: “Last year, I ate three hot dogs. I got sick but not from the hot dogs being bad, but because I had three. My tummy hurt.”
• Best advice from Albini about purchasing gear: Don’t go to Guitar Center. Albini bought a new guitar strap there for $44.
• Best friendly natured jab at Albini, courtesy of Weston: After being asked by an audience member “What’s better: jam or jelly?” Weston retorted with “I am going to jam (and jelly) my dick up Steve’s mom’s ass.”
Critical bias: Fuck Battles’ John Stanier, who swiped the idea of the towering crash cymbal from Trainer.
Overheard: Rousing applause and much respect from a kind NYC audience for one-woman classi-punk cellist extraordinaire Helen Money.
Random Notebook Dump: If you’re a straight guy looking to get laid, don’t go hunting for it at a Shellac show.
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My Black Ass
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Steady As She Goes
I Came In You
Dog and Pony Show
End of Radio
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