Tag Archives: Sex Mob

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Landlady and Sex Mob Help Rough Trade NYC Dance Away the Pain

April 22nd, 2016

Landlady – Rough Trade NYC – April 21, 2016

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Landlady take over a stage to the point of spilling off of it, and their music sounds something like that, too—avant-pop, garage rock, funk, Afrobeat, heady jazz, pushed and pulled, knocked around a bit, sloshing like a too-full cocktail glass sitting on a wobbly table. This is a good thing: The New York of 2016 needs more of these risk-taking bands going for broke when it comes to blast-it-out improvisation and collective genre-smashing, somehow finding tasty melodies and total brain-fuck engagement in what to a passing-by ear could sound like blotted chaos. (The word surprise is used on their Facebook page as the group’s genre.) And that Landlady opted to share last night with one of the OG purveyors of this kind of sonic assault—Sex Mob—made for a wonderfully odd and unhinged show at Rough Trade NYC.

Near the end of their roughly 75-minute set, Landlady—the core five-piece with guitar, keys, bass, drums and percussion—tucked into “The Globe,” off their superb 2014 album, Upright Behavior. It’s an encapsulating song: Adam Schatz’s deceptively triumphant (or cheerfully weary?) vocals over a pie-eyed, finger-snapping melody delivered in service of a song that has something to do with living under stars but slouching toward, not Bethlehem, but a black hole. And that sort of happy-downtrodden balance frames so much of what Landlady do. Their tunes don’t force themselves on you, but once they grab your attention, then comes the rewarding variation, from manic percussion jams—drummers and percussionists Ian Chang and Booker Stardrum love to change positions and switch instruments with each other—to swirls of Farfisa and Wurlitzer to unexpected stabs of metallic guitar from Will Graefe. There were dynamic changeups left and right. “What’s the matter with my girl?” asked Schatz, sort of pained, sort of delirious, during “Girl” as a prelude to a full-stop beat of silence before he quietly built back the melody and then the whole band slammed into a refrain. “Dying Day” included a stab-y, aggressive melody and a format full of syncopation, yet its edges were smoothed with psychedelic keyboards.

Landlady are adventurous, but, crucially, don’t seem to get drunk on their own mojo. In fact, you never get the sense, even when their music spirals out into noisy, carnival sonics that they are anything but in control. The band paused to acknowledge Prince and the crowd cheered some heartfelt words from Schatz about playing songs because “that’s what we do” at a time like this: an invitation to dance the hurt away. When it came time for the hoped for Landlady-Sex Mob crossover, the collective turned not to Prince but to another recently fallen icon, adding most of Sex Mob to the Landlady cocktail for a vigorous version of David Bowie’s “Oh! You Pretty Things” that included a free-form jam studded with trumpet and sax and a percussion summit with Chang and Stardrum on the percussion rack and the incomparable Kenny Wollesen behind the kit. There was so much glorious noise at one point it sounded like the band would need to stop and restart the song, but with Landlady, as with Sex Mob, that’s usually where the song comes back out of the woods, surprising and gently chiding you for your concern about the musicians’ ability to not get lost. It was a lovely arrival from two groups that seem sort of insane but, as the poet wrote, are so sane they’ve blown your minds. —Chad Berndtson | @chadberndtson

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Galactic Returns and Conquers

June 27th, 2011

Galactic – Brooklyn Bowl – June 24, 2011


Wait around long enough and pretty much any band will come through New York City to play a gig. But some acts are just built for return visit after return visit. Take Galactic: Undoubtedly a New Orleans band through and through, they’re also quite at home in NYC, returning to Brooklyn Bowl last week for an extended run of shows barely a season after their last trip here. No matter, on Friday night the room was packed for the last show of the four-night stretch that brought out special guests and at least one turn through their vast repertoire.

Friday’s set started hot with touring-guest Corey Henry leading the charge on trombone. With nearly a full week of shows, each night brought a different kind of energy and Friday’s had a dark, ethnic tinge. There are a handful of songs in Galactic’s bag of tricks that have an Eastern European/Middle Eastern flavor, including “Balkan Wedding” and “Boban (Mere Yaara Dildara),” and the five-piece played them all to funky, sweaty perfection. Theirs is an assembly-line funk that seemingly will go on forever unless someone accidentally knocks the plug out of the wall. Corey Glover plugged right in with vocals on several tunes and Sex Mob’s Steven Bernstein added some groovy dignity to the night with some superlative additions on trumpet and the rarely seen slide trumpet.

Every lull in the night seemed to be matched by a doubled-up high. Rob Mercurio was an endless supply of impossibly funky bass riffs that had the crowd bumping from front to back. Friday night was date night at Brooklyn Bowl with lots of grinding couples, free flowing beer and an incredibly heterogeneous audience. The thing everyone had in common was smiles, plus the hopes of a funkified weekend ahead. Until the next time Galactic rolls through town. —A. Stein