Miniature Tigers w/ The Grates, The Stationary Set @ Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY – 4/21/2010

With the spring breeze in the air on an early night in Willimsburg, Brooklyn last Wednesday, fans packed the Knitting Factory to see the Miniature Tigers play their first show EVER in the BK area. Four of the nicest guys took time out to greet friends and fans that they passed throughout the night.

Hitting the stage first was The Stationary Set. The room was already starting to get packed for this indie buzz band. Trading instruments like something you would see at a Sloan show, and seperate precussion that you would experience while seeing Pavement, were both driven throughout. Lead singer (most of the time at least), Andrew Lutes, has one of the most poppiest voices I’ve heard in a long time. Though these boys may be on a small label they certainly have a big label sound and potential. I can only imagine we will be hearing more about The Stationary Set in the coming months.

The next to take the stage was Australia’s own, The Grates. The quintet led by charasmatic and energenic front woman, Patience Hodgson, literally blew the crowd away (even down to her golden chucks). What we were in for, and I’m sure no one was aware, was a 45 minute set of pump-your-fist-dance-your-ass-off music. If you didn’t look like you were having fun Hodgson got in your face and made sure that you did. And who could resist? The Grates play amazing indie pop tunes with a dab of Gwen Stefani style. Heading into the crowd several times, she really won the whole crowd over, leaving a once skeptical audience wanting more.

Around 10pm, the Miniature Tigers took the stage with big grins on their faces. Rick Schaier’s signature moustache is noticably gone, and I couldn’t help but think of the fresh faced CMJ newcomers I had originally met in 2008 and interviewed in a diner. It’s amazing how far they’ve come since their first New York City trip.

Most of the night was filled with upcoming material from their second record, Fortress (ModernArt) that is due to be released this summer. Produced by musician/friend/tourmate Chris Chu of The Morning Benders, you can really feel how the group has crafted their songs further from the early versions they have been playing recently on their last couple of tours.

New tracks like “There’s a Japanese Woman in My Closet,” and “Bullfighter Jackets,” were amazing to hear live on stage and really started to give the audience a glimpse of what the new album is going to sound like. Singer Charlie Brand’s voice is more brilliant in tone than ever. For a few songs, the band switched it up a bit as Schaier
took to the keyboard and synths and guitarist Algernon Quashie went behind the drums. Though I am not sure of the title, Rick took the lead vocals on one track that was very un-Mini T’s like but it was incredible nonetheless how it switched things up.

Brand also came out from behind the guitar and went mic-stand solo for a track as well. The band has become quite popular with fans and fellow musicians alike as there was some giggling high school girls in the corner, and you could see Tim Or of The Morning Benders and Christian Rudder of Bishop Allen watching the show from the center of the crowded room.

Everytime I see the Miniature Tigers they get better and better. I’m not sure how it’s possibly but they manage to pull it off flawlessly every single time. Watch out for Fortress this summer, and the band will most certainly be on tour thereafter. Be sure to check them out when they pass by your fortress!

FOR MORE SHOW PICS CLICK HERE

Secondhand Sunday: Bishop Allen “Shanghaied”

This edition of Secondhand Sunday is a bit different. I think it’s pretty obvious right off the bat that neither this song or video is more than a few months old. Well, let me put it this way. For some reason I completely missed that Bishop Allen had put out a video for “Shanghaied,” and yes I know they already have another new one. This is one of my favorite tracks off of Grrr  and the video is just extremely cute. All it entails is Bishop Allen sitting around and singing on a couch, in a hallway, and to a rabbit. One thing I also love about this video is that singer Justin Rice was wearing the same blue hoodie when I interviewed him back in March on the release of this record. The video was directed by Bob Byington, who also made the movie Harmony and Me in which Rice stars in (It comes out 11/17). In other Bishop Allen news the band is on the final week of their tour with the last two stops at Union Hall (Friday, 21+) and The Bell House (Saturday, 18+) in Brooklyn. Fun!

Watch Bishop Allen’s “Shanghaied”

Bishop Allen at Other Music 3-10-2009

Standing outside of Other Music in New York’s East Village (in the freezing cold), the line grew waiting for the highly anticipated Bishop Allen instore. On the release day of their third album titled ‘Grrr’ the band and attendees had a glimmer of excitement in their eyes. Waiting to hear the new record, Bishop Allen treated the crowd to a load of new tracks, along with some old classics.

With the room so packed you couldn’t even move, it didn’t stop us from having a stellar time. I noticed something last night in Justin Rice  that I haven’t seen with many other singers (as odd as this may sound). He has a great ability to truly connect with the audience. He looks in their eyes like he is talking directly to each and everyone of them. He’s having a conversation with them. A lot of singers don’t do this I’ve noticed, and quite frankily, this impressed me.

Bishop Allen played some brilliant tracks off of the new record like they’ve been playing them forever. ‘Grrr’is a nice progression from their prior work, but does not by any means lose the integrity and sound that Rice, Rudder and company bring into every piece of music they write. That’s the kind of thing that makes a band timeless, and Bishop Allen is the definition of that.

Check out more pictures of Bishop Allen at Other Music after the jump

*Stay tuned in the next few days for our Bishop Allen Justin Rice interview. Hint: He likes playing the woodblocks…alot*