Tuesday Evening

I try to write these reviews soon after seeing a show, before I start to forget details, but a crazy busy week/weekend kept me from getting to Gang of Four till now. Their show last Tuesday, though, the first of three NYC gigs on their much-heralded reunion tour, was definitely great. I'm admittedly not the most complete Go4 fan - I think Entertainment! is fantastic, worthy of all the accolades and then some, but I've never really listened to their other albums. (I know, I know....) That meant I only recognized about half of their set, but it seemed a good chunk of the crowd was in the same boat as me. Pretty much all of it was excellent though. It was impossible to miss how much the Rapture, Franz Ferdinand, etc. draw on Go4's influence; the best of the newer bands still do their own thing with it, but Tuesday night went straight to the source.

I hadn't realized how animated the band would be on stage, but their unbridled energy and enthusiasm was infectious. It was hard not to move, with Dave Allen's basslines being thicker and funkier live and Jon King roaming the stage like a man possessed. There were actually three mics set up across the front of the stage, giving him maximum mobility. He took full advantage, working up quite a sweat in the process - I can't believe they did a second show a few hours later! King actually helped on the beat for one song by pounding away at a microwave with a bat, and drummer Hugo Barnham tore it up for most of the others. His beats were technically quite impressive, yet he made it all look so easy. Andy Gill was coaxing sheets of noise out of his guitar all night, at one point even tossing it on the floor. And I have to mention the basslines again - so great!

My favorite part of the show was the opening triple shot of Entertainment! - "Return the Gift," "Not Great Men," and "Ether" (if I remember correctly). By the time the final breakdown of "Ether" arrived, it seemed the whole floor was bouncing. "Damaged Goods" and "At Home He's A Tourist" were also pretty sick. You never know if a band will just rest on its laurels with reunion tours, but Gang of Four were playing like a band starting fresh and trying to win fans over. I certainly left more impressed than ever with them, and I think most of the crowd would agree.

Tonight is Antena's first show in NYC since 1983, when they played Danceteria with Sonic Youth. They're playing a midnight set at the Tonic, and they're also playing with Andrew Bird on Friday at the Knitting Factory and Sunday at Southpaw. The band will be playing Camino Del Sol in its entirety, an album that blends new wave, electro-pop, and bossanova with a cool detachment and is viewed as their masterpiece. The album originally came out on Factory in 1982, but was reissued by the Numero Group last year. Check out "To Climb The Cliff" (MP3) to see what you think. I think it's pretty great, and Pitchfork loved it with a 9.0 rating.

If you're an Optimo fan, tune in to Tim Sweeney's Beats in Space show tonight on WNYU (89.1 FM, 10:30 PM - 1 AM) to hear a special DJ set from Twitch. WNYU also broadcasts online via both a live Real Audio stream and a streaming MP3.

M.A.N.D.Y. will be at the Tribeca Grand on Saturday. They run the Get Physical label in Germany and, by all accounts, are masterful electro-house DJ's - like "Kompakt with an Italo fetish" according to Flavorpill, or "an updated version of classic Chicago house" according to DJ Spinoza. I don't know them too well but I've yet to read a bad word, and people seem pretty psyched about this. Note that an RSVP to weare138nyc@yahoo.com is required for entry.

Sticking with the Tribeca Grand, the Duke Spirit will be there on June 18. I'm a big fan of Cuts Across The Land, their excellent debut full-length that just came out across the pond. I once described their sound as Martina Topley-Bird fronting Spiritualized. I could see them being great live, and since this is a Tribeca Grand show, we'll probably get to find out for free.

Annie will be back in NYC next month as part of the Anniemix tour, with Annie and Timo Kaukolampi on turntables and electronics with live vocals. They'll be at Hiro on June 28 and Scenic on June 29, and hopefully Annie's show will be better without a full band. This is the first event I've heard about at Scenic, which will be opening in the old Guernica space. It certainly is a strong way to start.